Worst Church EverSep 23, 2023
Psalm 145 Part 2: Slow to Anger, Rich in Love
Praise in the Image of God
Fig Trees and Muffled Hearts
The Problem with Piety: Romans 14:13-5:2
Psalm 77 Unplugged
Ep 17: Isaac, Jacob, and Esau: Repeated Motifs and Traumas in Genesis 25
Season 2 is here! In this episode:
Isaac mourns the death of his mother...by consummating his marriage to Rebekah in his mother's tent.
Isaac builds a life...in the same place Sarah banished Hagar and Ishmael.
Isaac tries to rewrite the story of lost birthrights and unwanted sons...by picking a favorite son.
These and more motifs repeat because trauma repeats.
Season 2 Prelaunch: UAPs, Disclosure, and Observations of the Soul
What should we make of the mainstreaming of the UAP phenomenon? Insights from Anton Zellinger, quantum physics, and St. Paul.
Bonus Episode 7: I Kissed Youth Group Goodbye (A Purity Culture/Joshua Harris Deep Dive)
Picture it. Youth group. 1997. What the hell are these people talking about?
Part look back at how "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" crept into my (mostly) Mainline church, part look back at that weird AF subculture.
Trigger warnings: purity culture, sexual assault.
Ep 16: Shame and Mourning in the Negev: Isaac Does the Work (Genesis 24)
We wanted to call this episode "Sarah Dies/Abraham's Thighs," or "More Weird Shit with Abraham" but those aren't the most important parts of the story. What Isaac does after the death of his mother is one of our first "Holy Shit" (in a good way?) moments thus far. We've read this text many times, but it still caught us completely off guard.
Ep 15: Altar-Bound Isaac, Trauma-Bound God (The Binding of Isaac, Genesis 22)
There's no way around it: the Binding of Isaac is an inescapably terrible story. Let's get to it.
Ep. 14 - Hagar and Ishmael: Headfakes & Heartbreaks (Genesis 21)
"A few chapters back, Sarah tells Abraham to get rid of Hagar, and Abraham says “she’s your slave. She’s your issue. Do whatever you want.” In other words, you’ve already trafficked this Egyptian to me, I’ve already raped her, I don’t give a shit.” But now, oh, but now. But now there is a son involved, and so now, this jackass seems to care..."
(but not that much...)
"You’d think maybe Father Abraham would at the very least clue Hagar in to the fact that the boy will not only be spared, but greatly blessed. Even if he didn’t give a shit about Hagar’s trauma (this is her second banishment, after all), he’d at the very least want to reassure her and the boy that every little thing is gonna be alright. Well, you can invent those conversations if you want to, but they’re not in the text..."
Bonus Episode 6: OUTTAKE on the Southern Baptist Convention and the misnomer of "conservatism."
Bonus Episode 5: Quantum Gospel, Cosmic Christ
The Incarnation of God as the willful cosmic wave-collapse response to our penchant for creating (not just choosing) evil. Schrodinger (sans cat), my snoring dogs, the Upanishads, Jesus, warm milk, and melatonin.
Episode 13: Lot's Daughters Keep the Score (Genesis 19 concluded)
As we move through Genesis 19, familiar patterns are starting to emerge. We see the patriarchs, matriarchs, and their families recreating trauma in destructive cycles. As noted in the last episode, this tracks with what modern neuroscience knows about the ways in which "the body keeps the score." Trigger warnings: incest, rape.
Bonus Episode 4: Another Bite of the Apple...
It's under four minutes long. You could do a lot worse.
Episode 12: The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah Was Never About Homosexuality (Genesis 19)
In this extended episode, we follow the Genesis narrative(s) into Chapter 19, and we take some journeys to later Christian scripture. This might be a good episode for your next 40-minute commute.
Episode 11: Abraham's Big, Bad Daddy Issues (Genesis 18)
"...You can believe in that God if you want to, but keep him (always him) far away from me..."
Bonus Episode 3: It Could Have Gone *This* Way (The Rich Young Ruler Reimagined)
How we wish the story of the Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10) would have gone. (And lo but for the grace of God go we..)
Episode 10: Circumcision, Power, and Violence (Genesis 17)
Who gets to choose who puts (which) skin in the game, and why does it matter?
Episode 9: Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar: The Perpetuation of Sexual Trauma in Genesis 16
The story of Sarah and Hagar through the lens of reproduced trauma and family (?) systems. Trigger warning: sexual assault, trafficking, and rape.
Episode 8: Some Spaces Between (Genesis 15)
We're repainting a room and the fumes are getting to us. This episode looks at the covenant ritual in Genesis 15, and was interrupted by the church dog, its own outro, and just a bit of Abraham fatigue. We humbly share it anyway. Enjoy!
Episode 7: Sarah: Sister, Wife, and Trafficked Matriarch (Genesis 12)
We consider the competing narrative claims of "indigenous" Judeans and repatriating exiles in the formation of the Genesis text; we also look at Karen Gonzalez's 2019 piece on Sarah as a human trafficking survivor. TW: Human Trafficking.
Bonus Episode 2: Kevin Max Is Just Being Honest
Kevin Max, Carl Sandburg, and Exvangelicals, oh my! Also, the Oxford Comma.
Bonus Episode: "To A Contemporary Bunkshooter" by Carl Sandburg
Published in 1916, this poem is at once a meditation on Jesus and Sandburg's "statement of faith" against sham religion. Aimed at prosperity-preaching fundamentalists in general (and Billy Sunday specifically), Sandburg contrasts the wealth and "work" of these hucksters against the extreme poverty of their target audience and the true "free as air and sunlight" message of Christ.
Episode 6: The Calling of Abraham, the Compiling of Scripture (Genesis 12 - 15)
In today's episode, we look at the first call of Abram/Abraham and begin to consider what the content of these stories says about the the circumstances of their composition, how that relates to competing (or complimentary?) agendas and needs, the codification of the Torah, and more.
Episode 5: Introducing Abraham
"My fundamentalist neighbor needs me to believe a tradition about what the Bible is before I get to meet Jesus. I just don’t think that’s how Jesus works..."
Episode 4: Every New Beginning Part 2
"Hello and Welcome to Worst Church Ever, the show that rolls its sleeves up to play in the mud with Yahweh, even though our fundamentalist neighbor thinks we ought to keep the Holy action at a distance and call God Elohim..."
Episode 3: Every New Beginning Part 1
"Everyone born downstream of Los Alamos, Nagasaki and Hiroshima are children of the atom, that’s not just some cool turn of phrase Stan Lee used to launch the X-Men. Everyone born downstream of Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, are children of that same revolution. We’ve got all the good things Neil Young talks about on Free World, and I’d add things like pasteurized milk, modern medicine, and yes, friends, vaccinations..."
Episode 2: The Deep, Deep Magic (Forever's Gonna Start Tonight)
"I said listen, brother, you’re a smart guy, you know this so-called liberal view of scripture isn’t new, I didn’t make it up, it’s the balance of the Christian tradition..."
"The cross of Jesus Christ upends the story of empire, it lifts up the true story that our highest calling is not our status or success in the eyes of Jerusalem or Rome or Madison Avenue, but in solidarity with and support of people on the margins..."
Episode 1: The Fundamentalist Next Door
"I know all the moves," I said. "I grew up in that circus..."