Tim is an urban mystic, a thinker, writer, and conversationalist committed to relational spirituality. Tim is best known for his work with postmodern spiritual seekers and as a provocateur arguing for a new approach to doing church and spirituality centered on pursuing and practicing the Presence of God. Tim is the author of 7 Key Relationships, The Trinity Sessions, and the seminar De-/Re-Constructing Church. Tim holds a B.A. Honours in Religious and is a M.Th. Candidate in Christian Spirituality at UNISA.
We’re joined by Michael Ward, author of The Sixth Sola, for two episodes:
In S03E06 we get to know Michael and explore his early experience of God and some of his deconstruction. These are great conversations for anyone whose deconstruction leads toward exploring the reality of God within the context of faith.
In S03E07 we we dive into a discussion around what walking in the spirit means in terms of experiencing God. These are great conversations for anyone whose deconstruction leads toward exploring the reality of God within the context of faith.
You can find out more about The Sixth Sola on his website.
In S03E04 Karl Teichert – A cry for intimacy with God we explore.
We’re joined by Karl Teichert, director of OC Africa, for the second of two episodes. In this episode we hear about the research conducted by OC Africa into the training needs of church leaders in South Africa. This work is profound in that leaders reported their primary needs as relational. Church leaders are starved for intimacy with God and longing for mentors. This is a deep dive that frames the research and dials into the need for relational engagement with God.
On the podcast of the urban mystic we are exploring the tension between faith and experience in Season 3, which is actually a tension between faith and relationship. Our first guest is Karl Teichert the Africa Area Director for OC International. Karl moved to Johannesburg, South Africa in 1997 to serve as a missionary with OC Africa. Karl worked with Willie Botha and David Bulger to research and publish A Cry for Intimacy with God. This research evidences the absence of intimacy with God among church leaders throughout South Africa and, by implication, in other nations following a similar doing church paradigm.
This is solid research standing alongside others that really supports what we’re wrestling with on the podcast of the urban mystic.
This week we launched Season 3 of the podcast of the urban mystic. Listen to the episode online. There’s also a new website up and a Patreon. Here Tim and Steve discuss the series focus and that the podcast of the urban mystic is only the tip of the iceberg.
Our focus for Season 3 is on the tension between faith and experience. This is as faith meaning belief in God on the basis of faith and not experience. It means accepting God on the foundations of faith as meaning the authority of the Bible or Church. So the tension between ‘faith and experience’ is actually as between ‘faith and relationship’. Are we expected to believe in God apart from experiencing God? Does it makes sense that we relate to God apart from relationship with God? Does this personal God only relate to us indirectly through the historical Jesus and the Bible? Explore this with us in Season 3. Listen to the episode here.
The work of the urban mystic includes one-on-one conversations. We also see people one-on-one either in person for a cuppa or online via Zoom, Skype and WhatsApp. These are conversations similar to what we have on the podcast. These conversations are personal and include questions that emerging from listening to the podcast and from people’s lives, stories related to God’s absence and presence, and even people challenging our thinking. If you’d like to connect with us, fill out the form on ourwebsite.
The vision of the urban mystic is much larger than the podcast. We seek to encourage individuals to adopt the practice of the presence of God. And we’re working toward bringing our courses online which have a proven track record of enabling people to adopt a relational paradigm. In the longer term we foresee a network of individuals sharing the value for intimacy with God gathering and practicing the presence of God. Please connect with us via our website if you’re inspired by this vision.
An outline of episodes in season two of the podcast of the urban mystic.
In Season Two of the podcast of the urban mystic we speak to fellow deconstructors about their first experience of God, their calling to ministry, deconstruction, and ongoing contributions. These are authentic and live conversations with real people. They are vulnerable and richly nuanced. We hope you enjoy listening to them as much as we enjoyed having them.
Episode 13: Introduction and overview of season two (Oct 9 2020). We’re super excited to back with Season 2! In this episode Tim and Steve chat about the upcoming season and introduce our guests. This is the season of deconstructors. We hope you enjoy listening to these conversations as much as we enjoyed having them. Listen here.
Episode 14: Deconstructing with Christopher Harrison (Oct 15 2020). Our guest tonight is a retired Methodist Minister who now works as Missions Coordinator supporting churches to establish new forms of church for our changing culture and a missional coach enabling people to find new ways to grow disciples to make disciples. Join us as we get to know Christopher Harrison. Listen here.
Episode 15 & 16: Deconstructing with Dion Forster (Oct 22 2020). Our guest for two episodes is an academic for the church active engaging church, state, economic, and race relations. Join us as we get to know Dion Forster. In part 1 we explore his early early experience of God and career in ministry. In Part 2 of our conversation with Dion Forster. Here both Tim and Dion push back at each other over the institution of the church and whether it is necessary or relevant. It is an example of the points of agreement and difference between around the necessity of the institution of the church and why many really understand it to be essential. Listen to part 1 here and part 2 here.
Episode 17: Deconstructing calling and ministry (Oct 23 2020). Our first two guests process their calling and redefine their careers in ministry. In this bonus episode, Tim and Steve reflect on their experience of calling and deconstruct ministry as a narrow career mostly in tune with the business of doing church. Listen here.
Episode 18: Deconstructing spirituality and entering new terrain (Oct 23 2020). Our first two guests note there to be a tension between one’s calling and preparation for a career focused on doing church. Here Tim and Steve deconstruct spirituality and discuss their journey into new terrain as deconstructors. Listen here.
Episode 19 & 20: Deconstructing with Richard Jacobson (Oct 29 2020). Our guest for two episodes has a TED Talk, explainer videos, books, blogs and a podcast. You can find links to everything at unchurching.com. Join us as we deconstruct with Richard Jacobson. In this episode we explore his early early experience of God and career in ministry. Listen part 1 here and part 2 here.
Episode 21 & 22: Deconstructing with John van der Laar (Nov 5 2020). Our guest for two episodes is a writer, musician, public speaker, composer, poet, liturgist, graphic and web designer with a Masters Degree in Theology. He recently resigned from serving as a Methodist minister. He has over 40 years of experience in spiritual practice and ministry seeking to establish a new kind of spiritual community that breaks free of the limitations of geography and specific times for the community to gather. EvoFaith turns spiritual practice into an on-demand, 24/7, global experience. You can find out more about EvoFaith and get to know John van de Laar through our conversation over two episodes. Listen to part 1 here and part 2 here.
Episode 23: Deconstructing the institution of the church (Nov 9 2020). Our first two guests process their calling and redefine their careers in ministry while our next two guest, Richard Jacobson and John van de Laar, deconstruct the institution of the Church. In this bonus episode, Tim and Steve reflect on those conversations and their own journey as deconstructors seeking an alternative to Church as we know it. Listen here.
Episode 24 & 25: Deconstructing with Brian D McLaren (Nov 12 2020). This is part one of two episodes with an author of several books including “A new kind of Christianity”, “Faith after doubt”, “The secret message of Jesus”, and “The great spiritual migration”. Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for “a new kind of Christianity” – just, generous, and working with people for the common good. Join us as we get to know Brian McLaren and find out more on www.brianmclaren.net. Listen here.
Episode 26: Deconstructing with David Hayward (Nov 19 2020). Our guest for this episode is the author of several books, hosts a number of courses, and creates a cartoon every day. He holds a Masters in Theological Studies, as well as Diploma in Religious Studies and Ministry, and University Teaching. His art expresses the stories and struggles of spiritual refugees and independent thinkers who question, doubt or oppose the confines of religion. Each piece encourages difficult conversations and acts as a catalyst for critical thinking. David Hayward is the NakedPastor. After 30 years in the church, he left the ministry to pursue his passion for art. His work challenges the status quo, deconstructs dogma, and promotes critical thinking. Find out more on https://www.nakedpastorstore.com/. Listen here.
Episode 27 & 28: Deconstructing with John Eliastam (Nov 26 2020). Our guest for two episodes is the visionary behind a national worship event called the Newsong Festival and planted the Newsong Vineyard Christian Fellowship which used to meet at the River Club in Observatory, Cape Town. Newsong was untypically progressive and successfully homed people in their 20s and 30s during a period where this demographic was unlikely to stay in church. He went on to pastor Kenilworth Vineyard Christian Fellowship untill 2010. Join us for our conversation with John Eliastam. Listen to part 1 here and part 2 here.
Episode 29 & 30: Deconstructing with Natalie Simmons (Dec 3 2020). Our guest for two episodes is a former pastor. She has been married nearly 25 years and has 3 sons. She has taught English for the past 12 years in both junior and high school. She loves reading fiction more than non-fiction. Join us as we get to know Natalie Simmons. Find out more by reading her blog You can read her blog http://nataliesimmons-eanutbutterandhoney.blogspot.com. Listen to part 1 here and part 2 here.
Episode 31 & 32: Deconstructing with Julie McVey (Dec 10 2020). Our guest for two episodes is the author of “Why I left the church to find Jesus: A personal odyssey“. She has worked in a church running women’s ministries and as a worship leader. She now supports others in their journey of deconstruction. Join us to get to know Julie McVey. Julie’s book is available online at Amazon and connect with her via her website. Listen to part 1 here and part 2 here.
Episode 33: Accepting Deconstruction and Rejecting Deconstructors (Dec 14 2020). In this bonus episode Tim and Steve explore the acceptance of deconstruction as valuable to communities and the rejection of deconstructors as the norm. Its a tragic reality that believing, behaving and belonging come as a package. The result is that institutionalism and the control of people takes precedence of their growth, exploration, and evolution. Listen here.
Episode 34: Wandering in the urban desert (Dec 14 2020). The final three guests all deconstruct as persona and people. Yet there is a depth in their sharing as individuals no longer speaking on behalf or for a group. This is the human face of deconstruction, the felt depth of living, and the vibrant and lively spirituality of those wandering in the urban desert. Listen here.
An outline of the episodes in season one of the podcast of the urban mystic.
In Season One of the podcast of the urban mystic Tim introduces some ideas Then Tim and Steve dive into conversation with each other and explore their deconstruction of the doing church paradigm.
Below is a list of episodes and a short note about them:
Episode 01: Introducing Urban Mystic, Definitions and Caveats (April 11 2020). Here we introduce and explore the relationship of and differentiation between spirituality, religion and mysticism within our capacity to relate to ideas, causes, objects, processes, institutions and persons. This is the podcast to follow if you’re interested in a post-religious relational pursuit of God rooted in experience. Listen here.
Episode 02: The horizon and the transcendent (April 27 2020). In this episode we explore how practical language enables us go about changing our experience. Here the idea of the horizon is explored along with the meaning of the transcendent. Listen here.
Episode 03 – From religious institutions to what comes after (May 2 2020). In this episode Tim is joined by Steve and they share a somewhat focused yet meandering conversation around the transition from institutional religion to what may come after. Listen here.
Episode 04: Worldviews and problems that arise with religion, spirituality and mysticism (May 18 2020). In this episode Tim and Steve discuss worldviews and some problems of translation and interpretation that arise across worldviews. Listen here.
Episode 05: The problem of God (May 25 2020). In this episode Tim and Steve explore the interaction between human beings and spiritual beings. This phenomenon is central to the three great monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and near-universally present in primal cultures and our present world. Head on over to urbanmystic.blog for a mindmap summarising the phenomenon. Listen here.
Episode 06: Our own experiences – Part 1 (June 5 2020). In this episode Tim and Steve share some of their own mystical experiences. This evidences how down to earth such experience is and how well it can integrate into daily life. This is Part 1 of 2. Listen here.
Episode 07: Our own experiences – Part 2 (June 12 2020). This is the second episode of the two part conversation where Tim and Steve share their own personal or mystical experiences. These are normal experiences that can be pursued, cultivated, and shared. This is a refreshing alternative to the notion of faith as somehow disconnected from daily life and relationships. Listen here.
Episode 08: Understanding personal mystical experiences – Part 1 (June 19 2020). In this episode Tim puts forward a model enabling us to understand personal mystical experience while respecting the diversity of the phenomena. This is part 1 of a 3 or 4 part conversation. If you’d like to see the diagrams provided click here. Listen here.
Episode 09: Understanding personal mystical experiences – Part 2 (June 27 2020). In this episode Tim puts forward a model enabling us to understand personal mystical experience while respecting the diversity of the phenomena. This is part 2 of a 3 or 4 part conversation. Listen here.
Episode 10: Emerging caveats (July 5 2020). In this episode Tim and Steve briefly discuss some emerging caveats. These are by way of answering some of the questions we’ve been fielding offline. Listen here.
Episode 11: Understanding personal mystical experiences – Part 3 (July 23 2020). In this episode Tim and Steve continue the conversation around the model of personal mystical experience. This is part 3 of a 4 part conversation. Listen here.
Episode 12: understanding personal mystical experiences – Part 4 (August 3 2020). In this episode Tim and Steve continue the conversation around the model of personal mystical experience. This is part 4 of a 4 part conversation. Here the focus is on distinguishing relational engagement with God from faith as the emporer’s new clothes. Listen here.
This post is a quick update on the work of the urban mystic. I’m currently moving our courses online and busy setting up a Patreon page to raise more support toward the work (a huge thank you to those who support the work of the urban mystic). In this post I want to give a brief update on where I’m at with the moving the courses online.
So far I’ve scoped out all the video and audio segments needed for the 7 Key Relationships (7KR) and The Trinity Sessions (TTS). These two courses are a natural first step. Turns out this is a monumental task! But it is going to be so worth it (FYI I’ve never produced video before but that won’t stop me 😜). The core component to each course is and will always be a weekly participatory Zoom session. In addition, 7KR includes three one-on-one sessions with the facilitator and TTS two one-on-one sessions. Of course participants can schedule more if they choose. These are simply the minimum touch-base points I’ve discovered over time end up being good. In this sense both course are ready to go. There is, however, one monumental snag.
Thank you so much to those who currently support the work of the urban mystic. Without your support it would not be possible to continue this work. This year I’m looking to step out further and increase the work—to go from being a small fish in a small pond to a small fish in a bigger pond. Starting a Patreon is an important step to expanding the work of the urban mystic. I discern that the next step is not only to keep going with the Podcast and add Video via YouTube but also to facilitate groups and develop a post-church community. I feel ill-equipped for this. Nervous. Scared. Much of the time I feel that God has made a mistake calling me to this. But the urge is there and won’t leave me. So I’m going with it. Here Patreon offers an opportunity to connect with people and receive support. This will enable urban mystic to develop a team who connects one-on-one with people and produces digital content as well as hosts online and face-to-face groups.
In the next few weeks I’ll launch our Patreon page. Kindly consider supporting the work of the urban mystic. But even if not, know that the work will stay de-commercialised. All our courses, our one-on-one work, podcast, upcoming YouTube material, etc. will stay 100% free. We’re not looking to establish any kind of transactional relationship.
Last year we really hit our stride with Season 2 of the Podcast of the Urban Mystic (link). This year we plan to continue the conversation about deconstruction and with those deconstructing. We’re currently in brainstorming mode deciding the best way for us to contribute to this broad and ongoing conversation. There are a number of deconstructors contributing meaningfully and yet we believe we offer a unique angle and make a valuable contribution.
One thing we really we want to do is dive deeper into the people’s stories. This conversation, that of deconstructing church, is one of the key conversations we believe to be worth having. Other conversations include the problem of God and relational spirituality.
Another thing we’re exploring is that of hosting an online seminar/conference with several contributors. We’re still in the early stages of planning and dreaming. This is something we’d love to do right but is our first step toward that. More news will follow. And if we don’t manage to navigate the tech hoops for an online seminar/conference we’re still going to be feature phenomenal deconstructors.
This year we’re looking to add more content not only to the podcast but also to YouTube. We only have a test video upon on our YouTube (link), but its there so that the channel is live. If you feel inspired (hint-hint-hint) we’d love you to follow the channel so long. We don’t want to put out content just for the sake of it, so will be experimenting toward excellent and meaningful content. So please be patient as we go through the hoops of learning to do video and editing it.