A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar

How to Survive Thanksgiving Dinner: Interview with Dr. Jim Vining

October 07, 2020 Randy Knie, Kyle Whitaker Season 1 Episode 7
A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
How to Survive Thanksgiving Dinner: Interview with Dr. Jim Vining
Chapters
A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
How to Survive Thanksgiving Dinner: Interview with Dr. Jim Vining
Oct 07, 2020 Season 1 Episode 7
Randy Knie, Kyle Whitaker

In this episode we talk with Jim Vining, a professor of communication and rhetoric, about the state of our current political and religious discourse in the United States.

The bourbon featured in this episode is Maker's Mark Cask Strength.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode we talk with Jim Vining, a professor of communication and rhetoric, about the state of our current political and religious discourse in the United States.

The bourbon featured in this episode is Maker's Mark Cask Strength.

00:12

[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 welcome to another episode of a

00:31

pastor and a philosopher walk into a bar

00:33

we're excited you're here with us

00:35

excited to share this time with you

00:37

whether you're

00:38

in the car cutting your grass trying to

00:40

tune out your kids whatever you're doing

00:42

we're excited to spend

00:43

this next hour together with you

00:46

kyle how are you i'm doing okay randy

00:50

yeah elliot how are you doing sir all

00:53

right well let's get right to it what

00:54

are we drinking tonight kyle

00:56

so i have pulled out for you something a

00:58

little bit more special this is the

00:59

maker's mark cask strength bourbon

01:03

uh i'm scared yeah that means it packs a

01:07

punch

01:08

uh so this was actually a birthday gift

01:10

from my lovely wife

01:13

and it is it is pretty wonderful it's a

01:16

weeded bourbon which means the secondary

01:18

grain after corn

01:20

is wheat which tends to make a bourbon

01:22

sweeter

01:23

which is what i like interesting all

01:25

right it does have a big nose right off

01:27

the bat yes

01:28

this this one will benefit from a little

01:30

bit of water uh

01:31

perhaps after sipping for the first time

01:34

so you can get the full

01:35

full effect i get in the nose i get

01:38

extra like

01:39

hay smell maybe that's from the wheat

01:42

yeah i i won't pretend that my nose is

01:45

that refined

01:47

all i know is that it burns and it's

01:50

like

01:51

delicious caramel candy it's nice and

01:53

strong but the sweet balance is it out

01:55

that burns going down yeah that's good

01:58

though yeah

01:58

it does finish caramelly this is about

02:01

111

02:03

proof i believe okay something like that

02:07

each barrel is a little different now

02:08

when they say cask strength for those of

02:11

you who don't know

02:12

your whiskeys it comes out of the barrel

02:15

and usually the distiller will cut

02:18

the the whiskey to the level that they

02:20

think is perfect

02:21

the level where they think it's not too

02:23

hot you can taste all the notes where

02:25

everything shines and this is not this

02:28

is uncut is what they would call it yeah

02:30

which means you can irritate yourself

02:31

again i would definitely

02:32

by adding however much water you want so

02:34

typically they're cut to around 40

02:37

ish percent uh so this would be

02:40

closer to 60. you know how if you have

02:42

like normal butter but then you get

02:44

butter that's fresh from the dairy like

02:46

that difference between normal butter

02:47

and extraordinary butter is

02:49

present in here it's good yeah i like

02:51

that

02:52

i'm gonna have to cut this though

02:53

because i'll be burping non-stop

02:55

throughout the whole interview no shame

02:57

this one was made to be cut this is fun

03:00

i'd recommend this i like makers anyways

03:02

but this is just a fun variation

03:04

for me this is a big step up from their

03:06

common

03:07

expression nothing against standard

03:08

makers but cast strength is

03:11

where it's at awesome

03:14

well maker's mark cask strength pastor

03:18

and a philosopher walk into a bar

03:20

approved

03:22

[Music]

03:24

well let's get rolling towards our

03:26

interview randy has a personal

03:27

connection with this person so randy why

03:29

don't you

03:30

why don't you tee up who we're talking

03:31

to yes this week is my geek

03:34

my smart person i'm excited to welcome

03:37

dr jim vining

03:38

jim good to see you good to have you

03:40

here great to be here thank you

03:42

jim is a professor at is it governor

03:44

state university

03:46

in illinois a rhetoric professor

03:49

phd and um can you tell us a little bit

03:51

about yourself jim

03:54

well i am a former western new york

03:57

country boy

03:58

a former pastor i moved around all over

04:02

the country

04:02

my young adult years but i've been in

04:04

milwaukee for 13 years now

04:07

i am married been married for 18 years

04:10

i have two teenage kids one dog um

04:14

and like i said i'm a assistant

04:15

professor in illinois

04:17

but don't worry i i still wear a

04:20

brewer's hat when i go to illinois

04:21

just represent you wouldn't be on this

04:24

podcast if you didn't

04:27

jim can you tell us about what your your

04:28

field of expertise and uh your

04:30

what you teach and what you've

04:32

researched sure uh so i

04:34

um i teach communication studies and i

04:37

approach it from

04:38

a rhetorical angle uh so i'm a

04:40

rhetorician now i

04:42

you know first thing um that comes to

04:45

mind for most people when you say

04:46

rhetoric

04:47

is uh something negative like all those

04:50

politicians and their rhetoric

04:52

so rhetoric is it's kind of like a

04:54

haircut

04:55

um you know it could be good or it could

04:56

be bad so i teach rhetoric

04:59

how texts are created uh what makes a

05:02

text persuasive

05:04

that's how i would define it my

05:06

definition of rhetoric would be

05:08

would be really big some people just

05:10

define it as something

05:12

like a speech a politician gives i would

05:14

say that is rhetorical text

05:16

but basically my definition is big

05:18

enough that anything a human being

05:19

creates

05:20

communicates something it does something

05:22

so we analyze those because we believe

05:26

those messages make a difference and

05:28

then my my particular area of study

05:31

well it's kind of what what people say

05:33

not to talk about at parties

05:35

so i don't know about you but i grew up

05:37

hearing you don't talk about

05:38

religion or politics when you go to a

05:40

party incidentally i don't get anybody

05:42

to a lot of parties

05:43

but um there is no lack i think we go to

05:46

different materials to research

05:50

i'll invite you to some parties yes yes

05:53

what a what a fascinating time to get

05:55

into rhetoric and teach rhetoric and

05:58

research it when did you when did you

06:00

start your studies when did you start

06:01

your phd course

06:02

it started 2012 around there so

06:06

uh before that i was doing hospital

06:08

ministry for

06:09

14 years and had a lot of great

06:11

experiences

06:12

but also presented me with uh with some

06:15

real questions

06:16

questions of what makes what makes a

06:20

speech

06:20

or a sermon persuasive i mean i'm i'm

06:23

enough of a christian mystic to believe

06:25

in the role of the holy spirit

06:26

and uh that you know it's more than just

06:29

a preacher and a

06:31

and a congregation i believe that god

06:33

plays a role in the mix

06:34

but uh but wondering what else so uh and

06:37

maybe it was i was just a really bad

06:38

preacher i don't know

06:39

but um you know so i'd give sermons on

06:43

like the uh the minor prophets and they

06:46

would have

06:46

a real clear message from the text uh

06:49

things like

06:50

hey care for the poor don't oppress

06:53

people

06:54

and in in the uh the evangelical

06:56

tradition

06:57

expository preaching was a big thing and

07:00

so i'd

07:01

clearly teach from the text or you know

07:04

i try to show those connections from the

07:05

text and i was just

07:06

kind of shocked that if i got into

07:09

something that

07:10

perhaps aligned with a particular

07:12

political party

07:13

that people in the congregation weren't

07:16

connected with

07:17

uh they get furious and i'd get angry

07:20

emails

07:21

and it's like well we say we honor this

07:24

text

07:25

this is what the text says what's

07:27

happening here

07:28

what's the dynamic that we say yes this

07:31

is the authoritative text

07:33

but don't tell me that fascinating well

07:36

we've got quite a few questions for you

07:37

before we

07:38

dive into them we like to ask our guests

07:40

is there anything

07:41

you're drinking that you want to tell us

07:43

about oh

07:45

there is i mentioned that i'm from uh so

07:48

i love milwaukee been here 13 years

07:50

uh enjoy um milwaukee beers particularly

07:54

venture

07:55

uh near my neighborhood but uh i'm

07:58

a western new york boy at heart and uh

08:00

in what my hometown we have a little

08:02

place called southern tier

08:03

brewing company and i am currently

08:06

drinking

08:07

their double milk stout which i treat

08:10

myself to

08:10

on a special occasion and talking to you

08:13

guys is a special occasion

08:15

so nice cheers

08:18

cheers so jim what was it would you say

08:21

that led you

08:22

being a pastor to decide that you want

08:24

to become

08:25

a rhetorician i'm guessing that was a

08:27

momentous decision how did that come

08:29

about

08:30

i yeah i mean it's not the normal path

08:33

for rhetoricians um

08:34

so i wanted to uh i wanted to be a

08:37

pastor from about the time i was 17. 17

08:39

so i went to college studied for that

08:41

also did some some

08:43

divinity school for that after college i

08:45

was in pastoral ministry for about 14

08:47

years

08:48

in seven different places so if you do

08:51

the math

08:52

that tells you a little something about

08:54

how things went

08:56

so in most of those situations there

08:58

were changes in senior level leadership

09:00

that just radically changed everything i

09:03

was doing

09:04

so we were at a spot where we didn't

09:06

want to move again

09:08

so we so i went back to school at 25.

09:11

okay i wasn't really 25. um

09:15

um but uh i wanted to study how people

09:18

talk about

09:18

religion and politics uh how those

09:21

things intersect how they interact

09:23

and and so some of that was because of

09:27

experience in pastoral ministry there

09:30

were

09:30

good people people who would claim that

09:33

the bible was their authority

09:35

wouldn't um be receptive to certain

09:37

things that the bible clearly talks

09:39

about

09:40

you know so we do we do a bible study

09:43

and i'd say you know hey what'd you get

09:45

out of this text and it would be

09:47

nine times out of ten well you know we

09:49

need i need to pray more

09:50

or i need to read my bible more or i

09:52

need to talk to more people about jesus

09:54

and like i'm all for those things but

09:57

that's not what

09:58

the text says um so i had questions

10:01

about what makes that

10:02

what makes that happen how do people

10:05

view text through certain ways

10:07

and then um why do they reject certain

10:10

things so if

10:11

we say the bible's the authority then

10:15

it seems like we should take what the

10:17

bible says over

10:19

uh say our our cable news source or

10:22

our uh our talk radio shows that we

10:24

listen to

10:25

uh but my experience is that that's

10:28

really tough

10:29

and uh i know a lot of pastors who

10:34

they stay away from certain passages

10:36

because they know the pushback they'll

10:38

get

10:40

and so i wanted to understand that

10:41

better so i

10:43

research those intersections of religion

10:46

and rhetoric and politics so that's

10:48

interesting you

10:50

talk about how people would not see

10:53

just innately not see something that was

10:56

in the text that you're

10:57

you're highlighting that's right there

10:59

and i would

11:00

look at that that reality i've seen that

11:02

reality a million times but i usually

11:04

just blame bias

11:05

i blame ideology and you made that jump

11:08

to

11:09

rhetoric where's that where's that jump

11:12

i'm not seeing that

11:14

that connection yeah uh great question

11:17

well i would say that

11:18

uh i think my understanding of rhetoric

11:20

is those things

11:22

all interact together we i mean you've

11:24

heard people say that we

11:26

we view the world through a certain lens

11:29

they may or may not use that analogy in

11:32

a helpful way

11:33

but we we don't come to a text you know

11:36

clearly objective

11:37

um as much as we would like to

11:40

as much as some uh perhaps some

11:43

inductive bible study

11:45

uh methods claim that they can lead you

11:47

to

11:48

but that is i think a text is more rich

11:51

and nuanced than that

11:52

and in the human being engaging with

11:55

that text

11:56

is also uh more complicated some people

11:59

will take that

12:00

they'll they hear those um

12:03

really ambitious truth claims of you can

12:05

objectively know all these things

12:08

sorry i had a pastor uh a pastor boss

12:11

once

12:12

who said that nuance was the enemy

12:16

he wasn't joking it's like

12:19

no no no no i mean you get fired

12:22

um if you lean into nuance and mystery

12:25

i'm like you we're dealing with human

12:27

beings and we're dealing with

12:29

like the eternal um

12:32

so anyway anyhow um and people wonder

12:36

why evangelicalism is becoming

12:37

irrelevant

12:38

it's yeah i mean it's and i think for so

12:41

i think even

12:42

even those claims there's philosophical

12:45

ideologies that are behind that so when

12:48

people

12:49

people make a claim that oh i'm just the

12:52

bible says so i believe it and i'm going

12:53

to do it

12:54

you know it's kind of like when people

12:55

say i like a politician who just tells

12:56

it like it is well

12:58

well you know what do you it's not that

13:01

simple and so some people hear that

13:04

that those kind of simplistic truth

13:06

claims aren't true

13:08

and so they just go the other end of the

13:09

spectrum that well just

13:11

then we can't know any truth and they

13:13

kind of become like yeah

13:15

you know some kind of nihilist or uh you

13:17

know some kind of radical

13:20

relativist and i don't think that's the

13:22

answer either

13:23

i think that there's a lot of nuance and

13:26

texture and flavor

13:27

in text and in in in truth and our

13:30

understanding of truth

13:32

but but i think we can make some

13:33

judgments about you know validity

13:36

and um and you know what's a better

13:38

reading of a text

13:39

and what is a real stretch in a text so

13:42

i

13:42

you're kind of touching on this a little

13:44

bit already but let's make it a little

13:46

more concrete if we can

13:47

so what trends would you say that you've

13:49

seen

13:50

with how rhetoric works inside the

13:52

church versus outside the church

13:54

are there marked differences in how how

13:56

rhetoric works yeah

13:58

certainly i would hope that some of the

14:01

content

14:02

some of uh the the framework for

14:05

understanding things

14:06

is going to look different in a

14:08

community that

14:09

is shaped by a particular uh

14:12

faith tradition that being said i think

14:16

big picture how rhetoric functions

14:19

is very similar whether it's inside a

14:22

religious community or what we call

14:24

a secular community and i don't mean

14:27

that

14:28

in a way that is meant to um diminish

14:31

religious rhetoric or to make it less

14:34

spiritual

14:35

i'd say quite the contrary for me it

14:38

would be more of

14:38

pointing to the spirituality of all

14:41

rhetoric

14:42

how we communicate and connect with one

14:44

another i don't think

14:46

it's somehow more spiritual

14:49

when we say religious words as opposed

14:51

to what we consider

14:54

non-religious and some of that is some

14:56

of that's the way i understand

14:57

rhetoric and some of that is the way i

15:01

like where i'm at theologically

15:04

everything's god's if it exists it's

15:07

it's

15:08

it's i mean again this is theological

15:11

but uh

15:12

for me that it certainly matters that's

15:14

a part of my understanding of rhetoric

15:16

there's not the sacred secular divide

15:18

that it's

15:19

that's a fairly modern european

15:21

construct

15:22

sacred and secular so i um that's one of

15:25

the things that

15:26

i do it in my work is i push back for

15:28

some of that divide

15:29

[Music]

15:30

so tell me tell me this then if if it's

15:33

uh

15:34

if there's that much commonality between

15:35

them and the sacred secular divide is

15:36

something you want to push against

15:38

then maybe you can explain this

15:39

phenomenon that i've noticed why

15:42

why is it and correct me if you've not

15:45

noticed this or if you have

15:46

better evidence it seems to me though

15:49

that conservative

15:50

american christians particularly

15:53

evangelical ones but conservative ones

15:55

in general

15:56

have a really hard time being understood

15:59

and a very hard time being compelling

16:02

outside of their own spheres despite

16:04

their best efforts

16:05

so a great example of this would be

16:07

evangelical cinema

16:08

right so you have film franchises like

16:11

god's not dead parts

16:12

one two and eight or whatever and

16:15

yeah they're they're just punch lines i

16:17

literally watched that video and live

16:19

tweeted it for all of my

16:21

liberal christian friends uh i hate

16:24

watched

16:25

okay and it was fun it was great fun

16:28

but it was clearly not the intention of

16:30

the producers of that film

16:32

to be great fun for a bunch of atheists

16:34

and liberal christians so why is it that

16:36

they have such a hard time

16:38

being taken seriously outside of their

16:40

own context

16:42

so i think there's a couple different

16:43

things a rhetoric is kind of built

16:45

together with the community of people

16:47

but also um the other things we bring in

16:50

as well as like the tradition that comes

16:52

that we're coming out of

16:54

or i should i shouldn't say the

16:55

tradition the traditions

16:57

um so it's not purely a religious

17:00

thing it's not purely coming straight

17:02

from the bible because that's

17:04

not really a thing right i mean there's

17:06

we're we're complex and it

17:08

say it all belongs to god maybe not in

17:10

the way the bible is the word of god but

17:13

um you know we're all impacted by

17:14

culture so even the idea to have a movie

17:17

certainly that's a

17:18

cultural thing but we're shaped by

17:21

our uh by our logics the the way we

17:25

understand the world

17:26

and so a religious community like any

17:29

community

17:29

elements of the way they understand the

17:31

world is going to be unique to them

17:34

so so if you go to a new church that's

17:36

maybe from a different

17:38

uh tradition than yours people will talk

17:41

and every once in a while i hear this

17:42

what are they talking about at my state

17:43

university i have people say hey what's

17:45

your burden

17:46

what's the burden that i can that i can

17:48

bear for you my brother

17:50

you're like wow bbb um you know and

17:52

that's a sweet thing and i'm not making

17:54

light of it

17:55

but but that's just there's a yes you

17:57

are it's okay

18:00

no but it's it's a way of talking and

18:03

when people hear they're like i don't

18:04

care what you're talking about that's so

18:06

foreign so we form our own ways of

18:08

talking in our groups and you can see

18:09

this in different

18:10

um in some activist communities uh they

18:14

they're so enmeshed with what they're

18:16

doing that they develop their own ways

18:18

of talking it's kind of insider talk

18:19

that that's part of the issue there's

18:21

insider talk

18:23

uh for this conservative uh religious

18:26

community which isn't just their local

18:28

church

18:29

i mean there is probably even larger

18:31

influence

18:32

of for-profit or i guess maybe sometimes

18:34

it's non-profit but

18:36

they make a big profit christian media

18:38

that

18:39

they have just like just like any media

18:42

they have their

18:43

there's playlists and their songs and

18:44

the speakers that come on

18:46

and there's the bookstores so

18:49

it may not even their ideology may not

18:51

even really reflect the religious

18:53

tradition of the church they're from

18:55

it's more of this hey here is

18:58

mcmainstream or mcconservative

19:01

evangelical culture and if you're not a

19:04

part of that you don't know the insider

19:05

talk

19:05

so then my other my other part of the

19:08

answer so that's maybe my um

19:10

hey we all have those problems i think

19:13

what makes it particularly difficult

19:16

for many conservative evangelicals and

19:18

certainly for fundamentalists

19:20

is part of their ideology that they

19:23

understand the world through

19:24

is this culture war narrative and even

19:28

more so it's it's us versus them

19:30

and so a conversation isn't particularly

19:34

a conversation to connect with another

19:36

human being

19:38

which i think if we step back and think

19:40

about that theologically

19:42

communication is connecting with a human

19:43

being is this

19:45

sacred thing but if you view if you're

19:48

through a culture war standpoint it's

19:50

it's a battle and it's me versus them

19:54

and i'm going in more recently as

19:57

as uh it's gone beyond culture war two

19:59

like victimization

20:01

mentality it's you know i'm gonna defend

20:04

myself

20:04

from these bad people who are attacking

20:06

me and take away the things that are

20:08

sacred to me

20:10

then then for some others like a less

20:12

angsty version of that

20:14

is my main purpose here is to

20:17

change the entire way they think about

20:19

the world

20:21

and again i i'm all for people thinking

20:23

about the world in a more jesus-like way

20:26

but i think that approaching a

20:27

conversation with another human being

20:30

trying to sell them something like that

20:33

being the primary goal not to connect

20:35

with them as another human being created

20:36

the image of god

20:37

i think that changed the dynamic of of

20:40

the uh

20:41

of the relationship

20:49

friends before we continue we want to

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storyhillbkc.com

21:25

so speaking of insider lingo jim you

21:27

made me think as you were talking about

21:29

how

21:31

groups on the extremes in particular

21:33

fundamentalists of

21:35

of sorts maybe you could say have these

21:38

words that they say that mean something

21:40

to them

21:40

yeah and then all of a sudden it a

21:42

switch happens and it becomes

21:43

almost like a a dog whistle for the

21:45

other side where if you hear

21:47

a word or phrase you know you should be

21:49

suspicious about this person so yes

21:51

conservative christians have that where

21:53

you talk about the authority of the word

21:55

of god or

21:56

original sin or even talk about human

21:59

sexuality in certain ways the

22:01

marriage being between one man and a man

22:03

and a woman and instantly

22:05

the other crowd tunes them out right or

22:07

on the other side you have words like

22:09

stay woke

22:10

or words like white privilege phrases um

22:13

where

22:14

then a person on the other side hears

22:15

that instantly

22:17

i can be in conversation use that word

22:19

white privilege or that phrase white

22:20

privilege

22:21

and somebody on the other side will

22:23

instantly be suspicious of me

22:26

it tells me are those buzzwords are they

22:28

useful actually or do we need to figure

22:30

out a way to create

22:32

rhetorically new ways of engaging so

22:34

that we don't

22:35

trip each other's triggers all the time

22:36

or is that just impossible

22:38

yeah great question so i don't think

22:39

it's i don't think it's impossible

22:41

i think some of what needs to happen is

22:44

reassessing what is our goal in this

22:47

communication act

22:48

if it's to stake out my ground for the

22:50

fight then

22:51

i don't think that heart is going to or

22:54

that you know kind of that logic of the

22:56

world

22:57

is going to is going to want to change

22:59

the way they talk

23:00

because for them that way they talk is

23:02

more than just the word

23:04

it's the thing behind the word and the

23:06

thing behind the thing

23:08

behind the thing is really their

23:09

identity so could it be that in

23:11

our politically charged world that we

23:13

find ourselves in

23:15

if pastors when they're preaching we're

23:17

a little bit more thoughtful about the

23:18

words they're using or if we

23:19

as we're in dialogue and i know that one

23:22

my sister

23:23

is a conservative republican and i know

23:25

that my

23:26

uncle sitting over on the other side of

23:27

the table at thanksgiving is a

23:29

blue-collar

23:30

die-hard democrat and i'm somewhere

23:34

in in that spectrum could it be that in

23:36

order for

23:37

us to have a actually constructive

23:40

conversation over thanksgiving without

23:41

regurgitating our meals

23:43

we actually need to think about the

23:44

words and the phrases that we use

23:46

and possibly a more loving way of of

23:49

acting would be

23:50

a more christ-like way of acting would

23:51

be to just set aside words that are just

23:53

really familiar and normal for me

23:55

so that i don't trigger that or is that

23:57

kind of just is living in a way like

23:59

that just kind of

24:01

false fake what are your thoughts on

24:03

that i mean i have tons of people like

24:05

this right good friends and

24:06

and family who are in very different

24:09

spots

24:09

uh politically and even and even uh even

24:13

theologically yeah some of it is knowing

24:14

when to have the conversation

24:16

another um helpful thing that i found is

24:18

you know for all the for all the values

24:20

talk

24:21

and how kind of one side has tried to

24:23

claim that they're

24:24

the values people the reality is we all

24:26

have values

24:28

uh we all you know every year it drives

24:30

me crazy when there's the values voter

24:32

summit and i'm like no man we all vote

24:34

our values

24:34

now we may not be honest about our

24:36

values but we all

24:38

we all we all vote them we all act on

24:39

them we share

24:41

most values maybe not all but we we

24:44

share most values now we might

24:46

define them differently again because

24:48

terms are

24:49

i mean there's some ambiguity in terms i

24:51

don't think they're no i think terms

24:53

have meaning they're not meaningless but

24:54

there's ambiguity in exactly what they

24:56

mean

24:56

so like freedom it can mean like we all

24:59

would say we value freedom

25:01

but it means something a little

25:02

different to different people

25:05

and there's value hierarchies

25:08

so so in in the uh

25:12

in the arguments about uh the safer home

25:15

orders

25:16

you know it's not like it's not like the

25:18

people who think we need to

25:20

have a strict federal guideline or state

25:23

guideline even about um state safer home

25:26

orders and what we should you know

25:28

putting restrictions on us it's not that

25:30

those people don't value freedom

25:31

they they value freedom it's just that

25:34

in this particular instance

25:36

public health you know they because of

25:38

the public health risk that trumps

25:43

[Laughter]

25:46

um the freedom for them at the time and

25:48

at the same time it's not like

25:50

people who are you know out saying

25:51

freedom freedom it's not like i mean the

25:54

vast majority of them you know that they

25:56

would not

25:57

you know they stop at red lights right i

25:59

mean they they're willing

26:01

to have some of their freedoms infringed

26:03

upon for safety

26:05

we have the same values uh we may define

26:07

them differently

26:09

and we clearly we we have them at

26:12

different um

26:13

points in the hierarchy but uh

26:16

we can you know that gives us some hope

26:19

like we can find some common ground

26:21

and i say that being helpful i don't

26:23

mean as like

26:24

a money-back guarantee thing right not

26:26

like a particularly not like a method

26:28

for winning either helpful in the sense

26:30

of building

26:31

a space for community man yeah yeah yeah

26:34

when you look at jesus the person of

26:36

jesus tell me about

26:38

the rhetoric that um you find out of the

26:40

person of jesus in the gospels

26:43

so one another one of the things one of

26:44

my uh philosophies of rhetoric

26:47

comes comes straight from jesus like out

26:49

of

26:50

out of the heart come become a person's

26:52

words

26:53

and what so when i talked when i talk

26:55

about like we all communi we all see the

26:57

word through a

26:58

lens or we we understand the world and

27:01

we speak through

27:02

a particular logical framework or

27:06

narrative framework that's how we

27:07

understand things that's

27:09

that's another way of saying what jesus

27:12

said there

27:13

um that our words our words aren't just

27:16

accidents

27:17

so so one of the rules in my house years

27:20

ago when i first started studying

27:21

rhetoric was i didn't let my kids say

27:23

well i'm just saying he's like oh no no

27:26

no you're not

27:27

just saying because your words

27:30

come from someplace and your words have

27:32

an impact

27:33

they're not neutral so even if i reject

27:36

a person's words

27:37

i'm still interacting with those words

27:39

i'm still engaging with those words

27:42

so i think jesus has all kinds of wisdom

27:45

uh in that in that one statement you

27:48

know some of the the text

27:49

where he you know if he was if he was a

27:52

contemporary uh social science

27:55

communication scholar he'd say here's

27:57

how you clearly communicate your message

27:59

and sometimes like jesus is not trying

28:02

to clearly communicate his message

28:04

uh it seems like he's stirring the

28:06

waters up and really making people think

28:09

and not making it easy to understand

28:12

what he's saying

28:13

that stuff that fascinates me i was

28:15

listening to another podcast

28:17

a day or two ago where a myth writer

28:20

was being interviewed and myth is a

28:23

scary word to a lot of christians

28:24

to to the idea that their some of these

28:27

ancient bible stories could be

28:29

myth mythical is very very scary to a

28:33

large amount of people but this

28:34

myth this modern myth writer in the uk

28:37

said

28:37

the reason that he wrote about certain

28:39

experiences through mythology

28:42

is because there are some experiences

28:43

that are so deep and rich

28:45

the facts actually don't tell the story

28:48

and so he results

28:49

he resorts to myth and not resorts it

28:52

actually is the best

28:53

choice of communication and so that's

28:55

fascinating to me that god

28:57

this unknowable god he comes to us and

29:00

the rhetoric he uses

29:01

is myth actually that's his choice way

29:04

of explaining this

29:05

kingdom that he's trying to get us to

29:07

understand that says something right

29:10

oh man that is uh yeah that's that's

29:13

profound

29:14

but in in certain traditions you say

29:16

that well this is the myth or this is

29:17

the story about

29:19

as opposed to arguing that this

29:21

factually happened this exact way

29:23

and i'm not saying like a myth may have

29:25

happened you know that story may have

29:27

happened that exact way but that's not

29:28

the thing to fight about the thing to

29:30

fight about is inside me

29:32

that i would be transformed by the

29:34

truths

29:35

there not to try to give

29:38

evidence that demands a verdict jim

29:41

we've

29:42

spoken a lot about rhetoric in the the

29:45

state of rhetoric in our culture and

29:47

to me there's not a whole lot that's

29:49

more broken in our culture than the

29:50

state of

29:51

than our rhetorical state i don't know

29:53

if i'm speaking rhetorically correctly

29:56

i agree our public discourse our public

29:59

rhetoric is

30:00

i mean we're in trouble it's a mess yeah

30:03

so

30:04

so that being the reality that we find

30:06

ourselves in can rhetoric

30:08

help save us what in what ways can

30:12

rhetoric help us dig out of the hole we

30:15

found ourselves in

30:16

i'd really encourage people to really

30:18

listen to their own words

30:19

what are you tweeting about what are you

30:21

posting on facebook about what are you

30:24

talking to your friends about and your

30:27

your family about

30:28

what are the words coming out of your

30:29

mouth because like jesus said

30:31

out of your heart flow the words of your

30:33

mouth and so one of the ways that

30:35

i look at it from a rhetorical

30:37

standpoint is like what is the story

30:40

that's driving my words my words aren't

30:42

accidents they come from a certain story

30:45

and so good one of the real challenges

30:48

is how does this line up with

30:51

how i understand the gospel of jesus

30:54

christ

30:55

and and i don't mean do i throw jesus in

30:58

there every once in a while

30:59

or do i throw some christian cliche

31:02

words

31:03

like is is the motion of the story

31:06

does it line up with the motion of jesus

31:08

story well

31:10

can you imagine the difference on social

31:12

media in our world especially in the

31:14

church

31:14

if we just ask the question is the story

31:17

that i'm telling

31:19

with my twitter account with my facebook

31:21

page

31:22

is a story that i'm telling mirrored at

31:24

all

31:25

by the story that jesus told well dr jim

31:28

vining thank you for joining us

31:30

thank you guys really appreciate it

31:31

thanks jim

31:39

thanks for listening we hope you enjoyed

31:41

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31:43

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31:44

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31:51

till next time this has been a pastor

31:54

and a philosopher

31:54

walk into a bar

32:03

[Music]