Seminary Dropout 84: NT Wright


NT WrightHave you heard of N.T. Wright? You know, one of the leading New Testament scholars in the world. Yeah, that N.T. Wright. The former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England. He now serves as the Chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. For twenty years he taught New Testament studies at Cambridge, McGill and Oxford Universities. As being both one of the world’s leading Bible scholars and a popular author, he has been featured on ABC News, Dateline, The Colbert Report, and Fresh Air.

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Out of his own commitment to both historical scholarship and Christian ministry, Wright challenges us to roll up our sleeves and take seriously the study of the historical Jesus. He writes, “Many Christians have been, frankly, sloppy in their thinking and talking about Jesus, and hence, sadly, in their praying and in their practice of discipleship. We cannot assume that by saying the word Jesus, still less the word Christ, we are automatically in touch with the real Jesus who walked and talked in first-century Palestine. . . . Only by hard, historical work can we move toward a fuller comprehension of what the Gospels themselves were trying to say.” The Challenge of Jesus poses a double-edged challenge: to grow in our understanding of the historical Jesus within the Palestinian world of the first century, and to follow Jesus more faithfully into the postmodern world of the twenty-first century. – From the Publisher

Some things discussed on the show…

…associating Reformed theology with people like John Piper, Tim Keller, and others with similar theology, and that sometimes causes confusion to know that Wright sees much of his own views in line with reformed tradition, when it seems like his tone is much different that those people just mentioned.

…how do we know that God intended for his authority to be given through scripture. In other words how do we know that some day we’re not going to stand before God with him saying
‘Hey the Bible was just words that were written several thousands years ago by people who were just describing their experiences with me the best they can but it wasn’t suppose to be anything more to you than inspirational and a lose guide’ ?

….in the new introduction The Challenge of Jesus, Wright spent some time talking about the idea that he originally wrote TCoJ on the other side Sept 11, 2001. In what ways Wright thinks that changes our perspective on the words he wrote in TCoJ?

…what view the reformation brought of Jesus that was a change from the old view.

…what view the enlightenment brought.

…the historocity of Jesus and how the oral tradition worked.

…the parable of the sower in Mark 4:1-20. What we usually miss by not paying attention to Jesus’ Jewish roots.

…how all of this relates to the Christian task and vision today.


If you’re interested in advertising your non-profit, conference, or other endeavor send me an email at shane[at]

If you liked this episode then you might also like…

Seminary Dropout 72: Scot McKnight, Author of Kingdom Conspiracy

Seminary Dropout 69: Mike Bird, Co-Author of ‘How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature’


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Seminary Dropout 83: Rachel Held Evans


Rachel Held Evans

Rachel Held Evans is a tremendously successful blogger and author. Many believers have found a refuge in her writings. You can follow her on her blog at and on twitter at @rachelheldevans.

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Rachel’s new book is Searching for Sunday. SfS is about Rachel’s own journey from a simple faith too one with more complexity and subtleties. Many believers, especially of the younger generations will see much of their own story in her’s. Leaving the church, starting a new one, facing failure, and finding a different form of church, Rachel brings us along for the ride.

Some things discussed on the show…

…when going through major doubt and Christians blame you for your doubt,  ‘they aren’t rejecting you for being different, they’re rejecting you for being familiar’.

…when your own theological house falls down sometimes you start throwing rocks at other people houses.

…Rachel’s propensity to talk about very serious and borderline depressing subjects at social functions.

…Rachel could sell more if you just ‘crapped’ on the church and didn’t make an effort to highlight the positive things that happen with churches.

…many boiled down Rachel’s journey as going from evangelicalism to the mainline and that’s really oversimplified and half-true.

…my families own journey without a church last year.

If you’re interested in advertising your non-profit, conference, or other endeavor send me an email at shane[at]

If you liked this episode then you might also like…

Seminary Dropout 74: Erin Lane, Author of Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe

Seminary Dropout 72: Scot McKnight, Author of Kingdom Conspiracy


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Seminary Dropout 82: Jen Pollock Michel, Author of ‘Teach Us to Want’


Jen Pollock
Jen Pollock Michel is the author of Teach us to Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith, Christianity Today’s 2015 Book of the Year. Jen also writes regularly for Today in the Word, a devotional, and is a regular contributor for Christianity Today’s popular Her.meneutics blog. You can follow Jen on Twitter @jenpmichel or you can find her at

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As Christians, we’re squeamish about desire. Isn’t wanting sinful and selfish? Aren’t we supposed to find and follow God’s will rather than insisting upon our own? The story of each person is a story of want―desires unmet, hopes dashed, passions pursued and ambitions fulfilled. Our wants cannot be ignored. But when desire is informed by Scripture and re-formed by our spiritual practices, it can root us more deeply in the fundamental belief that God is good and generous and can invite us into active kingdom participation. Jen Pollock Michel guides us on a journey of understanding who we are when we want, and reintroduces us to a God who gives us the desires of our hearts. That same good God calls us into a new reality in which we seek first his kingdom and righteousness, and we discover our disordered desires burned away while our truest longings are happily fulfilled and purified. The disciples asked Jesus to “Teach us to pray.” This book asks, “Teach us to want.” -From the Publisher

Some things discussed on the show…

…Origen’s castration and our propensity to castrate our God given desires.

…Jen’s story about her upbringing, rebellion and then her encounter with God.

…what desire teaches us about the kingdom of heaven.

…how we discern between our selfish wants and our God given desires.

If you’re interested in advertising your non-profit, conference, or other endeavor send me an email at shane[at]

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Seminary Dropout 31: Halee Gray Scott on Women in Christian Leadership

Seminary Dropout 70: Donald Miller


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Seminary Dropout 81: Scott Sauls, Author of ‘Jesus Outside the Lines’



Scott Sauls serves as senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Scott’s planted churches, lived in the big city (NYC), and speaks at church conferences and retreats.

affiliate linkIn his first book Jesus Outside the Lines, Scott dissects the issues that keep us apart and points out that Jesus almost never fits within the lines of either side the culture wars. He cuts through the caricatures we often use to dehumanize each other and shows how each side of many issues has some valid concerns but ultimately each tend to neglect some part of the Gospel message.

Some things we talk about on the show…

…the concept of “outrage porn”.

…the role of social media in our divisions.

…loving people and extending kindness to those with whom you disagree.

…Scotts story of a fellow pastor he worked alongside and agreed on almost nothing.

…Jesus’s strong words for the Pharisees.


If you’re interested in advertising your non-profit, conference, or other endeavor send me an email at shane[at]


If you liked this episode then you might also like…

Seminary Dropout 44: Preston Sprinkle, Author of Fight: A Christian Case for Nonviolence

Seminary Dropout 61: Carl Medearis on Israel, Isis and Tea with Hezbollah


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6 Ways to be a Good Neighbor

P9210040If you heard my interview with Austin Channing Brown in episode 66 of Seminary Dropout you might remember me referencing a piece she wrote on her blog called ‘Black Bodies White Souls‘. It’s an important read and you really need to read it in it’s entirety, but what I specifically referenced in the interview were these portions:

“I’m not giving white, Christian adults anymore easy answers. If you want to know what to do, my answer is this: risk death. …Risk the death of your dream home and “safe” neighborhoods. …Risk the death of your comfort in majority, dominant spaces. …Risk the death of your social and professional circles. Risk what we risk just trying to live.
…Choose a new neighborhood where your fate is intimately tied to the fate of people of color.

My question to Austin was -How do we give up that dream home, “safe” neighborhood, comfort in majority, dominant spaces, and social & professional circles, without simply gentrifying the places where we wind up?
This has become a very important question for me personally since moving to one such neighborhood a few years ago. I have good intentions but I know that if I’m not purposeful in the way that I live in this place I’m as likely to be blinded by my privelege, pride, and any other sin as anyone else.

Austin answered my question well, and you should listen to that episode to hear it, but the medium of podcasting only gave us so much time. Part of Austin’s answer was a friend of hers, Krista, who has done this very thing, and done it well.

Then a few weeks ago I received an email from none other than Krista herself. She heard the interview and was kind enough to write down some things that she’s learned herself. The list was so helpful and profound that I asked her if I could share it here. She agreed.

It’s important to note that these are really things that would make anyone a good neighbor in any context.

1. I don’t pretend to care. Let me explain: I think earlier in my life, I would have dialed up the extrovert in me and gone overboard in getting to know my neighbors. Now, my neighbors are a priority but there are days that I say hi and go on into my house. I used to tell my students “read the mood of the train and follow suit – if everyone is reading a book, don’t sing to your ipod. If everyone is singing to their ipod, don’t read a book.” I think I do that with my neighbors.

I wish you could meet my neighbor Rita. She knows everyone, and invites people to be good neighbors by asking me too. Not long after we moved here, Rita (my next door neighbor) asked that while her water was worked on she could take a shower at our house. We said yes. But I remember thinking that it probably took lots of guts to ask. She then needed to stay over a few nights due to a house work. This sounds like she was mooching, but it didn’t feel like that at all. Rita is a part of who our family is now. The interesting thing I have learned is that you find ways that others want to be neighbored. Think of it like love languages for neighbors. Rita figured out pretty quickly that the way to be a neighbor to us was helping us clean – seriously the best gift to offer us! Its random, and completely unexpected when she does, but whenever she does I could just kiss her feet! She hates to cook, and I love to cook, so she eats about three times a week with us. None of us would have happened if we hadn’t said yes to that first weird request. Neighboring is like improv, say yes and…

Kids make this easier. Since my husband stays home with our son full time, they know everyone in a three block radius – seriously. In fact, the amount of people that say “Hi Ben” on the blocks surrounding our house that I don’t know (when its me and Ben) is pretty crazy – but its a great way for me to meet people. I don’t say this so that everyone has kids – but Jim could chose to stay in our fenced in back yard and not know people – but they (and we) go to the local parks, the school playground up the street, etc.

My mom taught me from an early age to be hyper local in my interests without saying the world beyond is bad. Therefore, I am on a lot of lists in the community – we get the neighborhood newspaper but not the Chicago Tribune, any business or non-profit within a 12 block range I am on email or facebook with, there are several community activists that I follow on twitter etc. So I know my block well, but I also keep tabs on what folks are working on in terms of systemic injustice – I try to attend any events that my block feels strongly about and having a wide community support matters – because frankly it matters to my family and to those on my block. I think having kids makes me think about the neighborhood being ours more in this way as well – my kids are being raised here – I want good schools for my block and neighborhood. I want to have police act differently because I value having people hanging out on my block to be a village to my kids. If we are scared to do so, the village ends in someways for my kids.

When we moved in, I took down the “We Call the Police” sign intentionally. If the block decided that a neighborhood watch should go into effect, and we had a community sign – then yes, I would do it. But on my own, no way. I think I realized that I had become a west sider when I saw the police I was scared, my neighbor’s stories and at this point my own family’s interaction with the police hasn’t been good.

My neighbors are important and my block is important, but I don’t have to share that with tons of people. I am not doing this to prove anything. Its just life, and yes, its the life I chose in different ways than my neighbors – but I really like that I am raising my child here, that my neighbors know that I love fruit and bring any extra over for me, that one neighbor comes over when she had an American comfort food and she says “Can you make it for me?” (I have learned how to make several classic comfort dishes thanks to these requests), that two tweens come regularly to my house to hang out playing with my 2 year old and then need to run back up the block every hour or so to report that they are still at Jim and Krista’s house, that my son has three older boys to run around with that think its cool to have a shadow, and that Ben is learning three languages just by hanging out with people from our block.

Krista Dutt tries to be a good neighbor on the west side of Chicago.  She enjoys cooking, exploring Chicago, and playground dates with her son, Benjamin and husband, Jim.  Krista coordinates Mennonite Central Committee’s work in Chicago with Anabaptist churches.  Have a conversation with her at @kristadd.

Seminary Dropout 80: Romal Tune & Tony Kriz, LIVE from The Faith & Culture Writers Conference



Since growing up in the trauma of poverty, violence, and the inner-city landscapes void of opportunity, Romal Tune has triumphed to the heights of a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Howard University and Duke University School of Divinity, an ordained minister, and the author of an Award-Winning Book entitled, “God’s Graffiti”. Romal not only asks the question of WHY for many of the broken systems and structures in our world- education, poverty, community engagement, and more– he is also answering the HOW question, empowering others to create solutions and responses, currently in four continents around the world.

In “God’s Graffiti” Romal uses people in the Bible to tell his own story and reveal how he overcame adversity and setback along the way.


If you’ve followed Seminary Dropout for a long time then you probably already know who Tony Kriz is. Tony teaches in colleges and universities around the country on topics of authentic faith, spiritual formation, cultural integration, cross-spiritual communication, and sacred friendship.

Tony’s new book “Aloof” deals with an issue that all Christians face but few talk about, the fact that God often seems distant and silent. Tony uses his own stories to explore what it means to follow a God who at times feels aloof.


Seminary Dropout has ended it’s run with it’s previous sponsor and is now available for new sponsors. If you’re interested in advertising your non-profit, conference, or other endeavor send me an email at shane[at]


If you liked this episode then you might also like…

Seminary Dropout 022: Philip Yancey

Seminary Dropout 71: Natasha Sistrunk Robinson on Jesus, Leadership, and Race


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Seminary Dropout 79: Dave Wilkie of Coffee with Jesus


daveIf you’ve been apart of Christian culture for long enough you’ve probably suffered the indignity of a ‘christian comic strip'; heavy-handed, ham-fisted, and most of all not funny. Dave Wilkie the creator of Coffee With Jesus is here to help. The comic manages to juggle cultural critique, poignancy, and oh yeah, it’s super funny.

You can find new strips weekly on Radio Babylon’s Facebook Page.

A Second Shot of Coffee with Jesus, a paperback collection of the strips, was also just released in paperback form. Enter here to win a copy! 


Things discussed on the show…

  • …how CwJ started as just a one-off cartoon and what made Dave want to make that first strip
  • …what made Dave decide to do more after that one-off strip
  • …Dave’s background in illustration
  • …the thought process in deciding to give the characters a backstory
  • …why the characters got backstories
  • …the responsibility in having Jesus say things in the strip


Seminary Dropout has ended it’s run with it’s previous sponsor and is now available for new sponsors. If you’re interested in advertising your non-profit, conference, or other endeavor send me an email at shane[at]


If you liked this episode then you might also like…

Seminary Dropout 43: David Leo Schultz, Director & Producer of ‘Ragamuffin’

Seminary Dropout 51: Michael Gungor Talks Creation, Music, & Art


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