Thinking Out Loud

April 12, 2016

A Reminder that ‘Radical’ Means ‘Root’

Filed under: Christianity, podcast — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:47 am


When it comes to change, there are four common postures:

  • traditionalist
  • conservative
  • progressive
  • radical

These terms are also sometimes used to describe various clusters of Christians as well, and just a month ago I mentioned that blog aggregator Patheos has an entire channel devoted to Progressive Christians.

But sometimes, I’m not sure about the progressives. I like to think that I belong in that category (on some issues) but I find myself more in the “open, but cautious” category. (The phrase may have originated with non-Charismatic Christians trying to embrace the good things that happened in the post-1970 Charismatic movement.)

But I like the radicals.

‘Radical’ (from the latin radix) means root. The radicals and the traditionalists have more in common than either will admit. The traditionalists are usually scared silly by the radicals, but often the radicals hold the traditionalist writers in high esteem. Funny, that.

So with perhaps some slight hesitation, I informed my readers a few weeks ago about The Deconstructionists Podcast. The thing has gone viral, or whatever the podcast equivalent is called. Adam Narloch and John Williamson describe themselves as “friends with a nerdy passion for discovery, deconstruction, grace, acceptance, authenticity and humble wrestling.” The investigative writer in me could tell you more, but I’ve deferred to their judgement that the description above should suffice.

Okay, on a recent edition they said “damn” in the first 2 minutes, and later called C. S. Lewis a “badass.” This is not for prudes. Or your aunt Beulah. Which is the same thing. (And at the 56-minute mark, they used the four-letter word “Borg,” as in Marcus, which for some people is worse than “badass.”)

But as I listened to the 90 minutes of Episode 5, I realized that behind the curtain, these guys aren’t a threat to orthodoxy at all. Out of all the editions of the podcast I’ve heard so far, the introduction to this one reveals much about their heart intentions.

Image is everything. If you’ve got a Millennial in the house who might only listen to something with a cool factor; something which explains some fairly important things about the Bible itself; this is the online show for them.

However, I’m also writing this knowing I’m not really playing the game. The episodes of Deconstructionists were not recorded in the order in which they are being released, and this first in a 3-part series on the Bible is just a preamble to two more I’m really looking forward to with Timothy Mackie (Ep. 6) and Alexander Shaia (Ep. 7) on the same subject.

(Full disclosure: I might skip the Peter Rollins episode — it’s not part of the series — but I stuck it out with Rob Bell, and never threw anything at my computer monitor the whole time.)

…You don’t have to be Millennial to listen to this, either. Their presentation is engaging and even if you’re a Builder or a Boomer, you might find yourself enjoying this, learning some things, and maybe doing some serious thinking.

If this is radical, then that’s a good thing.


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