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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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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…
 
Drawing from Lao Tzu chapters 16, 62, 70, snd 71, we explain one of the most important lessons of the Tao Te Ching: that it’s not really that hard to find the truth, but it’s hard to face the truth. This episode discusses the ways in which facing the truth can truly set us free. Most importantly, we become free from the fear that keeps us from trul…
 
Here, Jeff isn’t saying he’s sorry for what he said in Part 1, rather he’s providing an apologia for his perspective on academic freedom within church related schools and universities. Check out the previous part, at least the first ten minutes, before heading to this part, which is more technical and deals especially with the epistemology of Willi…
 
If an academically free space is possible in society, it can only exist at a Christian University. Some folks mistakenly think that the Lutheran Confessions represent a constraint on an individual believer's freedom, or a way to give churches conclusions about Scripture that allow members to bypass the important work of engaging directly with the B…
 
Feeling a deep love for all living beings, the sage is uninterested in besting them at a verbal fight. If others ask for help finding truth, the sage is generous and obliging. If they want to feel superior, the sage is generous and obliging. It’s not that she’s a pushover; it’s that they can’t harm her. She’s not playing her enemies’ games so they …
 
Heather Choate Davis is an author and has created a new album with her network of musical friends called LIFE IN THE KEY OF GOD. We talk about how the Christian contemplative tradition and the recovery of the biblical concept of Sophia (divine wisdom) can help us protect our noggins and bring healing to our culture and churches. Several beautiful t…
 
17. The best leader goes unnoticed. Second best is the one who’s loved. Third best is the leader who’s feared. The worst is the leader who’s loathed. If you don’t trust people, there’ll be a lack of trust all around. Great leaders choose their words artfully. Then, when they achieve something great, everyone owns the endeavor as if it were their id…
 
Bournes is a poet, hip hop artist & singer. He discusses his experiences in Long Beach public schools and later a conservative Bible college, laments some of the important elements that were lacking, and offers provocative but timely reflections on ways to reimagine education and other systems of society. This was recorded in front of a limited gro…
 
This chapter offers a vivid picture of what it looks like to surf the Tao. This isn’t about mere appearances, façades, or false egos. It’s about the way in which a person of integrity acts as if he or she is being witnessed.The way we treat a delicate flower or helpless baby bird who’s fallen out of a nest, or our neighbor’s lawn when we walk our d…
 
Look, but you can’t see it: it’s vague. Listen, but you can’t hear it: it’s silent. Reach, but you can’t grasp it: it’s intangible. Yet these three longings to perceive lead back to the One. There’s no heaven more wondrous than this. There’s no shadowy world darker than this. It’s everlasting and nameless. Wave upon wave, threads of energy spool ou…
 
The ancient Taosurfers were cool cats. They had poise. They demonstrated balance. They exuded integrity and compassion. But today, Taosurfers seem like bums to some. They seem not to be players. But maybe they’re playing a different game altogether. We discuss chapters 15, 20, and 67 of the Tao Te Ching. Jeff discusses how some racists in his world…
 
12. Focusing on flashy things blinds eyes to beauty. Listening to a cacophony of voices makes it hard to hear the truth. Too many spices will dull your taste buds. Lust for luxury will drive you mad. Riches entice men to evil deeds. Therefore, the Sage attends to essential nourishment instead of mind-numbing diversions. She selects healthy food, ig…
 
This show is dedicated listener question about what to do when you detect that a future pastor is a wolf pup, that is, a potentially dangerous clergy person in the making. How do we nip in the bud potentially abusive behavior without being too intrusive or outrageously in people’s business? We explore the value of asking the question: What are the …
 
This episode is dedicated to a question from a listener who works in Christian education. They ask: How do I help change the culture of a church so that it's life giving & not authoritarian? In other words, how does one practically apply some of the themes we care about at Protect Your Noggin for the wellbeing of our kids? After minute 30, we give …
 
For this episode, Jeff asks Stacie (a death doula, AKA, end of life doula) to take over the episode and offer comfort and wisdom to our whole society the way should would work with an individual who was facing his or her mortality. This comes from our realization that, while we want to promote hope in our times, we also don't want cheap hope, or th…
 
A discussion of moral injury, how it shows up in the Bible, & how we might read accounts war and violence in antiquity. Jeff interviews guest Dr. Brad E. Kelle is professor of Old Testament & Hebrew at Point Loma Nazarene University. His academic work focuses on the OT prophets, warfare in ancient Israel, trauma studies, moral injury, and the histo…
 
To discover the greatest good flow like water. Water pours life into all creatures without striving. It pools in places men disdain. This is how it’s like the Tao. So make your home in low places. Draw from the deep well of the heart. Offer kindness to others. Let your words be sincere. Govern justly. Let your work be your art. Remain present with …
 
Tao Te Ching chapters 3 and 12 We discuss the importance of being presence, attending to bodily needs, and the history of Western Christianity's move toward the idea that we can't do much about injustice so we should just focus on the life to come. At hour 1 or so we share the meaning of life. We end with some cooking tips from Lao Tzu.…
 
We discuss the insights from the Tao Te Ching that help us all evade various forms of manipulation & mental shenanigans. In addition to some introductory matters, we explore at least 5 common pitfalls or "wipeouts" that many experience when learning to surf the Tao. Lest you become crestfallen, as hard as these temptations & challenges are at the o…
 
The Tao seems like an empty vessel, but when you pour it out, it never ceases to flow. It is fathomless! A wellspring of all that exists. (Note: Stacie was not a fan of Jeff's special effects on her voice toward the end of the recording, but she appreciates the spirit of playfulness nonetheless.) Protectyournoggin.org Taosurfers.com…
 
Idolize celebrity and success, and men will bicker in envy. Overvalue possessions, and men will turn into thieves. Flaunt what you have, and others’ hearts will become restless. The sage leads by helping men let go of longing and fulfill living needs, let go of striving and enjoy good health. The sage emancipates men from mental slavery, and restra…
 
We made a list of seven reasons why the Tao Te Ching helps people from all (or no) faith tradition protect their noggins and learn to outfox religious wolves. In other words, this is an explanation of why we thought this text was ideal for our next set of lessons. We aren't quite ready to commit to 12 total lessons, but these 7 will likely be the b…
 
Season one is all about Lao Tzu's classic The Tao Te Ching, and our two years of overland travel and exploration of this ancient Chinese book of wisdom. We discuss how this too can help us develop the mental, emotional and spiritual skills needed to find our own agency and avoid the wiles of unscrupulous religious folk. Show notes are always to be …
 
This is the twin parable of the new wine and old wineskins and the new cloth patch on an old garment. Religious people tend to be critical of any deviation from the way things have traditionally been done. Despite this, Jesus encourages us to not focus on the external appearances or outward manifestations of spirituality, but instead focuses on the…
 
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