Spiritual Misfits Podcast

Meeting Ground

If you’ve ever felt on the fringes of Christian faith this is a safe space for you. Your questions, doubts and hopes are all welcome here. We’re creating conversations, affirmations, meditations and other resources to support you on your spiritual journey and let you know that even if you feel like a misfit, you don’t have to feel alone. Learn more at spiritualmisfits.com.au

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Spiritual Misfits: Our Story
Jan 23 2022
Spiritual Misfits: Our Story
Hi friends, My name’s Will and a little while ago some friends and I started a little church called Meeting Ground. Many of us grew up in the church but somewhere along the way we found ourselves in positions you may be familiar with.   Some of our beliefs didn’t make sense anymore. We saw gaps between the teachings of Jesus and the culture of many churches. Some of us had experienced spiritual abuse or trauma or were excluded from faith communities for one reason or another. Some of us just felt like the church wasn’t set up to handle our honest questions about God, the bible or difficult areas of theology.  Some of us left. Some of us stayed. Either way, we found ourselves on the fringes of faith, trying to hold onto the beautiful and life-giving parts, while trying to let go of toxic or harmful stuff. I fundamentally believe that faith and doubt are both best experienced in safe community. And so one of the worst things that can happen is having to process deep spiritual questions, painful experiences or evolving beliefs in isolation.That’s kind of why we started Meeting Ground — to be a safe place for misfits in process.I believe there are life-giving theologies, practices and communities oriented around Jesus. I also believe healthy community ought to be inclusive — and welcome people to the table at all stages in their journey. This can be messy. But it’s worth it. It’s beautiful. It seems to me at least like something Jesus would be into. So, this podcast is part of a larger body of work we are creating to let misfits everywhere know, you aren’t alone — and there’s a place at the table for you. We’re creating reflections, meditations, liturgies, conversations and other resources to help you on your spiritual journey. You may feel like a spiritual misfit. But you don’t have to feel alone. Sign-up for The Sunday Message at spiritualmisfits.com.au
Karl Hand on Queer Bible Commentary
Oct 22 2022
Karl Hand on Queer Bible Commentary
Karl Hand is the pastor of Crave Church in Sydney, he has a PhD in the New Testament, and is a contributor to the recently updated Queer Bible Commentary with a chapter on the book of Ephesians.During our conversation Karl described this beautiful gift that queer people have for using humour as a means of survival in the face of oppression. He describes how in a way Mardis Gras is a response to police brutality involving people dressing up and throwing a party — and when you think about it, this is an incredible example of subversively comical resistance. It isn’t just police brutality that has been used against queer people historically — often scripture has been tragically used as part of the arsenal of weapons used to discriminate against them. Well, as Karl is going to show us in this conversation, at least one queer response is to re-read the text in brilliantly creative ways that see the humour, even through the trauma.I’m wary of anyone who says there’s only one way to read the Bible. I firmly believe that if it’s a living word — like I was taught growing up — then we can’t stop it from speaking in different ways to different people at different moments in time. And this conversation with Karl has given me fresh ways to see next time I open my Bible. Listen in, and by the end I hope you’ll be able to say the same thing. If nothing else, may you be inspired by the beautiful creative resistance of queer people. Check out the Queer Bible Commentary here.
The church of tomorrow with Simon Nixon
Oct 15 2022
The church of tomorrow with Simon Nixon
Many of us have experienced significant changes in our faith, spirituality or worldview  in recent years (which by the way is a normal and healthy thing). And of course, those changes are taking place right across human societies in the information age we are living through.  I’ve heard people speculate that we’re living in a new church reformation — and I think there’s something to that idea. So what will the Church of tomorrow look like? We can think about this question as a purely imaginative exercise. Or we can play a role in answering it. By experimenting and starting our own communities. By having large, imaginative conversations where we dream about what’s possible — and then give it a go.This episode is an attempt to begin a conversation like that.Through spiritual misfits we want to help you know that you are not alone. It says that every week in the intro. So what could and can communities look like where people move through their processes of change and growth and doubt and faith and all the things together?Simon Nixon had the idea for this one — and we also threw out the invitation to our Facebook group for anyone who wanted to join us on zoom while we recorded this conversation. It was excellent to see a number of your faces and to spend a little time outside of the recording just connecting with people and hearing where you’re from.The facebook group is becoming a really great space, so if you’re not already in there feel free to join us, and from time to time we are planning to organise more live recordings you can join us for as well as other online meet-ups.Let’s shape this thing together. Here is the first (of many) conversations about what the church of tomorrow could look like.
A 'belonging of misfits' (poems and stories live at Hamilton Baptist Church)
Sep 24 2022
A 'belonging of misfits' (poems and stories live at Hamilton Baptist Church)
A couple weeks ago there was a very special convergence of communities at Hamilton Baptist Church. I know many of you have listened to the episodes with Andrew Dodd and Scott Higgins sharing their stories and the story of Hamilton. If you haven’t listened yet add those to your up next. Anyway, Andrew invited me to come along to Hamilton and share some thoughts and poems. And Mitch Forbes and some of the New City Baps crew came along, as well as a few others from Meeting Ground church. So we ended up with a very special mix of people in the room, and honestly it was so lovely to meet a number of podcast listeners in person and to celebrate being a bit of a rag-tag group on the fringes of faith. Which can be a pretty fun place if you make it a party. Before the morning Andrew Dodd asked me if we could make this a ‘live’ podcast episode. So that’s what you’re about to hear. Andrew’s the host for this one. And there’s a bit of variety. First, a conversation with Mitch Forbes. Then we hear from one of our listeners, Alison. Shout-out to you Alison. And then the bulk of the episode is a mix of Andrew interviewing me and me sharing some poems around evolving faith and LGBTQI+ inclusion.  This was a lot of fun and I hope you get the sense that you’re in the room with us experiencing the energy of it. On that note, if you would be interested in hosting or collaborating on some sort of spiritual misfits meet-up or live gathering, hit us up. Who knows what could happen?
Kissing purity culture goodbye (and the pursuit of a better sexual ethic for our kids?)
Sep 3 2022
Kissing purity culture goodbye (and the pursuit of a better sexual ethic for our kids?)
Did you grow up within ‘purity culture’? If you’re unsure, here are some signs that maybe you did: You or your friends had a crack at ‘kissing dating goodbye.’God’s love seemed entirely contingent upon your sexual abstinenceYou got the impression that boys/men were unable to control their sexual desires, and girls/women were entirely responsible for any ‘sexual immorality.’ Sex outside of marriage felt like the worst and most shameful thing you could possibly do……after getting married though, a flip would switch and sex would suddenly be an amazing gift from God! The epicentre of purity culture was evangelical America in the 90s. But it certainly made its way to Australian shores. In this week’s episode of the podcast, Hannah and I reflect on our own experiences of purity culture and the ‘hangover’ left in its wake. Towards the end of the episode we turn our attention towards the question of what we would like to pass on to our own kids when it comes to understanding sexuality and spirituality. Is there a Christian sexual ethic that ditches the shame while still treating our sexuality with care and sensitivity? We don’t claim to have an answer to this question. But we at least want to talk about it! We reference several books in this episode that are worth reading if you want a deeper dive after this discussion: Pure, Linda Kay KleinJesus and John Wayne, Kristin Kobes Du MezAfter Evangelicalism, David GusheeThe Deeply Formed Life, Rich Villodas
Jo Saxton on grief, lament, race and gender
Aug 13 2022
Jo Saxton on grief, lament, race and gender
Hello friends!As I mentioned last week, with the birth of a new member of our family, I’ve dug out a couple of my favourite interviews from other shows I’ve hosted in the past, while I take a short break from doing interviews. This week’s conversation is truly top-shelf in my opinion and I’m sure you’ll learn something if you listen.For this week, I’ve grabbed an interview my friend Benj Gould and I originally did for the Forming Church podcast. We interviewed a diverse range of people about what the future of the church might look like in a post-pandemic world (taking into consideration all the other cultural and technological shifts we have been living through in recent years).This was a very special chat with Jo Saxton. Jo was born in London to parents who immigrated from Nigeria, and now lives in the US. She’s an internationally sought after author, speaker and leadership coach, and as you’ll see she’s just brilliant.We spoke with Jo about grief, lament, and both racial and gender inequality, and how the church of the future must genuinely grapple with these things if it’s going to survive and thrive.This interview was done in February 2021, and involves some COVID-specific reflections from that moment in time, but the majority of the conversation remains incredibly relevant for where we are right now.This is a conversation about some topics that’d can be difficult to speak about, but remain so deeply important. Check it out, and then join us in our Facebook discussion group to share your thoughts.
Simon Buckingham-Shum on the DNA of communal, creative worship (and 90s dance music)
Jul 30 2022
Simon Buckingham-Shum on the DNA of communal, creative worship (and 90s dance music)
Prepare for an experience with this one…featuring some tunes that are bound to get you moving! Simon Buckingham Shum is an academic who works at the intersection of education, technology and ethics. But, today we’re talking about his experiences as a part of a movement of alternative expressions of liturgy, worship and church back in the 90s in England.I was fascinated the first time Simon shared about some of these experiences with me and although I was never really into electronic dance music, Simon was ultimately talking about creative pioneering and experimentation and trying to find new ways of engaging the sacred And that’s a bigger conversation than any particular musical genre.  In the decades since then Simon’s faith journey has seen its own evolutions, and he’s been in a few different spaces stylistically as well as theologically. So, in this conversation we’re following the threads of a particular story but we’re also talking about more broadly about the interwoven relationships between communities, creativity,  forms of worship and our underlying motivations.Simon’s also written a really helpful reflective piece of writing about this journey. It’s immersive and includes pictures of event flyers from that time. That’s on our website here and I would recommend you read it alongside listening to this episode, as they play off each other. After listening join us in our Facebook discussion group to share your thoughts and keep the conversation going. Music in this episode:“I Lift My Cup (To The Spirit Divine”) by Gloworm 1992 (5 mixes) by Sue Wallace (composed for Visions services in early 90s). More tracks at:
Graeme Anderson on following Jesus for the next 10 minutes
Jul 23 2022
Graeme Anderson on following Jesus for the next 10 minutes
I think a lot of us have come to know the forms of Christianity that we don’t want. We’ve seen politicised versions of faith that we want nothing to do with. We’ve witnessed institutional failings, scandals and cover-ups that we want to distance ourselves from. But, sometimes it’s harder to answer the question, what now? How do I put the pieces back together?A few years ago someone told me it’s not enough to know what you’re running away from. You’ll be sustained by knowing what you’re running towards. I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that. So, the question is,  are there more attractive, beautiful, faithful, life-giving ways of following Jesus? When I see people embodying and giving voice to authentic answers to this question it gives me great hope.   Graeme Anderson is one of those people. He’s a pastor at Northside Baptist in Crows Nest, Sydney and over many years his understanding of what it means to follow Jesus and to live in the kingdom Jesus described has evolved significantly. It’s moved from a knowledge-based, propositional faith to an embodied, open, generous way of being in the world that is attentive to what love might look like here and now. To help other people experience this Graeme’s written a book called Follow — and created a range of accompanying resources including a 4 week email devotional series. I’ve just finished it and was genuinely surprised at how refreshing, accessible and invitational it was. If you’re interested you can check it out at follow.org.au Here’s a conversation with Graeme about what following Jesus might look like when we feel our institutions have let us down.