A few days ago, before the sold-out Evolving Faith Conference kicked off at Montreat, ‘Science’ Mike McHargue and I were able to grab an hour together to talk about some of our most vulnerable experiences with God, and how these encounters have impacted our approaches to life.
We discuss the potent idea of panentheism – God as all-in-all – and why I’m at home with the ‘en’ (transcendent) part of this conjunction, and why he’s more comfortable with the ‘pan’ of ubiquitous immanence. This video was created for members of our Cosmic Campfire pop-up book club, but the conversation was so good we decided to make it available for you, here. Check it out!
Books Mentioned in this Dialogue
Since that Mike and this Mike (me) are big nerds, we talk about several books in our conversation. They include:
- Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science, Mike’s unforgettable memoir
- The Divine Dance: Bonus Chapter, where I discuss how my experience of God-as-Trinity changed how I see my friends and my enemies (get it free here).
- Radical Love, Omid Safi‘s bold and faithful new translation of Islamic Sufi poetry
- The Insistence of God: A Theology of Perhaps by John Caputo
- A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence by the incomparable Karen Armstrong
- The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium by Walter Wink
Kindling New Questions
This is all in preparation for The Cosmic Campfire Gathering this February 1-2 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (co-hosted with Tripp Fuller of Homebrewed Christianity, ‘Science’ Mike McHargue of The Liturgists, and Yours Truly.)
And I’m happy to announce that Early Bird tickets are now available – $129 through January 15th, saving $70 on the at-the-door price, if they even last that long. Seats are limited, so if you’re looking for the perfect Christmas gift for loved ones, yourself, or best-yet all of you, please get yours now.
If this is your first time hearing about this one-of-a-kind gathering, Tripp, Mike McHargue and I are creating space to talk about the Big Questions:
- Who are we as a species?
- What does it mean to inhabit these bodies, on this planet, in this universe?
- How are we so beautiful?
- How do we find ourselves in such a multi-lateral mess ?
- Does being a friend of God, aspiring follower of Jesus, and student of Scripture have anything meaningful to add to this conversation?
- Do the inquiries of biology, physics, psychology, archaeology and anthropology have anything meaningful to add to this conversation?
We’ll be exploring these questions, specifically as framed in the emerging cosmological projects Big History and the New Universe Story, with some of our favorite scientists, philosophers, and theologians. Buying your Early Bird Ticket now helps us plan for the full breadth of contributors to your experience, so we really appreciate it.
Confirmed dialogue partners include:
Barbara Holmes, PhD, is a theologian, writer and scholar who publishes books about the intersection of ethics, spirituality, mysticism, science, cosmology and African American religious culture.She is president emerita of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and formerly professor of ethics and African American religious studies and vice president of Academic Affairs at Memphis Theological Seminary.In addition to her work with law firms, she has worked with homeless missions, HIV/AIDS ministries, and international ministries in Kenya (the Presbyterian Church of East Africa) and Japan. Her published work includes Liberation and the Cosmos: Conversations with the Elders, Race and the Cosmos: An Invitation to View the World Differently, Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church, and other publications. Want to hear from Dr. Holmes? Listen to her on these episodes of Homebrewed Christianity and Contemplify!
Joan Roughgarden, PhD, is an evolutionary biologist, transgender, and described by the New York Times as “one of the world’s most influential theoretical ecologists.” She is well-known for her unique perspective on theistic evolution, and bold and pioneering work on sexuality in humans and the rest of the animal kingdom. She the author of numerous books and studies; for a popular readership, she has written Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People and Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist. Dr. Roughgarden is no stranger to podcasts – check her out on Just Plain Sense, BBC Analysis (‘Why Are Even Women Biased Against Women?’), and her insights in the just-released Science Vs. episode The Science of Being Transgender.
Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, PhD, has been described in a myriad of ways: a scholar-activist, scholar-leader, thought-leader, teacher, public theologian, ethicist, poet of moral reason, and word artist. Among these ways of describing Dr. Robyn, they are also a visionary thinker who has spent two decades working in the hybrid space of church, academy, and movements seeking to not only disrupt but dismantle supremacy culture by focusing their PhD studies on new concepts of being and becoming, decolonizing knowledge production, and bridging with radical difference. Named one of ten Faith Leaders to watch by the Center for American Progress in 2018, Dr. Robyn is currently at work helping co-create Activist Theology. Dr. Robyn is a non-binary Transqueer Latinx who calls Nashville, TN home. (Dr. Robyn is one of Homebrewed Christianity’s favorite guests. Check them out in this interview archive!)
And while we’ll be having fascinating conversations with experts in their fields, the conversations continue with you…we’re building in plenty of space for all of us to explore the questions that drive us…together.
So…will you join us? You can find out even more info, and grab your early bird tickets, at CosmicCampfire.party.
First, I am about twice the age of you, Mike & Mike. I am familiar or somewhat familiar with the writings of about 5 of the book’s participants and I have also read The Divine Dance. I expected your presentation to be more structured and less rambling. Perhaps, I expected it to be more in tune with the chapters in the book. I can’t say that I gleaned much from your joint conservation.
I am catholic and found a transformation in faith through the readings of the 5 people I’m familiar with especially Fr. Richard Rohr and Ilia Delio. The well intentioned control restraints of religions have left me between what was drilled into me as a catholic and the view of the Cosmic Christ. One does tend to see everything in the light of his experiences and the associated guilt that accompanies them. Mainstay religions do not seem to be progressing in their view of God. Rather, the young generation of pastors (for want of a better word) seem to be regressing into what I call medieval theology that tends to put constraints on God and faith. I leave my comments at that.
I loved this hearty (and brainy) dialogue!