A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar

Love and Truth: Interview with Jared Byas

September 09, 2020 Randy Knie, Kyle Whitaker Season 1 Episode 5
A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
Love and Truth: Interview with Jared Byas
Chapters
A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
Love and Truth: Interview with Jared Byas
Sep 09, 2020 Season 1 Episode 5
Randy Knie, Kyle Whitaker

In this episode, we interview Jared Byas, author and co-host of the hit podcast The Bible for Normal People. We discuss his new book Love Matters More, available now wherever books are sold. It's a lively discussion about love and truth, and how those concepts are often abused by religious people under the guise of "telling the truth in love."

The beer featured in this episode is from Central Waters Brewing Company.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we interview Jared Byas, author and co-host of the hit podcast The Bible for Normal People. We discuss his new book Love Matters More, available now wherever books are sold. It's a lively discussion about love and truth, and how those concepts are often abused by religious people under the guise of "telling the truth in love."

The beer featured in this episode is from Central Waters Brewing Company.

[Music]

00:14

welcome to

00:14

a pastor and a philosopher walk into a

00:16

bar the podcast where we mix a sometimes

00:19

weird but always delicious cocktail of

00:21

theology

00:22

philosophy and spirituality

00:28

well hello friends and welcome to

00:29

another installment of a pastor and a

00:31

philosopher

00:32

walking to a bar as usual we're excited

00:35

to be with you today

00:36

and we're extremely excited about this

00:39

episode today we

00:40

are interviewing a co-host of one of our

00:43

favorites if not our favorite other

00:45

podcast called the bible for normal

00:47

people if you haven't listened to it

00:49

you've been missing out so go put that

00:51

on your q right now

00:53

and we are interviewing jared bias a

00:55

co-host and an author

00:57

and he just wrote a book called love

00:59

matters more

01:00

it's a brilliant book really beautiful

01:02

dropped yesterday

01:04

and we're excited to talk to him but

01:06

before we talk to him

01:08

it's always better to talk to somebody

01:09

with beer or whiskey or something like

01:12

that right kyle

01:13

always yes absolutely so what's

01:15

happening today

01:17

well today we have a beer from central

01:19

waters brewing company which is kind of

01:21

a staple

01:22

in wisconsin very well known among beer

01:25

aficionados in wisconsin it's known

01:26

and a little bit outside i was gonna say

01:28

is it known outside of wisconsin

01:30

yeah so i'm in a lot of beer like

01:34

maybe i shouldn't say this on the

01:35

podcast i don't know i'm in a lot of

01:36

beer trading groups

01:38

are those illegal or something well

01:41

[Laughter]

01:43

as long as it sticks to trading i think

01:45

it's okay i'm in a lot of groups where

01:47

people talk about beer how about that

01:49

and uh and central waters comes up from

01:51

time to time they do a few

01:53

special release stouts every year for

01:55

example they have one called black gold

01:57

that everybody loves barrel age stout

02:00

they have an anniversary stout they

02:02

release every year and

02:04

usually they have like a 5k to go along

02:05

with the release of some of their beers

02:07

and like people flock up to central

02:09

waters and it's a whole thing

02:10

in the fall so it's a lot of fun and

02:12

they have this

02:13

uh this series called brewers reserve

02:17

which is just a series of barrel-aged

02:19

beers of all

02:20

varieties so what we have here is called

02:24

call me old fashioned it's one of their

02:26

brew reserve beers and this one

02:29

is a 12 red ale and it says it's got

02:32

cherries and it was aged in

02:36

uh various barrels brandy bourbon and

02:39

orange curacao barrels so

02:40

there you go it doesn't say what

02:41

brandies or whatever well

02:44

cheers yeah cheers cheers

02:53

i'm gonna say interesting

02:55

[Laughter]

02:58

yeah my wife grace really likes cherry

02:59

pepsi and i feel like she would love

03:01

this

03:02

it's a little thin um

03:05

i don't know hot like uh like a young

03:08

whiskey hot

03:10

it's sweet like like barrel aged ales

03:14

are

03:14

it's got that back of the tongue layer

03:17

of sweetness you know i'm talking about

03:20

it's not as effervescent as bright

03:23

yeah um as i would like either yeah

03:25

almost tastes over carbonated

03:27

over carbonated that makes sense yeah it

03:30

tastes like really high quality

03:31

coffee syrup uh it's a good that's a

03:35

very nice backhanded cotton

03:36

yeah there elliott that's good that's

03:38

not really nice that's like the best

03:40

version of the

03:41

this is like the best version of the

03:44

cheap way to flavor your bag

03:46

i mean central waters does some great

03:48

stuff but i'm i'm just

03:49

they really do yeah is it i wonder if

03:51

it's maybe maybe not their best this

03:52

might be a bit more of a novelty though

03:54

is it it's something that's kind of it's

03:56

meant to be a bit off yeah i think the

03:57

idea is that it's supposed to taste like

03:59

a like a brandy old fashioned i think is

04:01

the idea

04:02

i feel like if we which i'm you know i'm

04:05

kind of opposed to the idea of a brandy

04:06

old fashioned anyway so maybe i'm not

04:08

there

04:08

i can't say that oh wisconsin i mean i

04:10

agree

04:11

right i like ryer berbino fashions but

04:13

old fashions

04:14

are my jam i feel like if we were at a

04:16

real bar

04:17

the name in the brewery would have

04:20

caught our ascension we

04:21

said yeah let's have some of that and

04:23

then we would have had this experience

04:25

yeah yeah don't don't let this uh

04:28

put you off of their other brewers

04:29

reserve series though because they do

04:31

have some interesting stuff i mean god

04:32

bless central waters

04:33

but for me and we'll find this because i

04:35

know you love barrel age stouts and all

04:37

that business kyle but

04:38

if barrel aged beers of all sorts just

04:40

went away

04:42

i think the world would be a better

04:43

place oh good

04:47

what is wrong with you oh geez i'm good

04:50

just because of that just for that

04:51

comment i'm gonna force you to go back

04:53

to our previous episode

04:55

disagreeing well

04:58

well uh hopefully our interview is uh

05:01

more tasteful than the beer

05:02

right you are just full at the backhand

05:06

they're not even beckoning compliments

05:07

they're just

05:08

[Music]

05:11

all right well central waters nice try

05:16

[Music]

05:21

so in this episode we're really excited

05:23

to have our guest jared bias he is the

05:26

co-host of one of our favorite podcasts

05:28

it's called the bible for normal people

05:30

i have to say jared

05:31

it's one of my favorite podcasts being

05:33

an academic because i feel like you guys

05:36

really showcase genuine expertise and

05:38

this is something that

05:40

is fairly unusual in the kind of

05:42

progressive evangelical podcast space

05:44

that we both inhabit

05:45

so i'm super grateful for you guys for

05:48

for doing that

05:49

uh and you have a new book coming out

05:51

and we're we're really excited to talk

05:53

with you about it on this episode

05:54

excellent well thanks for having me i'm

05:56

looking forward to it awesome

05:58

jared you recently wrote love matters

06:01

more that's

06:01

out now people can get it everywhere you

06:04

buy books

06:05

and it's a really really wonderful book

06:07

i'm wondering why you wrote it what

06:09

inspired you to write that

06:10

what was the process as to why you think

06:13

it's important

06:14

yeah i mean i think it really comes down

06:16

to and i think this theme will come up

06:17

again and again and i love that you guys

06:18

bring a philosophical and a pastoral

06:21

perspective because

06:22

for me it was a little bit of a

06:24

challenge to put those all within myself

06:27

and that's kind of what it was is

06:29

philosophy this pursuit of truth i mean

06:31

i've always been extremely curious and

06:34

so that was and also if we're being

06:36

honest a need to be in control and truth

06:38

is

06:39

easy to co-opt for control so

06:42

i was going down that path but then as a

06:44

pastor man i recognized really quickly

06:46

one a lot of people weren't as

06:48

interested in truth as i thought they

06:50

should be

06:51

and two that was okay for them and in

06:53

fact

06:54

they ended up loving and living

06:56

well-lived lives better than me

06:59

and so it was this idea that you know in

07:01

my tradition we privileged

07:03

truth and somehow that was the magic

07:06

bullet that was going to solve all of

07:07

our problems and make us all happy and

07:09

and love was going to come out of that

07:11

and it didn't it it didn't work for me i

07:13

felt trapped

07:14

and so this idea that love matters more

07:17

is my kind of exploration through that

07:19

which didn't come naturally for me i'm

07:20

definitely more of a person in my head

07:22

more of a person who's drawn to

07:25

philosophy and thinking

07:26

and thoughts and being right and having

07:28

the truth so it was this journey of

07:30

learning from other people how much

07:32

love matters more jared you mentioned

07:35

your tradition

07:36

what is your tradition what's your

07:37

background faith and maybe even faith in

07:39

philosophy

07:41

yeah so it kind of merged when i was in

07:43

college but i grew up

07:44

in i grew up in a small town in texas so

07:47

i grew up southern baptist

07:48

as well as charismatic so my grandmother

07:51

is a charismatic minister my dad is a

07:53

good old boy from texas so that kind of

07:55

was merged throughout my upbringing and

07:58

then

07:58

was drawn to a presbyterian church in

08:00

high school

08:01

that i went to by myself because i was i

08:03

was much more drawn to kind of

08:05

intellectual

08:06

ways of being in the faith and that led

08:08

me to

08:09

uh to liberty university where i went to

08:12

undergrad

08:13

and i was gonna i was planning to go and

08:15

major in mathematics so my major was

08:17

math when i went there

08:18

and then i had this philosophy class and

08:20

i said

08:22

you can major in this like you could

08:23

just sit around and do this

08:25

oh i switched in a heartbeat who was

08:27

your professor there do you remember

08:28

what class

08:30

uh professor would have been martin

08:32

would have been that my intro

08:34

uh he would have been dr martin i don't

08:36

know his first name um but he's the one

08:38

who really

08:39

reeled me into this whole philosophy

08:41

thing and then i was like oh it's

08:42

amazing and of course when you're in

08:43

college you don't think okay but what do

08:44

you do with this

08:45

when you graduate um of course

08:49

obviously i was the i was the only i was

08:51

the only one in my class that wasn't

08:54

like pre-law like everyone else that was

08:56

philosophy majors would

08:57

they were going to like do something

08:59

practical like go to law school

09:02

and then you wound up in ministry what

09:04

tradition was that

09:06

yeah so i would have went to westminster

09:07

seminary uh which is presbyterian not

09:10

officially i don't think presbyterian

09:12

but

09:13

very presbyterian and basically what

09:16

happened was in seminary i had no

09:18

intentions to be a pastor

09:20

i went to seminary i wanted to get a phd

09:22

in presuppositional apologetics

09:24

which is why philosophy into apologetics

09:27

defending the faith um and really which

09:31

is defending me

09:32

and wanting to be right and then i got

09:35

there and and to be very frank the

09:36

faculty were kind of jerks

09:38

and and i was like really turned off i

09:41

think to be a successful

09:42

presuppositional apologist you need to

09:44

be a jerk

09:45

it's been my experience anyway i mean i

09:47

don't know if causation and correlation

09:49

i don't know how that works but

09:51

um yeah so that's that's where that

09:54

shifted and then i

09:55

fell in love with the bible in terms of

09:58

biblical studies and really getting into

10:00

the

10:00

the nuts and bolts of how the bible

10:02

works and that was really because the

10:03

faculty

10:04

really displayed the kind of faith that

10:06

i wanted

10:07

and so through that it kind of threw me

10:09

off on my career path

10:11

and led me to to being a pastor for a

10:14

number of years

10:15

first of all i'm blown away that liberty

10:16

university has philosophy

10:18

courses they don't even department a

10:20

couple months ago they shut down their

10:22

department

10:22

they released all the professors yeah so

10:24

there you go

10:25

jerry falwell jr yeah i'm sure he had a

10:28

handle

10:29

but that was yeah that was during his

10:30

tenure yeah

10:32

all right good good good so you were you

10:35

studied along the lines of

10:36

philosophy you were a pastor for for

10:39

several years

10:40

tell us how those two fields in those

10:42

two

10:44

vocations really have influenced the way

10:46

you see the world the way you see

10:48

people the way you see humanity the way

10:49

they see faith yeah

10:51

it kind of going back to what we said as

10:52

that theme of i i feel like they really

10:55

shaped each other in in healthy ways

10:58

where

10:58

you know philosophy was even at liberty

11:01

of

11:02

kind of of all places you could be to

11:04

study philosophy which is ten

11:05

and it was housed in the school of

11:07

religion but even there there was a

11:09

sense that we have to be open we have to

11:11

go

11:11

wherever the logic and the reasoning and

11:14

the evidence

11:15

points us to and so i really appreciated

11:18

what i felt like was a pure

11:20

while the sciences did it in in sort of

11:22

uh the nat

11:23

with natural sciences they did that with

11:25

kind of hard evidence and other things i

11:27

found philosophy to

11:28

do that with more about language and the

11:30

human experience

11:31

and so that was really important to me

11:33

because they were asking the deep

11:34

questions and that was something that i

11:36

was always doing even from a young age i

11:37

was

11:38

i was very weird as a kid i tried to

11:41

hide it as best

11:42

i could but you know i was thinking

11:43

about death and all these things from a

11:45

very young age and trying to figure out

11:47

how it all worked

11:48

and and so that really was giving me

11:51

a leg up in terms of how do what's the

11:54

mechanics of

11:55

the human experience and then the

11:57

ministry part of that

11:59

was again a smack in the face to

12:00

recognize like you may

12:02

find that curious you may think that's

12:04

super important but most people don't

12:06

and does that mean that you're right and

12:08

you're better than them or does that

12:09

mean

12:10

we now have to learn how to serve other

12:11

people and to help other people and to

12:13

kind of walk with people on their

12:15

journey

12:16

and so i had to you know i had to hurt a

12:18

lot of people to be honest

12:20

um to find that out and then kind of

12:23

recognize that that didn't

12:24

feel very good and it didn't seem

12:26

consistent with the kind of life that i

12:28

imagined

12:29

for myself or for anyone and so i had to

12:32

really

12:32

recalibrate that and so the pastoral

12:35

part of me

12:36

very much was about learning about

12:38

humanity

12:39

i tended to live in the clouds and so it

12:41

really brought me back to earth

12:43

in in really really healthy ways i think

12:45

that's that changed

12:46

the trajectory of of what i'm doing so i

12:49

don't think i do the bible for normal

12:50

people without a philosophy background

12:52

and a ministry background yep yep you

12:55

can hear it

12:56

so in the book in your book love matters

12:58

more you said

12:59

i love it when people do the research so

13:02

that i don't have to because i'm gonna

13:04

i'm gonna steal this

13:05

in the future but um you say jesus asked

13:07

307 questions in the gospels then he was

13:09

asked

13:10

183 questions but he only directly

13:13

answers

13:13

three of them what does that how does

13:16

that inform your picture of god what

13:18

does that say about god

13:20

in the christian faith what should that

13:21

say about the christian faith

13:24

well i mean i think it's open to

13:25

interpretation but for me

13:27

it points us to the the fact that maybe

13:31

we've put a little bit too much emphasis

13:32

on the answers and not enough emphasis

13:35

on the questions

13:36

and i think for me if there's been a

13:39

guiding principle for me over the last

13:40

five years it's the recognition

13:42

that questions can be more powerful than

13:44

answers

13:46

because they're an invitation and so it

13:48

questions really do

13:49

meld the head and the heart for me

13:52

because

13:52

the question is seeking

13:56

right and whenever we're seeking

13:58

whenever we're curious

13:59

it's already and always a posture

14:02

of humility because it's always a

14:04

posture of ignorance

14:06

and when i ask a question i'm in the

14:07

question saying i don't know

14:09

and i think that's really valuable for

14:11

our faith so i think it's

14:12

it's important to recognize all these

14:14

questions and that jesus was okay not

14:17

answering directly i feel like we have

14:20

this in

14:21

kind of social media world we think that

14:22

just because someone asks us our opinion

14:24

we're obligated to give it and even when

14:27

people don't ask us our opinion

14:28

we're still obligated to give it that's

14:30

my view of the of apologetics in general

14:32

by the way

14:34

giving your opinion when it's unasked

14:35

for that's

14:37

that's so great to hear you say

14:38

literally today i was teaching plato's

14:40

apology to my students and how

14:43

ignorance you know admission of

14:44

ignorance is the birth of philosophy

14:46

uh that's that's fantastic it's just not

14:48

many people connect it to what jesus

14:50

does in the gospels though

14:51

yeah i mean one of my favorite

14:53

philosophers is jill de luz

14:55

and he talks about you know philosophy

14:57

is

14:58

the practice of happening not to know

15:00

what everybody knows

15:01

and i really like that that's good

15:03

that's good yep that's good

15:05

early in the book jared you talk about

15:08

this thing called

15:09

umvelt am i saying that correctly yeah

15:11

sure

15:12

i mean i'm no german but it sounds good

15:13

to me we're in milwaukee we're

15:16

everything's german here so um yeah you

15:18

would know better than me you're the

15:19

authority then

15:20

exactly so umvelt i've never heard of

15:22

that word but i

15:23

loved how you unpacked it and how that

15:26

how you framed things

15:27

up with that um can you explain that um

15:30

what that means and what that

15:31

what that means scientifically but also

15:33

what that means for us as human beings

15:36

yeah you know i was looking for a

15:37

picture because it's it's pretty

15:40

clear to me in my head because i've been

15:42

dealing with these abstract things for

15:43

so long that we don't have access to

15:46

absolute truth but when you say that it

15:48

can be scary

15:49

on the one hand or it can be confusing

15:51

because it's so abstract

15:53

but this idea of umvelt uh i came across

15:56

which is

15:56

just a way of saying so there's the

15:58

group of scientists called ethologists

15:59

they're studying

16:00

animal behavior so they're kind of

16:02

animal behaviorists

16:04

and they came up with this idea of an

16:06

umvelt which is

16:07

the world as it's experienced by a

16:09

particular organism

16:10

so it takes into account everybody's

16:12

differences and

16:13

limitations and so whenever we think of

16:16

a dolphin

16:17

and their ability how they hear things

16:19

and a bat

16:20

through echolocation and then maybe a

16:22

bird and how they see

16:24

things and they can see from very far

16:26

away and

16:27

that means that they are experiencing

16:29

the world differently because their

16:30

sensory organs

16:32

are sensitive in different ways so what

16:34

one person might experience

16:36

or one animal might experience is really

16:38

loud

16:39

another might not hear at all because of

16:41

the different frequencies and that sort

16:42

of thing and so

16:43

they go through their whole life not

16:45

realizing that there are these high

16:46

pitched sounds or that

16:47

this sound is lower or higher or

16:49

anything like that so

16:51

that as they experience the world is

16:52

their oom vote and so it's not a

16:55

very difficult step to go to humans and

16:57

saying well we all have our own oom

16:59

vowels

17:00

and in sometimes we're in some ways

17:01

we're more complicated because it's not

17:03

just our sensory experiences but

17:05

because we're conscious and we have

17:06

memories we have this whole background

17:09

we have our cultures we have societies

17:12

we have our

17:12

physical locations we have our bodies

17:15

that are built differently

17:17

and so what it the conclusion is you

17:19

know we all have our own umvel and the

17:21

there's a difference between how we

17:23

experience the world

17:24

and the world as it really is and so

17:26

when we say we don't have access to

17:28

absolute truth all we're saying is that

17:31

that we have an umvelt because of all of

17:33

our particularities

17:34

and we can't get outside of those to see

17:37

the world quote as it really is

17:38

yeah it's so beautiful and would be so

17:41

helpful

17:42

for particularly christians to come to

17:45

grips with this reality when he when he

17:46

talked about the dolphin is one that

17:47

came alive for me and let's even think

17:49

about

17:50

like because maybe somebody could argue

17:51

well a dolphin jumps out of the water

17:53

and they're really smart you know so

17:55

they know there's another world out

17:56

there

17:56

but like thinking about a snapper for

17:59

instance who doesn't

18:00

jump out of the water just just and

18:03

there's this reality that their world is

18:05

entirely underwater that's what they

18:06

know

18:07

reality to be it's nothing else besides

18:09

that

18:10

not realizing that there's a whole whole

18:13

world and then universe out there that

18:15

is striking in it

18:17

that made me feel small

18:20

and aware of my limited nature

18:24

which is really really helpful that that

18:26

brings up awe

18:27

and wonder and all sorts of healthy

18:28

things in our process

18:31

super important can you explain like

18:32

what are your what's your take on that a

18:34

little bit and kyle i'd be interested in

18:35

yours as well

18:36

just um that just that just tells me

18:38

maybe there are other worlds maybe

18:39

multiverse is a thing and we just have

18:41

this tiny little

18:42

understanding of what reality is yeah i

18:45

mean i think that

18:46

the whole force of that section of the

18:48

book for me was to let we have to start

18:50

with humility and that's why

18:51

i started that the whole book with that

18:53

idea is we have to be humble about what

18:55

we know and what we don't know

18:57

and you know i paint the picture too of

18:59

of scientific discoveries

19:01

is a practice in this that when we

19:03

discover these things they change our

19:05

whole paradigm of what we thought the

19:06

world was like and how it's made

19:08

and how it works and then we have to

19:10

sort of adjust to this new reality and

19:12

the things that we were so certain about

19:14

that we would literally burn people at

19:15

the stake over before

19:17

now is incontrovertible and who's to say

19:20

that things in the future won't

19:22

be that revelatory either do we do we

19:24

think that we're so smart now that we've

19:26

uncovered all there is to uncover that's

19:29

naive

19:30

and so it's this posture of humility

19:31

that was the real force for me that i

19:33

think is important

19:34

yeah it's good stuff so the the main

19:38

thesis of the book i mean it's right

19:40

there in the title love matters more and

19:41

the implication is

19:43

more than truth right and so you say

19:46

some

19:46

rather provocative things in the book

19:48

about truth so i'd like to talk about

19:50

some of those

19:51

uh one one persistent theme throughout

19:53

the book is

19:54

is this verse from ephesians 4 where

19:57

paul says that you should speak the

19:58

truth

19:59

in love to other people and you have

20:01

quite a bit to say about that so

20:03

so what do you think that phrase

20:05

actually means and

20:06

and what do you think about how it's

20:08

typically used well

20:10

yeah and i think we could go on for this

20:12

on this a long time

20:15

i think we have to start with the fact

20:16

that this phrase really was one of the

20:19

anchor points for me

20:20

in writing the book because this was a

20:23

phrase that would have been

20:24

utilized as a weapon in a lot of ways

20:27

when i was younger

20:28

it was a get out of jail pretty hard for

20:30

i get to say whatever i want to you as

20:32

long as i say

20:33

it's sort of like the just kidding of my

20:35

kids you know

20:36

as they can say whatever they want to

20:37

each other as long as they say i was

20:38

just kidding

20:39

it's like well your your brother's over

20:41

there like crying in the corner i don't

20:42

think it matters that you were just

20:43

kidding

20:44

and i think that's how it was with

20:45

telling the truth in love for people

20:47

it's like

20:47

what i i said i was telling the truth in

20:49

love like well it doesn't look like that

20:51

person

20:51

feels loved so i don't know what you

20:53

mean by love

20:55

uh but i don't think you did what you

20:57

thought you did so i wanted to just

20:58

unpack that phrase and say you know how

21:00

can we look at it differently how can we

21:03

de-weaponize this and it doesn't take us

21:06

long to recognize one if we look at the

21:09

context in which paul is writing this

21:11

the irony for me of the whole thing is

21:13

the whole section's about unity

21:15

and right before he says tell the truth

21:18

in love

21:19

he says bear one another's burdens in

21:21

love

21:22

so if we're not bearing one another's

21:23

burdens in love we're not telling each

21:25

other the truth and love either

21:27

and i think that's a really important

21:29

context but then

21:30

secondly we assume

21:34

when paul says tell the truth in love

21:38

we have so much baggage with that phrase

21:40

we have so much baggage with the word

21:42

truth we make all kinds of assumptions

21:45

about what

21:46

paul means two thousand years ago when

21:48

he uses this word truth

21:50

we we're post enlightenment we're

21:52

post-renaissance we're

21:54

post-modern at this point and so we just

21:56

have so much history with this word

21:58

so what we usually think of it meaning

22:00

is tell people my

22:01

accurate opinions about how the world

22:03

works

22:04

like that's what it we're thinking

22:06

that's what paul means but nowhere else

22:08

i'm going to say nowhere else there are

22:10

one maybe two occasions

22:12

of the dozens and dozens of uses of the

22:15

word truth in the bible

22:17

where it means something even close to

22:18

that

22:20

almost always it means don't be

22:22

deceiving

22:23

it's an ethical and relational term it

22:26

is not an abstract epistemological

22:28

category

22:28

and i think that's really important

22:32

for how we understand what paul is

22:33

talking about it's it's almost always

22:35

in the bible truth is used in the

22:37

context of relationship

22:38

in an ethical way yeah that's that's

22:42

really helpful to contextualize

22:43

some of the other claims you make in the

22:45

book which from the perspective of a

22:47

philosopher can seem a little bit

22:48

startling

22:49

right um so so you say things like um

22:52

here's a here's a paraphrase at least

22:55

the the highest form of truth

22:57

is a life of love at one point you say

22:59

there's no distinction between

23:01

truth and love uh in another place you

23:04

say if you're not in love with the

23:05

person standing in front of you

23:07

then you're not telling the truth no

23:08

matter what comes out of your mouth

23:10

right

23:10

so you know as a philosopher who uses

23:13

truth in different ways in different

23:14

contexts that that can seem a little bit

23:16

shocking

23:17

can you maybe contextualize some of

23:19

those claims a little bit for us

23:21

yeah well i think it starts with in the

23:23

very beginning recognizing i have a

23:25

whole chapter called truth is

23:26

underpaid and overworked and that is we

23:29

just mean too much with the word

23:31

so that's confusing so i try to break it

23:33

down into these three

23:34

you know uh kyle you'll probably

23:37

maybe cringe at how i oversimplify this

23:40

but i thought it was helpful to have

23:42

these three categories and i talk about

23:44

fact truths

23:45

so facts meaning truths and then wisdom

23:48

truths

23:49

and so when we use the word truth some

23:51

people might mean

23:52

facts and some people might mean meaning

23:54

and some people might mean wisdom

23:56

and so it's important to distinguish

23:57

those first so that we can actually have

23:59

a conversation because

24:01

some people say you know is jonah the

24:04

book of jonah true

24:06

well some people are going to say that

24:07

and they mean is it full of facts is it

24:10

historically accurate

24:12

retelling and accounting of history some

24:14

people might say is it meaningful

24:16

is it telling us the truth about god and

24:18

how god interacts with the world

24:20

and some people you know for me there's

24:22

an existential

24:23

uh component to that which is do i am i

24:26

living it out truthfully

24:28

am i following its invitation or

24:30

evocation so

24:32

i think that's important to set that

24:34

stage because when i say things like

24:36

you know if you're not in love with the

24:38

person you can't speak you can't tell

24:40

the truth

24:41

it's in that existential sense in which

24:44

jesus says you know i am the way the

24:45

truth and the life

24:47

or in which john says we have to walk in

24:49

truth

24:50

like that was a conundrum for me right

24:52

how do we walk

24:54

in truth how do we use a verb with truth

24:57

we walk truthfully and so it sort of

25:00

it compels us into this existential way

25:03

of understanding that

25:04

so that i live out truth i'm not just

25:08

checking accurate beliefs off in my head

25:11

which

25:11

is important that's why the book's not

25:13

called you know

25:15

love is the only thing that matters but

25:17

love matters more

25:18

so this is there's a place for facts

25:20

there's a place for meaning

25:22

and it's first getting clear and then

25:24

maybe taking a look at our lives and

25:25

saying

25:26

where have we placed the priorities in

25:28

our own life and for what reason

25:30

what do we think we're going to get out

25:31

of it by placing those priorities

25:33

the way that we do and i think i as a

25:36

pastor have a much easier time with the

25:38

way you're using truth here

25:40

uh jared because because of that

25:41

biblical nuance that where i

25:43

i love this idea that if you're not

25:44

walking in the way of agape love

25:46

you're just actually not walking in the

25:48

way of truth it's that simple no matter

25:50

what you believe what you know what you

25:51

don't know

25:53

if you're not walking in agape love it's

25:54

not true

25:56

biblically speaking right yep yeah and

25:58

and biblically i think that's

26:00

that's true uh and

26:03

i would have to say i'm showing my cards

26:05

here i wouldn't necessarily say this all

26:06

the time but

26:07

you guys kind of it seems like this is

26:09

the appropriate place

26:11

i'm heavily influenced by the

26:12

existential philosophers i think they

26:13

were undoing

26:15

some of the bad habits of the

26:17

philosophers that came before them

26:19

if we look at the the pre-socratics or

26:21

even plato and socrates

26:23

they were highly invested in things like

26:25

uh politics

26:26

and how we run a city and it was very

26:28

practical and then we get into the

26:30

enlightenment and it becomes this just

26:32

i mean we're just out in the left field

26:35

with ideas and it's

26:36

it's good it's good stuff but it starts

26:38

to get on board from reality

26:40

i think in a way that the early

26:42

philosophers

26:43

would have maybe just not recognized

26:47

i wish we could have a much longer

26:48

conversation about that

26:50

that could be a whole episode what you

26:52

just said there that's good

26:54

before before we leave this topic too

26:56

much though so um

26:57

i i would assume from listening to your

26:59

podcast and now having read your book

27:01

that

27:02

you're very okay with the phenomenon

27:04

that is sometimes known as speaking

27:06

truth to power

27:07

right and which means saying some really

27:11

hard things sometimes and doing so

27:13

publicly

27:14

to people who are in power who who are

27:16

not interested in hearing

27:17

those things um and then you know

27:20

demanding change and sometimes even

27:22

uh trying to forcibly start change so

27:26

does that count as loving in in in your

27:28

view and if so can you explain

27:30

how so yeah and that that goes into uh

27:34

you know there's a part in the book

27:35

where i i veer off because i thought it

27:37

was important to talk about the freedom

27:39

aspect of love

27:41

and again grant if you if you ground

27:44

that biblically

27:45

you know jesus mission is to set the

27:48

captives free and so there's this

27:50

liberating

27:51

aspect to love that we can't ignore when

27:54

we're talking about love

27:55

love isn't just some abstract thing and

27:57

it's not just a feeling

27:58

but it's a concrete action toward i

28:01

think i use

28:02

bell hooks definition of the will to

28:04

extend oneself

28:06

for myself or someone else's spiritual

28:08

growth

28:09

and sometimes that's a liberating act

28:11

and i think that's

28:12

really important when we're talking

28:13

about truth to power

28:15

and uh so i think we can't get you know

28:18

that is a

28:18

nuance that i think is a challenge for

28:20

people is how can i stand up for myself

28:22

and how can i stand up for other people

28:25

and still be loving yeah and i think

28:27

that's important

28:28

i don't think the speaking truth to

28:32

power is the problem i think

28:34

it's the way in which we speak truth to

28:36

power

28:37

that we have to be careful you know as

28:38

nietzsche says that as we stare into the

28:40

abyss the abyss doesn't stare back into

28:42

us

28:43

and that's the real challenge is that we

28:45

don't fight fire with fire and that we

28:47

don't fight hate with hate

28:48

and i think that's the real challenge we

28:50

don't slip in self-deceptively

28:53

the justification for our own hate in

28:55

the service of

28:56

liberation yeah one more challenging

29:00

question while we're on that topic do

29:01

you think

29:03

that it's ever appropriate or

29:04

responsible or best or something like

29:06

that

29:07

to choose who you love so

29:11

in the in the sense of to choose who to

29:13

prioritize so

29:14

when i'm speaking truth to power i'd

29:16

like to think i'm loving those in power

29:18

but i'm prioritizing those who aren't

29:20

right

29:21

right yes well it's also the belief you

29:23

know i appreciate some of my more

29:24

radical

29:25

activist friends who would say do we

29:27

actually think that

29:29

uh liberating when we are liberating the

29:32

oppressed we may also be liberating the

29:34

oppressor

29:35

that in the end it might be best for all

29:37

of us to have a different system

29:40

and that for me resonates with with

29:42

paul's idea that hey our

29:43

our enemies aren't actually flesh and

29:45

blood but there's those principles and

29:46

powers

29:48

and principalities it's the systems in

29:50

place

29:51

and the people can be symptoms of that

29:53

but really what we're after is a change

29:54

in the system

29:56

and so yeah i think absolutely we can

29:58

and recognizing that

30:00

those people who who are the oppressors

30:02

are themselves also in bondage

30:04

and i want to highlight just what you

30:06

just said there jared for for the

30:08

listeners because some people could hear

30:09

that

30:10

what you just said and say oh we

30:12

actually don't have to fight against

30:14

systemic injustice and racism because

30:16

our battles are against the spiritual

30:18

forces

30:19

which is not what you just said right

30:20

but people would think that you

30:22

you you just said the systems are

30:24

actually the powers and principalities

30:26

that paul was talking about

30:27

systems of oppression systems of

30:29

injustice correct yeah absolutely i

30:30

would equate that when we talk about

30:32

systemic racism i would put that

30:33

squarely in the camp of what paul is

30:35

talking about as far as powers

30:37

and principles and principalities so it

30:39

seems like you would agree that

30:40

insofar as we're advocating for change

30:42

to those systems

30:44

we are simultaneously in a way loving

30:47

even the oppressor

30:48

right but but they're not going to

30:50

experience it as love

30:52

which which is kind of a segue into my

30:53

next question right because at a couple

30:55

places in the book like chapter 3

30:56

chapter 5

30:57

you seem to suggest that love isn't love

31:00

unless it's understood by the recipient

31:02

to be love

31:03

so can you help us to understand what

31:05

that means yeah well i think this is

31:07

where it starts to get really messy

31:10

and i think it's not either or i don't

31:12

think it's not love if someone doesn't

31:14

experience it as love i think

31:16

it's extremely important that we

31:17

consider the experiences and feelings of

31:19

the other person

31:21

in our judgment of whether it's loving

31:23

or not and i think that's been my

31:25

case growing up we just discounted it

31:29

as long as we didn't understand the

31:31

difference between intention and impact

31:33

so just because i'm intending to love

31:35

you and you get offended and you're hurt

31:38

and you don't experience that as loving

31:39

that's not my fault

31:41

i'm loving you're just it's the impact

31:43

and we have to recognize that love is

31:44

bound up

31:45

in this relational sense where it's not

31:48

the lovey or the lover

31:49

who get to define what's love is it's

31:51

some messy middle

31:53

in there in between it's found in the

31:55

meaning

31:56

of that interaction and and i go on to

32:00

say

32:00

in the book meaning isn't determined by

32:03

one person or the other meaning

32:04

is always the clashing of two or the

32:07

merging of horizons as

32:09

as gatimer might say and that's where it

32:11

gets really messy it's like was it 70

32:13

you do you get to determine meaning do i

32:14

get to determine like

32:16

how do we do that and that's the the

32:18

challenge of relationship

32:19

is it somewhere in that messy middle and

32:22

and i feel like that process can be

32:24

extended over time too right so

32:26

you you give a nice example in the book

32:28

of someone that you were

32:29

um you were going to officiate their

32:32

wedding

32:32

and then you had some misgivings about

32:34

it going through um

32:36

do you want to maybe recount that story

32:37

for the listeners because i found it

32:38

particularly helpful here to understand

32:41

yeah that was uh yeah i had someone who

32:43

i was

32:44

going to officiate their wedding had to

32:45

do pre-marital counseling had some

32:47

misgivings in there felt like it was not

32:50

a good relationship he was the the

32:52

husband

32:53

you know groomed to be in this case was

32:55

very controlling

32:56

and just a lot of red flags and me you

32:59

know being young and not really knowing

33:01

how to handle that kind of situation i

33:02

waited a little too long i mean it was

33:04

like

33:04

three or four weeks before the wedding

33:06

and i i just couldn't do it so i had to

33:08

call her

33:09

who was the person in my church the the

33:11

parishioner

33:12

who considered me her pastor and i had

33:14

to say it

33:15

and she was not happy um and she thought

33:17

i was abandoning her and

33:19

and all these things it come you know

33:20

turns out

33:22

a few years later that he was quite

33:24

abusive and

33:25

uh her friends had to kind of usher her

33:27

out in the middle of the night and

33:28

uh and she had to get away from that and

33:31

and we came back around and we

33:32

reconciled and she

33:34

she came to realize that i wanted the

33:36

best for her and

33:38

we wouldn't have known that you know and

33:39

it could have it could have gone

33:40

differently and that's that messiness of

33:43

if we're looking for what are the rules

33:45

by which we love well

33:47

um i think that's a contradiction i

33:49

think that's not going to happen

33:52

and i want to say too i think that

33:54

loving

33:56

condition is also on the end of the

33:58

recipient

33:59

where i mean i'm sure all of us have

34:01

have had those

34:02

really painful conversations i mean i

34:05

have had painful conversations with

34:06

family members who would mean everything

34:08

to me who basically

34:10

sat me down to say you're walking in the

34:12

way of

34:13

the enemy and you should not be a pastor

34:16

feeling you know long

34:17

excruciating and

34:21

it took years for me to process that for

34:23

me to work through that

34:24

but i knew the whole time that this

34:26

family member

34:27

really was trying to love me like i knew

34:30

that

34:31

and these family members there were

34:32

there it was it was more than one but

34:34

um and that helped actually it it

34:37

felt a little condescending at some

34:39

times on my end but it actually helped

34:40

to re

34:41

to keep in mind over and over again this

34:44

is this person's best

34:45

way of loving me and i would love to get

34:48

them to

34:49

to a point where they see that

34:51

differently or they they act differently

34:52

but i do think

34:53

that is a really helpful thing on not

34:55

just the deliverer but the recipient of

34:57

that kind of thing right

34:58

well yeah and i want to be careful

35:00

because i've been

35:01

i've had many people correct me on this

35:03

and i think it's important

35:05

because i'm i tend to be the aggressor

35:08

in these situations

35:09

i tend to only see these kinds of

35:11

situations from that standpoint

35:14

now there are other people who are the

35:16

recipients of that aggression

35:18

like you're talking about and i think

35:19

it's important that we don't

35:22

we don't prescribe for people what our

35:24

remedy is

35:26

so there's this really important concept

35:28

here of boundaries

35:29

right and so if you talk to any

35:30

psychologist they'll tell you how

35:32

important boundaries are

35:33

in these kind of relationships and

35:35

boundaries are different for every

35:36

person and i think that's the important

35:38

part so yes i would say

35:40

that would be wonderful if we can all

35:42

come to a place where we can be battered

35:44

and abused and people can

35:45

tear us down and we don't take it on and

35:48

we say hey that's their problem

35:50

they're trying the best they can it's

35:51

not affecting me but everyone has to

35:54

have that line in a different place

35:55

everyone has a different capacity to

35:58

take that kind of thing from someone

35:59

else

36:00

and i wouldn't prescribe some people the

36:02

most loving thing you can do

36:04

for yourself right remember to love your

36:05

neighbor as yourself

36:08

and i love the the idea of boundary is

36:11

that space at which i can love both you

36:13

and me simultaneously

36:14

i think that's really important um and

36:17

so there are times when the most loving

36:18

thing i can do is in a kind and

36:20

compassionate way

36:21

say i can't have this conversation with

36:23

you anymore

36:24

it's too painful for me and we aren't

36:27

going to be able to talk about this

36:28

let's talk about other things that's

36:30

fine and if you can't respect that

36:32

boundary

36:33

i can't be in your presence yep and i

36:35

think that can be the most loving thing

36:36

that can be said

36:37

it's really good and let me also say

36:39

i've been on the receiving end of

36:41

other stuff like that and they weren't

36:43

being loving

36:44

you can you can pretty easily tell they

36:45

were just being dicks and i'd

36:47

you know that's that's easier to handle

36:50

well and i think the the last thing i'll

36:52

say about this i think it's really

36:53

important and i think it's just a small

36:54

part of the book and i wish i would have

36:56

made it a bigger deal

36:57

is i think the difference is tell me

36:59

your opinion once that's fine

37:01

but respect me as an adult to know that

37:03

i heard you and if i don't act on it

37:05

that's my own choice

37:06

and i think we treat adults like kids

37:10

and that's where i think we start to

37:11

weaponize telling the truth in love like

37:13

if i tell you the ninth time that your

37:15

life decisions are really bad and you're

37:17

gonna go to hell or whatever then

37:18

somehow you're gonna change your minds

37:20

like

37:20

just respect my autonomy and understand

37:22

that i disagree with you

37:24

i know where you stand thanks for

37:26

telling me you've warned me you're off

37:27

the hook so now if i go to hell it's not

37:29

on you

37:30

and just let let's be adults here so i

37:32

think there's some some growth we could

37:34

do in churches

37:35

to just treat people like adults yep so

37:37

my personal favorite

37:38

chapter in the book was chapter seven to

37:41

me this is worth the price of admission

37:43

if just you guys should buy the book

37:45

just for chapter seven

37:46

and in that chapter you illustrate how

37:48

jesus in particular

37:50

but also the new testament authors kind

37:52

of creatively interpret

37:53

the text of scripture you like like

37:55

legitimately change its meaning

37:57

and then you illustrate how our own

37:58

culture has done the same thing and is

38:00

kind of still doing the same with

38:01

various issues like gender

38:03

sexism racism lgbtq plus issues

38:06

you reference gautama and there which i

38:08

was really happy to see um so so one

38:10

quote

38:11

you say i have experienced too many

38:14

spirit-filled gay christians to deny

38:16

their baptism

38:17

almost like stood up and clapped at that

38:19

point and so you argue in this chapter

38:20

that the holy spirit

38:22

is actually guiding us into these more

38:24

progressive egalitarian

38:26

interpretations so i absolutely agree

38:29

with you i've said many times to anybody

38:31

that will listen that

38:32

the lgbtq issue in particular is going

38:34

to look to us in 30 years the same way

38:37

it's going to look to people in 30 years

38:38

the same way that racism looks to my

38:40

generation now

38:42

hopefully that's my prediction anyway

38:43

which means

38:45

people in the church even you're saying

38:46

in the church yeah people will remember

38:49

that people used to use the bible to

38:51

oppose

38:52

equality but they won't understand why

38:55

and it will seem hateful to them

38:57

so i think that is just the trajectory

38:58

of our culture that's where we're headed

39:00

and i think the holy spirit's behind

39:02

that but i can hear a lot of other

39:04

people saying

39:05

well that's just capitulation to secular

39:07

culture so how do we distinguish in your

39:09

view between what the holy spirit is

39:11

doing

39:12

and what's just giving in does that make

39:14

sense

39:15

yeah and i think that goes back to you

39:17

know the the thesis of the book is the

39:19

ethic of love

39:21

and how we're gonna frame what love is

39:24

if if love is just what we think god

39:26

says

39:28

then that's a scary and dangerous

39:29

position but if we have these other

39:31

criteria

39:32

like liberation do people feel free

39:35

are we freeing people are we extending

39:38

people's spiritual

39:38

are we including rather than excluding

39:41

and we talk about

39:42

some of this at the end of the book kind

39:43

of laying out some of these ideas

39:45

of inclusion and love and

39:48

that that's what guides us and so are we

39:51

capitulating to the secular culture or

39:53

not i would say well

39:54

are we loving people better or are we

39:57

not

39:57

and if we are then we're going down the

40:00

right track

40:01

and if that's capitulating to the

40:03

culture

40:04

oh so be it can i can i ask a follow-up

40:08

question jared because i agree with you

40:10

um by and large but i i have

40:12

fundamentalist friends

40:14

who you know in my head who would

40:15

basically say well

40:17

jared jesus tells us to pick up our

40:19

cross and follow him

40:21

and self-denial is the way of christ and

40:24

so

40:24

that doesn't seem very freeing it

40:26

actually seems restricting in some ways

40:28

but that seems like what jesus told us

40:30

to do

40:31

yeah i think jesus told us to pick up

40:33

our own cross not lay one on someone

40:36

else

40:38

so in that way right we choose that for

40:40

ourselves again it comes back to

40:41

respecting other people's choices and

40:43

that

40:44

is a way but but jesus would say a way

40:46

of denying yourself is a way to true

40:48

freedom right that's the paradox

40:50

that jesus talks about and i think

40:53

that's been borne out by

40:54

quote-unquote secular culture of you

40:56

know psychologists and other who says

40:58

yeah the more you think about others the

40:59

more you're generous the more you're

41:01

grateful

41:02

you find life and that's important

41:05

but you don't find that when someone

41:06

else puts that on you

41:09

so would you say that it's important to

41:12

get your definition of what love is from

41:15

some place

41:16

bigger than just the text of the bible

41:19

oh absolutely yeah i think i think we

41:22

have to

41:23

yeah i think we have to we have to

41:25

recognize that things

41:28

well one the text is the text and

41:31

nowhere in the bible does it say um

41:35

yeah i think we we do this already and

41:39

we do it intuitively

41:40

until we don't want to and then we set

41:42

up these barriers where

41:44

it's fine to go outside the text for all

41:46

kinds of things except for the things

41:47

that we don't want to go outside

41:49

except for the things that we actually

41:50

don't want to believe um and then we

41:52

just stick to the text

41:54

which feels disingenuous to me yeah

41:57

so explain that you guys because i mean

42:00

even me

42:01

i'm like oh interesting kyle's glad that

42:03

jared said that

42:04

i don't know what i think about that

42:06

tell us why you guys think that

42:08

do you want to go first kyle sure yeah i

42:10

mean

42:12

you can this could be the subject of a

42:14

whole other episode you can make the

42:15

bible mean anything you want the bible

42:17

to mean

42:18

and and you can as jared is pointing out

42:20

pick parts of it

42:21

to focus on that um that you can then

42:24

enforce in your experience in your

42:26

communities and then ignore other parts

42:28

and not realize that you're ignoring

42:29

those other parts

42:30

and when it comes to something as big

42:31

and pervasive and important as defining

42:33

what love is

42:34

basing it on your particular reading of

42:37

this ancient text

42:38

is going to be limited whether you

42:40

realize that it's limited or not

42:42

and you're going to sort of step outside

42:45

of your own methodology

42:47

even if you don't intend to so so

42:49

something that you know you think you're

42:50

getting

42:50

your definition of love from the text

42:52

but then in some situation in your life

42:54

you're gonna

42:55

you're gonna act in a way that you

42:56

assume is loving but if you were to

42:58

reflect on

42:59

whether it matches your definition that

43:00

you're getting from the text you'd find

43:02

that it doesn't and so in practice your

43:04

your definition is actually bigger than

43:06

you think it is

43:07

even in practice and it's just my view

43:09

in general

43:11

that humans ought not to

43:14

just submit to epistemic authorities

43:18

whatever the authority whether it's a

43:20

it's a text or you know a

43:22

magisterium of experts who have

43:23

pronounced on a text or whatever

43:26

personal experience and reason and

43:29

objective factors like

43:31

health those should influence your view

43:34

of something as big as love

43:35

and if they conflict with your reading

43:37

of the text well that's a problem for

43:39

your reading of the text

43:42

i would maybe just i may be saying the

43:45

same thing but i think two things come

43:46

to my mind

43:47

one is we do not live

43:51

in ancient palestine 2000 years ago so

43:53

we're already

43:55

bringing baggage to the text and it's

43:56

dangerous to think we're just getting it

43:58

from the text

43:59

it we don't we can't like what does that

44:01

mean um

44:02

so even though there's a word called

44:04

agape we don't know

44:06

exactly how that was used in everyday

44:09

language 2000 years ago

44:11

we just don't we don't have enough

44:12

evidence for that and so we're always

44:14

importing our own experiences

44:16

because that's what we have to do we're

44:18

human beings it comes back to that

44:19

umvelt thing

44:20

but i think secondly the corollary to

44:22

that is our definition of love changes

44:26

what is loving kind of objectively well

44:29

as objectives you can get with something

44:30

like love

44:31

changes throughout culture right so we

44:34

if we go back i'm trying to think of a

44:35

few examples off the top of my head

44:36

they're not going to be great

44:37

but if we go back to the middle ages and

44:40

my

44:40

son comes down with some disease the

44:42

most loving thing i could do

44:44

is probably like put leeches on him and

44:46

bleed them out right

44:48

so that's love right

44:51

if we tried to do that today would we

44:52

consider that love

44:54

we would consider that abuse probably

44:57

right

44:58

um the same with you know when i was a

44:59

kid it's little

45:01

little simple things like it was loving

45:03

to you know

45:04

let your kids indulge in i was drinking

45:06

probably mountain dew when i was like

45:07

six right because it was like

45:09

whatever it's the 80s man um so

45:12

but that today like would i consider

45:14

that loving i don't think

45:16

that probably and even things like

45:18

divorce to go

45:19

even more uh i think more importantly

45:24

something like divorce can actually be

45:26

where

45:27

in the ancient world not allowing

45:29

divorce was actually a way to protect

45:31

women

45:33

because if you if you don't have a

45:35

husband you're basically

45:36

relegated to being a prostitute that's

45:38

really all you can do you can't go get a

45:40

job you're not having a career

45:42

as you know a librarian or a doctor or

45:44

an attorney

45:45

if you get a divorce and so is it not

45:48

that proclamation not to get a divorce

45:51

is actually

45:52

loving toward the woman well that has

45:55

been

45:55

that sticking to what the bible says has

45:58

actually led to

45:59

unloving things towards women in the

46:01

20th and 21st century

46:03

so if we don't evolve in our definitions

46:06

of love we may actually end up

46:07

harming people more than we're actually

46:09

loving them because the context changes

46:11

women aren't in that place anymore

46:14

yeah i think uh gottemer is actually

46:16

quite helpful here

46:18

uh so in his enormous work truth and

46:20

method

46:21

um he he talks about how and we can

46:24

think of this in terms of the bible as

46:26

well right so

46:27

getting at what the authors intended to

46:29

say right the the original

46:31

intended meaning of the text what the

46:33

original audience would have understood

46:34

something like that

46:35

we have a method for getting to that

46:37

it's called the historical critical

46:38

method and we

46:38

we like to think as good evangelicals

46:40

that if we could unearth that

46:42

with our method if we could apply our

46:43

method appropriately then we have the

46:45

meaning

46:46

right and we have this objective thing

46:48

but gottamer points out that we forget

46:49

that even the method

46:51

is a is laden with cultural value the

46:54

method is a choice and the use of the

46:56

method is a choice

46:58

and it's a choice that that culture

46:59

could never have envisioned right they

47:01

didn't have that method and they

47:02

wouldn't have seen the reasonableness in

47:03

that method

47:04

and we do because our culture has values

47:06

that say that method is important and

47:07

covering objective fact whatever the

47:10

these are just competing values there's

47:12

no getting outside of

47:13

you know what you would call the umvelt

47:15

or whatever uh

47:16

and so he likens interpretation to a

47:19

play

47:20

it's it's more like art so you can have

47:23

the same

47:24

text of shakespeare or something that's

47:26

acted out by different troops of actors

47:29

and in one case it's done really well

47:31

and people consider it art and all the

47:32

critics rave about it in another case

47:34

it's done really poorly

47:35

but it's the same words right and what

47:38

makes the difference between the

47:39

proficient performance and the shitty

47:41

performance

47:42

is cultural values and the opinions of

47:45

experts at the time

47:47

and there's nothing beneath that and

47:49

that's a scary place for an evangelical

47:51

to be right

47:52

uh we're stuck in the boat so to speak

47:54

as as quine put it like

47:56

there's no getting outside and latching

47:58

on to objective reality we're just

48:00

we're just here in it

48:04

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48:41

so towards i don't know the two-thirds

48:44

of the way through the book or so

48:46

you say this so here's a quote you say

48:49

as long as we use love

48:50

and i think you mean in interpreting the

48:52

bible that's what you're talking about

48:54

in the context here so as long as we

48:55

use love and interpreting the bible we

48:57

need not worry

48:58

about not having enough degrees to read

49:01

it accurately

49:02

so this kind of connects up to what we

49:04

were just talking about so you're you're

49:05

the host of a podcast

49:07

whose explicit stated goal is listening

49:10

to people with degrees

49:11

talk about how to read the bible

49:13

accurately or at least well right

49:15

so can you frame that up for us what do

49:17

you mean by that and you use an example

49:19

that i found super helpful so maybe if

49:21

you want to just retell the example

49:23

you use the analogy of jazz

49:25

improvisation

49:28

yeah it kind of does does go back to

49:30

that and i think that's more of a

49:31

the the jazz analogy and improvisation

49:34

is more about methodology

49:35

but before that i would again i'm i'm

49:38

trying to again and again

49:40

unearth this presupposition that would

49:43

have been

49:44

in my tradition which is the best

49:47

christians are the smartest christians

49:51

and i think that's a fallacy that's

49:53

that's really what i'm after here

49:55

and so this idea that you have to have

49:57

all these degrees and you know what well

49:58

i know greek and hebrew and so

50:00

i get to be the one who's in the pulpit

50:02

and i get to be the one who makes all

50:03

the decisions for the congregation and

50:04

all of that

50:05

that seems fallacious and i think it's

50:07

dangerous it gets us into trouble

50:08

so that's kind of the the reasoning

50:11

behind

50:12

hey you know what what i learned was

50:14

i'll take someone who knows how to love

50:16

well

50:16

over the scholar any day as the pastor

50:19

of my church

50:20

and i think that's really important um

50:23

because

50:23

i i don't know a lot of people who go

50:25

astray by loving well

50:27

uh but i know a lot of people who go

50:28

astray by

50:30

knowing things and i'll put that in air

50:32

quotes

50:34

so that's that's really the the impetus

50:36

for that and again

50:37

there's a reason this is called love

50:38

matters more and not only love matters

50:42

is i i have utmost respect for that like

50:43

you said that's the first half of the

50:46

equation

50:47

how do we respect other human and i

50:49

would call authorial intention

50:51

a facet of love because it's a way to

50:54

respect the authors of these texts

50:57

we don't want to disrespect them by

50:59

putting our own words and our

51:01

own thoughts into what they intended

51:03

however i also don't want to respect me

51:06

as a reader saying that my own

51:08

experiences and my thoughts don't count

51:10

at all

51:11

and i have to shut myself off and i only

51:13

get to listen to what paul said

51:15

in the first century i think meaning

51:18

the beautiful thing about meaning is

51:19

it's a mutually respectful relationship

51:22

where we have to understand what paul

51:24

meant without bringing my own baggage

51:25

into it

51:26

which is a little bit of my critique of

51:28

progressives i think they sort of read

51:30

into paul because they want paul to mean

51:31

something paul doesn't mean

51:33

where i say why do we do that we just

51:34

let paul be paul respect paul on paul's

51:37

terms

51:38

recognize that the spirit of god is

51:39

found in the intersection of what paul

51:41

originally meant and what we need it to

51:43

mean now

51:44

in our current context and that's the

51:48

respectful relationship

51:49

so charlie parker it was a it's i think

51:52

it's funny that he probably didn't

51:53

actually say this but i put it in the

51:54

book anyway it kind of goes to my point

51:56

but uh he was rumored to have said you

51:58

know um

52:00

you know how do you how do you uh how

52:03

are you such a good jazz musician or

52:04

something like that and he says well you

52:06

master the music

52:07

the kind of the art of improv is you

52:08

master the music

52:10

you master the instrument then you

52:12

forget all that [ __ ] and you just play

52:15

so that's like that's the heart of

52:16

improv and i think that's

52:18

how i think of the people that i think

52:21

weave biblical scholarship in this

52:25

loving guided way of life

52:28

are those who love the text so much that

52:31

they

52:32

they live it and they breathe it and

52:34

they

52:35

it's such a part of who they are and i i

52:37

think of um

52:39

not that this is a great example but i

52:40

always think of tevye from fiddler on

52:42

the roof

52:43

who is just quoting the bible all the

52:45

time misquoting it doesn't matter

52:48

takes it out of context uses it for his

52:49

own good uses it for the good of others

52:51

it's just

52:51

always coming out of his mouth and a lot

52:54

of the jewish

52:55

professors that we have had on the bible

52:58

for normal people

52:59

do this so well where you can just tell

53:02

i think i make the joke in the book that

53:04

they they dream

53:06

in bible like they know it so well that

53:08

they're dreaming in bible

53:09

and i think that's what that does then

53:12

is it seeps into who we are and then we

53:14

can forget about it and we can play

53:16

when we know it that well so i feel like

53:18

a lot of pastors

53:19

not to pick on pastors i feel like they

53:21

know just enough to be really awkward

53:24

and really uh hold it with an iron fist

53:27

like

53:27

there's another level beyond that of

53:29

play and of creativity

53:31

but we have to we have to know it well

53:33

enough it has to be kind of seeped into

53:35

our bones

53:36

before we can get to that place and

53:38

you've been mentioning the apostle paul

53:39

quite a bit jared but

53:41

i would say uh if we had a little bit

53:43

more of a johannan perspective

53:45

we might actually stomach this a lot

53:47

better because i was just preaching

53:48

first john 4 on

53:49

this past sunday and i made the

53:51

statement that first john

53:53

4 if if that wasn't canonized of

53:55

scripture already

53:56

most evangelicals would throw that out

53:58

as utter heresy

53:59

to say that we we've never seen love or

54:02

we've never seen god but if we love

54:04

god lives in us there's no asterisk

54:07

there there's nothing it just

54:08

that's what he says that sounds pretty

54:10

similar with what you're trying to get

54:11

across with this book

54:13

yeah absolutely i i lean a lot on john i

54:15

think that's exactly right

54:17

i think he definitely has more of that

54:19

been and the reason i pick on paul is

54:20

because paul gets weaponized

54:22

in a way that i think john needs to

54:24

correct some of that

54:26

at the at the end of the book i think

54:28

it's the last chapter you talk about

54:29

hypocrisy and you come down pretty hard

54:31

on it

54:32

so what is hypocrisy and how does it

54:35

relate to truth and love

54:38

yeah i think it's because i think the

54:41

greatest danger

54:44

of privileging truth-telling over

54:47

love is that it ends in this insidious

54:51

reversal

54:53

because biblically truth is used to talk

54:57

about

54:58

being honest with one another and and

55:00

hypocrisy is a deep

55:01

dishonesty it's a deep dishonesty about

55:04

who we are and how we are in the world

55:06

it's sort of an existential dishonesty

55:08

it's not

55:09

telling truths it's not telling lies

55:11

it's being lies

55:13

and so in the same way that true love

55:16

is the highest form of truth-telling

55:18

hypocrisy is the highest form

55:20

of deceit and i think that jesus

55:24

makes that pretty clear jesus is quite

55:26

opposed to the hypocrites

55:28

as well and if we think about all of the

55:31

harsh words that jesus has in the new

55:33

testament

55:35

don't quote me on this one i haven't

55:36

looked it up but i'm pretty sure all of

55:38

them

55:39

are reserved for pastors

55:42

all of them are reserved for the

55:43

religious leaders

55:45

all harsh words and i think hypocrisy is

55:48

at the root of that

55:50

[Music]

55:51

uh jared i know you've this is a baby

55:54

for you this book in the labor of love

55:56

i have no idea how long ago you wrote it

55:58

but i'd be interested to know what's

56:00

what might be next from from jared bias

56:02

what's what's what are you dreaming of

56:04

thinking about what might you write next

56:06

yeah well if you don't tell anyone

56:08

so this book that's been brewing was me

56:10

trying to take down the idea of absolute

56:12

truth and how i think it's an idol

56:14

the next one i'd really like to do that

56:16

with purpose

56:18

so that's really what i'm trying to uh

56:20

that's that's

56:21

next on the agenda and i'm hoping to get

56:22

started on it pretty soon

56:25

um to move from discovering our purpose

56:27

to creating our meaning

56:29

and grind grounding that in in the bible

56:32

as well

56:32

yeah we totally won't tell anyone at all

56:36

complete secret well jared so grateful

56:38

for you

56:39

and making time for us really grateful

56:42

for this conversation it's been a

56:43

delight and i'm wondering could you

56:45

speak a blessing over our listeners

56:48

um that they would walk in the way of

56:50

love

56:51

yeah and i'd like to uh maybe

56:54

for this time i'm gonna read a little

56:56

bit of kierkegaard's writings because

56:59

again

57:00

for me where this all comes from is the

57:02

belief that god is love

57:04

and that's sort of what grounds all of

57:06

this so i want to read this passage i

57:08

just think he puts it so beautifully

57:10

this is all i have known for certain

57:13

that god is love

57:15

even if i have been mistaken on this or

57:17

that point god

57:18

is nevertheless love if i have made a

57:21

mistake it will be plain enough so i

57:23

repent

57:24

and god is love he is love not he was

57:27

love

57:28

nor he will be love oh no even that

57:31

future was too slow for me he

57:33

is love oh how wonderful sometimes

57:36

perhaps my repentance does not come at

57:38

once and so there is a future

57:40

but god keeps no person waiting he is

57:42

love

57:44

like spring water which keeps the same

57:46

temperature summer and winter so

57:47

is god's love his love is a spring that

57:50

never runs dry

57:54

that wash over you today jared baez

57:57

thank you so much

57:59

yup absolutely thanks for having me on

58:06

guys

58:08

thanks for listening we hope you enjoyed

58:10

this conversation you can find us on

58:11

social media

58:12

like and share and subscribe wherever

58:15

you get your podcasts

58:16

if you're inclined to leave a review we

58:18

read through all of those and we love

58:19

the feedback

58:20

until next time this has been a pastor

58:22

and a philosopher

58:23

walk into a bar

58:36

[Music]