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Richard Beck rejoins the show to discuss his new BFF Greg Boyd, Warfare Theology, agnosticism about the Devil, the weakness of Progressives’ treatment of evil, the legitimacy of Free Will, how guilt is good, his desire to make amends with his hero Nadia Bolz-Weber, and of course Lady Gaga.
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.