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Author

Ben Yosua-Davis

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Join us for a conversation with Dr. Alex Gee, of the Justified Anger Coalition in Madison, WI; and the Black Like Me podcast. 

Episode Highlights Include:

  • Why we can’t know American Christianity apart from the impact of slavery
  • Woke white supremacy
  • Why white Christians need to stop rescuing and start listening
  • Why the sky isn’t falling for all Christian churches
  • God and the experience of being other
  • White People Go Home

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Stay tuned next for: A conversation with Sarah Heath of Costa Mesa United Methodist Church.

Join us for a conversation with Dani Watkins, Director of Programming for Citylink Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Episode Highlights Include:

  • Ubuntu and the Wisdom of the Poor
  • What it means when clients say, “I can’t ask for help because it hurts too much”
  • Why the founding churches chose collaboration over building their own programs
  • The “secret sauce” that makes Citylink Center work
  • The dangers of the nod and smile

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Stay tuned next for: A conversation with Alex Gee of the Justified Anger Movement in Madison, Wisconsin.

Join us for a conversation with Jojo Legister, Executive Director of Fearless Dialogues

Episode Highlights Include:

  • How peace and reconciliation were woven into JoJo’s family
  • What it means to “tend the space between us”
  • The false starts and valuable learning from the early years of Fearless Dialogues
  • Ways to design spaces for true encounter around difficult topics

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If you liked this episode, check out our conversations with

  • Gregory Ellision II: on the origins of Fearless Dialogues.
  • Andrea Lingle: on staying at the table for one more minute, especially with difficult conversation partners
  • David Bailey: reconciling communities across race and class.

Thanks to our amazing supporters, including

Stay tuned next for: A conversation with Dani Watkins of Citylink Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Join us for a little more of our conversation with Gregory Ellison II, author, NPR guest, professor at Candler School of Theology, and founder of Fearless Dialogues, which has invited over 60,000 people into fearless encounter with one another as he talks about his grandmother, his parents, and how their threads weave into his ministry today.

Make sure to check out our full conversation with Greg here or by subscribing to us wherever you find your podcasts.

Support us by:

If you liked this episode, check out our conversations with

  • Andrea Lingle: on staying at the table for one more minute, especially with difficult conversation partners
  • David Bailey: reconciling communities across race and class.

Thanks to our amazing supporters, including

Stay tuned next for: A sequel conversation with Georgette Ledgister, Executive director of Fearless Dialogues.

 

Join us for a conversation with Gregory Ellison II, author, NPR guest, professor at Candler School of Theology, and founder of Fearless Dialogues, which has invited over 60,000 people into fearless encounter with one another.

Episode Highlights Include:

  • How Greg’s family shaped him to be the person he is today
  • Why he founded Fearless Dialogues and how the process works
  • The role of fear and become “fear-less” in our encounters with others
  • What it means to find an identity outside of our professional roles

Support us by:

If you liked this episode, check out our conversations with

  • Andrea Lingle: on staying at the table for one more minute, especially with difficult conversation partners
  • David Bailey: reconciling communities across race and class.

Thanks to our amazing supporters, including

Stay tuned next for: A sequel conversation with Georgette Ledgister, Executive director of Fearless Dialogues.

Join us for a little more of our conversation with Carlos Reyes-Rodriguez, as he talks about what it means for anglo communities to show hospitality to the migrant.  

If you haven’t heard it yet, check out our full conversation with Carlos, The DREAMers are the prophets. 

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If you liked this episode, check out our conversations with

Thanks to our amazing supporters, including

Stay tuned next for: A conversation with professor, NPR guest, and founder of Fearless Dialogues, Dr. Gregory Ellison II.

Here’s my process for the guaranteed renewal of your church in just two steps.

Step One: Just fucking do something.

What does I mean? In order to explain, I first need to take you to a typical New England church supper to raise money for the light bill. (I’ve been to more than one of these.) People may fight in the kitchen, the meal itself might feel suspiciously like a ripoff to those who come and it generally makes less money than a lemonade stand in January.

Of course, this is celebrated by the pastor during the Sunday morning service as the second coming of the kingdom of God, running maybe a close second to that amazing committee meeting that also happened this week, where the minutes were read with great intention and decisions were not made with equally great intention.

Of course, all of this is a lie. Jesus wanted nothing to do with that stupid light-bill supper; and truth be told, neither did most of the congregation; but the lie (which is generally one with a long generational history) is what keeps the community equilibrium, so people go along with it.

This sort of routine spiritual malpractice, (or non-practice) of Christianity takes all these Biblical words that shook empires, incited crowds to riot, burnt well-constructed lives to the ground in holy fire, turns them upside down and shakes them really hard, until they agree to say whatever you want them to.

There is a downside to this serial theological manipulation, which is that when our words no longer have any experiential reality to meaningfully describe, they hollow out, like a barrel with a leak at the bottom, until they become functionally content-less. The actual Christian experience becomes so foreign that when Jesus speaks about feeding the hungry, befriending the poor, or going to prison, this is so far from the lived community experience that he might as well be talking about taking a day trip to Narnia.

Furthermore, our communities have functioned in this era of intense linguistic meaninglessness for so long that we now sincerely that shaping our words to name a reality that does not exist is what the Christian life is about. (Besides, of course, committee meeting, fundraisers, and funerals.) And so, even when possessing the very best intentions, our initial response to a call from God is to form a committee or study group to talk about it; until the energy is safely drained from the idea and we can go back to living our securely unchanged lives.

Which is why I’d say to any church (or really any faith community) that if you want to experience spiritual transformation, the VERY last thing you should do is hold a meeting, read a book, or form a planning group. Instead, go out and just start doing what Jesus did. Feed some hungry people. Visit some sick people. Make friends with God’s poor. Extend radical generosity to some unlikely targets. All of these things can be done with 20 minutes of planning, a couple hours of time, and less than a hundred dollars, EASY.

After you do this, not just once (once, after all, is just the spiritual equivalent of that annual January 2nd trip to the gym), but several times; then you may proceed to step two of my program:

Step Two: Gather and reflect on what happened.

Open your scriptures, or gather for worship, and say, “What can this tell us about how God was working through us?” and watch how all those pleasantly inoffensive, utterly nonthreatening words spring to life with startling urgency; how your dusty theology starts to suddenly grow new green sprouts and begins to change in disconcerting ways, and how the Spirit will start speaking to you in all the inconvenient, closed off places of your life.

Kenda Creasy-Dean talks about about leading youth in reflection after a service project. (Hear her whole conversation with me here.) She says,

When the youth showed up, they knew they were going to do something good and important for this family…but what the mom said to the teenagers was ‘You are an answer to prayer. We have been praying since February that we could hang on until you could show up.’ It ratcheted what they were doing up a notch…they didn’t see this just as a good thing..but that somehow, God was in the midst of this and that they’d been part of a story of redemption, not just a story of doing good things…turning good action into holy action.”

When that reflection starts (and your leader’s prized theological education starts coming in handy), I guarantee that all the transformation that everyone wants for their churches, will just HAPPEN, no consultants, planning committees, or book studies required, because the Spirit flows with remarkable alacrity through cooperative channels.

Congratulations, I just saved you thousands of dollars on a consultant and hundreds of hours of meetings.

All you have to do is:

1) Just fucking do something.
2) Gather and reflect on what happened.

Wash, rinse, repeat; and you’ll be surprised how transformational this Jesus life actually is.

Join us for a conversation a conversation with Carlos Reyes-Rodriguez, founder of La Caminante, working youth who are part of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. He’s a Deacon and Coordinator of Hispanic-Latino Ministries for the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of the United Methodist Church

Episode Highlights Include:

  • His journey from a reforming journalist in Colombia to a deacon in the United States
  • Why the DREAMers are our prophets
  • The story of travelling with DREAMers as they toured churches in Georgia to talk about the migrant experience
  • Why Carlos hasn’t cut his hair in two years
  • Why lawbreaking is part of the Christian tradition

Support us by:

If you liked this episode, check out our conversations with

Thanks to our amazing supporters, including

Stay tuned next for: A conversation with professor, NPR guest, and founder of Fearless Dialogues, Dr. Gregory Ellison II.

Join us for our updated conversation with Brian Kemp-Schlemmer of City Square Church in Phoenix, Arizona.

Episode Highlights Include:

  • [Update] Inviting Gun-Toting protestors to the conversation
  • [Update] The challenge of community and personal sustainability
  • City-Shaped Churches
  • Would I Pastor if I wasn’t Paid?
  • The difference between inputs and outputs

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Thanks to our amazing supporters, including

If you liked this episode, check out our conversations with

Stay tuned next for: A new conversation with Rev. Carlos Reyes-Rodriguez, who works with DACA students, about the life of the undocumented student.

Join us for our updated conversation with Hannah Terry of FAM Houston.

Episode Highlights Include:

  • [Update] How FAM Houston has grown and what Hannah has learned
  • What happens when people from different walks of life begin to encounter each other
  • The Missional Wisdom Foundation and living in intentional community
  • Bridge building with refugees in apartment complexes

Support us by:

Thanks to our amazing supporters, including

If you liked this episode, check out our conversations with

Stay tuned next for: An updated conversation with Brian Kemp-Schlemmer of City Square Church in Phoenix, Arizona, followed by our upcoming fall season!

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