The Evolving Faith Podcast

By Evolving Faith

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Subscribers: 101
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 Jul 1, 2020
I _almost_ went to Evolving Faith 2018, and I will always feel regret at not making it happen. Instead I opted to watch the recordings, which were excellent. I'm glad to hear those talks again with some additional commentary. A+ stuff


This is a podcast for the wounded, the misfits, and the spiritual refugees to let you know you are not alone. We're here to cultivate love and hope in the wilderness. We believe the story of God is bigger, wider, more inclusive and welcoming, filled with more love, than we could ever imagine. There's room here for everyone. There's room here for you.

Episode Date
A Messy, Mysterious Faith

Pete tells the story of his own evolving faith and what he learned about being born of the spirit as he wrestled with questions and doubts. He discusses how the work of the spirit can often feel like a loss of control and a moving away from a spirituality dependent on systems and certainty. Pete reminds listeners that clarity is often the first thing you need to let go of as you make the choice between fear and trust. After Pete’s talk, Jeff and Sarah discuss the struggle and the beauty of letting go of old systems and what it really means to have “faith like a child.” 


Evolving Faith Conference

Show Notes

May 25, 2022
The River of Grace, with Jeff Chu
Jeff takes us to Ezekiel 47, where the prophet Ezekiel was exiled from all that he has known. As a divinely appointed tour guide gives Ezekiel a vision of renewal and reconstruction, he sees a river flowing out from the restored sanctuary. Jeff asks listeners to consider the same question posed by the tour guide to Ezekiel, “Human one, what do you see?” Jeff explains that this is the invitation still given to us, to see what’s possible and to discern our own role in bringing life and flourishing all around us. Jeff encourages us to remember that it’s not true flourishing if only some of us are flourishing and ends by reminding listeners, “Your reconstruction is not just for you.” Afterward, Jeff and Sarah discuss the communal call of Scripture that defies the individualism of the Western church, and they challenge us to breathe life into each other as the family of God. 

Evolving Faith Conference

Show Notes

May 18, 2022
Who Told You That You Had To Fit?, with Chanequa Walker-Barnes
In this episode of The Evolving Faith podcast, we hear from Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes as she asks the question, “Who told you that you had to fit?” She discusses the exhaustion that comes with trying to make yourself fit in spaces where you feel like a square peg in a round hole. Describing her own personal experiences, Dr. Walker-Barnes tells us her story of needing to walk away from churches and systems for a season in order to remember who she is and how she experiences God. She encourages listeners to reclaim their own spiritual lineage, traditions, practices, and identities and reminds us that even when we don’t fit, we’re still tethered to God. Following Dr. Walker-Barnes's talk, Jeff and Sarah talk about their own stories of feeling like they didn’t belong and how their understanding of church and belonging have evolved and continue to evolve. Show Notes
May 11, 2022
A Subsistence Spirituality, with Barbara Brown Taylor
In our first episode of season 2, Barbara Brown Taylor discusses the realities of spiritual wilderness and asks us to consider what it looks like to have a faith lean enough to survive. She explains that a true wilderness means coming to the end of our perceived safety and learning that we’ve never really had any guarantees all along. Barbara says that grief is necessary for the vitality of the soul and asks us to imagine what subsistence spirituality would mean in our own wilderness. Then Jeff and Sarah discuss the unforeseen ways grief has impacted our lives since this talk was given at the 2019 conference and the beauty of a lean spirituality that can carry us through loss.

Show Notes

May 04, 2022
A Benediction for Season One

The finale of Season One! In this episode, Jeff and Sarah offer their reflections on the season, their gratitude to you, dear listeners, and finally fill out the Evolving Faith Podcast bingo card for good. Then, weaving together the entire season’s talks and moments throughout the season, they offer a Benediction for the Wanderers as we all move forward or onward from here.

Oct 28, 2020
The Wilderness, Spiritual Gifts, and Gender-Expansive Christians

In this life-giving episode we are thrilled to welcome Austen Hartke, Michiko Bown-Kai, and Rev. Dr. Christina Beardsley as they each present a talk about evolving faith through the lens of their trans and/or non-binary identities. Then our guests join Sarah and Jeff in a wise and beautiful conversation on wilderness, hope, paradox, and how the fullness of identity can be a form of resistance and prophetic witness. (Rated Explicit for profanity.)

Oct 21, 2020
Identity, Belonging, and Disability

In a beautiful, wise experience, we are thrilled to welcome Stephanie Tait, Derrick Dawson, and Raedorah Stewart as they each present a talk about identity, belonging, and an evolving faith through the lens of disability. Then our guests join Sarah and Jeff in a life-giving conversation on identity, hope, beauty, belonging, covenant, and perceiving the new thing God is doing.

Oct 14, 2020
Art, Embodiment, and Healing with Audrey Assad and A'Driane Nieves

This week, we hear from two incredible artists: Audrey Assad and A’Driane Nieves as they engage with art, embodiment, healing, and an evolving faith. These talks remind us that artists bring to their work sorrows and joys, griefs and delights, which a canvas or a song can hint at. But there’s always more. Then Sarah and Jeff have a conversation about dancing, embodiment, creativity, and much more. P.S. Please note that some aspects of this episode do discuss themes of sexual abuse and violence so please listen only at your discretion. Look after yourselves, friends.

Oct 07, 2020
Terraforming with Propaganda

This week, we hear from poet, political activist, and rapper Propaganda. Prop takes us on a journey into how music and art can help form an evolving faith. You’ll be immersed in what turned out to be one part beautiful poetic experience and one part off-the-wall, incredibly profound philosophy lecture. And maybe that’s the magic of Prop: he defies categorization. He leads us through the wilderness to find God, find possibility, find truth in every corner of creation - including Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (you’ll see, we promise). Then Sarah and Jeff have a conversation about finding God in unexpected places, cheerleader movies, and learning to terraform - world build - with God.

Sep 30, 2020
Wonder, Welcome, and Communion with Kaitlin Curtice and Jonathan Martin

This week, we hear from the Poet and the Preacher. Join us as Kaitlin Curtice leads us through a winsome and beautiful invitation to the light still glimmering around us and then gather with us at the Communion tradition for Evolving Faith as Jonathan Martin preaches about the welcome of Jesus to the Table. Then Sarah and Jeff talk about where they’re experiencing those glimmers of light right now, their own experiences with communion at Evolving Faith, and together recall some of Rachel Held Evans’ passion for the sacraments together. One note: we apologize for the audio quality of Jeff’s microphone during portions of today’s podcast. Thanks for your patience!

Sep 23, 2020
Relationships, Parenting, and Navigating an Evolving Faith

For the first - but not last time - we’re featuring a double-header of talks from Evolving Faith. First Cindy Wang Brandt explores parenting while your faith is evolving, placing the priority on giving our children spiritual autonomy and the freedom to explore and thrive. Then Kathy Escobar addresses what we gain in the wilderness when we are honest within our relationships from learning to live with disapproval to the opportunity to be a healthier, more integrated person. Finally, Sarah and Jeff have a conversation about how Sarah’s raising her kids with an awareness of an evolving faith, Jeff’s experiences within a more communal culture rather than an individualistic culture, and what it means to untangle our view of our parents or faith tradition from God and live honestly in relationship.

Sep 16, 2020
Enemies, Empathy, and Shalom with Osheta Moore

Telling better stories is one way we are being invited into God's magnificent story of redemption. This week, author and pastor Osheta Moore calls us into the most complicated and yet simple truth of Christianity: loving our enemies. She asks us to consider who lives on the other side of our empathy and offers spiritual guidance for daring to write a better story for our enemies. Then Sarah and Jeff get honest about why this particular way of living- loving your enemies, praying for those who curse you-is incredibly difficult especially right now and explore the invitation we all have to become peacemakers in the world.

Sep 09, 2020
Politics Formed by Faith with Nish Weiseth

This week, we go all in on politics, spiritual formation, and the call of this moment in time before the American election. In this fiery talk, Nish Weiseth calls her fellow white evangelical Americans to account and argues that politics are the single largest systemic tool that we have at our disposal with which we can love our neighbor. Simply put, politics for the Christian should be institutional neighborliness. Then Jeff and Sarah have a wide-ranging conversation about the international dominance of the American evangelical experiment, spiritual formation, politics, and the intention, action, and movement we desperately need right now to move toward just a little more love every day. P.S. This episode has an Explicit rating for language.

Sep 02, 2020
Under the Wings of the Spirit with Dr. Cheryl Bridges Johns

Does an evolving faith mean everyone has to think or worship like a white Westerner? or throw the faith of their grandmothers away? How do we read the Bible with the Spirit? In this episode, Pentecostal theologian Dr. Cheryl Bridges Johns explores reclaiming wonder and curiosity and humility about our relationship with the Bible as an icon. Using an oral tradition that includes storytellers, she broods over the text with us and invites us to remember the unnamed daughters and sons and gather under the wings of the Spirit. Then Sarah dusts off all her Pentecostal language as she and Jeff have a conversation about gatekeepers, ancestors, the Bible as icon, and living in the age of apocalypse. P.S. One word of caution: some of the themes in this talk could be triggering for some listeners as we discuss themes of rape and violence. Please listen at your discretion.

Aug 26, 2020
An Evolving Faith Is Still Faith with Pete Enns
Have you ever been called a heretic? Unfaithful? Ostracized for changing your mind on something related to your faith or theology? Well, this week’s episode with popular biblical scholar, podcaster, and author Pete Enns is for you. Pete talks about the biblical mandate for an evolving faith, illustrates this concept through the stories of Jonah and Job, and the sacred responsibility we all bear of reimagining Scripture. Then Sarah and Jeff have a conversation about how taking the Bible seriously doesn’t mean taking it literally, their favorite stories that illustrate an evolving faith from the Bible, and the permission we all need to take a break from reading the Bible.
Aug 19, 2020
Your Woke-ness is Not Worship with Sandra Maria Van Opstal

This week, pastor, activist, and liturgist Sandra Maria Van Opstal challenges us to reimagine the intersection of worship and justice. She explores the impact of white supremacy on an evolving faith, worship, and justice work, leads us to learn from the global church and how justice is sustained. She then places a demand on all of us to move forward and engage. Then Sarah and Jeff have a conversation about the prophet Amos, the balance of contemplation with action, and discomfort. P.S. There is some grown-up language in this episode. Again.

Aug 12, 2020
The End of the World with Mike McHargue

Mike McHargue is one part Bill Nye the Science Guy and one part Mr. Rogers - and one part Baptist preacher. This week, Science Mike delivers a hilarious and devastating call to repentance as he expounds on climate change, the limits of science, the possibilities of faith, and the end of the world. Then Sarah and Jeff explore mysticism, certainty, and leaving religion.

Aug 05, 2020
A Willingness to Be Disturbed with Dr. Wil Gafney

In this episode, famed Hebrew Bible scholar Dr. Wil Gafney offers us the opportunity to experience evolution in our interpretation of Scripture through the richness of womanist biblical interpretation. Sarah and Jeff explore how an evolution of faith necessitates an evolution in our relationship with Scripture, learning how to integrate the harder stories of the Bible without explaining them away, welcoming other collaborators to our understanding of faith, and Sarah’s own evolution since writing “Jesus Feminist.”

P.S. One word of caution: some of the themes in this talk could be triggering for some listeners as we discuss themes of rape, incest, and violence. Please listen at your discretion.

Jul 29, 2020
Welcome to the Wilderness with Sarah Bessey

We revisit the conference opening message from our co-host Sarah Bessey as she welcomes everyone to the wilderness, talks about grief, and - of course - prays for the days ahead of us.

Jul 22, 2020
Belonging, Courage, and Evangelical Darlings with Jen Hatmaker

Jen Hatmaker was the darling of evangelical Christian women until the price of belonging became her integrity.

Jul 15, 2020
The Theology of Compost with Jeff Chu

On Episode 3 of the Evolving Faith Podcast, Sarah gets to make Jeff super uncomfortable as they listen to and then discuss Jeff's talk on the theology of the compost. He shares his conviction that God has written redemption into creation itself and humanity's call to embrace the transformative power of worms.

Jul 08, 2020
Climbing the Mountain of Injustice with Austin Channing Brown

For episode 2, Sarah and Jeff revisit Austin Channing Brown's bring-the-house-down sermon from Evolving Faith 2018. They reflect on what they've learned and experienced since that day as well as how Austin's words planted the seeds for some major shifts in their own lives.

Jul 01, 2020
Evolution, Apocalypse, and Remembering Rachel Held Evans

In the premiere episode of The Evolving Faith Podcast, we hear a talk given at the Evolving Faith gathering in 2018 by the late Rachel Held Evans, author, speaker, and co-founder of Evolving Faith. She talks about a tough and tender faith and what that calls us to when we encounter the oppressive, dehumanizing and unjust forces working in the world. We also welcome Rachel's husband, Dan Evans, and her sister, Amanda Held Opelt, who share with us about what gives them hope one year after Rachel's death.

Jun 24, 2020