Losing Religion, Deepening in Faith

September 25th, 2020

Christian faith often gets confused with moralism. Moralism is not Christian faith.
In fact, moralism is a kind of idolatry, the worship of social structures, rules, or hierarchies of gender or race or belief.
On this episode of Rector’s Cupboard we speak with teacher and writer Brenda-Lee Sasaki about moralism in the context of Christian universities.
Pushing away from moralism is an often necessary step in spiritual growth. Morality is important in every life, but moralism is a death knell to actual faith.
Losing religion (moralism posing as religion) can and often does lead to a deepening of faith.

We talk about arbitrary moral codes at religious institutions, why they exist, what they are intended to accomplish and what some of their negative consequences may be.
The conversation is intended to be a particular example of the limits of moral codes and statements of faith.
If you sign the document about behaviour or belief, does that really seal the deal?


Articles and References:


Liberty University Article – NYT, August 2020


Pope Francis on “moral rigidity” - AP News, September 2019


After Evangelicalism: The Path to a New Christianity  – David Gushee, 2020


I am Not a Godly Woman – Brenda-Lee Sasaki, SheLoves Magazine, March 2019


Jean Vanier Article – Globe and Mail Article, Februarty 2020 

A personal reflection on grappling with the legacy of Jean Vanier - The Conversation, April 2020


Tasting Notes:


One this episode we tasted Cardhu 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Apparently it's smooth with gentle peat, for those whom the gentleness of peat is an deciding factor.


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Finding Each Other

September 11th, 2020

"Reconciliation in the Aftermath” with guest John Radford.


Something has been torn apart. People have been divided from one another.
Division is present all around us and it is present in our own lives. We are so easily divided from one another. How might we come together, even with people who hold different views, and goals than our own?
Cynical leadership consistently finds the way to use our fears against other people.
Hopeful leadership finds ways to call for the recognition of the humanity of each and all for the common good.
In this episode we speak with John Radford of Transpectives Mediation. John is a corporate and familial mediator and vocational counselor. He gained his experience working with Desmund Tutu in South Africa during and after Apartheid.
For far too long, Christian faith has been distorted and weaponized to keep people apart. John Radford speaks with us about the hope and limits of reconciliation. What does conflict resolution look like? How can absence of conflict at times imply less hope that if conflict were present?
John speaks about his experience in South Africa, about the divisions in contemporary society, about Black Lives Matter and about how we can each better recognize the humanity of the other.
Here are things that matter in the most pressing geo-political matters and in each of our particular lives.


Links and articles referenced in this episode:


New Yorker Article on the history of Christianity and white supremacy. A consideration of how Christians have sometimes been the first to stand for division rather than reconciliation. Of course there are also many examples of Christians who have demonstrated the call to bring people together. We include this article out of a desire to come to terms with the reality that our history of faith has so often terribly failed to live up to its highest call of love. This is a consideration of Christianity in the United States. There are similar considerations in Canada in terms of race relations.

Belching and jackhammering 'bad neighbour' earns rebuke from B.C. judge, CBC, August 2020

Desmond Tutu Clip

CNN Cornel West Clip -Be sure to listen to Cornel West speaking with Anderson Cooper on the day of the funeral of George Floyd. West offers a beautiful, hopeful (and realistic) depiction of Christian faith.


Episode Terminology:


Apartheid: State sponsored segregation in South Africa from the early 1900’s through he early 1990’s. The word means “apartness” in Afrikaans. Apartheid was a political system that maintained the division of white and black. It meant that that the small minority of white people controlled the levers of government and the economy and property rights. Desmund Tutu is an Anglican Bishop who led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as Apartheid was dismantled. Nelson Mandela was jailed during Apartheid and later became President of South Africa.


Ngiyakubona: “I see you” in Zulu


Tasting Notes:


This episode we enjoyed two bourbons from Okanagan Spirits: BRBN Bourbon-Style Corn Whiskey and BLK BRBN Cask Strength Bourbon-Style Whiskey.

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The Aftermath

September 4th, 2020

Welcome to Season 2 of The Rector’s Cupboard. 

Many of us have not lived through times like those we are living in now. 

It might not even be possible yet to survey the landscape. When uncertainty and unprecedented occasion confronts us, we can never be quite sure when we can start counting the losses, when we can begin to rebuild. 
Rector’s Cupboard is about hopeful gospel, hopeful faith. We aim to make difference for listeners. We hope that we help you to see a faith and worldview that is good news for ALL people, those who share the faith and those who don’t. 
It is arguably true that we have not faced a time when compassion was more necessary. We can make a difference in the world by seeing the humanity of all people and then by acting in light of such vision. 
Our second season will be looking at topics in ways that can give us hope. We will consider suffering and loss. We will look to shine a light on the cruelty of the prosperity gospel. We will talk with an Intensive Care Doctor about physical and spiritual need times of great crisis. We will speak with people who do not believe what they used to in terms of faith. We will talk about community in non-religious societies. We will speak about reconciliation with a local mediator who worked with Desmond Tutu in South Africa. That and much more.  


Season 2, episode 1 will be released on Friday September 11. 
Thanks for listening.  

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2020 Annus Horribilis | Episode 3: Christianity and White Supremacy

July 3rd, 2020

Recently CNN ran a short documentary series simply called, “1968”. This was a year of great civil unrest, of protests over the Vietnam war, of civil rights protests and of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. 
We are living a year that might soon become a one word title for a documentary series, “2020”. There is a pandemic, there is protest in the United States unlike that seen since 1968.  
This episode of Rector’s Cupboard is the conclusion of a three part series called, “2020: Annus Horibilis; How did we get here?”. The intention of the series is to look particularly at matters of religion and faith and how they have contributed to some of the cultural upheaval we are living through. 
This concluding episode seeks to offer some insight into how we got to a place where “Black Lives Matter” could be considered a controversial statement. What is being protected? What are people afraid of losing? What do we have to gain? 
We speak with Dr. Willie Jennings of Yale Divinity School.  
Dr. Jennings outlines the concept of “whiteness” and tells us what it has to do with the protection of the status quo. We speak about a positive vision of change and about some of the current incidents and circumstances in the United States particularly. It might be tempting to despair, but even in turbulent times, there may well be reason for hope. 
We are grateful to Dr. Jennings for taking the time to speak with us. The series ends with a scriptural reflection (a devotion) and a prayer from Dr. Jennings. Our intent is that this will send us into the summer, a summer unlike we’ve lived before, with purpose and with hope.  
May God bless you and keep you and may you seek to love all people. 


Episode Terminology:


Empire and Diaspora: Dr. Jennings uses these terms to outline two competing ways of being in the world. Empire is the way of the dominant, the powerful. Diaspora is the way of the scattered, the cut-off, those who are far from power. True faith, even true humanity is found in the dynamic between the two more than it is on one or the other. 
In relation to the book of Acts (discussed in the episode); Empire is Roman and Diaspora is Jewish, but then Diaspora is faced with the question of including Gentiles in the community and takes on some of the excess of Empire. 


Self-Determination: Means pretty much what you might think, but in the context of this conversation, it is considered as a negative. We cannot be truly human apart from others. We are called to join with others and always called to join across the lines of division that we create.  


Whiteness: a central concept for the episode. Whiteness is more about power and control than it is about colour. Dr. Jennings points out that whiteness is not biological. It is a system of domination by people of European descent. A way of seeing and a way of being seen. This is why the first question is not “are you a racist”, but instead, “how have we all been impacted by our socialization in a racist culture?” We have all been impacted by whiteness and Christianity has too often been dominated by whiteness. 


Pedagogy: Dr. Jennings and Jason Byassee both work in the field of academics, graduate theological school. So, a word like “pedagogy” is part of their world. Pedagogy refers basically to how we learn or acquire knowledge and ideas. For example, in the United States (and around the world) there has been a pedagogy of whiteness from which people develop views of themselves and of other people. Each school and family and church has a pedagogy, a way of imparting learning and knowledge. 


Romance of Orthodoxy: This just refers to a love of a status quo and “proper way of believing” particularly among some religious people. 


Charismatic Movement: Charisma (from the greek word) - movement, attracted towards, “charismatic movement” refers particularly to a lively expression of Christian faith that is given to exuberant outward expression in worship, prayer, emphasis on supernatural signs, etc. Often associated with the Pentecostal movement.  


Prosperity Gospel: A distortion of Christian theology that works as a kind of transaction between people and God. If you have enough faith then … If you worship properly then … If you believe properly then… Dr. Jennings calls the prosperity gospel “mercantile” because it acts as a kind of exchange as in God will be bound to give you health or wealth if you just say and believe the right things. Prosperity gospel in the end erases the divinity of God by negating God’s sovereignty (freedom) and the humanity of people by brutally condemning those who are suffering as somehow having brought it on themselves. 
It’s no surprise that prosperity gospel has found its way to the White House with some of Donald Trump’s most powerful “spiritual advisors” coming from this distortion of Christian faith. 


Books and articles discussed in this episode: 

Caught up in God - Christian Century, May 2020   

Acts: A Theological Commentary on the Bible, Dr. Willie Jennings
White Fragility, Robin D’Angelo 

The Slave Ship: A Human History, Markus Redeker 

The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

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2020: Annus Horribilis | Episode 2: The Power Worshippers

June 26th, 2020

Religious Nationalism in the United States. 

We speak with Katherine Stewart, author of “The Power Worshippers”. 
Katherine Stewart’s work has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, the American Prospect, the Atlantic, and other publications. She is the author of The Good News Club, an investigation of the religious right and public education. 

From the book: 

“Perhaps the most salient impediment to our understanding of the movement is the notion that Christian nationalism is a “conservative” ideology. The correct word is “radical”. 

“This movement pretends to represent the past and stand for old traditions. But in reality it is a creature of present circumstances and is organized around a vision for the future that most Americans would find abhorrent.” 

You may have heard the names, James Dobson, Franklin Graham, Ralph Reed. These are just a few of the influential personalities in the movement of Religious Nationalism in the United States. This movement has had strong impact on the evangelical church in the United States. Religious Nationalism assumes that one particular branch of Christian understanding and those attached to it, should be in power politically and culturally. Donald Trump could not have risen to the office of the president without the support of Christian nationalists. 

Katherine Stewart has spent years investigating the movement. She has attended conferences and church conventions. She has visited the “Museum of the Bible” and the “Creation Museum”. 
Her book is a thorough look at how the movement began, how it is about politics and power more than it is about faith. 
To understand how we got to where we are at in 2020, it helps to understand this current manifestation of religious nationalism. 

Books and articles referenced in this episode:

The Power Worshippers
The Good News Club
How a Data-backed Christian Nationalist Machine Helped Trump to Power - The Guardian, March 2020
Bill Barr Thinks America is Going to Hell - The New York Times, December 2019
Why Trump Reigns as King Cyrus - The New York Times, December 2018   

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2020: Annus Horribilis | Episode 1: American Apocalypse

June 19th, 2020

We speak with author Matthew Avery Sutton about his book American Apocalypse. 

The book is a detailed account of the rise of evangelicalism in the United States. Our consideration is to examine how we got to the religious and political landscape current with Donald Trump being embraced by a large majority of evangelicals. What is the movement about? Where did it originate? How did it move from the cultural and political fringe to the Oval Office? 

Closer to home, what is the history of some of the central beliefs of the evangelical faith? Many people who grew up hearing about end times, the rapture, the sacred/secular divide and the so-called dangers of public education are not necessarily aware of where the beliefs originated. It is a little too simplistic to say that they came from the Bible. They actually came from one particular interpretation of the Bible that was imposed upon all manner of things including world history, political leadership and cultural expression. Much of the movement was (and in some cases still is) homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, and even racist. Some would want us to point out here that there was (and is) much good as well, but that seems strange to say after a statement like the above. 

It is not an attack to mention that in regards to the central tenet of evangelical fundamentalism, those who espoused it were, to say it bluntly; wrong. For years and for decades they maintained that, “Jesus is coming again soon.” Very soon. Right away. 

Billy Graham, for over 60 years, never stopped declaring that he was convinced that Jesus was returning within a couple of years.  
Even if such declarations get it right eventually; that would be a record of 1500 wrong to 1 right, or 375 wrong to 1 right, however you want to count. 
The whole system was built upon this apocalyptic way of thinking and it is not so much that they were wrong just about that, it is that they then built religious, cultural and political understanding on top of this central mistake that has come to dominate much of what people are told is now “Christianity”.  

Maybe it’s time to grow up a little theologically.  

Matthew Avery Sutton books:
American Apocalypse 
Double Crossed
Billy Graham was on the wrong side of history - The Guardian, February 2018

This episode we enjoyed Heck Yeah lemon iced tea pale ale from Beere Brewing Co. in North Vancouver.  


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Rector’s Cupboard: Special Series

June 12th, 2020

Three Episodes, "Annus Horribilis, 2020 Horrible Year, How Did we Get Here?"
Each episode will examine a particular area of faith and culture.
First: the history of evangelicalism, with Matthew Avery Sutton
Second: religious nationalism in the United States, with Katherine Stewart
Third: the connection between Christianity and white supremacy, with Willie James Jennings
These episodes can go a long way in helping us move past some negative or fearful ways of seeing things and open up the way for a more hopeful, positive faith.
Our three guests have written and spoken extensively in Rolling Stone, The Guardian, New York Times, Christian Century, and appeared on multiple media outlets. We are grateful that they were interested in speaking with us.
Will it take courage to listen? Not really. But we're hoping that listening shakes you up a little to move towards better ways of seeing things and better ways of seeing people.

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Technology, Humanity, and Faith

June 7th, 2020

with Jason Byassee and Andria Irwin        

Every single one of us has had to embrace technology in ways that we hadn't before during this pandemic. We sit down with Jason Byassee and Andria Irwin. Jason and Andria are completing a book about technology and the church. We speak with them about how the things that we make make us, about attention span, about community. What is a mature way to speak about technology being mindful of its cost and limitations while still grateful for how it help us?


Jason Byassee - Vancouver School of Theology

Andria Irwin - Highlands United Church

In this episode our tasting is a Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale from Bridge Brewing Company.

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Saints or Savages: Host Only Episode

June 1st, 2020

This episode was recorded on May 25, 2020 before the news of the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. 


Todd, Allison, Amanda and Cupboard Master Ken get together (distanced, of course). 
We ask each other, for your consideration; Why would people argue over wearing masks? 
We look at the ways people respond in times of danger or crisis. An upcoming book by Rutger Bregman seeks to show that for the most part people help one another. 
What does this say about human nature? What are the implications for faith? We argue that there is a better way to relate to people than to start with the assumption that people are basically bad. 
Noting that there are instances of oppression, hate and even evil in the world, we consider the concepts of fear and division. 

The tasting for this episode is a Rose Wine from the Okanagan in BC called Diabolica. Fitting for this episode’s conversation. Check out Diabolica Wines here

Rutger Bregman review – Times of London   

The Guardian article - Regarding shipwrecked boys

The New York Times article - Regarding encounter in Central Park 

Book discussed, Marilynne Robinson, “The Givenness of Things”, particularly the chapter “Fear”

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Archbishop Melissa Skelton

May 22nd, 2020

The Cupboard welcomes Archbishop Melissa Skelton (Diocese of New Westminster, Province of BC and Yukon). We speak about the place of the church in a “Post-Christendom” world. Archbishop Melissa has had vocation in business and in the church. She has worked as a brand manager for Procter and Gamble and has also worked with Tom’s of Maine. 

In her vocation in the church she has worked at Trinity Church in Manhattan and at St. Paul’s in Olympia, Washington. Currently Archbishop Melissa is also Rector at Christ Church Cathedral on Burrard and Georgia in downtown Vancouver. 

Host banter about a great NYT article (clink here to read it) on a restaurant closure in New York City. 

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“J.E.S.U.S.A.” The Movie

May 14th, 2020

The Cupboard welcomes Kevin Miller. Kevin is an author and documentary filmmaker.  
He recently directed “J.E.S.U.S.A.”  

View the trailer here 

Kevin says that he writes books that make kids laugh and films that make adults angry. 
We speak with him about his recent film which delves into the conflation of some Christian groups in the United States with a form of militarism and nationalism. The documentary is not polemic, but rather offers a thoughtful look at biblical interpretation and misinterpretation. While the challenges are real in terms of distortion of Christian faith, there are many reasons to hope for better, more loving expression. 

We highly recommend that you purchase or rent the documentary. The first 8 to 10 minutes are pretty tough to take, but stay with it, better expressions of faith are to follow. 

Episode Terminology:


Epistemology: The theory of knowledge. Has to do with how we know what we know.


Nationalism: Generally the concept of one particular nation (usually one’s own) as being better than other nations. Nationalism breeds protectionism in terms of immigration, etc.


Religious Nationalism: The conflation, the coming together of nationalism with a particular religious perspective. Christian nationalism in the United States implies that the nation would be better off if conservative evangelical Christians were in power.


Polemic: oppositional, an attack on something.


Books, articles, and websites discussed in this episode:

J.E.S.U.S.A. film

Kevin Miller

Article on the mimetic theory and René Girard, CBC, 2016 

Paul Vasquez video, 2010 


This episode we enjoyed two ciders, Hail Mary Rosé Cider and Jackpot Dry Craft Cider, from local cider makers, Windfall Cider

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Will Willimon

May 6th, 2020

"Discovering God in the Rearview Mirror. Knowing the Hopeful Future in Christ.”

We speak with Rev. Dr. Will Willimon from Duke Divinity School in North Carolina. Will speaks with us about the surprising character of God, the concept of vocation and the hopeful reminder that Christian faith is about the future.

Will has written far too many books to list. He has preached at the National Cathedral in Washington DC and he once sued former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. We feel a kindred spirit with Will because he upsets people on both the political right and the political left.

Even better than that, he demonstrates a deep love for humanity with a willingness to admit the reality of our foibles and ridiculousness.

“I feared boredom more than heresy. They said nasty things about Jesus. Nobody ever said he was dull.”


For more information about Will and his work, visit www.willwillimon.com.

Books referenced on this podcast: 


Accidental Preacher



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A More Christ-like Way

May 1st, 2020

On March 16 of 2020, just before the orders were issued to stay home, The Rector's Cupboard gathered as small group at Township 7 Winery in Langley, BC.  

Sitting in view of a vineyard on a beautiful day in the shadow of a pandemic, we spoke with author and speaker Brad Jersak about a better way of faith.

Brad has written a number of books (see some links below) and has become a help to many “exvangelicals”. In a recent book he pointed out that perhaps the “crisis of faith” that many are so quick to mention in religious circles is not on the part of younger people who are walking away, but rather on the part of those who have handed down a faith that can so often be divisive, misogynistic, fearful and anti-gay. 

We speak with Brad about the differences between deconstructing faith and bulldozing faith and about more helpful metaphors such as renovation of faith and belief.


More information about our guest, Brad Jersak, his books and his blog can be found at his website https://bradjersak.com

We're grateful to our host, Jason Ocenas and Township 7 Vineyard and Tasting Room.  Township 7 can be found here: https://township7.com

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Growing Up Evangelical: Moms and Daughters

April 25th, 2020

The Cupboard gathers this episode with Allison and her mom, Esther; Catherine and her mom, Carol.

This episode is a bit of a different format as we bring together two moms and their daughters to talk about life, faith, and growing up in what would be considered conservative Christian homes. What was positive about it? What wasn’t helpful? There is much to be said about what it was like raising children within that framework and what it felt like growing up in it. We would suggest grabbing a cocktail, or a cup of tea, and probably some tissues as you listen.

This episode was recorded at Deep Cove Brewery back in February 2020, a very different time, and you can certainly hear it in our voices. Although a different time there is much discussed that transcends our current circumstances and can speak into how we relate to each other in our families and faith communities.

Deep Cove Brewery – www.deepcovecraft.com

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“These Spoons are Brutal!”…and “The Entire Year Got Sucked Up and Disappeared”

April 16th, 2020

Mid-April is a good time to release this episode of the Cupboard that was recorded on January 22nd, 2020. A hosts only episode in which we talk about helpful truths, terrible sorrow and some of the best most ridiculous things ever.

You can hear in our voices the “time before” the 2020 pandemic. How different do things sound already? You can hear pointed out the emptiness of the “prosperity gospel” that continues to be a blight upon the theological landscape in our time of pandemic and is beginning to directly cost lives.

Perhaps best of all, you can hear life and hope, even as we talk about Paris Hilton cooking lasagna. You might do well to enjoy the video yourself right now, it’s in the notes below.

Hosts; Todd Wiebe, Ken Best, Allison Williams, Ken Bell and Producer Rick

Enjoy the episode.

Recorded at Woods Spirit Co. in North Vancouver



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Sanctification Without Fear

April 9th, 2020

This episode, Rector's Cupboard speaks with Jeff and Susan McSwain about sanctification and spiritual growth.  

In evangelical circles, sanctification has often been more about self than it has been about God. As a theologian, Jeff outlines a healthier view of sanctification from the theology of Karl Barth (and from Christian Scripture). The concept is that as we are justified in Christ, so we are sanctified in Christ, not of our doing. This means that we are not better than anyone, not divided from anyone by our faith.

We talk about this idea in general and in the context of the work and vocation of Jeff and Susan at Reality Ministries and North Street Neighbourhood.

This episode opens with a host conversation recorded at about week 3 of the COVID lockdown. If you want to skip to the McSwain interview, it starts at 35:23

But hey, you’ve maybe got some time these days to listen to the whole episode. The host conversation is not sombre or depressing. We speak realistically, but hopefully about what we are facing right now.

Jeff and Susan are the founders of Reality Ministries, in Durham, NC (founded 2007). Reality Ministries fosters friendships amongst people of all abilities marked by mutuality, authenticity and the reality of Christ’s love for all. 

Susan currently serves as the Executive Director. Jeff is the Theologian in Residence. He has published various articles and two books, Movements of Grace: The Dynamic Christo-Realism of Barth, Bonhoeffer and the Torrances (2010), and most recently ‘Simul’ Sanctification: Barth’s Hidden Vision for Human Transformation (2018).

Keen to stay at the interface between systematic theology and practical ministry, in the last ten years Jeff and Susan have helped plant a new church and launch the North Street Neighborhood, an intentional community (17 houses) near downtown Durham where people of various abilities share life together.


Episode Terminology:


Systematic Theology: The academic discipline of theology with the perspective that theology can be divided into areas of particular study. The study of the Holy Spirit, the study of salvation, etc.


The Patristics: Often called Desert Fathers. Considered to be early influencers in Christian thought and teaching.


Sanctification: The area of theology having to do with moving from sinfulness to discipleship/wholeness. Follows from justification, being made right; sanctification implies a being made whole. For Jeff McSwain (among others) sanctification is a divine effort rather than a human effort.


Articles, books, and links referenced in this episode:

Jeff’s Website

Reality Ministries Website

ABC news story on North Street Neighbourhood 

Harvard Business Review Grief Article, March 2020

New York Times Article, April 2020 

CNN Video - Churches stay open, April 4, 2020 

The Plague - Albert Camus, 1947

John Swinton book – Becoming Friends of Time: Disability, Timefullness, and Gentle Discipleship, 2016

The Road to Now Theology podcast episode with Jeff and Susan McSwain

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That All Shall Be Saved

March 27th, 2020

This episode of “The Rector’s Cupboard” was recorded in late January 2020.

The Cupboard welcomes guest David Jennings. David is a corporate lawyer in Vancouver and a lay theologian and student. David is a leader within the Presbyterian Church in Canada and Chairs or sits on the Board of many organizations including Image Journal and The Vancouver School of Theology. David is a philanthropist who encourages and facilitates thoughtful theological conversation and supports the arts and the artistic expression of Christian faith.

In this episode we talk with David about the concept of Christian Universalism.
We do this by speaking about a recent book by David Bentley Hart. The book is entitled, “That All Shall Be Saved” and it makes the argument from Christian Scripture and history that the proper Christian eschatological (how things end) understanding is that in the end, no one is condemned to eternal punishment or torment.

If you like your hell, that is, if you are convinced it is entirely un-Christian to believe in anything other than eternal damnation (Hart calls you an “infernalist”) then listen to this episode only if you are okay in engaging with thought and interpretation that is different than yours. Then again, you want people who don't agree with you to listen to you sometimes.

If you have struggled with trying to reconcile a God of love, as shown in Jesus Christ, with the idea of eternal damnation for anyone at all, then listen expectantly.

We hope that you know by now, Rector’s Cupboard seeks to have conversations of hopeful faith and theology. You may never have even known that there have been Christians, since the dawn of Christian history who have held to a view different than the infernalist view.

David Jennings is clearly one of those in our time. You don’t have to agree with all that is said. We don’t have to agree with all that is said. We are convinced about the hopeful conversation and no longer impressed with the fearful calls of “Danger! Danger!”



Episode Terminology:


Orthodox Spectrum: The range of ideas and interpretations considered valid.


3 Transcendentals: 3 things that are often thought to communicate the divine, the higher than – goodness, beauty and truth.


Limited atonement: The interpretation that the sacrifice of Jesus has led to the salvation of some people (those who have chosen to believe it).


Universalism: Wide variance of aspects to universalism, basically that in the end; all things will be redeemed, made new.


Materials referenced in this podcast:

Aaron Rodgers clip

That All Shall Be Saved, David Bentley Hart

Image Journal


This episode we enjoyed a flight of beer from House of Funk Brewing in North Vancouver. 

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Entering a COVID Spring

March 20th, 2020

As we traveled to record an episode of the Cupboard, we listened to our Prime Minister advise that "If you can stay home, stay home". So maybe we won't be gathering for some time. At least not in person.
We are in the midst of, at the beginning of, the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic.
Already we are used to the terms, "social distancing", "self-isolating", "flatten the curve".
On March 16, 2020 we talk about how we are feeling, how so many are feeling.  If hope is real, we will long to know hope even in uncertain times. We will know hope, even in uncertain times.
Best to you and to those you love as you live through this crisis. It's a time like we've never lived before. And as so many are saying, "we're all in this together".
National Geographic article discussed in the episode;
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Tragic Optimism, Moving from Fear to Hope

March 12th, 2020

The Cupboard is joined this week by guest Dr. Lynn DuMerton.  
We speak with Dr. DuMerton about her work helping moms who struggle with addiction and judgment and fear, to bond with their young children.
Lynn helps run the Sanctuary programme at Union Gospel Mission. The programme works with moms and their children aged 0-6.
Through a consideration of this programme and a consideration of Lynn's previous work on "tragic optimism" we look at how fear can come to motivate so much of our thought and action. Tragic optimism (having a sense of hope even in circumstances of suffering) is marked by a number of factors including acceptance that we will face difficulty, and that such sorrow or suffering is not fairly manifest. We consider self-transcendence, the concept that we often find hope in the process of helping others, in the perspective of seeing their pain.  Lynn mentions, that in her work helping moms bond with their children, it is important to help remove fear as a motivator. She points out that healthy bonds cannot be established if the child is scared of the parent.
Have we grasped this yet as a theological concept? Why do we often think that being scared of God is a good thing? How can we work out better theological concepts and healthier bonds in our spiritual lives?
We begin the episode with a consideration of Covid 19 fear around the world.  The article we discuss can be found at:
We speak with Lynn about a hockey programme in a First Nations community in Manitoba. For information about this programme follow the link below: https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/hockey-survived-peguis-first-nation-home-team-heroes/
This episode of the Rector's Cupboard was recorded at North Point Brewing in North Vancouver.
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Sexuality and Hope

February 27th, 2020

The Cupboard welcomes guest Dr. Hillary McBride.


Dr. McBride is a Psychotherapist, and host of the CBC Podcast "Other People's Problems" and the Liturgists Podcast.


We speak with Hillary about purity culture, scrupulosity, mental health and body image, changing views from one generation to the next. 


How is it that when religious culture becomes fearful or controlling or strict, so often the first location of control is over women's bodies? Purity culture has hurt men as well as women, often preventing people from taking steps of maturity and life. The cycle of ignorance, fear, and shame has done terrible damage to so many women and men. Dr. Hillary McBride in her work and in her podcasts and books, offers a better way of understanding, a better way of speaking and even more promisingly, a way of hope. 


Episode Terminology:


Gnosticism: A philosphical/religious way of seeing the world. For our purposes in this episode the basic consideration is that gnosticism presents a spiritual/earthly (or physical) division. Much of the New Testament is written in contrast and opposition to gnostic thinking which said that Jesus could not have been divine because he had a physical body. The inferior way of seeing the physical also led to some extreme actions as seeing the body as degraded led some to think that any form of expression, including sexually was fine as the body was degraded anyway.


Purity Culture: The emphasis/idolatry of sexuality (particularly female sexuality) in some religious circles that led to expressions such as “chastity vows”, etc. This was the conflation of morality and even spirituality to focus upon sexual behaviour (particularly female sexual behaviour).


Platonic Thought: From the philosopher Plato, related to gnosticism, Plato presented a spiritual/physical distinction that elevated the spiritual and denigrated the physical. Much of what is considered “christian” is actually platonic as this way of thought pervaded Biblical interpretation and teaching.


Jung – (Carl Jung): A branch of psychology, therapy coming to emphasize talk therapy, often a consideration of the conscious and the subconscious together.


Original Blessing: Corollary to “original sin”. Some Christian teachers and writers are emphasizing not that we are bad, but that we are blessed. In most cases this is not to deny that we do wrong or that we sin, but that the emphasis is on blessing instead of badness.


Divine Immanence: God’s presence is often considered to be expressed in transcendent ways, ways that are above human, spiritual, other than human. The other reality of the presence of God is expressed in immanence, in the here and now, in the physical. Transcendent can mean “far away”, Immanent can mean “close to us”.


Many thanks to our recording host House of Funk Brewing, located in North Vancouver, BC.  


Rector's Cupboard episode hosts: Todd Wiebe, Allison Williams, Brett Ziegler. 


Books and articles discussed in this episode:


Hillary McBride's website

Harvey Weinstein Article - NYT, January 2020

Pastor Eaten by Crocodile (not an alligator as Todd said) - Snopes, 2017

9th Grader Expelled - NBC News, January 2020

Ben Greenfield Article – Times of London, January 2020

Mothers, Daughters, and Body Image: Learning to Love Ourselves as We Are - Hillary McBride, 2017

Embodiment and Eating Disorder - Hillary McBride, 2018

Shameless – Nadia Bolz-Weber, 2019

Beyond Shame – Mattias Roberts

You are Your Own – Jamie Lee Finch

Come as You Are – Emily Nagoski

The Purity Myth – Jessica Valenti

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