Edwina Gateley is a mystic, and a social activist. Her life has been a rhythm of extended periods of prayer and solitude (including 9 months of silence in a caravan in a forest!) and activism (including establishing a mission agency that has sent hundreds of people into missions work around the world, and working with prostitutes on the streets of Chicago).

Through both her radical activism and deep contemplation Edwina’s understanding and experience of God and Church has been radically challenged and reshaped.   

This is a must listen for anyone wrestling with questions around what Church and mission are, and how we describe and relate to God. 

Image taken by Tim Nash. Used with permission.

If you want more from Edwina then make sure you check out her memoirs In God’s Womb and I Hear a Seed Growing and her collections of poetry, such as There Was No Path – So I Trod One.

Brian Zahnd is back on the show. This time we’re chatting with him about the themes raised in his soon to be released book Postcards From Babylon. In it he takes aim at the toxic relationship between Church and Empire, and the religion that has emerged from it, which he calls Americanism. This religion has its own liturgies, gods and sacrificial systems, nearly all of which stands in direct opposition to how the early church understood what it meant to follow Jesus.

So how are followers of Jesus meant to respond? What does it mean to be Church? What spiritual practices can help us stay awake to what feels like an ever more toxic political and religious environment? What does it mean to be a Christian in the age of Trump?


Image provided by Brian Zahnd. Used with permission.

If you want to learn more about Brian’s story, check out our 2017 interview with him How to Deconstruct Quitting Leaving Church, and his book Water to Wine. But you also need to get your hands on Postcards From Babylon, the must-read book that we based this interview on.

It’s that time of the year again! So we thought we’d offer up a Christmas themed Devotional for you all. Brad Jersak talks a bit about how the Nativity is understood in the Eastern Church, we reflect on the feminine in the salvation story, and Danielle Wilson shares reflections on her time spent in a refugee camp in Greece. And of course, all this is woven together with music and song by David Blower.


Images used with permission.

If you’d like to contribute to Danielle’s work with Global Aid Network, you can do so through the give.net website.

For many of us, the charismatic movement has been a mixed bag of bonkers and blessing. The danger is, of course, that we throw the blessed baby out with the bonkers bathwater! Especially for those of us who have been through some kind of deconstruction, we can easily end up rationalising away anything mystical.

So we asked Brad Jersak to help us think all this through. Brad is a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church and is deeply contemplative. But he’s also a charismatic. So we ask him what the charismatic and contemplative traditions can learn from each other, and whether contemplation can help take some of the crazy out of the charismatic.


Image taken by Tim Nash. Used with permission.

If you want more from Brad, then our previous interviews with him – A More Christlike God and The Orthodox Way – are a pretty good place to start.  And his book, A More Christlike God is a must read!

Enneagram trainer Liz West joins us on the show to talk about this ancient tool for transformation. You may have seen the rather “dodgy” looking enneagram symbol, but don’t be put off. This is an ancient treasure that goes right back to the fourth century desert mothers and fathers who began to discern the things that blocked our relationships with ourselves, with others and with God. And that’s what make the enneagram unique. It doesn’t so much reveal who you are, as the coping mechanisms you’ve developed that have become blockages to your transformation.

If you’re still not convinced having listened to the interview, then head over to patreon where you can listen in on Tim getting enneagram-ed! 


Image taken by Tim Nash. Used with permission.

If you want to dig deeper into the enneagram, then we suggest having a read of The Sacred Enneagram and The Road Back to You. You can also have a look at the Enneagram Institute website, which lists enneagram workshops (although these are mainly in the US) and the Enneagram Worldwide website, which among other things allows you to search for local enneagram trainers. Or if you’re in the UK you can drop Liz’s PA an email and see where Liz is running workshops.

Catholic theologian and priest, James Alison joins us on the show to discuss scapegoating. It’s a word we’re all familiar with, but as James explains, it’s through the violence of the scapegoating mechanism that civilisations are built. And, it is through the scapegoating mechanism that the cross heals. It’s a fascinating way of understanding the atonement, especially for those of us disillusioned with models of atonement that require a violent God. So tune in for a truly mind bending and inspiring conversation.


Image provided by James Alison. Used with permission.

If you want more from James, then check out his blog, and his many thought provoking books, including his introduction to Christianity Jesus the Forgiving Victim which incorporates his thinking on the scapegoating mechanism.

Elaine Heath is the perfect person to speak to about the emergence of new expressions of Church. She’s one of those rare people who understands and can navigate the institution (she’s former Dean of Duke Divinity School and an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church), while at the same time has years of experience in small, experimental, missional communities. She’s a pioneer who through her writing, speaking and retreats, has opened up a space for many others to explore new forms of church a little more safely. So we took the opportunity to pick Elaine’s brain about the joys and heartbreaks of being a pioneer.


Image provided by Elaine Heath. Used with permission.

If you want more from Elaine check out her many books, in particular God Unbound: Wisdom from Galatians for the Anxious Church.

You might also want to have a listen to the recent Nomad Devotional we recorded with Elaine…

The founding father of Nomad Podcast, Nick Thorley makes his triumphant return to the show, some 7 and a half years and 146 episodes after stepping down!

Nick’s been on quite a journey. Having recovered from addiction through the healing power of therapy and ultra marathon running, Nick reflects on the trauma of losing his sight, the changing nature of his faith, the folly of trying to compartmentalise our lives, what the church can learn from the recovery movement, and so much more. It’s a classic nomad mix of banter and deep insights.

Trigger warning: In this episode we’ll be talking openly and honestly about sex addiction, gambling, and marriage breakdown, which some people might find hard to listen to.


Image taken by Tim Nash. Used with permission.

For more information about recovery from sex addiction visit the Paula Hall website, and the Laurel Centre which she founded.

Professor Tom Wright has got another book out! If you found the 1800 page tome that was Paul and the Faithfulness of God a little intimidating, then perhaps try his mere 500 page Paul: A Biography. Or failing that, how about a 50 minute Nomad interview to bring you up to speed with Tom’s new insights on the apostle Paul. And fascinating insights they are too. Did you know, for example, that Paul struggled with doubts and with his mental health? No, we didn’t either. So tune in for this, and so much more…


Image taken by Tim Nash. Used with permission.

We highly recommend Tom’s book Paul: A Biography. It’s definitely worth the time and effort as it really opens up Paul and his world. If you still want more, then crikey, where to start?! He’s written quite a few books! So perhaps kick things off with our previous interview  about his book The Day the Revolution Began.

From just two verses at the end of Romans, Paula Gooder has gleaned some fascinating insights about Phoebe. She was likely a freed slave, who became wealthy and influential. And she was a deacon who carried Paul’s letter to the Church in Rome, and most likely explained it to them. From these intriguing details, Paula has written a novel, exploring the life of this woman (and others) in the early church.
So we met up with Paula to chat about women in the early church and the church today. And as you’d expect from Paula is was a conversation brimming with enthusiasm, wisdom and insight.


Image provided by Paula Gooder. Used with permission.

if you want to be transported into the world of the early church, and consider in fresh ways the role of women, then we highly recommend Paula’s novel Phoebe. And if you’re interested in exploring an embodied spirituality, then have a listen to our 2016 interview with her…

 

You’re no doubt aware that the Church has been in steady decline in the West for a number of decades now. In the UK for example, Church attendance has roughly halved in the last thirty five years. But what do we know about all the people who left? Why did they leave? And what are they doing now? Researcher Steve Aisthorpe contacted 5000 church leavers to find out more. And what it discovered revealed a much more hopeful, but no less challenging picture of the Church!


Image provided by Steve Aisthorpe. Used with permission.

If you want to dig deeper into the growing phenomena of churchless Christians, then check out Steve’s book The Invisible Church.

It’s summer and we’re feeling generous, so with thought we’d share this month’s Nomad Devotional with everyone. If you’re a patron of nomad you’ll be very familiar with our Devotionals. Each month we ask a guest to offer us a reflection. And then we unpack it with music, song and readings.
This month we asked the former Dean of Duke Divinity School Elaine Heath to reflect on the spiritual practices she sees as vital for Christians today, and the spiritual practice that has had a particularly deep impact in her own life. David Blower then responds with music and a couple of new songs.
If you want more resources like these, and opportunities to connect with the nomad community, then check out our Patreon page.


Image provided by Duke Divinity School. Used with permission.

If you want more from Elaine, then check out her many wonderful books. And our 2014 interview with her…

For those of you who support us on Patreon, you’ll already be familiar with David Benjamin Blower’s music. Each month he responds to a guest’s reflection with music and song. And out of these Devotionals has emerged the album Hymns for Nomads, a compilation of spirituals, murder ballads and campfire songs. It’s a record that invites us to pick up an instrument, to play, sing, join hands and have some hard-won hope.

So I met up with David to talk about why we sing together, why some of us have become suspicious of singing together, and some of the themes of his record; creation, the Holy Spirit, judgement, creatureliness and messianic hope.


Image used with permission.

If you’d like a copy of Hymns for Nomads, head over to Nomad’s store, or Minor Artists. And if you’d like to follow David’s monthly Devotionals, you can find them on our Patreon page.

Christianity in the West is collapsing. Poet, peacemaker and scholar John Philip Newell believes we can either deny it’s happening, try to shore up the foundations of the old thing, or we can radically reorientate our vision and ask what new thing is trying to be born. So we ask John Philip what this new thing is that is trying to emerge from deep within us and from deep within the collective soul of Christianity.


Image by Tim Nash. Used with permission.

If you want to dig deeper into the issues raised in this episode, then get yourself a copy of The Rebirthing of God: Christianity’s Struggle for New Beginnings. And if that doesn’t quite satisfy, he’s written a while library of books!

 

Vicky Beeching was the darling of the Christian worship scene. For a decade she wrote hit albums and toured American mega-churches, leading worship for thousands of people every week. Her songs become some of the most sung around the world. But from the age of 13 Vicky had kept a secret. She was gay.

When finally at the age of 35 she came out, the evangelical Church she loved turned on her. Boycotting her music, they ended her career over night. This was backed up with an unrelenting flood of online abuse.

We chat with Vicky about the importance of wholeness, vulnerability, authenticity and the radical and inclusive love of Jesus.


Image by Nicholas Dawkes. Used with permission.

If you want to hear more of Vicky’s story, we highly recommend her heartbreaking and inspiring book Undivided: Coming Out, Becoming Whole, and Living Free From Shame.

“If we want our world to be more beautiful, kind and fair, then shouldn’t our activism be beautiful, kind and fair?” It’s obvious when you hear someone say it. So why is so much activism loud and aggressive? Sarah Corbett burnt out on just this kind of activism, partly because she’s an introvert, and partly because she increasingly doubted its effectiveness. So she formed the Craftivist Collective “an inclusive group of people committed to using thoughtful, beautiful crafted works to help themselves and encourage others be the positive change they wish to see in the world.”

Sarah’s is a fascinating story. And the collective she founded is a truly inspiring and challenging movement!


Image by Jenny Lewis. Used with permission.

If you want to dig deeper into the world of craftivism, then we highly recommend Sarah’s book How to Be a Craftivist: The Gentle Art of Protest. And check out her TEDx talks, Activism Needs Introverts and The Art of Gentle Protest.

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware is considered by many to be the leading theologian today in the Orthodox Church. He is perhaps best known as the author of the book The Orthodox Church, and more recently the companion volume, The Orthodox Way.

Metropolitan Kallistos is also known as one of the great advocates of the Jesus Prayer, a prayer that countless Christians through the centuries have considered to be central to their spiritual growth. It was a prayer Rowan Williams referred to in our 2017 interview with him as being foundational to his prayer life. So we thought it was about time we learnt more.


Image by Tim Nash. Used with permission.
If you want to learn more from Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, then make sure you have a read of his two classic books on the Orthodox Tradition, The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way.

 

 

You might also want o have a listen to our recent conversation with theologian and author Brad Jersak who converted from a charismatic evangelical tradition to the Orthodox Church.

 

And if you haven’t had a chance to listen to our conversation with Rowan Williams, which inspired this interview with Metropolitan Kallistos, then have a listen here.

Rachel Held Evans has had quite a journey. Brought up in the ‘buckle of the Bible Belt’ she inherited a conservative evangelical faith and was a self-professing ‘Bible Nerd’. But shaken by the realities of our broken world, cracks began to form, and questions turned to doubts, doubts to cynicism and cynicism to despair. But through this journey she continued to wrestle with the Bible, sometimes exasperated by its apparent complicity with the bloody, ugly, mess of this world, and other times challenged and inspired by it. So how does she understand this book now? How, with all its contradictions, violence, patriarchy, and bewildering images of God, can she say it’s inspired? How has she found a way to love the Bible again?


Image provided by HarperCollins. Used with permission.

If you want to learn more from Rachel’s journey, then we highly recommend her book Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water and Loving the Bible Again. It’s a beautifully written, wonderful mix of creative story-telling, honest and vulnerable personal reflections and the kind of wisdom that comes from living this stuff out. And if that whets your appetite, dig into Searching for Sunday, Faith Unravelled, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and over a decade of Rachel’s blog posts! And if you haven’t already, have a listen to our 2015 conversation with Rachel…

Political theologian Stephen Backhouse believes that the earliest Christians tended to see patriotism as a vice – a temptation to guard against. Now it seems most Christians assume it is a virtue. Many of us, for example, don’t think twice about asking God to Save the Queen or Bless America. So we ask Stephen whether the gospel is good news for our nations, what it means for a follower of Jesus to be a good citizen, whether we should be a blessing to our nation, or an unsettling presence, and how we should respond when loving our nation rubs up against our call to love our enemies.

Continue reading

Danielle Shroyer believes that more than any other idea, the doctrine of original sin has “slowly eroded our understanding of our relationship with God”. Not only that, she believes it is unbiblical, and was rejected by Judaism and many Christian traditions, such as the Eastern Orthodox Church. So we ask Danielle how she understands sin, separation, and our relationship with God. Her answer? Original Blessing.


Image provided by Danielle Shroyer. Used with permission.

If you want more from Danielle, then make sure you get hold of her book Original Blessing: Putting Sin in Its Rightful Place. It’s written in an easy to read style, and packed full of wisdom, insight and honest exploration. It went down really well in Nomad Book Club!

Poet and priest Malcolm Guite helps us mark the death and resurrection of Jesus with poems from his series on the stations of the cross, and with his reflections on the Messianic Event. Nomad’s David Blower responds to Malcolm’s poetry and thought in sound and song, and Kate Blower brings the Easter readings.


Image provided by Malcolm Guite. Used with permission.

The poems Malcolm used in this devotional can be found in his book Sounding the Seasons.

 

We produce devotionals like this every month as bonus content for our supporters. So if you’re interested in helping us pay the bills, head over to our Patreon page, where you’ll also be able to access Nomad Book Club and our online community The Beloved Listener Lounge, and you’ll be able to get your hands on a beloved listener mug!

Professor Thomas Oord has spent years wrestling with the problem of evil. Why, if God is all powerful and all loving, is there so much evil in the world? This question has brought Thomas to the edge of his faith. In recent years, though, he has begun to consider a radical solution. Perhaps God can’t stop evil? As shocking as this sounds, Thomas is careful to show how biblical this idea is, and just how much it looks like Jesus. Tune in for a mind bending episode!


Image provided by Thomas Oord. Used with permission.

If this episode has whetted your appetite, and you want to dig deeper into the ideas Tom raised, then make sure you check out his book The Uncontrolling Love of God. And if that’s not enough (!) he’s got plenty of other books to get stuck into, and he regularly blogs over at his website.

Georgia May’s parents had an open-door policy. Literally. Most of the time the front door of their home was left open, so that people would feel welcome at any time. Consequently, Georgia grew up with a house full of people who’s didn’t feel they had a family of their own. This radical approach to hospitality led to many lives being transformed. But Georgia also knows first hand what can happen when radical hospitality goes wrong. So we ask her, when is radical too radical?


Image by Tim Nash. Used with permission.
If you want to know more about Georgia, then check out the work she is doing at Rose Castle.

Jayme Reaves grew up in a home and a church that weren’t safe environments. This later led to a passion to study and experience true hospitality. Through her studies and her experiences in the former Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland, she discovered that the hospitality we’re called to goes way beyond simply welcoming the stranger. Instead we’re called to protect the stranger. Tune in for an enlightening and challenging conversation.


Image by Tim Nash. Used with permission.

If you want to dig deeper into the issues Jayme raised in this interivew, then get your hands on her book Safeguarding the Stranger. If you want Jayme to come to your community and host a conversation or run a workshop based around hospitality or a wide variety of other subjects, then check out her website.

Nomad favourite Brad Jersak was in town recently, so we seized on the opportunity to hang out, and quiz him about his faith journey. And it’s a very interesting faith journey, taking in charismatic evangelicalism, anabaptism, church planting among the poor and marginalised, and landing in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Despite many Western Christians being only vaguely aware of this ancient Christian tradition, the Eastern Orthodox Church is increasingly influencing our beliefs. So we asked Brad whether the Orthodox Church could be a home for spiritual nomads?


Image provided by Westminster Theological College. Used with permission.

If you want more from Brad, then  check out our 2015 interview with him A More Christlike God. You’ll then, no doubt want to read his book by the same name. Brad also wrote a cracking article for us, Why Did Jesus to Die?

If you want to learn about the Eastern Orthodox Church, then Kallistos Ware’s The Orthodox Way, is a pretty good place to start.

John Swinton is a Scottish theologian and founder of the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability. After years of work as a mental health nurse, John became an academic in order to process all that he’d learnt. And my word has he learnt a lot! His book Dementia: Living in the Memories of God, and Becoming Friends of Time are packed full of fascinating and vital insights about what we must learn from people with disabilities about what it means to be human and a disciple of Jesus.

Continue reading

Here’s the final part of our four-part Advent Devotional series. This time philosopher and theologian Elaine Storkey reflects on Advent in the context of those on the margins. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams finishes the Advent readings, and David Benjamin Blower closes things out with his unique style of music and songs.


Images provided by SPCK and Magdalene College. Used with permission.

If you’d like more Devotionals from Nomad, then simply head over to Patreon, where a small monthly donation will give you access to a monthly devotional, and so much more!

And if it’s more Advent reflections you’re after, then remember you can still access the Christmas and Advent reflections we asked some of our favourite Nomad guests to send to us over the last few years, including Shane Claiborne, Greg Boyd, Nadia Bolz Weber, Krista Tippett, Phyllis Tickle and many others [warning: there’s a lot less music and a lot more tomfoolery in these earlier reflections!].

It’s week three of our four-part Advent Devotional series. This time philosopher and theologian Elaine Storkey considers how Advent might be Good News to the Poor. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams continues to work his way through the Advent readings, with the help of Kate Blower. And David Benjamin Blower continues to bring the music and songs. So good!


Images provided by SPCK and Magdalene College. Used with permission.

If you’d like more Devotionals from Nomad, then simply head over to Patreon, where a small monthly donation will give you access to a monthly devotional, and so much more!

And if it’s more Advent reflections you’re after, then remember you can still access the Christmas and Advent reflections we asked some of our favourite Nomad guests to send to us over the last few years, including Shane Claiborne, Greg Boyd, Nadia Bolz Weber, Krista Tippett, Phyllis Tickle and many others [warning: there’s a lot less music and a lot more tomfoolery in these earlier reflections!].

Here’s the second part of our four-part Advent Devotional series. This time philosopher and theologian Elaine Storkey bases her reflection around the idea of Peace Across Borders. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams again brings the readings along with Kate Blower, and David Benjamin Blower brings the music and songs.


Images provided by SPCK and Magdalene College. Used with permission.

If you’d like more Devotionals from Nomad, then simply head over to Patreon, where a small monthly donation will give you access to a monthly devotional, and so much more!

And if it’s more Advent reflections you’re after, then remember you can still access the Christmas and Advent reflections we asked some of our favourite Nomad guests to send to us over the last few years, including Shane Claiborne, Greg Boyd, Nadia Bolz Weber, Krista Tippett, Phyllis Tickle and many others [warning: there’s a lot less music and a lot more tomfoolery in these earlier reflections!].

 

If you’re one of our Patreon supporters, then you’ll already be familiar with our Nomad Devotionals. Every month we ask a guest to reflect on a topic, and then we unpack it with music, song, readings, and prayers.

For Advent we thought we produce a four-part Devotional and make it available to everyone. So for the next four Sundays you can expect a reflection from philosopher and theologian Elaine Storkey, and the former archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams will be contributing the readings, along with Kate Blower who will be reading the magnificat in the first Devotional. And of course Nomad’s David Benjamin Blower will be bringing the music and songs. What more could you ask for this Christmas?!

This first devotional reflects on the idea of liberation.


Images provided by SPCK and Magdalene College. Used with permission.

If you’d like more Devotionals from Nomad, then simply head over to Patreon, where a small monthly donation will give you access to a monthly devotional, and so much more!

And if it’s more Advent reflections you’re after, then remember you can still access the Christmas and Advent reflections we asked some of our favourite Nomad guests to send to us over the last few years, including Shane Claiborne, Greg Boyd, Nadia Bolz Weber, Krista Tippett, Phyllis Tickle and many others [warning: there’s a lot less music and a lot more tomfoolery in these earlier reflections!].

 

Dave Randall has played guitar for some huge acts, including Faithless, Dido and Sinead O’Connor. As he’s reflected on his career and the industry he’s been a part of, he has begun to see the huge potential of music to change society. This prompted him to write the excellent book Sound System: The Political Power of Music. So if you’re interested in pondering how the songs we sing might help us not just love God, but also love our neighbour, then tune in!

This episode ends with Ibrahim Qashoush performing the protest song “Yalla Erhal Ya Bashar”, or “Come on, Bashar, leave”, during the 2011 Syrian up-rising. Qashoush’s song is mocking president Bashar al-Assad. Qashoush was later found dead in the Orontes River, his throat cut and his vocal cords ripped out. You can watch the video of the performance with subtitled lyrics on YouTube.


Image provided by Henna Malik. Used with permission.

If you want to dig deeper into the issues raised in this interview, then I highly recommend Dave’s book Sound System: The Political Power of Music. It’s a really well researched and engaging read, packed full of fascinating stories and insights into the way music can and has brought about social change.

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.


Image provided by Muhanad Al Qaisy. Used with permission.

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?


Image provided by Theos. Used with permission.

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.


Images provided by Stop the Traffik, Julia Pugh and Hannah Flint. Used with permission.

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.


Image by Keryn Lowry. Used with permission.

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!

Continue reading

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!


Image provided by Westminster John Knox Press Used with permission.

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

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.


Image provided by Westminster John Knox Press Used with permission.

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

 

For the last 20 years Shane Claiborne has been trying to follow Jesus in a deprived area of Philadelphia. 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.


Image by Ms. Tsar Fedorsky. Used with permission.

If you want to dig deeper into the issues Shane raised in this interview (particularly in relation to the death penalty), then check out his book Executing Grace. And for a more general look at the idea of a commitment to non-violence, check out A Faith Not Worth Fighting For, a book that Shane contributed to.

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!


Image provided by Richard Beck. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Zahnd Photography Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Justin Brierley. Used with permission.

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.


Image used with permission.

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!


Image provided by Magdalene College. Used with permission.

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.

Image provided by ReKnew Used with permission.

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.

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.


Image provided by Mark Vernon. Used with permission.

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!


Images by Chris Donald & Dave Fry. Used with permission.


Image by Elysia Willis. Used with permission.

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.


Images provided by David Clough, Tony Campolo, Oasis UK & Ruth Valerio. Used with permission.

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.

We thought it was about time we had a fresh look at the central symbol of our faith, the cross. So we headed off to Tom Wright’s house to asked him how the cross launched Jesus’s revolution, and why after 2000 year does it often look like the revolution is struggling to transform the world. 


Image provided by University of St Andrews Used with permission.
 

I highly recommend Tom’s book The Day the Revolution Began. But seriously, there’s so many of his books that are must reads. If you want something at a more popular level, then I’d recommend his New Testament commentary series. It’s a very easy read, but packed full of characteristic insight and challenge.

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.

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. 


Image provided by Alastair McIntosh. Used with permission.

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 which is used with permission from 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.

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.


Image provided by The Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Used with permission.

Image by Chris Cox . Used with permission.
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.


Image by Alex Baker. Used with permission.
 

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.


Image provided by Rachel Mann. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Richard Beck. Used with permission.

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.

 

Sally Smith joins us for the third part of our series on the migrant crisis. 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. 


Image provided by Sally Smith. Used with permission.

If what Sally has to say moves you, then please consider giving a gift to the work she is doing. And get yourself a copy of David Benjamin Blower‘s album Welcome the Stranger all the proceeds of which will go towards charities working with asylum seekers. And if you haven’t already, check out part one and two of our series on the migrant crisis. 

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.


Image provided by Dave Smith. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by The Liturgists. Used with permission.
 

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.


Image provided by Hannah Davis. Used with permission.

 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.


Image provided by Mark Yaconelli. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Kester Brewin. Used with permission.

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.

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.


Image provided by Paula Gooder. Used with permission.
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.


Image provided by Brian Draper. Used with permission.
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! 


Image provided by Roger Mitchell. Used with permission.
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.


Image provided by Baker Publishing. Used with permission.
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.


Image provided by Diana Butler Bass. Used with permission.
 

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?


Image provided by Anthony Reddie. Used with permission.
 

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.


Image provided by David Blower, Naomi Jemmett & Adel Hamad. Used with permission.

 

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,


Image provided by Christena Cleveland. Used with permission.
 

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?


Image provided by Baker Publishing. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Jules Barsky & taken by Dean Brannagan. Used with permission.
 

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

Sadly, Jon Underwood died suddenly the year after this interview. For more details visit the Death Cafe blog.

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.


Image provided by Wayne Jacobsen. Used with permission.

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!

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.


Image provided by Alan Mann. Used with permission.

 

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?


Image provided by Robin Parry. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Grace Davie. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Jamie Arpin-Ricci. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by SPCK Publishing. Used with permission.

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.


Image used with permission.

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.

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?


Image by Dixon. Used with permission.
 

Want more Rob? Then head over to his website where you can find a free copy of Millones Cajones, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Then read all his other books, and while you’re at it, check out The RobCast.

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.


Image provided by Jonny Baker. Used with permission.
 

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.


Image provided by Brad Jersak. Used with permission.

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!


Image provided by Dave Andrews. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Dave Smith. Used with permission.

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

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.


Image by Alex Baker. Used with permission.

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.


Image by The Forgiveness Project. Used with permission.
 

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!


Image provided by Robert Song. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Kelly Bean. Used with permission.

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!


Image provided by Robert Song. Used with permission.
 

Want more Robert? Then definitely check out his insightful blog Writing From the Edge, 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.


Image provided by Eve Tushnet. Used with permission.
 

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.


Image provided by Carl Medearis. Used with permission.
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!


Image provided by University of St Andrews. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Alastair McIntosh. Used with permission.

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.

In this episode we talk to Rachel Held Evans about her journey from a conservative evangelical faith, through a period of wrestling with questions, doubt, cynicism and despair, to the emergence of a new kind of faith. And we discuss the trials and tribulations of embarking on this journey under the gaze of social media.


Image provided by HarperCollins. Used with permission.

Want more? Then check out Rachel’s blog, and her honest, insightful and beautifully written books Faith Unravelled, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and Searching for Sunday.

[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!


Image provided by Penguin Random House. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Derek Flood. Used with permission.

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?


Image provided by Theos. Used with permission.
 

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.


Image provided by Shortlist/Paul Stuart. Used with permission.

 

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?!


Image provided by Rick Love/Wikimedia. Used with permission.

 

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).


Image by Caz Galloway. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Deryck Chan/Wikimedia. Used with permission.

 

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…).

 

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?!


Image provided by Dave Tomlinson. Used with permission.

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!


Image provided by Wendy VanderWal Gritter. Used with permission.

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

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…


Image provided by Paul Kerensa. Used with permission.

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

 

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?


Image provided by Jenni Williams. Used with permission.

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?


Image provided by Tyndale House Publishers. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by the Centre for Action and Contemplation. Used with permission.

 

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!


Image provided by Baker Publishing. Used with permission.

 

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.


Image provided by Sara Miles. Used with permission.

 

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’?


Image provided by Dave Andrews. Used with permission.
 

Our interview with Dave not enough for you, 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.


Image provided by Robin Parry. Used with permission.

 

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.


Image by Chris Daniels. Used with permission.
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!


Image provided by David Blower. Used with permission.

 

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.


Image provided by Gail Dines. Used with permission.
 

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!


Image by Jonathan Melhuish. Used with permission.

 

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.


Image provided by Nadia Bolz Weber. Used with permission.

 

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

Bob Ekblad serves immigrants, inmates, homeless people and people struggling with addiction in the US. What’s even more interesting about Bob though is how he seamlessly combines social justice with a miraculous healing ministry!


Image provided by The Seattle School. Used with permission.

 

If you want more, check out his charity Tierra Nueva and his excellent book New Christian Manifesto.

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.


Image provided by Elaine Heath. Used with permission.
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.


Image provided by ReKnew. Used with permission.

 

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…


Image provided by Sharon Baker. Used with permission.

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!


Image by Burt Dirkse. Used with permission.

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.

Paul Kerensa is a stand-up comedian and BBC scriptwriter for shows like Miranda and Not Going Out. So he seemed like just the chap to talk to about the relationship between humour and religion, and to ask ‘What would Jesus laugh at?’


Image provided by Paul Kerensa. Used with permission.

He’s also written a rather amusing book, So a Comedian Walks into a Church.

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.


Image provided by Michael Hardin. Used with permission.

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?


Image provided by University of St Andrews. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Matt Crockett. Used with permission.
 

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.


Image provided by Oasis UK. Used with permission.

 

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.


Image provided by Mark Wakeling. Used with permission.

Scot McKnight is professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary, Illinois, a prolific author and founder of the hugely popular Jesus Creed blog.


Image provided by Penguin Random House. Used with permission.

Scot recently wrote a book called The King Jesus Gospel (among many others!), so he seemed like the man to help us understand the real meaning of the good news.

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.


Image provided by Mystic Christ website. Used with permission.

 

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

Stuart Murray is chair of the Anabaptist Network in the UK. So we thought he’d be the person to ask what’s so special about the Anabaptists tradition, and what it has to say to us about how to live in our post-Christendom  world.


Image provided by Stuart Murray. Used with permission.
What to know more. Check out his excellent book, The Naked Anabaptist.

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.


Image by Hannah Davis. Used with permission.

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!).


Image provided by Carl Medearis. Used with permission.

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

Alastair Gordon is a professional and accomplished artist who exhibits around the world. He’s also a follower of Jesus. Apparently following Jesus and being a professional artist is a rather tricky thing these days, so we spoke to Ally about this tension and what mission in the world of art might look like.


Image provided by Alastair Gordon. Used with permission.

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?!


Image provided by SPCK Publishing. Used with permission.

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

Matt Russell planted Mercy Street about 15 years ago in the US. Starting from scratch it quickly grew to around a 1000, many of whom were recovering addicts. The church developed a culture of gritty authenticity and honesty. Needless to say, he’s got a very interesting story to tell and much wisodm to share!


Image provided by Matt Russell. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Andrew Marin/Wikimedia. Used with permission.

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!


Image provided by Baker Publishing. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Amos Trust. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Mike Sares. Used with permission.

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

Ian Adams co-founded mayBe, a fresh expression of church in Oxford. He also works for the Church Mission Society as a Missional Community Developer. So we thought he’d be the right chap to talk about how to start new forms of church.


Image provided by Canterbury Press. Used with permission.

Ian’s book Cave, Refectory, Road is well worth checking out.

Chris Wright is an Old Testament scholar who reckons the biblical narrative only makes sense if mission is seen as its overarching theme. So we test this theory with him and ask him to explain some of the trickier Old Testament stories!


Image provided by Chris Wright. Used with permission.

Make sure you have a read of The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative.

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!


Image provided by Andrea Campanale. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Tony and Felicity Dale. Used with permission.

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

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.


Image provided by HTB. Used with permission.

For more, check out Nicky’s many books.

Phil Togwell is part of the 24/7 Prayer movement, an internatinal, interdenominational movement of prayer, mission and justice. Over the last few years Phil’s been involved in setting up spaces in schools for children to honestly and naturally begin to connect with God. It’s an inspiring story!


Image provided by Phil Togwell. Used with permission.

For more, check out Prayer Spaces in Schools.

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.


Image provided by Baker Publishing. Used with permission.

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.

 

Chris Sunderland is involved in all manner of Jesus-inspired community stuff, but we’re particularly interested in his Earth Abbey project. Earth Abbey is a movement of people helping each other live more in tune with the earth. So dust off you wellies and prepare to get muddy, Jesus style!


Image provided by John Hunt Publishing. Used with permission.

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!


Image provided by St Hild College. Used with permission.

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

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!).


Image provided by University of St Andrews. Used with permission.

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.


Image by Dave Fry. Used with permission.

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.


Images used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Baker Publishing. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Soul Survivor. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Steve Hollinghurst. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Cathy Ross. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Neil Cole. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Baker Publishing. Used with permission.

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

Ruth Valerio manages A Rocha’s Living Lightly project, which encourages us to live greener and simpler lives. Ruth talks to us about the importance of environmental concern in Christian living and mission, and offers some resources to help us get to grips with these issues.


Image provided by Ruth Valerio. Used with permission.

For more, check out Ruth’s blog and books.

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.


Image provided by Kester Brewin. Used with permission.

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

Ian Mobsby is an Anglican priest who is a leading voice in the UK emerging church and New Monasticism scene. He’s also one of the founding members of the Moot community in London. We chat with Ian about what church and mission might look like in a post-secular culture.


Image by Jonny Baker. Used with permission.

Check out A New Monastic Handbook for more

Nigel Pimlott is author of Youth Work After Christendom, and is deputy CEO for Frontier Youth Trust. We chat to Nigel about youth work and how it relates to mission and the emerging church. After this, we’ll discuss as a group how it applies to us, and review Nigel’s book.


Image provided by Nigel Pimlott. Used with permission.

Want more? Check out In Defence of Youth Work.

Sean Stillman has been working among biker communities and other ‘fringe’ groups, and is founder of the alternative church community Zach’s Place in Swansea, South Wales. Sean chats about the emergence of this community, his experiences to date and the lessons he’s learnt along the way.


Image provided by Sean Stillman. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Stuart Murray. Used with permission.

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

Brian McLaren is pastor, author, speaker, activist and one of the leading figures in the emerging church movement. Brian tells us about some of the questions he’s been wrestling with as he’s journeyed towards new forms of Christian faith and church.


Image by Hannah Davis. Used with permission.

For more, read all Brian’s books, all of them!

Jonny Baker is one of the UK’s leading figures in the alternative worship and emerging church scene. We talk to Jonny about mission and new forms of worship, and then ponder how this might apply to us. We also recommend some resources to help you enter the world of alternative worship.


Image provided by Jonny Baker. Used with permission.

Make sure you check out Jonny’s books.

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.


Image provided by Magdalene College. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Oasis UK. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Baker Publishing. Used with permission.

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

Frank Viola is one of the leading figures in the Organic Church movement. Frank is an advocate for a return to New Testament models of church, which he believes means keeping it small, informal, highly participatory and Spirit led.


Image provided by Frank Viola. Used with permission.

For more, check out Frank’s blog and his many interesting books.

Mark Stibbe, former Vicar of St Andrew’s, Chorleywood, joins us to talk about his time at this large charismatic Anglican Church near London. He explains the journey he led the Church on towards a radical restructuring of the church to produce a more mission-shaped structure and practise.


Image provided by Malcolm Down Publishing. Used with permission.

Just in case you’re wondering who these podcasters are, we introduce you to Michael. Michael chats with us about his Christian journey to date (after he’s finished telling us about his numerous nicknames, that is).


Image used with permission.

Michael, Nick and Lora then reflect on their second local community event – a street barbeque for their neighbours.

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.


Image by Ms. Tsar Fedorsky. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Tony Campolo. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by Baker Publishing. Used with permission.

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.

Nomad Extra is a shorter, complimentary programme that delves into the latest news from our journey. On the first of our Nomad Extra podcasts we get to learn a bit about who one of the podcast’s hosts, Tim, is and how he came to be exploring Community and Mission in this way. We also bring you up-to-date with the latest goings on in our burgeoning community.


Image by Dave Fry. Used with permission.

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.


Image by Hannah Owens. Used with permission.

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!).


Image provided by ReKnew. Used with permission.

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.


Image provided by University of St Andrews. Used with permission.

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!