The Living Church Podcast
By The Living Church
The Living Church Podcast explores ecumenical topics in theology, the arts, ethics, pastoral care, and spiritual growth — all to equip and encourage leaders in the Episcopal Church, Anglican Communion, and beyond. A ministry of the Living Church Institute
Anglican Adventures in Evangelism
Bold, confident, yet natural. No, we are not talking about makeup, furniture, or dating advice. We're talking about evangelism. There's seems to be this golden combination of boldness, confidence, yet naturalness, humanity, humility, simplicity, that makes for really effective evangelism, no matter the personality type or tradition a Christian is formed in. This kind of evangelism does not require you to either have a degree in theology or to apply the kind of cringe-worthy strategies you wouldn't want to be on receiving end of. So what makes for confident, bold, but really natural evangelism? The kind that doesn't require that you turn into someone else, but does require that, at least once in a while, you get out of your comfort zone? And what's the difference between an evangelistic vocation and the witness all Christians are called to? We'll hear more about all this today from two experts in the field: Canon J John is a Church of England priest and evangelist with over 40 years' experience. J John runs an organization called Philo Trust, which equips and mentors Christians to be more effective evangelists from where they are. Guiding the conversation is Canon Carrie Boren Headington. Carrie is canon for evangelism for the Diocese of Dallas and founder of the Good News Initiative. She is also consulting evangelist for revivals for the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and adjunct professor of evangelism at Fuller Seminary. Now sit back, relax, but definitely stay alert. You hear a challenge today. It's a good one. Learn more about J John Learn more about Carrie Headington Donate to the Living Church Try THE LIVING WORD PLUS free for 30 days
December 2, 2021
Atonement: East and West
Encountering Orthodoxy can feel, to Westerners, like a real re-orientation (pardon the pun) of their understanding of Christianity. A supposed point of departure, even contention, between East and West has traditionally been in their theologies of salvation—specifically in the atonement. What has Christ done for us? That question shapes entire lives, entire cultures. In his book Deification Through the Cross: An Eastern Christian Theology of Salvation, the Rev. Dr. Khaled Anatolios lays out the premise that, the deeper you go into Christian tradition, into the doctrine of salvation—which is to say, into the accounts of faithful Christians' exploration of what Jesus has done for them—the more you find a unified doctrine of salvation that East and West fully share and embrace. We've brought on three guests today for a conversation about just this question. Our first guest is Dr. Marcus Plested. Marcus is Henri de Lubac Chair in Theology at Marquette University, and has taught, lectured, and published widely in patristic, Byzantine, and modern Orthodox theology. He is the author of two books to date: The Macarian Legacy: The Place of Macarius-Symeon in the Eastern Christian Tradition and Orthodox Readings of Aquinas. He also taught at the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge for 13 years. Dr. Joshua McManaway is our other guest. Josh is visiting assistant professor of the practice in the theology department at the University of Notre Dame. His research focuses principally on early and Medieval Christianity. Our third guest and moderator is Dr. Timothy O'Malley. Tim is the director of education at the McGrath Institute for Church Life and academic director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy. He specializes in liturgical-sacramental theology, marriage and family, catechesis, and spirituality. Now strap on your knapsacks for another ecumenical adventure. Are you bringing along a rosary, or a prayer rope? Try THE LIVING WORD PLUS free for 30 days
November 18, 2021
Campus Ministry and Gen Z
You may have heard this, or you may have guessed, but the Living Church has two offices these days. One of course is in Milwaukee, the historical home base of our magazine. And now we've also got a home for the Living Church Institute, in Dallas, Texas. And the location of our office building fascinates me. Right now I'm looking out onto crepe myrtle trees, a library, bike racks, and students -- walking to class, going to grab coffee. We're right on the edge of Southern Methodist University's campus. Last year it was not like this. It was sort of eerily quiet. No traffic jams at lunchtime or rush hour. But now all the students are back. I'm watching all these young people go by, slouching under their backpacks, hunched over their phones, talking with friends, and I'm thinking, "What are your lives like? Have you heard the gospel? Do you know the riches of the Church? And how can you scroll Instagram while walking?" Today we're going to have a conversation about students, student ministry, returning to campus, and what Episcopal ministry to Gen Z can look like, particularly post-pandemic. I invited the very generous Rev. Valerie Mayo to join me today and enlighten me about what's going on in her neck of the woods. Valerie is Campus Minister and Urban Missioner for the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky, and she is at the University of Louisville, where she serves in Episcopal-Lutheran Campus ministry. She's also the mother of two Gen Z young folks. It was fascinating to hear what's going on where she is, and how she sees grace and presence as some of the most powerful ministry we can offer to students right now. Are you a preacher or teacher who uses the lectionary? Sign up for The Living Word Plus, the Living Church weekly sermon prep toolkit, and get the first month free. (Coupon code LISTENUP at checkout)
November 4, 2021
All Hallow's Eve: The Tell-Tale Will
Happy All Hallow's Eve and All Saints Day, dear listeners! (Or close enough.) If you think this will be your typical episode, you're dead wrong. Today we're dealing with grave matter on The Living Church Podcast. Literally, we are talking about graves, churchyards, clergy wills from the 17th and 18th centuries in Wales, and some fascinating social and religious history that these wills unearth. What does it mean if a dying man leaves his wife a featherbed? What is an apostle spoon? How did poverty, wealth, and marriage prohibitions affect clergy life? Why did so many people give away cheese in their wills? This scary-cool history conversation is courtesy of Dr. Sarah Ward Clavier. Sarah is senior lecturer in early modern history at the University of the West of England, Bristol. She has a book out called Royalism, Religion, and Revolution: Wales, 1640-1688. Sarah mentions the English Restoration and Interregnum in our episode today. Quick definition of these for those who don't know: When King Charles I was executed in 1649, England had no king. Britain was run by various councils, assemblies, and parliaments until Charles II took the throne in 1660. Thus began the Restoration. Our episode opens today with amazing organ work by Julian Petrallia, organ scholar at Incarnation Episocpal Church in Dallas, Texas. And at the end of the episode, you'll get to hear Julian play in full Prelude in C Minor, by Bach, BWV 546. Shake out your church history trick-or-treat bag and open it wide. We promise more treats than tricks today! Learn more about the Living Church. Give to support this podcast.
October 21, 2021
Can Christians Cooperate on the Environment?
There's been some talk that American mainline Protestants are starting to outpace American Evangelicals in church growth. The numbers may reflect real growth in mainline churches; they may also, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, reflect white evangelicals, who might have previously called themselves evangelical, shying away from the label these days; or maybe both. Anglicanism can contain both of these groups, as well as muddle the boundaries between them, and mix in other categories as well. But why has there been such energy behind this statistic? The point is, even though reality is a lot more complex, we often think of there being, in a given cultural context, two major groups of Christians at odds with each other: Catholic vs. Protestant, mainline vs. evangelical, conservative vs. liberal/progressive. And the distinctions split off, become exceedingly fine, etc., etc. How they manifest may range from good-natured jokes about each other to ignoring or deploring the other's existence. But working together, much less worshipping together, can be messy. So where am I going with this? Well, if you know anything about the Living Church, and if you know that this episode is about ministry, climate, and creation care, asking questions about divisions in the body of Christ should not come as too much of a surprise. Fortunately, today we've got a great conversation partner. Dr. Mark Purcell is the Executive Director of A Rocha USA, a Christian conservation organization in the international A Rocha network. (We'll talk more about who they are in the episode.) Mark and I dig into the work of climate and creation care from the perspective of a Christian organizer who works with Christians across the theological and denominational spectrum, in an organization with evangelical roots. We'll talk today about what they do, but also about how Mark has learned to communicate and build relationships cross-traditionally, and how other Christian leaders from mainline or liturgical perspectives can build connections over creation care with evangelical and "non-liturgical" Christian leaders. You want ecumenical work? You want climate change action? Mark says, start with your neighbors. Check out the Living Church Institute
October 7, 2021
Trauma, Ministry, and Healing
Understanding trauma and how it works can be an invaluable tool in the emotional and spiritual toolbox. Navigating life and ministry in the second half of 2021, how can we understand and love better the people in our lives who have experienced or are experiencing trauma? How is a traumatic experience unique from other difficult experiences? How does it affect communities and churches? And how can we move into God's gifts of healing? As we'll explore in our conversation today, the Church has a lot to offer here. Today we welcome Dr. Warren Kinghorn for conversation about trauma, ministry, and healing. Warren is the Esther Colliflower Associate Research Professor of Pastoral and Moral Theology at Duke Divinity School; Co-Director of the Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initiative; and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center. Final note: In talking about trauma today, we do not go into any explicit detail about forms of trauma or traumatic experiences. But even talking about the topic of trauma may evoke strong feelings in folks who are trauma survivors. So for our listeners, please make sure it's the right time for you for this episode. We hope you enjoy the conversation. Sign up for The Living Word Plus and get the first month free (Coupon code LISTENUP at checkout)
September 23, 2021
Green Anglicans: An Introduction
As we're looking toward Lambeth 2022 (Lord willing), we all know one of the biggest issues on Archbishop Justin's mind, one of the biggest topics we'll be addressing: climate change. With this in mind, we're working here at the podcast on producing a series of interviews with organizers, artists, scientists, scholars, and pastors to talk about climate urgency, creation, and how protecting and stewarding it intersects with our various leadership roles and our vocations as Christians. Today we'll hear from the Rev. Dr. Rachel Mash. Rachel is the environmental Coordinator of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. She works with the Green Anglicans Movement, which we'll be discussing today. She is also the secretary to the Anglican Communion Environmental Network and sits on the steering group of the Season of Creation group. Our conversation today concentrates on how we go from hearing and knowing about climate change to getting the issues in our heart space (not always an easy leap), how Christians are responding in various ways around the globe, and how a deeper care for creation might be integrated into devotional practices, liturgy, and Christian rites of passage. We also talk about grounding ecological action in Scripture, and I pose to Rachel some questions many of us may be asking: like when does minute attention to single use plastics and planting trees distract from the church's main mission to preach the gospel? Does it have to? Check out Green Anglicans Check out the Anglican Communion Environmental Network Learn more about the ecumenical Season of Creation Donate to the Living Church
September 9, 2021
St. John Chrysostom's Back-to-School Advice
Today we bring you a reading in our Classic Texts series, an excerpt from a great work by a great author, ancient or contemporary -- this one from the holy orator, St. John Chrysostom. Today is a bit shorter than usual. We're taking it a little easier this week. Like many of you, I'm sure, we're transitioning from one season to another, from summer to a slightly busier fall, and we'll be back in two weeks with our regular-length episodes. For now, enjoy this sweet treat of a reading by our very own summer intern in residence, William Hargrave. William came to us from Sewanee, where's he's finishing his undergraduate studies. He kept us in conversation, wit, icons, excellent stationery, and Latin declensions all summer, and we will miss him and his seersucker jackets as he goes back to school. Speaking of school, in time for the return to class, whether you're a professor, parent, or student yourself, today's reading from Chrysostom is a homily and a bit of a scolding, maybe you could say an authoritative encouragement, about why we send our kids to school, and how we should teach them to live. Enjoy! Sign up for The Living Word Plus and get the first month free (Coupon code LISTENUP at checkout).
August 26, 2021
Small Groups: Why and How
Small groups are a growth edge for a lot of us. Even those committed to the church and leadership. And maybe especially for those in liturgical contexts. We may be tempted to think that Sunday morning, and maybe some volunteer work thrown in there, is all we need for spiritual flourishing. But all Christians need community, and whether small groups particularly work for us or not, we have to seek out and stick with others who walk with us along the path, turning the wedding feast of Sunday into the marriage of the everyday habits and transformations that are the Christian life. Small groups are a time-tested way of building that community, and they're seeing something of a revival in recent days. They're also incredibly adaptable to different churches and cultures. "Hey, the 90s called and they want their small groups back." That's not the way it needs to be. Today we're going to talk to two people who have successfully implemented small group ministries in their very different church contexts and hear how small group ministry can be done, what it contributes particularly to Anglican and Episcopal contexts, how small groups relate to church growth, how to avoid cliques in small parishes and disconnection in large ones, and other expert advice on leading and implementing this model of discipleship in your parish. Our guests today are Brooke Holt and the Rev. Canon Robert Sihubwa. Brooke is a lay leader at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church in Houston Texas, and executive director of Bible Study Media, a small group curriculum company. Her passion is teaching God's Word and equipping believers to build the Kingdom. She also ministers through healing prayer and Holy Yoga. She has seen small groups transform community in her parish, even during the pandemic. Fr. Robert is rector of St. Peter's Anglican Church in Lusaka, Zambia. He also serves as the Anglican Province of Central Africa's youth and children ministry leader. He is a preacher, evangelist, and Christian educator, and hosts a radio show on Radio Christian Voice, an independent station in Lusaka. He also leads the discipleship and missions team for the Anglican Communion part of a global FB group, Jesus Shaped Life. And he has used small groups to support other discipleship efforts in his parish, growing from 200 average Sunday attendance to over 1,000 in a few years. Here are some resources Fr. Robert and Brooke mention in our conversation today: Bible Study Media (resource Brooke mentions) Building Intentional Small Groups (resource Fr. Robert mentions) Sign up for The Living Word Plus and get the first month free (Coupon code LISTENUP at checkout)
August 13, 2021
Movies and Ministry: Finding God in the Art of Filmmaking
We're still maybe not flocking back into movie theaters, but that's OK. We thought we'd bring a little of the arts and entertainment world to you today. A couple months ago the Living Church made a friend in producer Mary Beth Minnis, a documentary filmmaker from Austin, Texas. In various ways, Mary Beth has dedicated her life to tell stories that reveal truth and bring hope. After over a decade in college ministry and mentoring with the organization, Cru, Mary Beth jumped headlong into the world of filmmaking, which you'll hear about in today's episode. Mary Beth has served as producer on seven films so far, including the short film TOWER, which won the 2018 Emmy for "Best Historical Documentary," and is currently at work on the documentary, Clarkston, with co-producer Katie Couric. Today we'll talk about how and where Mary Beth sees the Lord at work in the film industry and in the lives of those she works with, the kinds of stories that she loves telling, what the craft of filmmaking can teach us about God, and what her job looks like day to day, which, I found, seems to involve a lot of the aspects and require many of the same virtues as working in ministry. Learn more about Mary Beth's films: Return to Mogadishu: Remembering Black Hawk Down Imba Means Sing Mama Rwanda TOWER JUMP SHOT: The Kenny Sailors Story Imperdonabile/Unforgivable CLARKSTON: The Most Diverse Square Mile
August 3, 2021
Spirit-Filled Economics: Society, Pentecost, and Money
What hath Pentecost to do with Wall Street? Or, for that matter, what do the drudgery and stress of balancing checkbooks, checking spreadsheets, and making financial decisions, in your parish, diocese, or at home, have to do with the Holy Spirit's creative, enlivening presence? As Christians we often do have an idea of how our personal finances are or at least should be guided by prudence, simplicity, justice. Dave Ramsey. Got it. But how do our economic lives as human beings, even on a national or international level, relate to the revelation of Jesus Christ, or to the life and vocation God has given to the Church? Is it even possible to have such a vision, or to do anything about it? We've got a conversation today with guests who bring two different and very unique perspectives to the table, to help us get a theological vision for God's purpose for our common life together and how economics and the Christian life might intersect. Our first guest is Dr. Daniela Augustine. Daniela is currently Reader in World Christianity and Pentecostal Studies at the University of Birmingham UK, with a previous background in economics. Her focus is in ethics and public theology and engaging Eastern Orthodox theology in conversation with Pentecostal theology, especially in liturgy, theosis, and the event of Pentecost as a paradigm for social transformation. Her latest book is The Spirit and the Common Good: Shared Flourishing in the Image of God. Our second guest is The Rev. Dr. Nathan McLellan. Nathan worked as an economist in the New Zealand Treasury for over six years before a hunger for theological education led him to a Ph.D. in Christian ethics. He is currently CEO and Teaching Fellow at Venn Foundation, an education institution helping Christians explore the depths and riches of the Christian tradition for the good of their homes, workplaces, churches, and communities in New Zealand. He is passionate about helping others deepen their integration of faith and life, especially in the areas of economics, business, and leadership. The conversation is moderated by Dr. Dallas Gingles. Dallas is the Site Director of the Houston-Galveston Extension Program of Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, where he teaches courses in moral theology, systematic theology, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and bioethics. His current work includes a co-edited volume on the future of Christian realism. Donate to the Living Church Go to Rome with the Living Church!
July 15, 2021
Multicultural Church: What Can Toronto Teach Us?
We are heading to Toronto! Toronto, Ontario is a center of multinational life, education, commerce, the arts, and food. It's also full of thriving churches. How do urban and rural Canadian Christians thrive? Where is the church growing, and why? And what can the rest of us learn from what Anglicans in Toronto are learning about ministry, multiculturalism, and community? Today I speak with the Rt. Rev. Jenny Andison and the Rev. Dr. Jeff Boldt about these questions and more. They give me a little taste of life in this fascinating city, and a glimpse at how they've experienced immigration, ethnic diversity, and Indigenous life building up the body of Christ. The Rt. Rev. Jenny Andison is rector at St. Paul's Bloor St in Toronto. She is the former area bishop of York-Credit Valley in the Diocese of Toronto and has served in Toronto for many years. Bishop Jenny has also served in the Diocese of London (UK), and the Diocese of Tokyo. The Rev. Dr. Jeff Boldt serves as a priest in the diocese of Toronto. Jeff grew up as a Mennonite and has a previous career as an animator. Jeff has contributed to several volumes of Anglican theology, most recently in The Bible and the Prayer Book Tradition. Just a note, I want to mention that we recorded this episode before the horrifying news broke, about the unmarked graves of hundreds of Indigenous children found on the grounds of former church-run schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Though honoring multiethnicity and a growing church is where our conversation today will focus, we also acknowledge the history in North America, a history shared by Canada and the U.S., not only of ethnic tensions that naturally arise in diverse contexts, but of terrible abuses within the Church, a history that still cries out for repentance and healing. Lord, have mercy. Thanks for joining us for this conversation. Shoulder your knapsack. And Let's head to Toronto. Travel to Rome with the Living Church and Nashotah House. Give to the Living Church.
July 1, 2021
How Should We Approach "Hybrid Church"? Pt. 2 with Father John Mason Lock
Live streaming and worship. Zoom and Bible study. Outreach and TikTok. For the average congregation, we used to think, never any of these twains shall meet. Now, if you work at a church, you'd better be on your iPhone and Facebook game. And, if you're ordained, you had better know how to use a tripod. Right? A couple of weeks ago we started a series on "Hybrid church." What is hybrid church, should we embrace it, is it theologically sound in part or in whole, who seems to be responding to it? Which technologies might work best for certain contexts, and how? Today we talk to someone whose journey might be helpful to other digital ministry skeptics. The Rev. John Mason Lock is rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Red Bank, New Jersey, and he is passionately committed to traditional Anglican worship and liturgy, with a particular respect for the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. And this is his story, his words of advice for rectors and other church leaders on how and why to adopt digital techniques for ministry today. And we also get his theological take on why it might be good still to keep the side-eye on all this hybrid stuff, so our tendency to avoid the challenges of embodied experience doesn't get out of control. Give to keep this podcast going!
June 17, 2021
Bonus Episode: Rowan Williams and John Cavadini on "Preaching the Gospel of John with Saint Augustine"
Preachers, teachers, and Christians across the globe have found the passionate, pastoral, and psychologically astute writings of St. Augustine of Hippo fresh and relevant century after century. New City Press asked themselves, um, why hasn't anyone produced a really rock star translation of all of Augustine's sermons in English? And of course, being a publishing company, they did something about it. Their latest in this series is a new translation of St. Augustine's Homilies on the Gospel of John. (See link below.) June 8 TCLI co-hosted a master class and live Q+A session with Rowan Williams and Augustine scholar John Cavadini, focusing specifically on Augustine as a preacher, what we can learn as preachers from him, and on his homilies on John 6. Today we're pleased to present the audio of this master class to you. Our moderator is the Rev. Dr. Paul Kolbet. he is the author of a book on Augustine’s preaching, Augustine and the Cure of Souls: Revising a Classical Ideal. He is also Lecturer in the History of Christianity at Yale Divinity School, Co-Chair of the Augustine and Augustinianisms Group of the American Academy of Religion, and Interim Rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Chelmsford, Mass. Our first guest is Dr. John C. Cavadini, Professor of Theology at Notre Dame, where he also serves as McGrath-Cavadini Director of the McGrath Institute for Church Life. He specializes in patristic theology and in its early medieval reception. He has served a five-year term on the International Theological Commission (appointed by Pope Benedict the 16th) and received the Monika K. Hellwig Award for Outstanding Contributions to Catholic Intellectual Life. Our second guest is the Most Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams. He served as Archbishop of Canterbury from 2002 to 2012, and then as Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge until 2020. He has published numerous books on theology and spirituality, including On Augustine (2016) and Christ the Heart of Creation (2018). A new volume of Collected Poems will be published later this year. Read new translations of Augustine by New City Press. Explore the Living Church.
June 8, 2021
Failure and the Holy Ghost with Ephraim Radner and Wesley Hill
In the words of the old Pentecost hymn, where does "the Holy Spirit make a dwelling"? This is the question of our episode today. The Spirit is the person of the Trinity who conceives and animates the flesh of Christ and his body, the Church. How are these realities related, and how do we recognize them? In 1998, the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner, professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College, published a book called The End of the Church, a spicy title that refers to the egregious reality of disunity and failure in Christ's body. Given that, the book asks, doesn't death in the body indicate the Spirit's absence? In 2019, Dr. Radner published another book on what he sees as our contemporary misreadings and misunderstandings of the Spirit's work in the world and our lives, and that book is called A Profound Ignorance: Modern Pneumatology and Its Anti-Modern Redemption. Are we given the gift of the Holy Spirit in order to fix, or even alleviate, the world's problems and sufferings? How do we know what the Holy Spirit is up to, when faced with vague or conflicting claims of the Spirit's work? Where is the Holy Spirit in our failure? The Rev Dr. Wesley Hill and I sat down for a conversation with the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner about just these questions. We were delighted and challenged. Enjoy listening in! Register for Master Class with Rowan Williams. Give to keep this podcast going!
June 3, 2021
How Should We Approach "Hybrid Church"? Pt. 1 with Father Tim Schenck
Church leaders, how do you welcome technology into congregational life after the pandemic? Are you excited by all the new possibilities? Or does the word "virtual" within a mile of the word "worship" make you cringe? Wherever you're at on this, very, very few of us are not asking questions about "hybrid church." A couple weeks ago we set some framework with Dr. Sara Schumacher in a conversation about spiritual disciplines and the personal and communal development of Christlikeness and virtue as it relates to technology. Today we're going to get a different perspective from a rector who's been engaging technology for some time in pastoral care and evangelism, and especially social media and the internet, not only as a tool, but as a place for encounter. The Rev. Tim Schenck has been rector at St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, MA, since 2009. He's also served parishes in New York and Baltimore. In a former life he was a political campaign consultant, public affairs officer, and a paratrooper. Father Tim is the author of five books including, most recently, Holy Grounds: The Surprising Connection Between Coffee and Faith (Fortress Press). He is also the mind behind the online devotional Lent Madness. Should we embrace "hybrid church"? What the heck does that even mean? Today begins a two-part conversation on this topic. Give to TLC. Register for Augustine Master Class with Rowan Williams.
May 20, 2021
Spiritual Disciplines for a Digital Age with Sara Schumacher
How many Zoom meetings, Facetime calls, Netflix hours, and general hours on a screen have you had this week? This experience is so common these questions have become a trope. But they're not really new. Don't forget: Before the pandemic, we were getting an avalanche of research about the risks and harms of screen time and digital technology. We were starting to hear about screen fasts and not letting our kids even see a smart phone until they reached a certain age. And then, suddenly, screens became a window to the world in a whole new way. Digital technology has enabled, sometimes powerfully, sometimes feebly, connection with other people and places: a way to go to school, keep tabs on family and friends, have game night, date, and even (maybe?) go to church. Today we introduce a series on just this tension, between what we're told we need, or actually need, in terms of digital tools and screen time to live faithfully as Christians in this moment, and the need to practice wisdom and discernment when it comes to choosing how to engage digitally with the world. We're setting up a little philosophical framework today with Dr. Sara Schumacher. Sara is Academic Dean and tutor & lecturer in theology and the arts at St. Mellitus College. She's also author of the booklet Reimagining the Spiritual Disciplines for a Digital Age. We had her on the show to talk about how the spiritual disciplines—particularly solitude, simplicity, and Sabbath—can help us to prepare to make choices about our use of digital technology, break addictive habits, and recognize when technology itself shows us where its limits are in helping us do what God calls us to. Check out Sara's book here.
May 6, 2021
Celtic Christianity: the View from Wales
Sparkling waterfalls. Sacred wells. Talking animals. Is this a fairy tale? Or Celtic Christianity? We love to explore all things Celtic. Celtic prayer services, Celtic Christian art, like the Book of Kells. Celtic pilgrimages. We can get a little romantic about Celtic Christianity. The visual culture. The deep connection to creation. The sense of humor. And of course its wonderful panoply of saints. But what is "Celtic Christianity" actually? Is it helpful, or even correct, to lump together Irish and Welsh Christianity like that? What do we get wrong? What distinctives do we miss? And what is actually unique about what God was up to on those wet, cold, beautiful coasts? And how do Welsh people feel about all this? Well, today we'll be joined by: Dr. Sarah Ward Clavier, senior lecturer in history at the University of the West of England, Bristol, and a scholar of Anglicanism and early modern political culture. Her forthcoming book is entitled, Royalism, Religion, and Revolution: Wales, 1640-1688. We're also joined by her husband, the Rev. Dr. Mark Clavier, residentiary canon at Brecon Cathedral, and the author of Reading Augustine: On Consumer Culture, Identity, the Church, and the Rhetorics of Delight. Our conversation is led by Dr. Hannah Matis, Assoc. Professor of Church History at Virginia Theological Seminary. Now grab your handcrafted Iona coffee mug and hold onto your prayer books -- for this fascinating conversation about the complex and surprising history of Celtic British Christianity! Donate to keep this podcast going.
April 22, 2021
Easter Basket: Poetry and Prose from Across the Communion
He is risen! Today we've got an Easter gift for you. Every so often we have an episode of the podcast we call "Classic Texts," kind of like a mini audiobook, in which a special guest comes on and reads an excerpt from a good book, usually a spiritual classic, for us to enjoy. Today there are several special guests, and several kinds of goodies in the Easter basket. Today we'll hear fiction, sermons, theology, and lots of poetry. If ever there was a Christian season for poetry, it is Easter, amen? Give to support this podcast. Our very warm thanks to our guest readers: Novelist Heather Cross reads an excerpt from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (by kind permission of The CS Lewis Company, Ltd.). Poet and priest Malcolm Guite reads "Easter" by George Herbert. The Rev. Dr. Katherine Songerdegger reads "Come Forth" by Wendell Berry, "An Altogether Different Language" by Anne Porter, and "That Nature Is a Heraclitean Fire and of the Comfort of the Resurrection" by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry reads an excerpt of No Future Without Forgiveness by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Dr. Jane Williams reads an excerpt from a sermon by Lancelot Andrewes, preached Easter Day 1622. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams reads "Hymn of the Resurrection" by William Dunbar. Mother Samira Page reads "Recognising You" by Amy Scott Robinson and Richard Lyall. Our hope for this reading today is that it might usher you more deeply into the presence of the one who comes and seeks us out, in the garden where we weep, in all our locked rooms. May you find him, may he find you, may the hope of the resurrection touch you and give you joy, in these readings today. Give to support this podcast.
April 8, 2021
Behind the Scenes of TLC
Do you remember that episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, where he goes into the crayon factory, and we see all the crayons getting made? SO GOOD. And, call us biased, but we think today's episode of The Living Church Podcast is kind of like that episode of Mister Rogers. Because today we've pulled together six different guests to take us behind the scenes of the Living Church, to the colorful variety of folks who influence our identity and our business operations. Today we'll meet some folks from our Foundation, the people who have a big impact on shaping TLC. Editors Mark Michael and Amber Noel talk to TLC's five newest Foundation members. If you want to see all the fascinating stories and delightfully varied backgrounds of this amazing group, you can go to livingchurch.org/foundation. Give an Easter gift to the Living Church. Guests today include: Heidi J. Kim The Very Rev. Dr. Paul F.M. Zahl The Rev. Clint Wilson The Rt. Rev. Samy Shehata The Rev. Colin Ambrose
March 25, 2021
Lauren Winner on Reading, Favorite Books, and Spiritual Formation
Chances are if you're listening to this podcast, you're a reader. And you may have had at some point or another a profound experience with a book, probably with more than one. Books shape our lives, and they shape our spiritual lives. In fact, books have become particularly apt tools in the Christian toolkit for spiritual formation. What is your relationship to reading and growth in the spiritual life? Do books have to be great or deep in order to bear spiritual fruit? What makes reading a uniquely powerful avenue for spiritual growth? What are some of its dangers to the spiritual life? What is a Christian way to read, if there is such a thing? Do books and reading make us too "ivory tower" for the "real world"? Can books ever help divides between those with more access to elite education and those with less? Today we'll hear a really fun conversation I had with the Rev. Dr. Lauren Winner, where we looked at some of these questions. Dr. Winner is a well-known Christian author and Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality at Duke. She's also Vicar of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Louisburg, N.C., and self-proclaimed book lover. (Book addict?) Our conversation takes us from childhood to incarcerated communities, to a top 5 of some of the books that have had a spiritual impact on her life. Some of the books we discuss in the show: Facing East: A Pilgrim's Journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy At Home in Mitford Reading Is My Window: Books and the Art of Reading in Women's Prisons Radical Orthodoxy The Making of a Sonnet Pilgrim, You Find the Path by Walking Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on Late Medieval Jews In This House of Brede Shakespeare Behind Bars: the Power of Drama in a Women's Prison Ponder These Things: Praying with Icons of the Virgin Kristin Lavransdatter (trans. Tiina Nunnally) Catherine of Siena Register for the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies conference: Anti-Racist Ministry for a Global Church
March 11, 2021
Living in Love and Faith, Unpacked
If you're an Episcopalian or Anglican, chances are you've probably heard by now of the release of the landmark project on human sexuality and marriage, Living in Love and Faith. Today, we're going to dive into this project with one of its architects. LLF is a suite of resources just put out by the Church of England — it includes videos, a book, study and teaching materials — and what does it do? It does a lot. It shares the massive results of research, history, storytelling — theological, anecdotal, traditional, scientific, sociological — and it begins to really closely analyze the sources of convergence and divergence between people who have differently formed consciences and viewpoints on marriage and sexuality to try to come to a truly new place of communal discernment. LLF is not a project intended to give answers. And that may be frustrating to some folks. So what is the goal of the project? And what's the end game? How do the people who directed the project hope it will serve the Church? How might it likely relate to Lambeth 2022? Is it really new, or is it just a bunch of old news packaged in a new way? What has it uncovered exactly? And how can people, from dioceses to local congregations, use it? Today we get to hear from the Rev. Canon Dr. Andrew Goddard, who was part of the team who built LLF, interviewed by the Rev. Canon Dr. Jordan Hylden.
February 25, 2021
Tish Harrison Warren on Prayer in the Night
"There are no five easy steps to trusting God in darkness." Let's go back in time a little. Let's not talk about 2020 for a second. Let's talk about 2017. I don't know how things were for you in 2017, but in 2017, the Rev. Tish Harrison Warren had a terrible year. And it inspired a beautiful book. The book is called Prayer in the Night: for Those Who Work or Watch or Weep; and it takes up the subjects of pain and grief, in all their opaqueness, in all their dailyness, and our vulnerability in the face of them. It also takes up the way pain can shut down the very things we need most when pain comes: prayer, and a sense of God's presence. And yet, it's also a book about "average suffering" and "common heartache" -- it's not about a pandemic; and it's not a memoir. It's about the things most if not all of us will go through in our lifetimes, whatever the state of the world around us: the loss of people we love, loneliness, tragedies that don't space themselves out politely but come in a quick succession. And it's a book shaped around the practice of Compline. How do the prayers of Compline face and pray through the darkness and dangers of the night? Tish joins us today to talk about her book, and about her story. She is a priest in the Anglican Church in North America. Along with Prayer in the Night, she is the author of Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life, which was Christianity Today's 2018 Book of the Year. She has worked in a variety of ministries: as a campus minister, an associate rector, in ministries to those in addiction and poverty, and has most recently served as writer-in-residence at Church of the Ascension in Pittsburgh, PA. She is a monthly columnist with Christianity Today, and her articles and essays have appeared in many places including the New York Times. She interviewed here by the Rev. Dr. Wesley Hill, Associate professor of New Testament at Trinity School for Ministry. Purchase Tish Harrison Warren's new book, Prayer in the Night. Register for the free Lenten course, Grace in the Wilderness.
February 11, 2021
Creative Politics: Democracy, Socialism, and Christianity
There are basically four options. When you meet someone you disagree with, you can either kill them, create a system to coerce them, run away, or do politics." That is one of several quotable quotes in our conversation today on democracy, socialism, and Christianity. Even if you're not Political with a big P, meaning maybe you simply don't want to get into it with Uncle Terry on Facebook, both our guests today would probably venture to say it's not easy to avoid being political with a little p. That is, if being political just means finding ways to negotiate our common life together. Historically speaking, Christianity is in the very root systems of democracy and socialism. What philosophies, and what Christian ideals, are at the heart of both of these systems of organizing common civic life? How have they actually played out? Our guests today approach democracy and socialism, not as buzz words, but as ways of enhancing and guiding how we think of each other and how we approach citizenship in the communities and countries in which we find ourselves. And they uncover some fascinating history, like: Why and when did established churches make the turn toward supporting democracy, a system that sought to de-establish them as nationally governing bodies? Why were some of the great socialist figures in earlier generations also Anglicans? What does this mean as we make decisions for how to live in our times? Listen and find out. Our guests today include: Dr. Luke Bretherton, Robert E. Cushman Professor of Moral and Political Theology and Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke Divinity School, and the author of Christ and the Common Life: Political Theology and the Case for Democracy. Dr. John Orens, who is the Professor of European History at George Mason University and author of Stewart Headlam’s Radical Anglicanism: The Mass, the Masses, and the Music Hall. (Gotta love that title.) Our conversation is moderated today by Covenant blog author Dr. Stewart Clem, assistant professor of moral theology and director of the Ashley-O’Rourke Center for Health Ministry Leadership at Aquinas Institute of Theology.
January 28, 2021
Is Football a Sin? with PB Michael Curry and Stanley Hauerwas
In time for Superbowl season, the presiding bishop and two Texans talk about the enjoyment and ethics of American football.
January 14, 2021
Books and Boarding Schools: A Christmas Chat with H.S. Cross
Books, coziness, and Anglophilia: what die-hard Anglicans love about Christmas can also teach us about Advent. We talk with novelist H.S. Cross about her books, English boarding schools, suffering, and nostalgia as "edenic longing." Explore titles by H.S. Cross. To sponsor this podcast, visit here and click "Support."
December 17, 2020
Policing in America Today
The Rev. Gayle Fisher-Stewart and the Rt. Rev. José McLoughlin are seasoned law enforcement officers. Now, as Episcopal clergy, they share their uniquely insightful perspectives on current policing practices as well as hope for change. Learn more about The Living Word Plus. Learn more about the Center for the Study of Faith in Justice.
December 3, 2020
Mental Health and Christian Hope
In a time of fear and pandemic, how do we face the reality of our own mental health and others' while continuing to share the hope of Jesus? Join us in this honest and powerful conversation with the Rev. Rob Merchant. Donate to the Living Church.
November 19, 2020
Classic Texts: Teresa of Ávila and the Soul's Bridegroom
What does it look like to approach spiritual perfection? Writer and laywoman Sarah Cornwell reads excerpts from the "Seventh Mansion" of St. Teresa of Ávila's classic, The Interior Castle. Click here to subscribe to Daily Devotionals. Register for Reading Augustine in a Time of Crisis with James K.A. Smith.
November 5, 2020
“We Bring Fiesta”: Being Latino and Anglican
In part 3 of our “Multicultural Anglicanism” series, we talk to the Rev. Canon Anthony Guillén about being Latino and Episcopalian, shared leadership, and the joys and gifts that often go unseen.
October 22, 2020
Marilynne Robinson and Rowan Williams on Jack - Part 2
Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, interviews author Marilynne Robinson about her newest novel in the Gilead series. Download a free group study guide & book review.
October 8, 2020
Marilynne Robinson and Rowan Williams on Jack - Part 1
Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, interviews author Marilynne Robinson about her newest novel in the Gilead series. Read the transcript. Download a free group study guide & book review.
October 1, 2020
Wes Hill on the Lord's Prayer and the Life of God
Amber Noel interviews Wesley Hill about his current projects and why he's been so captivated by the Lord's Prayer lately — especially by the words, "Our Father." Click here for information on Hill's book, The Lord's Prayer: A Guide to Praying to Our Father.
September 24, 2020
Classic Texts: Music as Prayer with Ephraim Radner
Enjoy these classic musical texts introduced and played by theologian Ephraim Radner. Violin "readings" from his home are interspersed with reflections on discipleship and prayer. Songs played in this episode: "Brother James' Air," "Praise to the Lord," "O Food to Pilgrims Given," "Modeh Ani," "Is There Anybody Here," Telemann's "Fantasia," Biber's "Passacaglia," "Come Down O Love Divine."
September 17, 2020
The Daily Office 101
Why and how do we pray every day? Bp. John Bauerschmidt of the Diocese of Tennessee offers both a history and a "how-to" of the Daily Office.
September 10, 2020
Church Music and the COVID-19 Conundrum
Music opens us to God. But what can we do if it's dangerous to sing or play? Dr. Marty Wheeler Burnett, president of the Association of Anglican Musicians, joins us to talk about current best practices and new normals. More research can be found at NFHS.org. Click here to renew or subscribe to the Episcopal Musician's Handbook.
September 3, 2020
Native American and Anglican
Bishops Carol Gallagher (Cherokee Nation) and Michael Smith (Potawatomi Nation) join us to talk about what it means to be Native American and Anglican, with its insights, tensions, and joys. This continues our series on Multicultural Anglicanism. For more resources, see Bishop Gallagher's books, Coming Full Circle: Constructing Native Christian Theology and Reweaving the Sacred.
August 27, 2020
Fight the Noonday Demon: St. Evagrius and Working from Home
Acedia ("sloth") is a tricky vice. Most of us face it daily. Does it really mean "laziness"? Dr. Stefana Dan Laing invites us to stay spiritually alert (and stay still) with the help of St. Evagrius. Click here for more resources on acedia.
August 20, 2020
Worshiping with Children
How are we caring right now for our youngest siblings in Christ? Dr. Robin Floch Turner joins us to talk about loving children well and adapting children's ministry to current challenging contexts. Click here to find further children's ministry resources for both parents and pastors.
August 13, 2020
Healing, Miracles, and Pandemic
Healing can be a tricky topic to navigate — especially in times of great suffering. Fr. Sean Charles Martin of the Aquinas Institute joins us to talk about research around healing in the Old and New Testaments and how it relates to our current situation.
August 6, 2020
"Movies Are Prayers": Interview with Film Critic Josh Larsen
Josh Larsen, co-host of the Filmspotting podcast, joins us to talk about how to be a better movie-watcher, the vocation of a film critic, and a "Top 4" list of films to engage the spiritual life. We encourage you to check out his new book, Movies Are Prayers (Intervarsity Press). SPOILER ALERT: for those who listen on the go, here's that the "Top 4" list: 12 Years a Slave (2013, Steve McQueen), Tree of Life (2011, Terrence Malick), Star Wars: A New Hope (1977, George Lucas), and My Neighbor, Totoro (1988, Hayao Miyazaki).
July 30, 2020
Classic Texts in Times of Crisis: The Craft of Suffering
How do we learn to suffer? How is God with a world that suffers? How do the sufferings of Jesus redeem us? A gentle yet bracing word of comfort and hope from Fr. Vincent McNabb, O.P.
July 23, 2020
The Money Question
Today we address some of the most pressing financial questions for churches, getting into the nitty-gritty of planning, budgets, PPP, and more with Bill Campbell of the ECF and business analyst/church treasurer Seth Cutter. Click here to view a sample cash forecast document prepared by Seth Cutter. Other resources mentioned can be found at episcopalfoundation.org and presbyterianfoundation.org.
July 16, 2020
Land, Crisis, and Christian Hope with Dr. Ellen Davis
From wilderness to farms, cities, and households, Scripture has a powerful word to speak to our current ecological crisis. Fr. Will Brown interviews Dr. Ellen Davis on land, climate change, biblical wisdom, and hope.
July 9, 2020
Paul Zahl on Hope and Life as a Boomer
How do you keep your Christian life from getting “stuck”? Mockingbird Ministries founder Paul Zahl has written a new book for Boomers, but his surprising and inspiring stories and insights apply to any stage of life.
July 2, 2020
Multicultural Anglicanism: Esau McCaulley and Mark Clavier
What happens when your cultural or racial identity feels at odds with your religious identity? Is Anglicanism truly "multicultural" because it's global? Esau McCaulley, Mark Clavier, and Christopher Wells discuss the future possibilities of multicultural Anglicanism.
June 25, 2020
Animals and the Gospel: Interview with David Clough
What does the gospel have to do with animals? Prof. David Clough, author of the systematic theology, On Animals, calls for more Christian reflection — especially in our time — on the way humans use, eat, raise, and relate to non-human neighbors.
June 18, 2020
Classic Texts in Times of Crisis: Julian of Norwich
In 1373, a little book was written which would deeply impact 20th- and 21st-century Christian spiritual literature and devotion. An anonymous reader gives a beautiful rendition of excerpts from St. Julian's "homely" visions.
June 11, 2020
"Part-Time Is Plenty": Healthy Churches and Part-Time Clergy
The Rev. Jeff MacDonald, journalist and UCC pastor, shares what he's learned in his in-depth research of mainline parishes with part-time clergy and shares why vitality doesn't depend on a full-time payroll.
June 4, 2020
Prison Ministry and COVID-19
Prison chaplain Hannah Bowman shares about her work, digs into theological and practical frameworks behind prison conditions in the U.S., and presents Christian presence in prisons as a way to meet Jesus.
May 28, 2020
"Noli Me Tangere": A Reflection on Touch and a Time of Crisis
Pamela Lewis, an Episcopal lay leader in NYC, reflects on the new poignancy of Jesus' words in the garden in light of social distancing, and then on her own experience of the pandemic and what finding a "new normal" might mean.
May 21, 2020
Rowan Williams on St. Benedict's Rule
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams joins us to talk about his new book, The Way of St. Benedict, and what the implications of the saint's Rule might be for our current questions and crises.
May 14, 2020
Classic Texts in Times of Crisis: Robert Capon
How does a priest slice an onion? No, it’s not the start of a joke. It's the beginning of a surprising contemplation. Fr. Zac Koons gives a superb and leisurely reading from Robert Farrar Capon’s Supper of the Lamb.
May 11, 2020
When to Re-Open for Business?: Ethics and Economy
Dr. Elisabeth Kincaid and Fr. Stewart Clem discuss the moral questions that have been brought into sharp focus by the COVID-19 crisis — including the hidden ethical groundwork guiding current debates and decisions.
May 7, 2020
Faith, Hope, and Charity in the 'Burbs
How have Christians conducted themselves in times of crisis? How does that work today in a parish context? Fr. Jonathan Bailes talks history and discipleship with TLC.
May 4, 2020
Son of David, Have Mercy on Us
"Son of David" — those needing desperate help in the gospels tend to give this name to Jesus. Fr. Mark Michael reflects on a timely prayer in the BCP that uses this name in a cry for mercy that can often lead to a revival of faith.
April 30, 2020
Discussion With a Bishop: When to Re-Open for Business?
The Rt. Rev. Mariann Budde joins us to discuss how she's looking toward a post-COVID future. We talk about how she's negotiating the safety of all in her diocese in conversation with health experts and local officials.
April 27, 2020
Spiritual Health in Loneliness
"You can't always get what you want. But sometimes…" Fr. Ron Rolheiser (author of The Loneliness Factor, among many others) knows about digging deep when you can't change your circumstances. He talks with Abigail Woolley Cutter about maintaining and growing in spiritual health in the middle of loneliness.
April 23, 2020
Artists, COVID, and the Church
Chris Domig, founder and director of Sea Dog Theater in New York City, talks about the state of the arts in the time of COVID-19 — specifically, how theatre folks are suffering, coping, and finding their way — and how the Church can be supporting the arts and artists right now.
April 20, 2020
Caring for Marriage in a Pressure Cooker
Only recently in human history have we expected so much from marriage. The pressure (or temptation?) to rely totally on one's spouse for companionship, emotional support, etc., etc. is not so easily resisted when you're at home 24/7. Dr. Gordon Bals shares practical words of wisdom.
April 16, 2020
Morning Prayer with Liturgical Folk
Think the von Trapps meet 21st century Anglicanism. This is how one family (the Flanigans) pray Morning Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer (1979). This prayer guide/mini-concert features songs from their music project Liturgical Folk, including Psalm 100, Song of the Three Young Men (Canticle 13), the Apostles' Creed, and The Lord's Prayer.
April 13, 2020
Anxiety: A Practical Playbook
These are anxious times. Dr. Monique Reynolds breaks down for us the phenomenon of anxiety — how it feels, what causes it — and practical approaches to dealing with it while continuing to care well for others and yourself.
April 9, 2020
Classic Texts in Times of Crisis: Thomas Merton
What are some of the benefits and dangers of being alone? How can solitude build up love? Fr. Mac Stewart presents and reflects on an excerpt from a chapter in Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation: “Solitude Is Not Separation."
April 6, 2020
In Retrospect, Will We Have Been Wise?
Screens, emergency solutions, and stillness. Fr. Jeff Hansen and Neil Dhingra talk with Ephraim Radner and Bishop Daniel Martins about theological and pastoral responses to the pandemic while posing some challenging questions.
April 2, 2020
Working from Home: A Rule of Life
Abigail Wolley Cutter interviews podcast host and TLC writer Amber Noel about some nitty-gritty "rules of life" she's developed for working from home. Much of it is about attitude: embracing the opportunities of the cloister.
March 31, 2020
Just Add Quarantine: Help for Instant Homeschoolers
Only a few days ago, working parents became instant homeschool teachers. Um — help!? Abigail Woolley Cutter interviews Susan Wise Bauer, educator and historian, on how caretakers can pull together methods for keeping their kids' education on track.
March 26, 2020
Worship and the Eucharist: Not the Same Thing
In this flagship episode of the Living Church podcast, we hear a dispatch from the Rt. Rev. Dan Martins, Episcopal Bishop of Springfield, about worship and the Eucharist. What do we miss when we can't gather for Communion? Bp. Dan breaks it down.
March 23, 2020