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Lessons in outfoxing religious wolves. We seek to reform religious education so everyone can be spiritually bold, free of manipulation and filled with deep peace. After 20+ years of professional work in religious education and educational nonprofits, hosts Jeff Mallinson (D.Phil. Oxford, philosophy and religion professor, author and speaker) and Stacie Mallinson (former nonprofit development professional, and now certified yoga instructor) realized that how we do religious education leads to ...
 
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show series
 
Discussion of news stories reporting on allegations of sexual assault, misconduct, and mismanagement of a hyper sexualized culture at Concordia Preparatory School, near Baltimore.We laud the courage of the young women who have spoken out bravely about their experiences. How does this all demonstrate system justification theory? What lessons can con…
 
In the course of life and death, three in ten are cautious disciples of life. Three in ten are reckless disciples of death. Three in ten chase life but actually veer toward death. Why is this? By worrying too much about staying alive and consuming life’s treasures, they never truly live, yet death catches up with them. Still, I’ve heard of rare ind…
 
The Sage is not closed-minded but considers what ordinary folks have on their minds. I am good to those who are good. I am good to those who are not good. This is the goodness of Te. I hope in those who are hopeful. I hope in those who are hopeless. This is the hope of Te. The Sage is engaged with the world. She brings balance to the world by caref…
 
A discussion of the spirituality of art and whether we ought to pay attention to art created by narcissistic creeps. We discuss the differences between Dali; and Bosch, and between his possible nihilism and what we find wholesome about Taoist artistic depictions of nature. This discussion comes on the heels of our visit to a Dali exposition in Mont…
 
Seek academic knowledge and you can accumulate facts day by day. Seek the wisdom of the Tao and you’ll release junk from your life, day by day. Let go of more and more so you can surf the Tao. Surfing the Tao allows you to accomplish anything without forcing everything. If you want to flourish in the world don’t try to control the world. Indeed, if…
 
We introduce our theme which is about the spirituality, ethics, religious guilt, and joys of food and what we take into our bodies. We discuss our almost vegan diet experiment, with the definite exception of oysters. We preview some future topics which will include food cults, fasting, dietary regulations in religious texts, booze, and pharmaceutic…
 
The last in our 12-part series takes us to the question of whether we can heal the world. If we can help heal the world—even as we can’t control it or remake it according to our own clever designs—then how is this to be accomplished by a Taosurfer? Turns out part of the plan of action for the Tao Te Ching is a form of anarchism. We’ll explain a bit…
 
We sit down with filmmaker Joshua Salzberg and Rev. Matthew González of Lutherans for Racial Justice to talk about racism and the need for diversity and reconciliation in America in general and in the Lutheran world in particular. How ought Christians engage civic life, cultivate hospitality and work toward healing in our churches and the world at …
 
You can know the world without walking out your door. You can glimpse the celestial Tao without looking out your window. The further you run from yourself the less you will know. So the Sage gains insight without needing to travel abroad, knows what’s up before the official story gets published, and wins without playing games.…
 
Peace, joy, happiness & whether we’ve been so focused on bad guys in religious circles that we might be only hostile to institutional religion. After a brief discussion of a student question, we focus (starting min 40) on a poignant email exchange with Tim, who was kind enough to let us reply to his emails verbally, so we could give it the attentio…
 
The grand system seems defective. But, it will never malfunction. Grand abundance seems empty. But, it is inexhaustible. Grand justice seems crooked. Grand virtuosity seems unskilled. Grand eloquence seems unlearned. Motion warms us when it’s cold. Stillness cools us when it’s hot. Clarity and stillness bring the world into alignment.…
 
We discuss the journey of Greg Eilers, which involves gender dysphoria growing up, successful work at a conservative Lutheran pastor, resignation from the pastoral office to pursue full transition, including a full range of surgeries and legal name change to Gina, and finally a detransition. This is not an exercise in trans denial. Rather it helps …
 
Many of us know people who have been infected by blatant falsehood. Guest Sean Nowlan, a student at Jeff’s university, helps break down what’s going on with foreign powers using online technology to sow disinformation and divide their rival nation. We discussing the connection between American evangelical belief and receptivity to disinformation. W…
 
Understanding and confronting sexual abuse in the church. Emily Joy was instrumental in starting the Twitter hashtag #CHURCHTOO & has written a book by that same name. We discuss her perspective on the various ways in which American evangelicalism’s way of thinking makes abusive relationships more likely, harder to address, and more painful for tho…
 
Jeff reads an abridgement of Isaac Frazee, Evolove: The Quest and Findings of an Efficiency Expert (1929). This book explores several themes related to the emphases of our podcast. Frazee’s work is largely unknown today but reflects interesting challenges to industrialism, unquestioned capitalism, and religiosity that gets in the way of the way of …
 
Anyone who’s come this far with the Tao Te Ching will surely be familiar with the central concept of this chapter. Flowing subtly past obstacles, like water around a boulder, is a natural illustration of a greater principle. Water shows up as a classic example of one of the “softest things” since our ancestors all knew the power of water when it ca…
 
Our guest today is Jonathan Hoyt, who is a Kantor and organist in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and who also happens to be gay and celibate. Learn how Jonathan has come to exist between two cultural worlds, how he reconciles his faith and sexuality, and why he calls himself gay rather than “same-sex attracted”. This is an exercise in listenin…
 
A keynote lecture Jeff gave to the TriCampus Undergraduate Conference, a collaborative effort of Concordia U., Irvine, Fresno Pacific U., and Pepperdine U. It took place on Saturday, 2/27. Jeff explains how a college education, properly done, can be a helpful tool in pushing back against the crisis of truth and the global gaslighting the powers tha…
 
Following up on last' week’s interview with Steve Baughman, we use comments on Steve Baughman’s video about Ravi Zacharias’ scandalous behavior to illustrate ten informal fallacies. This is not a rehashing of the scandal itself but a closer look at the lack of critical thinking among religious supporters, which enables dangerous behaviors to go unc…
 
Ravi Zacharias International Ministries Canada shut down this week, in the wake of startling public reports about the heinous deeds of their late founder Ravi Zacharias, world famous apologist (and owner of massage joints). We chat with immigration lawyer, and banjo master Steve Baughman who wrote Coverup in the Kingdom: Phone Sex, Lies, and God’s …
 
Whether you are an atheist or a believer, into Eastern or Western traditions, a physical practice is perhaps the best way to actually experience and realize what it is to surf the Tao. You don’t need to get into some spiritual zone or commune with celestial beings; rather, we’re inviting you time to wake up to reality, allow space for awareness & n…
 
Our guest is a recent alumnus from Concordia University and joins the conversation from Nigeria to discuss his insights about the ways in which people try to oppose hate, racism and injustice in the United States. Sometimes, he suggests, we tend to focus on hating injustice but don’t emphasize loving justice. This may have an effect on our emotiona…
 
We explore coping with trauma and religion through comedy with the help of comedian, writer, actress, and liver-transplant survivor Alyssa Sabo. She shares some of her story and we enjoy reflecting on life in the 90s, purity culture in evangelical America, rollerblading, ghosting church, and the virtues of Costa Rican beaches. Despite being known o…
 
Jeff and Stacie try out a relationship strategy for use especially in the immediate wake of a conflict-producing event in a romantic relationship, religious community, or workplace. In order to “Taosurf” relationships, they suggest that it can be helpful to separate out a) intentions, b) actions, c) reactions, and d) resolutions. This conversation …
 
Grab your favorite beverage and join us for a long form conversation with our new friends Lori and Cliff Lewis (veteran Christian radio DJ and hair metal guitarist respectively), to discuss their experiences with Contemporary Christian Music, Lutheranism, the idea of vocation, and Solomon’s wisdom. The music behind the opening is Lori singing and t…
 
When societies focus on etiquette and the husk of ethical relations, we are often dangerously close to having to turn to coercion and force instead of naturally harmonious interactions. This is where “flexing the muscles” comes in. When folks don’t follow the rules, the enforcers of societal stability have to remind everyone of their punitive power…
 
An interview with Corey Farr, creator of the podcast A Christian Reads the Tao Te Ching. We discuss our favorite and least favorite chapters of the Tao Te Ching. We explore karma, providence, orphanages, and religious education. Farr is a seminary graduate, a Christian Anarchist, a writer, a poet and songwriter. He teaches at a residential school f…
 
Why do many set an “intention” at the start of a contemplative practice or yin yoga session? How does this relate to New Year’s resolutions? Without the normal opportunities for group festivities, Jeff and Stacie spend a quiet evening discussing the advantages and dangers of setting expectations and establishing goals. The discussion gets going aft…
 
This episode shares an international student perspective on American food, work & religion. We interview Jeff’s compelling student Malik, who is an international student who was stuck with us on an empty campus over the winter break. We invited candid observations from our guest, who obliged our questions but is by nature not one to offer unsolicit…
 
We discuss the nature of a true family and the importance of maintaining boundaries, especially in religious contexts in which we believe we have good intentions but are inappropriately trying to fix others. At min 41 we interview Rev. Casey Tinnin, one of Jeff’s favorite students over the years, and someone we think of as family. He shares his sto…
 
Hold fast to the Big Picture and all will be drawn to you. They will not harm you and will join with you in peace upon peace. There will be joyful music and vibrant street food, wayfarers will want to stop and join in the fun. The Tao that is mere talk is bland. Look for it: it is invisible. Listen for it: it is inaudible. Yet, if you embody it, yo…
 
In a world that is clawing for “winner” status and climbing over the “losers” without compassion, Lao Tzu teaches about three treasures he holds dear: compassion, minimalism, and the way of non-domination. Here, there is a sort of anarchy (listen to hear the precise definition of this term in both Taoist and Christian context), and definitely a rej…
 
The concept of wu wei is practically and clearly stated in this chapter. Again, this principle of acting by not acting isn't about disregarding one's duties, nor is it about being a pushover. It's about letting the natural forces of the world flow as they flow without arrogantly assuming we can step in and control the flow through force.…
 
Lao Tzu clearly favors the feminine principle, the negative space, and the faith of a child. This last preference is especially resonant with the teachings of Jesus about being childlike. Over and over, we've been pointing to teachings from Jesus but not to create a syncretistic new way of thinking. Instead we are showing how Jesus and Lao Tzu ofte…
 
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