Dr. Melody Green, Dean of Urbana Theological Seminary, is the organizer of the 5th annual Tolkien Conference. She herself is a literature scholar, having published and researched on the works of Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, and George MacDonald. The 2016 Conference is November 5 at Grace Community Church in Champaign, Illinois. Please visit www.tolkienconference.com for registration info and topics to be presented. This episode's conversation focuses on the conference, the place of Tolkien's work in today's world, and a side chat about Lewis' enigmatic novel Till We Have Faces.
In the latest "Dialogue With Brandon," Brandon and I discuss what it takes to make a great novel. We are both attempting to write a novel and so we hammer out what makes for great plot and great characters. Is it OK to use cliches? Should our characters be composites of real people we know? Should we use brand names of different products and stores? On and on we go in pursuit of the Great American Novel.
Dr. Michael Danner is the Executive Minister of the Illinois Mennonite Conference. I invited him on the podcast to discuss a "liberal Christian" political perspective, but soon realized he was instead offering me an Anabaptist Christian perspective. While discussing pacifism, "socialism", abortion, and free market capitalism, Michael lays out how the Church can declare the coming Kingdom in the political realm by following in the way of Jesus.
Zac Hicks is the author of the newly released book The Worship Pastor. He is Canon for Worship and Liturgy at Cathedral Church of the Advent (Birmingham, AL) and writes regularly at zachicks.com. You can find out more about the book (along with a free excerpt) at: http://www.theworshippastorbook.com/
This episode features rare interviews from Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy taken from the Presidential Profiles record series. In preparation for the 2016 election it is time to start considering politics at a deeper level. These speech excerpts and brief bios offer insights into the actions and lives of our presidents and in so doing act as a somewhat sober counter to our currently manic political culture. Also, there is still time to support the Kickstarter campaign for the book "Why Every President Sucked" (You can listen to my interview with the book's author in the previous episode). Follow these links to find out more:
Eric Olsen is the author of Why Every President Sucked, and is putting on a Kickstarter campaign until the end of August in order to get the book published. In our conversation we talk about looking at America's presidents with fresh eyes, even the ones we love the most. The book isn't as negative as it sounds, but is an attempt open us up to the simple idea that our presidents were people too and they all made mistakes. To find out more and to support the Kickstarter campaign please visit: http://www.whyeverypresidentsucked.com/
Joe Johnson writes reviews on Bible and theology books at https://tabletalktheology.com/ and http://www.theologues.net/. Our conversation focuses on the importance for "normal churchgoers" to read theological texts and scholarly books on the Bible, as well as which books are good entry level texts to start off with.
Blair Jeffers is a Peoria area artist who is having a showing ("Comic Panels and Literals") at The Art Garage for the month of August. You can view some of her work at her blog: https://blairjeffers.wordpress.com/. Blair also juried the "Unseen Voices" exhibit which will be on display at the Foster Gallery of art during August as well. If you live close to Peoria come out to First Friday or find a time this month to visit some of the many galleries in the city (for locations visit: http://ciaopeoria.com/about-us or http://artspartners.net/).
Carol McPherson is the Director of Discipleship and Fine Arts Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Peoria, Illinois. She is also the director of the Foster Gallery for Christianity and the Fine Arts, which runs out of First United. In our interview we talk about how the Church can be a patron for the arts, about what it means to bring true justice and acceptance to people, and about her former life as a country and western singer. Carol also has a PhD. in liturgical studies from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. Through the month of August 2016 the exhibit "Unseen Voices" is on display at the Foster Gallery, located at 116 Perry Ave., Peoria.
This podcast episode is different from the norm for PostConsumer Reports. It features a talk Chris Marchand (host and writer for PCR) gave on Classical Education. Chris is the headmaster at Aletheia Christian School in Peoria, Illinois (www.peoriaclassical.org). Chris goes into the philosophy behind Classical Education, how we give our kids the "lost tools of learning", and how we hope to create lifelong lovers of learning. Welcome to the Great Conversation!