“Won’t You Be My Neighbour?” with Yehuda Mansell

June 4th, 2021

Good conversations with interesting people. Yehuda Mansell was born in Israel. He teaches at Columbia Bible College and is currently living in community with people who are new to Canada at New Hope Community Services in Surrey, BC. We speak with Yehuda about Job and suffering (his PhD work), about language, about his work on the Downtown Eastside and about the blessing of being a neighbour with those new to Canada.

 

We also speak about Yehuda’s presentation at a recent inter-faith conference. He was co-author of a paper called, “The Theology of Fentanyl”.

 

For more information on New Hope Community Services take a look at their website.

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Purity Culture in Church Circles: A Conversation with Linda Kay Klein

May 21st, 2021

Linda Kay Klein has written one of the best books examining the phenomenon of purity culture in the 1990’s (and early 2000’s) within much of Christian religious culture. We are pleased to speak with Linda about her book, about what purity culture was and is, and about its impact. If your growing up included church in the 1990’s then you may well be familiar with purity culture. While Linda Kay Klein describes the American experience, Canadian evangelical culture was also largely impacted by the purity movement. The book “Pure” does not simply castigate the past. Rather, there is understanding of motivation and impact of the movement. Linda Kay Klein describes the negative impact of purity culture on self-worth, morality, and religion. She points to a positive and hopeful way forward.

For more information on Linda, her work, and her organization check out her website

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Hope in the Midst of Crisis and Mental Health Challenges with Dr. John Swinton

May 7th, 2021

We speak with John Swinton, Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care, Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

John Swinton has worked in mental health care for many years and is now a professor of theology. He brings together a compassionate understanding of mental health and illness with a hopeful understanding of faith and what it means to live well. What could it look like to know “abundant life” while living with a diagnosis of mental illness? What might it look like to know life to the full amidst ongoing, but undiagnosed struggles around mental health?

Swinton offers a humanizing and hopeful way of seeing the “other”, a way that is non-polarizing and shows how we are in solidarity with others, those of different race, politics, ability and understanding.

The pressure to keep up and to be “compulsively cheerful” in our lives can be debilitating. Swinton shows us the value and beauty of “slowness, gentleness, dependence, vulnerability, un-competitiveness, trustfulness and restfulness.”

Warning: This episode mentions schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and suicide.

 

John’s books:

Finding Jesus in the Storm: The Spiritual Lives of Christians with Mental Health Challenges

Becoming Friends of Time: Disability, Timefullness, and Gentle Discipleship

 

Materials and links referenced in this episode:

Regent College course, “Dementia: Living in the Memories of God”, May 10-14

VST course, “Living Faithfully With Mental Health Challenges: Why Theology Matters”, July 12-16

VST Public Lecture, “The “Hidden” Side Effects of COVID 19”, July 13

When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God, T.M. Luhrmann

The Bible and Mental Health: Towards a Biblical Theology of Mental Health, a collection of essays from authors including Walter Brueggemann and John Swinton.

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“Christian Music” with Jeff Johnson and Roy Salmond

April 23rd, 2021

We speak with music producer, podcaster, and writer Roy Salmond along with musician and artist Jeff Johnson.

 

Roy and Jeff have earned their living in the realm of “Christian Music” for decades. They tell us about changes in the industry, about challenges faced in the past and today. We also hear about the importance of friendship in vocational and spiritual endeavour.

 

To find Jeff's work check out his website and YouTube channel.
To find Roy's work check out his website

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Special Episode; Towards Justice

April 20th, 2021

Today, April 20, 2021, Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges against him in causing the death of George Floyd. We have some brief considerations before the verdict after it had been announced that the verdict was about to be read. This recording includes the judge in the case reading the verdict and some brief prayers by Cole Arthur Riley on her “Black Liturgies” account.

 

God with us, 
We thank you for being a God of true empathy, leaving status and security to come near to those you love - a nearness marked by healing, solidarity, and sacrifice. We have traded the fierceness of your empathy that might begin with tears but is also enmeshed with proximity to the hurting and the resolute doing of justice and mercy, even if that justice means loss of comfort and status for us. But keep us from being swallowed by the pain of those we love, that we would learn a compassion that has boundaries - a nearness that is not bondage. Let Empathy lay her head down each night on hope itself, rising with the deep knowledge that restoration is coming. We are the hands and feet of a promise. 

Originally published March 26, 2021 @blackliturgies

 

 

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Nothing Wasted with David Hayward (NakedPastor)

April 9th, 2021

We welcome David Hayward, known online as the NakedPastor.

David is an artist who formerly was a Pastor of Presbyterian and Vineyard Churches. Over the last 12 years David has been producing art – sketches, watercolours and paintings that have resonated deeply with people questioning their beliefs, deconstructing systems of religion, and looking for hopeful ways of seeing the world.

 

We speak about how deconstruction can be hopeful. David tells us that while he appreciated his time as a leader in the institutional church, he is able now to be more pastoral, not less.

After speaking with David we felt a sense of gratitude and joy, the blessing of accepting that we don’t have to be anxious about making sure to believe the right things. It is even okay if we don’t believe properly. Our call is always to love one another.

 

You can find out more about David and buy some of his wonderful art on his website or check him out on any social media platform.

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Inter-Religious Conversations with Rabbi Dr. Laura Duhan-Kaplan

March 26th, 2021

We speak with Rabbi Dr. Laura Duhan-Kaplan about how religions can grant blessing to one another. In many religious traditions there is a suspicion around engaging with people of other faiths. Rabbi Laura oversees an inter-religious conference each year. We speak also about philosophy and atheism and how we can have a two-dimensional and unhelpful view of not only other faiths, but of non-faith. How can we honour people who believe differently than we do?

 

Books and references in this episode:

Mouth of the Donkey, Rabbi Dr. Laura Duhan-Kaplan, 2021

Gaslit Nation Podcast

VST Religion & Thoughtful Activism Conference 

 

Books on philosophy recommended by Rabbi Laura:

Plato’s Symposium

The Spell of the Sensuous - David Abram

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Consider the Lilies with Leah Kostamo

March 12th, 2021

On this episode of Rector’s Cupboard we spoke with Leah Kostamo about astonishment, conservation, environmentalism, all things outdoors, and how that connects with people and faith. Jesus often used metaphors from creation in his teachings. He used tangible things like dirt and spit to bring healing. Our awareness of the transcendent is often evoked by engagement with the natural world and planting a garden can be prayer.

 

References in this episode:

Planted, Leah Kostamo

A Rocha Canada 

Ecological Footprint Calculator

 

This episode we enjoyed Evolve Gin from Okanagan Spirits.

 

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Poetry, Loss, and Hope with Susan Alexander

February 26th, 2021

The Cupboard welcomes Poet Susan Alexander. Susan has won a number of awards for her writing and sat down with us to talk about the blessings of reading and writing and the power of language. Susan’s poetry invites us to consider what has been lost and what future hope entails.

 

Books and poets referenced in this episode:

Susan Alexander - Nothing You Can Carry, 2020

Susan Alexander - The Dance Floor Tilts, 2017

Lorna Crozier, God of Shadows, 2018

James Wright, Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota, 1990

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Spirituality and Mental Health Dr. Sharon Smith

February 12th, 2021

Sharon Smith has done a PhD looking at spirituality and schizophrenia. She founded an organization called Sanctuary that works with religious communities around matters of mental health, education about mental health, and the removing of stigmas about mental illness and struggle. Sharon is now a Vicar at St. Catherine's Church and a part-time instructor at the University of British Columbia.

We talk about mental wellness, about flourishing and languishing and about how to best care for one another.

 

Episode Terminology:

Spiritual Bypassing –Shifting done in conversations when topics become uncomfortable. There is a struggle to be with others in their pain so often spiritual platitudes are offered instead. In the context of mental health this can be seen in how things are framed. This has been done in labelling mental health struggles as evil or demonic so as to offer a spiritual solution.

 

This episode we enjoyed the Salted Lime Lager and Horchata Porter from La Cerveceria Astilleros in the brewery district of North Vancouver.

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“Probably Not a Real Christian” with Curt Allison

January 29th, 2021

Our guest Curt Allison has faced this accusation repeatedly in his life of faith. Curt is Minister of Outreach at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church in Vancouver. He directs the Gospel Choir and leads an LGBTQ spirituality discussion group called, The Word is OUT.

We loved speaking with Curt and continue to be compelled by his appreciation of a faith background that often told him he was unacceptable. In our current culture that can be so polarized, Curt demonstrates a love for all people. Curt tells us about his journey from Oklahoma to Vancouver, from “the fundamental fundamentalist” to a much more welcoming faith and a journey through the dark night of the soul to acceptance and hope.

 

Episode Terminology: 

Dark Night of the Soul - 16th Century Spanish Christian mystic John of the Cross used this term to describe the feeling of being cut off from God, from a sense of being alive, from prayers being heard. Dark Night of the Soul has come to refer to a part of the spiritual life that is experienced as barrenness. In more recent times it has been discussed alongside concepts such as depression. In theological terms, the Dark Night of the Soul spoke to the idea that God is unknowable and sovereign and may remove from us the sense of divine presence resulting in a feeling of lifelessness. Similar concepts can be found in the 14th Century work called “The Cloud of Unknowing”.

 

Exodus Ministry - Exodus ministry (using the metaphor of freedom from slavery in Egypt from the Biblical Book of Exodus) was one manifestation of “ministry” to people who did not fit the culturally and religiously accepted norms in regards to sexuality. These ministries often included a kind of conversion therapy that cast healing as either not being gay anymore or as being able to control and deny such an identity in terms of behaviour. In this episode Curt speaks of his experience in Exodus as actually contributing to his self-acceptance and even as contributing to the awareness that he was not alone in his experience. Many of the leaders of Exodus disavowed the programme including the president of the organization in 2012. The ministry closed in 2013.

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Words Without Spin with Pádraig Ó Tuama

January 15th, 2021

This episode was recorded in December 2020, before the events of early 2021 in the United States. Those events offer a clear example of the problem of spin and how words can be used to heal or to harm. All insurrections begin with words. All reconciliations start with the hopeful language of healing.

 

It was a tremendous privilege to speak with Pádraig Ó Tuama. We spoke about words and language and religion. Padraig read a couple of his poems for us and reminded us of the redemptive and reconciling possibility in words. Religious language can be edifying or destructive. Too often words within religious circles have divided people from one another rather than bringing them together. Hope can come in a poem. A small, but powerful refrain can change your day or your life.

 

Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet and theologian. He is the host of Poetry Unbound, part of the On Being Project, author of Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community.

 

If you're interested in starting to read poetry but don't know where to start Pádraig suggests beginning with the following anthologies from Bloodaxe Books: Being Alive, Staying Alive, and Staying Human. 

 

Episode Terminology:

Pedagogy – referring to method or means of teaching, communicating knowledge.

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So Long 2020

January 1st, 2021

Cupboard hosts review the year that was.

Did we learn anything about humanity this year?

The terrible news was obvious and everywhere in 2020. We talk about what was hopeful, about what was disappointing, about how to see the humanity of the other.

And, remember the priest in Italy who conducted a Facebook live service not knowing that the happy, silly face filters were on? We talk about that too. 

Goodbye 2020.
Welcome 2021.

Happy New Year from Rector's Cupboard!

 

Books, articles, and links discussed in this episode:

Italian Priest on Facebook live, YouTube Video, March 25, 2020 

New Yorker Cover, December 7, 2020 

The Rise and Fall of Carl Lentz, New York Times, December 5, 2020 

Our Divided Times are an Opportunity for Empathy. Really. – The Washington Post, December 29, 2020 

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Christmas Special 2020

December 18th, 2020

Not really gathered and really very distanced.
Our second annual Christmas Special.
This year we look at the Rankin Bass Christmas TV Special called, “The Year Without a Santa Claus”.
How could it be Christmas without Santa? What if Santa got sick and sniffly and could not deliver presents?
How could it be Christmas if we can’t gather with friends and family?

 

We’re about to find out.

 

Cupboard Master Ken Bell makes a lovely “snowball” cocktail for the crew.

Merry Christmas to all!

 

Referenced in this episode:

Mall Santas – The Washington Post, November 25, 2020

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Sunny Boy with David Goa

December 4th, 2020

The Cupboard welcomes back David Goa (with a special appearance from his cat). From the context of a consideration of Fathers and Sons, we speak about parental and familial love, about power, about blessing.

 

You may have had a great relationship with your Dad, or maybe it was troubled, maybe both.

 

David reminds us that gender concepts such as masculine are not to keep us divided and apart, but rather to make us open to the other. Being open to the other calls us to a hopeful and loving engagement with people who are different than us in gender identity, sexuality and belief.

 

David also presents a powerful reading of what for many has been a terrible story – the story of Abraham and Isaac in the Bible. How are we tempted as parents to see our children through lenses of selfishness rather than through hopeful call of freedom of personality and identity?

 

We have been blessed, in this life, with the ability to pronounce blessing on others. This is a vocation of parents, also a vocation of each of us in this world.

 

Article referenced in this episode:

My Son, The Prince of Fashion - Michael Chabon, QC, September 2016 

 

This episode we enjoyed Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rare Cask Rum.

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COVID Jumps the Shark

November 20th, 2020

After Arthur Fonzarelli jumped the shark, there may have been significant episodes of Happy Days remaining, but the end was in sight. 

 

COVID 19 has been part of our world for a year now, but with the recent news of effective vaccines, there may actually be light at the end of the tunnel.

 

In the meantime, however it feels like we keep receiving the best news at the same time as the worst news. This will end, this pandemic, but before it does there will be a large number of deaths. Right now we are entering what appears to be another lockdown as case numbers spike around the world. 

 

In this episode of Rector’s Cupboard we gather to talk about if we are really, “all in this together”.  

 

This is how we treat each other? This is who we are? - Washington Post, November 2020

 

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Listening Charitably with Lisa Ruddick

November 6th, 2020

Does being human entail emotion, empathy and heart? How might we see the human in ourselves and in others? We speak with Lisa Ruddick (University of Chicago) about literary criticism as an example of the failure to see the human. Can we pay attention in order to see the deeper things? In listening beyond the hollering or viewpoint of the other, perhaps we can see their humanity.

 

Books and articles referenced in this episode:

When Nothing is Cool article – Lisa Ruddick, The Point Magazine, 2015

The Principle of Charity: Assume the Best Interpretation of People’s Arguments – Effectivology.com

The Tyranny of Merit – Michael Sandel, 2020

Wild Geese poem – Mary Oliver

 

Episode Terminology:

Bourgeoise – having to do with the middle class; and focused more on materialism, money and possessions

Post Criticism – the “critical mode” is one that has seemed to be the default mode of thinking and evaluating. Post-critical is an attempt to move past this way of understanding.

Post Humanist – sometimes thought of as “technocratic”, post-human means moving past a consideration of the human, the heart, the empathetic

Hyper-Moralism – “an error in moral reasoning in which you extend moral blame to a place that it does not belong.” There is a great deal of hyper-moralism in many fundamentalist movements and expressions

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Republican Jesus with Dr. Anthony Keddie

October 30th, 2020

SPECIAL BONUS EPISODE
Warning: This episode is political in nature. Depending where you are on the political spectrum you may find this upsetting. We don’t think that we are better than anyone else and we know that not all people share our political viewpoint. If you think that you can’t be a Christian unless you are socially and fiscally conservative, you may want to skip this one.

Have you wondered how so many evangelical Christians have come to support Donald Trump? Good question. Maybe, just maybe they are following a different Jesus.
Rector’s Cupboard gets political – kind of. Does the Jesus of the Republican Party look anything like the Jesus of the Bible, the Jesus of history? Turns out, not really. Our guest, Dr. Anthony Keddie outlines how “Republican Jesus” came to be. The origins of this particular Jesus are not quite biblical. Have you wondered how Jesus got to be a gun toting, tax averse, anti-gay crusader? Good question.

 

Articles, Books, and References:

Republican Jesus - Anthony Keddie

The Politics of Evangelical Identity – Lydia Bean

American Prophets – Jack Jenkins

Inspiration Cube Ad

 

 

Episode Terminology:

 

Tea Party - a populist political movement in the United States that gained momentum during the administration of Barack Obama. It included distrust of elites and experts and got its name from a sense of identifying with the original American protest against British rule. The Tea Party paved the way for much of the populism that finds voice many followers of Donald Trump.

 

Dominionism (Dominion Theology) - A particular theological (sometimes philosophical) understanding which holds the view that God’s work in the world is expressed through adherents exercising power and control (dominion) in a given culture. Current advocates of dominionism include large parts of Hillsong (music and teaching) and much of the Christian nationalist movement (Franklin Graham, etc.) Dominion theology tends to many problems and excesses. The assumption is that God will work his mission through the exercise of power held by the right people (the dominionists themselves). These people begin to think that it is their call and mission to gain power in the nation and in the world (not exactly reminiscent of the way of Jesus).

 

William Barber II – Poor People’s Campaign
A Pastor and political activist in the United States. Barber’s “Moral Monday” marches and much of his work focus on showing a more fulsome idea of the moral than the sometimes narrow view of right wing Christian understanding.

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The Sacred/Secular Divide with Randy Hein

October 23rd, 2020

We speak with Randy Hein about the concept of the sacred and the secular. The division is one that has often proven to be judgmental at best and dangerous at worst. We talk about how this division is one that has been present in the upbringing of many people who had or have familiarity with church. What are some better ways forward?

Books and articles referenced in this episode:

A Secular Age – Charles Taylor

Letters and Papers from Prison – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

Episode Terminology:

 

Dualism - a philosophical consideration that there is a very strong distinction between mind and body. Dualism can lead to a sharp distinction between the physical and the spiritual.

 

Manichaeism - a form of dualism that draws sharp lines between elevated spirituality and what it considers fallen physical or material. A popular example of Manicaheistic understanding is arguably present in “The Force” from the Star Wars movies.

 

This episode we enjoyed a selection of donuts from Harmony Donut Shop in North Vancouver.

Coming Up; Friday Oct. 30 - Bonus Episode, Just in time for the American election. "Republican Jesus"

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Seeing in the Darkness with Dr. Michael Boldt and Rosemary Hill

October 9th, 2020

On this episode of the Rector’s Cupboard we welcome two medical professionals who are with patients and families in some of the most difficult and painful times in life.
We speak with Michael Boldt and Rosemary Hill about what it is like to work with people in times of sorrow and loss. What can we learn in such times that we often fail to see in times of relative comfort or ease?

 

We can’t know for sure how we will respond and react at times of great uncertainty or loss in our own lives, but considering how we might see life and humanity and gratitude even in such times can help us in the tumult that comes in each of our lives.
What might it meant to be grateful amidst pain and sorrow?

There's a Mississippi Mass Choir song from years ago;

“Teach me to sing at midnight, the same song I sing today.
The same song that I sing in the daytime, is the same song I want to sing at night.”

If we can see life even in the darkness, we just might know more of what it means to be fully alive.

 

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

 

This episode we enjoyed St.Vincent made with gin from Okanagan Spirits.

If you’d like to mix yourself a St. Vincent to sip along with us here’s the recipe:

¾ ounce gin
¾ ounce light cream
¾ ounce Galliano
3 dashes grenadine

Shake all the ingredients together well, with ice, strain into your preferred drinking vessel.

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