Faced with multiple existential threats in the coming decades, professor of religion Timothy Beal reflects on the possibility of human extinction and what hope might look like within that context. Timothy challenges the notion of perpetual optimism, advocating instead for a deeper, more grounded form of hope. Through insights from indigenous spirituality and palliative care principles, he explores how communities can confront grief, engage in meaningful action, and rediscover their earthly connection in the face of an uncertain future.

Following the interview Tim and Nick discuss their growing concerns about the state of the world, how that’s impacting them emotionally, and how they understand hope.

Interview starts at 18m 24s

Image used with permission


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Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change

The Body of God: An Ecological Theology

Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End


“I think we need to compost Christian tradition in order to let a kind of earth creatureliness emerge from it in a more profound, greener way.”

“What’s different about the sixth extinction – about the one that we’re in – is that it’s the first that is human-caused.”

“I think we need to compost Christian tradition in order to let a kind of earth creatureliness emerge from it in a more profound, greener way.”“We need to extract more and more [because] there’s not enough locally. And so we go and we extract life and labour and land and so on from around the world to continue to drive this religion of human exceptionalism.”

“I think that we can draw some design cues from palliative care for finding hope on what might be a finite human future.”


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  1. Mike Henry Bolzenius Apr 10, 2024

    This was a great and much needed podcast that found me at my point of deconstruction….. the idea of composting Christianity makes so much sense… After returning to faith after many years away it quickly moved into a direction of deconstruction… The final clanger has been the apocalyptic nature of the Gospel message, from Jesus to Paul and so embedded in the collection of writings we call the New Testament …. As such the openness that Tim spoke about the blame of Christianity was refreshing…. I have had very real ‘God moments’ that I found framed in the story of Jesus but drank a Fundy Pentecostal Kool Aid…. Those roots go deep… thanks for the refreshing honesty of your podcast …. I will be send you guys some dollars from Down Under soon…. I’m currently recovering from Bypass surgery and this podcast was my ba
    Lm as I tried to get to sleep last night… Namaste

    • So glad you found the episode helpful Mike, that’s great to hear.
      Hope you’re recovering well after your surgery.

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