Best Selling author Ian Morgan Cron returns to the show live from Malibu. We discuss his disdain for the word “relevant,” projections, living out of our true self, and the proper flooring for church buildings.
Here are a few links to subjects discussed in the podcast:
*Sean talks with us about why dads don’t babysit referencing this blog post.
*To learn more about Josh Ross’ trip to Barrow, Alaska check out this great video.
I’ve always thought the “Lessons I’ve Learned” type posts were quite egotistical, but since I’ve named the podcast Newsworthy with Norsworthy I’ve clearly made friends with egotism. So here are a 7 things I’ve learned from the first 24 shows.
1. Pastors know how to deal with pastoral issues in ways that many writers don’t. Writers also know how to write more gooder than us pastors. We clearly need both groups, but there is a unique skill that pastors develop from speaking to real people every week. So you pastors who don’t have “Author of…” on your twitter bio, please don’t think you haven’t done anything substantial. What you do have is a very particular set of skills. Skills that make you a nightmare for the demons and darkness that wage war on and inside all of us.
2. I’m drawn to faith that walks with a limp. Faith that seems too good to be true doesn’t interest me. When someone’s faith is slick it doesn’t give me anything to grasp onto. I can connect with someone’s raw humanity, but not one-size fits all oversimplification answers.
3. I am not interested in guilt driven books that tell us how we aren’t real disciples and that we need to step out more. While I’m sure that message has some truth in it, it seems to be like those psychic mediums that promise to give you a word from a dead relative or pet. I think those who claim to have clairvoyant powers have a platform because they’ve learned to speak to the generalities we all share like longing for redemption, love and meaning. I think books that make us feel guilty about not doing enough for Jesus, sell because that too is a universal. We all get that we aren’t doing enough. The guilt we feel from these books and sermons oddly enough gives us a religious buzz that makes us keep coming back, but I wonder how much sustainable transformation it actually creates.
4. “How do you get people to come on the podcast?” That’s the main questions I’m asked regarding NwN**. My current theory is the weekly phenomenon experienced by many pastors every Sunday night: The Sunday Slump***. No matter how much of your heart and soul you pour into a service it will end and then you have to move on to next week. Many of us pastors would like to run it back and enjoy the work we put into that service for anther week, but that never happens. It’s over and we’ve got to move on. When one finally publishes a book that has taken a year or two years or more to gestate that same phenomenon happens. You have to tearfully let go of your baby and move on to the next project. Most writers want to prolong the life of their project, even if that requires talking with an egotistic podcast host.
5. I’ve gotten to know some really great people with whom I’ve really enjoyed talking. I’ve regretted ending the recording on numerous occasions because I’ve had even more Newsworthy conversations once the red light stopped blinking.
6. You would be hard pressed to find any statistical evidence that shows people are attending more church services today than twenty years ago, but people are interested in spirituality. Even most church people don’t want Sunday Night or Wednesday Night church services, but after almost fifteen thousand hits in our first six months I think this podcast shows that we still have an interest in discussing spirituality even if the medium has changed.
*Okay, I’ve only posted twenty-three, but #24 with Barabara Brown Taylor will be posted on Monday. That’s not even counting the practice podcasts I will never post. (Thanks @WadeHodges, @JoshGraves and @DOBpodcast).
**Yes, I just created an acronym for my podcast. Clearly I am very good friends with egotism.
***Also known as the Holy Hangover. The melancholy or depression preachers feel after the Sunday service is over.
Francis Spufford joins the show to discuss the human potential to “mess” things up, the absence of God, suffering, his desire to go hunting with Sarah Palin and his book Unapologetic.
As a friend perused through an online dating site, she found one gentleman who had some pretty specific expectations for possible suitors. This gentleman demanded that any lady lucky enough to be his girlfriend needed a credit score over eight hundred, a four bedroom home, a blood pressure of one-hundred twenty over eighty, no debt, and a love of cooking, cleaning and exercise. This might sound like he was pretty strict with his standards, but he did graciously say if this lucky lady met all the other categories, but didn’t like to work out, there was one caveat. He would settle for someone who didn’t work out, as long as she looked as though she liked to workout.
What a catch.
This guy was in his late thirties if not in his forties, which is not a death sentence for love. But when you are that adamant about a person, checking off all of your preconceived boxes is a death sentence. Because once you get beyond the basics of similar religion, family expectations, desired location of home and move into blood pressure and body fat percentages, you are displaying the selfish tendencies that destroy relationships. But for some of us, when things start getting away from us, we can’t seem to help but reach out for more control.
While on ESPN’s B.S. Report, Malcolm Gladwell opined that the demise of the newspaper industry was correlated to the industry’s rigid adherence to a silo mentality. In the newspaper world, sports writers don’t venture into politics; political writers don’t venture in business. And there is no thought of changing this, if anything they are going to double down on this commitment, because as Gladwell continued, when in decline institutions become more conservative and pull in the reigns even tighter.
Adversity tempts us to grasp for something regardless of how stable it might be. Like sometimes when we might be lacking meaningful friendships, instead of re-assessing our understanding of friendships and how we treat the friends we do have, many will amp up expectations for the relationships we do currently have, and in that process we will smother them. Instead of fixing the void, we just make the void more pronounced. That’s the problem of momentum. There’s actually no problem when you have it, because when things are going well, it’s like you are going downhill on a skateboard. One little push keeps the wheels rolling for a long time. When you have plenty of friendships, you attract more because you are happy and people want to be around happy people. When your dating life is going well, other potential singles (and sometimes not singles) see you and assume you must have things going on. When your newspaper is selling and your site is getting hits, you feel like you can branch out and do whatever passion projects you want. Having momentum makes just about everything better.
The real question is how do you reverse the momentum?
A kitesurfing rig consists of a belt or seat, which is connected to a bar that’s connected to your kite. The bar is the only thing for you to hold onto, but its real function is to be your gas pedal. When you pull on it, you go faster. As a novice even though you have been told that the bar isn’t for keeping you upright, your hands will not believe your mind. Whenever you start to feel like you are going too fast, you intuitively pull back on the bar. Here in lies the problem. When you pull back on the bar, it causes the kite to catch more wind, thus making you go faster. So when you start to go too fast, you can’t do the natural reaction of pulling back, but you must do the counter-intuitive thing, follow the wisdom of Frozen and let it go.
If the heavily descriptive internet-dating gentleman would ever email me for some advice, this is what I’d tell him. Accept that you aren’t going to get what you want in a woman. You will never find the perfect blood pressured woman with a penchant for good cooking and good credit scores. That’s going to be a hard pill to swallow. But just go ahead and swallow it, pretend like it’s a Lisinopril. But once you do get that down, you might be available to actually meet the real people in front of you. And you might also be able to meet yourself for the first time, instead of the idealized version of yourself that makes you feel entitled to some idealized woman.
It’s the same counter-intuitive wisdom we all must embrace day in and day out. When you’ve made peace with not getting what you want, you are able to receive whatever life brings before you.
Senior columnist for Religion News Service Jonathan Merritt joins the show to talk about his recent post and the post’s pushback, “Setting the record straight on Jesus, ‘Friend of sinners,'” the interplay of faith and mystery, sexuality, and his new book coming out April 1st Jesus is Better than You Imagined.