On this episode guests, Travis Winckler and Joel Fredrikson reflect on ministering in the midst of a pandemic.
Welcome to table talk. We're re discuss issues of faith, culture and the church. Here's your host. My dad, Jerry Bertelsen. Hi, friends. Welcome to table Talk. It's good to be with you today. This is the first podcast of table talk, thanks to Aly. Enough for offering that intro for me. She's been a good sport, going through a number of recordings of that intro, so I appreciate her, but it's gonna be with you friends today on this inaugural podcast of table talk on this podcast. We're going to be talking about issues of faith, issues of culture and things related to the church. I really appreciate hearing people's stories and and learning how their stories, um, interact with their life of faith. And so I hope on this podcast to be able to share some of those stories with you. Today. We are very fortunate to have with us two of my favorite people, two dear friends, Jill Frederickson and Travis Winkler. I've known both of these fellows for 18 years now, and we first met at the University of Su follows when we were students, their theology and philosophy nerds together, and, um, we became friends at college, and we've stayed friends ever since. And ah, Joel and and Travis, I count among good friends. Not only do we share a passion for ministry and theology and things related to the church, but we also share a passion for kiddo Ba and Buffalo Wild Wings. And so, um, I'm very pleased to have them with me on my first podcast. And so I have Travis and Joel with me now. Friends, welcome to this first pot. First podcast.
Grab your chair. Thanks, guys. Appreciate it. So I just got done spending on our watching our three Children put on a show for Tammy and I called the Teddy Roosevelt Show, and we learned all about Teddy Roosevelt. Our 10 year old has been researching Teddy Roosevelt, and they did a wonderful, wonderful job playing the tin whistle. Uh, you know, reading us a story, of course, singing a song from frozen, too. And, um, I'm putting on a show for us for about an hour, so I just want to know, how are you guys doing? And how are you spending your days?
You know, you want to start off? Uh,
sure. Yeah. Um You know what I have insured? Just like for everyone is adjustment. And I met being with our church staff. Uh, I'm in the associate pastor at a church in Sioux Falls, and, um, I gotta and I, uh you know, normally we work with people and, um, directly with them face to face. And so now you do church. And how do you think I particularly work with young people? Um, how did you How did you transition there? That I've been tryingto think of ways to do that. Just looking at how other people are doing things. And there's a lot of work from home, a lot of learning about a new technology. I'm usually kind of so much. And when it comes to technology, so the extra speed learning curve for me, and but we just had a really good doom meeting last night with our youth group, and we watched some a video and got together and talked about Jesus, Get in resurrection and what that means for our lives that it was a really fruitful discussion and and I started making YouTube videos and that sort of thing I'm learning how to do all that they continue that teach. And then I started a bird in the day on Facebook.
People love Joel. I love that, but yeah, that's yeah. Classic
the different bird species in our backyard so that people don't see a bird, but they see a gold venture. Uh, grackles are, um uh would ever carried Axel
all over the
place. Dakota. Yeah. The wind blows them up and becomes bigger birds. Yeah.
Let's, uh, Ben about it. I mean, in our personal lives just moved into a new house, which is great, because, uh, a little cozier and but they did a bunch of work in the yard on. So there's no grass yet are too old. Wiener dogs like to walk right through the mud on. We try to catch him before they get there, but sometimes they get there first and have to put him in the bathtub. So
how are they just Joe, How are they adjusting to the move?
Oh, they love it. They they love having not home all the time. So and, uh, it took him a little while. I think they thinking that we're gonna be going back home any time soon. but they're They're like Nick.
Good, good. Glad to hear. Yeah. How about you, Travis? How is thes days been for you? And what have you been filling your days with?
Well, I want to begin by just commending Joel for that awesome bird of the day idea with Facebook. I I love that sense of helping folks pay attention right now. And, like, I just seem the sort of what we don't have and being inundated by the constant flow of, um, hardship and career need. That's all around us. Now. We all are caring from day to day. So, um, helping, uh, helping people in ministry, especially in congregation alive, See, continued glimpses of got beauty and God retentive, um, activity, You know, in this time in the world, I think it's so such important part of a pastoral care right now. So why am in ST Louis? That has marked, um Who? I've tried to be Azad minister here at Second Presbyterian Church. And for us, that stroll was mentioning. We've had to do a lot of adapting from in person worship and service to moving a lot of what we do online. While some ministry continues at at at the church, in the form of Ah food pantry that's been modified to make sure we're abiding by the public health protocols, but a lot of worship in a lot of pastoral care and a lot of that, but we've already touched on. The teaching part of ministry for us is how to go to YouTube and online expressions as well. But one thing I really enjoyed in this time, that's difficult as it is, is to create what I called just sacred spaces you know, in our homes and to invite the congregation to really try to set aside some portion of the living space for prayer meditation, scripture reading. Uh, I've also told our parents of the young kids it can be a place where you cry because you feel like you just like overwhelmed. And God is big enough to receive those tears. And those emotions, you know, but have that place for grounding and spirit and the house the church invited to, you know, get a glimpse into what that means for you to take a photo of that place. Some symbol of that sacred space. No ah blogger, a Facebook page and to encourage one another through that exercise, I found to be really uplifting and continue to connect us even in a time of social distancing.
I love that idea that, um, idea of having the domestic church be present right in the midst of our homes. Ah, that even though we can't be together, we can weaken, have the experience of community with our family, right in our home and and develop the rhythms of ah, a life of faith right in our own backyard, Looking at the birds and in our own home with the sacred spaces, those air. It was a wonderful, wonderful thoughts. I'm sorry. I forgot to introduce you to, um our guests, uh are here's our two guests here. Uh, Joel Frederickson. Travis Winkler. Both pastors, as Joe mentioned, He's pastor Ah, at the point in Sioux Falls. And Travis is pastor of East Side or East. There. A second Presbyterian Sorry in ST Louis. Is that right? Ah, Travis, is it? Has it ST Louis? All right, very good. Yeah, well, both you being pastors. You know, I was thinking earlier today. I don't know if I know both of your call. Your stories of your calls to ministry and calls of faith, and they may have come together. They may have been a two separate times. But Travis, how did you come to faith? And how did you get called into the ministry?
Yeah, well, I am the son of a single mother. Has you both know and see false South Dakota? Kim Winkler and I grew up in ah, household where my dad was absent. And I was just reflecting on this again this morning. That father absence for me really drilled me at every age to reach out for, ah, places and belief that could fill that gap and give me a space of security and a slime oxide. Remember, would call it that sense of infinite dependence, that sense of feeling dependent upon something bigger than yourself. So, you know, my mom, when I was four years old, recognized that we needed a community of faith. So rally around us. You're in a really vulnerable time, you know, lives. And so she brought me into the First Congregational Church in Sioux Falls for baptism. And I still remember the pastures fingers on my forehead, making fun of the cross and just feeling deeply that something shifted. There's something that's claimed me at this point, and I continue to just be so grateful for that congregation because of their welcome. You know, they fundamentally had a posture of welcome, especially toward those who are on the margins or those who are vulnerable, or folks who sometimes can fall off the radar in other spaces in society. So I grew up in that congregation and had an opportunity to participate in in church life. And I really from that moment I felt that sense of call que ministry begin to emerge. And, um, you know, to make a long, longer story shoulder and there you will have, uh, insight into my experience, you know, during college and being friends together in that part of our our journey. You know, the bringing together of that piety, that sense of, um, passionate connection with God, with the living God having a personal relationship. You know what, Christ, As maybe oh, uh um overdone. That phraseology might might be on guys like me to unpack that variously, they recognized that having that sense of heart connection and wedding, that with an intellectual journey in general, act critical questions, questions of the Bible in the way that wasn't, you know, going to put you outside the bounds of a community of say, they're kind of mark you as unacceptable. Or, you know, we don't ask questions like that here bringing those together. You know, my my faith journey, Um, in my later years in college and in seminary and then wedding that to a sense of, um, church in a city, no church community of faith and broader relationships and recognizing the college fate that's personal, intellectual. But all sellers society Lauren called us to acts of justice on mercy and compassion in a world sort of the broad broad strokes of my word. My faith in my ministry journey connect.
I appreciate that about you, Travis having ah deep love for, um, the intellectual side. That's the right word. The intellectual side of Christianity to think deeply about our faith and reflect on our experience of God. And, um, but also to wed that with a longing for God's justice in the world, setting things right and how that all Inter plays with today's various social issues. And you've really had that, um, a cz part of your you're ethos as a person for for a long time, and I really appreciate that about you, Joel. You? How about you were, Ah, Where did you come to Faith at? How did that all play out? How did you, um, get to where you are being called into full time ministry?
Yeah, well, I grew up in a family of pastors. My great grandfather, my grandfather, my dad, my Uncle Harold after, and, uh, I swore I'd never be a pastor. You know, we're just kind of like as a pastor's kid, uh, kind of have a chip on my shoulder and wanted to prove to everybody that I wasn't the perfect angel, that they assumed that I was so weird. I was just scoop off and getting the trouble. And, um, you know, But I always kind of thought, you know, I grew up in a Christian family, and so therefore, I'm a Christian that, uh that's just kind of the way I work. And and, uh, it wasn't until I went to college and I had such good friends back home and with Johnson, where I was from, husband was gone, and, uh, that I realized I depended a lot on them and leaned down that very heavily. And then when they weren't there anymore, when I was a college and I would make all new friends and meeting people, I just felt the sense of loneliness that I had never really felt before. And so, um, I met with my grand parents who lived in the fall and talk with them for a little while about my problems, that I'm going to go back. Um, facto Wisconsin, then, uh, you know, I was attending University of Meatballs, you guys, the Christian school and, uh and, you know, I've gotten to know some people and some good Christian people do, but they they didn't really compare to my friends back home. They're kind of a little bit too good under the Christian, you know what I mean? You know? And so and although I appreciate it or anything, I felt like I found my niche. And then, uh oh, my grand parents encouraged me to stick around a little bit longer and just try it out. So I did. But after I left that, uh, that conversation with them, I got into my car and have a sense of this overwhelming sense of, You know, I just need to cry right now and just cry out to God. And I did a weft I'd like never really has that kind of an experience before, But it was very like from the gut. Um, pray the God like, you know, you've been there all along and I ignore view. And that was you turn a boy in my life and and, uh, you know, long story short, just kind of wondering what I'm doing my life and, uh, ended up becoming a theology and philosophy major and kind of moving in the direction of your ministry. And as soon as I did that, like, it just collect, like I loved it. Like, why don't you know? Like you said, Travis, thinking more critically about our faith and our life, Like I be able to take those courses. Ah, and to be challenged. I just I was wondering, like, how we never talked about stuff growing on, um And so and I think you know, as we talk here, I think about how our friendship on our time together as theology, students and kind of nerves about that stuff. I mean, you guys, I always looked up to you to because you spoke with just, uh a sense of humor and a fluidity about the faith in a way that I've never been able to just carry on a conversation as though, like, we actually believe this stuff, you know? And, um so that was that was really refreshing to me. That's a man that surround yourself with people who are really drinking from the marrow of life on drafting the deep questions about why are we here? What's this all about? And how do we make sense of that? How do we live? It, um that, I mean, that's probably shaped me in ways that I wasn't even aware of. So thank you guys for that. And, uh, and I started a new ministry and did that for many, many years. And I'm still currently in the youth ministry role at the associate pastor of the church. But this coming summer, I'm gonna be taking over the senior pastor position at the point. Um, and the pastor, Alan Keyes, was a really wonderful guy, but he's getting ready to retire here. So for a year after that, we're gonna he's gonna kind of be transitioning out of I'm transitioning again. And, uh, but I'm really excited about it. And I'm excited to be able to, like, try to take what's been given us and someone I met the seminary here in the fall. Uh, people seminary, Um, and but just to take the really valuable things that we've learned from our professors and you try to help people applied and by hopefully deepen in their faith Yeah, I think the ministry has been a great discipline because it forces you to take very complicated concepts and ideas and put them into words that kids can understand. And I think to be able to do that with adults Do they value that a lot? So I'm really looking forward to it.
You'll be great at it, Joel. That's that's one of things I appreciate about you is the ability to translate the faith with an encouraging word and connect with people and ah, and it's gonna be great. I look forward to what is gonna happen in the future at the point. And what what God has in store for your continued ministry. Among that congregation They're very fortunate. Thio have you as their pastor. And I know you feel the same way about the congregation itself to be their pastor. So both all three of us have. You know, we've been through the rigors of the University of Sioux Falls theology program and, um, and have gone to three separate seminaries. Um, but looking back from the time we began the program at USF 2000 to 2003 right in that area up into today I know it's been a while, hasn't it? Getting old. Speak for yourself. Um what What do you wish you would have known to your 18 year old itself in 2002? Um what? What would you have told your 18 year old self that, you know, now that you didn't know then about theology and ministry, either one of you feel free to take that question.
Have a great question. Agility essence cannot stop your hand.
Yeah, I don't know if it's any good, but, uh, I think Theo hold things lightly, Have a sense of humor. It don't take yourself too seriously. Um, because I think sometimes, like when you're doing you find yourself on a defensive mode when people don't agree with you or hold your views. But when you can kind of hold it lightly and and, uh, listen to another person, even if they disagree with you, then, uh, and it's so much more pleasant. And I think it's so much more. Christ like to be able to, uh, create that kind of an environment where that that's the nature of the conversation, the one where you're not threatened by the other person even if they see things differently than you do, but that you could appreciate them and, uh, learn from them. You
know, I resonate with that a lot. I love that sentiment of not taking taking ourselves too seriously. I think I could go back and talk to a few know Travis that would recommend he breathed just kind of bleed more. And, uh, you know, I just wantto echo Joel. But you also just said about friendship and how formative and how much of a gift that that was and continues to be from with you two and a whole host of friends at us and for, you know, the culture that that institution Foster's around culture for service and formation of one spirit and faith as well as, you know, an academic experience. So I can think it to be really, really thankful for that environment. But I know when the other theology and philosophy major and when you wantto be in, uh, a institution of higher learning and apply yourself, you know, there's pressure that comes with that and our expectations. And, um, you know, I think looking the no, I'm so I'm so grateful that Christ moves and lives in those spaces, but it's just so not campaigned in those spaces. You know, God is so much at work and all sorts of places that are not universities for institutions of
learning, all these places where we can get so kind of fixated on getting the right ideas or no ex selling at, um, you know, a particular, um, academic enterprise. And I think that's also very important. But looking back, I would just ruin, you know, open my eight year old eyes to see God at work and all sorts of out of the way places as well and clearly, even perhaps more so than what happens in classrooms on Lee,
what are some of those out of the way places. I'm interested in that. That phrase, you know, Eugene Peterson uses the phrase Christ plays in 10,000 places on your ministry. 10 12 years of ministry, full time ministry. Now, where have you seen? Got it work.
Well, I mean, I was just today hearing about Vietnamese women here in ST Louis. You are out of jobs right now. They, um typically in this particular community of these women were employed in salons and are now finding that they are out of work. And what's so incredible to me about this story is that these women know, in their own sense of vulnerability and unemployment, have banded together with the Vietnamese community in san rules, which is a pretty, um, pretty stout community. Lots of folks here have built community in the bit Vietnamese culture, and, um, they have come together to make masks who are health care professionals and four fellow, the enemy's folks. You're having to go in the hospitals and can also feel really intimidated by hospitals here. Perhaps her English isn't very off, flew in and so see messages of solidarity at work and that compassionate action and not just saying, you know, what do I not have right now? Um, but building that sense of community together, I think just recently in the midst of this coded crisis president really remarkable thing Thio learn about and witness.
That's an incredible story that you know, that story and so many others like it that we hear of people in very precarious situations giving of themselves for the sake of others. And if that's not gospel, right, that's not the work of God. Um, yeah. I don't know. I don't know what is. That's fascinating. So transitioning now to these times that we're in three pastors in the midst of Corona virus. I'm curious, both of you. What resource is your drawing on right now? During these days? Um, that helps you in your faith. And that helps you in your ministry. Joel. You wanna take that first?
Yeah, I've been reading a lot more lately, and, uh, just in the morning was waking up. You know, it's kind of nice. When we moved into the house, we just, like, didn't have our antenna hooked up in all that sort of thing. I'm so like a big habit of mine is out. Has been to watch the news in the morning and the evening. Just kind of see what's going on in the world. That kind of got cut out because we didn't have a TV for a while and, uh, blood red in the morning for a cup of coffee. And, um and, you know, just going through Scripture and reflecting and praying and doing some still searching and that sort of thing has been really beneficial. And I'm thankful for that. Kind of, I don't know. You slow down our our dining room now doesn't have a TV near it. It's found in the living room. So you kind of have go out of the way that my wife and I just kind of choose that. Stay upstairs in the dining room a little bit more where we can just, uh you know, uh, talk to each other and you know it or sometimes you're just in silence and that's okay, you know? So that's been that's been really helpful. I think they you know, your stuff I've learned about, like, neurologically what happens in our brands even when we're just bored and not doing anything that important things are happening. But when we can just, like, reflect and meditate fell? Yeah, that's been really helpful. All right,
thanks, Joe. Travis, you're drunk on in these in these days,
Um, by Joel having that kind of ritual of scripture reading prayer meditation has been soul studying for me. Um, the ah, attention. I think I feel that in ministry, like now, with so many pastors mind I'd love to hear all you both are navigating messes. How do we we abide by the least here in ST Louis. I'm assuming I think the same is happening in South Dakota. Sioux Falls, the stay at home ordinance that we're trying to be really careful around a physical contact with people clearly, um, but at the same time, not sort of allowing that to be, um, kind of license, uh, two, um, kind of insulate one cell and and, uh, Ms out on potential ways that, uh, ministry could do something in an innovative way or, uh, could move toward ah, kind of future step. Uh, and in ministry and in congregational life, but just kind of hunkering down and the longer was hunkering down. I'm trying to find ways to be both in print and reflection in that kind of virtual discipline, but also sort of agitated myself, too. I think a little bit more outside the box and to think about my past roll call in terms of, um, the no expression I have as the pastor at Second Presbyterian Church, continuing to keep, you know, plates spinning and committee meetings and team ministry team meetings going through juvenile, naturally important. But also, you know, allowing the spirit too kind of re flame something's and re flame, you know, what are we doing and why? And was it's gonna look like after the pandemic. And how is God gonna shift and change community of faith in ways that will be more robust, more faithful, but look very different than, uh, you know, kind of conventional traditional models of what churches? And I'm in a pretty traditional setting right now. So that's some anymore. The question from you then then you two and your settings. But, um, yeah, I think it's planning that balance right now. Sole care, um, family care, as the primary home schooler have a six and four year old as well on then trying to stay kind of stayed state, allow the spirit to kind of stormy and move me into some new imaginative places.
You know, I think all three of our contexts might be wrestling with with that question Travis related to what is the future hold, Um, and and how do we how do either live into that future that maybe we've longed for as a congregation? But now this crisis is an opportunity to, uh, accelerate that, Or ah, or an opportunity to, um, to realize that there is a fatigue that comes with online worship and digital platforms and that fatigue doesn't replace human to human contact and in person worship and all those kinds of things and trying to navigate between those two streams. Ah, what a wonderful opportunity, though, to have that space right now to be able to, um, experiment in away with perhaps what we might think we want but not have the, uh, and not have to jump totally in yet, you know, into the digital world because at some point this will end and we can pull back and, um, but we'll have this time that we can reflect on to think about how interacting digitally has impacted our understanding of what community is and what are the positives for video conferencing. What are some of the things that it cannot do? You know, all those kinds of questions. What an opportunity, though during this time too able to, um, to reflect on that, never waste a good crisis. Winston Churchill said right. So, um, how do we not waste this opportunity, um, to reflect on that. So I appreciate that you guys air are really working through that and thinking about what the future holds for the church. And, ah, how this might be a catalyst for something, whatever that something is six months down the road, 10 months down the road, you know, a couple of years from now. Um, that's why I brought you two on. I mean, the experts are on here, So that's what I was told.
Where we have the questions and then jury is to provide a
Yeah, you were fooled. Well, you know, one of one of the questions that I been noticing floating around again on social media and in conversations with people, is the relationship between science and faith. And I listened a week ago to Dr Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, who is also Ah, follower of Christ. And he was talking about the interrelation between science and religion, science and faith. And I thought, What another good opportunity for us to be able to see a very clear example of how these two things can. These two resource is can be helpful for us as people today to navigate these waters. How have you both of you over the past 18 years? Let's say, But maybe even more than that the past 10 years in pastoral ministry, how have you come to the place to see the importance of science and its relationship to faith?
Joel your thoughts.
And I mean, I've never felt the tension there, you know, like I grew up in a family where that was never It's either science or faith, you know? And I'm surprised that, like, how much I think you know, you take it for granted. Growing up, Not kind of an environment. Um but I'm surprised at how much for people on either side, uh, that that there's such a duel is in there over the matter. uh, and I've always thought that there's a great harmony like it and the way I tend to think about it, like we're looking at different areas of the world, you know, like science that, uh what? And theology Asked why, you know, and so science with dirt that the beautiful creation that God has made. I was thinking about speaking of bird watching a red breasted nut hatch out of the backyard right now the cute. Anyway, I was thinking about like it was like, God tells us to name the animal and Genesis, you know, And there's something important about our names. Like when somebody knows your name and that's meaningful to you. You're surprised they remembered it or something like that when we named something like we give a value and Worth. And so how cool is that bet be? Scientists have these names for these animals, birds and oh, or whatever. And it's like give you a deeper appreciation for God's creation, you know, like in my head and my heart, that all works together so beautifully, you know. And so But I'm surprised especially, of course, Facebook. I think. I think Facebook and social media give this an impression that we're more polarized than we actually are. The people who are saying those things on either side tend to be the most vocal ones. So that's what you see. And but, uh, yeah, you know, I hope that people can feed that there's a place for prayer, for healing and for hope in the midst of all of this. But there's also a place for listening to what the experts and science and medicine have to say to, you know, there's not one of the other
the others up there's, ah, mutuality, inner working between both of them. Yeah. What do you Travis?
I'm wondering just, ah, in terms of our us self correcting him. Were you, General Joel? You were in the science religion? Um, senior J term course with Rourke and Bender, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Jerry, where you would
matter to me. I wasn't I wasn't in that, uh, was that helpful for you?
Well, I'm just thinking back to this great January intensive we had with fantastic theologian, our mentor and teacher, Dr Kim, and Under and Dr Work as well is M I t trained and personal safe, but also more, um, more scientific in his professional expertise. But to have him sit down together and read through text together that you gave a lot of substance of resource is for how do you hold faith and science together in ways that could be compatible but also in ways that you don't have to try? Thio overreach. Nothing. Sometimes with the temptation for people of faith toe want to explain Yang's disapproval state language that, you know, sometimes as the Scripture says, you know, let your words be few. It doesn't have to be a moment to say, Well, here's why this happened. Um, but I am going to sit in this city in some mystery with you, while also having some resource is tiu to provide that, uh, will allow for someone to have some sense of direction, you know, some sense of disposition, your orientation, you know, in in some of these mysteries of suffering right now especially, you know, why is this happening? Why has got allowing this suffering to take place? Um, you know, I think what I hadn't had some of those resource is and some of those handles from that course to, um be guiding from my own interpretation of this and also kind of allowing you to not have to say too much. You know, theologically, we're kind of over extended theologically and kind of get into some corners that can be less than helpful or hard Thio. Fundamentally. Um um, you know, validate At the end of the day. Um, you know, I think it allows for me to have a sense of humility. And not to me, is one of the greatest virtues, I think, And people who hold science and safe together that there is an authentic humility to ask real questions and to be in real dialogue and to say, Look, I don't have all this figured out. What are you thinking? How can you build a relationship Where now the tradition of theological reflection. You know, in our case, the Christian theological tradition and, um, science and all of its varieties can can be in interesting and meaningful dialogue.
That question that you posed as a good segue way into ah, little clip, I want to share and get your thoughts on the question of why um Why is this happening? For what purpose is the pandemic here? what lesson can be learned All those kind of questions. Perhaps you've heard those questions floated around as well. Um, there's an interesting insight from Kate Bowler, who is a historian at Duke Divinity School, and she is in her late thirties and a couple of years ago she was diagnosed with Stage four colon cancer, and she wrote a book about her experience in processing, um, her thoughts on, uh, having Stage four colon cancer. The book that she wrote is entitled Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies. I've loved Love That Title, Um, and there is a little clip from The Today Show on NBC in which Anne Thompson interviews her about her faith and how it's changed or how she's processed and thought through this diagnosis in light of of the book that was published shortly before this interview was taken. So just listen to this clip for a couple minutes, and then I'd like to get both of your reactions to, ah, to what Kate Bowler has to say. She's turned her odyssey of living while dying in tow, a best selling book. Everything happens for a Reason and Other Lies. I've loved letting go of the idea. God has a specific plan for her. I think it's awful to then start imagining God is the one who's doling out cruel and terrible lessons just to watch us learn or die. Where did you see the face of God? In my friends, in my family, in the dozens of people who showed up, everything was full of people praying for me. Everybody waas just the hands and feet of Christ and and that love really sustained us. And yet, for all those prayers, you still have kids. Yes, that's right. My faith isn't dependent on whether or not that works out. And I'm kind of done with lessons like I'm done. Instead, she wants an honest conversation about suffering. I mean, I think so. Things. Yeah, I think everything happens, period. I do think things just happen and something's come apart and something's come together. If I could pick one thing, it would be that everyone's simmers down on the explanations for other people suffering and just steps in with Mom. That's a beautiful thing. So there it is, Um, a short clip from Kate Bowler, you guys, his thoughts and reactions to what she had to say about her own suffering or suffering in General Travis to go. Well,
I think she's such a breath of fresh air just in terms of her own vulnerability and her voice. I mean, we saw a little bit right there are concerning, you know, having authentic discussion of suffering. And there's something really, really powerful about not trying to excuse it away, not kind of sugar coat it. But, you know, as the tradition of job teaches us just going on a sit on the our sheets of life and be silent or being the you know, we used to come just basically compassionate and not try toe blame. People are not trying to find some cause all the time for why people are going to hardship. My hunch is that quite a few folks could probably point to some move like that as a reason that they are not Christian or I have had a painful experience with Christians or the church. And, you know, I think having that that kind of disposition that we just heard about builds connection and build a sense of sacredness, where the mystery of faith and the gift of praise can can come alongside in a company and do something but something transformative in someone's life as they are being together in that shared suffering.
I think that's the key, the shared suffering, that there's a quote that she said that really jumped out at me, she said. I'm done with lessons who have done with lessons, and there seems to be this. I'm done with lessons. She says. I'm done with lessons, you know, trying to learn something from the the suffering tryingto trying to uncover what reason exists for why I'm experiencing what I'm experiencing. Um, that really jumped out at me. Joel. What did you hear in those in her remarks?
Well, um, I just got me wondering how much of our expectations of what God should be like. Our base did not feel theology that assumed individual is, um, and personal salvation and that sort of thing versus, like that. I mean, in the Jewish and the British Christian tradition, it's very earthy and very human in the sense that God felt picked on flesh and, uh, and suffers on a cross. And, um and it's so, like, question blood like relationships. The nitty gritty daily grind of life. Um, that, like, I think our theology needs to happen there. And not just this abstract kind of spirituals thing that we've had. Um, and and I just remember you're reading a book that to me very early on formative called The Irresistible Revolution by Xiang Clay Borman. Um, and I think he had said something in there and I don't know, maybe we ll cool j now, but it stuck with me that, you know, you pray like how come that doesn't do something about the suffering? And he said, Well, he has, like, he sent up like like he himself came in in Christ into the world, uh, and walked among those who suffer most and himself suffered in ways that will never understand. You heard somebody say the other day that you know, Jesus understood isolation Ah, in way that, like many of us, even now be nice, lighter than our home can't understand. And that's profound. I think, um, and that that we have a God who is with us and to walk alongside of that invites us to do that the same thing. And sometimes there's no, Like you said, uh, There's no less than our answer to it other than just be present to each other in the midst of our suffering. And what I heard from her was just like, how important community Woz, Um, through all of that work that to be with each other. And, um, you know, I've been thinking about Ecclesiastes season and somebody cinches stuck like it hurts and it's painful and there's not necessarily a reason for it, Um, but be with each other in the midst of all of that, I think is what God does, what he calls us to do it. I think if we all just kind of assumed that maybe problem of evil wouldn't be quite so problematic. I mean, we could still admit that it is. It's not fun, terrible, but perhaps we could kind of expect it a little bit more like we live in a broken creation that's even hostile toward up yet as beautiful as it is. So
if I make and I can I take a moment just thio highlight one of the most profound gestures of just the thing you're talking about, Jerry, Uh, Joel and, uh, also just really lift up you the power of your your guys. It's friendships and me. I remember in a moment of suffering in my own life, you know, when my father passed away, you know, I hadn't had a relationship that I mentioned earlier with him and going from New Jersey, where I was living at the time, all the back to Omaha, Nebraska, to attend his wake. You know, thinking that I was gonna be pretty isolated and journeying through this whole crazy experience of myself and look over and see you, too. And Tom Zimmerman Just showing up in that place, uh, was just one of the North powerful gestures of friendship and a share in some sense of shared suffering. Guys been come there with all sorts of answers for me or no there, there, you know, everything happens for a reason kind of stuff or just we're here. We love you, and you don't have to do this around. And it's my present. Everyone whose faces suffering, which we all do in some way experience that kind of friendship. That's enough to bear witness to the gospel in God's. Scott shared suffering on redemption for us in Christ, so I had to take that moment to give you to, um just a shot up for your own friendship in your own embodying of that theology. Ah, and our friendship together. I
appreciate that. Well, it's timeto wrap up this Ah, podcast. The inaugural podcast. I appreciate both of you coming on and being part of, ah, being part of this discussion and sharing Sameer, your thoughts and a little bit of your life and experience with our audience. Whoever that might be the five people who listen to this. I'm talking to you, mom, uh, anymore. My mom would also
And she was, you know, she was your biggest fan, Neil. Site review.
That's true. Travis, Travis and I had a radio show at the University of Soup. All schools. You know this
Joel. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I
I called in a
way. That was we got there. We got the most listeners that night. I think we were up to seven, so Yeah, well, it was a sacred going
viral back in the
His stock Tell me the next day. Oh, you are really bad.
could have been listening to a little over jabbering on about everything that was going on.
That's right. They remember taking class notes into the studio just to have something to talk about. It was great. I think I think we broadcasted. Maybe what? 10 city blocks from around You have something like that. It was a good example from the heart
of the nation.
That's right in the heart of the nation. Well, I have to end with one question for both of you. Joel sends you have been posting a bird of the day. Ah, I'm curious. If you could be a bird, what type of bird would you be and why,
man? Mmm. That's a good question. Um, I think a chicken e cause they're really cute and they seem like they're all in positive. Whether it's knowing our reigning or cold or hot, They're just always having fun.
Chicken e Are they playing are plentiful around here in the Midwest. Very yeah.
In fact, if you go to any nursing home and talk to any woman living there, chances are he's got a letter with the chicken. Deana,
is that right? I didn't know that. Travis, You What would you be? What type of bird.
Well, besides a pterodactyl my boys would love if their battered under pterodactyl.
That demon ager dad points, right? Yeah,
but since I'm in ST Louis, you know, I know that people have a thing for cardinals on your ST Louis Cardinals baseball team. So I want to keep my job. I should probably say the Cardinals
card. That's good choice one. That's a good choice. Yeah, well, the cardinals air. Hopefully, they'll be a baseball season, you know? Well, all right. Interesting. It will be interesting. Ah. You know, uh, I would be an owl. I was going because of your wisdom, Jerry. No, no, no, no. Because all they do is is sit and observe. And that's really what I do. So has nothing to do with wisdom or even being no internal. Because I'm not. It has more to do with just sitting. And when
they're not in there eating,
you know, you know me too well, Jill. That's right. Sitting, eating, observing. That's the basic rhythm of my life. But ah, I think owls. They're just I was I was at a store the other day. We're trying to figure out how to keep rabbits and deer out of our garden. And they have these little plastic owls you can buy to put on posts around your garden. And I looked at it and they really look nice. Somebody really beautiful creatures. And I've never looked at an AL up close and course, this was just a plastic owl. But if it's any reflection of the real thing Ah, they're pretty pretty cool. So, anyways, Joel and Travis, I have appreciated this immensely. It is been, ah, nurturing to my soul. Thio here, you guys, into here, you reflect on on some of these things related to faith and our culture and the current situation that's that's going on around us, so hopefully we can do this again. All right. All right. Well, I will let you guys go and look forward to talking to you sooner than later. You guys be well and stay healthy.
All right? You
all right, you guys? Yep. Bye for now. Well, there you have it. Friends. Conversation with Joel and Travis. Too. Wonderful friends, wonderful pastors. Just great all around people. So I hope you've enjoyed the conversation and and, ah, tune in. Next time we will have another interview in which we talk about faith, culture and the church. Bye. For now,