Your host, Anthony Gill, is professor of political science at the University of Washington and distinguished senior fellow at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion.  Learn more.
Oct 22 - James Felak on the Counter-Reformation.
Featured Episodes
Date: October 15th, 2017

Early adulthood can be a very disorienting time for individuals as they wrestle with the practicalities of moving out on their own and beginning a professional career. What are colleges doing to encourage thoughtfulness about meaning in life when it comes to plotting out one’s life trajectory? Prof. Tim Clydesdale of The College of New Jersey discusses his evaluative research of a Lilly Foundation initiative to encourage colleges to incorporate the idea of “vocation” into their educational mission. We discuss what “vocation” is, how different schools have incorporated this theme into their curriculum, and what aspects of such programs seem to work best. While not strictly a discussion about religious vocation, this topic should be of interest to anybody interested in education and developing the whole person, spiritually or not.

We celebrate our 350th episode and 7 1/2 years of unique and crescent fresh content. Please tell a friend or colleague about us. Thanks!

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Date: October 8th, 2017

The Nordic states are known for their high levels of socio-economic equality, good governance, and high levels of social trust. While some scholars have attributed this to their unique brand of secular social democracy, Prof. Robert Nelson (U of Maryland) argues that Nordic social democracy has deep roots in the “Lutheran ethic.” We discuss how the Lutheran ethic is different than the Calvinist ethic (as seen by Max Weber), how contemporary social democratic thought in Nordic countries has similar elements to Lutheranism, and what is in store for social democracy.

Check out our other podcasts related to the Protestant Reformation this year!

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Date: October 1st, 2017

While pastors often don’t want to talk about the subject of church funding, it is an established fact that religious groups need finances to survive and thrive. Prof. James Hudnut-Beumler (Vanderbilt University) discusses the importance of thinking about church funding and takes us on a tour of how church financing has changed in the United States over the past two and a half centuries. We cover topics such as pew rentals, competition from benevolence groups, and automatic debiting. Technological and social changes have affected how religious organizations collect revenue and, in turn, has shaped our religious landscape in interesting ways.

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Date: September 17th, 2017

Many misconceptions surround the Protestant Reformation, from it being the birth of capitalism to it prompting Europe’s secularization. Noted sociologist of religion Rodney Stark (Baylor ISR) joins us to discuss these myths and more. With the 500th anniversary of the Reformation just about a month away, this is a great opportunity to refresh on some interesting talking points to engage your friends, family, and colleagues.

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Date: September 10th, 2017

How should Christians think about capitalism? While many religious critiques of a capitalist market exist, Dr. Anne Rathbone Bradley discusses how Christianity is congruent with capitalism. Dr. Bradley is careful to note that the Bible doesn’t advocate any particular economic system, which is contrary to some arguments that view the early Church Fathers as proto-socialists, but she does pass along some biblical insights into human flourishing and addresses the issue of income and wealth inequality.

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Date: September 3rd, 2017

In light of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, we offer up this timely podcast from last year on religion and disasters. Prof. Jamie Aten (Wheaton College) shares his experience with Hurricane Katrina and explains how congregations can get prepared for natural disasters and other calamities.

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Date: August 27th, 2017

During the 1990s, following the end of the Cold War, the United States began to ramp up counterterrorism efforts around the globe. Some nations proved relatively cooperative with these efforts whereas others did not. Prof. Peter Henne (University of Vermont) explains how religion-state relations condition the response of different governments to these counterterrorism examples. We examine this in a broad perspective and with specific attention to Pakistan, UAE, and Turkey.

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Date: August 20th, 2017

The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation will be celebrated on October 31st of this year, marking the date that Martin Luther disseminated his famous 95 Theses on papal authority and indulgences. Prof. Emily Fisher Gray of Norwich University contextualizes this historically important document and explains how the themes of liberty and authority play out in this and other of Luther’s writings. We review the impact of this document, as well as Luther’s thoughts about a peasant uprising he inspired.

This is the fourth in our special series on the Protestant Reformation. Visit our archives for more great episodes.

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Date: August 13th, 2017

The Bible reminds us that self-control is an important character trait that helps one avoid a sinful life. With that in mind, Prof. Bradley Wright (University of Connecticut) discusses a new study he conducted with colleagues on the science of self-control. Using the data collected from the three year research project known as SoulPulse, Brad explores how things such as sleep, interpersonal conflict, and other factors affect our ability to resist short-term temptations that run counter to our long-term goals. He also discusses how this study has personally helped him change various small habits to enhance his self-control.

Visit our extensive archives for more great episodes. There’s sure to be a topic of interest to everyone.

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