Christ and Pop Culture (persuasion)

Humor can be hard to find with all the heartache we face in the world today. As the weight of life presses down, our ability to kick back and laugh shrinks—to our detriment. Research shows that laughter is still good and needful medicine, strengthening the immune system, boosting your mood, diminishing pain, and protecting you from the damaging effects of stress. Rather than humor being a sign of ignoring life’s troubles, its pursuit is actually a way to combat the world’s troubles from the inside out.

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson continue their Talking about Talk series by inviting Ben Fort to the conversation. Ben has been writing, producing, and composing for theater and sketch comedy for more than a decade. As head of the Comedy Writing Program at The Four Day Weekend training center in Fort Worth, Texas, Ben nurtures and develops others in their creative comedy skills and projects. Erin and Hannah pick Ben’s brain about the role of humor, asking questions such as: What role does humor play in matters of faith? Is it possible to build up your funny bone? How has comedy changed in the #metoo era? Does humor work in mixed-gender company? Listen in for dialogue on questions like these, and continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of day: Who is the funniest person you know IRL?

Direct download: Persuasion_149_Funny_Talk.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 9:44am EST

With all the talking in the world today, you might think it best to keep your own thoughts and words to yourself. Words abound on social platforms, from airwaves, in print. Even our own conversations are packed full. So many of us have grown weary of words and discourse. We wonder if contributing our opinion on the latest news squabble is needed. We wonder if society would be better served by our silence.

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson kick off a new approach to the show, one in which conversations can go deeper and be more robust. Persuasion will now use a series approach to episodes, grouping them together by topic to give more time and space for exploring issues at length. “Let’s Talk” is the first episode in the series Talking about Talk. Erin and Hannah present a compelling case for rigorously engaging the world with our thoughts and words, despite what seems to be an overabundance. Discussion covers the proliferation of words, the need for quality conversations in our circles, and the challenges we face in contributing value in a word-saturated culture. Because conversation is essential to healthy community, Erin and Hannah passionately argue for Christian to contribute sound and grace-filled words to the conversations we encounter in our homes, churches, workplaces, and communities. Listen in for dialogue on issues like these, and continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of day: Do you believe YOUR words matter?

Direct download: Persuasion_146.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 6:00am EST

You can learn a lot about a person by how regularly his or her phone battery dips into the single-digit red zone. Because in this day, a dead phone battery can leave you helplessly detached from all crucial life details: your map, your schedule, your work, your contacts, and more. A draining battery prompts fear and frustration, as well as a frantic hunt for a power outlet to remedy the situation.


In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson examine the way our mobile devices chain us to power outlets. Wherever we are—coffee shops, airports, public venues—a low battery can send us into survival mode, hunting for an open outlet. Sadly, many a hunter’s hopes have been dashed, when, upon spotting a free power outlet, find it is merely a sticker. Some sad soul is playing jokes upon the desperate, which prompts us to ask all sorts of questions about our relationship to devices and power. Is this stress about a draining battery necessary? Have we simply grown too dependent on (or addicted to) our devices? Are the people who place power outlet stickers truly evil?

Listen in, then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Direct download: Persuasion_145.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:19pm EST

If you’ve ventured out to your local office supply or big box store, you’ve seen a sort of glory that descends about this time every year. It’s found in the endless aisles of school supplies. This is where shoppers can find rainbows of gel pens and Post-It notes and notecards… reams of blank journals and notebooks… and countless styles of clips, magnets, pouches, and folders. It’s an endless realm of possibility. And, well, kids need them for school too.

In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson gush over school supplies and how their annual appearance marks the most wonderful time of year for many who are no longer students. What is it about back to school shopping that non-students find so appealing? Why do we buy more blank journals when we already have a stash we’ve never used? Is there a gene that predisposes certain humans to go giddy over office supplies? Listen in, then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Episode 144 Resources & Links:

21 Euphoric Experiences For People Obsessed With Office SuppliesBuzzfeed

12 Very Necessary School Supplies for AdultsMarie Claire

25 Back-to-School Supplies for Adults Who Want to Feel Like a Kid AgainThe Muse

Did you enjoy this episode of Persuasion? Give these a listen:

This Is How We KnollChrist and Pop Culture

For the Love of TargetChrist and Pop Culture

What Your 2017 Calendar Says About YouChrist and Pop Culture

Theme music by Maiden Name.

Direct download: Persuasion_144.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:16pm EST

Recent news articles say that although our social discourse may be loud, it is rarely effective in advancing understanding or reducing conflict. Unless you count the inner-turmoil we all have as a conversational thread spirals out of control.) For all our talking, there isn’t much listening going on, which means there’s even less true engagement with the serious issues of the day.

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson invite Alan Noble to the conversation to sort out this sad phenomenon. Noble is a professor as well as editor in chief/co-founder of Christ and Pop Culture. His first book, Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age, recently released with InterVarsity Press. The conversation addresses the common issues we all face in today’s hyper-connected, over-saturated world. Can we use online engagement for good? Is it possible to maintain a positive witness for Jesus in a secular society? How does the deluge of information make matters of importance more trivial? Listen in for dialogue on issues like these, continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of day: Who has been a disruptive witness to you?

Direct download: Persuasion_143.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 8:34am EST

Fifteen years ago, Pixar introduced us to The Incredibles—a family just like any other… except they also had superpowers. The 2004 animated film made this super-family relatable, with sibling squabbles, work frustrations, and miscommunication. And this year, the long-awaited sequel gave us another look inside this relatively normal family with abnormal skills.

In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson chat about some of the key storylines from the two films. The conversation is practically spoiler-free, focusing more so on the way this story affirms and values the unique role of the individual while inspiring the individual to be part of the team. Listen in, then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Direct download: Persuasion_142.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:00pm EST

Last week the news outlets were all abuzz with the announcement of Justice Kennedy’s retirement from the Supreme Court. Speculation now abounds: who will be nominated for this prestigious appointment? The potential names are circulating and commentary is mounting about each potential nominee. One who hasn’t been considered yet is our very own Hannah Anderson, who would like nothing more than to don a black robe and give opinions for a living.

In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss dream jobs that, like being appointed to the Supreme Court, have zero requirements. For Hannah, it’s being a justice; for Erin, it’s being a food critic. These hopes and dreams speak of how we are wired and the joys we find in exercising our gifts to make the world a better place, whether that’s by interpreting the law or praising good food. Listen in, then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

More to Read from Persuasion Episode 141:

How Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Could Undo Kennedy’s LegacyThe New Yorker

Qualifications To Become A Supreme Court JusticeThe Law Dictionary

Award-winning food critic Jay Rayner sends this letter to everyone who asks how to get his jobBusiness Insider

Did you enjoy this episode of Persuasion? Give these a listen:

Persuasion 126: Lottery Dreams & Nightmares

Persuasion 123: Entrepreneurs, Freelancers, and Those Who Love Them with Dorcas Cheng-Tozun

Persuasion 97: Home Work and Productivity

Theme music by Maiden Name.

Direct download: Persuasion_141.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 9:36pm EST

Unless you’ve shut off the news and all social media this past month, you are aware of our president’s policy that has separated children from parents as families cross our southern border. Regardless of your stance on the morality and legality of the practice, one thing is for certain: the blame game has taken over our discourse. Those who support the president’s policy blame previous administrations for the law that forces the trauma upon these immigrants, and they feel sorry for the way President Trump is being vilified. Those who don’t support the policy blame those who voted for President Trump, and they are outraged by the human rights violations. All this blaming, however, is distracting us from the main concern: the children who have been separated from their parents and the parents who are frantic to be reunited with them.

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss the way our public discourse has become about winning and sides rather than solving a crisis that is traumatizing real families and real children. Is it possible for us to set politics aside? Is it possible to embrace empathy for families that see this dangerous way as the only option open to them? Is it possible to solve the humanitarian crisis first and fix blame later? All these questions and more are covered. Listen in, then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Direct download: 140_Persuasion_140_The_Blame_Game_in_Separating_Families.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 6:54pm EST

In response to a marketing ploy by IHOP, Twitter has decided: Pancakes and burgers do not go together. Last week the International House of Pancakes restaurant chain launched a new campaign to promote its burger menu. There were cryptic pre-launch ads showing the letter P in the logo flipped upside down to make it a B, all in an attempt to stir up interest in what the B might mean. All of Twitter seemed shocked to find the B was for burger, because, if you had not noticed, IHOP is about breakfast. Could this new campaign convince us to choose IHOP for any other reason? If we judge the effectiveness of the campaign based on the Twitter response, the answer would be a hearty no.

In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson assess this failed online communication to a previous conversation discuss the need for better online engagement. Too often we send out messages like IHOP did: without knowing our audience well enough to shape the message to be properly understood and embraced. There is much we can learn from IHOP’s recent marketing ploy. Listen in, then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Direct download: 139_Persuasion_139_Why_Twitter_Cares_about_IHOP_s_IHOb_Campaign.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:40am EST

Free speech is a right that’s often claimed in emotionally charged conversations. We want to say whatever we want, because it’s a right granted to us by our county’s constitution. This is technically true: our country extends freedom for people to speak their minds. Although 100% agreement on what is said isn’t likely, we value the right to say what we think, ultimately trusting society to corral outlying ideas and shape them into a more refined understanding along the way. But what happens when the ideals of the majority begin to squeeze out fringe thoughts in ways that makes the society unhealthy?

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss several recent free speech kerfuffles covered in the news and online, including recent comments by Rosanne Barr and Samantha Bee and the NFL’s anthem ruling. All these happenings cause alarm and force us to consider if our value of free speech may presume too much in terms of society’s collective ability to handle its power and goodness. When are dissenting opinions and voices needed? Should abrasive or abusive words be shut down? Who decides what constitutes improper ideals in need of correction? Listen in to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Direct download: 138_Persuasion_138_You_Cant_Say_That.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 9:02pm EST

Graduation season is upon us, and if you have any graduates to celebrate you know what this means: It’s time to bestow all your sage advice to help these poor young souls from all the heartache you experienced after college.

In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson share their witticism of adult life. Each shares a bit of the shock that descended when “real life” kicked in post-college and how they transitioned from free spirited student to (somewhat) responsible adult. What advice would you give to college students who are just about to embark on this adventure we call adulthood? Listen in to see if it matches with a few of the things Erin and Hannah cover, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Direct download: Persuasion_135.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 1:03pm EST

Alexa is Amazon’s voice-activated digital assistant that makes your home a virtual microphone: You speak to Alexa, and it provides whatever help it is programmed to complete. By calling out to Alexa by name, you can control your lights, media system, and thermostat, as well as ask for information to every trivia(l) question that stumps you. For all the help this technology provides, it also works only by direct, simple commands. Such communication works for computer systems but does little for person-to-person interactions. And experts are concerned people will being to speak this way by default which is, in short, rather rude.

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson consider the ways that our modern communication styles are shaping the way we think and talk. Will Alexa give us practice using our commanding voice? Will it cause us to forget social graces? This is crucial, as the way we interact with others should be shaped by our status as fellow humans and image bearers, not as machines to do our bidding. Listen in to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of the day: How do you see tech changing the way you communicate with others?

Direct download: Persuasion_134.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 7:37am EST

We like our celebrities gorgeous. Until we don’t. The beauty and style of British Duchess Catherine has been all the rage since she married Prince William in 2011. But earlier this month, the InterWebs were all astir because she was just a little bit too beautiful. And as the saying goes, haters gonna hate. The trouble began when Catherine and William emerged from the hospital a mere seven hours after she delivered baby number three. As usual, Catherine was radiant, and her near flawlessness sent people into a rage. How could someone who just gave birth look that great? Outrage ensued as assessments poured in about setting impossibly high standards for the peasants of the world. How could we possibly measure up? Won’t all post-delivery moms feel like failures for not being as beautiful as Catherine? (Let’s be honest: For that matter, wouldn’t most women feel like ugly ducklings next to the Duchess?)

In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss the ways that we demand perfection from our celebrities but then criticize them for fulfilling our demands. From Duchess Catherine to Carrie Underwood, recent web grousing has focused on women who are known and praised for their beauty, but then dare to be so. Listen in to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Direct download: Persuasion_133.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:59pm EST

For all our dietary awareness these days, one thing we don’t consider much is that our food has a backstory. While obsessing about gluten and fat and carbs, we are neglecting the culture and history and heritage. And we are malnourished because of it. Food carries much weight and power in our lives—defining who we are and where we come from. The foods that shape us as people and communities sustain us, give us life. But what happens when a particular dish or cuisine is consumed into another’s culture with no intent of honoring the backstory? What if the very dishes that shape us are stripped of their history and significance? In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza invites Kendall Vanderslice and Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros to discuss the ways that food is laid to waste when its backstory isn’t preserved. The conversation touches on the role that power structures, colonization, lazy storytelling, and revisionist history affect our most beloved cuisines. Listen in to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of the day: How are you learning to be more sensitive to cultural appropriation?

Direct download: 131_Persuasion_131_Your_Food_Has_a_Backstory.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:15am EST

With an African-American cast and female-strong story line, the movie Black Panther has broken the Marvel mold. And fans can’t get enough. Movie sales have already hit $1 billion worldwide and are still going strong. The film is also a cultural phenomenon, sparking the M’Baku Challenge meme on Twitter and replicate costumes for cosplayers of color. What will be the lasting impact of this film? In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza invites Kathryn Freeman to discuss the vision of flourishing represented in Black Panther and what that means especially for black women. The conversation touches on the way African-American women are represented in Black Panther, other films, society at large, and within Christian circles. Listen in to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Be sure to answer our question of the day: How has Black Panther altered your notions of female flourishing?

Direct download: Persuasion_130.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 8:55pm EST

We humans can be a wee bit territorial. Take, for instance, the annual winter parking feuds in Chicago. Once winter hits and the snow starts falling, otherwise friendly neighbors begin claiming their cleared out parking spots using all manner of markers, from cardboard celebrity cutouts to lawn furniture to religious icons. And woe to the person who removes the marker and steals the newly shoveled spot! We may chuckle at such behavior, but claiming our space is something we are all prone to do.

In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss the ways that we seek to stake our claim for space, power, and rights and how we can all learn to live together on the same proverbial lawn. Listen and laugh and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Direct download: 129_Persuasion_129_Get_off_My_Proverbial_Lawn.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:33pm EST

Is the female voice having her day? Some would say yes, considering the recent pro-women movements and support for gender equality. Even so, the biggest voices have typically belonged to men, making it tough to hear what women have been saying all along. Both in decibels and weight, what men say has been valued over-and-above whatever women have said. Awareness of this imbalance has grown, as of late, causing men to seek out the perspectives, opinions, and expertise of women. A recent report in The Atlantic, for example, documented the good effort of a male scientist as he determined to give equal exposure to colleagues of both sexes. Such an effort backfired for another man, however, when he sought to split his reading between male and female authors. His account raised the ire of social media and plenty of reaction pieces. And it raises the question about intent in seeking out female voices. Is this merely a ploy to appear sensitive to the other half of the population? In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss several recent happenings that expose faulty reasoning for turning toward women’s voices and consider a better way forward. Listen in to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of the day: ADD QUESTION HERE.

Direct download: Persuasion_128_Insert_Female_Voice_Here.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:29am EST

The 2018 Winter Olympics are keeping viewers enchanted, if not sleep deprived, as we cheer on our nation’s best athletes on the worldwide stage. News and primetime coverage is crafted, just the way we like it: loaded with underdogs, unbelievable feats, and swelling music. But that’s not all. The Olympics has it’s fair share of strange news too.

In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss the side stories that bring the Olympics back into reality. There’s the Russian curling Bronze medalist that’s under investigation for doping, the American skier accused of cheating the system to compete for Hungary, and the Tongan who competed in cross country skiing after 12 weeks of training. These stories tell us a different side of the Olympics, one that has a hint of humor and a load of realism. Listen to some of the weird stories, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Direct download: 127_Persuasion_127_When_the_Olympics_Get_Weird.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:21pm EST

Do you dream of winning the lottery? At some point, everyday money stressors inspire even the most practical among us to imagine what life would be like with an endless supply of cash. For a recent Powerball Lottery winner from New Hampshire, this dream is now reality: she’s won $570 million. She hasn’t claimed it yet though—because lottery rules require that she make her win public knowledge, and she doesn’t want to lose her anonymity. The case is now headed to court. In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss the life change that comes when you suddenly—and publicly—come into wealth. Is it possible to gain wealth without losing the life you hold dear? Do lottery players realize they are gambling with their very lives? Listen in to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer the question of the day: Would you sacrifice your privacy for half a billion dollars?

Direct download: 126_Persuasion_126_Lottery_Dreams__Nightmares.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:09pm EST

If you forget to post a life event online, did it really happen? Such a philosophical question is the basis of this episode of Persuasion. Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson talk about our use of online platforms as a sort of repository for all of our life happenings, big and small, how they become an external hard drive for preserving memories, whether images or words, for all-eternity. But whatever we fail to record will be missing from our online historical record, in essence, it’s as if it didn’t happen. This generation’s use of a technological memory presents all sorts of quandaries and questions. Technology is forming us to be a certain kind of people… do we even know what we are becoming? An NPR article points to our desire for “digital transcendence”—a way of interacting in the world that cements our identities online, where we create the life we long for using our own hands… attached to a smartphone. Such devices are merely “digital extensions” of our selves and our minds, for who would we be without them? Do we know how to call loved ones? Do we know how to navigate highways or country roads? Do we lose a sense of joy without the digital cheers after posting photos of a delicious meal or the discovery of a beautiful place? Are we trying to capture a sense of self in ways that will forever elude us? Listen in to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of the day: What part of online interaction is least satisfying for you?

Direct download: Persuasion_125_Digital_Transcendence.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:18am EST

Each week the news seems to deliver yet another story about sexual harassment, assault, or abuse. The magnitude of accounts only confirms what victims already know: the weakest in the world are at risk when the worst among us are given power without accountability. But it’s not just those with power that keep corrupt systems in place. We all contribute to the culture when we refuse to listen to those who have been hurt and refuse to hold perpetrators to account for their monstrous acts. Is there hope for changing this culture of abuse and assault?

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza invites Christ and Pop Culture staff writer Abby Perry to discuss if change is possible and how we can work toward it. Key to the conversation is the way we listen to victims and horrific stories, as well as how we practice and model repentance. Our ability to face the worst in the world—and in ourselves—is the first step in making the world a life-giving place for us all. Learn about all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Direct download: Persausion_124.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 9:50am EST

A recent Forbes article states that freelancers now make up more than 1/3 of the U.S. workforce. The category lumps together men and women who craft a nontraditional work life as well as entrepreneurs who take a chance and launch a business. The excitement of making your own work adventure comes with the stress of uncertainty. Financial strain, emotional tension, relational troubles, and more follow those who take the plunge into self-employment and startup life. And if you are married and have a family? How your work ebbs and flows affects them too. How can you navigate these choppy waters?

Author and Inc.com columnist Dorcas Cheng-Tozun offers her insight in this episode of Persuasion with Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson. In her new book, Start Love Repeat: How to Stay in Love with Your Entrepreneur in a Crazy Start-Up World, Dorcas details how she and her entrepreneurial husband have survived and thrived in their nontraditional work life. Conversation covers everything from discerning marketplace trends to faith matters to spouses supporting each other for better or for worse. Learn about all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of the day: If you could start any business, what would it be?


From travel intelligence and prophets to pets and knolling—we’ve covered quite the array of topics on Persuasion this year. Even with all that talking, there are plenty of things we didn’t say in 2017. The year was full of turmoil and unrest. White supremecy protests, political scandals, the #metoo movement, terrorist attacks, tragedies at home and abroad… these topics didn’t get slated for an episode this past year, and you may have wondered why.

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson talk about the things they didn’t talk about in 2017 to shed light on their recording decisions. Recent articles have raised the valid question about women guarding their platforms by avoiding controversial or unsettling conversation. Is it possible—even for women—to have meaningful, sometimes heated, dialogue about tough topics? Erin and Hannah believe it is, but wisdom is needed for handling sensitive topics. Learn answers to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of the day: What topics would you like to hear on Persuasion in 2018?

Direct download: 122_Persuasion_122_Things_We_Didn_t_Say_in_2017.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:36pm EST

How’s your Christmas joy holding up? There are only days remaining before Christmas, but for many, the most wonderful time of the year isn’t always merry and bright. It’s full of extra pressures to create the sort of Christmas that wows on in crafting and baking and decorating. Which is great, if you are naturally gifted in these arts. If this isn’t your thing, you may wonder if you are ruining Christmas for your loved ones. Is it still Christmas if your gifts aren’t wrapped to match this year’s Christmas decor theme? What if your outside lights aren’t synched to blink with a custom song selection? And what if your gingerbread house is a hot mess and collapses into a heap? These may be ancillary, but so much of our celebrating employs skills many of us crack out only once a year, which can pile on stress in the middle of a season that should be filled with joy.

In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss ways we put less pressure on ourselves to have a picture-perfect Christmas as well as how we can appreciate those who naturally shine in making Christmas celebrations beautiful. Learn answers to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Direct download: Persuasion_121_-_When_Your_Christmas_Joy_Crumbles.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:04pm EST

Everyone knows about Santa’s Naughty or Nice List. If you are Nice, you get presents. If you are Naughty, you get coal. This tale is repeated every Christmas without fail, woven into our movies and books. It’s even perpetuated by the Elf on the Shelf phenomena, which traps parents into 24 days of elaborate elf happenings (mostly on the Naughty side, I might add), all to convince their children that the elf is track Naughty and Nice behavior for Santa. But what happens to those on the Naughty List? Are you stuck there forever? Does the slate get cleared every Christmas so we can start anew?

Such questions form the basis of this episode Persuasion. Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss their own childhood experiences with the Naughty/Nice List and then compare that to the truth of God’s grace that changes us from the inside out. We embrace this hope for change for ourselves, but often we struggle to allow those we deem Naughty the same space for transformation. Is it possible those we place on the Naughty List don’t deserve to be? NPR’s Invisibilia builds a case that our behavior and personality are highly regulated by situation, and since we interact with others in the same contexts, we presume to know which list to put them on. What if people can not only change but are also actually much more layered and complex than we allow them to be? What if we are putting people on the wrong list? Learn answers to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Be sure to answer our question of the day: What changes have you seen in yourself in 2017?

Direct download: 120_Persuasion_120.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 4:24pm EST

Big news broke from the British royal family: Prince Harry is engaged to Meghan Markle, who is a U.S. citizen, actress, and humanitarian. The announcement produced an immediate frenzy of excitement from commoners wanting to know all the details, and news outlets were happy to oblige.

You may be wondering why this important when so much is wrong in the world today, so Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson share their hot takes in this episode of Persuasion. Is the British royal engagement watch a shallow distraction, akin to U.S. paparazzi celebrity stalking? How is Megan similar to her future sister-in-law Catherine and her finance’s late mother, Diana? Why does a successful royal marriage benefit society as a whole? Learn answers to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of the day: Is it appropriate to join in the royal engagement watch?

Direct download: Persuasion_119_Royals.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:33pm EST

The holidays are here! The many festivities and social obligations can be an added stress, but even more so if you have to go it alone. How do the unmarried people in our midst navigate this season that focuses so much on the nuclear family? Although family is a beautiful thing, it can sting the hearts of those who are single when holiday celebrations are seemingly geared only for those who are married with children.

To shed light upon this sensitive reality, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson invite Gina Dalfonzo to Persuasion. Dalfonzo is an author and cultural commentator for many outlets, as well as a staff writer at Christ and Pop Culture. Her recent release is titled One by One: Welcoming the Singles in Your Church, in which she details the ways that we all can be more mindful about how we think about and treat those who are not married. In addition, Dalfonzo points out the untapped wisdom of singles and how their experiences have much to teach us. Listen in to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of the day: For what aspect of the holidays do you need someone by your side, either literally or figuratively?

Direct download: 118_Persuasion_118_Going_Solo_during_the_Holidays_with_Gina_Dalfonzo.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:30pm EST

Writing letters has fallen out of practice, and the loss of that art isn’t all we lose. Today’s digital communication is full of short-hand texting, gifs, and emojis—a far cry from the long-form letter scribed by hand. New modes of communication have their joys, but so too does the letter. It harkens back to an era when sharing ideas and feelings took effort and time; it was an investment in pen to paper, of heart and soul. And it echoes another time when life was, perhaps, more contained and less fragmented. It also echoes a certain sort of place—one that can be found today in smaller town or smaller circles where people are known in full and over many years. Is this sort of knowing of and investing in others possible in our digital age?

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson invite Winn Collier to discuss all this and more. Collier is a pastor and author who sees value in slowing down and sharing things that matter in ways that won’t be soon forgotten. The discussion meanders in the best sort of way from penmanship to the arts to putting down roots. Listen in to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of the day: What’s the last handwritten letter you’ve sent or receive?

Direct download: 116_Persuasion_116_Beyond_Digital_Discipleship.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:26pm EST

Considering the multitude of electronic entertainment and educational resources at our 24/7 access, few of us can even remember the last time we were bored. Every dull moment can be filled with a scroll through a social media feed or by catching up on e-communications or learning something new on YouTube. Mundane, boring tasks are transformed with the latest episode of your favorite podcast. (Ahem.) With all this stimulus, it is a rarity to experience true boredom, where we get to be alone with our thoughts and let our minds drift. Perhaps one the worst things about this constant stimulation is that we feel guilty for wasting time and we forget the value of having fun. It’s telling that our fun and silly activities often need to be scheduled and planned out!

In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss our need for giving our minds a rest, whether that’s by being bored or engaging in play, and what we might be losing by engaging serious thought in every lull. Listen in to this quick take on how being bored may be a good thing, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Direct download: Persuasion_116_Playfulness.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:19pm EST

Have you ever wondered if God really is love? Because there are times when He doesn’t adhere to the expectations we have for loving behavior. Few of us have made it through life without a trial that tests our faith in God’s unfailing love. Life delivers a sucker punch, rattling all the things we thought we knew about God’s love toward us. It raises the age-old question: If God is love, why did X, Y, and Z happen? Why didn’t God spare us pain and shower us with happiness? It’s in the trials that our faulty definitions of love are brought to light and we have to reconcile what we thought with what is true. Love is no simple thing.

To help us sort out these varying definitions of love, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson invite Kelly Worral to share what she’s learned, which is detailed in her recent book, Pierced & Embraced. Kelly has done her own wrestling with God, trying to comprehend how the pain she’s encountered could possibly be part of God’s love toward her. This episode’s conversation covers the paradoxical nature of love, why we need trials, and how we can trust God’s love even in seasons of suffering. Listen in to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Direct download: Persuasion_115_Is_God_Really_Love.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:23pm EST

According to an NPR report, a pie craze has descended upon our country. Pie bars and diners are all the rage, dismantling the lengthy reign of the cupcake. Is this good news? Should we mourn the passing of the cupcake? In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson have their first fight over which dessert is best and share a few confessions about pie making as a measure of womanhood. Listen in to this quick take on how pie may be our last hope for national unity, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our questions of the day: Are you #teampie or #teamcupcake? What kind of pie best represents you?

Theme music by Maiden Name.

Direct download: Persuasion_114_Pie_Craze.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 9:48pm EST

Today's lesson: How to Avoid a Scuffle in a Foreign Land. Most people long to travel the world for a glorious adventure, but few would include getting in a scuffle with a local as part of the goal. Although seeing the world is high on many-a-bucket-list, the ability to do so isn’t quite so easy, however, due to the time and money required to get overseas. These barriers to travel are a loss in many ways, one being the lack of experience many of us have in navigating cultures, languages, and customs that aren’t like the ones we know. Many U.S. travelers find themselves at a loss in foreign countries, unable to speak the language and unskilled in deducing situations that are uncomfortable and confusing. Such inexperienced travelers are seen by locals as either silly or irritating, depending on the etiquette breach on display.

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson recap a tourist debacle in Nepal. The event, while frightening, is a launchpad for discussing the need to travel with deep humility toward people and places you encounter for the first time. Listen in to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Be sure to answer our question of the day: What’s your funniest travel blunder?

Direct download: Persuasion_113_How_to_Avoid_a_Scuffle_in_a_Foreign_Land.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:40pm EST

How is it that a fish can bring hope and a puppy can bring joy? There is something special about caring for and tending to animals that help us deal with the stresses of life. In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson share some of their most memorable animal stories as they explore the ways that animals are a true gift to our families and lives. We’d love to hear your animal stories, the animal Instagram accounts you scroll through, or the latest hedgehog video you have on repeat. And visit us on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC to share a photo of your beloved pet!

Direct download: Persuasion_112_Pets.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 7:43pm EST

If women’s magazines are any clue, beauty is the primary concern among females. Magazines are stuffed with tips for fashion, makeup, diet, exercise, skin care, and more. And when those don’t work, there are the more extreme measures such as cosmetic surgery and extreme dieting, all to force our physical form into a certain predefined shape. Even without these extreme measures, most women are well aware of the ways their own body doesn’t meet the beauty standards of our culture. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss the ways that women chase after beauty. Covering everything from negative self-talk to fitness challenges to the price of good health, Erin and Hannah explore the ways that unreasonable standards have us chasing a form of beauty that isn’t real. Listen in to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of the day!

Direct download: Persuasion_111.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:32am EST

Our notions of house and home are elemental in how our approach to life. The modern age has made us more transient and outward focused, thereby weakening our rooted—to people and to places. At the same time, media entertainment, such as HGTV’s Fixer Upper, stokes our desire for a designer-like place to serve as the backdrop for our family’s memories. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson invite Jen Pollock Michel to the conversation. Michel is author of Keeping Place: Reflections on the Meaning of Home, and she has put considerable attention into the ways that home influences us individually and collectively. Whether our experiences of home have been positive or negative, our hearts desire a place of belonging and rest. This desire is really homesickness—a longing to be in the home God is preparing for His people even now. If you’ve ever wondered how gnosticism affects our sense of home or how Augustinian’s concept of rightly ordered loves checks nationalism or what the price is for seeing Church as family rather than home, this episode is for you. Listen in to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of the day: What memory or emotion do you most associate with home?

Direct download: Persuasion_110.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 9:12am EST

Do you ever feel judged for your parenting? Do you ever feel like everyone is watching you and thinks you are doing it all wrong? In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson address the weight of parental guilt in its multi-faceted forms. Identifying the impossible standards is a first step, and Bunmi Laditan (of Honest Toddler fame) put a humorous spin on the weight today’s parents bear. She listed the wide array of responsibilities (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, academic, health, etc.) that must be considered for a parent to be deemed worthy. As humorous as it may be, the reality remains: most parents feel judged for the decisions they make regarding their children. The pressure to make life all it can be for our children is a stress unknown to previous generations. Today’s parents need to be grounded if they are to rise above society’s expectations for what parents should and should not be doing as they rear the next generation. Listen in to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of the day: What’s your funniest parental misstep?

Direct download: Persuasion_109.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:06am EST

Direct download: Persuasion_108.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:58am EST

Advertising has done a masterful job informing us of the many germs are lurking among us—and how their magical products will eliminate the threat. These unseen microorganisms do have the potential to cause sickness and disease, so we are right to take precautions. In our homes we use antibacterial soap to wash our hands and disinfectants to clean our bathrooms. And then there are the habits we adopt for out in the world that readily echo Colossians 2:21: Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch! Some of these precautions are wise for avoiding unnecessary illness. But some of our habits and safeguards can be rooted in something other than scientific proof. Our personal preferences for cleanliness or the habits instilled in us from our family of origin all play a part in how we attempt to keep germs away. In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss typical germ standards that give us peace to live in a world full of unseen foes. Conversation touches on the Five Second Rule, hand washing habits, and sharing drinks. Listen in to this quick take on how we navigate the mysteries of the world and try to make ourselves feel safe even when we aren’t really sure if our efforts makes any difference whatsoever. Visit us on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC to share your germ-fighting rules and quirks!

Direct download: Persuasion_107.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 8:16pm EST

Does social class affect the Body of Christ? That’s the question Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson address in this episode of Persuasion. In a previous conversation, class divides were discussed in regard to society as a whole and how social constructs keep us in our place largely through fear of shame and general ignorance in navigating unfamiliar social situations. What’s true for society at large is also true for our Christian sub-culture. Even within the Church, where unity is the goal, class divides us. Leadership and discipleship is shaped and geared toward upper-class tastes—primarily because of the dollars that are funding these packaged expectations for pursuing spiritual formation. What do we lose when the Haves in the Church are functioning a part from the Have-Nots? Where do you see social barriers negatively impacting the Body of Christ and our Kingdom calling? In what ways do our learned social behaviors send the message that outsiders are not welcome in our church community? Listen in to all these questions and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of the day: Where do you see class divides at work in the church?

Direct download: Persuasion_106.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 3:55pm EST

Social divides are present in every culture. If you want to be an insider, you learn to rules of the class and abide by them. Breaking the rules results in embarrassment or even exclusion. As an insider, knowing the rules gives you a sense of belonging with those in the group and even power over those who are not. As an outsider, the rules may be confusing or impossible to abide by—making movement between classes difficult at best. New York Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks recently wrote about a common class barrier: fancy sandwich shops with obscure names that only upper-class types understand. Such naming structures cater to a certain crowd (the first step in savvy marketing and business strategy) but also serve to keep class divides in place by making those outside too uncomfortable to venture in. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson cover everything from faux pas to class snobbery to the structures that keep us in our place. Listen in to all this and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of the day: What’s your most embarrassing faux pas?

 

 

Direct download: Persuasion_105.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:15pm EST

If you’ve read the Bible, you’ve likely encountered some strange and confusing passages. The accounts tell us of terrible atrocities and injustices, often with little commentary condemning the behaviors our hearts and minds rail against. And many times, women are the ones suffering the fall out. All this raises concerns, especially among women, of the place the Bible should hold in matters of life and faith. Does the Bible endorse harmful treatment of women? Can modern, rational women embrace the Christian faith? To help us with this discussion, Wendy Alsup joins this episode of Persuasion with Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson. Alsup’s recent book addresses the common questions raised in her book Is the Bible Good for Women?: Seeking Clarity and Confidence Through a Jesus-Centered Understanding of Scripture. The conversation here begins with the narrative arc of Scripture and why the Bible is not simply a moralistic guidebook. Listen for discussion on all these questions and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of the day: What Bible passage about women is most baffling to you?

Direct download: Persuasion_104.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 3:41pm EST

If life is like a dance, then safety is the move of the decade. Bad things happen, and we start the safety dance, trying maneuver ourselves and our loved ones away from danger. We sidestep from life in an attempt to maintain a minimum safe distance from anything that could potential inflict harm. But in this world, there is no place that’s 100% safe. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson attempt to sort out our society’s near obsession with being safe. From safety drills to showering during storms to overseas travel, safety concerns dictate our lives and elevate safety as our top priority in life—even above and beyond our call to trust God with the number of our days. What happens when we worship at the alter of safety? How do we relax into living this life, despite the danger? How can we survive the guilt when bad things happen and we’re chastised for not taking greater precautions? Listen for discussion on all these questions and more, and then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of the day: What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve done in the name of safety?

Direct download: 103_Persuasion_Episode_103.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:40pm EST

What if you could accomplish a full day’s work in only three hours? That’s the premise of a research study that affirmed what we already know about the law of diminishing returns: The more we work, the less effective we become with each additional hour of effort. It turns out the best practice for maximum productivity is to work in concentrated bursts followed by a short recovery period. This technique isn’t necessarily new. In the 1980s, Francesco Cirillo packaged it as the Pomodoro Technique, a time management method monitored by a timer to signal work and break intervals. (The name pomodoros is inspired by the tomato-shaped kitchen timer he first used.) Pomodoro doesn’t have a corner on the interval time management market. There are plenty of apps and books with recommendations to fit all sorts of work situations and worker personalities.

In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss the pros and cons of our busy lives and dream of the extra time (and energy) they would have by cramming eight hours of productivity into just three. Do you use a time blocking method to enhance your work productivity? Have you achieved a three-hour workday? Let us know on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the members-only community on Facebook. Thanks for joining the conversation!

Direct download: 102_Persuasion_Episode_102.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:30pm EST

Few who marry expect their marriage to produce anything less than marital bliss. But that bliss isn’t automatic—in fact, it begins in an unexpected place: personal discipleship. Since June is one of the most popular months to say “I do,” in this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson invite BJ Thompson to discuss the building blocks for strong marriages and how marriage itself is the backdrop for discipleship. Thompson shares from his experience leading Build a Better Us, a marriage discipleship organization that helps couples grow individually for the benefit of marriages and communities. Discussion in this episode is packed, touching on how strong marriages stabilize communities and why marriages are only as healthy as each spouse’s own relationship with God. Pre-marital counseling rarely prepares a couple for the refining they will face as honeymoon joy fades into the challenges of day-to-day life. That’s when the work begins, and perhaps that is the message couples need to hear: Saying “I do” is your commitment to lifelong refining and discipleship.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_101.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 4:53pm EST

Raise your glass or coffee mug—we’re celebrating! Today marks the 100th episode of Persuasion. Over the past two years, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson have been starting conversations on everything from tiny houses to conspiracy theories to sexual sin. The topics have been as diverse as the guests who have come to share their expertise. In this celebratory chat, Erin and Hannah reminisce while inviting listeners behind the podcasting curtain to hear how Persuasion comes together each week. Podcasting has changed the way we  access discussion-based commentary, making it possible for shows like Persuasion to have a voice. Gratitude flows for the listeners who have tuned in over the past two and a half years to hear fine ladies, rational minds, and the best kind of company dish on pertinent ideas and issues. Has Persuasion stirred any conversations for you? Let us know on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the members-only community on Facebook. Thanks for joining the conversation!

Direct download: 100_Persuasion_Episode_100.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 1:42am EST

If you are like 75% of Americans, the neighbors next door are actually the strangers next door: only 25% of Americans surveyed knew their neighbors by name. Modern life contributes, of course. The pace is fast. Technology allows us to easily engage with people beyond our neighborhood. Much of our work and play is away from home. All these factors and more mean that we have little down time to chat with the people who live next door or across the street or on the other side of the fence. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson dissect how modern life has changed the way we interact with those who live in close proximity. But modern life doesn’t negate Jesus’ call to be true neighbors to one another.

So what does that look like in this day? Erin and Hannah share a few of their own love-you-neighbor fails and consider ways to overcome the stranger next door dilemma. Discussion wraps with a summary of Hannah’s 2016 article at Christ and Pop Culture on the kindness of Mister Rogers and how he modeled the sort of neighbor we should strive to be. Being mindful of the people in your neighborhood or in your daily path is the first step in getting to know their names and their stories, a small sort of kindness that our world needs more of. Do you know your neighbors? We’d like to hear about the ones you appreciate and the ones you want to know. Stop out on Twitter to answer the Question of the Day: Who are your neighbors?

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_99.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:30am EST

 Graduation season is here! We all know the drill: the processional of robe–and-cap clad young people, the pomp and circumstance. And let’s not forget the commencement speech. The speaker is tasked with sending out a new batch of graduates with final words that encompass and sum-up their years of study. Most speeches are quickly forgotten, although a few standout due to the presenter or content. For example, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg gave an unforgettable address to Berkeley’s 2016 class, and it is praised as one of the best. David Foster Wallace’s profound 2005 speech at Kenyon College, titled This Is Water, was later published as a book. And powerhouse Bill Gates tweeted to all 2017 graduates his words of wisdom, proving that sometimes fewer words are just as effective as a 25-minute speech. In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson consider the typical wisdom commencement speakers dispense to graduates, which usually includes something about following dreams and refusing to settle for less than the best in life. The words are heavy on sunshine, but light in terms of helping graduates adjust to life beyond their college experience. Into that void, Erin and Hannah offer a few practical tips for young people as they embark on the journey that is adulthood.   
Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_98.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:19am EST

In the digital age, working from home is no longer the prevue of the lucky few. Whether you crunch numbers or sell jewelry, more and more of us are experiencing the benefits of flexible work hours and short commutes. And while corporations tally the benefits in increased productivity and decreased costs, what does it mean for employees and for the home itself? What happens when the marketplace comes into our private space? On this week’s episode, author Courtney Reissig joins Hannah Anderson to discuss the plusses and pitfalls of working from home.

Direct download: 97_Persuasion_Episode_97.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:09am EST

Being childless on Mother’s Day can be tough. Between family celebrations and church services, the day can take a huge emotional toll on the woman who is struggling with barrenness.

On this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson welcome Karen Swallow Prior to discuss her recent ERLC article titled “Called to childlessness: The surprising ways of God.” Prior speaks of the infertility she and her husband have faced and how God has affirmed that being childless makes way for another calling—one that isn’t about a lack of children but about a different kind of abundance. Both Prior and Straza speak of how they handle grief, feeling out of place, and insensitive questions. Discussion also touches on ways the Church can minister to women who are not moms, whether they are single, barren, or simply not sure they are called to motherhood. While the Church has rightly placed great value on the gift of children and the weight of motherhood, this has resulted in pressure for couples to pursue children no matter the cost or risk. Be sure to pop out to Twitter @PersuasionCAPC to answer the question of day: What kind of local support have you had from your church family in regards to our topic today?

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_96.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:31am EST

Sorry, girls—if you wanted to be smart, you needed to be a boy. At least, that’s what recent research on gender stereotyping showed. In an article published at The Guardian, a new “study highlights how children as young as six can be influenced by stereotypes such as the idea that brilliance or giftedness is more common in men.” Those subtle assumptions have detrimental ramifications for females of all ages. Because being smart is something reserved for boys, girls begin to downplay their intelligence and question their God-given ability to engage fully, first in education and then in the workforce.

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss the ways that pop culture and society at large portray and relate to smart females. Covering various books and films that give young girls proper role models, Erin and Hannah highlight the need for girls to be encouraged to know their gifts and nurture them without shame. Pertinent to the conversation is recognizing different types of intelligence—not only mental, emotional, and spiritual, but also creative, analytical, operational, and so on. We have truly been fearfully and wonderfully made by a Creator who wires each of us to display His brilliance in ways that no one else is able. Be sure to pop out to Twitter @PersuasionCAPC to answer the question of day: What sort of intelligence do you most admire?

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_95.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:24am EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

“Did you ever knoooow that you’re my heeee--ro?” Since 1982, the likes of Lee Greenwood, Gladys Knight, and Bette Middler have crooned about the wind beneath our collective wings.

Whether we look to celebrities, saints, or superheroes, we’re longing for a vision of the human experience that is, well, more than human. This week, CAPC associate editor Sarah Kelly joins Hannah Anderson to parse the whys and wherefores of hero worship. We can’t help but be drawn to larger than life human beings, but what are the risks of looking up to heroes, even heroes of the faith? Or do the triumphs and quiet successes of others teach us something vital, something that can make our own lives less ordinary?

Sarah and Hannah tackle everything from Supreme Court Justices as superheroes to how the blogosphere can cultivate an unhealthy form of hero worship. They also reveal their own childhood heroes and Hannah confesses to holding out hope that she might yet become Nancy Drew when she grows up.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_84.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:52pm EST

Stubborn people can be so annoying, right? They latch on to a cause or take a stance, then refuse to back down, even in the face of difficulty and opposition. They won’t let anything go. They have a point to prove and are willing to stick to their convictions until they have the last word and the whole world knows they were right. All this can be annoying, true. But what if our world could use a few more stubborn souls who passionately pursue change? In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson consider the difference made by Virginian Nick Stafford. Stafford got the runaround from his local DMV when he needed to register a car for his son. So he challenged the inefficiencies and absurdities of the bureaucracy by filing three lawsuits, investing countless hours (not to mention emotional energy), and spending and extra $1,000 to pay his bill in pennies. In the end, Stafford justified his means, because he didn’t think anyone else should have to go through the same thing. He was willing to sacrifice and endure the process to see change come about. Depending on the situation, this level of uncompromising diligence can be either annoying or world changing. Erin and Hannah discuss Stafford’s amusing case and then ponder the good such stubborn souls can do in society.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_83.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 2:12pm EST

The past year or so, we’ve had plenty to be frustrated about. The world isn’t what we’d like it to be. In this environment, frustrations easily turn to hopelessness or anger. How are people of faith to deal with these emotions? Some will try to gloss them over by turning their frowns upside-down. Others will will try to mask them with denial or criticism. But author Anne Kennedy recommends another way: sarcasm. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson invite Anne to discuss her recent devotional release, titled Nailed It! 365 Sarcastic Devotions for Angry or Worn-Out People. Not only does Anne find sarcasm to be helpful for Christians, she also sees it used by God Himself in Scripture. Humor is an important response to the brokenness we encounter, standing in stark contrast to the overly saccharine Christianity that is more popular today. For all the challenges the world faces today, we need a way to diffuse with the tension; Anne believes sarcasm offers a profoundly effective alternative. As 2017 begins, this devotional is seriously witty, with wry humor that cuts deep in ways readers didn’t even know were needed. Anne has a distinct way of asking the questions are hearts have been raging about but haven’t been able to voice yet. 

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_82.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 9:35am EST

The Crown is a new original series on Netflix highlighting the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The first season (10 episodes) released in November and focused on her early life, including her marriage and her assumption of the throne as a 25-year-old after the sudden death of her father, King George VI. Key to the storytelling is how each episode frames up a different challenge Queen Elizabeth faced in taking on the duty of a queen. She is shown to wrestle with both the weight and the responsibility of leading her country to the best of her ability—even when her ability seems less than adequate. As the new Queen learns how to handle her power and find her voice, she also comes to terms with her duty to serve her country above all else, including personal preferences, emotional comfort, and relational peace. The crown the Queen wears requires everything of her. Although few of us are in line for a royal throne, we too struggle with issues related to calling and duty. Queen Elizabeth’s calling was defined for her, whereas we must forge our own way to determine how our gifts, talents, experiences, and preferences come together in a way that serves the world around us. Whatever our calling may be, it’s not always easy to faithfully carry it out. Every calling requires sacrifice, just as Queen Elizabeth’s does. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss The Crown and how its themes of calling and duty are helpful as we embark on a new year. This season beckons us to assess the work of our lives and do some course correcting for the year ahead. Key to the conversation is how we view duty and the role it plays in a life given in full to our calling for the benefit of others.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_81.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 9:02pm EST

For many of us, Christmas shopping winds down just as the hunt rants up for the perfect calendar for 2017. There’s the traditional wall calendar for the family, the academic planner for the student, and the daily planner for the professional. But like most things in our culture, the options don’t end there. Planners and calendars are big business, with weighty brands like the Erin Condren LifePlanner, Plum Paper, Passion Planner, and Sacred Ordinary Days. Many of today’s planners can be customized and designed exactly to your own specifications—for a price, of course. You choose the style, the layout, the binding, and the theme. And if that’s not enough, you could simply create your own calendar, using the bullet journaling system that’s taken on a life of its own over at Pinterest. Bullet journaling is a scrapbooking planning mash-up for those who are artists at heart but can’t quit their day jobs. With so many approaches to organizing our days, certainly there is something to be learned from the calendar systems we choose. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson dissect the trends of planners and calendars and tease out what our planner-of-choice says about our personalities, goals, and gifting. If you’ve not selected your 2017 system yet, this discussion can help you sort out the options and land on the calendar option that’s the best fit for you.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_80.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:34pm EST

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_79.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 8:30am EST

It’s been five years since Kate Middleton became Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (aka Princess Kate) and caught the world’s eye for wearing, of all things, nylon stockings. Fashion gurus near and far were baffled that a young woman like Catherine would make pantyhose an outfit standard. Fashion wannabes wondered what would happen if they nonchalantly started wearing pantyhose—which would be a first for many Millennials who have never donned a pair. Here in the States, pantyhose fell out of fashion in the 80s, just when many corporate dress policies turned casual and women grew weary of multi-layering. For several decades, pantyhose were worn only by older women . . . or by female students at ultra-conservative Christian colleges with formal dress codes. But in recent years, pantyhose sales have been on the rise, with credit going at least in part to the royal style maven. (Perhaps we should credit Christian colleges with keeping pantyhose companies afloat since the 80s?) Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson have a light-hearted talk about the pantyhose trend as well as their own hosiery experiences, fashion preferences, and style troubles in this ounce of Persuasion fast chat.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_78.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 3:05pm EST

Thanksgiving is here. November is typically a month filled with the warmth of autumnal celebrations and everything pumpkin spice. But this year, there’s a palpable heaviness, an almost collective depression across our nation. Whether it’s from the roller-coaster election season or troubles brewing in our society, gratitude is hard to muster. Typically Thanksgiving is ushered in via those daily gratitude posts on social media, but even those seem to be in short supply this year. In this ounce of <em>Persuasion,</em> Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson peel apart the reason for Thanksgiving and the ways we can cultivate gratitude even in dark times. Hope is drawn from history, when Abraham Lincoln re-instituted Thanksgiving during the Civil War. Certainly those dark days made it difficult for U.S. citizens to have a happy Thanksgiving, yet Lincoln was wise to call our country to give thanks. Today, although we may not feel the warm fuzzies of Thanksgiving in our hearts, we have reason to practice the discipline as a sort of national liturgy. As difficult as it may be to feel gratitude, we are all in desperate need of Thanksgiving this year.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_77.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:51am EST

In the aftermath of Election 2016, evangelicals are experiencing an identity crisis. Voting tallies show Donald Trump’s win was greatly swayed by white evangelicals. Some Christians are rejoicing over the outcome, but many are disillusioned. Frustration stems from the vast discrepancies many see between the gospel and the stances and policies that Trump has been so vocal about during the campaign. But if a large portion of Trump’s support flows from self-proclaimed evangelicals, those who do not support Trump are left wondering if the evangelical label is one worth claiming or clarifying. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson raise two taboo topics in polite conversation: politics and religion. But such discussions are necessary to sort out the evangelical identity crisis many Christians are dealing with after the election. What options do #NeverTrump Christians have? Some have quickly distanced themselves from the evangelical label. Others are debating its true definition and seeking to redefine it in more palatable terms. As much as we may desire to disown the evangelical identity, it represents a part of the Christian body, one in great need of discipleship and understanding. Although it would be easier to walk away, Christians cannot simply deny their roots. A better way forward is to help the U.S. Church through its identity crisis and mature as Christ’s Bride.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_76.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 9:45pm EST

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_75.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 4:42pm EST

Has the creepy clown scare reached your community? Reports of nefarious clowns supposedly luring children in the woods or simply staring at passersby has caused quite the uproar in our typically cozy pumpkin-spice season. So far, the greatest harm has been to our internal peace of mind. This clown scare has primed our fears, perhaps reminding us of classic horror movies such as “It” or “Poltergeist.” Is all this fear good for the soul? Some say a little bit of trepidation from movies and ghost stories never hurt anyone; others say its the gateway to evil and should be avoided at all costs. Are horror movies beneficial in our society in some way? In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson invite Luke T. Harrington to weigh in on the dilemma. Harrington’s first book, Ophelia Alive (A Ghost Story), is a psychological thriller, making him our resident expert in all things scary. Discussion covers everything from celebrating Halloween to watching slasher movies, and Harrington explains how the horror genre, more than any other, deals directly and honestly with the spiritual realm. Such a realistic handling of good and evil allow these stories to raise real questions about the world and how we live in it. Harrington’s book is free for CAPC Members this month.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_74.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:41am EST

Be honest: If you work from home, do you put on work clothes before logging hours in your home office? It’s likely that pajamas and loungewear are more common than business casual for the freelancers among us. And there are plenty of us out there: According to Forbes, we’ve entered the era of the nontraditional worker, with more 53 million claiming freelance status in the United States today. With so many freelancers working from home offices, coffee shops, and co-work spaces, dressing up for work has hit an all-time low. In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson review an article from Fast Company by Stephanie Vozza, titled “What Happened When I Dressed up to Work from Home for a Week.” For one week, Vozza swapped her ultra casual work-from-home wear for business casual, and she recorded the impact it had on her work. The difference it made was remarkable. Vozza admitted to greater focus, energy, and work/life balance. All these benefits align with findings from several research studies, and raises the question of what we lose when we gain freedom from the mandates of a corporate dress code. It seems the link between body/mind/soul is strengthened in these findings; how we tend to and dress our physical selves has a tremendous influence on our mental and emotional states. It seems that how we dress our bodies signals our brains to prepare for the day ahead. What we wear can set us up for a productive day at work—even work in a nontraditional setting. 

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_73.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 4:18pm EST

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_72.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:59pm EST

Hillary Clinton is a human. Hillary Clinton got pneumonia, and the whole world’s in an uproar. Reports of her illness flooded news outlets in an attempt to give meaning to this SHOCKING turn of events. Everyone is speculating why Clinton didn’t make her illness public, why she didn’t leave the campaign trail to rest, why she got dehydrated, and more. The reality is, human beings get sick. Clinton’s bout with pneumonia confirms what everyone already knows: When you push your body beyond its limits, sometimes it gets to weary to fight off illness. But we all push the limits anyway, don’t we? In our attempts to be, do, and have more, we ignore our limits and wreak havoc on ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss recent events that depict our tendency to idolize those who seem to be superhuman only to kick them when they fall. All this dovetails with Hannah’s upcoming book, Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nurtures Your Soul, which releases October 4 from Moody Publishers. Understanding our creaturehood is necessary if we are ever to know our limits and learn to live well within them.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_71.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:23am EST

When was the last time you did absolutely nothing? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe asks that question in his 2012 TEDx Talk that’s part of a new TED Radio Hour series at NPR, titled “Slow Down.” Puddicombe purports that our highly distracted and busy minds are no longer able to be present in the current moment. The cure, according to Puddicome? Ten minutes of nothingness a day. It’s a type of meditation in which you step back from your life—the buzz, the pressure—and simply look at what what your mind is preoccupied with and the feelings you are experiencing because of it. Puddicombe suggests that 10 minutes of such meditation will help you be less distracted and, as a result, happier. Is there any truth to this theory? Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson offer 10 (plus) minutes of analysis on Puddicombe’s recommendation. In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, discussion touches on the definition and suspicion of meditation as a spiritual practice, our need to exercise our brain’s recall functioning, and if doing nothing is truly the equivalent of Christian meditation.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_70.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 9:23pm EST

What is a woman’s place? That is the question spurring many a debate among  women and men, inside and outside the church. And the answers aren't easy to come by, because women face unique circumstances, opportunities, and responsibilities that refuse to adhere to a hard-and-fast rule. Tackling this complex issue is Katelyn Beaty, author of A Woman's Place: A Christian Vision for your Calling in the Office, the Home and the World. Beaty is managing editor at Christianity Today magazine and cofounder of Her.meneutics, which have given her keen insight into the cultural debate about women and the role work plays in our lives. In this two-part episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson host Katelyn Beaty to discuss her book and what prompted her to write it. The conversation covers everything from the true definition of work to the proper way men and women are called to work together for the common good. Be sure to catch part one of the conversation, as it is the foundation and starting point for this conversation.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_69.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 9:30am EST

What is a woman’s place? That is the question spurring many a debate among  women and men, inside and outside the church. And the answers aren't easy to come by, because women face unique circumstances, opportunities, and responsibilities that refuse to adhere to a hard-and-fast rule. Tackling this complex issue is Katelyn Beaty, author of A Woman's Place: A Christian Vision for your Calling in the Office, the Home and the World. Beaty is managing editor at Christianity Today magazine and cofounder of Her.meneutics, which have given her keen insight into the cultural debate about women and the role work plays in our lives. In this two-part episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson host Katelyn Beaty to discuss her book and what prompted her to write it. The conversation covers everything from the true definition of work to the proper way men and women are called to work together for the common good. And be sure to catch part two of the conversation, when we move into specific difficulties women face work is in its proper place.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_68.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:11am EST

Every two years we are overcome with Olympic fever, watching the best of the best from around the world competing for a coveted spot on the podium. But as we watch these athletes, chiseled with muscle and wrapped in grace, Olympic fever can easily morph until we become sick with envy. We bemoan our less-than trim physiques and underdeveloped talents. With each passing day, we wonder what could have been if we had lived by the Olympic motto of Faster, Higher, Stronger! In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss their Olympic viewing habits and the comparative thinking that seeps in to taint the enjoyment. But there is a way forward: With proper perspective, it’s possible to appreciate the beauty and strength of an Olympic athlete without feeling less than. It all comes back to resting in the truth that God has designed you to reflect His image in a unique way to the world. It may not happen on a medal podium, but knowing our place makes it easier to enjoy the space God’s given to others.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_67.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:52pm EST

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_66.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:25am EST

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_65.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 5:52pm EST

Whether you know it or not, shame is in the house. It is the silent fiend that steals our peace and joy and prompts us to question our place in this world and in relation to everyone else. Despite its prevalence, few of us are free from shame and its debilitating, isolating ways. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson invite counselor and author Heather Davis Nelson to parse out how we can find freedom from shame and walk in the grace and love of Jesus. Nelson has drawn from her professional and personal experiences in combatting shame to craft her first book, published by Crossway, titled Unashamed: Healing Our Brokenness and Finding Freedom from Shame. This episode explores the ways shame affects us in daily life, the role a safe community has in overcoming shame, and the ways shame’s negative influence can be defeated. Nelson’s book is a CAPC Member Offering for July.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_64.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 5:34pm EST

You’ve heard it said that polite conversation avoids religion and politics. But those aren’t the only subjects that produce awkward conversations. Many small talk topics are actually emotional landmines for tender hearts. Asking women if they have children or sharing about an exotic vacation or complaining about opportunities only available to the elite are just a few topics that can make people uncomfortable. Good conversation develops in being aware that our experiences may be quite different from others. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss sensitive subjects that arise in everyday conversation and how we can avoid those awkward lulls that can add insult to injury. Being aware that some topics are painful to discuss is the first step as we get to know others. It’s also important for sensitive hearts to extend grace when painful questions are asked or differences of opinion, opportunity, or lifestyle are discussed. Our ability to engage in meaningful conversation rests on a willingness to truly know others and the surprising way their lives unfold differently from our own.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_63.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 8:58am EST

Conferences provide attendees with all kinds of information on sessions, lodging, dining, and the like. But when Erin and Hannah attended a national women’s conference, they observed plenty that wasn’t detailed on the conference website. In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson highlight a few of these curiosities and how they made sense of them. From standing in endless lines to phone use to wardrobe selections, this episode covers a different side of attending a conference with thousands of women.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_62.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 8:45pm EST

Have you noticed how easily we profess a hatred or fear of math? Common, everyday situations that call for basic calculations can cause us great anxiety—revealed in an outpouring of commentary such as, “I don’t do numbers” or “I’m not a math person.” We are quick to distance ourselves from anything math-related, and the consequences are growing.

In a Washington Post article by Valerie Strauss says much in the title alone: “Stop Telling Kids You’re Bad at Math. You Are Spreading Math Anxiety ‘Like a Virus’.” Strauss reports that consistently bemoaning our fear of math and numbers is affecting the next generation. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson invite Wendy Alsup to discuss a better way forward.

As a math educator and fellow thinker, Alsup works directly with adult learners helping them to overcome their own fear of math that keeps them from understanding math in their jobs. Alsup shares with Persuasion listeners the glory of math as foundational to the created world and how God can be known using advanced mathematics. With this framework in place, we can embrace the beauty and value of numbers as people of faith and pass on to the next generation a wonder and love for math.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_61.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 5:53pm EST

Have you ever felt that you are judged by your language? Is it fair to judge others by their command of the English language? For those steeped in proper language usage, poor speech is almost painful to the ear. Mismatched subjects and verbs, dangling participles, incorrect word choice—all these prompt the most discerning to make judgments about the person’s intellect or ability. However, the way a person talks tells us much about his or her country of origin, background, education, and personality. Do we need to have such strict standards of speech as long as the messages we communicate are clear? And if the grammar police have their way, would that strip out the very distinctions that make us individuals? Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson tackle such questions in this ounce of Persuasion fast chat. Although it is tempting to judge people by their language, doing so isn’t without cost. Those who love language can ease their frustration by extending grace to others and holding loosely to proper speech that is always evolving.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_60.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 9:50am EST

Being a good listener isn’t easy. Not only are they many messages and voices competing for our ears, but it is also a complex skill to master. In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson invite InterVarsity Press author Adam S. McHugh (ThM, Princeton Theological Seminary) to share from his recent book, The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction (InterVarsity Press, 2015). As an ordained Presbyterian minister and spiritual director, McHugh has served at two Presbyterian churches, as a hospice chaplain, and as campus staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. His ministry has taught him what it means to truly listen in a noisy world. Listening changes our relationships with God and others, enabling us to settle down inside so we can practice humility by lending our ears to others. We must learn to listen—to God, others, our emotions, creation, and more—if we are to become the people God means us to be.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_59.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:39am EST

Communal living has gotten a makeover and young adults in big cities are catching the vision. Common, WeLive, Pure House and other startups have reshaped the traditional co-living concept and made it hip for young professionals.

In a New Yorker article titled “Happy Together,” Lizzie Widdicombe explains that in a typical setup, residents rent a private room but share bathroom, kitchen, and living room space with others on their floor. Modern conveniences, social activities, and posh interiors are a draw for residents looking for more than a roommate. The creativity of these startups in repackaging communal life for city dwellers is to be commended but it also raises questions. Are co-living residents merely avoiding adulthood by prolonging a college dorm lifestyle? Does communal living fill the familial void many have in our transient society? In this fast chat Ounce of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss the pros and cons of the co-living movement.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_58.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 7:09pm EST

Christianity Today's Jessica Gibson joins Wade and Kevin for a review of one of the most hotly anticipated films of the year so far: Marvel's CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. They discuss the film on its own merits, then consider what it represents for the superhero genre as a whole. Then Kevin sits down for an interview with Rodrigo Garcia, the writer and director of the acclaimed new film about Jesus' wilderness temptation, LAST DAYS IN THE DESERT.

Direct download: 60_Seeing_And_Believing_Episode_60.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 1:12pm EST

For centuries, domestic life has been understood as a death knell for creative endeavors, forcing both men and women to choose between the two. If nothing else, the sheer work of maintaining hearth and home leaves little time for creative pursuits, all but proving Virginia Woolf's famous dictum that in order to write, one must have "money and a room of one's own." But must we really choose between cultivating our closest relationships and cultivating our gifting? Even more to the point, What do we lose when these parts of our lives are set in opposition to each other? Artist, educator, and mother Michelle Berg Radford joins CAPC staff writer Hannah Anderson to discuss the nexus of (and the conflict between) domestica and our other creative callings.  

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_57.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:33am EST

New designs have been announced for several bills in our nation’s paper currency lineup. Andrew Jackson, for example, is getting bumped from the front of the twenty-dollar bill to the back to make way for abolitionist Harriett Tubman. Tubman was slated to replace Alexander Hamilton on the ten-dollar bill until the award-winning Hamilton show has produced many fans who are winning to fight for Hamilton to remain in that place of honor. (Too bad Jackson doesn’t have a Broadway show to his credit to.) Other bills are to feature women who led the suffrage movement and African Americans who led the civil rights movement. With these new faces, we gain new stories of our nation’s history by heroes who lived by and fought for the principles we most admire: courage, integrity, freedom, and the like. In this fast chat Ounce of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss the currency announcement and the use of cash in this age, as well as the need to introduce U.S. citizens to those in our midst who have made life better for us over the years.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_56.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 9:57am EST

Farm to table eating is all the rage. Restaurants across the country willingly oblige with menus boasting of each dish’s organic produce and locally sourced ingredients. Diners select options that best align with the lifestyle and value system they’ve chosen. A recent report via NPR found the farm to table story being sold may not be much more than that—a story many restaurants concoct to appeal to their patrons increasingly complex standards for their food. The NPR article, “'Farm to Fable'? Tampa Probe Finds Many Restaurants Lie About Sourcing,” summarizes an investigation by Laura Reiley, the food critic for the Tampa Bay Times, who started digging into local restaurant claims of farm to table practices. Reiley found the many menus labeled farm to table are an impossible stretch of the term. Those eating standards diners strive to live by are in name only. In this Persuasion episode, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss how the farm to table movement has shaped our eating practices. Are we making food consumption too complicated? Is the organic standard a way of honoring our bodies or a merely sign of our privilege? These are the questions Erin and Hannah wrestle out as they share their own foodie tendencies, gardening practices, and concerns about the farm to table food obsession.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_55.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 1:45pm EST

You’ve heard the 80/20 rule: supposedly 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. But is the 80/20 rule valid? For those who are the reliable go-getters, it feels true. The reliability of the 80/20 rule was explored recently by Yuki Noguchi in an NPR article titled “Before You Judge Lazy Workers, Consider They Might Serve A Purpose.” Noguchi reports that every system has people who contribute significantly less than others, and researchers looked to a colony of ants to test their theories. They found that 20% to 30% of ants simply don’t contribute to the community. However, the presence of the slacker ants actually made the group more resilient and effective because they could step in when an emergency hit. In this Persuasion episode, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson consider how the 80/20 rule applies both in work and in the church. Scripture affirms the value of each person—even those we perceive as less effective members of our group. Those of us who have more gumption must be cautious about the way we judge the effectiveness of the weaker members in our midst. In addition, God calls us to be faithful with the gifts He’s given us, so we must be sober in assessing where we lean toward laziness.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_54.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 11:04am EST

Ten years ago, we were introduced to “Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia,”  the travelogue memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert that became the rally cry for women. Endorsed by Oprah and selling 10 million copies, the message Gilbert packaged sent many women on the hunt for a better life. The crux of that message? Shake off whatever shackles bind you and go find yourself by savoring great food, grounding your soul in meditative practices, and securing the love you’ve always wanted. Many women felt empowered to take ownership of their lives and made “Eat, Pray, Love” their guidebook for life. The readers themselves now have their say in a follow-up book releasing this week, titled “Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It.” In this Persuasion episode, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson address the tension between assuming rightful agency of our lives and pursuing egocentric dreams of self-actualization. Ultimately, “Eat, Pray, Love” offers answers to the questions of purpose and identity rattling within every human heart. The answers the Gospel offers are greater, of course, and with the resurgence of “Eat, Pray, Love,” we will have opportunity in the days ahead to share the beauty of those answers with others.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_53.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:09am EST

We are terrible at humility. It’s so foreign that we scramble for scraps of it by mimicking the outward display. But those outward attempts aren’t fooling anyone. Everyone can spot a humblebrag—even the unintentional ones. It’s always awkward when a sincere compliment is deflected by excessive piety. An article at Relevant.com by Jayson Bradley, titled “4 ‘Humble’ Things That Aren’t Humble,” details where we get humility very wrong—especially when we spiritualize it. In this fast chat Ounce of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson address the confusion surrounding humility and how the four items in Bradley’s article scarcely scratch the surface of learning about this elusive virtue. If we are to become truly humble, a biblical definition of humility based on Jesus’ example is needed. Only then can we be free to glory in God’s gifts and rest in our place as one of God’s creatures.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_52.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 9:22am EST

Caught up in March Madness and all things athletic? CAPC staff writer, Val Dunham, joins Hannah Anderson to discuss the drama of sports and how men and women watch and participate in sports in distinct ways. They cover everything from baseball to MMA figher Ronda Rousey to wondering whether sports can offer women a way to understand their bodies as more than objects.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_51.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:41pm EST

Remember the good old days? Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss how Netflix’s Fuller House and Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again” play upon our love for nostalgia. The past, however, isn’t the same for everyone. Most of us tend to romanticize the past. For some, the “good old days” were good because of systemic inequalities made life favorable, for them. For others, the past is full of painful prejudices, racism, gender inequalities, and abuses. Fear of the unknown also makes a return to the past a more favorable option, which may explain much of Trump’s political success to date. And our need for security and comfort explains why an 80s show like Full House can pick up where it left off and garner millions of viewers with the Netflix original series Fuller House. Obviously, nostalgia fuels our perception of both the past and the future. How then, can we practice a mindful and tempered remembrance? Erin and Hannah consider the biblical mandate to approach the past with both gratitude and repentance, a call to balance our remembrance with grace and truth.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_50.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 12:01pm EST

In this fast chat episode, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss the role humility plays in our very public lives. Trends toward celebrity culture and platform building make humility a somewhat lost art and modesty a prized virtue.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_49.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:46pm EST

Every day we clothe ourselves for form and function. As mundane as it may seem, the clothing we wear speaks to our cultural background and tells a story about who we are and where we’ve been. Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss fashion as a cultural indicator and why snap judgments upon another person’s appearance is problematic.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_48.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:30am EST

Valentine’s Day highlights the fun of romantic love with its candy hearts and flowers. Since true love takes a bit more than the retailers can push, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson have gathered up their top pieces of advice for love and relationships.

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_47.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:46pm EST

In this fast chat episode, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss the connection between planning a wedding and losing weight. Today’s brides have online resources and communities to help them stay the course. But is event-driven dieting the healthiest approach? Does it enhance or detract from the sacredness of this special day?

Direct download: Persuasion_Episode_46.mp3
Category:persuasion -- posted at: 10:03am EST