There’s a new Better Story podcast (kind of)! A Better Story: B-Sides is now where all of the shorter, scripture based episodes will live. Give this short announcement a listen to hear why the switch is happening and what’s up with the title “B-Sides.”
AND, if you enjoy the shorter episodes on the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, make sure to subscribe, rate and review A Better Story: B-Sides:
For Barbara Brown Taylor (best-selling author, teacher, Episcopal priest), what started as a university teaching role turned into something sacred. Exploring other religions with her students became a transformative experience. In the end, it made her a better neighbor, gave her a broader understanding of the divine and rooted her deeper in her own tradition.
Barbara sat down to talk about this experience, which she writes about in Holy Envy. If you enjoy the conversation, be sure to pick up the book and visit https://barbarabrowntaylor.com/ to find out when Barbara’s book tour will be near you.
Photo credit: E. Lane Gresham
Kaya Oakes (journalist, author, professor) had a hunch that the Nones, those who don’t associate with a religion, weren’t awash in a sea of meaninglessness and immorality. A few years ago she sat down and recorded many of their stories, which became her book The Nones Are Alright. She came on to talk about what she found and the changing landscape of religion.
Sikhism is an empowering, justice-oriented and generous religion, whose story deserves to be more widely told. Fortunately for us, Inderpreet Kaur from the Sikh Coalition is here to help. She sat down to talk about beliefs, history and practices of Sikhs. After this conversation, you’ll definitely want to check out the work of the Sikh Coalition at https://www.sikhcoalition.org/. Donate, learn and get involved in the great work they’re doing.
Photo courtesy of the Sikh Coalition.
Dr. Tom Oord is back on the podcast to talk about his new book God Can’t. If you’ve ever wondered why God hasn’t prevented tragedy, are tired of cliche answers, and you don’t want to read volumes of dense theology, this is your book. Plus, Tom talks about some of the quirkier things in Christianity: healing, demons, heaven, hell, the second coming and more!
Keep up with Tom at http://thomasjayoord.com/.
Politics and religion. The topics you aren’t supposed to talk about, but can’t ignore these days. Nish Weiseth (author, speaker, podcast host) is on to help us understand the disturbing relationship between Evangelicals and right wing politicians in the U.S. and what a faithful response could look like.
Nish, along with Amy Sullivan, is the co-host of Impolite Company, a podcast that covers religions and politics with depth and insight. Nish’s op-ed pieces have been featured in Cosmopolitan and Christianity Today, and she authored the book Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World. Check out more from Nish at https://www.nishweiseth.com/.
How do you raise kids in a Christian environment without leaving them with loads of spiritual baggage? Cindy Wang Brandt is here to help. Cindy is a writer and speaker with a focus on empowering children to develop their own healthy spirituality. Between interviewing experts, curating conversations with thousands of parents, and raising her own kids, she brings wisdom and insight for parents and non-parents alike.
A huge thank you to Leigh Thomas for the crisp new logo. Check out more of her work at https://www.leighkthomas.com. Don't forget to head over to Theology Corner for like-minded voices, and check out Light Theory if you enjoyed the intro and outro music.
Whether you're changing out old pieces of your faith or just wanting to create a better world, you'll love the work of Catherine Keller (Drew University). Catherine sat down to talk about some of the big ideas she has explored (process theology, mysticism, politics, the environment, the apocalypse), and give us tools for exploring the sacred and building a more just, beautiful and playful world. If you enjoy our conversation, make sure to pick up one of her many books.
Kaitlin Curtice (author, mystic) doesn't think mysticism should be an intimidating word. It's less about drawn out spiritual practices and more about paying attention. She sat down to talk about the sacred, noting the gifts of her Potawatomi roots in experiencing God.
Does belief in God make sense in a world where terrible things happen? Or in the midst of an ever evolving scientific knowledge of the universe? Dr. Tripp Fuller (Homebrewed Christianity) thinks process theology has some pretty helpful tools for exploring those questions. He sat down to talk about process theology, an understanding of the cross that isn't terrible, the Bible in process and the resurgence of God as "ground of being".
Make sure to check out Homebrewed Christianity, in particular their upcoming Theologies of Resistance class with our friend Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza. Don't miss Tripp's upcoming movie, The Road to Edmond, which premiers at the end of July.
God is love. So, when we define love narrowly, we miss a lot of God. Thankfully, queerness can help us expand our understanding of love, and of God. Mihee Kim-Kort sat down to talk about how queerness is deeply spiritual and deeply Christian.
To hear more from Mihee, make sure to check out her forthcoming book, Outside the Lines: How Embracing Queerness Will Transform Your Faith, available July 1. You can keep up with her at miheekimkort.com or on Twitter.
What do you do when your faith doesn't match most of the lyrics and style of Christian music? What makes music "Christian" anyway?
David Gungor (The Brilliance) sat down to chat about how his music has changed with his faith, how he can still appreciate some aspects of Christian music, and why the word "God" shows up less and less frequently in his music. Check out more from The Brilliance at http://thebrilliancemusic.com/, and look for new music from them this summer.
Also, make sure to check out Theology Corner for some really great podcasts and blogs.
Racism is pervasive. And it's hard to talk about. Austin Channing Brown is here to help. Austin sat down to talk about racism, white supremacy, "safe" white people and more. She explores all of this in her forthcoming book I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, which is out May 15. Pre-order it now. Seriously. It's vulnerable, truth-telling, beautiful writing, and coincidentally, one of the best books of the year. For real.
You can find more from Austin at http://austinchanning.com/.
We love binaries, but they never come close to reflecting the nuances of life, especially when it comes to gender. Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza (scholar, activist, theologian) sat down to talk about the spectrum of gender, theological and biblical perspectives that make room for our trans* neighbors, and how meaningful it was to find the language of non-binary trans.
To hear more from Robyn, check out https://irobyn.com/
Bust out the birthday cake. The podcast turns a year old today! We're celebrating in all kinds of ways, none of which involve clowns.
First, I'm talking to Sarah Bessey (mystically-minded author and speaker). We're looking at how we begin to reconstruct faith and what it looks like to reclaim some good old fashioned Christian terms...and which ones to leave behind. To hear more from Sarah, check out www.sarahbessey.com and her book Out of Sorts (or just win a copy below). Plus, she and Rachel Held Evans just launched a conference called Evolving Faith. Go to it!
Second, we're celebrating by raising money to prevent refugees from experiencing homelessness in Seattle. 100% goes to refugees, and, if every listener gave $10, 500 refugees would have an extra safety net to keep them housed. We've got this, people. Donate HERE, and pass it on.
Last, it wouldn't be birthday party without presents. We're giving away a set of books from our favorite guests, including:
Womanist Midrash by Wil Gafney
Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey
Healing Spiritual Wounds by Carol Howard Merritt
The Very Good Gospel by Lisa Sharon Harper
Disarming Scripture by Derek Flood
THANK YOU for a great year.
Dr. Amanda Mbuvi (High Point University) thinks we've been misreading Genesis, especially when it comes to race. We assume the ancient stories share our modern conception of racial identity. When we look closer, we find something much more nuanced, fluid and perhaps helpful for us as we navigate racial inequity today.
You can find even more on the topic from Dr. Mbuvi in her book, Belonging in Genesis. Use the discount code BDFW before April 30 for a 30% discount OR get 75% off if you order before March 31 and follow the instructions listed HERE. Keep up with Dr. Mbuvi at www.amandambuvi.com.
When it seems like fear is the fuel most of us run on, Adam Hamilton (pastor, author) offers some pretty excellent alternatives. He looks at fear from practical, spiritual and psychological angles, not to make our fears magically disappear, but to keep them from driving us.
Adam is the pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, the largest mainline church in the country. He has also authored over a dozen books, including his latest, Unafraid, and Making Sense of the Bible, one of the best overviews of the Bible around.
Tsh Oxenreider (author, podcaster, entrepreneur) is on this week talking about vocation: what it is, how we find it and how God may not be as worried about it as we are.
Carol Howard Merritt (writer, pastor, speaker) has experienced toxic faith, but she has also found healing. She sat down to talk about some of her story, how we can all tend to our spiritual wounds and some helpful replacements for the faith we leave behind. Our conversation is based on her book Healing Spiritual Wounds. Go read it. Seriously. If you want to hear more from Carol, check out https://www.carolhowardmerritt.org/.
And, of course, if you're into the intro and outro music, check out Light Theory.