Christ and Pop Culture (persuasion)

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Amy Peterson joins Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson to discuss Amy’s take on the American missionary myth and the outdated frameworks that limit Gospel work around the world.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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next » 9