We don’t often think about how our places shape us and our stories. We often think of our places as a backdrop to all the living we do, just the context for how we’ll move about in the world. We don’t clearly articulate how places shape our souls.
My guest today has a particularly helpful take on place — partly because she’s lived on different continents as a minority and has learned how to navigate majority cultures. She’s lovely to talk to and offers us so much wisdom (and stories) about how to tell our stories of place well.
Patrice Gopo articulately explains how places have shaped her in this episode. Patrice Gopo is the daughter of Jamaican immigrants and was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. She is a personal essayist and often writes about topics of race, immigration, and belonging. Her first book, a collection of personal essays entitled All the Colors We Will See, is a Fall 2018 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Patrice is a firm believer in the power of personal narratives to create pathways of connection and understanding in society. When she’s not writing and reflecting about her own journey, she teaches and speaks about the importance of personal storytelling.
Buy Patrice’s book, All the Colors We Will See: http://bit.ly/patricegopo
How do places form our loves? Listen to @patricegopo on place, race, immigration, and the stories our places tell on the #FindingHolyPodcast with @aahales.
What does moving across the world, writing our stories, and doing the laundry have in common? Find out from @patricegopo on the #findingholypodcast.
Don’t miss this fantastic episode with @patricegopo and @aahales on the #findingholypodcast. It’s a theology of place unpacked.
ONE SMALL STEP
Give yourself a 10-minute assignment: think about your place. Go on a walk in your neighborhood. Brainstorm in your journal. But give yourself 10 minutes to start noticing how who, what, when, where and what happens right where you live forms your loves.
Curious what that might look like? You can go to aahales.com, scroll to the bottom, and enter your email: then you’ll get a free download of the first chapter of my book, Finding Holy in the Suburbs, about how Target forms our desires. Red carts, coffee, and clearance sections, oh my! (And the book is 40% off right now at IVP as part of their Summer Reading List, details here).
Remember, no matter where you live, that you get to live the story of Jesus. But don’t forget the laundry — because big things matter, but so does the laundry!
If you’re someone who struggles to know how our bodies fit into our faith, this conversation is for you.
There’s so much around the idea of touch in the church and in our culture that feels like a landmine. While we can be tempted to believe we’re brains on sticks or disembodied souls, Jesus came as a man to show us the power and ministry of touch.
You’ll want to listen in this week to hear Lore’s wisdom about embodied faith, touch, and her new book releasing in 2020, Handle with Care.
Lore Ferguson Wilbert has lived all over the United States and is unsettled enough to call nowhere home, but she lives in Flower Mound, Texas for now. She is a wife to her husband and a member of The Village Church where they both serve. She writes and edits full time for many publications like The Gospel Coalition, CT, Revive Our Hearts, Fathom Magazine, and The Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission on spiritual formation, faith, culture, and theology in life. You can read more of her work at sayable.net.
Lore’s blog: www.sayable.net
Lore’s book, Handle with Care: https://amzn.to/305tS1c
ONE SMALL STEP
Begin your day by praying over your body. Thank God for each part. Pray for healing for each part. Thank God for your body – for your brain, your heart, your belly, your hips, your toes. Ask the Holy Spirit to comfort you and show you the goodness of the gospel through your body and where you move today.
Thanks again for being a part of this conversation! As always, we love to hear from you. Email your comments to email@example.com and don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review:
“Big things matter, but so does the laundry.” May your laundry folding, dinner-preparing, walking-self experience God more fully because of your body this week.
Sometimes when we’re in the thralls of our normal routines, our roles in our families and in our neighborhoods, it’s hard to stop and pay attention. Shawn Smucker, author, husband, and busy father to 6, talks with us about what it looks like to choose presence from cross-cultural friendships with a refugee and with his own family.
Here’s a bit more about Shawn: He lives in Lancaster, PA with his wife, Maile, and his 6 children. He’s the author of The Day the Angels Fell, The Edge of Over There, Once We were Strangers, and the forthcoming novel, Light from Distant Stars. Be sure to preorder his latest release before July 16 for a free peek into the life and journal of a novelist.
You’ll want to listen in for wisdom about parenting, about how to navigate cross-cultural friendships and be present to your actual neighbors. But you’ll also want to stick around to hear his laundry routine for a family of 8, how his wife Maile and he aren’t just sliding into established roles in their writing and parenting lives together, and how you can take one small step of presence in a culture that idolizes hurry and busyness.
Link to purchase The Day the Angels Fell: https://amzn.to/2X7B2oL
Link to purchase The Edge of Over There: https://amzn.to/2RwDsr3
Link to purchase Once We Were Strangers: https://amzn.to/2X2iIgR
Link to pre-order Light from Distant Stars: https://amzn.to/2X6MBws
More about Shawn, his work, and his writing services: http://shawnsmucker.com
Listen to @ShawnSmucker discuss his friendship with a Syrian refugee and what it taught him about a “drop in” friendship in a culture of busyness on the #FindingHolyPodcast with @aahales
Curious about how to navigate a meaningful life in the midst of marriage and family life? You’ll want to listen to @shawnsmucker on the #findingholypodcast
Listen to how @shawnsmucker and his wife reevaluated roles, made time for the work they love, and still manage to get the laundry done for a family of 8 on The #FindingHolyPodcast
ONE SMALL STEP:
Move your communication from social media to one-on-one for a week. Write a note of gratitude. Look your children in the eye. Practice presence in small and unseen ways. We’d even love to get a note here at the podcast (email us at firstname.lastname@example.org) and would love for you to stay in the conversation by subscribing.
Keep the conversation going by purchasing Finding Holy in the Suburbs for a friend and see how your can love your place, your actual neighbors, and those right in front of you. Better yet, buy it from real people (we recommend Hearts & Mind Bookstore, who will send it from real people not a drone!)
This a great conversation on quiet, stillness, habits, and brain neural pathways. You’ll love learning about why our brains react against stillness and quiet. even task-positive network and default mode network in the brain and how this all fits into how we connect with God.
A Massachusetts native, Michelle DeRusha moved to Nebraska in 2001, where she discovered the Great Plains, grasshoppers the size of Cornish hens ... and God. She writes about listening to your soul speak at michellederusha.com, as well as a monthly column for the Lincoln Journal Star.
Michelle earned a Bachelor's Degree in English from the University of Massachusetts and a Master's Degree in English from the University of Connecticut. She worked as a magazine writer and editor in New York City, a PR and marketing specialist for a community college and a fundraiser for PBS and NPR before settling down into her career and calling as a writer.
Here’s why you should listen: If you’re longing to connect with God, be present to yourself and people around you, you’ll want to see how something as small as 5 minutes of quiet a day has reframed our guest today.
Stick around: You’ll get one small step to help you connect yourself to God and the wider community of faith at the end.
“Ultimately coming to understand your identity as a child of God, is that you’ll naturally start to turn outward to community.” @michellederusha on #FindingHolyPodcast
“Our brain literally forgets how to rest.” Listen to @michellederusha on our restless age and what can help on #TheFindingHolyPodcast with @aahales
“I practiced directed rest and it took weeks before I could push below that upper level of distraction.” @michellederusha
Link to purchase Michelle’s latest book, True You: https://amzn.to/2K7e1LU
Link to purchase 50 Women Every Christian Should Know: https://amzn.to/2MQ2qmL
Link to purchase Katarina and Martin Luther: https://amzn.to/2ML2aVI
Link to purchase Spiritual Misfit: https://amzn.to/2KDGLLt
Michelle’s website: http://michellederusha.com
NEXT SMALL STEP:
The point isn’t just about being silent or even paying attention to nature. Ultimately we need to know ourselves well enough to know what we each need to do to pay attention to how we connect to God. Michelle talks about how embracing silence allowed her to get to her true self – the self exposed before God.
Let’s try something small just like Michelle: if 5 minutes feels like a lot, even start with 2 minutes of quiet a day. Put an alarm on the phone and practice 2 (or 5) minutes of silence. You might even have to lock yourself in a bathroom, but it’s worth it! Before you begin give your time of quiet to God, asking him to focus your mind and return your attention and affections to him in your moments of directed rest.
Darryl Dash is pastor of Liberty Grace Church in Toronto, and author of *How to Grow: Applying the Gospel to All of Your Life*. He is also cofounder of Gospel for Life and director of Advance Church Planting Institute. He has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and has over 25 years of ministry experience. Darryl is married to Charlene and has two adult children: Christy and Josiah. You can find Darryl online at DashHouse.com.
Darryl Dash’s book : How to Grow: Applying the Gospel to All of Life: https://amzn.to/2JT07g8
Gretchen Rubin, Better than Before: What I learned about Making and Breaking habits: https://amzn.to/2JWrVjL
M. Scott Peck, on the stages of community: http://atlc.org/members/resources/four_stages_community.html
“I am famished for God’s presence…I say that as someone desperate.” @dashhouse on the #findingholypodcast with @aahales:
“The church is going to be disillusioning. Yet there is something that happens. God uses the church to grow us.” @dashhouse on the #findingholypodcast with @aahales:
“Habits are valuable insofar that they lead me to God.” @dashhouse on the #findingholypodcast with @aahales:
How to commit to 3 small habits to grow in your faith. @dashhouse on the #findingholypodcast with @aahales:
ONE SMALL STEP
Join me with one small step – let’s make a habit. For the next 21 days, let’s commit to reading our Bibles. It doesn’t need to big or studious. Start small – just even one verse before you check your email or grab your keys and coffee in the morning.
Let me know how it goes! Email me on the contact form on the website: aahales.com.
IF YOU HAVEN’T YET…
Subscribe to The Finding Holy Podcast on itunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Share an episode.
Read — continue the conversation by reading Finding Holy in the Suburbs.
On this second edition of a “Suburban Bootcamp,” Bryce and Ashley Hales talk together about how the gospel reorients our relationships vertically with God and horizontally with others. So how do we make the mental shift from the allure of convenience to moving outwards towards others?
Hospitality flows from God who has made room for us — seen most clearly in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Ashley posed a few helpful diagnostic questions as we think about hospitality and making room:
Where am I making room in my time?
Where am I making room in my body for others — do I look at people? Do I see the needs around me?
Where am I making room in my affections — so that I’m looking for ways to connect with others who are far from God?
But where do we start? Bryce encourages to embrace awkward and be a good neighbor and start today in one small step.
ONE SMALL STEP
Put a date on the calendar three weeks out.
Create a reason to get together with some friends, neighbors, and people you sort of know. Try out your favorite barbecue recipe, or grab a Costco lasagna. The point is to make room in your schedule and your home to really see people.
Hooray! A Leader’s Guide is coming soon for Ashley’s book, Finding Holy in the Suburbs: Living Faithfully in the Land of Too Much. With chapters on hospitality and busyness, you won’t want to miss the book, or the chance to read and talk about with friends. Buy yourself a copy (hey! pick one up for your whole group) and stay tuned for the release of the Leader Guide!
If you’re looking for a little reminder about the things that matter in a noisy world, make sure you get The Essential 3. It’s a small dose of beauty, truth, and goodness in the form of 3 links sent directly to your inbox each week. It’s short, sweet, and just what you might need. Get it here.
“Hospitality is about making room.” @aahales @bahales #Findingholypodcast #suburbanbootcamp
What to do when you feel like hospitality is all about Martha Stewart. It starts with a Costco lasagna and baby wipes. #hospitality #suburbanbootcamp #FindingHolyPodcast @aahales
“Making room” makes the gospel and hospitality feel accessible. #findingholypodcast
It’s 2019! Welcome back to The Finding Holy Podcast, where we connect the dots between the things that matter and your everyday, holy life.
Before we kick off season 2, we’re going to have a three-week interlude. During these three weeks, I sit down with my husband and pastor, Bryce Hales, and we host a little suburban boot camp. It’s short. It’s sweet and it will give you some concrete action to take.
This first session we talk about the allure of convenience and how consumerism has infiltrated the church.
Listen in for a short episode with a lot of laughter, one small step, and how to begin to think about our lives less as consumers and more as lovers of our places and our churches.
A SMALL STEP
Plan and cook a meal. This will slow your body down and get you into the moment. The process of planning and cooking helps us give rather than receive, or seeing ourselves as consumers.
Our favorite soup recipe can be found at aahales.com/Podcast.
Let us know how it goes!
SHARE + SUBSCRIBE
Will you help us grow? Be sure to share the show and subscribe wherever we listen to podcasts.
“When we view church as event rather than as family we are poorer for it.” #findingholypodcast
“The Bible commends faithfulness and perseverance far more than we do.” #findingholypodcast
“How we talk — “I have to” is really “I don’t want to.” Start noticing.” #findingholypodcast
My guest this week is Rev. Sam Wheatley, who we met when he was our pastor in Salt Lake city, UT. Whereas we’ve moved on to church planting in the SoCal suburbs, Sam and his wife Kate have moved back to NYC. Sam is the Executive Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church Downtown. He and his wife, Kate, have three grown children.
Places form our loves. They also form our habits. I’d noticed how Sam was chronicling his new life in NYC on Instagram and how moving the car had become a spiritual space for contemplation and exploration. I was fascinated and I wanted to know how the big city connected with the gospel. Listen in.
ONE SMALL STEPIdentify one transitional moment — find one spot in your day, whether that’s moving the car, doing the laundry, or your morning commute and consider how you can turn it Godward instead of selfward (or simply distracting yourself with technology). Identify one transitional step — meditate on a line from scripture, or say a simple prayer in your transitional moment. These sorts of small habits fashion our attention toward God and his gospel rather than towards self.
Thank you for joining us in Season One. May I ask you to do three things?
Subscribe to The Finding Holy Podcast on itunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Share an episode.
Read — continue the conversation by reading Finding Holy in the Suburbs.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
We’ll be back in January for a special edition of “Suburban Bootcamp” with Bryce and Ashley Hales. In January expect a few episodes where Bryce and Ashley Hales sit down to talk about how to start from the ground up creating a culture of generosity, vulnerability and hospitality. You’ll want to listen in if you’re in ministry, if you live in the suburbs, or even if you’re curious about how to take some practical steps in conjunction with my book Finding Holy in the Suburbs.
My guest today lives in rural Appalachia -- probably not a spot most of my listeners live in. The temptation could be to skip this episode because you don’t live in a rural spot. Maybe you live in the city or suburbs or a small town. But here’s the thing -- no matter where we live, we have to figure out how to live in that place well and there’s lots of crossovers between Appalachia and the suburbs. So listen in. My guest today on Episode 7 is Hannah Anderson. We talk about living as an outsider in a rural community, wisdom gained through discernment, her calling to her place and to her writing, and her new book, All That’s Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment. Hannah lives with her pastor husband and three children in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She’s the author of Made for More, Humble Roots, and All that’s Good. In addition to writing and speaking, she also hosts The Persuasion Podcast with Erin Straza for Christ and Pop Culture
Stick around: You’ll find some gold nuggets to encourage you to stay rooted in your place -- whether you’re in the country, city, or suburbs. And at the end, you’ll have your one small step to help take all the things that matter into your ordinary, holy, life.
Hannah provided us some wonderful questions to help us in the ways of discernment:
--How would what I share (online) affect my real-life relationships?
--What is the point of correcting? Would it build the community?
--What would I say to this person if this person was in my kitchen? Proximitiy checks our tendencies.
A SMALL STEPThis week remember to lighten up. Humor disarms. Try a family dance party to get out of your own head or using a self-deprecating joke. It’ll allow you to begin to empathize instead of using truth as a weapon.
Hannah’s website: https://www.sometimesalight.com/
Persuasion Podcast: https://persuasionpodcast.buzz/
Link to purchase Made for More: https://amzn.to/2QMwArB
Link to purchase Humble Roots: https://amzn.to/2rtISa3
Link to purchase All that’s Good: https://amzn.to/2QINKpZ
Discernment simply means developing a taste for what’s good. --@sometimesalight on #FindingHolyPodcast
How does discernment equip us to navigate a broken, complicated world with confidence and joy? -- @sometimesalight #FindingHolyPodcast
Hannah Anderson talks about rural, working class Appalachia, the mistakes she’s made and how she’s practicing discernment on #FindingHolyPodcast:
“The nature of truth is communal.” Listen in to @sometimesalight on #FindingHolyPodcast:
A GIFT FOR YOU
Share an episode of The Finding Holy Podcast online and review it on iTunes. Then take a screenshot and send it to me at email@example.com. I’ll send you your very own Finding Holy journal!
You’ll love this interview with author and activist Micha Boyett. She and her family live in San Francisco, CA.
Micha Boyett, author of Found, talks motherhood, raising a son with Down Syndrome, and what it looks like to be a good neighbor in San Francisco. Don’t miss her helpful tips on practicing to see the way Jesus sees -- even when you’re in the school pick-up line.
Here’s a bit more about our guest: Micha Boyett is a poet, activist and author of the book, Found: A Story of Questions, Grace and Everyday Prayer. She has an MFA and writes on spiritual formation, down syndrome and motherhood. She hosts The Lucky Few podcast which focuses on changing the narrative about Down Syndrome.
A SMALL STEP
It’s Micha’s practice. → Create a visual clue for the change you want to see.
Try grabbing a sticky note right now. Write a word, phrase, or portion of scripture that you want to meditate on. (For me, I’m putting a bright pink sticky note on the fridge that says “breathe.” so that when the noise of four small kids gets too much, I’ll remember that breathing is one way we rewire those neurons)!
So grab a sticky note, put on a word or phrase and put it where you’ll see it. Let me know how it goes!
It’s one small way to begin to take the ideas we want to embody -- like peace, love, and kindness -- and begin to make a practice of them.
Micha’s website: https://www.michaboyett.com/
The Lucky Few Podcast: www.theluckyfewpodcast.com/
Link to purchase Micha’s book, Found: https://amzn.to/2SsFZBY
Link to purchase No Drama Discipline: https://amzn.to/2QDlnK4
Link to purchase The Whole-Brained Child: https://amzn.to/2SuidWf
“Spiritual discipline is sometimes about retraining our brains.” —@michaboyett on #findingholypodcast with @aahales:
“The smallest choices are usually the ones that effect you the most.” —@michaboyett on #findingholypodcast with @aahales
“Spiritual discipline is always going to be a practice.” —@michaboyett on #findingholypodcast with @aahales
“Thanksgiving is always the heart of change.” —@michaboyett on #findingholypodcast with @aahales
A GIFT FOR YOU
Head over to aahales.com, enter your email, and you’ll get a free download of the first chapter of my book, Finding Holy in the Suburbs. (Or you can purchase it here).
My guest for Episode 5 is Russ Ramsey. Russ Ramsey is the pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church Cool Springs in Nashville, Tennessee, where he lives with his wife and four children. He grew up in the fields of Indiana and studied at Taylor University and Covenant Theological Seminary (MDiv, ThM). Russ is the author of the Retelling the Story Series (IVP, 2018) and Struck: One Christian’s Reflections on Encountering Death (IVP, 2017).
In Episode 5, we talk about the best burrito restaurant in Nashville and how to creatively engage social media through pursuing beauty. We also chat about our actual places, and a few small steps to jog our imaginations as Christians -- and, of course, I ask about his laundry routine.
Russ has some great tips to share about how to approach scripture this Advent season.
As your small practical step, I’d simply encourage you to try something this Advent season a little differently. Let's jog our imaginations.
--Take a different route home
-- Frequent a local business
--Engage scripture differently
--Read a gospel through the Advent season
--Try to get your laundry into the basket (Just kidding!)
Here are Russ’s tips for engaging scripture:
Read a portion of scripture beginning to end. Read aloud. Listen to scripture audio recordings.
Engage your imagination: look for details in what you read.
Scripture gives us wisdom, not necessarily answers. It forms the way you think. How are you formed as you read?
Russ’s website: http://russ-ramsey.com/
Christ Presbyterian Church Cool Springs: https://www.christpres.org/visit-cool-springs/
Baja Burrito (best burritos in Nashville): http://www.bajaburrito.com
Link to purchase The Advent of the Lamb of God: https://amzn.to/2r3JNOf
Link to purchase The Mission of the Body of Christ: https://amzn.to/2TJ8dtA
Link to purchase The Passion of the King of Glory: https://amzn.to/2TKTs9t
Link to purchase Struck: https://amzn.to/2P2984w
“When you see social media as a tool...when it’s not the main thing, then you can use it for good.” @russramsey on social media #artwednesday #findingholypodcast
“Story is a trojan horse for truth.” @russramsey on #findingholypodcast
“We hide scripture in the heart by way of imagination.” @russramsey on #findingholypodcast
-Subscribe to #FindingHolyPodcast
-Share a link o a favorite episode on social media. Screenshot it and send it to me. I'll send you a little gift in the mail! Email me your photo at firstname.lastname@example.org
In Episode 4, I sit down with Bronwyn Lea. Bronwyn Lea is originally from South Africa and brings a unique perspective to American listeners, not just on America, but on the way the places we live shape our lives.
Bronwyn Lea is an author, speaker, activist, and most recently, editorial curator for Propel Sophia. She loves Jesus, puns, her home country of South Africa, her adopted country of the US, her endlessly patient husband, her three goofy kids, wisdom and justice, seeing women thrive in the Kingdom, and quality ice-cream (in no particular order).
As a response to the interview, I simply invite you to pray. As you pray consider these questions from Bronwyn:
Can you start by processing things with God in private? Tell God what I’m sad and mad about.
Is this between just God and me? Do I need to speak out? Do I need to be quiet?
Secondly, I'd love to hear if you took one small step towards being hospitable with your neighbors. Try something like a Trader Joe's Open House. Tell me all about it.
As always we love when people subscribe and leave reviews on iTunes! When we get to 20, the first 20 reviews will get a free "Finding Holy" journal! (Screenshot it and send it to me at aahales AT gmail).
Bronwyn's website: http://bronlea.com/
Propel Sophia: https://www.propelwomen.org/content/propel-sophia-landing-page/gk9bjk
Award-winning author Jen Pollock Michel and I talk about how you can belong to a place when you’re an expat, our longings for home, and her amazing laundry song. You won’t want to miss this conversation about the incarnation, owning dogs, and how we belong to our places.
We want the Finding Holy Podcast to help connect the dots between the things that matter and your everyday, holy life. Find out more at aahales.com/podcast.
Here’s one small step to take to do just that:
Take a walk. With or without a dog or kids. This allows you to meet neighbors and begin to hear their stories. So schedule a walk in your neighborhood this week. Simply start paying attention to the needs around you. As you walk more regularly, you’ll meet people, see needs to meet, and make time and space to pray and reflect.
Leave a review on iTunes and I’ll contact you to receive your free Finding Holy journal for the first 20 reviews!
Link to purchase Teach Us to Want: https://amzn.to/2EkuI4n
Link to purchase Keeping Place: https://amzn.to/2Cg6CVI
Jen’s website: https://www.jenpollockmichel.com/
Share: “We can actually look at salvation itself as an act of housekeeping.” -@jenpmichel on home, Toronto, laundry and paradox for the #findingholy podcast with @aahales: https://apple.co/2CeiHLg
In the first episode of “The Finding Holy Podcast,” I sit down to talk with Alan Noble, author of the book Disruptive Witness. We talk about everything from Twitter, Instagramming your hike, to best practices online, his book, ironing, dressing nicely and doing the laundry.
Find out more at https://aahales.com/podcast
Connect the dots between the things that matter and your everyday, holy life:
3 questions for you as you consider how to interact in online spaces:
What are my triggers? (Do I go to Twitter when I’m angry, sad or lonely? What are other ways I might deal with my emotions?)
What is a healthy amount of time to be online? (And, when am I consciously turning off?)
What practices might I take up to engage with God, myself, or others this week? (Try taking a walk like Alan).
Link to purchase Disruptive Witness: https://amzn.to/2P2ZnnL
Christ and Pop Culture: https://christandpopculture.com/
Alan’s website: oalannoble.com