Poema S4 009 | Father Nadim Nassar on The Culture Of God

October 30, 2018

Father Nadim Nassar, the Church of England’s only Syrian priest, and an outspoken advocate for western Christians to recognise their Middle-Eastern heritage, is my guest today

Father Nadim shares his own journey, and then he and I discuss his first book, 'The Culture of God', and explore how there are three cultures Christians need to understand when they read the Bible: the culture of the Bible itself, their own culture, and finally ‘the culture of God’.

In our conversation, we see that ultimately it was Jesus who had direct access to the culture of God; and so we need to begin by understanding Jesus in his own first-century Middle Eastern culture - which, although he was a Jew, was under the rule of Syria. We unpack a few examples from Jesus life, where an understanding of his own culture opens up an entirely different meaning to familiar gospel stories.

Talking to Father Nadim was an enlightening experience for me, and I know he will really inspire, challenge and encourage you as he has me, and many others. 

Poema S4 008 | Brandan Robertson on True Inclusion

October 23, 2018

Pastor, author & activist Brandan Robertson returns to the podcast today, to talk about his new book 'True Inclusion', and what it means - and doesn't mean - to be a truly inclusive church. 

Brandan shares from his own experience of pastoring a church, the lessons he has learned about what it means to make a church truly inclusive, both of the LGBTQ community, and those at different stages of their spiritual or even theological journey. He shares the changes he believes the church may have change as more and more people embrace the spiritual deconstruction and reconstruction journey so many are on right now - even so far as changing how we do church, and what the role of church is. 

Brandan then discusses with me how churches need to become more prophetic, the challenges which lie ahead. To conclude, he shares his hopes for the church, and how he envisions we can have healthy spiritual community for all, whoever they are, wherever they are in their spiritual journey. 

Poema S4 007 | Barry Pearman on Nehemiah & Mental Illness In The Church

October 17, 2018

Barry Pearman, author, gardner, mental health advocate and former pastor joins me today to discuss his new book, 'Broken To Built', a devotional on the book of Nehemiah, and practical ways we can make space for people with mental illness in the church.

Barry shares his own journey and experiences with mental illness and how these inspired him to take practical steps to make churches a safe space for mental illness, and how these steps have borne fruit in practice.

Finally, we talk about the story of Nehemiah, and how his story of rebuilding Jerusalem from its ruins inspired Barry, and can inspire us to build a life of faith, living with mental or chronic illness - and how the creative process of writing these books has helped Barry on his mental health and faith journey. 


Poema S4 006 | Becky Castle Miller on Depression, Deconstruction & How The Church Must Do Better on Mental Illness

October 10, 2018

Author & Discipleship Director Becky Castle Miller joins me today. Becky suffered from depression after the birth of her second child, and now does a lot of work in helping churches become safe spaces for mental illness, and advocating for church leaders and members to be better educated on mental illness. 

Today she shares her own story, and talks about how her mental illness led her into a faith deconstruction and reconstruction. Becky and I talk about the importance of educating pastors and church leaders on mental illness, and how churches and individuals can practically serve and welcome those with mental illness in a healthy, loving way of acceptance.

We also discuss healthy and unhealthy models of power and kingship - the violent, domineering, aggressive models used throughout history, as opposed to the example we see in Jesus - surrender, grace, empowering others, servant-heartedness and peacemaking. 

Becky is passionate about the church doing better with those facing mental health challenges and those going through a deconstruction, and has lots of wisdom and experience on how we can do this better. This is worth a listen for all those wanting a voice of solidarity on their journey,  those with mental health challenges looking for hope and support, and for all of us seeking to become better mental health advocates.

Poema S4 005 | Aaron Smith on The Intersection Between Christianity & Mental Illness

October 3, 2018

Today I'm joined by Aaron Smith, AKA as Cultural Savage - an author and blogger. Aaron has been diagnosed bipolar 2, he's also a Christian - and has sadly encountered a lot of stigma, both outside and inside the church, surrounding his own mental illness. 

Aaron has recently released his first book - "Cultural Savage - The Intersection Between Christianity & Mental Illness", a collection of essays where he shares his experiences of living with Bipolar 2 and how it has intersected with his faith, and how people of faith have responded to it. Today he shares some of his powerful and challenging story with us, and we explore together how mental illness and Christian faith could interact in a healthy way, and what healthy and unhealthy responses to those with mental illness can look like.

Finally, we discuss stigma within the church and culture around mental illness, how we can change this, and Aaron offers words of solidarity and hope to those facing these challenges.