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patheological: The Podcast for the Pastor Theologian

Todd Littleton

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patheological: The Podcast for the Pastor Theologian
patheological: The Podcast for the Pastor Theologian

patheological: The Podcast for the Pastor Theologian

Todd Littleton

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Followers
1
Plays
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About Us

Exploring the intersection of pastoral work and theology.

Latest Episodes

Trolling Christian Twitter for Nuggets of Gold

I am more near retirement than Scott. I have grandchildren older than his newborn. He has more hair. And, fortunately for me, he did not turn the old guy away when he reached out for a conversation on the Twitter platform. Who In the World is Scott M. Coley Not long after Scott and I were talking about a podcast episode and discussing his work, I received a call from my friend Ben Cole. He dispensed with the pleasantries. Ben got straight to the point. Though not unusual, what he had to say caught me off guard. “You better leave that Scott Coley alone.” While I was thinking of what to ask next, Ben began to laugh. Had I been playing, “Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?”, I would not have guessed that Ben was in the same room with Scott. He was. If the world is smaller due to increased population, social media shrinks the degrees of our separation. Scott is a Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Saint Mary’s. His areas of study and lecture work include Epistemology (how we know), Ethics and Political Philosophy. His bio is not what caught my attention when I saw his comment on a Twitter thread I was following. It was Scott’s response. What to do? Troll. I discovered Scott’s blog, faith, philosophy & politics: social systems and Christian ethics. A broader bio is offered there, Scott M. Coley holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Purdue University and a Master’s degree in systematic theology from the University of Notre Dame. His research focuses primarily on philosophy of religion and ethics. He teaches courses in moral and political philosophy, history of philosophy and logic at a liberal arts college on the East Coast. In addition to presenting at academic conferences, Scott has published his work in the peer-reviewedInternational Journal for Philosophy of Religionand served as a peer reviewer for the journalFaith and Philosophy. Scott’s most recent post became a launching point for our conversation on this episode of patheological: the podcast for the pastor-theologian. We finish by talking about a book project he has in the works. Shamelessly I am hoping someone with publishing contacts with reach out to me so that I could make introductions and see if we could help get his book published. Stay Young My Friends My working definition for leaders has been, “Leaders are always learning.” I came to this conclusion when I was barely Scott’s age. Of the publishing of books there is no end. Quoeleth said something close in Ecclesiastes. For those of us in Christian ministry, I think particularly of pastors, of conversations with young people, young thinkers, there should be no end (for us). Scott is now part of that orbit for me. Damien. Tripp. Jason. Emily. Natalie. Scott. Tommie. Lori. KrisAnne. Johnnie. Jeremy. Phil. (At my age I know I am leaving out many young people who inspire me.) Twitter is a dangerous place. Maybe not quite like the Devilbook. But, it can be a treacherous place to troll. If you dare, you may also discover some nuggets of gold along the way. I did. If you find the podcast helpful,

72 MINSEP 27
Comments
Trolling Christian Twitter for Nuggets of Gold

Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Church of Us vs. Them: A Conversation with David Fitch

How many times have you read a Facebook/Blog post that insists, “If your pastor didn’t say anything about [most recent social injustice], you need to find a new church?” Maybe you have used this lede in an attempt to raise attention to the latest illustration of failed immigration policy, how racism has gone underground or the ways our current economic structures insist on an indentured debtor class. All of these issues and more are important. But is it possible calling out the lack of attention given in some churches gives fuel to existing antagonisms that further divide? David Fitch’s recently published, The Church of Us vs Them: Freedom from a Faith That Feeds on Making Enemies, takes aim at the antagonisms that distract the church from its call to be God’s faithful presence. It is a reversal of the reversal. Rather than live out allegiance to Jesus is Lord, discerning the faithful responses to conflicts with wisdom and grace, the church has often been caught up in antagonis...

45 MINAUG 1
Comments
Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Church of Us vs. Them: A Conversation with David Fitch

Living in Sin: A Conversation with Jason Micheli

“I forgive you.” We generally think those words follow, “I’m sorry.” The Good News of the Gospel is that God’s, “I forgive you,” comes first. That is how Jason Micheli describes Grace. God’s one-way love. Many couples at one point or another have reached for a book on marriage to help negotiate those difficult periods. Reading with a highlighter in hand pages of these books are scourged for the Holy Grail of marital success. Lists are made. Habits are rehearsed. Often these to-do’s become a greater burden than imagined. Frustration becomes the norm. What if the better way to look at marriage is to consider it a parable for the love God has for the Church? For you? Micheli takes us on just such a journey. Equipped with a reprieve from stage-serious cancer Jason breaks open our defenses with self-deprecating humor, gut-wrenching episodes of fear and uncomfortable discoveries so that his encounter with God’s grace becomes fuel for a book we all need. Today on this episode of...

51 MINJUN 3
Comments
Living in Sin: A Conversation with Jason Micheli

Plundering Egypt: A Conversation on the Passing of Rachel Held Evans

Just two days after Stan Grenz died, David Dockery began his concluding paragraph warning Baptists, specifically Southern Baptists, that Grenz might lead his readers into orthodox inconsistency. Unfortunately, his pietism didn’t translate into evangelical coherene or orthodox consistency. That was fourteen year ago. Reading some of the responses to the death of Rachel Held Evans reminded me of that incident. In fact, to demonstrate how this works, the same thing happened after the death of Jerry Falwell. No matter your theological convictions you may be sure someone will take advantage of the news of your death to point out all the error of your ways. It makes us feel better about our chosen perspective on the spectrum. Among we Southern Baptists it appears that orthodoxy is now tied to how one interprets the Scriptures regarding women in ministry – preaching or pastoring. But, one of the oldest creeds of the Christian faith does not make that issue a matter of Christian orthodoxy...

-1 sMAY 16
Comments
Plundering Egypt: A Conversation on the Passing of Rachel Held Evans

Chains of Grace: A Conversation with Rick Davis

We are all addicts. Amidst a culture bent on positivity, Karsten’s maxim could not be considered good news. He did not back down. Let’s give Karsten his conclusion. When we do we admit that we are all at the same time captive. At some point, these circumstances, addicted and captive, will lead to incarceration. When a person has served his or her time in prison, what next? Dr. Rick Davis is my guest on this episode of patheological. I met Rick in 1985. We have been friends ever since. He is also my mentor. After serving as a preacher, pastor and denominational employee since his days in high school, Rick is now the Executive Director for Chains of Grace. We recorded this conversation during Holy Week. I had hopes that it would post that week. Ministry responsibilities take precedent over my side (not) hustle. I am glad to post it today as I recently read about a survey that indicated Americans experience stress at greater levels than those in any other Country. You could say we ar...

-1 sAPR 30
Comments
Chains of Grace: A Conversation with Rick Davis

Life In Review or, A Pastor Moves Forward by Looking Back: A Conversation with Scott Scrivner

Five years ago the iconic Mummers Theater, also known as Stage Center, was demolished. Considered a modern architectural marvel, it served an interesting feature for the annual Oklahoma City Arts Festival for years. Then it flooded. Efforts to save the building failed. What eventually takes the now vacated space will be influenced by the experiences with the former structure. A person’s faith journey is not much different. Even for a pastor. On this episode of patheological: the podcast for the Pastor-Theologian, Scott Scrivner and I talk about his recent book, Life in Review: An Interactive Guide to Deconstruct Faith Toward Hope. The product of his recent Doctor of Ministry Degree where he worked with Leonard Sweet and no doubt studied semiotics, Scott combines a work that is part memoir, community reflection and guide. The book is as visually provocative as it is in its prose. Scott is Pastor of Convergence OKC and is also a graphic designer. To say this book is a bit of converge...

-1 sAPR 11
Comments
Life In Review or, A Pastor Moves Forward by Looking Back: A Conversation with Scott Scrivner

Seculosity: When Religion Leaves the Building, A Conversation with David Zahl

Are you spiritual but not religious? Maybe you are religious but not spiritual. What do those categories even mean? Are we always going to find ourselves in an Inigo Montoya moment, “You keep using that word . . . “ Religion observers and Christian leaders have for some time been offering explanations for a decline in church attendance in the West. Some contend we are experiencing an end of Christendom, a period where Christianity played a socio-cultural role in nearly every area of civic life. Others viewed the shift as a move away from religion altogether. New descriptions like the Nones and Dones have become new sociological categories used when conducting surveys of the religious habits of Americans. Is that too narrow? Meet my new friend David Zahl. His new book, Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What To Do About It, offers a different perspective on the religiosity of Americans. It is not that his idea would not have e...

-1 sAPR 2
Comments
Seculosity: When Religion Leaves the Building, A Conversation with David Zahl

Why Makes Justice So Controversial?

Oklahoma incarcerates more people per capita than any other State in the Union – men and women. Legislators work to reform our justice system. The gears turn slowly. Part of the issue turns on how we talk about justice. Last year, a group of Evangelicals, some from my tribe of Southern Baptists, developed what is referred to as the Statement on Social Justice. A list of affirmations and denials, accompanied by a list of Scriptures, has been signed by a nearly 11,000 people to date. The SJS, a shorthand for the document, took center stage in a segment at the recent Shepherd’s Conference hosted by John MacArthur Jr., one of the initial signatories. Some on the panel had signed the Statement while others had not. Even among hosts and guests, it was clear there was an underlying point of contention, if not outright division. What is it that makes justice so hard to discuss for Christians, particularly many Evangelicals? Justice, for some philosophers, is the un-deconstructable subject...

-1 sMAR 21
Comments
Why Makes Justice So Controversial?

Preaching As Resistance

Many resist preaching, listening to preachers, that is. Preachers may be the worst. I have attended denominational meetings and watched folks get up and leave when the preaching begins. Imagine thinking mundane business to be more interesting than the preacher you may not have heard before. Over the past thirty years, I have read less than a handful of preaching books. I have only listened to a few sermons over those same years outside of attending meetings where preaching placed prominently on the conference agenda. It has not been a practice to read many sermons either. Over the past couple of years that has changed. I think Joe Thorn is correct that most of us preach to ourselves before preaching to or with a congregation. Podcasts have helped to provide the means to listen to a variety of preachers and sermons. Last Fall I attended an event at my Alma Mater, Oklahoma Baptist University. The one-day conference was on Black Preaching. After that event, I ordered several suggested ...

60 MINMAR 14
Comments
Preaching As Resistance

Who Said God Can’t?

A local meteorologist described the recent F-4 tornado in Alabama. We know a thing or two about tornadoes in Oklahoma. The scene of the 24-mile swath cut by the massive tornado brought back memories of what we simply refer to in our area as, The May 3rd Tornado. It was hard to imagine the area described by a resident who lost her home as something like a forest. One of our local meteorologist looked it up and the affected area had never experienced a tornado before. I am waiting on Pat Robertson, or even John Piper, to declare what sin was being judged in rural Alabama. Like everyone else, those who rush to explain the why of these events represent our human need, at least our tendency, to look for the cause that produced the effect. Given our lack of omniscience, human beings often raise more questions in pursuit of the one answer. For Christians, the available possibilities seem to have been explored and refined but often still leave us short on comfort. On the extremes we either ...

-1 sMAR 6
Comments
Who Said God Can’t?

Latest Episodes

Trolling Christian Twitter for Nuggets of Gold

I am more near retirement than Scott. I have grandchildren older than his newborn. He has more hair. And, fortunately for me, he did not turn the old guy away when he reached out for a conversation on the Twitter platform. Who In the World is Scott M. Coley Not long after Scott and I were talking about a podcast episode and discussing his work, I received a call from my friend Ben Cole. He dispensed with the pleasantries. Ben got straight to the point. Though not unusual, what he had to say caught me off guard. “You better leave that Scott Coley alone.” While I was thinking of what to ask next, Ben began to laugh. Had I been playing, “Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?”, I would not have guessed that Ben was in the same room with Scott. He was. If the world is smaller due to increased population, social media shrinks the degrees of our separation. Scott is a Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Saint Mary’s. His areas of study and lecture work include Epistemology (how we know), Ethics and Political Philosophy. His bio is not what caught my attention when I saw his comment on a Twitter thread I was following. It was Scott’s response. What to do? Troll. I discovered Scott’s blog, faith, philosophy & politics: social systems and Christian ethics. A broader bio is offered there, Scott M. Coley holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Purdue University and a Master’s degree in systematic theology from the University of Notre Dame. His research focuses primarily on philosophy of religion and ethics. He teaches courses in moral and political philosophy, history of philosophy and logic at a liberal arts college on the East Coast. In addition to presenting at academic conferences, Scott has published his work in the peer-reviewedInternational Journal for Philosophy of Religionand served as a peer reviewer for the journalFaith and Philosophy. Scott’s most recent post became a launching point for our conversation on this episode of patheological: the podcast for the pastor-theologian. We finish by talking about a book project he has in the works. Shamelessly I am hoping someone with publishing contacts with reach out to me so that I could make introductions and see if we could help get his book published. Stay Young My Friends My working definition for leaders has been, “Leaders are always learning.” I came to this conclusion when I was barely Scott’s age. Of the publishing of books there is no end. Quoeleth said something close in Ecclesiastes. For those of us in Christian ministry, I think particularly of pastors, of conversations with young people, young thinkers, there should be no end (for us). Scott is now part of that orbit for me. Damien. Tripp. Jason. Emily. Natalie. Scott. Tommie. Lori. KrisAnne. Johnnie. Jeremy. Phil. (At my age I know I am leaving out many young people who inspire me.) Twitter is a dangerous place. Maybe not quite like the Devilbook. But, it can be a treacherous place to troll. If you dare, you may also discover some nuggets of gold along the way. I did. If you find the podcast helpful,

72 MINSEP 27
Comments
Trolling Christian Twitter for Nuggets of Gold

Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Church of Us vs. Them: A Conversation with David Fitch

How many times have you read a Facebook/Blog post that insists, “If your pastor didn’t say anything about [most recent social injustice], you need to find a new church?” Maybe you have used this lede in an attempt to raise attention to the latest illustration of failed immigration policy, how racism has gone underground or the ways our current economic structures insist on an indentured debtor class. All of these issues and more are important. But is it possible calling out the lack of attention given in some churches gives fuel to existing antagonisms that further divide? David Fitch’s recently published, The Church of Us vs Them: Freedom from a Faith That Feeds on Making Enemies, takes aim at the antagonisms that distract the church from its call to be God’s faithful presence. It is a reversal of the reversal. Rather than live out allegiance to Jesus is Lord, discerning the faithful responses to conflicts with wisdom and grace, the church has often been caught up in antagonis...

45 MINAUG 1
Comments
Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Church of Us vs. Them: A Conversation with David Fitch

Living in Sin: A Conversation with Jason Micheli

“I forgive you.” We generally think those words follow, “I’m sorry.” The Good News of the Gospel is that God’s, “I forgive you,” comes first. That is how Jason Micheli describes Grace. God’s one-way love. Many couples at one point or another have reached for a book on marriage to help negotiate those difficult periods. Reading with a highlighter in hand pages of these books are scourged for the Holy Grail of marital success. Lists are made. Habits are rehearsed. Often these to-do’s become a greater burden than imagined. Frustration becomes the norm. What if the better way to look at marriage is to consider it a parable for the love God has for the Church? For you? Micheli takes us on just such a journey. Equipped with a reprieve from stage-serious cancer Jason breaks open our defenses with self-deprecating humor, gut-wrenching episodes of fear and uncomfortable discoveries so that his encounter with God’s grace becomes fuel for a book we all need. Today on this episode of...

51 MINJUN 3
Comments
Living in Sin: A Conversation with Jason Micheli

Plundering Egypt: A Conversation on the Passing of Rachel Held Evans

Just two days after Stan Grenz died, David Dockery began his concluding paragraph warning Baptists, specifically Southern Baptists, that Grenz might lead his readers into orthodox inconsistency. Unfortunately, his pietism didn’t translate into evangelical coherene or orthodox consistency. That was fourteen year ago. Reading some of the responses to the death of Rachel Held Evans reminded me of that incident. In fact, to demonstrate how this works, the same thing happened after the death of Jerry Falwell. No matter your theological convictions you may be sure someone will take advantage of the news of your death to point out all the error of your ways. It makes us feel better about our chosen perspective on the spectrum. Among we Southern Baptists it appears that orthodoxy is now tied to how one interprets the Scriptures regarding women in ministry – preaching or pastoring. But, one of the oldest creeds of the Christian faith does not make that issue a matter of Christian orthodoxy...

-1 sMAY 16
Comments
Plundering Egypt: A Conversation on the Passing of Rachel Held Evans

Chains of Grace: A Conversation with Rick Davis

We are all addicts. Amidst a culture bent on positivity, Karsten’s maxim could not be considered good news. He did not back down. Let’s give Karsten his conclusion. When we do we admit that we are all at the same time captive. At some point, these circumstances, addicted and captive, will lead to incarceration. When a person has served his or her time in prison, what next? Dr. Rick Davis is my guest on this episode of patheological. I met Rick in 1985. We have been friends ever since. He is also my mentor. After serving as a preacher, pastor and denominational employee since his days in high school, Rick is now the Executive Director for Chains of Grace. We recorded this conversation during Holy Week. I had hopes that it would post that week. Ministry responsibilities take precedent over my side (not) hustle. I am glad to post it today as I recently read about a survey that indicated Americans experience stress at greater levels than those in any other Country. You could say we ar...

-1 sAPR 30
Comments
Chains of Grace: A Conversation with Rick Davis

Life In Review or, A Pastor Moves Forward by Looking Back: A Conversation with Scott Scrivner

Five years ago the iconic Mummers Theater, also known as Stage Center, was demolished. Considered a modern architectural marvel, it served an interesting feature for the annual Oklahoma City Arts Festival for years. Then it flooded. Efforts to save the building failed. What eventually takes the now vacated space will be influenced by the experiences with the former structure. A person’s faith journey is not much different. Even for a pastor. On this episode of patheological: the podcast for the Pastor-Theologian, Scott Scrivner and I talk about his recent book, Life in Review: An Interactive Guide to Deconstruct Faith Toward Hope. The product of his recent Doctor of Ministry Degree where he worked with Leonard Sweet and no doubt studied semiotics, Scott combines a work that is part memoir, community reflection and guide. The book is as visually provocative as it is in its prose. Scott is Pastor of Convergence OKC and is also a graphic designer. To say this book is a bit of converge...

-1 sAPR 11
Comments
Life In Review or, A Pastor Moves Forward by Looking Back: A Conversation with Scott Scrivner

Seculosity: When Religion Leaves the Building, A Conversation with David Zahl

Are you spiritual but not religious? Maybe you are religious but not spiritual. What do those categories even mean? Are we always going to find ourselves in an Inigo Montoya moment, “You keep using that word . . . “ Religion observers and Christian leaders have for some time been offering explanations for a decline in church attendance in the West. Some contend we are experiencing an end of Christendom, a period where Christianity played a socio-cultural role in nearly every area of civic life. Others viewed the shift as a move away from religion altogether. New descriptions like the Nones and Dones have become new sociological categories used when conducting surveys of the religious habits of Americans. Is that too narrow? Meet my new friend David Zahl. His new book, Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What To Do About It, offers a different perspective on the religiosity of Americans. It is not that his idea would not have e...

-1 sAPR 2
Comments
Seculosity: When Religion Leaves the Building, A Conversation with David Zahl

Why Makes Justice So Controversial?

Oklahoma incarcerates more people per capita than any other State in the Union – men and women. Legislators work to reform our justice system. The gears turn slowly. Part of the issue turns on how we talk about justice. Last year, a group of Evangelicals, some from my tribe of Southern Baptists, developed what is referred to as the Statement on Social Justice. A list of affirmations and denials, accompanied by a list of Scriptures, has been signed by a nearly 11,000 people to date. The SJS, a shorthand for the document, took center stage in a segment at the recent Shepherd’s Conference hosted by John MacArthur Jr., one of the initial signatories. Some on the panel had signed the Statement while others had not. Even among hosts and guests, it was clear there was an underlying point of contention, if not outright division. What is it that makes justice so hard to discuss for Christians, particularly many Evangelicals? Justice, for some philosophers, is the un-deconstructable subject...

-1 sMAR 21
Comments
Why Makes Justice So Controversial?

Preaching As Resistance

Many resist preaching, listening to preachers, that is. Preachers may be the worst. I have attended denominational meetings and watched folks get up and leave when the preaching begins. Imagine thinking mundane business to be more interesting than the preacher you may not have heard before. Over the past thirty years, I have read less than a handful of preaching books. I have only listened to a few sermons over those same years outside of attending meetings where preaching placed prominently on the conference agenda. It has not been a practice to read many sermons either. Over the past couple of years that has changed. I think Joe Thorn is correct that most of us preach to ourselves before preaching to or with a congregation. Podcasts have helped to provide the means to listen to a variety of preachers and sermons. Last Fall I attended an event at my Alma Mater, Oklahoma Baptist University. The one-day conference was on Black Preaching. After that event, I ordered several suggested ...

60 MINMAR 14
Comments
Preaching As Resistance

Who Said God Can’t?

A local meteorologist described the recent F-4 tornado in Alabama. We know a thing or two about tornadoes in Oklahoma. The scene of the 24-mile swath cut by the massive tornado brought back memories of what we simply refer to in our area as, The May 3rd Tornado. It was hard to imagine the area described by a resident who lost her home as something like a forest. One of our local meteorologist looked it up and the affected area had never experienced a tornado before. I am waiting on Pat Robertson, or even John Piper, to declare what sin was being judged in rural Alabama. Like everyone else, those who rush to explain the why of these events represent our human need, at least our tendency, to look for the cause that produced the effect. Given our lack of omniscience, human beings often raise more questions in pursuit of the one answer. For Christians, the available possibilities seem to have been explored and refined but often still leave us short on comfort. On the extremes we either ...

-1 sMAR 6
Comments
Who Said God Can’t?
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