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.

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

  1. Great interview Shane. You both talked about getting our faith walk wrong as a teenager and I think I still get it wrong as an adult. – I think we have to be OK with that. Our lives are messy and they will continue to be messy as we walk out our faith. I struggled for years with my passion for my calling. (Maybe even the struggle was part of God’s forming process) I felt called to be a Pastor at a youth missions conference when I was 16. However my life has not taken the normal route to get to where I am today. I finally came to realize that I am called to be Pastor but I don’t have any idea how the future of that looks like. I can’t force it to fit in a “pastor box” Sure I have vision for the future, but by faith I walk it out today. Thankfully his mercies are new for the days when I get wrong.

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