#30 The Nones

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Popping Collars Podcast

Betsy, Greg, Liz, and Vivian talk about the Netflix series Master of None and where it intersects issues of phases of life, diversity, and vocation.

Musical Interlude Credit: “I Want to Change You” by lo-fi is sci-fi (http://lofiisscifi.com)

Season 2 Theme: “Revolution Now (Instrumental)” by Josh Woodward (http://www.joshwoodward.com/)

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The Knight and The Gardener

Gardeners see themselves—and all people and things—as part of the growth of a great, cosmos-spanning Garden, one that can flourish further if aided by well-meaning and inspired people. Gardeners believe the primary calling of good people is to cultivate the Garden through planting, good planning, the pursuit of transformative discovery, invention and innovation, and artistic revelation. Any constructive endeavor is a Gardener’s endeavor.

For religious Gardeners, God is the creative force whose greatest attributes are imagination and creativity. Gardeners view themselves as imbued by the Creator with the divine creative spark and charged with growing the Garden beyond its current borders. Christian Gardeners, for example, spread the Gospel to restore broken people so they can rejoin the ongoing creation process, and to awaken others to their meaningful role in tending the Garden.

A Gardener looking down on the world from a space capsule would see a great Garden of…

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My Emancipation From American Christianity

“If religion it is to be worth holding on to, it should be the place were the marginalized feel the most visible, where the hurting receive the most tender care, where the outsiders find the safest refuge.”

john pavlovitz

chain-breaking-freeI used to think that it was just me, that it was my problem, my deficiency, my moral defect.

It had to be.

All those times when I felt like an outsider in this American Jesus thing; the ever-more frequent moments when my throat constricted and my heart raced and my stomach turned.

Maybe it came in the middle of a crowded worship service or during a small group conversation. Maybe while watching the news or when scanning a blog post, or while resting in a silent, solitary moment of prayer. Maybe it was all of these times and more, when something rose up from the deepest places within me and shouted, “I can’t do this anymore! I can’t be part of this!”

These moments once overwhelmed me with panic and filled me with guilt, but lately I am stepping mercifully clear of such things.

What I’ve come to realize is that it certainly is me, but not in the…

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#GivingTuesday is here!


Help Support our Students as they Answer God’s Call on their Lives. Please Help us Raise $5000.00

On December 1, 2015, American Baptist Seminary of the West will participate in #GivingTuesday to encourage support for the seminary’s Seminary Fund. Retail stores all across America celebrate “Black Friday” and online retailers tout “Cyber Monday” we hope offer an opportunity for God’ people to leverage social media and to participate in a national movement dedicated to giving. Our goal is to use #GivingTuesday to raise $5000.00 to support our seminary fund.

All donations made on #GivingTuesday will receive a portion of matching funds, and we’re even eligible for cash prizes to further this cause – so now’s the time to get involved! Please consider making a donation and sharing this campaign with your friends and family to help us reach our goal.

Giving online is easy and fast, and your support will make a real difference.


General Secretary Medley Reflects on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Originally posted here, these words are a good reminder for us all. 

Dear American Baptists,

In the midst of all the harsh rhetoric spoken and actions taken with regard to allowing Syrian refugees to resettle in America we can take inspiration from the Baptist community of Lebanon. Though a very tiny community, the Baptists of Lebanon have been in the forefront of compassionate efforts to assist the thousands of refugees fleeing from Syria to Lebanon. They do so out of a simple gospel principle: Christ calls them to love. As a response to this incredible response of welcome and care, many of these refugees are now found in Baptist churches on Sunday. One of the Muslim leaders put it this way, “In all the history of our faith, we have never seen such love toward us.”

In the midst of the fear mongering we can make a difference as the American Baptist community in simply being who Jesus calls us to be and extending compassion to those who have lost everything in the strife in the Middle East. We all look back and wonder how nations could have turned aside Jewish families seeking refuge as Hitler rose to power. May the same not be asked of us.

Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley
General Secretary, American Baptist Churches USA

Blogging on Blogs

Perhaps because I was born before the 20th century’s mid-point, i.e. before 1950, I’ve just not quite gotten the “hang” of blogging. And, to be honest, I’m thinking I may be a bit too old to master this particular “new trick.” Please follow this link if you need a reminder about just how recently internet communication became widely available and utilized.

As a way to start out slowly on this blogging venture, I’ve decided to direct readers to a couple of exceptionally good bloggers–people I know personally and hold in high regard. Each of them offers deeply significant and often seriously humorous (or, humorously serious) reflections on a wide range of contemporary realities. I hope you’ll enjoy them. I hope they will challenge and inspire you. They certainly have that effect on me!

One of the bloggers is my very good friend, Marian Ronan, PhD, who was professor of theology at ABSW from 1997 to 2008 and later served as visiting professor at New York Theological Seminary. The other blogger I want to introduce is David R. Henson who earned his M.A. in theology at ABSW\GTU, and is an ordained Episcopal priest. I had the great pleasure of studying with David in a course I offered on earliest Christianity’s various understandings of Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ. I’m certain I learned more from him than he did from me, though he graciously insisted that the resources used in the course were compelling in ways that enabled him, as he said, “to pursue some ‘really new’ lines of thought” on the subject. Both Marian and David are extraordinarily insightful observers of local, national, and global issues. They are also conversant about, and engaged with, the variety of ways communities of faith are responding to these issues.

Marian’s blog is entitled “Marian Ronan: An American Catholic on the Margins,” and you can read her blog posts at this web address. She’s a brilliant, critical, and deeply insightful Christian theologian.

David’s blog is entitled “Edges of Faith,” and is on the Progressive Christian Channel at the PATHEOS website. He, too, is brilliant, critical, and insightful.

Finally, a word of warning: One of David’s great gifts is SATIRE. In a recent post, “World Leaders Close Borders in Fear of Renewed Terrorist Attacks” he reflects on the violence perpetrated not by Syrians or people of color in the U.S., but by white Americans. As one who belongs to that particular group, I was at first shocked, and then quite humbled, when I read David’s compelling piece.

Dr. Margaret McMannus is Associate Professor for Historical and Theological Studies.

Editor’s note: Rev. David Henson recorded a video for the seminary recently. There’s nothing satirical about this video. You can watch it here. #staywoke

The Rev. David Henson from ABSW on Vimeo.

The Feast of St. Cecelia

I know.

We’re a mostly Baptist seminary, but this is a special situation. You see, Foo Fighters has released a surprise EP entitled Saint Cecelia on the feast of the saint herself. Some of you may know that Cecelia was a martyr and virgin noted for her musical ability.

An open heart may sing for God.

Well, Foo Fighters recorded this EP at Hotel Saint Cecelia in Austin. It is available to stream on Spotify if you aren’t sure you want to shell out the cash. But they are asking for listeners to donate to the victims of the bombings in Paris.

You can read more on Rolling Stones’ website.

Now, there is a new, hopeful intention that, even in the smallest way, perhaps these songs can bring a little light into this sometimes dark world. To remind us that music is life, and that hope and healing go hand in hand with song. That much can never be taken away.

To all who were affected by the atrocities in Paris, loved ones and friends, our hearts go out to you and your families. We will return and celebrate life and love with you once again someday with our music. As it should be done.

St Cecilia
“St. Cecilia and the Angel,” Carlo Saraceni

Rev. Tripp Hudgins is Director of Admissions at ABSW and a PhD student in ethnomusicology and liturgy at Graduate Theological Union.