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For the Life of the World / Yale Center for Faith & Culture

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For the Life of the World / Yale Center for Faith & Culture

Miroslav Volf, Matthew Croasmun, Ryan McAnnally-Linz, Drew Collins, Evan Rosa

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What is a life worthy of our humanity? How can we live it? Featuring Yale's Miroslav Volf, Ryan McAnnally-Linz, Matt Croasmun, and Drew Collins for conversations exploring theology and culture. Hosted by Evan Rosa. A production of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture.
 
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Jesus's teaching to be in but not of the world (John 17:14-15) has gone from a mode of prophetic witness that could lead to martyrdom, to bumper sticker ethics that either feeds the trolls or fuels the tribe. We're in a moment where the ways that Christianity's influence on culture—and vice versa—are writ large and undeniable. And yet, how are we t…
 
Over the past two centuries, colleges have slowly replaced theology departments with religious studies departments. But what happens when theology becomes religious studies? It can produce a more neutral, observational approach that might not fully appreciate the normative claims of religious adherents and their values, commitments, and beliefs. A …
 
"Real wars always begin with culture wars." Theologian Aristotle Papanikolaou discusses Eastern Orthodox perspectives on war and violence; the impact of Communism on Eastern Orthodox theology; the complicated ecclesial structures of Eastern Orthodoxy, where bishops, patriarchs, and nation-states interact in unpredictable ways; he reflects on Easter…
 
What is the future of theology? We asked that question of several leading theologians 7 years ago, including today's featured guest, Katherine Sonderegger, The William Meade Chair of Systematic Theology at Virginia Theological Seminary, a priest in the Episcopal Church, and has written widely, covering Creation, Christology, Election, the Jewishnes…
 
Miroslav Volf offers his personal reflections about the war on Ukraine. His theological and ethical commentary speaks to various facets of the situation, including: the global cultural clash between authoritarian nationalism and pluralistic democracy; the primacy and priority of God's universal and unconditional love for all humanity, including evi…
 
Today we're sharing a conversation between Miroslav Volf and Fyodor Raychynets, a former student of Miroslav's when he taught at Evangelical Theological Seminary in Osijek, Croatia in the early '90s. Fyodor is a theologian and pastor in Kyiv, and is head of the department of theology at Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary on the northwest ou…
 
Willie James Jennings (Yale Divinity School) joins Matt Croasmun for a conversation about the future of theology, addressing the Christian inability to hold complexity, public communication, and deep formation together in a way that shows how theology is for our very lives. Seven years ago the Yale Center for Faith and Culture interviewed a diverse…
 
As Christians around the world heard these words spoken on Ash Wednesday this past week, as an ashen oil was smudged to their brows, the world watched on in horror and grief over the brutality and aggression against Ukraine. In a swift movement of solidarity, we're all still are left with difficult and enduring questions. Why this war? What is at s…
 
Jazz pianist Julian Reid on music, theology, and improvisation. The keys element of The JuJu Exchange uses the history of blues, gospel, and jazz to discuss how we communicate emotionally and spiritually through music, teaching an important lesson in how to live and long for home while we remain exiles. Features score from The JuJu Exchange's lates…
 
"I am because they were." Lisa Sharon Harper joins Miroslav Volf to discuss the significance of narrative history for understanding ourselves and our current cultural moment; the sequence of repeated injustices that have haunted America's past and directly impacted Black Americans for hundreds of years; the Christian nationalist temptation to hoard…
 
Jemar Tisby, author of the NYT bestseller The Color of Compromise, explains the complicity and compromise of American Christians; the narrative war that confederate monuments wage (and how they were erected much later than you might think); the ugly theological justifications of racism and the shameful history of Christian white supremacy; the frau…
 
Sameer Yadav comments on Howard Thurman's Civil Rights Theology, Ryan McAnnally-Linz reflects on the spiritual and moral significance of David Walker's "Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World," and Stacey Floyd-Thomas talks about racial oppression via vicious humility and the life-giving dignity of Black joy. #BlackHistoryMonth Show Notes Thre…
 
Can we find joy in our world? It's hard enough to find genuine, death-defying joy in the wake of the failure of the modern utopian project, the expectation that human reason and technology and political revolution might save us all. Overlay the malaise of modernity with this dumb pandemic, and the prospects for joy seem bleak. But for N.T. Wright, …
 
"Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness... " (Martin Luther King, Jr., April 3, 1968) The day before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. preached these words in Memphis, Tennessee. In a powerful and urgent message for sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee that's come to be known "I've Been to the Mountaintop," he considers the…
 
Democracy in America and abroad is under threat. Authoritarian regimes, nationalisms of many stripes, a loss sense of the value of democratic participation among younger generations, and a growing cynicism and suspicion of our neighbors all threaten freedom and flourishing. In this episode, Miroslav Volf, Marilynne Robinson, Charles Taylor, Kevin L…
 
Miroslav Volf and Evan Rosa consider audience questions and feedback about hopes and fears going into 2022. A reflective conversation about politics and theology, the aims of theological writing, suffering and the problem of evil, the loss of the middle ground in our polarized era (and Miroslav questions whether "middle" is even a Christian categor…
 
"Don't dare think that somehow your conversation with Mary and your interest in her is in competition with your relationship with Christ. ... You are flirting with heresy if you do not have a doctrine of Mary as mother of God." —Matthew Milliner What is the role of the Virgin Mary in Christian spiritual formation? Art historian Matthew Milliner (Wh…
 
"Her hands steadied the first steps of him who steadied the earth to walk upon; her lips helped the Word of God to form his first human words." (St. John of Damascus) Who is Mary? Why is she called "Theotokos"? Frederica Mathewes-Green, an Eastern Orthodox writer and educator, joins Evan Rosa for a discussion about Mary, the Mother of God. During t…
 
In the midst of war, the loss of his mother, and the heartbreak of unrequited love, poet W.H. Auden was rediscovering his faith. And the fitting response to the darkness and despair and apathy around him, he thought, was the Christmas event. So he set to work on a Christmas Oratorio called For the Time Being. Originally meant to be performed and su…
 
"I wrestle not against flesh and blood." (David Dark's Ephesians 6:12 mantra) / According to David Dark (Belmont University), each of us occupy a variety of robots—roles, titles, occupations, institutions, conglomerates, ways of being, social norms, etc.—and these robots exert a cultural force, sometimes benign, but then again, sometimes violently …
 
"To be a poet is to be an exile," says poet Christian Wiman. He echoes the most influential writer on his early life and work, Simone Weil, who wrote in her Gravity & Grace: "We must take the feeling of being at home into exile. We must be rooted in the absence of a place." Wiman spent most of the 2020 leg of the pandemic curating a story about hom…
 
Happy Thanksgiving! We often misunderstand gratitude as either a means to our subjective well-being or as an obligation of debt to a giver. So what is the emotion of gratitude? Sameer Yadav (Westmont College) joins Ryan McAnnally-Linz to reflect on a better way to understand gratitude than owing it, being in debt to another person, seeing gratitude…
 
What can the faith of the migrant teach us about a living theology? The resilience and communal outlook of immigrants offers a way of seeing human relationships—political, social, religious—as porous and permeable, meant to encounter God in the other, welcoming each other in love and hospitality. Francisco Lozada (Brite Divinity School) joins Evan …
 
Can Christianity survive in the Middle East? Ancient communities of Christian faithful are currently being decimated not just by religious violence, persecution, and war—but the economic factors that motivate emigration and refuge. Janine Di Giovanni is an award-winning journalist and war correspondent, and is Senior Fellow at Yale University's Jac…
 
As the political world casts a leery eye on Christians—especially as the meaning of "Evangelical" changes—the focus on the meaning and purpose of the pastor is especially relevant. Amidst our consumeristic, narcissistic culture, what does it mean to pursue self-care? How does caring for oneself square with caring about what Jesus cares about? (Even…
 
Julian Reid explores the way music and scripture can come together to create a sacred space. Extending metaphors of music as architecture and dwelling and spiritual experience as a river, the jazz pianist, producer, writer, and performer explains a recent project of his, "Notes of Rest," combining African-American spirituals with classical hymns fo…
 
Over-worked or over-entertained? Our humanity gives us the joint gifts of both activity and passivity. We act and we are acted upon. But how do we balance and mediate these states? How do we cultivate long practices and habits that help us to inhabit the space between activity and passivity, bringing them together in a beautiful agency? Poet and li…
 
This is Part 2 of 2—don't miss the previous conversation with Charles Taylor on "What's Going Wrong with Our Democracies?" This episode was made possible in part by the generous support of the Tyndale House Foundation. For more information, visit tyndale.foundation. Part 2 of 2: Philosopher Charles Taylor joins Miroslav Volf and Ryan McAnnally-Linz…
 
Philosopher Charles Taylor joins Miroslav Volf and Ryan McAnnally-Linz for a two-part conversation about what's gone wrong with our democracies and finding common moral understanding. They discuss Christian nationalism, authoritarian government, the future viability of Christian faith and practice, the chaos of the post-truth epistemic crisis that’…
 
The world today seem to prefer politics to morality, a personal brand to inner character, resume virtues that achieve success over eulogy virtues that reveal who you truly are... and it like this from the news to Instagram, at PTA meetings and little league fields, from the grocery store line to the protest front lines. David Brooks thinks we need …
 
What is the shape of a flourishing human life? Once upon a time this question came pre-answered—by culture or tribe, by religion or philosophy, by tradition or way of life—but these days, given our increasingly individualized world and its emphasis on autonomy and self-expression, given the breakdown of social trust and the increasing degree of pol…
 
As the first plane was crashing into the World Trade Center, Miroslav Volf was giving an address at the UN headquarters along the East River in Manhattan, just blocks away from Ground Zero. As the first plane shook the first tower and smoke rose into the sky, Miroslav was quoting Romanian poet Paul Celan. Specifically, his poem "Death Fugue"—which …
 
You can't just chatter about patience. If patience moderates our sorrows, then it's ultimately a deeper spiritual virtue that can't be instrumentalized to feel better—it's more deeply connected to a joy and hope that recognizes to what and to whom we are in demand, to whom we're responsible, brings closer attention to the present moment, and acknow…
 
"It's just that I know it's real. The Lord is ever present in trouble. And you can know, and be known, and love, and be loved by God. And that's different than thinking about God." Ethicist Adam Eitel on the tasting and seeing of Psalm 34, Thomas Aquinas's interpretation of that psalm, and the foundation of experience for theological reflection. Bo…
 
"We are creatures in time." Today, the Reverend Tish Harrison Warren explores patience as spiritual formation. She’s an Anglican priest and author of Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life, which was Christianity Today's 2018 Book of the Year, and Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work, or Watch, or Weep. She recently started a…
 
What is the place of patience in a life worth living? Evidence from psychology suggests that it plays an important role in managing life's stresses, contributing to a greater sense of well-being, and is even negatively correlated with depression and suicide risk. Psychologist Sarah Schnitker (Baylor University) explains her research on patience, ho…
 
"So here's a fact of human life. We have sorrow and, in many ways, That's neither here nor there, neither good nor bad, but we know intuitively that there are ways in which our sorrow can become excessive or misplaced.What the virtue of patience does is it moderates sorrow or constrains it, so it doesn't go beyond its proper limit. When we become t…
 
"God's patience empowers us to act. ... Human beings are called to respond to God's patience. Human beings are called to make good on God's patience. The covenant of grace, which is fulfilled in Christ and which is animated by the spirit, makes that a possibility. It's not an easy possibility of real life. I mean, not just because of sin and finitu…
 
What does patience have to do with money? It's much more than timing the market just right. The economic factors of our market economy hold great sway over our relationship to the past, present, and future. Theologian Kathryn Tanner reflects on the ways finance-dominated capitalism controls our experience of time, and offers insights for a Christia…
 
Modern life presents a crisis of time, bringing the value of patience into question. Andrew Root joins Ryan McAnnally-Linz to provide some context for our modern patience predicament. As a professor of youth ministry at Luther Seminary, he has years of both experience and careful thinking about what it means for kids, families, churches, and commun…
 
"Be with me, Madam Jazz, I urge you now, / Riff in me so I can conjure how / You breathe in us more than we dare allow." (Micheal O'Siadhail, The Five Quintets) Irish poet Micheal O'Siadhail and theologian David Ford discuss the improvisational jazz that emerges in the interplay of poetry and theology, riffing on life and love, the meaning of coven…
 
"The artist has the ability to direct the attention of the audience. If you agree to engage with their work, then they will show you something. And you agree to pay attention to that thing. And I think the act of attending to things is basically the act of love. And when I look at the life of Christ, he's forever drawing people's attention to thing…
 
Is it possible for anyone to change their mind anymore? Matt Croasmun welcomes theologian and ethicist Nichole Flores (University of Virginia) onto the show for a discussion of changing our minds in political and religious contexts. They discuss the meaning of intellectual, political, and religious conversion; how aesthetic and emotional experience…
 
In celebration of Juneteenth, Jamal-Dominique Hopkins and Angela Gorrell offer appreciation Old Testament scholar Charles B. Copher and Christian Educator Anne Streaty Wimberly. About Charles B. Copher Charles Buchanan Copher (1913-2003), a United Methodist minister and Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Scholar, held an illustrative academic career at his…
 
"It's not just internal peace. It's internal healing. Healing of your memory." (Kevin Lau) After suffering a brutal knife attack that nearly killed him, journalist Kevin Lau, then editor-in-chief of Ming Pao, chose to forgive his two attackers. Since then, he has continued to support social participation through deep Christian spirituality. In this…
 
"Jesus is the great kintsugi master." "Something that's broken is already more valuable than when it's whole." "The imagination creates, through the fractures, a river of gold, a mountain of gold." Makoto Fujimura joins Miroslav Volf to discuss Art & Faith: A Theology of Making. Fujimura is a painter who practices the Japanese art of nihonga, or sl…
 
How should we respond to the pain of others? We are too often quick to justify God's permitting horrendous evils, answering why, and talking too much. In this episode, theologian David Kelsey reflects on Human Anguish and God's Power, noticing the anomaly of evil and its wild and inexplicable grip on creatures, the constant temptation of such creat…
 
"I am because they were." Lisa Sharon Harper joins Miroslav Volf to discuss the significance of narrative history for understanding ourselves and our current cultural moment; the sequence of repeated injustices that have haunted America's past and directly impacted Black Americans for hundreds of years; the Christian nationalist temptation to hoard…
 
A conversation on the ancient wisdom of Christian forgiveness, between Yale psychologist Laurie Santos (host, The Happiness Lab) and Miroslav Volf. Recently appearing on The Happiness Lab, Miroslav and Laurie discuss his older brother's tragic death as a child and his family's response to forgive. Miroslav reflects on the formative impact of these …
 
"The tears were always there. / You just didn’t recognize my face." Author, artist, and theologian Sarah Shin reads her poem "Beyond Invisible"—a response to the March 2021 Atlanta shootings that left six Asian women dead—a crescendo of increasing anti-Asian violence. Sarah's poem and her husband Shin Maeng's accompanying illustration ask the point…
 
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