This past week, I sat down with my friend Luke Norsworthy for his podcast to wrap up his podcast guests during July.
Despite his appearance in the picture below, Luke is a great interviewer and I highly recommend subscribing to his podcast. He is the Oprah of Churches of Christ and has interviewed just about every author I’ve ever read.
This past week, we sat down to talk about a few things that I think were very important, after a brief exchange of insults we talked about his interview with pastor Nadia Boltz-Weber and the challenge of loneliness in church leadership. We talked about the Rise of the “Dones” (which is, contrary to how it sounds not a new Star Wars Movie) but rather a conversation about why people who were once leaders in church are now leaving the church. And we talked about why the Enneagram has made me decide to only get on Facebook on Wednesdays.
One of my favorite parts of the podcast was when we talked about the doctrine of Moral Progress. This idea that many people have that the world is slowly getting better and better. I disagree with that notion. I think it takes a huge leap of faith.
I’ve had a hunch for a while that this is the age that has the least right to call itself progressive, because while many people want things to change, no one can agree on the direction of the progress.
Pushing Back on Progress
For those of you who don’t have time to listen to the whole thing, Here’s the gist of something I’ve been thinking for a while, has all of our “progress” created more medicine or missiles? I’d sincerely love to hear your response to that question.
I consider myself progressive, I like to be able to question things and I think the Gospel cares a lot about social justice, but somewhere along the way we started thinking that progress just meant jettisoning anything because it was old, and I think that’s a really bad way to only move backwards.
These days I often hear people dismiss anything just because it happened in the past, and I’ve begun to think do we really think that we’ve gotten so much better? Sure we don’t have black and white water fountains any more (Praise God!) and we’ve developed a lot of new technological marvels, but I think if people from any previous age were to come and visit they would have plenty of critique for our “progress”
I think Christians from another age would ask us about our Nursing Homes and why we’ve marginalized our senior citizens without much regard for their dignity.
I think they might ask us about our over-connected lives and yet our increasingly great loneliness.
I think they might question all our bragging about the the progress we’ve made with women’s equality, and ask why women still aren’t paid equally to men and why they are now expected to look like a broomstick on a diet.
They might point out that yes it’s true that we’re progressive, because culturally speaking Super-model’s are progressively getting skinnier (they weigh 19% less than the average woman) and when the average weight of women drop in the culture so does the average weight of super-models (soon they will be weighed in grams)
That’s progress, but according to the Christian ethic, it’s progress in the wrong direction. As I’ve written before, I believe the greatest vision for tomorrow comes from the prophets of yesterday.
We also talked about White Privilege and White Guilt and how Churches must approach Racial Reconciliation differently. This is not something that Christians do because it’s a trendy, or because it’s seen as cool, we do this because this is central to the Gospel. In the words of Paul, we do this because “Christ’s love compels us.”
I love being on Luke’s podcast because it’s possible to say some things in a podcast that you can’t say in a sermon or a blog. And if you’re not already listening to this podcast than you can subscribe to it here.
Luke is a great interviewer, an even better friend, and as you can see, a horrible New Kid on the Block.