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Church and Main

Author: Dennis Sanders

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Church and Main is a podcast at the intersection of faith and modern life. Join Pastor Dennis Sanders as he shares the stories of faith interacting with the ever-changing world of the 21st century.
111 Episodes
We tend to think Evangelicals helped create Christian Nationalism, but did Mainline Protestantism have a role? I sat down with Beau Underwood, co-author of "Baptizing America: How Mainline Protestants Helped to Build Christian Nationalism," to explore the historical roots and contemporary impact of Christian nationalism in America. Beau talks about how mainline Protestants have laid the groundwork for modern expressions of Christian nationalism, highlighting pivotal moments like President Truman's endorsement of the revised standard version of the Bible in 1952 and President Eisenhower's active role in religious affairs. Beau wants to shed light on the responsibility of Mainline Protestant churches in addressing their historical complicity and suggests practical steps for repentance and change within their communities.   Show Notes: Baptizing America book (the promo code is BAPODCAST) Word and Way Magazine (includes several articles related to the book) Episode 181 with Ted Peters (another view on Christian Nationalism) Episode 76 with Brian Kaylor (on Religious Freedom in Russia)     Donate:  Venmo- @churchandmainpod |TipTopJar- Facebook: Instagram: Threads: YouTube: Website:
In this episode, I revisit a video from early 2023 with Lutheran Deacon Nina Joygaard where she interviews me on how to do spiritual practices as someone with autism and ADHD. Prayer Lab Minute on the Road Interview with Deacon Nina Donate:  Venmo- @churchandmainpod |TipTopJar- Facebook: Instagram: Threads: YouTube: Website:
In this episode, I welcome back  Steve Thomason, an Associate Professor for Spiritual Formation and Discipleship at Luther Seminary. Steve shares insights on enriching your spiritual journey through practices like prayer, silence, and community. He addresses overcoming barriers to spiritual practices in today's world and discusses adaptations for those with ADHD or on the autism spectrum. We also look at how spiritual practices can emphasize genuine discipleship over mere church membership. Show notes: Steve's website: Drawing Is Seeing with Steve Thomason | Episode 69 Overflow: An Introduction to Growing in Faith (Faith Lead Course) The Book of Acts: The Ever-Expanding Church (Faith Lead Course) Donate:  Venmo- @churchandmainpod |TipTopJar- Facebook: Instagram: Threads: YouTube: Website:
In this episode, we explore the intersection of faith and food, featuring the inspiring journey of former pastor and sous chef, Andrew Camp. The podcast highlights how food connects spirituality and community, discussing Andrew's upbringing, culinary education, and integration of faith with his culinary passion. His decision to pursue a career as a sous chef stems from a heartfelt desire to harmonize his faith with his culinary passion, ultimately leading him on a transformative odyssey through culinary school and into the expansive culinary domain. Andrew's culinary expedition mirrors his spiritual journey, emblematic of his creativity, fervor, and the authentic fusion of faith with culinary artistry. Show Notes: The Biggest Table (Andrew's Podcast) Make a  Donation: Facebook: Instagram: Threads: Website: YouTube:  
In this episode, I talk to Joshua Gritter, who is the co-lead pastor along with his wife Lara at First Presbyterian Church in Salisbury, NC.  We talk about his article in Presbyterian Outlook “Anxiety, politics, and the lost mysticism of the church,” where he talks about how we Christians in the US have placed their faith in politics and "electing a high priest" instead of in God. Show Notes: Joshua's article Make a  Donation: Facebook: Instagram: Threads: Website: YouTube:
In this "shorts" episode we look at a 2023 interview with Lutheran pastor Seth Perry . Seth candidly discusses his journey living with bipolar disorder, overcoming stigma, and rediscovering his faith after getting sober. He shares his struggle to disclose his diagnosis due to fear of judgment in the church and societal stereotypes about bipolar individuals. Seth reflects on the success of his "Give Up the Stigma" campaign, which encouraged open dialogue on mental health within his congregation, fostering a supportive environment at the intersection of faith and mental health. Show Notes: Listen to the Full Episode Minnesota Public Radio Article on Seth Our Stigma (Seth's Website)   Make a  Donation: Facebook: Instagram: Threads: Website: YouTube:
Ever since January 6, 2021 we’ve heard the term Christian Nationalism.  There have been news stories, articles, books and podcasts all focused on the threat of Christian Nationalism to democracy.  Christians of all stripes have come out against it and denominations have passed resolutions condemning it. Christian nationalism is a concern.  And yet, are we making too much of it?  Theologian Ted Peters tends to think so. In this episode, which I hope will be the first in a series of episodes on this topic, we will look at if we are making too much of Christian Nationalism. Show notes: Ted Peter's website and bio Public Theology- Ted Peter's Blog Who Is Afraid of Christian Nationalism? A Christian Nationalist Hornet's Nest Measuring Christian Nationalism Series Make a  Donation: Facebook: Instagram: Threads: Website: YouTube:
It's common these days to focus on the drawbacks of church.  But what's good about church? Theologian and pastor Anthony Robinson joins me on the podcast to talk about his most recent blog post on the positive aspects of the church in our society. Robinson highlights the importance of institutions and how the church can provide a sense of community, mentorship, and a framework for coping with life's challenges. Churches have a role to play in our society,  creating spaces of grace and acceptance.  Show Notes: Maybe the Church Wasn't Bad After All-Anthony Robinson Sad Lefties- Anthony Robinson The True Cost of the Churchgoing Bust- Derek Thompson Make a  Donation: Twitter: Facebook: Instagram: Threads: Website: YouTube:
In this bonus episode, I revisit an interview with Joy Moore, a professor of biblical preaching at Luther Seminary. We discussed reconciliation amid societal divisions. Moore shares stories illustrating the challenges of reconciliation and stresses the importance of finding common ground across racial divides. referencing instances like Ann Atwater and C.P. Ellis working together to desegregate schools, showcasing the power of partnerships across racial lines. She also mentions Hawk Newsome from Black Lives Matter emphasizing common values to bridge divides and underscores the importance of viewing each other as fellow humans created in the image of God.  Show Notes: Speaking at a Trump Rally Made This BLM Activist an Outcast Video of Hawk Newsome speaking at Trump Rally Full Episode with Joy Moore   Lectionary Q Podcast  Make a  Donation: Twitter: Facebook: Instagram: Threads: Website: YouTube: Chapters: 0:36 Introduction 3:18 Finding Common Ground 6:03 The Story of Ann Atwater and C.P. Ellis 9:05 Hawk Newsome's Powerful Message
In this episode, I delve into the essence of the podcast and the current state of mainline Protestantism.  I share my journey of self-discovery in launching the podcast and reflect on the challenges facing mainline Protestantism, emphasizing the importance of diversity of thought as much as visual diversity. I advocate for reform within the church, highlighting its role as an inclusive space and calling for a balance between tradition and innovation.  Show notes: Letters from a Broken Church article written by me Everything Is Broken by Alana Newhouse Mainline Struggles in the Rural Midwest by Ryan Burge The Most Vital Strategy for Mainline Church Growth with Paul Moore | Episode 164 Telling the Truth on Church Decline with Ben Crosby | Episode 132 Why Do Church Buildings Matter in Today’s World? with Loren Richmond Jr. | Episode 167 Lay-Led Church Planting with Laura Cottington | Episode 153 Theological Humility in the Local Church With David Emery | Episode 175   Lectionary Q Podcast Make a  Donation: Twitter: Facebook: Instagram: Website: YouTube:  
Can artificial intelligence hold its own when it comes to the soul-stirring task of crafting spiritual materials? Guest Jeremy Wilhelmi and I embark on an enthralling discussion on the intersection of AI and pastoral ministry. We delve into Jeremy's experiment that tests AI's ability to compose benedictions, prompting us to reflect on whether a machine's output can ever truly resonate with the human heart as deeply as a message born from human experience. Show Notes:  Beyond artificial words: The pastoral heart in an age of AI by Jeremy Wilhelmi The Chaplaincy Is Not Your Backup Plan with Jeremy Wilhelmi | Episode 108 Lectionary Q Podcast Make a  Donation: Twitter: Facebook: Instagram: Website: YouTube: Chapters 0:38 Introduction 2:02 The Role of AI in Pastoral Ministry 11:52 Temptation of Time 13:29 Fear of Inadequacy 15:57 Ethical Use of AI 24:08 Positive Role of AI 26:28 The Importance of Authenticity 27:50 The Need for Grace 31:43 Advice for Seminary Students 36:57 Cautionary Tale from "WALL-E" 38:33 The Importance of Human Connection 40:25 Contact Information and Farewell
Ever wondered how churches can sustain their missions in a world where the traditional offering plate falls short? The financial fabric that supports our churches is undergoing a radical makeover. This episode isn't just about recounting struggles; it's a treasure trove of inventive solutions, from the entrepreneurial spirit of minority and immigrant churches to the pioneering use of digital platforms like crowdfunding. We'll explore the rich history of church funding with Grace Pomroy of Luther Seminary. We'll learn how churches are reinventing church funding—to secure a future where faith communities not only survive but thrive. Show Notes: Grace Pomroy's website Funding Forward Program at Luther Seminary Funding Forward E-Book Transforming the Offering Plate into a Spiritual Journey with Kirby Gould | Episode 172   Lectionary Q Podcast Make a  Donation: Twitter: Facebook: Instagram: Website: YouTube:  
In this clip from a conversation from January 2024, Loren Richmond Jr. voices concerns about diminishing appreciation for the sacredness embodied in church facilities, particularly within certain evangelical circles where traditional architectural norms are eschewed. Referencing the insights of theologians such as Andrew Root and Charles Taylor, he underscores the need to reclaim a sense of transcendence in architectural design, countering prevailing secular paradigms. Lauren conveys a fervent belief in the intrinsic worth of maintaining church buildings, even in scenarios where congregational activities may wane, emphasizing their enduring symbolic and spiritual significance in an ever-changing landscape of religious practice. Listen to the full episode  Make a  Donation: Twitter: Facebook: Instagram: Website: YouTube:
Could your vote be an act of pure democratic expression or merely a move in a complex game of strategic power? Grapple with the profound implications of casting a ballot as I'm joined by Brian McGraw, an associate professor at Wheaton College, to navigate the treacherous waters of sincere versus strategic voting. We dissect the impact of a polarized political landscape where negative partisanship often seems to overshadow individual values, and delve into the significance of our first votes and the indelible mark they leave on our civic consciousness. Voting is more than a checkmark on a ballot; it's an ethical statement, a declaration of our societal vision. As we brace for the Presidential election, consider this a toolkit for the conscientious voter. Hear about the challenges of staying informed amidst the deluge of candidate information and how post-election engagement with our communities can keep the democratic spirit alive.    Show Notes: How to Think About Voting by Byran McGraw and Timothy Taylor How to Think About Voting in 2024 (National Affairs Podcast)   Lectionary Q Podcast Make a  Donation: Twitter: Facebook: Instagram: Website: YouTube:
Welcome to a Bonus episode that is part of a series called "Church and Main Shorts," snippets from recent episodes.  In an interview from December 2023,  Paul Moore on fostering growth within mainline churches. Moore discusses the challenges faced by denominations in embracing change and the importance of shifting mindsets towards growth. He emphasizes the need for revitalizing congregations by prioritizing youth and family ministries to ensure a sustainable future.  Listen to the full episode: Make a  Donation: Twitter: Facebook: Instagram: Website: YouTube:
Amidst a climate of political upheaval and social unrest, the church's mission has never been more critical. In today's conversation with Pastor David Emery, we confront the tough questions of unity and division, exploring how the church can become a beacon of hope and understanding in a world marked by stark lines in the sand. He shares his commitment to fostering spaces for constructive dialogue and learning, setting a table where all are welcome, and where love transcends politics. It's a poignant reminder of the powerful role faith communities play in healing divides and exemplifying the teachings of Jesus in everyday life. Harvard Avenue Christian Church website Growing Mainline Churches with Paul Moore (Episode 164) A Church Grows Again With Dawn Darwin Weaks (Episode 136) Lectionary Q Podcast Make a  Donation: Twitter: Facebook: Instagram: Website: YouTube:
It's been a while since Dennis has done a solo episode.  In this solo pod, he focuses on how we should love Trump supporters as Jesus called us to love our enemies and how this might defeat the former President at the ballot box. Why We Might Want to Listen to Trump Supporters Still More Thoughts on Talking to Trump Supporters Lectionary Q Podcast Make a  Donation: Twitter: Facebook: Website: YouTube:
In this episode, host Dennis Sanders interviews Professor Joy J. Moore about the divisiveness in society and the church, the temptation to make a name for ourselves, and the idolatry of politics. They also discuss the lack of focus on racial reconciliation and the need for grace and humility in the process. The conversation highlights the importance of recognizing our shared humanity and the role of the church in promoting reconciliation. Show Notes: Joy J Moore's Bio Working Together Toward Racial Reconciliation (article from Fuller Seminary) Sermon Brainwave Podcast Lectionary Q Podcast Make a  Donation: Twitter: Facebook: Website: YouTube:
So, in this latest chat I had on the podcast, I got to hang out with Kirby Gould of the Christian Church Foundation, and we really dug into what it means to be good stewards in our church communities. We chatted about how different generations think about giving, took a peek back at the Greek origins of the whole stewardship concept, and highlighted just how big a deal gratitude is in this mix. Kirby shares an idea about shaking things up and giving stewardship campaigns a makeover to make them more upbeat. We also marveled at how folks during the Great Depression were super generous, which is pretty inspiring. We didn't stop there; we also riffed on how the Bible nudges us to be generous, brainstormed some fresh ways churches can bring in funds, and talked about how giving from the heart is really where it's at these days. Wrapping things up, we looked ahead, thinking about how stewardship can keep evolving as a spiritual habit that's all about finding joy in giving.  Show Notes: Kirby Gould's Bio Stewardship As A Spiritual Discipline Center for Faith and Giving Website Lectionary Q Podcast Make a  Donation: Twitter: Facebook: Website: YouTube:
Guest Jeffrey Tyler Syck dives into the multifaceted world of American conservatism. He and Dennis unpack the nuances of traditional, national, and humanist conservatism, examining the influence of faith on these ideologies. Tyler discusses the decline of humanist conservatism and its potential resurgence, considering the role of churches in fostering values like community and social justice. The conversation offers a rich exploration of conservatism's philosophical roots and its place in modern political life, with a hopeful look at its future in American politics. Show Notes: Jeffrey Tyler Syck's home page Conservatism’s Path Not Taken Conservatism’s Humanist Road Not Taken Lectionary Q Podcast Make a  Donation: Twitter: Facebook: Website: YouTube: