In the Shift
Blinded by the ”truth”

Blinded by the ”truth”

November 4, 2021

Episode 51: In this episode we explore how the narrative arc of contemporary Christian faith can foster an unfounded confidence (and arrogance), a blindness to truths from outside of the system, and even authoritarianism and wild conspiracies. This can happen when we feel we're in on something special, something true that the 'world' won't understand, and when faith is centred on believing these truths that we've found regardless of the evidence. But while modern Christianity can often define itself as "getting in by believing the right things", Jesus seems intent on blowing up that form of religion and instead pointing us outward toward others.

When narcissism finds religion

When narcissism finds religion

October 16, 2021

Episode 50: This episode continues the conversation on the problems and possibilities of Christianity, and explores what happens when religious institutions become narcissistic. In other words, when church communities become self-important, don't handle criticism well, lack empathy and support the powerful instead of centring the victim. While many human institutions, large and small, are captured by this temptation, some forms of Christian theology feed this institutional narcissism through beliefs that prioritise the "church" over and above everything else. But could religious communities genuinely offer something different, and if so, what? 

Feeding the machine

Feeding the machine

September 23, 2021

Episode 49: The latest episode of In the Shift examines the fusion of Christian mission with Western capitalism and how it culminates in the "church growth" obsession. But when everything is oriented toward growth we see that for the church machine to function it needs homogeneity and often has an inability to deal with complexity and pain (suffering is very inefficient!). As people's lives are left by the wayside, the collateral damage can be justified by the apparent "greater good" of the kingdom. As an alternative, we explore here the possibilities within Christian spirituality for the cultivation of authenticity, expressed in both honesty and vulnerability.

The multiple paths of ”deconstruction”

The multiple paths of ”deconstruction”

September 11, 2021

Episode 48: This episode explores various paths of deconstruction and their sometimes overlapping, sometimes divergent, directions. In particular, we look at 4 of these trajectories - the liturgical, the mystical, the political and the agnostic. Faith deconstruction is a complex and often difficult/painful experience and sometimes, though we might discover a great sense of camaraderie and community in connecting with others about what we “aren’t” anymore, we can find ourselves drifting apart as we go in different directions. This can be, in itself, another difficult and isolating part of the process. Exploring and naming these 4 trajectories are an attempt to give space for some language, understanding and empathy toward the journey we (and others) find ourselves on.

Life after death, panpsychism and the plausibility of hope - with Dr Thomas Jay Oord

Life after death, panpsychism and the plausibility of hope - with Dr Thomas Jay Oord

June 23, 2021

Episode 47: In this episode we welcome Dr Thomas Jay Oord back to the podcast for a three-peat; this time to discuss his views on life after death. We cover all sorts of terrain, from the biblical ambiguities associated with heaven & resurrection, to near-death and out-of-body experiences, to the philosophical outlook of panpsychism and the mind-body relationship, along with possibilities for how we could conceive of post-death subjective experience, and Tom's view of unrelenting divine love (as opposed to doctrines of hell and eternal punishment). It's a trip - so buckle up for the ride! 

Heavenly Creatures

Heavenly Creatures

June 10, 2021

Episode 46: This episode unpacks the language of heaven in the Christian scriptures. One of the mistakes we often make is to read our presumptions into the language and stories of these ancient texts. Much of the time the biblical authors were ambiguous about life after death, and the 'kingdom of heaven' was not a place for life after death at all - rather it was about a present reality unfolding among us.

But what does this mean for us when we die? Is it pearly gates, clouds, wings and harps, an old white man playing God. Maybe some streets of gold? A mansion sized just for you based on how much you tithed to the church?

Or perhaps heaven is a place on earth after all? 

The “mark of the beast” - it’s not the end of the world after all

The “mark of the beast” - it’s not the end of the world after all

May 27, 2021

Episode 45: The "mark of the beast", the "antichrist", the "rapture"; these are terms associated with a relatively recent, and unfortunately influential way of reading ancient scriptural texts. So where do these ideas come from, what is the problem with them, and what are some alternative interpretations that might be more helpful to us? This episode pulls apart some of the assumptions that sit behind "end-times" thinking, including the impact on geopolitical politics and conflict (especially in the Middle East). Rather than predicting events thousands of years into the future, we find that the authors of Daniel & Revelation were speaking in subversive ways about how to live under oppressive empires. The way of Jesus was seen to be a non-violent alternative to the temptation to participate in the dominating, colonising and violent actions of those with power. 

On Christian Humanism, LGBT+ inclusion, and what comes ‘after Evangelicalism’ - with Dr David P. Gushee

On Christian Humanism, LGBT+ inclusion, and what comes ‘after Evangelicalism’ - with Dr David P. Gushee

April 22, 2021

Episode 44: In this episode I chat with Dr David P. Gushee about his important book published in 2014 called 'Changing our Mind', calling for full LGBT+ inclusion in the church. We talk about his resultant expulsion from Evangelicalism culture, and from there we discuss the more widespread toxicity present within the movement (both theologically and culturally), made even more evident in the Trump years. From there we move on to talk about his most recent book, "After Evangelicalism" in which he proposes what lies beyond, including a move toward Christian humanism, and the reclaiming of the Jesus of the gospels. 

For more information on David's work, you can visit http://www.davidpgushee.com/ 

“I’m under spiritual attack!” (or am I just having a bad day?)

“I’m under spiritual attack!” (or am I just having a bad day?)

April 8, 2021

Episode 43 - In this episode we continue our conversation about evil and the devil by focusing on three things: the language of spiritual attack, being tempted by the Devil, and the idea of the demonic. Although definitive answers are hard to come by, at the very least these ideas can function as a seemingly reassuring explanation for why things don't always go well for us. But are there implications that are less helpful? And if so, what are some ways of thinking about this that help us to understand crises, temptations, compulsions, addictions and the fracturing of self that we experience in our day-to-day lives?

Speak of the devil

Speak of the devil

March 4, 2021

Episode 42: In this first of two episodes on the topic, we look at the language of principalities, powers, demons and the devil, and ask - what on earth is going on here? Is any of this real, what does it mean, what damage can these ideas do, and can a conversation about demons and evil powers be of any use to us in a modern society, or is it all just nonsense? 

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