Lisa Harper's Back Porch Theology

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Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

You're invited to hang out on Lisa Harper's back porch and enjoy conversations about all things Jesus, theological anthropology, biblical orthodoxy, Spanx, the merits of Tex-Mex and more!


We believe this podcast will help you dive deeper into God's word, understand that the gospel is great news for everyday life, not just when viewed in the light of eternity, and that God is for us, that He's always been in the process of redeeming our inherent value as imago Dei and restoring us into a vibrant, intimate relationship with Him.


And rest assured, this won't be a one-sided conversation because throughout the podcast, Lisa will be inviting friends, including some brilliant theologians and academics to join her in substantive but decidedly unstuffy segments. So come on, y'all grab some coffee or sweet tea and join us on the back porch!


Episode Date
The Sophomore Class of the Hall of Faith
00:52:14

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology we’re going to honestly discuss seasons when you feel like you’ve just flat run out of faith. I so appreciate late great church father and theologian Charles Spurgeon, who admitted there were seasons in his life when he felt like he was in a dungeon underneath a castle of despair. Perky is not a spiritual fruit, y’all but God’s Word does have a lot to say about perseverance. I think this episode is going to be especially encouraging for those of you who’re feeling like you’re in a season when the hope has all but been pummeled out of you and you’re down to the very fumes of faith. We’re going to explore the stories of several stumbling saints like Gideon and Samson whose real-life struggles give us some deeply assuring takeaways about how our Creator Redeemer responds when His sons and daughters on their last legs. So please grab a cup of coffee with an extra spoonful of sugar and your Bible – unless you’re driving or chatting with a neighbor via Morse code, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper

Jun 27, 2022
The Trinity Isn’t Like the Beatles, Huh Mom?
00:56:14

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology, we’re going to basically do happy dances in the studio recounting some of the amazing things God did at our Kerygma Summit a few weeks ago. And then after a few minutes of old-school testifying about the GREAT things He has done we’re going to dive into the tricky waters of trinitarian theology. St. Augustine himself admitted the Trinity was a mystery, difficult for the finite human mind to grasp and yet rather than being some obscure doctrinal issue we can secretly scootch to the edge of our belief system, is the foundational wall of our Christian belief system, the very heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, it matters today every bit as much as it mattered in the 4th century when it was the focus of the Nicene Council and the Council of Chalcedon when ancient church leaders were first grappling with each other and the Holy Spirit to figure out what were the bedrock imperatives and standards of biblical orthodoxy! So please grab a big cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or eating bugles of your fingers, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us. 

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at Dwellapp.io/LisaHarper

Jun 20, 2022
A Compassionate Compulsion
00:52:30

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology we’re going to debunk the idea that faith should be a private matter displayed and discussed only among like-minded individuals toting quilted Bible covers and clad in pastel sweater sets. We’re also going to explore two evangelistic accounts in the Book of Acts that clarify the difference between contextualizing the Gospel out of sincere respect for the culture of the people we get to share the Living Hope of Jesus Christ with and capitulating to culture, which all too often equates Christian evangelism with self-righteous or mean-spirited proselytizing. Dr. D.T. Niles – a gifted and humble ecumenical leader and evangelist from Sri Lanka who passed away in 1970 - taught that compassion must be the catalyst for sharing how we came to find ourselves in God’s embrace and his simple definition is my all-time favorite, “Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread." So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or practicing the yo-yo, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Jun 13, 2022
Uphill Glory
00:41:23

During today’s episode on Backporch Theology we’re going to discuss how choosing not to pay the high price of discipleship will ultimately cost us the abundant life Jesus promises in John 10:10. Christianity isn’t a spectator sport, y’all, it’s participatory and actionable and sometimes even downright dangerous, leaving believers with bloodied expectations and bruised hearts. Our Savior wasn’t being hyperbolic when He said, “In this world you will have trouble.” But Dietrich Bonhoeffer – who is perhaps the most prolific of leaders when it came to preaching and modeling the willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of Christ – exemplified the, “But take heart because I have overcome the world” part of Jesus’ proclamation when he preached these words right before he was hanged in 1945 as a result of his faith in God and passionate opposition to the Nazi regime: “This is the end - for me, the beginning of life.” Today’s conversation might just be both convicting and compelling so please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or making balloon animals, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Jun 06, 2022
An Ode to Essential Oils
00:52:09

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology we’re going to peruse parabolic symbolism, as well as Jesus’ admonition to stay faithful and alert during a seemingly delayed Parousia, which is a fifty-dollar seminary word with a super simple definition! And we’ll do so by exploring part of the Olivet Discourse toward the end of Matthew’s Gospel, which underscores how every single step of our lives – even the especially long and arduous ones – will reveal themselves to be inherently valuable when viewed through the lens of a perfectly consummated relationship with our Creator Redeemer. In other words, even when it’s hard to stand firm in the messy middle of our walk of faith, it will all be worth it in the end. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or working as a mime, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us. 

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

May 30, 2022
Miracles Happen on Empty
00:42:28

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology we’re going to explore the theological concept of God’s self-sufficiency, which means He possesses within Himself every quality, ability and divine attribute endlessly. In other words, God wants for nothing and lacks nothing; He is complete in and of Himself. Yet when we pair His self-sufficiency with our lack thereof, a miraculous amalgamation occurs allowing us to dance upon the very waves we thought might drown us! Speaking of waves, we’re also going to wade into the wild waters of pneumatology, which is the branch of theology concerned with the Holy Spirit. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or thumb-wrestling, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

May 23, 2022
Who’s Trending In Heaven
00:45:41

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, we’re going to explore the juxtaposition between choosing to live a relatively anonymous life so as to make Jesus the Hero of our stories and the reality of living in an age where the proliferation of social media seems to reduce individual image-bearers to their selfie angles, number of followers, or how rhythmic they are on Tic Toc. Please know we aren’t going on any anti-social media rants today, but we are going to get really rowdy about the spiritual value of humility! And we’re going to do so by examining the rich lives of some women who are somewhat obscure in biblical history but are surely famous in Heaven, starting with a dynamic duo in Exodus that I don’t think has gotten nearly enough press through the ages, which might be a result of their oh so unfortunate names: Shiphrah and Puah! So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or baiting a fishhook, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us. 

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

May 16, 2022
The Underrated Beauty of a Basement
00:47:26

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology we’re going to talk about how trusting God in the dark is imperative if we want to walk in the light. In Luke chapter 12, we find the verse: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” That term “little flock” in verse thirty-two is so unique, this is the only place it can be found in the entire Bible. It comes from a double diminutive word coupling in Greek and can literally be translated: little, little flock. Most commentaries skip right over that tender phraseology but from where I’m standing it’s what really drives the point of why we don’t have to be ruled or rocked by fear home. Little, little flock. Only a Shepherd who absolutely adores His sheep would use that term. And that’s the Shepherd I’ve finally learned to run to when I’m scared. If you’ve ever struggled with fear or anxiety, I really hope you’ll grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or parasailing of course – and come hang out on the porch with us!

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

May 09, 2022
Long Words, Leaky Minds and the Unconditional Love of God
00:55:21

During today’s episode of Backporch Theology, Allison gleefully traps me into a proverbial corner and attempts to squeeze out every drop of the good stuff I can possibly remember from my doctoral program at Denver Seminary! Mind you, I’m 58 years old now, so every part of my body leaks including my brain but we’re going to start with the parameters of biblical orthodoxy, delve into lots of theos – theology, theocracy, theophanies, theocentrism – and we’ll spend some time exploring the difference between the Greek word gnosis – that can loosely be defined as “head knowledge” – and epignosis – a term Paul uses often in the New Testament, that can loosely be defined as heart knowledge or knowledge with understanding. This is going to be one of those really fun, really fast, drinking from a firehose kind of conversations so please grab a double espresso and your Bible – unless you’re driving or hand-jiving of course – and come hang out on the porch with us!


Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

May 02, 2022
Steady As The Rock of Ages
00:49:37

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology we’re going to talk about the immutable – which is a fifty-dollar word that simply means “unchanging” – love of Jesus Christ. How He really is the friend who sticks closer than a brother. And not only is His devotion to us immutable – it doesn’t wax and wane like the moon or ebb and flow like ocean waves or shrink and swell like my feet on a long flight - it’s not based on our deservedness, either. Thankfully, Karma and divine compassion aren’t remotely related! My platonic theological crush, C.S. Lewis says it best, “God loves us: not because we are loveable but because He is love, not because He needs to receive but because He delights to give.” So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or practicing for the handbell choir of course – and come hang out on the porch with us!


Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Apr 25, 2022
The Galvanizing Grace of Gratitude
00:42:23

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology, we’re going to wade into the refreshing waters of eucharisteo – which is a Greek word sprinkled throughout the New Testament that means “to give thanks.” There have been numerous scientific and psychological studies that back up the Bible’s encouragement to develop our gratitude muscle – it’s actually been proven that people with higher gratitude levels show more activity in the hypothalamus, which leads to improved rest, less physical discomfort, and lower stress and anxiety, y’all. That means the conversation we’re about to have might just lead to the best night’s sleep you’ve had in a long time, baby! So grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or doing Pilates of course – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Apr 18, 2022
Ripped Hearts and Raised Hands
00:47:53

Theology, we’re going to explore the theological concept of theodicy, which is defined as: the vindication of divine goodness and providence in view of the existence of evil. In other words, our Creator Redeemer is good and does good even when our lives are anything but. I once had a surgeon tell me I was a bad patient because I tried to gut it out instead of being honest about the. pain I was experiencing. He said my stubborn refusal to admit how much I hurt reflected my lack of trust in his competence as a healer. Here I was thinking it was heroic of me to hang tough when all I’d done was put distance between myself and the kind doctor whose main goal was to mitigate my pain! What would it look like to actually admit our ache, trust in God’s goodness, and lean into His presence even when it feels like our heart’s in pieces? We’re about to dive deep into that question, so please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or deboning fish, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Apr 11, 2022
A Little Girl, A Big Wall and God’s Extravagant Grace
00:50:12

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to dive deep into the pool of desire and talk about how to get our emotional needs met by Jesus. Brennan Manning wrote: The deepest desire of our hearts is for union with God. From the first moment of our existence our most powerful yearning is to fulfill the original purpose of our lives – “to see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly. We are made for God, and nothing less will satisfy us.” We’re also going to have a blast digging into two Greek words – homoousios and hypostasis – which are the building blocks of the foundational walls of Biblical orthodoxy. If you don’t have a firm grip on these two concepts, your theological scaffolding is going to come crashing down faster than a bowling ball help up by Twizzlers! So grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving, or cleaning fish of course! – and please come hang out on the porch with us! 

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Apr 04, 2022
Exposing the Myth of a Milquetoast Messiah
00:37:01

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology we’re kicking off the conversation with a profound observation from my imaginary theological boyfriend, the late great A.W. Tozer who said, “Left to ourselves we tend immediately to reduce God to manageable terms.” About 15 years ago I came to the sad realization that I’d unwittingly sanitized and emasculated Jesus into a mild-mannered, passive, kinda guy not unlike the Biblical iteration of Clark Kent, which left me less than compelled to worship Him! Today we’re embarking on a journey to reimagine the REAL Jesus – He’s the Prince of Peace AND He comes with a sword to cut away everything that threatens our intimacy with Him; He embraces lepers and flips tables. He is infinitely more compelling, interesting, mysterious, and provocative than our flannel graph boards of old have allowed us to depict Him. So grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or rock-climbing of course – and please come hang out on the porch with us!

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Mar 28, 2022
What’s Wasabi Got to Do With It?
00:46:50

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology, we’re going to consider the gentle command found at the top of Hebrews chapter 3: Consider Jesus. In other words, think about our Savior. Focus your attention on our Redeemer. Concentrate on the King of all kings. This simple command to meditate on our Messiah is the answer to every tangled relational web we’ve ever been caught in, every steep circumstantial hill we have to climb up, and every deep valley of depression that has left us gasping for hope. Plus, Jesus’ not so gentle attributes of majesty, power and authority extend well beyond our finite human comprehension so we hope to jumpstart some good, old-fashioned awe and wonder on today’s podcast too! So grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or practicing with your roller derby team of course! – and please come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Mar 21, 2022
How a Benedict Arnold in His Birthday Suit Became a Biblical Hero
00:50:13

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology, we’re going to explore how God’s supernatural sovereignty reconciles with our human understanding of the time and space continuum and we’re also going to explore a story in Mark’s Gospel account that proves Romans 8:28 – all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose – is not hyberbolic but 100% true! We really can trust that God’s providence will never take us to a place where His grace will not be sufficient for us even in those dark seasons when we can’t see around the corner of our circumstances, y’all. So grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or enjoying a manicure – and please come join us out here on the porch with us. 

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Mar 14, 2022
A Different Kind of Love Story
00:47:34

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to talk about the difference between simply being delivered from our sins and God truly delighting in us. There’s a memorable scene in the movie Notting Hill when Julia Roberts says to Hugh Grant: Don’t forget, I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her. The only time I’ve ever identified with Julia Roberts is when I watched her character, Anna Scott, speak those words of unrequited love to a man who’d essentially just explained that she wasn’t worth the trouble of pursuing. I know what that feels like. But that’s so not the Gospel, y’all. In fact, according to the Bible, our divine bridegroom King Jesus is utterly mad about us and might even get a little weak in the knees when He sees us!

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Mar 07, 2022
Loving More People, More
00:56:30

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to dive into some divine drama in the book of Acts and talk about risky faith, radical love and the willingness to kick comfort to the curb for the sake of the Gospel. Dr. Martin Luther King once lamented how the church used to be a thermostat that had the power to change the temperature of culture, but how it was losing its urgency and efficacy and was becoming a thermometer that simply measured the climate of culture. I think it’s time for Christ-followers to turn off our passivity, turn up our spiritual passion and get to work fanning the flames of revival in this great, big beautiful and broken world, don’t you?

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Feb 28, 2022
Minding the Gap Between Faithfulness and Faking It
00:47:39

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re talking about the necessary synergy between orthodoxy – that is what we believe to be true of God – and orthopraxy – that is how we live in light of what we believe to be true of God. Obviously, we’re all sinners and nobody’s faith walk is flawless this side of glory but the gap between what we profess and how we live is a seedbed of hypocrisy that has the power to shred communities and families, as well as empower those who insist Christianity isn’t credible because its practitioners are a bunch of liars and fakes. And frankly, y’all, our detractors have some valid points. If what we believe to be true of God is simply printed on a mission statement and hung on a wall but isn’t lived out with conviction, authenticity and love, then our faith isn’t legitimate.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Feb 21, 2022
Who's Got Your Back
00:37:11

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re talking about how God’s redemptive plan for humanity is set in the context of community. Our Creator Redeemer is a trinitarian God – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit - and since we were made in His image, we are divinely hard-wired for relationship. Plus, the huge majority of biblical imperatives are about “we” instead of “me.” The bottom line is we’re much better together and Western Culture’s tendency to over-privatize Christianity inevitably leads to loneliness and faith-fatigue.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Feb 14, 2022
You Have to Peel Off Your Spiritual Spanx If You Want to Be Held By Jesus
00:31:43

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to explore the cultural context of a familiar story in John’s Gospel account, which includes one of my favorite Greek words in the entire New Testament cannon…this is one of two passages that taught me how to linger in God’s embrace.

We’ll also be chatting with one of my favorite seminary professors, Dr. Jim Howard, about the concept of imago Dei, and how every single human being, regardless of ethnicity, gender, culture or creed is made in God’s image and therefore inherently valuable and worthy of respect. It’s going to be great, galvanizing conversation, so grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us!

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Feb 07, 2022
We Will See God Blurry Until We Get Better At Saying “I’m Sorry"
00:47:17

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re peeling off our emotional Spanx and diving deep into a couple of Psalms to talk about the necessary sacrament of confession. Of saying, “I’m sorry.” In his book, A Sacred Sorrow, Artist and theologian Michael Card explains it this way, “There can be no worshipful joy of salvation until we have realized the lamentable wilderness of what we were saved from.” So grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us!

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Jan 31, 2022
Having a High View of Scripture and a Low View of Yourself Is Biblically Indefensible
00:33:52

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, we’re going to explore an encounter in Luke’s Gospel account that illustrates how the heart of God is moved by the wounds of humanity…how our ache accelerates His compassion. We’re also going to have an awesome encounter of our own with one of my favorite seminary professors, Dr. Jim Howard, who will explains how human dignity is a uniquely Judeo-Christian concept. So grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Jan 24, 2022
God’s Unmerited Favor Often Tilts Toward The Unlikely and Unqualified
00:51:14

Before we begin our very first conversation, I want you to know that it’s a bit of an anomaly – kind of like me eating kale or pausing between sentences – because normally we’ll be doing deep dives into biblical narrative and chewy theology but since this is our first podcast date, I thought it’d behoove us to get to know each other before we start really tangoing with sacred text. In other words, this is kind of like the handshake before the hug. So please grab a cup of coffee – unless you’re driving, of course! – and come hang out with us on the porch.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Jan 17, 2022
Introduction to Lisa Harper's Back Porch Theology
00:04:19

You're invited to hang out on Lisa Harper's back porch and enjoy conversations about all things Jesus, theological anthropology, biblical orthodoxy, Spanx, the merits of Tex-Mex and more!

We believe this podcast will help you dive deeper into God's word, understand that the gospel is good news for everyday life, not just when viewed in the light of eternity, and that God is for us, that He's always been in the process of redeeming our inherent value as imago Dei and restoring us into a vibrant, intimate relationship with Him.

And rest assured, this won't be a one-sided conversation because throughout the podcast, Lisa will be inviting friends, including some brilliant theologians and academics to join her in substantive but decidedly unstuffy segments. So come on, y'all grab some coffee or sweet tea and make sure to subscribe so you can join us on the back porch every week, the fun starts Monday, Jan 17! 

Jan 07, 2022