Muhanad Al Qaisy’s grandfather, grandmother and seven children fled their home in Palestine and ended up in a refugee camp in 1948. Nearly 70 years later, the family is still struggling to make a life in the same camp. So we ask Muhanad what he sees as signs of hope.

If you want to support the work that Muhanad is doing, then you can sponsor an olive tree. You can do this through the Olive Tree Project at Embrace the Middle East.

Well, this is it, Dave Ward’s final episode. After six years of podcasting, he’s decided to go on to other things (probably something to do with horses…).

In his final episode, we’re chatting with Nick Spencer, the Director of Research at Theos Think Tank, and author of The Evolution of the West: How Christianity Has Shaped Our Values. And we’re asking him, what difference has Christianity really made to society, and what indications are there that it has a hopeful future?

If you want more from Nick, then check out his book The Evolution of the West: How Christianity Has Shaped Our Values, and the Theos Think Tank report Doing Good: A Future for Christianity in the 21st Century.

A recent report into human trafficking revealed that the problem is significantly worse than previously thought. In fact, it is believed that in the UK alone, every large town and city will have trafficked people in it who are effectively enslaved, and many of us are unwittingly coming into contact with trafficked people every day. So we speak with three people – Ruth Dearnley, Julia Pugh and Hannah Flint – committed to finding signs of hope in this seemingly bleak situation.

 

For more information about the work Stop the traffic does, and the difference you can make, check out the Stop the Traffik website and book.

Elizabeth Edman believes she has learnt more from the LGBTQ community about what it means to be a Christian, than she has from the Church. Why? Well, she believes the church has forgotten what it means to be scandalous, to struggle for identity and to expand its boundaries to include the marginalised. And so the Church needs to learn from the gay community – and other marginalised groups – that have embraced these virtues.

 

If you want to dig deeper into the issue raised in this interview, then make sure you check our Liz’s excellent book Queer Virtue. It’s not just an insightful theological reflection on the queer community and what the Church needs to learn from that community, but it’s also a ‘warts and all’ autobiographical reflections on Liz’s journey.

Malcolm Guite is a poet, priest and theologian. Years of inhabiting these roles has led him to the belief that we’re relying far too much on reason and thought in the formation of our faith, and are overlooking the significance of the ‘poetic imagination’.  He believes that we can find deep truth in the imagination and that poetry can bring our faith alive in a way that nothing else can. It’s a fascinating and hope-filled conversation!

 

If you want more from Malcolm then have a read of his latest book Faith, Hope and Poetry, which explores in greater depth many of the themes we touched on in the interview. And when you’re finished with that, there’s plenty more books and collections of poems, to be getting on with.

I know, we only just interviewed Walter Brueggemann! But he’s just brought a book out entitled Money and Possessions and we’ve still got unresolved questions after our chat with Justin Welby on that subject. So why not spend another hour in the digital presence of one of the great biblical scholars of our time?! And as you’d expect, it was an hour chock-full of wisdom and insight!

If you want more from Walter, then dig into his many wonderful books. Money and Possessions is a thorough  and engaging (and fairly academic) tour through the Bible, analysing it’s ’tilt’ towards economic justice.  Do also make sure you check out The Prophetic Imagination, and if you haven’t already, have a listen to our recent conversation with Walter about Sabbath as Resistance – Tim

Walter Brueggemann is widely considered to be one of the most influential theologians of our time. So who better to help us get a handle on the idea of the Sabbath. Especially as he wrote the fascinating and insightful Sabbath as Resistance. That’s right, Sabbath is so much more than simply taking a day off, it’s an intentional and creative act of resistance.

 

If you want more from Walter, then dive right into his many wonderful books. By all means, kick things off with Sabbath as Resistance (I found it really helpful), but make sure you check out The Prophetic Imagination, and then just work through all the rest of his books! – Tim

 

Shane Claiborne has been an inspiration to many ever since his book The Irresistible Revolution came out, with its ‘What if Jesus really meant what he said’ message. For the last 20 years Shane has been trying to live out Jesus’s message in a deprived area of Philadelphia, where he founded the new monastic community, The Simple Way. This journey has led him to a commitment to non-violence, ‘from womb to tomb’, which has been tested on many occasions. So tune in for a challenging and counter-cultural conversation.

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It’s pretty clear what Jesus was about. Love you neighbour (and if that’s not challenging enough, love your enemies) was at the top of his manifesto. So why do we find it so hard to follow his example? Professor of Psychology at Abilene University, Richard Beck, doesn’t think the issue is a lack of understanding. We know what we’re meant to do. Instead, Richard thinks the issue is a psychological one. And it’s to do with a misplaced psychology of disgust. Tune in for a truly fascinating conversation!


If you want to dig deeper into these issues, then we highly recommend Richard’s book Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality and Morality. And if you haven’t already, make sure you have a read of Reviving Old Scratch. Not only does it look at the issue of the Devil and spiritual warfare, but it deals with faith, doubt and attempts to navigate a way between progressive and conservative theology. It’s a must read. And while you’re at it, check out his blog Experimental Theology.

In many ways Brian Zahnd is like many of Nomad’s guests in that he deconstructed (although he doesn’t like that term) what he came to see as a very narrow faith, and reconstructed something much deeper and broader. The difference with Brian, though, is that he went through this process while pastoring a mega-church. So we asked him, how can you lead a church, or indeed be a member of a church, when your faith is changing and you feel like you’re in a very different place from everyone else.

 

If you want more from Brian (and why wouldn’t you?!), you’re in luck, as he’s written a ton of books, all of which are very readable and packed full of wisdom and insight. I particularly enjoyed Water to Wine, which tells the story of Brian’s disenchantment with pop Christianity and his search for a more substantive faith. And Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, in which Brian contrasts the angry God theology many of us inherited, with the unconditional love of God we see in Jesus.

Oh, and if your faith is changing and evolving and you don’t know anyone you can share that with, then consider registering on our Listener Map. Who knows, perhaps another Nomad listener lives just around the corner…

Every now and then we like to interview a fellow podcaster who, like us, is creating a space for an open and honest exploration of the Christian faith. And Justin Brierley is one such person. Over the last 11 years he’s been producing Unbelievable?, on which he moderates conversations between Christians and people from other faiths and none. So firstly I took the opportunity to see if he suffers from the same podcaster insecurities that I do. Then we dug into whether apologetics – the rational defence of the faith – still has a place in our post-secular culture, and in a  faith that seems increasingly comfortable with mystery and doubt.

 

If you’ve never got into apologetics before and are looking for a good introduction, then Justin’s book Unbelievable?: Why After Ten Years of Talking with Atheists, I’m Still a Christian is for you. It’s really well written, with loads of anecdotes from his show and personal life, and gives a very readable, clear introduction to why Christianity makes rational sense. – Tim

 

 

In many ways, Nomad has been quite an intellectual journey. And as much as we love some good old fashioned theological cut-and-thrust, we’ve increasingly aware that if this journey is going to be sustainable, it’s got to be an holistic one. So each month we’ll be producing Nomad Devotionals, through which we’ll be experimenting with readings, prayers, liturgies and songs. We’re making the first one free to everyone, so you can decide whether you’re interested in joining us on this leg of the journey. If you are, then head over to Patreon and donate $5 or more a month to gain access to future Devotionals (as well as bonus interviews and post-interview reflections).
Make sure you let us know what you think of this and future Devotionals on the Patreon Forum, as like everything Nomad does, your input will shape this shared journey.

This first devotional was made with help from: Rabbi Margaret Jacobi from Birmingham’s Progressive Synagogue; theologian and urban gardener Sam Ewell; and Brian McLaren, who kindly gives the benediction. The song Hallelujah Sing Exulting was adapted from an old hymn by Martin Gensichen (1879-1965). All other music is by David Benjamin Blower (all rights reserved, and all that). The song Come Holy Spirit is Public Domain (as is Hallelujah Sing Exulting), so please help yourself.


If this devotional has whetted you appetite, then you’re in luck as there’s plenty more to come. In the mean time, check out David’s back catalogue on bandcamp. I would particularly encourage you to get yourself a copy of Welcome the Stranger, and The Book of Jonah, and the accompanying book Sympathy for Jonah.

What actually is prayer? What happens when we do it? What difference can it make, if any, to the events and circumstances we find ourselves in? Should we expect to sense God in prayer, or perhaps even hear him communicate to us? And if so, why do so few of us ever seem to have these sorts of experiences.

For many of us, these questions, and others like them, have led us to a place of disillusionment and prayerlessness. And yet we still yearn for the deep, rooted, holistic connectedness that prayer promises.

So we brought these questions, and others, to Dr. Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalen College, Cambridge, former Archbishop of Canterbury, and expert in the history of Christian spirituality. He’s known as a man of great wisdom and deep spirituality. And he didn’t disappoint!

 

If you want to dig deeper into Rowan Williams’s ideas, then there’s plenty to be getting on with. He has a chapter on prayer in his book Being Disciples. But we suggest you simply read everything he’s written.

Greg Boyd is back on the show! This time he’s tackling the thorny issue of violence in the Old Testament. How is it, for example, that the God revealed in Jesus loves his enemies and lays down his life for them, when the God we see in the Old Testament seems to routinely kill his enemies? What does that tell us about the nature of God, and the nature of the Bible? Greg is certainly the man to ask, as he’s just published a 1492 page book on this very subject, The Crucifixion of the Warrior God.

 

The Crucifixion of the Warrior God is an extremely thorough and academic work (1492 pages), and so clearly isn’t for everyone. But fear not, in August Greg is releasing a more popular version Cross Vision: How the Crucifixion of Jesus Makes Sense of the Old Testament, which I’m sure will be an equally stimulating read. And while you’re at it, read everything else Greg has written. Seriously, he’s one of the most stimulating authors around. Benefit of the Doubt, for example, is a must read for anyone struggling with questions and doubts. And Seeing is Believing really helped me understand the importance of using your imagination in prayer. To name, but two. If you’re not a reader, then you can check out Greg’s sermons at Woodland Hill’s church, or his podcast Apologies and Explanations. Greg also regularly blogs at the ReKnew website.

At our recent offline Gathering, Mark Vernon – former Anglican Priest, turned atheist, turned Christian agnostic – led us in a Buddhist inspired meditation. To get the full benefit from this, you might want to sit near some other people (e.g. in a cafe, the library, or park, etc.) as it’s all about how we perceive ourselves in relation to others.

 

If you want to further explore the ideas of faith and doubt with Mark, then get a copy of his excellent How To Be An Agnostic, in which he recounts his journey from Anglican Priest to Atheist to ‘Christian Agnostic’. I also thoroughly enjoyed The Meaning of Friendship and Love: All That Matters. – Tim

This podcast comes to you from Nomad’s first offline Gathering. We had a great weekend of food, drink, conversation, music and meditation. We also interviewed Mark Vernon. Mark was an Anglican priest but developed deep doubts about the faith. His subsequent journey took him through atheism, to agnosticism, through ancient Greek philosophy, to a Christian faith that sees doubt and uncertainty as integral parts.

If you’d like a pleasing visual summary of our conversation with Mark, then look no further than Angie Carney’s pleasing visual summary of our conversation with Mark…

If you want to further explore the ideas of faith and doubt with Mark, then get a copy of his excellent How To Be An Agnostic, in which he recounts his journey from Anglican Priest to Atheist to ‘Christian Agnostic’. I also thoroughly enjoyed The Meaning of Friendship and Love: All That Matters. – Tim

 

We recently invited the beloved listener to Nottingham for Nomad’s first offline get-together. It was a splendid weekend of conversation, interviews, music, food and drink. And we recorded some of it for you. First up is a Q&A we did on the Friday night, where David Benjamin Blower asked us about the Nomad story and what impact the last few years of podcasting has had on our faith. Personally, I think we’re much better at interviewing people than we are at being interviewed, but nevertheless I hope you enjoy the podcast!

If you want more chit-chat from Tim and Dave about their lives, then tune into the Q&A Marathon they did at the end of 2015.

 

We recently travelled to the Creature Conference in London, where we spent the day pondering the question ‘Is Christianity Good News for Animals?’. Animal welfare used to be seen as an important expression of the gospel for leaders such as Spurgeon, Wesley, C. S. Lewis and many others. But more recently it seems to have dropped off the Church’s agenda. So we asked theological ethicists Prof. David Clough, and Christian leaders Tony CampoloSteve ChalkeRuth Valerio, and founder of the animal welfare charity Sarx, Darrel Booth, why we’ve lost sight of this, and how Christianity can again become good news for animals.

 


If you want to dig deeper into the issues raised in this episode, then check out the Sarx website for a host of interesting and challenging articles, videos and resources. Make sure you also dig into David Clough’s CreatureKind website and consider running their 6-week course. If you’re looking for something to read, then have a look at Animals Are Not Ours: An Evangelical Liberation Theology by Sarah Withrow King, Animal Gospel by Andrew Linzey, A Faith Embracing All Creatures edited by Tripp York and Andy Alexis-Baker, For Love of Animals by Charlie Camosy, Animal Theology by Andrew Linzey and Living With Other Creatures by Richard Baukham.

With Easter fast approaching, we thought it was about time we had a fresh look at the central symbol of our faith, the cross. So we hit the road, along with musician David Benjamin Blower, and headed off to Tom Wright’s house in Scotland. We asked Tom how through the cross Jesus’s revolution began, and why after 2000 year does it often look like the revolution is struggling to transform the world. 

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For those of us who have been through some kind of faith deconstruction, spiritual practices often take on a new significance, as we seek to connect with God without what often feels like restrictive doctrinal and organisational frameworks. Scottish theologian and activist Alastair McIntosh recently wrote Poacher’s Pilgrimage about a soulful journey he took across the Islands of the Outer Hebrides. So we invited him on the podcast to explore with us the importance of the ancient practice of pilgrimage. 

 

 

If you want to dig deeper into the ideas Alastair raised in the interview then check out his very comprehensive website, and his wonderfully inspiring and challenging books, especially Poacher’s Pilgrimage and his must read Soil and Soul. You might also like to have a listen to our previous interview with him, and the reflection he recorded for our Pentecost for Progressives series.

 This episode features the song Homage to Young Men by Nizlopi.

David Benjamin Blower’s album The Book of Jonah is available from Minor Artists and Bandcamp. And make sure you also grab a copy of the accompanying book Sympathy for Jonah.

Lent is upon us once again. A wonderful counter-cultural season where we reflect on those things we might need to give up. So we asked Brian Draper to send us something that would help guide us through this time. And he came up trumps with a reflection on the transforming power of stillness. So tune in if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed out and frazzled, and join us as we commit to intentional stillness through Lent.

 

If you want more from Brian then make sure you tune into our fascinating conversation with him Mindfulness: The Doorway to the Soul?

 

And make sure you check out his website, and many excellent books.

We’ve been wanting to do an episode on money for a while now, so when the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby put pen to paper and wrote his first book – Dethroning Mammon – all about the dangers of moneywe seized upon the opportunity and headed off for Lambeth Palace. We asked the Archbishop what his life experience has taught him about money and how it shapes what we value and where we place our identity. Tune into the podcast for a honest, humble and insightful conversation.

 

If you want to know more about Justin Welby, check out the Archbishop of Canterbury website. And do get a copy of his book Dethroning Mammon, which goes much deeper into the issues we were only able to touch on in our conversation.

In both Liverpool and Bradford, Barbara Glasson has drawn together communities that have provided safe, honest, authentic spaces for the poor, marginalised, disillusioned, and people from other faiths and none. As well as being a spiritual home for these people, she believes they have an important message for the mainstream church. So we ask Barbara how she formed these communities, and what wisdom she has gained along the way. So tune in for a conversation full of insight, challenge and humility.

If you want to dig deeper in the issues Barbara raised, then check out the work she does with Touchstone in Bradford, and her insightful and inspiring books.

Priest, poet and feminist theologian, Rachel Mann is a trans-woman. From an early age she had a profound sense that her body didn’t reflect her gender. After a long, frustrating and painful journey she emerged into the woman she is today. We ask Rachel to look back over this transition and reflect on what it means to be human, what place gender has in our identity, and what she’s learnt from seeing the word through male and female eyes.

 

If you want to dig deeper into these issues then do get a copy of Rachel’s book Dazzling Darkness. I found it a fascinating, brutally honest, gritty, heartfelt, challenging and inspiring read. And check out Rachel’s website and blog. – Tim

What are 21st Century educated, questioning Christians supposed to make of the Devil and evil spirits? Are they literal spiritual beings who spend their time trying to lure us into sinful acts? Or should we see them as metaphors for social injustices that we need to confront? We ask professor of psychologyauthor and blogger Richard Beck.

 

If you want to dig deeper into these issues, then we highly recommend Richard’s book Reviving Old Scratch. Not only does it look at the issue of the Devil and spiritual warfare, but it deals with faith, doubt and attempts to navigate a way between progressive and conservative theology. It’s a must read. And while you’re at it, check out his blog Experimental Theology.

 

It’s that time of the year again! We thought we’d have a week off interviewing, and so we’ve arranged a little Christmas reflection for you. Nicola Slee is a feminist practice theologian and poet who is currently director of research at The Queen’s Foundation of Ecumenical Theological Education in Birmingham. In this podcast, Nicola reflects the implications of Jesus being born a girl. Now there’s something for you to ponder over your mince pies and mulled wine!

If you want to dig deeper into the issues Nicola raises in this reflection, then check out her book Seeking the Risen Christa

Sally Smith joins us for part 3 of our Welcome the Stranger series. On this podcast, we hear about the fascinating and inspiring story that emerged when Sally opened the doors of her dying church to asylum seekers and refugees. She’s seen large numbers come to faith, she’s reunited mothers with their children, she’s personally housed refugee families, and her church has become a hub for work with the most vulnerable in Stoke. 

 

If what Sally has to say moves you, then please consider giving a gift to the work she is doing. And if you haven’t already, get yourself a copy of David Benjamin Blower‘s album Welcome the Stranger

Our regular listeners will remember our Welcome the Stranger refugee special where we looked at the crisis through the eyes of a Syrian refugee and a refugee charity worker. The aim was to raise awareness and money through the sale of David Benjamin Blower‘s album Welcome the Stranger. On this week’s podcast, we’re looking at the crisis through the eyes of Dave Smith who decided to do something about it, and start The Boaz Trust, a charity that works with destitute asylum seekers. If what Dave has to say moves you, then please consider giving a gift to the work he’s doing.

 

If you want to know more about Dave’s journey, then have a read of The Book of Boaz, and Refugee Stories: Seven Personal Stories Behind the Headlines.

Gungor – a multi-grammy nominated Christian band – were the toast of the evangelical worship scene. That is until it became clear that Michael was having significant doubts about his faith. This did not go down well among evangelicals, to say the least. So we talk with Michael and his wife Lisa about the impact this faith deconstruction had on their music, their careers and, more significantly, their marriage.

Make sure you check out Gungor’s latest musical offering, their One Wild Life trilogy. Michael also blogs, and of course joins up with Science Mike to produce the rather splendid The Liturgists Podcast, which emerged from the work of a collection of artists and creators known as The Liturgists.

Brian McLaren has a knack for articulating what many of us are feeling. For a decade he has been the voice of those Christians who are concerned about, for example, the Church’s overemphasis on doctrinal belief, its lack of inclusivity, and its lack of concern for the many global issues we are facing.

In his latest book – The Great Spiritual Migration – he draws together all these themes into a manifesto for a new Christian movement, one that seeks nothing less than the healing of the world.

 

 I’ve found many of Brian’s books really helpful over the years, but The Great Spiritual Migration really is a must read for anyone wrestling with their faith and looking for something deeper and more expansive. It’s also worth checking out the resources on Brian’s website. – Tim

 

Mark Yaconelli is – among many other things – a storyteller. Such is his belief in the power of stories that he founded The Hearth, a gathering of local people who simply share their own stories. Mark has seen this simple gathering profoundly impact his local community. So we ask Mark why it is that stories can have this effect, and what role stories played in his own ‘dark night of the soul’. So tune into the podcast to rediscover the ancient practice of storytelling.

 

 

If you are desirous of more Mark, then have a look at his blog, and his many splendid books. To dig deeper into his understanding of the transforming power of stories, look no further than Disappointment, Doubt and Other Spiritual Gifts.

Kester Brewin was founder of one the UK’s most creative and innovative alternative worship communities, Vaux. He went onto write The Complex Christ, a critically acclaimed book calling for an emerging Church. But over the following years he began to realise that Christianity was just another means of trying to escape his childhood pain. Tune into the podcast if your ready for a challenging and important critique of the Christian faith.

 

I’ve been a big fan of Kester’s writing for years. In my humble opinion The Complex Christ is the best work around on the need for an emerging Church. Other, Mutiny, and After Magic are similarly meticulously researched and skilfully crafted. If you want to dig deeper into the issues raised in this interview, then get a copy of the brilliantly written Getting High. – Tim

Christianity can be quite a disembodied faith. Muslim’s have prayer positions, Hindu’s have yoga, Buddhists have Tai-Chi, whereas Christians tend to pray with little more than a bowed head. We ask theologian Paula Gooder why Christians have separated the spiritual from the physical, and what damage this has done for the faith. And we ask how our faith might be reshaped if we approached it in a more holistic and embodied way.

 

 

If you want to dig deeper into the issues raised in this episode, make sure you check out Paula’s book Body: Biblical Spirituality for the Whole Person. And while you’re at it have a gander at her other many and varied writings

Mindfulness has exploded in popularity over recent years, with seemingly every other community centre, school, health service and therapist offering it. But what benefit, if any, does it offer the follower of Jesus?

Author, speaker and retreat leader, Brian Draper, believes it has a vital role in Christian spirituality, but only as a doorway to something much deeper, embodied and life-giving.

 

 

If you want to dig deeper into the issues raised in this conversation, then check out Brian’s excellent book Soulfulness: Deepening the Mindful Life, and while you’re at it check out his other books, all of which are well worth your attention. Brian also leads retreats and produces email meditation series, all of which can be found over at his website.

With the dust just beginning to settle after Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, we thought we’d take the opportunity to look at our relationship with politics. Was Jesus political? Should Christians engage in party politics, or should they be a prophetic voice from the margins? We bring these, and many other questions to political theologian Roger Mitchell. Roger is an honorary research fellow in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at the University of Lancaster and on the faculty of the Westminster Theological Centre. So he knows a thing or two about religion and about politics. So tune in for an insightful and challenging conversation! 

 

 

If you want more from Roger, check out his books The Fall of the Church and Discovering Kenarchy: Contemporary Resources for the Politics of Love. He also regularly blogs

Is faith based purely on belief, and a strong faith holding to those beliefs with certainty? If so, what happens when our beliefs evolve and shift? Prof. Peter Enns  believes that we’ve misunderstood the nature of faith, and it is actually trust rather than certainty that lays at it’s heart. And it is this trust that can withstand the inevitable uncertainties, questions, and doubts that come our way. So tune in for a really engaging conversation.

 

 

If you want to dig deeper into the issues raised in the interview then get yourself a copy of Pete’s book The Sin of Certainty.  It really is a must read for anyone who’s struggled with doubt and uncertainty. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in this regard. And while you’re at it, make sure you read all his other books as well, especially The Bible Tells Me So. Oh, and have a look at his blog. And you’ll also want to have a read of the excellent guest blog post he wrote for us Faith in Doubt.

The question ‘who is God?’ used to be the starting point for religious reflection, but increasingly spiritual seekers are concerning themselves with the question ‘where is God?’. We ask historian, religious commentator and author Diana Butler Bass about her faith journey and how her shift from a vertical to a horizontal theology dramatically reshaped her faith and understanding of Church.

 

 

If you want more from Diana (and we know you do), check out her website and many excellent books. And if you want to dig deeper into the issues raised in this episode, then grab copy of the excellent Grounded: Finding God in the World. 

Why in our multicultural society is the Church still predominantly led by, and our theology predominantly written by, white men? We head to Birmingham to meet up with one of the UK’s leading black theologians, Anthony Reddie. We ask him if the Church is racist and if so what we can do about it? And, what difference would it make to our understanding of God and what he is doing in the world if we read the Bible through black eyes?

 

 

If you want more from Anthony, then check out his website. And if you want to dig deeper into the issues raised in this podcast, then check out his many books on the subject.

We have a humanitarian disaster unfolding on our doorstep. Many of us feel frustrated at our government’s half-hearted response, yet we feel overwhelmed and powerless to do anything ourselves.

In this episode we hear the story of Adel Hamad, a Syrian refugee who made the trip to the UK. We then hear from Naomi Jemmett, who works with refugee children who have made similar journeys. And finally we hear from musician and activist, David Benjamin Blower. David has written an album – Welcome the Stranger – that tells the heartbreaking stories of refugees and lifts the veil on the forces that lie behind the crisis.

 

 

Please consider buying David’s album. You choose how much you want to pay for it, and 100% of the proceeds will go straight to a charity working with refugees in Northern France. You can buy Welcome the Stranger at Minor Artists or Bandcamp. Please also share it on social media.

You can also book David to come to your lounge, church, house-group, coffee shop or garden to play the album live and lead a discussion. Contact him through his website.

It would be great to think we can use Nomad’s modest influence to raise some money for such a vital cause…

Why is the Church divided into over 40,000 denominations? Why do Churches in the same town often have very little to do with each other? Why are Christians always fighting on social media? It doesn’t seem much like the one new humanity Jesus came to establish! To find some answers we quiz social psychologist, Christena Cleveland,

 

 

If you want to dig deeper into these issues, then check out Christena’s excellent book Disunity in Christ and her blog.

Professor Gary Burge joins us on the podcast to help us get our heads round the complexities of Israel/Palestine. Gary was a student at the university of Beirut, he now lecturers in the US on the New Testament and the Theology of the Promised Land. He regularly visits the Middle East and has close connections to Christian leaders from Damascus to Jerusalem to Cairo. So tune in if you’re wrestling with Whose Land? Whose Promise?

 

If you want more from Gary, then check out his website and his incredibly insightful and challenging book Whose Land, Whose Promise?

Apparently the vast majority of us feel uncomfortable talking about death, and haven’t spoken to anyone about our end of life wishes. Buddhist, Jon Underwood thinks this is having a profoundly negative effect on our society. So he pioneered the Death Cafe movement where people gather together, drink tea, eat cake and talk openly and honestly about death.

Check out the website for more about Death Cafe. And for more about Jon’s other death related projects, check out his impermanence website.

Wayne Jacobsen – co-author of The Shack – was a successful pastor. But as his disillusionment with the institutional nature of church grew, he decided to walk away and begin a search for the church Jesus was building. 20 years later he says this was one of the best decisions he ever made. So tune in if you’re curious about the sort of Church Jesus had in mind.

 

If you haven’t already, then have a read of The Shack. But if you want to go deeper into the issues Wayne raises in this interview then check out his excellent book Finding Church. Wayne also blogs and podcasts!

With Pentecost almost upon us, we offer you our 7th and final refection. So who has the privilege of closing out this series? Well it’s Associate Professor of Psychology, Richard Beck of course!

 

If you want more from Richard (and why wouldn’t you?!) then check out his thoroughly splendid blog and books.

We hope you’ve found these reflections helpful. See you later on in the Church calendar!

In our sixth instalment of our Pentecost for Progressives series, we bring you Roger Mitchell.

Roger is an Honorary Research Fellow at Lancaster University and has pioneered a movement around the idea of Kenarchy, by which he means ‘self emptying power’. And it is this theme he skilfully weaves into a Pentecost refection.

 

You can read more about this in his book Discovering Kenarchy: Contemporary Resources for the Politics of Love. You’ll also want to check out The Fall of the Church and his very interesting blog.

Rachel Mann brings us our fifth Pentecost for Progressives reflection. Rachel is a Church of England priest, and is poet in Residence at Manchester Cathedral. She’s also transgender, and brings something of her experience of wrestling with identity and faith to this fascinating reflection.

 

If you want more of Rachel’s story, then check out her website and her two books Dazzling Darkness and The Risen Dust.

Our journey towards Pentecost continues. This week’s refection comes from freelance community theologian and author, Ann Morisy. Ann has researched and written on everything from the spirituality of public transport, through to the spirituality of ageing. But for us, she turns her attention to Pentecost.

 

If you want more from Ann, check out her many splendid books.

Here’s our second Pentecost reflection for you. This time Alastair McIntosh reflects on how his understanding of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit has changed and evolved, from one of judgement to one of spiritual activism.

 

If you want to take Alastair’s ideas further, then check out his latest book Spiritual Activism, and have a listen to our fascinating conversation with him.

We’ve got a new Nomad Spirituality series for you, Pentecost for Progressives. Each week between Easter and Pentecost we’ll be giving you a reflection from someone who’s been through a faith shift/deconstruction, or who just views the faith with a critical eye. We asked them the question, what does Pentecost/Holy Spirit mean to you now?

First up is Barbara Glasson. Barbara started an inclusive faith community in Liverpool centred around baking bread. She went on to work with lesbian, gay and transgendered Christians, and with survivors of childhood sexual abuse. She’s now doing interfaith work with Muslims in Bradford.

 

If you want more from Barbara, then check out her books.

As well as our usual interview shows we like to give you some food for thought focussed around the Church Calendar. This Easter we’ve asked the Jesuit Priest, Father James Martin to reflect on how he relates to the suffering and resurrected Jesus.

 

If you want more of Father Martin, then check out his many excellent books and America, the Jesuit magazine he is editor-at-large of.

Easter is upon us again, so we thought it was a fine time to look at the atonement again. So we popped over to Bristol to chat with Alan Mann. Alan asks the question, what could the atonement mean for a society that doesn’t consider itself sinful in any traditional sense. Rather than ‘sin’ Alan believes the issue we now face is shame and it is this that Jesus’s death needs to set us free from. So tune in for an intriguing conversation.

 

If you need more detail check out Alan’s meticulously researched and thought through Atonement for a Sinless Society.

Robin Parry is a theologian best known for advocating universalism. But more recently he’s turned his attention to writing about The Biblical Cosmos. In this book he systematically lays out all the weirdness of the biblical universe, with its flat earth, the dead residing underneath it and God residing above a solid sky dome. Oh, and there’s sea monsters and angel-stars for good measure. The question is then, how do we relate to a God who lives in this universe?

 

If you haven’t already, have a listen to our previous interview with Robin about universalism. It transformed my faith!

 

Make sure you get a copy of The Biblical Cosmos, it’s a great read. And while you’re at it, you’ll definitely want to get stuck into The Evangelical Universalist. Oh, and subscribe to Robin’s blog.

On Nomad we often talk about the changing nature of culture and how the church has changed (or not) in response. But rather than continuing to rely on our own anecdotal and wildly speculative evidence, we thought it was about time we spoke to someone who actually knows what they’re talking about. Grace Davie is a professor in the sociology of religion and wrote the influential book Religion in Britain Since 1945: Believing Without Belonging. So she seemed like the perfect person to speak to about exactly what’s going on.

 

If you want to dig even deeper into the sociology of religion, check out Grace’s books Religion in Britain: A Persistent Paradox, and Religion in Britain Since 1945: Believing Without Belonging.

Jamie Arpin-Ricci joins us on the latest leg of our Nomadic pilgrimage of hope. Jamie felt called to leave his comfortable middle class life and move to a high poverty and crime inner-city area. Obviously this presented many challenges, but none more so than being confronted by his own vulnerability. So we ask Jamie to reflect on what it means to make ourselves vulnerable before God and those around us, and how this can shape the communities we’re apart of.

 

Want more Jamie? Of course you do. Check out Vulnerable Faith, The Cost of Community and his other books. And make sure you have a look at his blog.

The UN said recently that ‘Gender-based violence is perhaps the most widespread and socially tolerated of human rights violations.’ We spoke to philosopher, sociologist and theologian Elaine Storkey about the reasons behind this, and how the church should respond. This led on to a fascinating discussion about what it really means to be a man. Tune in for an eye-opening, challenging and hope-filled conversation.

 

Scars Across Humanity is a thoroughly researched work, balanced with many heartbreaking and inspiring stories. It’s a must read. And check out Elaine’s other books while you’re at it. And her blog

 

Terry Waite travelled to some of the most dangerous places in the world, negotiating with the likes of Idi Amin and Colonel Gaddafi for the release of hostages. Then while working in Lebanon he was taken hostage by Islamic Jihadists. He was held for nearly 5 years, most of it in solitary confinement, was tortured and underwent a mock execution.

Tune into the podcast for an incredible story of humility, grace and finding God in the darkest of places.

 

For more about Terry, check out his autobiography Taken on Trust, within which he describes in much more depth his experience of being taken captive.

Last year we gave you our ’12 Days of Christmas’ reflections. We’re adding to that series with a reflection by the director of the missional community InnerChange, John Hayes. John reflects on the contradictions inherent in our modern celebration of Christmas.

 

Want more? Then have a read of John’s excellent book Sub-merge: Living Deep in a Shallow World

As if building a church of 10,000+, producing an international bestselling DVD series, writing critically acclaimed bestselling books, producing a hugely popular podcast, and having his own TV show wasn’t enough, Rob Bell has decided to write a novel. And much to the frustration of all us lesser talented mortals, it’s really rather good! But what does Millones Cajones reveal about Rob’s own struggle to find himself amidst all this success?

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Ever felt awkward and uncomfortable in Church, like you just don’t fit in? Well, according to Jonny Baker that feeling could be the gift of pioneering.

Jonny was pioneering before pioneering was a thing. Most notably he founded the alternative worship community Grace, and more recently he’s pioneered a training course for pioneers. So if you’re dreaming that things could be different, then check out the interview, Jonny might just be the person you’ve been hoping to stumble across.

Want more Jonny? Check out his blog, and while you’re there make sure you have a look at his Worship Tricks, we’ve pinched many of these over the years! Proost is a must for anyone interested in alternative Christian music, video, liturgies, poems, etc. And do cast your eye over Jonny’s books, they’ll give you a heads-up on all things pioneering and alternative worship. That should keep you going!

At the core of author and teacher Brad Jersak’s faith is the belief that God looks like Jesus. Simple enough, right? But what about the violent ‘God of the Old Testament’? What about the parable’s of Jesus that liken God to an angry king? And what about all the suffering in the world that God seems to simply stand by and watch. How do these look like Jesus? We caught up with Brad in Telford, and asked him to explain.

 

If you’re at all interested in who God is (!), then make sure you read A More Christlike God. And if you’re at all concerned about the possibility of Hell (!), then read Her Gates Will Never Be Shut. And there’s plenty more content on Brad’s website. And if that’s not enough, Brad wrote a cracking blog post for us called Why Did Jesus Die?

Dave Andrews has lived and worked in intentional communities with marginalised groups of people in Australia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal. Through these experiences he developed a passion for seeing Christians and Muslims learning together what it means to follow Jesus. To this end, he proposes that we all observe the Jihad of Jesus. We caught up with Dave at the Greenbelt Festival to uncover what exactly this means!

 

If you want more from Dave, check out our previous interview with him How Not to be a ‘Great’ Man of God:

 

Dave’s books are always profoundly insightful and deeply challenging. But if you want to dig deeper into the issues raised in this interview, then grab a copy of The Jihad of Jesus. Also, have a gander at his website.

The recent image of a drowned child washed up on a Turkish beach brought the refugee crisis into sharp focus. So to help us better understand the complexities of the situation and how best to respond, we’ve asked Dave Smith to send us a reflection. Dave is the founder of the Boaz Trust, a charity that houses, supports and speaks up for the most vulnerable and destitute asylum seekers and refugees in Manchester.

 

For more about Dave and the work he does, check out his charity’s website, his book The Book of Boaz, and our fascinating and moving interview with him

Every now and then we treat you to Nomad Spirituality, a guest meditation based around the Church calendar. So we thought a reflection based around Harvest might be in order. Bruce Stanley seemed like the man as he’s a forager, owns a small holding, pioneered the Forest Church movement. But rather than giving thanks, what harvest prompts Bruce to do is ask some challenging questions.

 

If you need more Bruce, then check out his website, and his book Forest Church: A Field Guide to Nature Connection.

The idea of beauty has shaped Joanna Jepson‘s life and ministry. Born with a jaw defect she was mercilessly bullied through her childhood and into adulthood. But after successful surgery she then had to figure out how her internal self related to her new external self. She then went on to issue a legal challenge against the late abortion of a foetus with a cleft lip and palate. And later she became a chaplain to the London College of Fashion. So we asked Joanna to tell us what she’s learnt about the true meaning of beauty.

 

For more about Joanna, check out her website, and have a read of her honest, heartbreaking and hopeful autobiography A Lot Like Eve: Fashion, Faith and Fig-Leaves.

10 years ago Marina Cantacuzino began to interview people who had suffered all sorts of trauma, abuse and wrongdoing, but who instead of choosing vengeance chose forgiveness. It’s easy as Christians to think that we’ve cornered the market on forgiveness, but listening to these stories from people from a range of faith traditions and none is deeply challenging and inspiring. So we asked Marina to share the wisdom she’s gained from working on The Forgiveness Project.

 

If you want to find out more about this deeply challenging and inspiring project, then check out the book The Forgiveness Project.

Robert Song is a professor in the department of Theology and Religion at Durham Uni. He recently wrote ‘Covenant and Calling’, in which he challenges traditional ideas of marriage, having children and celibacy and proposes a whole new category of relationship, called ‘covenant partnerships’. And he reaches these conclusions not by looking to Genesis, or pulling out proof texts, but by looking to what life will be like when God’s Kingdom fully comes. So brace yourself for some serious thinking!

 

Want more? Then you’d do well to have a read of Robert’s book Covenant and Calling: Towards a Theology of Same-Sex Relationships.

Nomad started out with a group of people wanting to explore new forms of church, so after six years we thought it was about time to explore this idea again.

Kelly Bean grew up in traditional church and never questioned its practices or structure. But over time she began to realise that the house group she led felt a lot more like church than what happened on a Sunday. So when her Church closed down, her house group became her church. So we asked Kelly what she’s learnt along the way.

 

For more about Kelly, check out her website and her book How to Be a Christian Without going to Church.

Jewish blogger, Robert Cohen is back on the show, sharing with us lessons from his faith journey. So if you’re interested in knowing more about the connection between faith, ancestry and land, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, interfaith marriage, what a Jew makes of church, and what a true prophet looks like, then this is the episode for you!

Want more Robert? Then definitely check out his insightful blog Micah’s Paradigm Shift, and the Easter refection he recorded for us, A Jewish Easter:

Eve Tushnet is a freelance writer and blogger. And she’s gay, Catholic and celibate. So we asked Eve to tell us the story of how she went from atheist lesbian, to Catholic and celibate. And what she learnt about love, friendship and what it means to commit to the Church.

 

Want to know more about Eve? Then have a look at her intriguingly entitled blog Conservatism Reborn in Twisted Sisterhood. And make sure you have a read of her honest and insightful book Gay and Catholic: Accepting My Sexuality, Finding Community, Living My Faith.

With yet another terrorist atrocity in the news – this time leading to the deaths of at least 38 people in Tunisia – people are again asking, ‘Is Islam inherently violent?’

We ask Carl Medearis, an international expert is Muslim-Christian relations who has lived, worked, and traveled in the Middle East for the last 30 years, to help us unpack this question.

Want more? There’s plenty of content on Carl’s website, his books are well worth casting your eye over, and most significantly you can check out our interview with him, Jesus vs. Christianity

 

Carl’s also head of Modern Middle East Studies at William Jessup University, where you can have a crack at an online course looking at such things as Islam, Jesus in a Muslim context and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Tom Wright is unquestionably one of the most influential NT scholars of our generation. It’s hard to overestimate the influence he has had on the Church’s understanding of Jesus and Paul.

But what makes this great man tick? We asked you what you’d like to know about the man behind the theology. As a result, we ended up asking him everything from what his favourite childhood book was, to how he manages his work/life balance, through to which three people he’d most like to invite to dinner!

 

Want more Tom? Then you could spend the rest of your life reading his many many books (and we recommend that you do!). Or, alternatively, listen to our three previous interviews with him.

It’s quite popular these days to refer to yourself as an activist. But Alastair McIntosh is the real thing. Not only is he a respected academic and writer, but he’s taken on major corporations, and won! Why? Because he believes that much of the modern world is threatening our sense of place, which is so vital for human flourishing.

 

Want more? Then check out Alastair’s really rather  comprehensive website. And if you’ve only time to read one of his books, make sure it’s the brilliant Soil and Soul.

Rachel Held Evans is a hugely successful and influential progressive Christian blogger, author and speaker. We talk to Rachel about her journey from a conservative evangelical faith characterised by certainty, to wrestling with questions, doubt, cynicism and despair, through to a new kind of faith. And we discuss the trials and tribulations of embarking on this journey under the gaze of social media. It’s a fascinating and insightful story.

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[Science] Mike McHargue describes himself as a Christian turned atheist turned follower of Jesus. That’s right, Mike was a fully-fledged conservative evangelical Christian, but then he read the whole Bible and his faith crumbled away. He then found himself in the rather awkward position of being in Church leadership while no longer believing in God! Then Mike rediscovered faith, but in a very different way. Now he teaches on science, faith, atheism, doubt and knowing God. It’s a great story!

 

Since recording this interview, Mike has released a really rather splendid book going into much more detail about his faith journey. You’d do well to get yourself a copy of Finding God in the Waves. If you want even more from Mike then fear not, there’s plenty out there. Definitely check out The Liturgists, a podcast he does with Michael Gungor, it’s a must listen. Mike’s also got his own weekly show, Ask Science Mike, which is dedicated to answering listeners questions about science, faith and life. And if that’s not enough, check out Mike’s blog. All that should keep you going…

What on earth are we meant to do with those passages in the Bible where God commands genocide, the stoning to death of rebellious children or poems about dashing the heads of babies on rocks?! Well, according to theologian, author and artist, Derek Flood, the answer is pretty straight forward, we just read the Bible like Jesus did.

 

If you need more, check out Derek’s website, The Rebel God. And make sure you check out his really insightful and challenging books Disarming Scripture and Healing the Gospel.

Another General Election is upon us. Levels of apathy and disillusionment are at an all time high, and popular figures like Russell Brand are urging us to have no part in what he sees as a corrupt system. So the question we’re wrestling with is: Why Bother Voting?

To help answer this we’ve turned to Paul Bickley for help. Paul has experience working in parliament and public affairs and is currently Director of Political Program at Theos Think Tank, a Christian think tank working in the area of politics, religion and society.

Come on Paul, inspire us…

The Rapture is a curious doctrine, as it’s not in the Bible, anywhere! But let’s pretend it’s real, and you missed it! How would you survive the collapse of civilisation? Lewis Dartnell‘s day job is to search for life on Mars, but for fun he wrote The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World After an Apocalypse. It may sound a tad abstract, but it sheds light on our relationship with the planet and with each other, and for us Christians, why Rapture theology is potentially so destructive.

 

If you want more from Lewis, then check out his great website (including videos on how to survive after the apocalypse). And grab a copy of The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World After an Apocalypse

Jesus told us to love our enemies. But surely not the monstrous soldiers of Isis? With an almost constant stream of stories of burnings, beheadings, and mass slaughter, what could love possible look like in this context, and what good would it do?!

 

Rick Love is President of Peace Catalyst International, and Associate Director of the World Evangelical Alliance Peace and Reconciliation Initiative. He seemed like a pretty good person to ask what a Christian response to Isis would look like.

Mike Stygal is a shaman (i.e. he whips himself up into an altered state of consciousness in order to hang out in the spirit world). He also happens to be the president of the Pagan Federation. Oh, and he’s married to a Christian. So he seems like the right guy to talk to about what Christians can learn from pagans (and indeed, what pagans can learn from Christians).

 

What more? Then check out Mike’s contribution (along with fellow pagan, Jason Mankey) to our Interfaith Easter series:

Apparently, Britain is set to become the first country to have three parent babies! It’s all to do with genetically modifying an embryo to prevent certain inherited diseases. But as with many scientific advances folks like us are left worrying about the scientific and ethical implications.

 

Professor Denis Alexander is the Emeritus Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, a molecular biologist, and an author on science and religion. So he seemed like the perfect person to explain all (which he does, in a brilliantly professory type of way…).

 

For the final show in our ‘Interfaith Easter’ series we’ve asked James Ford to reflect on Easter from a Buddhist perspective. Not only is James a Zen Buddhist Priest, but he’s also a minister in the Unitarian Church. A rather interesting mix, I think you’ll agree.

So sit back, turn up the volume and glean from James’s wisdom and insight.

Our latest Easter reflection comes from Jason Mankey and Mike Stygal. Jason was a Christian, but became increasingly disillusioned with right wing politics and intolerant attitudes, and so began to explore paganism. But despite this, he maintained his love of Easter. You’ll remember Mike from our recent interview. He’s the President of the Pagan Federation. Enjoy!

 

For our sixth Easter reflection we’ve asked Paul Beaumont to mull over what Easter means for someone who has lost their faith.

Paul was a committed evangelical Christian for 25 years, but when he began to be honest about his lack of spiritual experiences and his concerns about aspects of the character of God as revealed in the Old Testament, his faith began to unravel…

 

If you want to know more, cast an eye over his novel, A Brief Eternity

Our interfaith Easter series continues with Robert Cohen. Robert is a Jew, but one who is married to an Anglican Minister. This combined with the fact he lives in one of the least Jewish counties of England puts him very much on the margins. Needless to say, Robert has had a very interesting and unique experience of both Judaism and Christianity.

 

For more about Robert, check out his blog Micah’s Paradigm Shift..

We took a bit of a chance with this one. We asked a secular scientist if they could find a link between their scientific discipline and the themes of Easter. Prof. Michael Merrifield had a crack at it, and found some sweet connections between his field of astronomy and death and resurrection (and also talked a lot about his real passion, telescopes!).

 

If you like what you hear, head over to his YouTube channel for more.

This year we’re bringing you an Easter reflection, with a twist. Rather than asking Christians to reflect on their own festival, we thought it’d be more interesting to ask people from other faiths and none to reflect on the symbolism of Easter. A great way to learn about other religions, we thought.

 

We’re easing you in gently with Mark Vernon. Mark used to be an Anglican priest, but he now considers himself an agnostic. So buckle up for an Agnostic Easter…

If you want more from Mark, then get hold of the excellent How to Be An Agnostic.

Dave Tomlinson is effortlessly interesting and seems to effortlessly attract interesting people. He mentors the leaders of the now global atheist church, he took the funerals of two of the countries most notorious criminals, and his church is so cool even Bono turns up from time to time.

But what we find even more interesting is the fact that Dave went from the emerging church back to the institutional church. Why Dave, why?!

 

For more about Dave, check out his website and his many inspiring books, in particular How to Be a Bad Christian and The Bad Christian’s Manifesto.

Wendy is passionate about creating ‘generous spaces’ in churches, where people with different understanding of sexuality can meet together without judgment, listen to each others stories and to seek Jesus together. Sounds great! But is it realistic? Have a listen and find out!

 

Want more? Then definitely check out Wendy’s wonderfully insightful and challenging book Generous Spaciousness.

2015 sees the resurrection of Nomad Spirituality! Nomad can be a bit cerebral, so we occasionally want to balance this with something a bit more experiential.

Writer, poet and priest, Ian Adams, has stepped up and given us a meditation on stillness. So find a quiet spot, turn down the lights, and lose yourself in stillness…

Oh, and we recommend Ian’s daily meditation, Morning Bell.

(The meditation begins at 6 mins 7 secs)

Just in case you’re suffering withdrawal symptoms from our 12 Days of Christmas series, and are slumped listlessly in front of your now empty mp3 player, we’ve got one final Christmas treat for you.

We asked standup comedian and BBC comedy scriptwriter, Paul Kerensa, to record a wee Christmas Day message for you…

If you want more from Paul, then check out his website, and his insightful and amusing books!

 

And you thought we’d finished (so did we, actually!). This one, however, really is the grande finale, and it’s a corker.

Krista Tippett has an award winning radio show, On Being, and was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence.” And today she’s on Nomad telling you why she doesn’t do Christmas…

 

Oh, and if you want more from Krista, check out our interview with her where we discussed the lost art of listening. And you’d do well to read her book Speaking of Faith

To close out our 12 Days of Christmas we’ve enlisted the services of the author of Consumer Detox (read it, its really rather good, unless you don’t like being massively challenged, then don’t read it!) and founder of the Breathe Network (“Less Stuff, More Life”), Mark Powley.

Apparently the issue isn’t so much the way we go about Christmas, but the way we go about the rest of the year. Interesting!

 

If you’re interested in more from Mark, we interviewed him, way back in the day…

Philosopher, sociologist and Christian feminist, Elaine Storkey has achieved a lot in her life. She’s lectured around the world, written numerous books, she succeeded John Stott as Executive Director of the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity, and she served as the President of TEAR Fund. And now, she’s on Nomad Podcast, bringing you her Christmas reflection!

 

 

Shane Claiborne – author of the must read book The Irresistible Revolution (among others), and founding member of the New Monastic community The Simple Way – would like to share some thoughts on Christmas. Anyone interested?!

 

If you want more, dig deep into our archives and discover our interview with Shane…

Nadia Bolz Weber is the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints, and a leading voice in the emerging church movement, known for her honest and provocative style. And today she’s bringing a Christmas reflection just for you!

 

Want more? Of course you do. Check out our rather pleasing interview with her…Oh, and read her really rather splendid book Cranky, Beautiful Faith.

Greg Boyd is one of Nomad’s favourite theologians and authors. He’s a leading figure in the reformation of evangelicalism, passionately advocating everything from the importance of doubt, care for creation, a non-violent view of God, and much more. Read his blog at ReKnew and listen to his sermons at Woodland Hills Church. Oh, and read all his many books!

And today Greg is bringing a Christmas reflection from his unique perspective, just for you, the beloved Nomad listener. Enjoy!

 

Crying out for more? Look no further than our two previous interviews with Greg, on the importance of community and vegetarianism and non-violence.

The late Author and lecturer, Phyllis Tickle, was one of the most influential voices in emerging church circles, and one of our favourite guests of 2014.

We asked Phyllis to reflect on Christmas from the perspective of the emerging church and emergence Christianity.

Need more Phyllis? Easy, just check out our interview with her, where we discuss why a new church is emerging. It’s a classic.

 

Oh, and you might want to read all her books (we have).

Today’s Christmas reflection comes from Nomad’s favourite musician and activist, David Benjamin Blower.

David sets up a showdown between Christmas and Empire and throws in a couple of your favourite Christmas carols for no extra charge. So brace yourself for a good measure of hope-filled challenge, served up with a sprinkling of musical creativity. Enjoy!

 

Oh, and while you’re at it, read his excellent book Kingdom vs. Empire, and listen to his many wonderful albums.

Wendy VanderWal-Gritter is the executive director of New Direction Ministries in Canada, an organisation that exists to provide “safe and spacious places for those outside the heterosexual mainstream to explore and grow in faith in Jesus Christ.”

We asked Wendy to reflect on Christmas from the perspective of her experience in ministering to gay and lesbian Christians.

 

Need more? Then check out our interview with Wendy where we did deeper into these issues, and definitely read Wendy’s excellent book Generous Spaciousness.

Robin Parry is an evangelical, but unlike most evangelicals he doesn’t believe that Hell and death is the end of the story for most of humanity. Instead, he believes the Bible teaches that we will all ultimately be reconciled to God and enjoy eternity with him.

So we set Robin a challenge. Can he find universalism in the Christmas story? Tune in to find out the results!

 

After more? Then have a listen to our interview with Robin where we dig deeper into the idea of universalism. And definitely have a read of his book The Evangelical Universalist.

Dave Andrews has committed his life to serving the poorest and most marginalised people in Australia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal for more than forty years. His wisdom and humility made him one of our most popular interviewees of 2014.

In his Christmas reflection, Dave draws out some fascinating and surprising insights from the example of the Wise Men.

 

I know, a short refection just isn’t enough. Then check out our interview, and his many books. That should keep you going.

Carl Medearis – one of our favourite interviewees of 2013 – kicks off Nomad’s 12 Days of Christmas. Carl was a missionary in Beirut, Lebanon for 12 years and now works as an international expert in the field of Christian-Muslim relations.

So, sit back and marvel as Carl seamlessly weaves shepherds, ISIS, Bono, Jesus and the ‘fear’ of God into his Christmas reflection. Enjoy!

 

And if that’s not enough for you, check out Carl’s excellent book Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism.

Nomad made a commitment a while back to have a lot more women on the show. So we thought it was about time we looked at the theology behind that decision. Jenni Williams lectures in Old Testament Studies in Oxford, is an Associate Minister in the Anglican Church, and wrote God Remembered Rachel: Women’s Stories in the Old Testament and Why They Matter. So Jenni seemed like a pretty good person to ask, Why Not Women?

 

 

Alister McGrath is the master of apologetics. With three doctorates under his belt and ranked among the ’20 most brilliant Christian professors’, he’s publically locked horns with the likes of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins.

But is there still a place in our culture for what many now see as an ‘old school’ overly rational approach to ‘defending’ the faith?

 

What more? Then check out Alistair’s many many books, but in particular Mere Apologetics.

Richard Rohr is a Catholic priest and a Franciscan Friar. He is well connected and respected across Christian traditions (including the emerging church), so he seemed like the perfect person to speak to about what Protestants can gain from Catholic spirituality.

 

If you want more from Richard, then head over to the Centre for Action and Contemplation, where, among other things, you can sign up for a daily meditation by Richard.

Richard’s latest book The Divine Dance is a must read. Over the years, I’ve also really enjoyed Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True SelfEverything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer, and Falling Upwards: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life. – Tim

The late Phyllis Tickle had her finger on the pulse of the emerging church like no one else. So if you’re interested in why the emergence of a new kind of church is both inevitable and necessary, and the vital role of the Holy Spirit in this, then tune in.

And stay tuned after the closing credits if you’d like to know why Phyllis loved cows and hated horses!

 

If you’re serious about understanding our changing culture and the how the Church needs to respond, then Phyllis’s trilogy on the topic is essential reading The Great Emergence, Emergence Christianity and The Age of the Spirit. And while you’re at it, why not read all her books!

Sara Miles was an atheist. Then one day, out of idle curiosity, she wandered into a church, had a bite of bread and a sip of wine and God came crashing into her life. Her response was to take the principles of communion and set up a food distribution centre around the altar of her church for anyone and everyone to enjoy. So tune in for some fascinating insights into what it means to eat at God’s table.

 

If your appetite is whetted, then check out Sara’s excellent book Take This Bread.

Dave Andrews has committed his life to serving the poorest and most marginalised people through small, local Christian communities. He’s clearly a man who knows Jesus intimately, and has gained tremendous experience and wisdom. So why doesn’t he consider himself, or even strive to be, a ‘great man of God’?

 

Our interview with Dave not enough for you (how dare you suggest such a thing!), then check out his many challenging and insightful books.

Robin Parry is an evangelical, but unlike many evangelicals he doesn’t believe that Hell and death is the end of the story for the majority of humanity. Instead he believes the Bible teaches that we will all ultimately be reconciled to God and enjoy eternity with him. Tune in for a fascinating conversation.

 

Still need more? Of course you do! Then have a read of Robin’s excellent book The Evangelical Universalist and subscribe to his blog.

Krista Tippett has built a career on listening. Through her award-winning public radio show and podcast, On Being, she listens to people from all religious and spiritual traditions, learning about what it means to be human and how to live life. So she seemed like the perfect person to speak to about the lost art of listening.

 

Want more? Then definitely get hold of Krista’s books, Speaking of Faith, and Becoming Wise. After 10 years of interviewing leading thinkers about what it means to be human, there’s few people around with the insight into faith in our age as Krista.

David Benjamin Blower is a prophet in the Old Testament tradition. Using music and the written word, he creatively and insightfully points the finger at himself and the world around him railing at the injustices he sees. So brace yourself for some hope-filled challenge!

 

What more prophetic rantings (we do!)? Then check David’s book Kingdom vs. Empire, and the brilliant accompanying album. And while you’re at it, check out his musical back catalogue.

Gail Dines is a professor of sociology and women’s studies. She has been studying porn and its effects on society for over 20 years, and has become one of the world’s leading anti-porn activists. Why has she dedicated so much of her life to this one issue? Because she believes the effects of porn is one of society’s main public health issues.

Due to the nature of this subjuect, this episode does contain adult content.

 

Want more info? Then try Gail’s insightful, challenging but stomach churning book Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked our Sexuality.

Richard Wilkinson is professor of social epidemiology (that’s the distribution of disease within a society, in case you were wondering!). His book, The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone has caused quite a stir, because he believes he’s answered a very long-standing question. Why are we increasingly blighted by so many social problems when we’re materially better off than we’ve ever been? Tune in to find out the answer!

 

Oh, and did we mention his book The Spirit Level? Read it! Seriously, it’s a fascinating read. And check out the Equality Trust website, for loads more resources.

Nadia Bolz Weber is anything but boring, Raised in a fundamentalist church, she rebelled, immersed herself in a hedonistic lifestyle, found faith again, and now leads House for all Sinners and Saints. Tune in for a fascinating interview, full of insight, wisdom, and gritty honesty.

 

Want more? Read her book A Beautiful, Cranky Faith. A more honest, gritty, insightful and challenging autobiography you could not wish for!

Author and lecturer in evangelism, theology and Chrisitan spirituality Elaine Heath joins us on the show. We chat with Elaine about contemplative prayer, and the healing and outreach that naturally flows from it. So tune in if you want to know how to experience God and change the world.

 

If you need more, then definitely read Elaine’s book of Mystic Way of Evangelism

Theologian, church leader, and author Greg Boyd is back on the show.

Greg believes a call to non-violence is at the heart of the gospel. He also believes this call impacts how we relate to animals. That’s right, Greg’s a vegetarian. Check out the interview to find out why.

 

For more, check out our previous interview with him on the Importance of Community. And have a gander at his blog at ReKnew and his sermons at Woodland Hills Church. Oh, and read all his many books. Seriously, it’s worth it!

Sharon Baker is a theologian and author who is best known for taking issue with the traditional understanding of hell. Instead she holds to a ‘Christian Universalism’ where all people are refined by God’s purifying fire after their death. Tune in and join the debate…

 

If this interview got you thinking, you might also want to have a listen to our chat with Robin Parry about universalism:

 

I found both Sharon’s books Razing Hell and Executing God really helpful as I began to ask questions about salvation, atonement and our eternal destination. Check ’em out. – Tim

Pete Rollins is a philosopher, writer and founder of the Ikon community. Pete believes that unless we die to certainty and embrace doubt then God becomes just another consumer product. God, in effect, becomes an idol. Sounds interesting!

 

If you want everything you think you believe in to be challenged, then look no further than Pete’s books. To dig deeper into the issues raised in this interview, check out The Idolatry of God.

Michael Hardin is a theologian who’s got a rather colourful background and doesn’t mince his words, which always makes for an interesting interview. So we asked him whether God is really as violent as the Old Testament makes out, and whether he really had to kill his own son in order to forgive us.

 

Want more? Then check out Michael’s excellent website Preaching Peace, and his book The Jesus Driven Life.

We’ve somehow managed to persuade Tom Wright, one of the world’s leading New Testament theologians, to come on the show for a third time! We ask Tom to summarise his 1680 page Paul and the Faithfulness of God, and ponder whether if he met him whether he’d actually like Paul?

 

If you want to know more about Tom Wright’s theology, just dig into his many books (warning, it may take you the rest of your life!). And if you want to dig deeper into the issues raised in this interview and you’ve got a lot of free time, check out Paul and the Faithfulness of God

We at Nomad recently had a revelation, perhaps we can learn from non-Christians as well as Christians (I know!). So we headed down to London and visited the Sunday Assembly, or The Atheist Church as it’s become known.

After ‘worshipping’ with 300 atheists, we had a chat with Pippa Evans one of the founders of what’s becoming a global movement, and try to figure out what the Church can learn from the friendlier face of new atheism.

Steve Chalke is one of the UK’s most influential evangelicals and he recently blessed a same-sex civil partnership. Needless to say, this caused a bit of a stir! So we caught up with him and asked him what led him to take this controversial step.

 

For more about Steve, check out his hugely impressive organisation Oasis, and his many books.

Mark Wakeling is a man with a conscience and a man that’s got the energy and creativity to follow it. He’s a social entrepreneur who has founded Global SeeSaw, which sells ethical and Fair Trade products made by women in India exploited by human trafficking. So we asked Mark to begin to unpack the issues surrounding the social impact of the clothes we buy.

 

As well as life coaching, creative project management, tea making, and helping run the popular ReJesus website, Bruce Stanley has also helped pioneer the Forest Church movement. So we thought he was the man to ask how to connect with God through nature.

 

If you want to know more, check out his excellent book Forest Church: A Field Guide to Nature Connection for Groups and Individuals.

Brian McLaren is an internationally recognised and sort after author, speaker and activist. In this episode we’re chatting with Brian about his latest challenging and provocative book that explores the vital topic of Christianity’s relationship with other religions.

 

Want more? Then have a read of Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road, and as many of his other books as you can.

Carl Medearis worked as a missionary for many years in Beirut, Lebanon and as a result is recognised as an international expert in Muslim-Christian relations. Carl has some fascinating insights into cross-cultural mission from his years of working with Muslims, and he believes these principles are just as relevant in our Western context. I’ll give you a hint, it’s all about Jesus! Definitely an episode worth listening to (even if we do say so ourselves!).

 

And make sure you have a darn good read of his book Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism.

John Polkinghorne has spent more years than we’ve been alive inhabiting the world of science and faith. He’s a theoretical physicist, theologian and Anglican priest. He’s been Knighted by the Queen and has received the coveted Templeton Prize for his exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension. So who better to ask a few questions about life, the universe and everything?!

 

Do make sure you read all his books (it may take a while!). But seriously, at least read one…

Andrew Marin grew up in a conservative church, and much to his surprise developed a calling and passion to build bridges between the Church and the LGBTQ community. So he moved into a gay part of town, and spent all his time getting to know people in gay bars. So as you can imagine, there’s plenty for us to learn from the remarkable journey he’s been on.

 

Make sure you read his brilliant book, Love is an Orientation. It really is a must read for anyone at all interested in moving beyond the polarised debate.

John Hayes is founder and director of the mission order InnerChange. InnerChange supports missional communities who are living incarnationally in the poorest areas of cities around the world. So brace yourself for a challenging and inspiring interview!

 

Want more? Then have a read of John’s excellent and deeply challenging book Sub-merge

Inspired by a glorious summer of sport, Nomad thought we’d bring you a story that seamlessly links mission and sport. So we met up with the Amos Trust‘s Chris Rose. Chris has got an amazing story to tell of gathering together street child from around the world for a football World Cup! Hard to believe I know, but it happened! Tune in to find out more.

For more, check out The Street Child World Cup.

Mike Sares is a fairly normal, middle-aged, middle class type of guy. But he somehow managed to connect with a group of young artists and skater punks and planted and pastors the Denver based church Scum of the Earth. It’s an inspiring story of cross-cultural mission, community and new forms of church.

 

If you want to know more abut Mike’s story, then look no further than his book Pure Scum.

Andrea Campanale is a Church Mission Society ‘Mission Partner’. Andrea does some really interesting work among people involved in the new spiritualties. This has caused her to reflect deeply on mission and what it means to be church, and has come to some challenging conclusions!

For more, check out her Sacred Space Kingston website.

A couple of decades ago Tony and Felicity Dale felt called to move from the UK to the US to plant a church. As you can imagine, it’s been quite a journey (in all senses of the word) and they’ve learnt stacks about what it means to be church. One of the big lessons they’ve learnt is that we need to radically simplfy church.

 

For more, check out their book Small is Big: Unleashing the Impact of Intentionally Small Churches.

Welcome back to Nomad Journey!

This is our occasional show where Tim and Dave reflect on their own pioneering adventures, and how they’re applying the principles learned from all the experts they’ve been chatting with.

Remember, Nomad is more than just a show for Tim and Dave, it’s a very real journey as they explore what means to follow Jesus, and to share that in church and mission.

 

It’s hard to measure the impact Nicky Gumbel has had on the worldwide church. He pioneered the Alpha Course as an evangelistic introduction to the Christian life. It is estimated that over 15 million people have now attended a course. So we thought it was high time we had a chat with Mr Alpha, and find out what the future of this course might be in our rapidly changing culture.

 

For more, check out Nicky’s many books.

Pete Ward is senior lecturer in youth ministry and theological education at King’s College, London. About 10 years ago now Pete wrote Liquid Church, and it turned out to be rather influential. Pete’s theories have stuck around and shaped the views of many people interested in new forms of church. So Nomad thought they’d better find out a bit more.

Check out the book Liquid Church, it’s really rather an interesting idea.

Tim’s leaving Dave at home for this episode and heading north with Hannah to Loyola Hall for a 5-day silent retreat. We know what you’re thinking, a 5-day silent retreat might not make the most engaging podcast! But Tim will be recording a daily reflection on his experiences and then at the end of the retreat will interview Ruth Holgate, the director of the centre, about the spirituality of silence.

 

Mark Powley is founder of Breathe, a Christian network that encourages and resources simpler living. Mark is all about simple living and resisting the lure of our consumer culture (or as Breathe puts it, ‘less stuff, more life’), so we talk to Mark about how we can go about a Consumer Detox. Prepare to be challenged!

Want more? Make sure you read Mark’s splendid book Consumer Detox.

Nomad Journey is a new edition to the Nomad portfolio. On this occasional show we’ll be tracking the progress of our hosts Tim and Dave, as they try to apply their podcast learnings in their offline pioneering adventures. So tune in to find out how they are starting out on their journey into new forms of church and mission.

 

New Testament scholar extraordinaire, Tom Wright (how does he write so many books?!) is back on the show. This time Tom’s helping us get our heads round the connection between academics and the local church and what exactly our Christian hope is (we might go to heaven when we die, but we’re certainly not going to stay there!).

 

Want more? Then spend the rest of your life reading all Tom’s books! If you want to dig deeper into the issues raised in this conversation, then perhaps have a look at Surprised by Hope.

Nomad is back (I know, you didn’t even notice we’d gone)! The old team has stood down, but new boy Dave Ward (along with founding Nomad Podcaster, Tim Nash) has bravely stepped into the fray! This episode is an introduction to Dave and his journey from youth worker to farrier and from traditional church to new forms of mission and church.

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Want more Wardo? He once contributed a chapter to a book, Night Vision. It’s actually pretty good!

After two-and-a-half years and 36 shows, the stresses and strains of massive global success (if only!) have taken their toll, and the original Nomad team have decided to call it a day. So tune in for some final reflections on their online and offline journey.

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But fear not, rumour has it that Nomad Podcast (as you know it, but with one or two interesting adjustments) will reappear on the digital horizon in the blink of an eye. So look out for the all new Nomad (is that a gas forge I can hear…)

Pete Greig is one of the founders of the hugely influential 24/7 Prayer movement, an international, interdenominational movement of prayer, mission and justice. He’s also Directer of Prayer for Holy Trinity, Brompton (you know, the church where Alpha came from). We talk to Pete about the phenomenal success of this innovative prayer movement, and how it relates to mission and new forms of church.

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Want to know more? Check out Pete’s story in Red Moon Rising.

Mike Pilavachi is the co-founder and leader of the hugely influential evangelical Soul Survivor charity based in Watford, London, he’s also the pastor of the Soul Survivor Watford church, and leader of the even more hugely influential Soul Survivor festival. We chat with Mike about mission, community and the future of the church in relation to young people.

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Want to know more? Mikes written some books.

Steve Hollinghurst works for the Church Army’s Research Unit as their ‘Researcher in Evangelism to Post-Christian Culture’ and has extensive experience in working with people involved in the new spiritualities. Steve chats to us about some of the issues he raises in his new book Mission-Shaped Evangelism: The Gospel in Contemporary Culture.

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Cathy Ross is lecturer in contextual theology and pioneer leadership and is the General Secretary for the International Association for Mission Studies. So Cathy seemed like a pretty good person to talk to about how women have been overlooked in mission, both overseas and at home. She explores how this came about and what can be done about it. She also recommends some resources to help us dig deeper into this important issue.

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Neil Cole is the founder and executive director of Church Multiplication Associates, which has helped start many hundreds of churches in thirty-five states of America and in over thirty other nations. We talk to Neil about why we need to multiply churches and how we go about this. We then review his book Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens.

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For more, check out Neil’s blog and many excellent books.

Scott Boren, among other things, has spent the last 20 years working as a small group consultant. Scott works with churches to help them develop effective community through small groups that are on a mission. We like mission, and we like small churches, so we thought we’d better have a chat with Scott.

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Make sure you check out Scott’s book on the subject, Missional Small Groups.

Kester Brewin is one of the pioneers of the alternative worship scene in the UK and one of the founding members of the Vaux community. His book The Complex Christ was hailed as one of the most important texts on the emerging church movement. We talk to Kester about what the emerging church can learn from pirates, and the importance of churches being temporary places.

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For more, have a look at Kester’s insightful and hugely challenging blog and books.

Stuart Murray is chair of the Anabaptist Network, and is a trainer and consultant in mission and church planting. So we chat to him about what we can learn from the Anabaptists about how to go about church and mission in our post-Christendom culture.

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Definitely give Stuart’s The Naked Anabaptist and Church After Christendom a read.

We thought it was about time we headed down to Lambeth Palace to have a chat with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Rowan said that if nothing else he wants his time as Archbishop to be remembered for his commitment to developing Fresh Expressions of church. So we thought we’d ask him why this is, and what his personal experience of new forms of church has been.

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If you need more Rowan, then make sure you read every one of his books.

Steve Chalke is one of the UK’s most influential and controversial Christians. There’s not enough space here to list everything he gets up to, but it’s surely enough to say that the Queen awarded him the title of Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his ‘services to social inclusion’! He chats with us about the cross and the centrality of mission in the life of the church.

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If you want to know more about Steve, check out his ridiculously impressive organisation Oasis, and his many books.

Alan Hirsch is an influential missiologist, author and leader in the Missional Church movement. We chat with him about the need for mission and church to be shaped by the person of Jesus. There’s also the usual chat from us and some suggested resources for those wanting to take things a bit further.

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Want more? Give Alan and Michael Frost’s book ReJesus a read,

Shane Claiborne is a leading figure in the New Monasticism movement and a founding member of The Simple Way community. Oh, and he wrote the influential book, The Irresistible Revolution. Shane tells us how Jesus inspired him to move to a deprived area of Philadelphia and share his life with the poor and marginalised.

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In a new feature, we’ll also be sharing some resources that have helped us dig deeper into these issues.

Tony Campolo is a sociologist, pastor, author, speaker and former spiritual advisor to US president Bill Clinton. Tony is helping us explore the relationship between evangelism and social action. Together with your emails and the usual discussion and reflections it’s another packed Nomad Podcast.

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If you want more Tony, check out his podcast and his many many books.

Mike Frost is an internationally recognised missiologist, and one of the leading voices in the Missional Church movemement. He’s written a number of influential books and co-founded the Forge International Mission Training Network. So he seemed like the perfect person to talk to about the place mission should have in the life of the church.

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Make sure you read as many of Mike’s books as you can. And if you have the slightest interest in mission church, then do read The Shaping of Things to Come.

This month we are joined by Andy Hawthorne founder of The Message Trust, an influential Christian mission organisation based in Manchester. Andy helps is explore what it means to be a missional community in an urban context.

Want more? Andy’s written books about such things.

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We also chat to Sarah Cotton about her life and ministry in community in Sheffield.

Teaching Pastor at Woodland Hills Community Church and influential author, Greg Boyd, joins us on the show to share his insights and experience of Christian community.

Want more of Greg? Check out his blog at ReKnew, his sermons at Woodland Hills Church, and his many books (you won’t regret it!).

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We also spend some time with Andrew Jackson who lives in community with refugees in Middlesborough.

The inaugural Nomad podcast kicks things off with a chat with arguably the most influential New Testament scholar of our generation, Tom Wright (I know, we don’t know how we got him either!). Tom’s tells us everything we need to know about the Bible and community.

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If you need more, and you’ve got the rest of your life free, then why not read all Tom’s books. They’re really rather good!