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God Help Us

Annie Mesaros

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God Help Us
God Help Us

God Help Us

Annie Mesaros

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About Us

Like it or not, the United States has a long and intimate relationship with Christianity. Listen in every other week with progressive theologian Annie Mesaros and her guests as they delve into what Christianity is and isn’t, what it has been and what it could be. We hope that by better understanding where religious conservatives are coming from, we can be better conversation partners across difference and contribute to sustainable, collaborative social change.

Latest Episodes

The Old Testament with J. P. Kang

In this episode, the Rev. Dr. J. P. Kang joins Annie to discuss the Old Testament. J. P. has been an Associate Pastor at Japanese Presbyterian Church of Seattle since 2009 and an Affiliate member of the Theology Faculty at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology since 2014 where he teaches biblical languages and literature. The son of Presbyterian missionaries, he grew up in Africa and Asia before returning to the U.S. for higher education, which was when he began to discern a call to ministry. J. P. is here to help Annie unpack both what the Old Testament is and isn’t - and then to discuss some of how the Old Testament is used culturally and politically today in the US. In this episode, J. P. recommends Aviya Kushner’s The Grammar of God; Robert Alter’s The Hebrew Bible; David Carr’s Holy Resilience; Mark Smith’s The Genesis of Good and Evil; Emily M. D. Scott’s article “The Bible’s #MeToo Problem”; Jacqueline Vayntrub’s “Sexy Sunday School: Naughty Bible Translation”; and Bruce Metzger’s New York Times obituary. Find more content from J. P. on his church’s website, jpresby.org. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros. Finally, a special announcement! Annie is collaborating with Coastland Commons, a New Worshipping Community of the Presbyterian Church (USA), that gathers every month for dinner, conversation, and to engage in spiritual practices. Annie will be partnering with them for their October event and would love to see you there! It’s Monday, October 21, 6-8pm at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Ballard. Keep an eye on our social media for more details in the coming weeks!

61 MIN1 days ago
Comments
The Old Testament with J. P. Kang

Crisis in the Catholic Church with Rick Gaillardetz

In this episode, Dr. Richard Gaillardetz joins Annie to discuss crises in the Catholic church. Rick is a Catholic lay theologian and a professor at Boston College who studies and teaches on the Catholic church. A husband and father of four, Rick has his PhD in theology and is a prolific author. Treating the sexual abuse perpetrated by priests as a symptom of more fundamental issues in the church, Rick identifies three deeper crises: clerical culture, authority, and gender and sexuality. He advocates for reforms that address the root issues to prevent more violent and tragic symptoms from continuing to emerge. We also discuss the politics of demonization and the importance of disagreeing well. For further exploration, Rick recommends reading Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church by Marie Keenan, Clericalism: the Death of Priesthood by George Wilson, and a paper produced by the Boston College Priesthood Seminar entitled “To Serve the People of God.” Find Rick’s publications and speaking schedule at gaillardetz.com. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

66 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Crisis in the Catholic Church with Rick Gaillardetz

Women with Authority with Kari Olson

Throughout the history of Christianity, people have used the Bible to try to ban women from leading. In this episode of God Help Us, I talk with Pastor Kari Olson about what the Bible says about women having authority in the church and over men and what those implications might be for our social and political lives in a country steeped in Christian heritage. In this episode, Kari mentions the books Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans and Junia: First Woman Apostle by Eldon Jay Epp. For further reading, she recommends Young Clergy Women International’s online magazine and the Women’s Bible Commentary. You can find more content from Kari and reach out to her via fallspres.org and by following East Falls Presbyterian Church on Facebook. Two sites I mention in this episode are The Junia Project, a progressive site about egalitarian leadership - and Desiring God, a site by John Piper that promotes hierarchical gender roles. You can follow me at anniemesaros.com and email me at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com. You can also follow God Help Us on Facebook and Instagram @GodHelpPod.You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

63 MINAUG 22
Comments
Women with Authority with Kari Olson

Complicating the Narrative with Kelsey Wallace

Kelsey Wallace, a PhD student in the Bible and Cultures program at Drew Theological School, joins Annie to discuss the biblical story of Jephthah’s daughter as told in Judges 11:29-40. One of the many nameless women in the Bible who suffers terrible and senseless violence, Jephthah’s daughter has been largely forgotten by many of us. We offer a feminist reading of the story and relate it to the #MeToo movement and family separation at the US/Mexico border and even slip in an anecdote from Lindy West’s book, Shrill. For further study on our topic, Kelsey recommends the Women’s Bible Commentary, a series of biblical commentaries by Bloomsbury Publishing called “The Feminist Companion To…”, and publications by the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. For more from Kelsey, visit kelseyerinwallace.com and follow her on Twitter @kwall03. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

61 MINAUG 8
Comments
Complicating the Narrative with Kelsey Wallace

Empire with Angela Parker

In this episode, Annie talks empire with Dr. Angela Parker, a womanist scholar and assistant professor of New Testament and Greek at Mercer University. Angela has a PhD in Bible, Culture, and Hermeneutics with an emphasis on the New Testament and challenges her students to read the biblical text through the lens of life under the oppressive Roman empire and how that can shape its application today. Angela recommends a number of resources for further exploration - Racializing Jesus, by Shawn Kelley; Postcolonial Feminist Interpretations of the Bible, by Musa Dube; podcasts she has recorded with Dan Allender such as this one on power and hierarchy in biblical Corinth; and "Can't Stop the Feelings: Anger and Identity in Mark 6:17-29," an article she published in The Other Journal. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

62 MINJUL 25
Comments
Empire with Angela Parker

Church with Jen Jepsen

In this episode of God Help Us, join me and pastor Jen Jepsen about her church journey from perfectionism to disillusionment, to co-planting and pastoring a church. We talk about what church is, what it could be, and its inherently political nature. For more from Jen, check out her sermons at Left Hand Church, particularly their series called “We are Family.” You can also follow Left Hand on Facebook and find Jen’s blog at jenniferjepsen.org. Great resources for finding affirming, egalitarian churches in your area are The W/ Collective and Church Clarity. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

61 MINJUL 11
Comments
Church with Jen Jepsen

Clarity with Sarah Ngu

This episode addresses the pervasive problem of ambiguity in church leadership policies. Specifically, are women and LGBTQ people allowed to serve at every level of a congregation? And is the leadership transparent about their glass ceilings? Today’s guest, Sarah Ngu, is a writer, speaker, ministry leader, host of the Religious Socialism podcast, and co-founder of churchclarity.org. Learn more about Church Clarity’s work on their FAQ page and their resource page. Sarah also specifically calls out this blog post on North Point Ministries. Find more content from Sarah at religioussocialism.org, at sarahngu.com, and by following her on Twitter @sarahngu. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

45 MINJUN 27
Comments
Clarity with Sarah Ngu

Interfaith Collaboration with Michael Hidalgo

In this episode, Annie talks with Michael Hidalgo, lead pastor of Denver Community Church. He’s the host of the Changing Faith Podcast, and the author of two books: Unlost: Being Found by the One We Are Looking For, and Changing Faith: Questions, Doubts, and Choices about the Unchanging God. Annie and Michael discuss his involvement with interfaith work - and how when they were both conservative Christians, understanding Jesus as The Way implied that all the other ways are the wrong way, making it difficult to form genuine, collaborative relationships with people of other faiths. Michael recommends reading The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, by M. Scott Peck and Mending the Divides, by Jer Swigart and John Huckins. You can find more content from Michael at michael-hidalgo.com, on Instagram @michaeljhidalgo and on Facebook at Michael Hidalgo. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

60 MINJUN 13
Comments
Interfaith Collaboration with Michael Hidalgo

Civility with Mike Purdy

In this episode, presidential historian, author, and speaker Mike Purdy joins Annie to talk about civility through the lens of his new book, 101 Presidential Insults: What they Really Thought about Each Other and What It Means to Us. In addition to his own book, Mike recommends reading The Soul of America by John Meacham and The Case for Civility - and Why Our Future Depends on It by Os Guiness. Follow Mike’s work and find links to his contributions to national media outlets at presidentialhistory.com, follow him on Twitter @PresHistory, Facebook, and Instagram @PresidentialHistorian. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

68 MINMAY 30
Comments
Civility with Mike Purdy

Augustine with Lauren Sawyer

This episode is dedicated to the great Rachel Held Evans who passed away on May 4, 2019. Please hold her family in your hearts in the wake of their deep loss. Today, Annie is joined by Lauren D. Sawyer to talk about a curious and problematic figure in Christian history: Augustine. His legacy has perpetuated some harmful beliefs about original sin, and in particular sexuality and desire and that’s why he’s worth knowing about. Lauren is a Ph.D. student in Christian Social Ethics at Drew Theological School. Her current research focuses on how women and LGBTQ folks develop moral agency under the constraints of white evangelical purity culture. And she also works as Submissions Editor for the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. Lauren recommends Feminist Interpretations of Augustine, edited by Judith Stark; Desire and Delight by Margaret Miles; and Confessions by Augustine - translated by Sarah Ruden. Follow Lauren on Twitter @ldsawyer and find her work at laurendsawyer.com. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

73 MINMAY 16
Comments
Augustine with Lauren Sawyer

Latest Episodes

The Old Testament with J. P. Kang

In this episode, the Rev. Dr. J. P. Kang joins Annie to discuss the Old Testament. J. P. has been an Associate Pastor at Japanese Presbyterian Church of Seattle since 2009 and an Affiliate member of the Theology Faculty at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology since 2014 where he teaches biblical languages and literature. The son of Presbyterian missionaries, he grew up in Africa and Asia before returning to the U.S. for higher education, which was when he began to discern a call to ministry. J. P. is here to help Annie unpack both what the Old Testament is and isn’t - and then to discuss some of how the Old Testament is used culturally and politically today in the US. In this episode, J. P. recommends Aviya Kushner’s The Grammar of God; Robert Alter’s The Hebrew Bible; David Carr’s Holy Resilience; Mark Smith’s The Genesis of Good and Evil; Emily M. D. Scott’s article “The Bible’s #MeToo Problem”; Jacqueline Vayntrub’s “Sexy Sunday School: Naughty Bible Translation”; and Bruce Metzger’s New York Times obituary. Find more content from J. P. on his church’s website, jpresby.org. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros. Finally, a special announcement! Annie is collaborating with Coastland Commons, a New Worshipping Community of the Presbyterian Church (USA), that gathers every month for dinner, conversation, and to engage in spiritual practices. Annie will be partnering with them for their October event and would love to see you there! It’s Monday, October 21, 6-8pm at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Ballard. Keep an eye on our social media for more details in the coming weeks!

61 MIN1 days ago
Comments
The Old Testament with J. P. Kang

Crisis in the Catholic Church with Rick Gaillardetz

In this episode, Dr. Richard Gaillardetz joins Annie to discuss crises in the Catholic church. Rick is a Catholic lay theologian and a professor at Boston College who studies and teaches on the Catholic church. A husband and father of four, Rick has his PhD in theology and is a prolific author. Treating the sexual abuse perpetrated by priests as a symptom of more fundamental issues in the church, Rick identifies three deeper crises: clerical culture, authority, and gender and sexuality. He advocates for reforms that address the root issues to prevent more violent and tragic symptoms from continuing to emerge. We also discuss the politics of demonization and the importance of disagreeing well. For further exploration, Rick recommends reading Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church by Marie Keenan, Clericalism: the Death of Priesthood by George Wilson, and a paper produced by the Boston College Priesthood Seminar entitled “To Serve the People of God.” Find Rick’s publications and speaking schedule at gaillardetz.com. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

66 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Crisis in the Catholic Church with Rick Gaillardetz

Women with Authority with Kari Olson

Throughout the history of Christianity, people have used the Bible to try to ban women from leading. In this episode of God Help Us, I talk with Pastor Kari Olson about what the Bible says about women having authority in the church and over men and what those implications might be for our social and political lives in a country steeped in Christian heritage. In this episode, Kari mentions the books Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans and Junia: First Woman Apostle by Eldon Jay Epp. For further reading, she recommends Young Clergy Women International’s online magazine and the Women’s Bible Commentary. You can find more content from Kari and reach out to her via fallspres.org and by following East Falls Presbyterian Church on Facebook. Two sites I mention in this episode are The Junia Project, a progressive site about egalitarian leadership - and Desiring God, a site by John Piper that promotes hierarchical gender roles. You can follow me at anniemesaros.com and email me at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com. You can also follow God Help Us on Facebook and Instagram @GodHelpPod.You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

63 MINAUG 22
Comments
Women with Authority with Kari Olson

Complicating the Narrative with Kelsey Wallace

Kelsey Wallace, a PhD student in the Bible and Cultures program at Drew Theological School, joins Annie to discuss the biblical story of Jephthah’s daughter as told in Judges 11:29-40. One of the many nameless women in the Bible who suffers terrible and senseless violence, Jephthah’s daughter has been largely forgotten by many of us. We offer a feminist reading of the story and relate it to the #MeToo movement and family separation at the US/Mexico border and even slip in an anecdote from Lindy West’s book, Shrill. For further study on our topic, Kelsey recommends the Women’s Bible Commentary, a series of biblical commentaries by Bloomsbury Publishing called “The Feminist Companion To…”, and publications by the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. For more from Kelsey, visit kelseyerinwallace.com and follow her on Twitter @kwall03. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

61 MINAUG 8
Comments
Complicating the Narrative with Kelsey Wallace

Empire with Angela Parker

In this episode, Annie talks empire with Dr. Angela Parker, a womanist scholar and assistant professor of New Testament and Greek at Mercer University. Angela has a PhD in Bible, Culture, and Hermeneutics with an emphasis on the New Testament and challenges her students to read the biblical text through the lens of life under the oppressive Roman empire and how that can shape its application today. Angela recommends a number of resources for further exploration - Racializing Jesus, by Shawn Kelley; Postcolonial Feminist Interpretations of the Bible, by Musa Dube; podcasts she has recorded with Dan Allender such as this one on power and hierarchy in biblical Corinth; and "Can't Stop the Feelings: Anger and Identity in Mark 6:17-29," an article she published in The Other Journal. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

62 MINJUL 25
Comments
Empire with Angela Parker

Church with Jen Jepsen

In this episode of God Help Us, join me and pastor Jen Jepsen about her church journey from perfectionism to disillusionment, to co-planting and pastoring a church. We talk about what church is, what it could be, and its inherently political nature. For more from Jen, check out her sermons at Left Hand Church, particularly their series called “We are Family.” You can also follow Left Hand on Facebook and find Jen’s blog at jenniferjepsen.org. Great resources for finding affirming, egalitarian churches in your area are The W/ Collective and Church Clarity. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

61 MINJUL 11
Comments
Church with Jen Jepsen

Clarity with Sarah Ngu

This episode addresses the pervasive problem of ambiguity in church leadership policies. Specifically, are women and LGBTQ people allowed to serve at every level of a congregation? And is the leadership transparent about their glass ceilings? Today’s guest, Sarah Ngu, is a writer, speaker, ministry leader, host of the Religious Socialism podcast, and co-founder of churchclarity.org. Learn more about Church Clarity’s work on their FAQ page and their resource page. Sarah also specifically calls out this blog post on North Point Ministries. Find more content from Sarah at religioussocialism.org, at sarahngu.com, and by following her on Twitter @sarahngu. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

45 MINJUN 27
Comments
Clarity with Sarah Ngu

Interfaith Collaboration with Michael Hidalgo

In this episode, Annie talks with Michael Hidalgo, lead pastor of Denver Community Church. He’s the host of the Changing Faith Podcast, and the author of two books: Unlost: Being Found by the One We Are Looking For, and Changing Faith: Questions, Doubts, and Choices about the Unchanging God. Annie and Michael discuss his involvement with interfaith work - and how when they were both conservative Christians, understanding Jesus as The Way implied that all the other ways are the wrong way, making it difficult to form genuine, collaborative relationships with people of other faiths. Michael recommends reading The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, by M. Scott Peck and Mending the Divides, by Jer Swigart and John Huckins. You can find more content from Michael at michael-hidalgo.com, on Instagram @michaeljhidalgo and on Facebook at Michael Hidalgo. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

60 MINJUN 13
Comments
Interfaith Collaboration with Michael Hidalgo

Civility with Mike Purdy

In this episode, presidential historian, author, and speaker Mike Purdy joins Annie to talk about civility through the lens of his new book, 101 Presidential Insults: What they Really Thought about Each Other and What It Means to Us. In addition to his own book, Mike recommends reading The Soul of America by John Meacham and The Case for Civility - and Why Our Future Depends on It by Os Guiness. Follow Mike’s work and find links to his contributions to national media outlets at presidentialhistory.com, follow him on Twitter @PresHistory, Facebook, and Instagram @PresidentialHistorian. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

68 MINMAY 30
Comments
Civility with Mike Purdy

Augustine with Lauren Sawyer

This episode is dedicated to the great Rachel Held Evans who passed away on May 4, 2019. Please hold her family in your hearts in the wake of their deep loss. Today, Annie is joined by Lauren D. Sawyer to talk about a curious and problematic figure in Christian history: Augustine. His legacy has perpetuated some harmful beliefs about original sin, and in particular sexuality and desire and that’s why he’s worth knowing about. Lauren is a Ph.D. student in Christian Social Ethics at Drew Theological School. Her current research focuses on how women and LGBTQ folks develop moral agency under the constraints of white evangelical purity culture. And she also works as Submissions Editor for the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. Lauren recommends Feminist Interpretations of Augustine, edited by Judith Stark; Desire and Delight by Margaret Miles; and Confessions by Augustine - translated by Sarah Ruden. Follow Lauren on Twitter @ldsawyer and find her work at laurendsawyer.com. Find Annie’s work at anniemesaros.com, email the show at godhelp.podcast@gmail.com, and follow God Help Us on Instagram and Facebook @GodHelpPod. You can make a financial contribution to the podcast at patreon.com/anniemesaros.

73 MINMAY 16
Comments
Augustine with Lauren Sawyer