Seminary Dropout 58: Brian Zahnd, Author of ‘A Farewell to Mars’


bzBrian Zahnd is the founder and lead pastor of Word of Life Church, a Christian congregation located in the heartland of America in Saint Joseph, Missouri. For 31 years, Brian and his wife Peri’s vision for the church has been to be an authentic expression of the Kingdom of Jesus in a modern world. Brian is known for his focus on embracing the deep and long history of the Church and wholeheartedly participating in God’s mission to redeem and restore His world.


affiliate link

Brian used to be ‘that pastor’, you know the stereotype of a southern evangelical pastor. Pro-military and pro-empire. He even hosted a Super Bowl style party when the first Iraq war kicked off in 1990. He and his friends ate pizza and watched Wolf Blitzer host the first ‘televised war’. Now, Brian calls that ‘his worst sin’. That’s just the beginning…





Out THIS WEEK Father Factor: American Christian Men on Fatherhood and Faith
This will be my first time to be published. I’m so honored to be in the company of such a great group of diverse men. Order your copy today!


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

Have You Accepted President Obama As Your Personal Lord & Savior?


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Seminary Dropout 57: JR. Briggs, Author of ‘FAIL: Finding Hope & Grace in the Midst of Ministry Failure’



J.R. Briggs serves as Cultural Cultivator of The Renew Community a Jesus community for skeptics and dreamers in Lansdale, PA – a suburb of Philadelphia, which he helped start. He is the founder and director of Kairos Partnerships an initiative that partners with leaders, pastors and church planters during significant kairos moments in ministry. As part of his time with Kairos Partnerships, he serves on staff with The Ecclesia Network and Fresh Expressions U.S. In addition to these responsibilities he speaks regularly, writes, coaches pastors and church planters and consults with Christian colleges, non-profits, mission agencies, churches and other Christian organizations.

affiliate link

“J.R. Briggs has something to say to pastors about our American obsession with ‘success.’ He holds to the Jesus-endorsed notion that those in ministry are called to faithfulness, not success, and that sometimes faithfulness takes the peculiar form of failure. Fail dares to tell the truth and will bring much-needed clarity and comfort to a multitude of ministers who, though faithful, have drunk from the bitter cup of failure.” -Brian Zahnd




One announcement I forgot: Father Factor: American Christian Men on Fatherhood and Faith
will be available in 4 days!


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5 Ways To Be Unsatisfied With Your Church


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6 Things about Father Factor


You may have heard around the blogosphere and social media sites that a book called ‘Father Fiction’ will be out on October 14th and is available for pre-order now. A friend of mine, Andy Campbell, is the editor and gathered 40 men, including myself, to write essays about fatherhood as a Christian.

Here are 6 important thing you need to know about the book.

1. The excerpts I’ve read are amazing. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll shake your head. You can read the excerpts yourself here, including mine.

2. Until October 20th you can get the book at a 35% discount when ordering from the White Cloud Press website here.

3. White Cloud Press is an independent publisher so buying this book is a great way to support independent publishing.

4. FATHER FACTOR could be a great book for small group study sessions in churches and there’s special discount of 50% is available for small groups ordering in quantities of 10 or more.

5. Some of the authors, including myself, are available for talks and presentations at local bookstores or churches.

6. Some very amazing people have had a few things to say about this book:

In many ways, Father Factor is a work of art, a beautiful collage of humanity and soul, a thoughtful collection of stories detailing the lives, dreams, and fears of America’s fathers. The essays in this book will make you laugh, bring you to tears, and at times, cause you to rethink your approach to parenting. But most of all, Father Factor will fill you with hope. – Matthew Paul Turner, author of “Our Great Big American God”

Sometimes hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking, this tender collection of stories from fathers opened both my eyes and my heart anew. Thank God for men like these! The children will honour them in the gates for this wise, honest, and necessary work. – Sarah Bessey, author of “Jesus Feminist”

These wonderfully readable accounts of father-son relationships are both candid and inspiring, exploring issues that touch many of us in deep ways. But they prod to go even deeper, pointing us to the ways our relationships with our human fathers shape–and all too often distort–our conceptions of the One whom we have been taught to address as “Our Father who art in heaven.” – Richard Mouw, Theologian & Past President, Fuller Theological Seminary

From creating life to enduring death, Father Factor takes us through the tumultuous, often humorous, sometimes heartbreaking journey of fatherhood and faith. This is not a how-to manual; there are no lists of right and wrong, no simple strategies, no easy plans for becoming the perfect Dad. Instead, through this rich array of personal stories from fathering and being fathered, readers will feel inspired and challenged to examine their unique role as a parent, partner, and adult child as this book throws open wide windows for grace, forgiveness, and a Father’s love. – Jamie Wright, Author/Blogger of

This book inspired me to pray for fathers, encourage fathers and believe in the important work of fathering! Pulling from culturally diverse and compelling experiences, Father Factor gives voice to the strong men of faith who are shaped the Father’s love. This collection of inspiring stories affirms the various routes that fatherhood can take and shows that regardless of history or cultural context, men of faith can be powerful and vulnerable fathers. A true eye opener to the complexities and beauty of fatherhood. – Christena Cleveland, author of Disunity in Christ

Seminary Dropout 56: Kate Wallace of The Junia Project


kwKate Wallace is a co-founder of The Junia Project, Operations Manager for the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium, coordinator for the WHC Freedom Network, and an adjunct professor in political science. She is a committed Christian and millennial feminist who enjoys writing and speaking on the intersection of politics, religion, and gender. Her favorite theologian is Gilbert Bilezikian, and she loves chocolate, dogs, hiking, J.K Rowling, theatre, and political theory. She holds a Master of Science from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts from Azusa Pacific University.


The Junia Project is a community of women and men advocating for the inclusion of women at all levels of leadership in the Christian church and for mutuality in marriage. We believe that when interpreted correctly, the Bible teaches that both men and women are called to serve at all levels of the Church, and that leadership should be based primarily on gifting and not on gender.

The Junia Project blog serves as the primary platform for our volunteer writing team and guests to communicate their understanding of egalitarian theology and to share experiences and reflections on gender equality.


That Pinterest page we talked about is here.



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Dear Proverbs 31 Woman


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Seminary Dropout 55: Gary Black Jr. – Co-author of The Divine Conspiracy Continued


gbjDallas Willards ‘The Divine Conspiracy’ focused  on the personal discipleship and transformation, and in the years since it’s release it’s made a profound impact on the lives of thousands of Christ-followers and odds are some of your favorite contemporary Christian authors have a special place in their hearts for The Divine Conspiracy.

Willard along with my guest Gary Black Jr broaden the message of TDC in TDCC, where they
explore how people of faith live out that discipleship and transformation in society & in                       public.

Gary’s Author Page


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Seminary Dropout 11: Richard Foster

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Seminary Dropout 54: Walter Brueggemann Talking – Reality, Grief, Hope


wbIt’s hard to introduce someone like Walter Brueggemann. There are just too many accolades to mention. Yes, he’s got degree’s from Elmhurst College, Eden Theological Seminary, Union Theological Seminary, and a doctorate from Saint Louis University.

He’s written books, at least 58 books by my count.

He’s received numerous awards too including the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Union Theological Seminary, and the Luce Theological Fellowship from the Association of Theological Schools. He was named an honorary member of the British Society for Old Testament Study. He received both the Academy of Parish Clergy Book of the Year award and the Catholic Press Association Book of the Year award for Theology of the Old Testament. The Association of Theological Booksellers named Brueggemann’s “An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination” Best Academic Book in 2004. Brueggemann was inducted as an honorary admiral into the Nebraska Navy. Really… the Nebraska Navy!

So yeah he’s done all that but still it doesn’t seem to adequately describe who he is, so I’ll just say that above all else what impresses me most about Walter Brueggemann is that after all these years he is humble enough to sit down and talk with someone like me.

On the show we talk about his new book
Reality, Grief, Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks.


Do you like Seminary Dropout? Have you benefitted from one or more of the interviews you’ve heard here? Then consider supporting Seminary Dropout. We’ve just launched a new and fun way to support the show through a new venue called ‘Patreon’. it’s similar to Kick-starter but it’s for things that are created on an ongoing basis, like podcasts! There are rewards for donating and goals that will improve the show once we meet them.

Please go to to see it for yourself. Even if you can’t contribute, it’s worth it just to watch the video some past Seminary Dropout guests helped me make.


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Seminary Dropout 53: Jason Boyett on The Apocolypse, & Salvation


jbJason Boyett has a knack for boiling down complicated concepts and making them easy to understand to the average person. He displays this most notably in his ‘Pocket Guide’ book series. A.J. Jacobs, the author of The Year of Living Biblically called the Pocket Guides ‘smart’ & ‘hilarious’.  He’s written other things too, including a spiritual memoir called ‘O Me of Little Faith’, it’s shockingly honest, and pretty funny too.

You can find Jason at



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The Difference Between Christians & the Rest of Mankind

For Christians are not distinguished from the
rest of mankind either in locality or in speech or in
For they dwell not somewhere in cities of their
own, neither do they use some different language, nor
practise an extraordinary kind of life.
Nor again do they possess any invention
discovered by any intelligence or study of ingenious
men, nor are they masters of any human dogma as some
But while they dwell in cities of Greeks and
barbarians as the lot of each is cast, and follow the
native customs in dress and food and the other
arrangements of life, yet the constitution of their
own citizenship, which they set forth, is marvellous,
and confessedly contradicts expectation.
They dwell in their own countries, but only as
sojourners; they bear their share in all things as
citizens, and they endure all hardships as strangers.
Every foreign country is a fatherland to them, and
every fatherland is foreign.
They marry like all other men and they beget
children; but they do not cast away their offspring.
They have their meals in common, but not their
They find themselves in the flesh, and yet they
live not after the flesh.
Their existence is on earth, but their
citizenship is in heaven.
They obey the established laws, and they
surpass the laws in their own lives.
They love all men, and they are persecuted by
They are ignored, and yet they are condemned.
They are put to death, and yet they are endued with
They are in beggary, and yet they make many
rich. They are in want of all things, and yet they
abound in all things.
They are dishonoured, and yet they are
glorified in their dishonour. They are evil spoken of,
and yet they are vindicated.
They are reviled, and they bless; they are
insulted, and they respect.
Doing good they are punished as evil-doers;
being punished they rejoice, as if they were thereby
quickened by life.
War is waged against them as aliens by the
Jews, and persecution is carried on against them by
the Greeks, and yet those that hate them cannot tell
the reason of their hostility.

From the Epistle to Diognetus

Seminary Dropout 52: James Bryan Smith, Author of The Apprentice Series.


JBSDallas Willard, Richard Foster are names you probably know, they’ve both been on the forefront on modern Christian spiritual development with books like ‘The Celebration of Discipline’ by Foster and ‘The Spirit of the Disciplines’ by Willard just to name a few. Well if you don’t know James Bryan Smith, you should, he and his works were heavily influenced by Willard & Foster. He’s written among other things a trilogy of books that are somewhat devotional in nature, called The Good & Beautiful God, The Good & Beautiful Life, & The Good and Beautiful Community. James is also a professor of Theology at Friends University in Witchita, Kansas, as well as the director of the Apprentice Institute.

Be sure to check out The Apprentice Institute!

The Apprentice Series:


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The Bible Doesn’t Believe in a ‘Plain Reading’ of the Bible

Sometimes you hear people advocate for a ‘plain reading’ of scripture. I believe that scripture isn’t meant to be molded into anything we want it to be. However, all too often I fear what people are saying when they advocate for a ‘plain reading’ is that we shouldn’t put ourselves in the shoes of the first recipients of the scriptures, in their context and customs, that we should trust that original language translated into English perfectly captures the idea that was meant to be conveyed.

The biggest problem with this is that the Bible doesn’t believe in a plain reading of the Bible.

…and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand…  -From 2 Peter 3

Why is it hard to understand Peter? Just read it plainly.