S05E04 – Mystery and Presence

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In this episode we explore the transition in Christianity from presence to mystery. In the primal expression we find high concentrations of engagement with God in small communities of Christ followers. Such experience is non-negotiable. After the creation of the institution of the Church we then find ridiculously low concentrations of relational engagement with God amidst a vast population now defined as Christian by citizenship and birth. Ever since relational engagement with God has a not been considered essential nor has it been required. The result is that we believe, behave, and belong as those raised Christian in a mostly Christian world.

In this episode, we explore the shift from presence to mystery and the challenge of trying to engage God relationally in the context of a life and faith defined by mystery and silence.

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Podcast Bonus Episode – Wayne Jacobsen – Lifestream

Wayne Jacobsen

Here is another bonus episode for you of quality conversation with a wise and humble guest, Wayne Jacobsen. Wayne generously gave us an hour and a half of his time to explore his experience, his thinking and current work and life. Wayne leads us to “new spiritual trailheads” as he works with “hungry people” – hungry people who are interested and yearning for engagement with God. It is a conversation which covers more than 40 years of life history; so a rich and insightful tapestry.

When we finished recording, I sat back in my desk chair, a bit overwhelmed by what we had talked about and so excited that it was recorded. This is the message I most want to leave in the world.

Wayne Jacobsen

It’s really humbling to hear this conversation described this way. We’re looking forward to continuing conversations with Wayne.

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Podcast – Season 4 Episodes

We recorded a min-series on Open and Relational Theology and engage with emerging thinkers who wrestle with the experience and presence of God.

  • S04E01 – Season Introduction. This is a short miniseries. In this intro we look briefly at why we took this tangent into Open and Relational Theology, and how we came across our four wonderful guests. Episode link.
  • S04E02 – Delvyn Case III. In this first episode of the miniseries, Delvyn Case joins us in conversation on his first experiences of God, his work and ministry in ecumenical spaces. Del is a musician, educator, writer, scholar and speaker. You can head across to his website to connect with some of his current work, or connect with him on Facebook. You can find out more about Del on his website and listen to via the Episode link.
  • S04E03 – Rory Randall. Rory the Center for Open and Relational Theology joins us in conversation on this week’s episode of the podcast. Rory has published a book recently entitled, “An Open Theist Renewal Theology: God’s Love, the Spirit’s power, and Human Freedom“. We asked Rory to share some handles with which to understand this emerging theology. As usual though the theory is woven into the backdrop of life story, and so Rory shares his first experiences of God within the telling of his life story. Towards the end of the episode we return to the question of how we experience God and what it means to ‘practice the presence of God’.  Episode link.
  • S04E04 – T.C. Moore. TC Moore joins us this week on the podcast for a conversation about Open and Relational Theology. Of course, we start by digging into his life story and first experiences of God – and it’s a fascinating story. We also spend some time looking into TC’s ROSE acronym which he offers in contradistinction to John Calvin’s 5 points of Calvinism – most often referred to by the TULIP acronym. You can access the Youtube link hereto a longer and deeper dive into TC’s work on Open and Relational Theology. Episode link.
  • Bonus Episode – Tim’s FaceBook post. This is a bonus episode we’re squeezing in between conversations with our miniseries guests. It arises from a Facebook post Tim wrote (link) about healing and how we follow the Kingdom of Jesus behaviour to go in an ambassadorial way into the world to do as Jesus did/does.  It is a stand alone conversation, though in many ways it connects deeply with so much of our thinking and conversing over the past year.  At the root is a desire to take seriously the God who speaks and acts in this world, and draw near to that God, to self and to others in a way that acknowledges the living presence and desire of this alive God. Episode link.
  • S04E05 – Robert D Cornwall. In this week’s episode we squeeze in one final guest to our exploration of Open and Relational Theology. Tim stumbled across an article Bob had written and so we decided to extend the series and include our conversation with him. Bob has also published a number of books, some of which he speaks to in this conversation. You can find his work here if you would like to dig further into his thinking. Episode link.
  • S04E06 – Season Conclusion. This is the final episode of our miniseries on Open and Relational Theology. Tim and I wrap up our thinking following all of the conversations with our guests and take aim at some of what we hope the future holds for us. It is also our book giveaway episode. Thomas Jay Oord, of the Center for Open and Relational Theology, was kind enough to send us some copies of his new book to giveaway to some fortunate listeners. Thank you for listening, we look forward to hearing from you. Episode link.
  • Bonus Episode – Phil Drysdale. This episode we speak to Phil Drysdale from The Deconstruction Network. With deconstructers standing as perhaps the fastest growing spiritual movement in the west, this research is tremendously important. Phil is among those doing research into deconstructers which evidences a different picture to what institutional supporters paint them out to be. This is a bonus episode that best slots in with Season 2 where we spoke with fellow deconstructers. Episode link.
  • Bonus Episode – Wayne Jacobsen. In this episode we speak to Wayne Jacobsen. Wayne generously gave us an hour and a half of his time to explore his experience, his thinking and current work and life. Wayne leads us to “new spiritual trailheads” as he works with “hungry people” – hungry people who are interested and yearning for engagement with God. It is a conversation which covers more than 40 years of life history; so a rich and insightful tapestry. Episode link.

In this season we continue our exploration of the tension between faith and experience in relation to thinkers wrestling with Open and Relational Theology and the presence and activity of God.

Podcast Season 5

@ Aaron Visuals, sourced from unsplace.com

We’re hard at work planning, recording, and editing some bonus episodes and Season 5 of The podcast of the Urban Mystic. Through the previous seasons we’ve really found our voice, gained clarity on our value for intimacy with God and problems associated therewith, and will focus directly on the experience of God this for Season 5.

We’re really tuned into exploring the tangible experience of God and developing a relational spirituality. By the ‘tangible experience of God’ we mean the experience of God showing up in Person to speak and act. And by ‘relational spirituality’ we mean something different to spirituality as character formation arising from the doing church paradigm, the devotional paradigm, and the Christian Wisdom Tradition. We’re thinking of relational spirituality as about entering deeply into living and loving in all our relationships yet as rooted in a value for intimacy with God and therewith relational engagement with God.

Miniseries Episode 2 – ORT – Delvyn Case III

Delvyn Case III

In this episode of the podcast of the urban mystic we speak to Delvyn Case III about his first experience of God, his work, and ministry in ecumenical spaces. You can find out more on his website.

We really weren’t sure if Delvyn was an Open and Relational Theology (ORT) devotee, but his story of process and deconstruction brings nuance to the impulse to look for a new theological framework within which to move and breathe more freely. For this reason we thought we’d include our conversation with him as part of this series. Delvyn considers himself a progressive Christian and is in fact into ORT.

Del is a musician, educator, writer, scholar and speaker. You can head across to his website to connect with some of his current work, or connect with him on Facebook.

On abandoning abandonment

My morning photo

There’s a well known piece of writing “Footsteps in the sand.” Its about someone walking a beach, looking back, and noting there to have been a pair of footsteps followed by a single set. When asking why they’d been left to walk alone, God responds to say, “That’s where I carried you.” And though that’s true for many and offered as an encouragement it falls short of two further legs on the journey. There’s a point in everyone’s journey where God abandons them and another where they abandon God. The footsteps story may speak to one part of people’s journey where God may have carried them (and not everyone experiences this and we need to discern whether they have before offering this as though they ought to have), but offering “Footsteps” to those abandoned by God is unwise, ill-discerned, and unhealthy. Similarly, to offer footsteps to those enduring a period of the abandonment of God by them is likewise ridiculous.

Continue reading “On abandoning abandonment”

Miniseries Episode 1 – ORT – Introduction

Taking this photo was harder than it looks!

This is a short miniseries between episodes, and so is bonus content to the end of Season 3 and yet kinda season 4 too.


In this intro we look briefly at why we took this tangent into Open and Relational Theology, and how we came across our three wonderful guests. You can link to the episode here.

We hope you enjoy.
Check out our website or Patreon page for more info on how you can support the work of the Urban Mystic

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* Random fun fact – there’s a minimum distance between camera and subject for the portrait mode to work on my phone. Turns out my arms aren’t that long, my neck only bends so far, and I can’t get a half finger up alongside the three for season 3.5!

Faltering starts, but stepping out again

Photo by Bruno Scramgnon on Pexels.com

My life story includes a rich trove of mystical experiences. This includes the Divine Instigator prompting me to connect with people, not always telling me why, and a shit-ton of just awkwards. Having deconstructed from this I’m stepping forward again. “/Hello World.”

For a while I pushed boldly into the immediacy of relational engagement with God over the classical “evangelism”. And though the commercialism of the HLF and church enabled this it was also disabling. I ran into frustration with the broader church experience of people and for myself. The deconstruction necessary wasn’t possible within churches and I’ve come to believe does not lie in repeating ecclesial or monastic structures. These things are rooted in what Ian McKenzie on the Mythic Masculine Podcast calls “dominator culture” and we need what’s after that to emerge from the ground up in “relator culture”. [1]

My deconstruction around this has been longer than my deconstruction of the institutionalism of the church. It’s been more personal because as it includes my own wants and the complexity of my inner life and intimate engagement with God. I’ve not been able to “want” to hear from God or own my “desire” to see people experience face-to-Face encounters with whatever follows from that. My level of expectation is tremendous. I’m continuously told by most that it’s too much; in dreams that it’s too little. The tectonic tension within tremendous as I both want and don’t want the expectation and desire. I internalised and ended up traumatised and re-traumatised by the constant criticisms which layered onto deep relational trauma.

Continue reading “Faltering starts, but stepping out again”

What was your earliest experience of God?

On the podcast of the urban mystic we ask our guests about their earliest experience of God and how that leads into their careers. This is a very important question to ask and its been really interesting feeling like there’s often a wrestling for an answer. What do you make of the question? Do you feel like there’s a wrestling for an answer? What do you make of how the guests answers?

S03E06 and S03E07 Michael Ward

Michael Ward

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.