May 23, 2019

The Doctrine of Discovery (1493) was a papal bull authorizing Christian conquest of non-Christian lands. Could this 15th-century Roman Catholic document be influencing how we in the industrial and post-industrial West are treating the world and nature’s goods?

A recent report from the United Nations working group IPBES on biodiversity is the occasion for these theological reflections.

What In God’s Name approaches current events and culture not from a partisan political angle, not from a money and economics angle, not from a technological and scientific angle, but from a theological and philosophical angle.

Be in touch. Our email: whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Learn more. Our website: www.whatingods.com

Our Instagram page, curated with philosophical tidbits and show news, can be found on Instagram at @whatingods.

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

01:37     Shayna summarizes the IPBES report.

03:22     Shayna invites us into theological reflection on the environment that goes beyond Scripture (usually we begin with Genesis and note how in that story God gives Creation to humanity to have dominion over and to be good stewards of). Instead, what if we reflect on the history of the Church, and look especially at what our theological inheritance is, from the time of the “Age of Discovery” (late 15th-17th centuries). Specifically, what is the Doctrine of Discovery, and what kind of theology does it promote?

06:23     Can the mindset of exploitation be traced to this document? Chris probes this question with Shayna.

12:17     Is our exploitation of the environment today connected to the exploitation of indigenous peoples throughout the history of European settlement of North America?

14:39     The United Nations report seems to be calling for a radical new beginning. Can we begin to imagine what such a new beginning could look like, and how it might come?

17:01     Shayna makes a “Game of Thrones” reference.

17:55     If the Doctrine of Discovery is bad theology, what is its opposite good theology? Shayna and Chris each offer a response.


May 16, 2019

Franklin Foer’s article in the March 2019 Atlantic Monthly “How Kleptocracy Came to America” provides the jumping off point for today’s show. You don’t need to read the article to understand today’s show, but if you’re curious, here is the link:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/03/how-kleptocracy-came-to-america/580471/

What elements of American culture over the last quarter century have made us the “go-to” country for money laundering and tax avoidance by the world’s grifters? Does the concept of sin, and the category of evil, help us understand what in God’s name is happening to our country?

What In God’s Name approaches current events and culture not from a partisan political angle, not from a money and economics angle, not from a technological and scientific angle, but from a theological and philosophical angle.

Be in touch. Our email: whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Learn more. Our website: www.whatingods.com

Our Instagram page, curated with philosophical tidbits and show news, can be found on Instagram at @whatingods.

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

01:02     Chris shares a little of his story of coming to Christianity later in life, having first survived being raised by irreligious hippie parents.

02:33     Franklin Foer’s article in The Atlantic: what does kleptocracy mean, and how has the United States become involved?

06:02     What are the values of kleptocrats? What are American values? As Shayna points out, are there parts of American culture that are “receptive” to kleptocracy and greed? Do some of the values in a capitalistic system that appeal to human selfishness make us vulnerable to kleptocratic values? Where is the public good, in these value systems?

09:14     What does sin have to do with our seeming indifference at being the world leader in shielding dark money? How is sin a helpful hermeneutical tool? How has the word been cheapened?

13:52     Where in our culture do we talk ethics and morality?

15:52     Shayna introduces the sailing metaphor. How apt is this metaphor? What does it illuminate? If we lose the capacity to talk about sin and evil, are we progressing as a society in the direction of enlightenment, or have we lost an important tool to help us find our way?

18:22     Chris defines evil. How would you define evil?

20:38     The importance of stories to connect us with each other, to connect us with a higher purpose and meaning, and to connect us with a God or gods, or with no gods, as the case may be.


May 9, 2019

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Andrew Breitbart famously, and correctly, said that politics is downstream of culture. Today, Shayna and Chris evaluate fear’s role in our culture, and how a culture of fear produces a politics of fear.

What In God’s Name approaches current events and culture not from a partisan political angle, not from a money/economics angle, not from a techno-scientific angle, but from a theological and philosophical angle.

If you’ve lost your way, you might want to ask directions from people who’ve been down this path before.

Be in touch. Our email: whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Learn more. Our website: www.whatingods.com

Our Instagram page, curated with philosophical tidbits and show news, can be found on Instagram at @whatingods.

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

00:44     “An Era Defined By Fear.” Shayna reads from David Brooks’ April 29 article in the New York Times.

02:55     Consider how fear causes us to contract into ourselves. We would do well to pause for a moment, and reflect on how fear appears in our lives.

05:33     Are we ultimately alone in the universe, or ultimately connected to Love, or Being, or God?

07:00     Shayna reflects on training to become a firefighter. What is the difference between your having fear (one possibility), or fear having you (a second possibility)?

10:33     We turn to fear of change, and relatedly, the fear of vulnerability that might lead us to change. Why is change so scary? Shayna courageously shares a piece of her journey in life, as an illustration.

14:52     Is there anything else in life that stops us, the way fear stops us?

16:20     Chris brings up Brene Brown, in the context of her teachings about vulnerability. Are vulnerability and courage identical? How are they related? Can a practice of vulnerability be a good seed that bears fruit in the repair of social bonds? Shayna points to Pete Buttigieg as a public figure who is modeling vulnerability.

20:22     Shayna leaves us with the exhortation: Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor let them be afraid. Refusing to be sucked into the culture of fear is a political act.


May 2, 2019

Is it possible to reflect theologically on the Mueller report into Russian interference in the 2016 election? You be the judge.

We start with the Mueller report, and then take an excursion to the meaning of moral decline and renewal in the current American context.

Be in touch. Our email: whatingods@ribeye-media.com

Learn more. Our website: www.whatingods.com

Our Instagram page, curated with philosophical tidbits and show news, can be found on Instagram at @whatingods.

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

00:16     Shayna forgets Chris’s name.

01:25     Imagine that the Mueller report is not the story, but is only a chapter in a larger story. What would the larger story be?

02:25     If America is in moral decline, how would you characterize the realm of the “moral?” Is it just about breaking rules, or do rules arise from a deeper sense of our interrelatedness?

05:33     Do leaders bear a special responsibility to uphold moral and ethical standards? Why?

10:00     Chris returns to the opioid disaster. Isn’t experiencing one’s individual self as being disconnected from any higher authority, and seeing one’s individual self as being beholden to nothing and to no one, similar in both the power-hungry operative and the suicidal addict?

15:53     What is a functionally nihilistic culture, and what are the signs that we are living in one?

17:15     What is responsibility, and how is it breaking down? “Not my circus, not my monkey.” What happens if we live this way?

22:40     Chris asserts that our politics will change only after our culture changes. True or false?


April 18, 2019

Today’s show: the phoenix rises from her own ashes, after being consumed in fire. Using the phoenix as paradigmatic, we talk about Notre Dame, the opioid disaster, and the coming of spring to the Northern Hemisphere.

For those of you who have taken time to write a review for What In God’s Name on Apple Podcasts (or Stitcher, or Spotify), or also on Facebook: thanks so much. Your reviews help us become more visible to the mysterious algorithms of search engines.

Be in touch. Our email: whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Learn more. Our website: www.whatingods.com

Our Instagram page, curated with philosophical tidbits and show news, can be found on Instagram at @whatingods.

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

01:22     “If all that changes slowly may be explained by life, all that changes quickly is explained by fire.” Is fire just life, speeded up?

02:47     Shayna explains how receiving the news of Notre Dame on fire felt like a punch in the gut. When life goes up in flames, what do we have?

04:04     Is anything permanent? What is the wisdom of embracing impermanence?

05:10     We pivot from the Notre Dame fire to consider the opioid disaster. Chris shares some startling statistics, and the conversation turns to trauma. With the rapid rate of change, are we a society that is in trauma? What can an individual’s recovery from trauma teach us about what will help our society regain health and vitality?

08:45     What In God’s Name is having a funding campaign: support the core values of curiosity, depth, and shining light into the public conversation by going to our website www.whatingods.com, and making a donation through Patreon, or through Filmmakers Collaborative.

11:42     What kind of moment is it, when the ways that we make sense of the world get blown apart? What does that feel like?

14:30     What is the role of having shared stories in a culture?

16:07     “You have to hit the breakdown sometimes, before you get the breakthrough.”

16:22     A consideration of some of the false gods of our current culture, a few of which have to do with hyper-individualism. A problem with an over-emphasis on the individual is an atomized culture of loneliness.

17:44     Chris and Shayna close with good words about new life.


April 11, 2019

Our conversation with Dan Andrus, fire chief of Concord, the capital of New Hampshire, touches on PTSD in first responders, depression and suicide. Here is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

The Lifeline phone number is: 1-800-273-8255.

Also, in part one of our conversation, Dan mentions 3 firefighters who have faced the life-draining forces of traumatic stress, and the mental health costs in doing so. Those people, and links to their stories, are:

Mike Stevens, Salt Lake City: https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/05/18/once-suicidal-a-salt-lake-city-firefighters-got-help-now-hes-urging-other-first-responders-to-consider-therapy/

Todd Donovan, Derry, New Hampshire: https://www.wmur.com/article/event-aims-to-end-stigma-around-mental-health-issues-of-first-responders/24416188

Scott Geiselhart, Frazee, Minnesota: https://seeingincoloragain.wordpress.com/

For those of you who have taken time to write a review for What In God’s Name on Apple Podcasts (or Stitcher, or Spotify), or also on Facebook: thanks so much. Your reviews help us become more visible to the mysterious algorithms of search engines.

Be in touch. Our email: whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Learn more. Our website: www.whatingods.com

Our Instagram page, curated with philosophical tidbits and show news, can be found on Instagram at @whatingods.

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

03:42     Chris asks Dan how he has managed his own exposure to trauma. In what ways can spiritual grounding and spiritual connection aid our mental health? Our physical health?

04:28     “Christianity is a faith for the broken.” Discuss. Why would anyone want to be taken into “the heart of the world’s brokenness?”

08:21     Recognizing Dan’s public role as Fire Chief, Chris wonders how free Dan can be with his faith, in his work. Can we preach without words?

10:00     Again the question: what does it mean to be a man in this culture? Chris and Dan explore emotions, strength and weakness, and shame.

12:38     What In God’s Name is having a funding campaign: support the core values of curiosity, depth, and shining light into the public conversation by going to our website www.whatingods.com, and making a donation through Patreon, or through Filmmakers Collaborative.

14:52     What kind of people are seeking to be firefighters today? The conversation returns to vocation: the sense of meaning and purpose in work.

18:04     What does it mean to “save” people? Dan suggests that giving people a second chance has something to do with saving. Could it be that giving people a second chance by resuscitating them from cardiac arrest, can help us understand what Christians mean when they say they have been “saved” by Jesus?


April 4, 2019

Our conversation with Dan Andrus, fire chief of Concord, the capital of New Hampshire, touches on PTSD in first responders, depression and suicide. Here is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

The Lifeline phone number is: 1-800-273-8255.

Also, in part one of our conversation, Dan mentions 3 firefighters who have faced the life-draining forces of traumatic stress, and the mental health costs in doing so. Those people, and links to their stories, are:

Mike Stevens, Salt Lake City: https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/05/18/once-suicidal-a-salt-lake-city-firefighters-got-help-now-hes-urging-other-first-responders-to-consider-therapy/

Todd Donovan, Derry, New Hampshire: https://www.wmur.com/article/event-aims-to-end-stigma-around-mental-health-issues-of-first-responders/24416188

Scott Geiselhart, Frazee, Minnesota: https://seeingincoloragain.wordpress.com/

Dan Andrus, fire chief of Concord, the capital of New Hampshire, joins us for conversation. Dan is a beautiful soul, experienced as a lifesaver and well-acquainted with human suffering. Our conversation covers the opioid crisis, and then pivots to the anxiety and depression that can come with repeated exposure to trauma: PTSD for paramedics and first responders.

Those of you who have taken time to write a review for What In God’s Name on Apple Podcasts (or Stitcher, or Spotify), or also on Facebook: thanks so much. Your reviews help us become more visible to the mysterious algorithms of search engines.

Be in touch. Our email: whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Learn more. Our website: www.whatingods.com

Our Instagram page, curated with philosophical tidbits and show news, can be found on Instagram at whatingods.

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

00:10     Chris introduces today’s show and expresses sadness that Shayna is unable to join him today.

03:13     Dan explains how long he has been the fire chief in Concord, and how he got to the Granite State. How would we tell the stories of our lives? How would we tell the story of how we got to where we are? What is a Christian understanding of “vocation,” and how does that offer an alternative to economics-saturated understandings of work?

07:05     Chris asks about the opioid crisis. Dan shares his experiences and observations. For those of you who like statistics, Dan shares some of those too. What despair is in our land, if people are dying in such large numbers from addiction and overdose?

12:18     What In God’s Name is having a funding campaign: support the core values of curiosity, depth, and shining light into the public conversation by going to our website www.whatingods.com, and making a donation through Patreon, or through Filmmakers Collaborative.

13:37     Why is there an opioid addiction crisis in the United States? Why now? How can we understand anxiety and depression philosophically (what do these afflictions say about human being, human nature)? Theologically? What role does pain play in our lives? Should we aim to eliminate all pain? If not, how do we distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable pain?

18:40     Dan turns the conversation in the direction of first responders’ experiences with post-traumatic stress, depression, and suicide attempts. Sometimes the darkness and pain and heartbreak seem to be too big. What resources can we draw on, in order to get through to the dawn?

22:36     “Seeing in color again”: how is this a metaphor for new life? How is this an actual, physical experience of what it means to be transformed? How is this a metaphor for hope?


March 28, 2019

How much fun to co-create! How much fun to collaborate in thoughtful conversation!

Today’s show is a little shorter than our usual shows. It’s part two of a conversation that What In God’s Name facilitated on February 23rd, in Pembroke, New Hampshire. Our topic was one we have tackled before: toxic masculinity. It’s a topic that touches on many issues in our culture, and often in our news, today.

The nature of the gathering and the make-up of the group naturally led to a more Christian-centered conversation than usual. For our non-Christian listeners, it would be interesting to hear what resonates with you from this show, and what repels.

If you like today’s show, leave a review for us on Apple Podcasts (or Stitcher, or Spotify). Post our podcast on your Facebook page.

Be in touch. Our email: whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Learn more. Our website: www.whatingods.com

Our Instagram page, curated with philosophical tidbits and show news, can be found on Instagram at whatingods.

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

01:49     In a short recap from Part One, we lead this show with Chris’s question: can Christian theology help us think about what is healthy masculinity/healthy femininity? Joyce from Dunbarton, NH, responds by inviting us to think of Biblical images of a nurturing God—the quality of supporting and feeding and strengthening the life of others.

02:52     Shayna shares her perspective that what makes for toxic masculinity or toxic femininity is when we feel unfree; when societal expectations, or messages within the family of origin about what is acceptable and what is shameful, constrict our range in expressing our gender. What is God’s relationship to wholeness and individual authenticity? Are there any spiritual dangers here?  

04:22     David from South Newbury reminds us of the ambiguous nature of many of the men depicted in the Hebrew Scriptures, from Abraham through David. Is Scripture—by giving us some negative examples—pointing us to a more temperate, thoughtful, sensitive, ethically grounded vision of manhood?

06:00     Chris invites reflections on a theology of power as we find it in the New Testament.

06:22     Maureen of Amherst reflects on the ways that Jesus always lifted up the powerless, living out what he received from his mother Mary, and Mary’s faith as expressed in the Magnificat. Does Jesus give us the model of what a man ought to be?

08:49     Is a rule of American male culture that if someone “gets in your face,” that the proper response is to “get back in their face?” Do men express aggression more physically than women? If so, is this biologically-based, or nurturance-based, or both?

09:38     Gail from Jackson reminds us that everyone in the recorded conversation is white, and that our understanding of masculinity and femininity is coming from inside one context only.

11:08     What In God’s Name is having a funding campaign: support the core values of curiosity, depth, and shining light into the public conversation by going to our website www.whatingods.com, and making a donation through Patreon, or through Filmmakers Collaborative.

12:48     Christine from Ossipee shares her reflections on working in a construction company. Talk is cheap; deeds mean something. Show people that you can do your job, and treat people good.


March 21, 2019

How much fun to co-create! How much fun to collaborate in thoughtful conversation!

Today’s show is part one of a conversation that What In God’s Name facilitated on February 23rd, in Pembroke, New Hampshire. Our topic was one we have tackled before: toxic masculinity. It’s a topic that touches on many issues in our culture, and often in our news, today.

If you like today’s show, leave a review for us on Apple Podcasts (or Stitcher, or Spotify). Post our podcast on your Facebook page.

Be in touch. Our email: whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Learn more. Our website: www.whatingods.com

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

01:29     Jeff from Somersworth, NH, leads with the question of literalistic readings of the Bible: already at the heart of where many conversations between Christians—and between some Christians and non-Christians—about society and culture hit a snag. What is the difference between reading the Bible literally, and reading the Bible seriously?

02:40     Linda from Amherst, NH, makes the distinction between some things the Bible says, and how Jesus behaves. What different kinds of moral practices can we see, at different points of the Scriptural witness?

05:10     Dorothy from Jaffrey, NH, draws our attention to historical imagination: the need for us to recognize that a person is always limited to the perspectives of the historical time in which she/he lived. This calls us to bring historical awareness to the reading of Scripture.

06:50     What In God’s Name is having a funding campaign: support the core values of curiosity, depth, and shining light into the public conversation by going to our website www.whatingods.com, and making a donation through Patreon, or through Filmmakers Collaborative.

08:22     Matt, freshly removed to Vermont, shares reflections on the pernicious nature of toxic masculinity. He refers us to the wisdom that, if we are seeing clearly, we see that the evil we abhor is not just out there, but it’s in us too. Is this true about human nature?

11:30     Chris asks: can Christian theology help us think about what is healthy masculinity/healthy femininity? Joyce from Dunbarton, NH, responds by inviting us to think of Biblical images of a nurturing God—the quality of supporting and feeding and strengthening the life of others.

14:30     Shayna and Chris share follow-up thoughts about reading Scripture seriously. Does the fact that no one perspective can grasp truth in its totality, mean that truth does not exist? Does insisting that any reading of Scripture is limited by the reader’s social location mean that any reading of Scripture is just as good as any other?


March 14, 2019

Be Curious. Go Deep. Shed Light.

Today’s show: The college admissions bribery scheme provides an entry into an examination of the spiritual void, the spiritual hunger, at the heart of American culture.  

What does it mean to have integrity?

If you like today’s show, leave a review for us on Apple Podcasts (or Stitcher, or Spotify). Post our podcast on your Facebook page.

Be in touch. Our email: whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Learn more. Our website: www.whatingods.com

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

01:31     A quick recap of the college admissions bribery scheme.

02:42     Is this a story about how wealthy people can game the system? Can it also be a story about the desire to fill a bottomless psycho-spiritual hole with worldly idols? Does human nature contain a hunger that the world cannot satisfy?

04:02     Shayna raises the question of entitlement: isn’t this a story about entitlement? Might a sense of entitlement be the ugly face of unfulfilled desires?

06:30     Shayna gives a great definition of integrity. What is the connection between moral/ethical integrity, and spiritual wholeness/health?

09:00     Shayna raises the Michael Cohen House testimony of a couple weeks ago. How does his story and the college admissions story connect?

11:45     Chris reads from David Brooks’ column from the New York Times, in which the columnist connects the Michael Cohen-Donald Trump story to the moral and spiritual voids. How susceptible are we to idols? And how does fear hasten our retreat from integrity?


March 7, 2019

Be Curious. Go Deep. Shed Light.

Today’s show: the counter-cultural practice of Lent (or, for non-Christians, the counter-cultural practices of emptying out, and slowing down).

Join us, and take a moment to reflect on the human need for reflection.

If you like today’s show, leave a review for us on Apple Podcasts (or Stitcher, or Spotify). Post our podcast on your Facebook page.

Be in touch. Our email: whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Learn more. Our website: www.whatingods.com

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

00:56     What is this thing called “Lent?”

01:32     Is a memento mori, a consciousness of our death, morbid or freeing?

03:50     How do intentional practices of creating inward space and receptivity promote human flourishing?

05:48     Shayna talks about Jewish practices that are similar to the Christian practice of Lent.

09:30     Chris and Shayna reflect on the seasons of the Christian calendar. How might it be helpful, in efforts to lead a rich and meaningful life, to tell time in a way that points to spiritual movements of the soul?

11:20     The public witness of Christians: what is being communicated by someone walking around with ashes on their head?

13:00     What about non-Christian, non-religious witness: what might that look like? Is it simply part of human nature to need times of intentional reflection?


February 21, 2019

Shayna returns for the second half of our conversation with Gordon Graham, most recently the Henry Luce Professor of Philosophy and the Arts at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Show dog Arlo remains on vacation.

We continue our conversation about the prospects for public theology in our culture. How do Christian advocacy and Christian witness differ? Finally, what is the real conflict between religion and politics?

Join us in conversation. “What In God’s Name” will be going on the road, making a community-sourced show in Pembroke, New Hampshire, on February 23rd

If you like today’s show, leave a review for us on Apple Podcasts (or Stitcher, or Spotify).

Our email: whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Our website: www.whatingods.com

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

01:03     Are shih-tzu owners part of a cult?

03:39     How can Christian churches be faithful in not collapsing what is genuinely theological, into the realm of the political? Gordon covers 3 possibilities: quietism; advocacy; and witness. What distinguishes these 3 possibilities?

09:30     Rowan Williams’ distinction between procedural and programmatic secularism: is this a helpful distinction?

11:37     Gordon talks about what he sees as the real conflict between the political and the genuinely theological/religious: where is your ultimate allegiance? Who will speak up when a society is wrongly worshiping something as god which is not God? This leads to a reflection on the veneration of the military in American society, which Chris and Shayna take up in their commentary.

14:39     Chris and Shayna reflect on the distinction between advocacy and witness. Why is there aversion to including political considerations in some religious communities? What are the mistakes that the “left” and the “right” make?

21:05     Shayna and Chris respond to Gordon’s reflections about the excessive veneration of the military in the United States today: what are the theological issues at stake? What do we make of the political dimensions of Jesus’ death on a cross, at the hands of the Roman Empire, within the larger story of God’s redemptive work in the world?


February 14, 2019

Chris flies solo as Shayna and show dog Arlo are off.

Our guest this week is Dr. Gordon Graham, most recently the Henry Luce Professor of Philosophy and the Arts at Princeton Theological Seminary. What are the prospects for public theology in our culture? What are the ways of thinking and habits of mind that put philosophy and theology in coach class, and economics and political science in first class? At what level does theology have something relevant to say, in the public space?

This is part one of our interview with Gordon Graham; next week will be part two.

Join us in conversation. “What In God’s Name” will be going on the road, making a community-sourced show in Pembroke, New Hampshire, on February 23rd.

If you like today’s show, leave a review for us on Apple Podcasts (or Stitcher, or Spotify).

Our email: whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Our website: www.whatingods.com

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

01:00     An update on our last show, on masculinity: the Associated Press reports on journalistic investigations that have revealed sexual misconduct in Southern Baptist churches over the last 20 years. While Shayna and Chris will sometimes be critical of Albert Mohler’s (President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s) reasoning or theology surrounding public questions, in this instance Albert Mohler’s response to these reports deserves praise.

04:14     Chris introduces Dr. Gordon Graham. Some people have lamented the lack of a theological voice in the public square. Should we lament that lack? What gets in the way of a theological voice getting a hearing? What do we make of the anti-intellectualism of some parts of Protestant Christianity, and the turn away from religion by some intellectuals who see religion as intolerant and narrow?

14:36     Chris interrupts the conversation to set up the second half, which will be: Gordon’s reflections on totalitarian thinking, and the ways that human pride (hubris) shows up in enterprises—both secular and those clothed in religion—that aim to make humanity its own savior. Why are these schemes for human self-salvation doomed to fail?


February 7, 2019

Masculinity is our topic; an “Answering Albert” segment is our method; the Gillette YouTube video about “toxic masculinity” and the #MeToo movement provides the material.

“Answering Albert” is when Shayna and Chris respond to Albert Mohler’s highly-rated podcast “The Briefing,” both to agree with some observations made by the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and to demonstrate where some of his arguments fall short.

Join us in conversation. “What In God’s Name” will be going on the road, making a community-sourced show in Pembroke, New Hampshire, on February 23rd.

 Conversation, dialogue, creative disagreement: ALL OF THESE ARE SO IMPORTANT NOW!

If you like today’s show, leave a review for us on Apple Podcasts (or Stitcher, or Spotify).

If you support the What In God’s Name approach to current events and culture, share a show with a friend or co-worker, and encourage them to subscribe. Go to What In God’s Name in audioboom.com, and then use your smartphone’s share features to text the show to a friend.

Our email: whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Our website: www.whatingods.com

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

01:18     Introducing the Gillette YouTube video.

02:08     Albert Mohler’s opening thoughts on the Gillette YouTube video (excerpt from his podcast “The Briefing”). In our age, according to Albert, “no certainty is left certain.” Is this true? If so, how does this put stress on individuals? How does it strain communities?

04:46     Albert Mohler, part 2.

05:26     Chris asks Shayna about this notion that Albert raises, of people who want to do away with “the binary” when it comes to gender. Shayna sheds light. Are masculinity and femininity essential categories for understanding the world? Shayna reminds us of the Mars and Venus book about men and women.

09:19     Albert Mohler, part 3. What is toxic masculinity? Shayna links toxic masculinity AND toxic femininity to lack of freedom.

13:35     Getting ready for the “Answering Albert” foghorn, and why do we so easily use political categories when we’re talking about matters of the spirit and soul?

19:27     Albert Mohler, part 4, the last. What are creative ways to understand the binaries of male and female, day and night? Is it blasphemous to imagine the possibility of being playful in responding to God’s intentions for us?


January 31, 2019

Today is the Lightning Round. In 25 minutes, Chris and Shayna take a tour of Aristotle’s taxonomy of good and bad types of government (in honor of the recently ended government shutdown); touch on the chaotic developments in Venezuela; and reflect on the accusations against the giant Chinese telecommunications company Huawei. Finally, Chris shares a couple of Facebook posts from Uncle Mark in West Virginia.

Join us in conversation—respond to what you like, and what you don’t like. Send us an email, maybe we’ll read it on the show. Leave a comment on Facebook.

Conversation, dialogue, creative disagreement: ALL OF THESE ARE SO IMPORTANT NOW!

If you like today’s show, leave a review for us on Apple Podcasts (or Stitcher, or Spotify).

If you support the What In God’s Name approach to current events and culture, share a show with a friend or co-worker, and encourage them to subscribe. Go to What In God’s Name in audioboom.com, and then use your smartphone’s share features to text the show to a friend.

Our email: whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Our website: www.whatingods.com

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

00:28     Chris explains that he is not funny.

01:04     The recently ended government shutdown prompts Chris to reflect on Aristotle’s taxonomy of different kinds of government. The key question: does the ruler rule for the sole benefit of the ruler (bad government), or does the ruler rule for the benefit of the whole (good government)?

05:41     Chris introduces the “lightning round,” in which Shayna and Chris take different current news, and see what insight or angle theological reflection might add. (The real reason Chris wants to do this, is so he can insert the thunderclap sound effect.) If a country is in chaos, like Venezuela, does theological reflection allow us to see something we otherwise might miss?

08:23     The thunderclap announces the next topic: the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. Great power rivalry—the United States and China, in this case—spurs tension and retaliation. Our deeply interconnected world: what are the challenges of such a world, and can religion be helpful in forming people who can meet those challenges?

14:29     Uncle Mark in West Virginia re-posted a recent Facebook post of General Colin Powell, who had had a flat tire on I-495 around Washington DC. A man stopped to help General Powell, and they made a connection. Chris and Shayna reflect on this Facebook post, in the context of the question: do we have to experience ourselves and others fundamentally through the lens of political partisanship (the red team and the blue team), or can we find a deeper way to see ourselves and each other?

20:10     The final thunderclap: as we head towards Super Bowl Sunday, we reflect on the deeply human desire to feel like a winner—and the lengths we are willing to go, in order to feel it.


January 24, 2019

Last Friday, Nick Sandmann and Nathan Phillips stood face to face for a few moments. You’ve probably seen the picture: Nick, a high school student on a school field trip, is wearing a red MAGA hat; Nathan, an older Native American, is beating his drum.

In so many ways, what happened on the Lincoln Memorial steps last Friday, and how people reacted to what happened, is a rich window into our current cultural moment.

Chris and Shayna ask, What In God’s Name was going on? What can we learn? What conversations can we have?

You may not like everything Chris and Shayna have to say in this show. In fact, Chris and Shayna may not have liked everything each of them had to say to each other, DURING the show. And that’s OK!

Join us in conversation—respond to what you like, and what you don’t like. Send us an email, maybe we’ll read it on the show. Leave a comment on Facebook.

Conversation, dialogue, creative disagreement: ALL OF THESE ARE SO IMPORTANT NOW!

If you like today’s show, leave a review for us on Apple Podcasts (or Stitcher, or Spotify).

If you support the What In God’s Name approach to current events and culture, share a show with a friend or co-worker, and encourage them to subscribe. Go to What In God’s Name in audioboom.com, and then use your smartphone’s share features to text the show to a friend.

Our email: whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Our website: www.whatingods.com

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

00:52     If you are listening to us for the first time, Chris explains that we’re not on the red team or the blue team.

02:25     A quick recap of the events at the Lincoln Memorial on Friday, January 18, 2019.

03:24     Chris wants to begin with the hat. What does a MAGA hat symbolize? How do we negotiate (or come into conflict about) differing interpretations of a symbol?

06:50     Chris offers a defense of Nick Sandmann, based on his age. To what extent does the young man get a “pass” because of his youth? How do boys learn healthy uses for their male power? Shayna raises the question of respect. If Nick and the others were being disrespectful towards Nathan Phillips, what led to that?

11:11     Chris advocates for not throwing the baby out with the bathwater: there are great cultural treasures that we inherit from Western, European civilization. Are cultural conservatives correct in perceiving hostility toward Western civilization from the political left?

15:12     Chris introduces the “rush to judgment” part of the story. Searching reflections ensue on white privilege, systemic racism, and how best to seek change. Chris and Shayna have different perspectives and find their way back to common ground.

19:22     The conversation turns to how pundits reacted to the video, and Chris reads some of NYT columnist Frank Bruni’s observations. Something is amiss with media in our cultural moment. What is amiss? Frank Bruni says, “Instead of bucking political tribalism in America, we ride it.”

22:33     Shayna introduces the idea of false prophets. Where are the false prophets in our culture?


January 17, 2019

Welcome to What In God’s Name!

Be curious. Go deep. Shed light.

The core of today’s show is the second installment of Chris’ conversation with Courtney Banghart, head coach of the Princeton University women’s basketball team. Courtney is reflective about her work with young athletes, and about competition and competitiveness as facets of contemporary American culture. Of special interest in this part of the interview, Courtney talks about social media and young people.

At the conclusion of the interview, Chris and Shayna share their highlights from what Courtney had to say, and add some theological reflection.

If you like today’s show, leave a review for us on Apple Podcasts (find What In God’s Name using the search bar), or leave a review on our Facebook page (again, using the search bar).

If you support the What In God’s Name approach to current events and culture, share a show with a friend or co-worker, and encourage them to subscribe. Go to What In God’s Name in audioboom.com, and then use your smartphone’s share features to text the show to a friend.

Join us in the conversation! We love to hear from our listeners. What aspects of current events and culture are you curious about? What philosophical or theological perspectives do you have to share? Again, contact us through Facebook, through our website (whatingods.com), or send us an email at whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

00:23     Chris and Shayna begin the show with some much-needed interpretation of what “progressive” Christianity might mean. It is certainly not to be confused with “progressive” politics.

01:41     Shayna offers context on why a show that looks at current events and culture from a theological and philosophical perspective, would interview a women’s basketball coach. What is the intersection?

03:09     The second part of the interview with Courtney begins.

03:28     To compete requires courage. Conversation ensues.

05:33     Would you say that winning and losing is about result, and competing is about process?

08:00     In our culture, it’s a temptation to think of losing as failure. Is losing failure? If not, what constitutes failure?

08:56     How do you balance a focus on process with the need to produce results? Courtney shares her thoughts.

11:22     Courtney raises questions having to do with the mental health of young people within the dynamics of social media, curating an online persona, personal authenticity, and competition.

13:56     The fear of failure, examined.

17:35     Competing at social media: accumulating likes and followers. What are the implications of this dynamic? How do we build or instill or educate our children toward inner strength, the “internal real.”

20.34     Chris and Shayna reflect on losing as failure, and the notion that competing requires courage. From a theological perspective, Chris talks about vocation: God’s calling us to share our gifts in the world, and how that requires courage and involves failing.

23:27     Shayna reflects on the issues Courtney raises about social media and young people. What if you’re not “winning” at social media? What if you don’t have a coach who’s talking to you about creating a stable inner landscape? The theological reminder is that, from the Christian perspective, the love of God holds us, and empowers us, to shine the light of our authentic selves.


January 10, 2019

Welcome to What In God’s Name!

Be curious. Go deep. Shed light.

The core of today’s show is the second installment of Chris’ conversation with Courtney Banghart, head coach of the Princeton University women’s basketball team. Courtney is reflective about her work with young athletes, and about competition and competitiveness as facets of contemporary American culture. Of special interest in this part of the interview, Courtney talks about social media and young people.

At the conclusion of the interview, Chris and Shayna share their highlights from what Courtney had to say, and add some theological reflection.

If you like today’s show, leave a review for us on Apple Podcasts (find What In God’s Name using the search bar), or leave a review on our Facebook page (again, using the search bar).

If you support the What In God’s Name approach to current events and culture, share a show with a friend or co-worker, and encourage them to subscribe. Go to What In God’s Name in audioboom.com, and then use your smartphone’s share features to text the show to a friend.

Join us in the conversation! We love to hear from our listeners. What aspects of current events and culture are you curious about? What philosophical or theological perspectives do you have to share? Again, contact us through Facebook, through our website (whatingods.com), or send us an email at whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

00:23     Chris and Shayna begin the show with some much-needed interpretation of what “progressive” Christianity might mean. It is certainly not to be confused with “progressive” politics.

01:41     Shayna offers context on why a show that looks at current events and culture from a theological and philosophical perspective, would interview a women’s basketball coach. What is the intersection?

03:09     The second part of the interview with Courtney begins.

03:28     To compete requires courage. Conversation ensues.

05:33     Would you say that winning and losing is about result, and competing is about process?

08:00     In our culture, it’s a temptation to think of losing as failure. Is losing failure? If not, what constitutes failure?

08:56     How do you balance a focus on process with the need to produce results? Courtney shares her thoughts.

11:22     Courtney raises questions having to do with the mental health of young people within the dynamics of social media, curating an online persona, personal authenticity, and competition.

13:56     The fear of failure, examined.

17:35     Competing at social media: accumulating likes and followers. What are the implications of this dynamic? How do we build or instill or educate our children toward inner strength, the “internal real.”

20.34     Chris and Shayna reflect on losing as failure, and the notion that competing requires courage. From a theological perspective, Chris talks about vocation: God’s calling us to share our gifts in the world, and how that requires courage and involves failing.

23:27     Shayna reflects on the issues Courtney raises about social media and young people. What if you’re not “winning” at social media? What if you don’t have a coach who’s talking to you about creating a stable inner landscape? The theological reminder is that, from the Christian perspective, the love of God holds us, and empowers us, to shine the light of our authentic selves.


January 3, 2019

Two parts to today’s show: the government shutdown prompts Chris to offer solution-based therapy for the US House of Representatives; and Shayna and Chris respond to Albert Mohler’s reflections on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the premier of WIGN’s first “Answering Albert” segment.

Be curious. Go deep. Shed light. These are our core values.

Join us in the conversation! We love to hear from our listeners. What aspects of current events and culture are you curious about? What philosophical or theological perspectives do you have to share? Contact us through Facebook, through our website (whatingods.com), or send us an email at whatingods@ribeye-media.com.

Please invite your friends and family to subscribe to “What In God’s Name” (go to https://www.whatingods.com). Leave a review on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you access your favorite podcasts.

In the context of the current government shutdown, Chris proposes three interventions that would strengthen the US House of Representatives, and Shayna offers a fourth. Then, Chris and Shayna take some time to help listeners understand what the “Answering Albert” segment is about, and why it’s an important periodic part of the show.

After playing a clip of Albert Mohler’s podcast on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Shayna and Chris take turns surfacing their philosophical and theological differences with Albert. Moral philosophy, and the use and misuse of Scripture, are two topics of conversation.

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

00:22     Arlo is available for stud services. (Arlo is our show dog, Shayna’s shih-tzu).

02:12     The government shutdown prompts Chris to offer solution-based therapy for the US House of Representatives. These 3 interventions won’t solve the shutdown, but they will help make the House of Representatives more responsible to people, rather than moneyed interests, over the longer term.

05:47     Philosophical questions at issue with regards to Congress are: how do human beings respond to power? Does power corrupt people? Shayna then makes a movie recommendation.

07:12     Here begins the second, and distinct, part of today’s show. December 10, 1948, was when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was ratified. Chris introduces that topic, and the What In God’s Name segment “Answering Albert.” What is the proper role of religious voices in the public square of a pluralistic society like the United States?

 11:55    Dramatic music signals the beginning of our 3 and 1/2 minute Albert Mohler clip. Listen for the foghorns at 14:40 and 15:13, indicating WIGN’s theological disagreement with Albert Mohler.

15:18     Shayna respectfully calls out Albert for epistemological hubris, and at 16:12, Chris respectfully calls out Albert for missteps in reasoning.

18:09     How should we read Leviticus? Shayna answers.

19:51     What does an educated reading of the Bible look like? And why is that important, even for people in our society who are not religious?

21:52     “You can be good, and not be religious.”

22:54     Chris and Shayna conclude with a generous interpretation of Albert Mohler’s reflections on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


December 20, 2018

What in God’s name is happening with Facebook? The Senate Intelligence Committee releases a report on the Russian government’s disinformation campaign, and its efforts to influence the 2016 election. We’ve got non-partisan reflections on Facebook, the internet, and the vulnerabilities of an open society.

 Be curious. Go deep. Shed light. These are our core values.

Please invite your friends and family to subscribe to “What In God’s Name” (go to https://www.whatingods.com/how-to-listen/. Leave a comment on our Facebook page. Leave a review on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you access your favorite shows.

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

00:29     Chris riffs on what it means to build bridges. It doesn’t mean shying away from disagreement.

01:32     Chris reads an email from friend of the podcast Kyle, from Seoul, South Korea, responding to our recent shows on Christmas. Listen for the surprise music that accompanies Kyle’s email.

03:49     Facebook is in the news. What is the similarity between the Russian government’s disinformation campaign on social media platforms like Facebook, and the 9/11 hijackers? What are the different forms that destruction can take?

08:53     Shayna raises questions about openness and vulnerability, both personally and societally. How does our vulnerability affect how we carry ourselves in the world?

12:44     Chris returns to Russia. The Putin regime will not be persuaded by refined theological reflections on vulnerability. What then?

14:31     Shayna points out that one response to efforts to sow discord, is to build the habits of mind of a free and resilient people. What is the difference between disagreement and discord?

We’ll be off the 27th of December; our next show will be January 3rd, 2019.


December 13, 2018

Does a public Christianity that is hollowed out by consumerism help us see the need for a pluralistic, inclusive spiritual revival in our society? This question and more, in this second part of our show “Christmas is dying, and Christmas will never die.”

Be curious. Go deep. Shed light. These are our core values.

Please invite your friends and family to subscribe to “What In God’s Name.” Go to https://www.whatingods.com/how-to-listen/.

We want to join with all people of good will, who desire to strengthen our connections to one another and create a healthy society, for us and for our children. That doesn’t mean having easy or cheap agreement: it means engaging in searching conversations where differences are lifted up, and used creatively to deepen connections and shed light.

The bigger we grow our audience, the better we are able to make the argument to potential partners and funders that there is an appetite for searching, open-ended conversation on current events and culture from a philosophical/theological perspective.

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

01:05     Shayna asks: For those for whom Jesus is God incarnated on Earth, was that event an answer to the people’s lament of that time? And if so, how do we account for God’s presence or absence from the world now?

02:31     Chris characterizes Shayna’s view of human nature as being “rosy,” and faces the consequences. “This Harley momma ain’t so much into ‘rosy.’”

05:35     Saying “Merry Christmas” versus saying “Happy Holidays”: some further thoughts on when to use one or the other. When we greet people, who is the greeting for?

11:08     “I smell smoke,” says Shayna. “I’m thinking,” answers Chris. Chris shares his gut feeling that our society needs a spiritual center, a feeling accentuated in this time of year when public Christianity seems hollowed out of spiritual value. Shayna asks why it needs to be just one, singular, center—why not plural centers? Searching conversation ensues.

15:43     Can faith communities be places where we learn to get along with, if not love, people we disagree with? And then, can people who have developed these muscles within faith communities help this diverse country, religious or not, do the same?

19:10     If anyone wants to breed their dog with Arlo, our shih-tzu show dog, Shayna declares him eligible. Contact Shayna on our Facebook page, or via email whatingods@ribeye-media.com.


December 6, 2018

Christmas is dying, and Christmas will never die: that is the thesis for this show. Shayna and Chris talk about the importance (or not?) of the story of Jesus’ birth as a defining feature of Christmas. To form, Chris reveals his usual lean towards emphasizing the darker side of human nature, while Shayna argues for a more hopeful view of humanity. Consumer culture receives a predictable critique, but even more: we link consumer culture to the unhealthy denial of darkness within human lives, which makes the season of Advent a countercultural gift that the church brings to the “happy clappy” North American shopping scene.

A personal note on the podcast: As we build our audience, we hope that you, our listeners, can recommend What In God’s Name to your friends and family. The bigger we grow our audience, the better we are able to make the argument that there is an appetite for searching, open-ended conversation on current events and culture from a philosophical/theological perspective.

Of course that’s not going to happen if we make a crappy (to be blunt) podcast. So give us feedback, to help us achieve excellence. Email us at whatingods@ribeye-media.com. Leave comments on our Facebook page. Suggest topics for shows. Shayna and I enjoy our conversations with each other, AND we want to be in conversation with you.

Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

00:40     What In God’s Name—is our audience a niche audience? If so, how big is the niche?

03:00     Christmas is dying, and Christmas will never die. Discuss.

06:43     The Christmas that will never die: what Christmas is that? Is it the story of the baby Jesus that will never die, or is it the spirit of giving that will never die? Or is it something else entirely?

10:49     The misappropriation of Christmas by consumer culture: does every kiss really begin with Kay?

13:08     Chris introduces Charlie Brown and Linus into the conversation.

15:46     Saying “Merry Christmas” versus saying “Happy Holidays.”

17:24     What is Advent: the countercultural movement towards going into the dark.


November 29, 2018

Welcome to What In God’s Name! Be Curious. Go Deep. Shed Light.

Our first show begins a conversation on climate change. It soon becomes apparent that a deeper consideration of this issue touches on other basic questions:

What are the limits to human knowledge in predicting the future, and how do those limits affect our ability to act?

Does a theological perspective that sees nature as God's creation preclude partnerships between religious and non-religious people?

What is necessary for humans to bridge the gap from merely knowing what is good, to actually doing what is good?

What is politics for? When might a strict libertarian philosophy be unhelpful?

To go to particular parts of the conversation, we include the following timecodes:

00:32 Chris asks: Is climate science perfect? Does it matter?

05:47 Connecting with people who care for the Earth but who do not share a Judeo-Christian theology of Creation.

08:06 Human nature: what incentives do we need in order to do what's right? How much more pressure do we need to feel, in order to change?

09:57 Shayna lifts up the "intersectionality of oppressions:" how different kinds of exploitation have common roots.

12:11 Political philosophy: the limits of libertarianism; discerning when the scale and scope of government is helpful in solving problems.


August 2018

This is the What In God’s Name Trailer