Season 1, Episode 2 – John Shelby Spong

Join Carol Howard Merritt and Bruce Reyes-Chow as they welcome writer and speaker Bishop John Shelby Spong (Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell) for a discussion of death–and eternal life. Also, Carol and Bruce speak with pastor Melissa DeRosia about the recent Supreme Court decision on campaign spending, the trial over California’s Proposition 8, and the forthcoming Presbyterian Church report on Civil Unions/Christian Marriage.

To listen, use the player at the bottom of the post, or right click here and “Save as…”

Some highlights from this episode:

0:00: Carol speaks with pastor Beth Sentell about a vision she had while giving birth to her son
5:45: Carol introduces the theme of the episode and Bishop John Shelby Spong
7:51: John Shelby Spong shares how he responds to criticism of his thoughts and writings; “for most people religion is the search for security and not the search for truth”
12:45: Spong: “Death is a universal experience”; “The presuppositions of the tradition way a viewing life after death have been destroyed”
20:20: Bruce and Carol reflect on Part 1 of Spong interview
31:21: Spong: “I don’t think Christianity…will ever give me peace of mind or certainty or security…it will give me the courage to live in a world that is always insecure.”
35:00: “I seek to reach those who want to live in a 21st century world with a 21st century mind”; “We’ve created God after our own image”; Sin and guilt are not healthy
50:39: Bruce and Carol reflect on Part 2 of Spong interview
1:05:20: Bruce and Carol speak with Melissa DeRosia about the recent Supreme Court decision on campaign spending, the trial over California’s Proposition 8, and the forthcoming Presbyterian Church report on Civil Unions/Christian Marriage
1:30:19: Promo for next week’s episode: Carol talks with author and religious leader Samir Selmanovic (It’s Really All About God: Reflections of a Muslim Atheist Jewish Christian about embracing “The Other.”

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Season 1, Episode 2 Sneak Peek – John Shelby Spong

Join us for this week’s episode of God Complex Radio.  Carol Howard Merritt interview John Shelby Spong, author of Eternal Life: A New Vision, and she and Bruce Reyes-Chow are joined by pastor Melissa DeRosia for a discussion of the trial over California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage.

To listen, use the player at below, or right click here and “Save as…”

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Episode 2 Behind The Scenes

POLL: GCR’s “Greatest Hits, Volume 1″

Now that GCR has gone all fancy, I often find myself reminiscing about the good ol’ days when internet radio was pure: live co-hosts, dropped internet signals and static-filled phone lines.  If you are like me, you too are stung by memories of God Complex Radio days of old , only to discover that those episodes are . . .  well hard to find.  Do not fear dear GCR listeners because the GCR “Production Staff” will be putting together a “Greatest Hits, Volume 1″ download for your listening pleasure. These will include 10+ of our best guests segments as well as any other highlights we think are worth burning into the memories of you, our listeners. We are still thinking of some creative ways for you to get your hands on one of these bad boys, but rest assured it will not include any stunts requiring flame retardant clothing, shark-proof cages or the consuming of any live insects . . . we think.

But here is the dilemma. Since we pretty much think we were brilliant every week ;-) we are having a difficult time deciding which episode highlights to include.  And since this really is all about the needs of our listeners – see how I skillfully am sucking up to you all – we need your valuable input. So, if you would just take a few minutes to let us know your favorite episodes it would really help us out.  We will be taking input through the end of January, so head on over and vote now.

POLL: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CZBZ52Q
DEADLINE: Midnight, January 31, PST

Thanks so much for listening and we’ll see you on the podcast airwaves!

Peace – Bruce

Season 1, Episode 1 – Brian McLaren

Join Bruce Reyes-Chow and Carol Howard Merritt as they welcome writer, speaker, and Emergent Church thinker, Brian McLaren (A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith)
for a discussion of following God’s call even amongst criticism.  Also, Carol and Bruce speak with Fritz Gutwein of The Quixote Center about the earthquake in Haiti and how you can continue to support the rebuilding of the island nation.

To listen, use the player at the bottom of the post, or right click here and “Save as…”

In this episode:

0:00: Bruce speaks with pastor Abby King-Kaiser about how her art intersect with her ministry
4:56: Bruce introduces the theme of the episode and Brian McLaren
6:31: Brian McLaren shares how he began writing – “a sense of pain and unpreparedness”; church members asking questions about postmodernism and deconstructionism
8:32: McLaren shares the various reactions to several of his books
10:00: McLaren: “I thought Generous Orthodoxy was a safe book that no one will disagree with”
11:28: “Almost anything can be forgiven except the failure to maintain the same list of enemies”
12:00: McLaren shares how he deals with his critics; forgoing the right to fair treatment
19:00: Bruce and Carol reflect on Part 1 of McLaren interview
25:30: McLaren’s thoughts on pastors dealing with difficulty in their present position
30:00: McLaren emphasizes spiritual practice as a prerequisite to following God’s call; silence and solitude
34:42: McLaren reflects on “the Death of the Emergent Church”
43:00: Bruce and Carol reflect on Part 2 of McLaren interview
52:45: Bruce and Carol speak with Fritz Gutwein about the earthquake in Haiti
1:10:08: Promo for next week’s episode: Carol interviews Bishop John Shelby Spong about his book Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell

Items mentioned in this episode:

The Underlying Tragedy” by David Brooks, The New York Times, 01/14/10
From Haiti’s ruins, a chance to rebuild a nation” by Alec MacGillis, The Washington Post, 01/17/10
Jubilee USA

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Season 1, Episode 1 Promo

Here’s what’s coming up on the first episode of God Complex Radio.

To download an mp3 to your computer right click here and “Save as…”

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Eternal Life: A New Vision

I just got off the phone with Bishop John Shelby Spong. I interviewed him for the newly revised God Complex Radio. The podcast will be available on the 29th.

I had so many things that I wanted to ask him, so many things that I wanted to pull apart. I wanted to agree and disagree with him. But, with his disarming, cordial, and (it seemed, from our short conversation) loving demeanor, I mostly listened.

He wrote a new book, his last book, Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell. In it, he looks at death, and, it seems finds new meaning in life.

He talks about religion as an imperfect, human endeavor, and tells how he became more and more alienated from traditional church life…

Increasingly, I saw the church as an organization for the spiritually immature, as a body of children vying for the affirmation of the heavenly parent. I saw the church engaged in a medieval attempt at the manipulation of the divine, and all for our benefit. I saw it increasingly turn into a retreat into unreality. Worship became not communion with the power of life and love, but a drama in which clergy starred. God was addressed in the chanted language of the Middle Ages, language that enhanced little more than the clergy’s desire to perform. Church life seemed more and more dedicated to behavior control, and church politics was always about who’s out and who’s in.

It’s hard for me to read these words. Even though I agree with much of it, I also wear the title “Rev.” I work for the church, alongside many men and women who often have dispiriting jobs, face acute criticism, and are trying to find a bit of hope to share.

Yet, it’s good for me to read them. Bishop Spong is reading the ancient stories and examining the rituals in the midst of scientific realities and the search for truth.

The most beautiful thing about the writing and about our conversation was that emanating love. Bishop Spong has found meaning in the mystical tradition that seeks union with God. Instead of imagining God as “other,” God is the ground of our being.

We talked about being at the bedside of our parishioners. What do we say? Though Bishop Spong does not think that religion should offer meaningless words of comfort, we are often there holding the hand of the dying.

I remember being at the bedside of a woman—a truly beautiful person (and I’m not just saying that because she’s dead). She drew me to her and asked in a whisper, “What’s going to happen?”

I replied, “When you die?”

She said, “Yes.”

And I told her that I didn’t know. I told her that I was not compelled by golden streets or crystal fountains. That imagery did not suit me. But, drawing from Eckhart, I thought that the love of God, from whence she emanated, would surround her and embrace her. Nothing could keep her from the love of God. Not life and not death.

“I see pools,” she replied.

And I never heard another word from her.

I think that Bishop Spong’s new vision is similar. God is the source of love and the source of life. The goal of the church should not be to make us more religious, but to make us more human.

Bruce says “Hi”


Bruce welcomes you to the new season of God Complex Radio

What’s GCR 2.0?


Let Carol catch you up on where the show has been and where we’re going!

Episode 1 Behind The Scenes

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