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?
[**Content Warning** This episode includes conversations that deal with abuse, trauma, sexual assault and self-harm. Specifically from 7min to 27mins]
Episode 41: In this conversation with Paul Young (The Shack) and Brad Jersak (A More Christlike Way) we discuss the themes found in their jointly written novella - The Pastor: A Crisis. We talk about the cyclical impact of abuse, understanding (and misunderstanding) forgiveness, the need for control that often drives fundamentalism, the dangers of hierarchy and power in the church, along with the possibilities of healing and of living into a more hopeful and liberating form of faith.
Episode 40: This episode explores where I'm currently up to in my re-thinking of Jesus, especially in light of a view of God who is in and through all things. From here, we look at three emerging themes that come from the Jesus story: presence over ideology, grace over status, and self-giving love over coercive power.
Episode 39: Our guest for this episode is Dr Tripp Fuller and (in one of our more meaty theological episodes) we dive further into all things 'Jesus'. Is Jesus just a nice guy, or did God jump down from heaven into human form... or is it possible that something else is going on here? We talk about all of this in relation to Tripp's latest book, Divine Self Investment, in which he proposes an open and relational constructive Christology.
If you're the kind of person who likes the idea of diving into an academic theological book that packs a punch, and that proposes bold, innovative and compelling ways of understanding the Jesus story, then you can check out his new book here.
Episode 38: In this episode I talk again with Dr Thomas Jay Oord, but this time we turn our attention toward Jesus. If God is present in and through all things and by very nature is not intervening but rather is uncontrolling love, then how do we make sense of the Jesus story? In this conversation we wrestle with Jesus' identity and the historic claims of his divinity and humanity, discuss his miracles and how they might be seen as 'uncontrolling', tackle a range of views on the virgin birth, contemplate Jesus' possible cooperation with his own resurrection, and consider what it is that makes him unique.
You can also check out Tom's latest book, "Questions and Answers for God Can't" for more responses to the questions that have arisen in response to his book "God Can't".
Episode 37: For many of us the idea that God is all-powerful and all-knowing is assumed to be the very definition of divinity. But here we bring together threads from recent episodes to suggest that God might not be all powerful (in the way we typically understand power) and may not know the future. But what does this mean? It can be an unsettling idea, but perhaps it also allows us to more honestly see the challenges we face and to explore what real participation with the divine might look like.
Episode 36: In this episode I talk with Dr. Nicola Hoggard Creegan about the God-world relationship, the depths of wonder within nature, the role of empathy and cooperation in evolution, the subtlety of God's presence and action in the world, and what it means to say that God is non-finite.
Dr. Nicola Hoggard Creegan is a theologian based in Auckland. She is co-director of New Zealand Christians in Science. She is the author of Animal Suffering and the Problem of Evil (OUP, 2013), and co-edited Creation and Hope with Andrew Shepherd. Nicola has long standing interests in science and faith, and also eco-theology. She is now working on a book on the freedom of the will.
Episode 35: We're back! After a brief 2020 hiatus, this new episode features a conversation with the brilliant Dr Sarah Lane Ritchie. She is a scholar who works at the intersection of theology and the sciences, and in particular in relation to questions surrounding the human mind, the relationship between God and the physical world and the development of religious belief. In this episode we discuss different ways of thinking about God's relationship to the world, whether we have a soul, the validity of religious experience, and the potential role of psychedelics as a kind of spiritual technology.
Episode 34: This episode of In the Shift explores the related themes of human vulnerability and divine presence. We are often tempted to use God - and the idea of God's intervention - to cover over the awareness of our own vulnerability. But if we are able to come face-to-face with it, perhaps there are important insights to be gained, not only about ourselves but also about God. This episode also tackles the notion of divine presence - which can be understandably thrown into question when we face something like Covid-19. Is God really present, and if so, what does it even mean to say that? And what about the feelings of absence and loneliness that can be so potently known, regardless of our faith constructs?
Episode 33: In this episode I'm joined by theologian and philosopher Dr Thomas Jay Oord for a fascinating and wide-ranging conversation on the themes of his work especially in relation to his latest book, "God Can’t: How to believe in God and love after tragedy, abuse, and other evils". We discuss what it means to say that God's nature is uncontrolling love, how this impacts on the way we understand God’s presence and activity in the world, and why it might mean that there are many things that God simply "cannot", rather than "will not", do. We cover all sorts of terrain including different views of God, why "intervention" is not a helpful word, whether or not miracles and healings are possible, the responsiveness of fundamental reality itself, the origins of the universe, and then what all of this might mean for personal faith, prayer and spirituality.
Thomas Jay Oord is a theologian, philosopher, and scholar of multi-disciplinary studies. Oord is a best-selling and award-winning author, having written or edited more than twenty-five books. A twelve-time Faculty Award-winning professor, Oord teaches at institutions around the globe. He is the director of the Center for Open and Relational Theology. Oord is known for his contributions to research on love, open and relational theology, science and religion, and the implications of freedom and relationships for transformation. You can find out more about his work by visiting www.thomasjayoord.com