Christ and Pop Culture (persuasion)

Is it OK to say you are enjoying life? With all the brokenness and suffering, it can feel rather callous to feel joy, take time to play, choose to laugh. Happiness visits, but pain is never far off. It tugs at our joy, weighing us down and reminding us that even if our current moment is light, others have overwhelming burdens… and perhaps instead of enjoying the moment we should be grieving and lamenting. As we learned in the classic film The Princess Bride, “Life is pain. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” Pain is real, and it isn’t going away until the age to come. So how do we balance enjoying the good times, despite the bad? Such questions can run us in circles.

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson invite Trillia Newbell to share her insight and unravel some of the confusion in regard to enjoying life. Trillia’s latest book is titled Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good Gifts (Waterbrook Multnomah), in which she explores ways we can experience joy despite the reality of pain. Find insight for savoring small joys without discounting the brokenness of the world, and then pop out to Twitter @PersuasionCAPC to answer the question of day.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_94.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:02pm EDT

Adults reading kids stuff describes many of us when it comes to our literature preferences. Sometimes the heaviness of the world around us can make it difficult to pick up a book geared at adults be it fiction or non-fiction as Erin and Hannah discuss on this Ounce of Persuasion episode. Be it the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary, or The Giver by Lois Lowry there are a plethora of books for us to discover at our local libraries or Barnes & Noble. C.S. Erin and Hannah talk about their favorite books as they show us it is okay to be adults reading kids stuff.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_93.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 9:33am EDT

Do you know how to knoll? It’s possible you do and don’t even know it by name. Knolling is an organizational technique in which you arrange related items together by size, shape, color, or function and then display them in parallel or 90-degree angles. The term knolling came into use in the late 80s, describing the way a furniture designer arranged his tools at right angles as a way to prepare for his work. Knolling has grown in popularity over the past few years as photographers and creative types have adopted it as an art form. Instagram accounts and Tumblr feeds are full of knolling examples using food, tools, flowers, books, and more. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson look at the trend and why we are drawn to the symmetry and orderliness of knolling. Although the drive to knoll may be strongest in those who are natural organizers, it isn’t just for the neat freaks. Even the messiest among us see evidence of it, from a color-coordinated closet to a neatly aligned workspace or pantry. Listen in to hear how knolling can help and hinder us our work and being, and then pop out to Twitter @PersuasionCAPC to show us your knolling skills.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_92.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:13am EDT

Disney’s 2017 live-action remake of its animated classic Beauty and the Beast has been all the rage—literally. Some are raging with glee, others raging with, well… rage. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson hash out all the cheers and jeers of Beauty and the Beast. Two controversies shape the discussion. First is the charge the film wasn’t feminist enough. Arguments have been raised of Belle’s captivity and oppression. There have been charges of Stockholm Syndrome. Eyes have rolled over using Belle’s ingenuity in developing a hands-free washing machine. Are these points valid? Perhaps this tale as old as time is beyond rescue and needs to be put to rest? In addition, the second set of charges came from some Christian leaders who were concerned about the “nice, exclusively gay moment” (so-described by director Bill Condon). Was the film appropriate for children? Was it promoting same sex attraction? Should Christians refuse to see the film? Hannah and Erin tackle these controversies and discuss aspects of the film that were enhanced or marred by the updated plot points for the 2017 release. Listen in to hear their hot takes on the blockbuster film and the fairy tale itself.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_91.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:45am EDT

Can God’s Kingdom be built without missionaries? Well, it depends upon your definition of missionary and mission work and how these define our vision for making the Gospel known wherever we find ourselves. In her recently released book titled Dangerous Territory: My Misguided Quest to Save the World, Amy Peterson asks questions like these, pressing readers to reconsider our notions of mission work and calling. Amy skill as a storyteller shines in this memoir of her “personal journey from wide-eyed adventurer to questioning believer to simply a beloved child of God.” Along the way, readers find Amy to be also be a stellar teacher who nudges her students to put aside worn-out ideologies in order to pick up powerful new definitions that will usher in God’s love. In this episode of Persuasion, Amy Peterson joins Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson to discuss Amy’s take on the American missionary myth and the outdated frameworks that limit Gospel work around the world. Relevant to this discussion is the way that mission work has been the outlet for women to freely use their gifts within the Body and how the changing landscape of missions work is connected to the Church’s uncertainty of a woman’s place in Kingdom work.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_90.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 7:40pm EDT

Dearest Target, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways! Target has everything we need for some serious shopping therapy. Known for its winning style and trendy decor, Target has become the go-to stop for chic home decor items and snazzy fashion accessories you didn’t even know you needed until you lost yourself its bright aisles. Despite the loyalty of Target shoppers, a recent article in The Atlantic raises a concern for its viability in  the online shopping age. Target has long been seen as a the quirky-cool brand that defies the typical disdain of big-box stores. That cool factor remains but only for those who cross the threshold to have a Target experience. Like many other retailers, Target is feeling the pinch in sales as many of us turn to the convenience of online giant Amazon for many of our regularly purchased personal items. With fewer reasons to stop by Target, we are missing out on the must-have seasonal items that make up Target’s bread and butter. In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss their love for Target and how the way we shop is shaping the sort of experiences we can expect in years to come. Will wandering around Target become a thing of the past? May it never be.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_89.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:37am EDT

Fancy yourself a prophet in the modern-day? It just take a bit of outrage, a pinch of wit, and platform to speak from—and, viola! People flock from near and far to engage in the chatter, praise your insight, and rally around shared tenets and beliefs. Jesus made it clear that a true prophet is without honor among his own people (see Mark chapter 6). But today’s prophetic voices are more often praised by the masses than hauled off for punishment. Oddly enough, today’s so-called prophets have adoring crowds who love the message—often because it cuts down those sinners, over there, while affirming the goodness of those in the prophet’s coterie. The stories of the prophets recorded in the Bible are quite different though—they spoke messages that burned, prompting the majority of listeners to reject the message and the mouthpiece only to sink deeper in to sin. Today’s sharp talkers are far from these portraits in scripture, causing us all to wonder if these prophets are called by God or merely self-selected.

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson invite writer and thinker Sharon Hodde Miller to discuss her take on our current predicament. Miller recently wrote about the loss of prophetic imagination in the Christian realm and how that has rendered our leaders powerless to speak truth that will convict and usher in true repentance. Key to the conversation are the current events that have revealed many Christians to be more committed to political talking points than to biblical standards. If we are to pursue God’s Kingdom in today’s culture, we must develop our ability to speak disruptive truth so that together God’s people will lament over our collective sins and return to His ways.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_88.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:40am EDT

Every evening, families across the nation face the drudgery of meal prep. The planners among us have a month’s worth of meals scheduled or a freezer full of ready-to-eat dishes. The rest of us do our best to choose a dish, gather up the ingredients, prep the elements, cook the meal, eat the meal, and then clean up. Meal planning and prep isn’t necessarily hard—it’s just so consistent. Every day it comes back to haunt and weighs on the mind. Savvy businesses have heard our weary cries and are responding with solutions. Meal kit delivery is soaring through companies like Blue Apron, Plated, Hello Fresh, and others. A subscription to one of these will get you a box of meals delivered to your door with a detailed recipe card and fresh, pre-measured and labeled ingredients. Another food trend that’s taken over Pinterest and social media is the Instant Pot. It’s a multi-use small appliance that transforms frozen food into a complete meal in like five minutes. Well, perhaps it’s not quite that fast, but users rave about its ability to eradicate meal time frenzy.

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson dish on these latest food trends that are taking the drudgery out of meal prep. Pertinent to the conversation is assessing the gain/loss in preparing recipes devoid of family history or in meal prep that consists of tossing everything into a pot and pushing a button. Are we trading culture for convenience? Will we lose our sense of heritage when we are too weary to prepare family recipes that have been passed down for generations? These questions are worth considering, as food is a foundational component to our sense of self and to the community at large.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_87.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:48am EDT

If you’re feeling under the weather, it’s likely you’re also feeling guilty about it. Maybe it’s because we cannot will our bodies to behave as normal or how our absence will disrupt life for others. The guilt over being ill causes us additional stress as we try to determine how sick we must be to stay home from work or obligations. Is feeling run down a good enough excuse? Do we need to have a stuffy nose as well as a horrendous cough? It’s no easier to make such determinations for our children who may truly be sick but just as likely could be trying to avoid something at school. In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson bemoan the challenges of dealing with bodies that need extra care and rest, usually at inopportune times. How do we know when to admit our frailties and stay home to recuperate? Why does our society praise people who push through and gut out an illness while scoffing at those who admit they are only human? If you have ever felt guilty about being sick, this episode is for you.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_86.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:43am EDT

The Danish have a way of living life called hygge (pronounced hoo-guh). If you’ve not heard of it yet, just wait—you’ll be inundated by it in 2017. The premise of hygge is to purposefully find cozy ways of enjoying life to elevate your sense of happiness and well-being. For those in Scandinavian countries, the cold weather dictates the mode of coziness. Some people speak of retreating after a long day with a favorite blanket, wool socks, and a warm cup of tea. It comes down to establishing a self-care ritual in a season (or world) that can be rather harsh. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss the hygge trend as it relates to Erin’s book, Comfort Detox: Finding Freedom from Habits That Bind You, which releases February 7 from InterVarsity Press. Our pursuit of comfort in small things isn’t necessarily wrong, but the overindulgence can lead us to live within pampered cocoons, tucked safely into our comfort zones. Finding a balance between tending to your self and soul—perhaps through a hygge lifestyle—and pouring out your life for the benefit of others is a tricky one. Christians especially need to wrestle with the pursuit of pseudo comforts as a substitute for seeking true comfort in our Comforter God.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_85.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:35pm EDT