Tag Archives: theory

82: Unlearning Youth Group

John and Gregg begin this episode by discussing an article from Relevant Magazine, entitled “3 Youth Group Lessons I’ve Had to Unlearn,” by Addie Zierman.

Gregg explains that the article expresses a similar perspective to the one that he has adopted in his discussion with Tommi, on the matter of theory versus practice. Specifically, Tommi has charged that Gregg seems to be focused more on theory than on practice, yet Gregg disagrees. Instead he believes that we need to approach practice through theory due to certain orientations within evangelical Christianity.

Gregg highlights how the article suggests that evangelical Christians have actually siloed themselves from others because they have been persuaded to adopt an overly defensive pose, much a Gregg has been highlighting in his series of blog posts about churches that adopt “boundary-focused” approaches to outsiders. Gregg’s point is that the author’s view (that Christians are overly defensive) and that of her church / youth pastor (that Christians will be persecuted and must be ready to give reasons for their beliefs) represent two practical orientations that are not only opposed to each other but stalemated, and that this stalemate can only be overcome by appealing to theory.
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80: How to Listen and Disagree

In this episode John and Gregg discuss how one can or should disagree, in situations where others raise viewpoints that one thinks are questionable or does not believe.   John gives the example of being at a party and someone making an offhand comment about the human soul after death. Several people added supporting comments and John observed a number of “courtesy nods.”

John thought something seemed amiss in the comment but didn’t think that he could unpack all his thoughts (or perhaps even be as clear about them as he wanted to be) and so chose to remain silent. Yet he raises the idea that having integrity can also mean being honest about the fact that one doesn’t agree with something. So John wonders: How can we be constructive while disagreeing?
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78: Be More Practical and Less Theoretical | Listener Feedback

In this episode John and Gregg welcome Tommi Poelstra, John’s wife, to the show. Tommi joins John and Gregg to offer feedback on Episode #68.

In Tommi’s view episode #68 was more focused on God’s kingdom than on God “meeting our needs,” which is what John and Gregg set out to discuss at the beginning of that episode. Further, Tommi understood Gregg to be arguing that people should think more about God’s kingdom than about their needs, and that everyone should thus be “kingdom focused” rather than “need focused.”

Gregg responds that God’s kingdom has no real meaning to non-Christians, and that what stage a given Christian / person investigating Christianity may “be at” in terms of Christianity will determine to what extent God’s kingdom is a priority to that person at that moment.

Tommi continues by noting her sense that episode # 68 needed to address human needs directly. So even as she identifies Gregg as someone who values his family and is clearly concerned for their needs, she still perceived a hierarchy in Gregg’s perspective in that episode, where human needs were important but not “as important” as, say, God’s kingdom. Instead, for Tommi the topic of God’s kingdom should not come into—let alone become alone become the primary focus—in discussion on the topic of human needs. They should have been treated in separate podcasts.
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