Virtue in the Wasteland Podcast

An overview of the Gospel according to Luke with special attention to the concept of the Temple and the idea of cleaning the house of faith to make room for Jesus' kingdom. Political elements are particularly emphasized. 

Direct download: Cleaning_House_with_Luke.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am PDT

Direct download: Art_Money_and_Life_with_Dan_Siedell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

This year's Christmas special was recorded live at the Boathouse Collective in Costa Mesa, California.  We were stoked to have Blake Flattley and his band lead the evening with a collection of interviews and musical performances.  

Direct download: ViW_LIVE_Christmas_Party.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

On today's show we welcome author Rebecca Lemke who came out joined us here in studio from her regular base in Oklahoma.  Rebecca has written The Scarlet Virgins: When Sex Replaces Salvation.  Rebecca led us through a complicated and sometimes very difficult episode about sexual predators in the church, the role of purity culture in American evangelicalism and where we might find some hope in our preoccupation with all things sex, culture and church.  Check out for links and an article by Jeff from his recently published book, Sexy.

Direct download: Sex_and_Purity_Culture_with_Rebecca_Lemke.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

On Feelings: A Quick Guide to Navigating Your Inner Life Jeff and Dan discuss the ways in which our feelings, thoughts and behaviors affect our search for a virtuous life.  It may not be going in the direction you think!

Direct download: Feelings.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

It’s Thanksgiving and we do well to take a few minutes out of our day to remind ourselves why we love America.  The divisiveness of the last Presidential campaign and the vitriol coming through our TV boxes and ear buds has made being thankful difficult.  So, here are a few things, whether you are on the left or right, that you can be thankful about.




Direct download: Thanks_America-_A_ViW_Thanksgiving_Special.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

A bonus episode in which the guys follow their discussion of the best movies to portray Sex, Drugs and Religion with their top songs in those categories.  There is a 30 second gap between U2's 40 and Kendrick Lamar's Swimming Pools. Despite that little gaffe, we really dig this show and had a great time recording it.

Direct download: sex_drugs_religion_music_episode_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:33pm PDT

On today's episode we count down our favorite films (or most poignant films) in the categories of Sex, Drugs, and Religion.  This is part 1 of a two part series.  The second part where we count down our top songs in these categories comes out on Friday.  Check out the show page to read Dan's article on Pornography, Methamphetamines and Jesus.

Direct download: Sex_Drugs_Religion_at_the_movies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

We look at the rise of the Occult in our post recession anxiety, the roots of occultism with the Rosicrucian movement in the 16th century, new religious movements in the 19th and 20th century, the curious case of Josephine Paladin, and why we shouldn't be afraid of the rise of occultism today.



Direct download: Sex_and_Magic-_The_Rise_of_the_New_Occultism.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Dan's back for a discussion of his reading of David Foster Wallace and Søren Kierkegaard in the hospital. Hope and despair in an anxious age. Defense of the so-called snowflake millennials and their plight.


Direct download: Sickness_unto_Death.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:02pm PDT

Jeff Mallinson's lecture on the implications of Luther's concept of the freedom of the Christian. How we can love the unlovable and forgive the unforgivable. How we can stop worrying about legalistic works to earn our standing before God: once we are freed from acts of religiosity that are no good to our neighbor, we can spill out the unconditional love of God for others. Freed from worrying about looking bad by being associated with sinners, we can serve those sinners and bear the burden of their sin. 

Jeff would like to apologize for not clearly concluding his point, but hopefully there are some inspiring themes that you can apply. The main point is that instead of treating people how they deserve, we are free to treat others like God treats us.

Direct download: Free_to_Serve_and_Bear_the_Sins_of_Others.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:09am PDT

Music! Reformation! Reformation Music! Oh, ok... so maybe I say "look at this slide".  And you are all, "I can't see with my ears, dummy". And then I am like, "they were bad slides and would have confused you more". Problem solved.

Today's show is on another Reformation theme and taken from a lecture Dan gave on the eve of the Reformation a few years ago. 

Also, there might be a ticket or two for you last stragglers to join the crew in San Diego this weekend (Oct. 19 2017).  Go here to see what you can get!

Direct download: Reformation_Music_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:46pm PDT

Scratching the surface of a longer conversation regarding the nature of the demonic and mental health. Stay tuned for more detailed conversation with psychologists and biblical scholars in the weeks to come.


Direct download: Mental_Health_and_the_Demonic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Mental health, mental illness, social stigma related to such things, and the way we fund health care.

Dan starts by talking through his trip to the hospital and life for a few days in a psychiatric ward. Following this, the dudes discuss the lessons learned from the experience related to the way American's fund health care.

Direct download: Health_Care_and_Dans_Trip_to_The_Basement.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:46pm PDT

Jeff interviews newly minted PhD and former student Dr. Ryan Tafilowski about his research into the theologians in Germany under the Third Reich. Some opposed the Nazis, some cooperated. Is the two kingdom's theory to blame? Find out.

Direct download: Theologians_and_the_Nazis_with_Dr_Ryan_Tafilowski.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Dr. Wade Johnston discusses historical and current cultural and ideological reasons why Lutherans have a long history of not getting along.

Johnston has degrees from Martin Luther College, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Central Michigan University, and Erasmus University Rotterdam. He serves as assistant professor of theology at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and served for ten years in parish ministry in Saginaw, Michigan.

He also has a podcast: 

Direct download: Lutheran_Identity_Crises.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

How pyramid schemes operate like new religious movements. The history of direct marketing. Tupperware. Herbalife. Multi-level marketing. Capitalism. John Stuart Mill and classical liberalism. Regulations and the public good. 

Direct download: The_American_Dream_and_Pyramid_Schemes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Jeff interviews Christian and Chelsea Tuttle, outside their home (a Cold-War era six wheel drive: a 1982 Steyr-Puch Pinzgauer 712W) to discuss the ways in which this young couple has sought adventure, met new people, and lived life deliberately.

(The cold open uses ear buds; don't worry, the audio get's better after the opening music.)

They discuss the importance of travel, the ways in which people have been surprisingly decent along the road, and how one might choose the best vehicle for a roving lifestyle. (There are short reviews of a few types of modified vehicles).

Check out their blog site: 

Chelsea's a professional photographer, whose website is here: 

Some of their friends: 

The Facebook page Jeff mentions at the start of the show. 

We mention Mauricio and Abigail Parra, whose site is here: 


For other shows: 

Direct download: Travel_is_Fatal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

A candid and uncensored conversation with Shannon, who grew up in the church but discusses the perplexing difficulties of reconciling her upbringing with the new rules of dating at age 33, especially in Manhattan. Perhaps the most valuable part of the conversation is the unique dangers for people--perhaps especially women--who live in the emotional aftermath of a divorce, and may become susceptible to manipulative people who want to capitalize on it for their own power and gratification.

Listed as explicit for adult language. Whether or not you agree with Shannon's response to her life situation, her candid explanation of how she feels will perhaps help you understand yourself, your loved ones, and even your romantic enemies a bit better. 

Direct download: Vulnerability_in_the_Wake_of_a_Divorce.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

What was the civil war about? How ought we remember it? What about Confederate monuments and statues? 

Direct download: The_Civil_War_and_its_Monuments.mp3
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We explore moral psychology in Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind. Next week, we will discuss further with Dr. Kristen Koenig, a sociologist. will have relevant show notes.

Direct download: Moral_Psychology_and_Group_Think_Part_1.mp3
Category:Wasteland Companion -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Perhaps the greatest difficulty today is learning how to speak to one another without a shared canon, a shared set of values, or a shared way of seeking goodness truth and beauty. We discuss the nature of our postmodern context and how ethics and aesthetics might lead us out of the present cultural quagmire. 

See the show notes for links to the various projects in Baja California, Mexico, overseen by Mauricio and Abigail Parra, who we discuss in the first part of the show.


Direct download: Our_Fragmented_Culture.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Micah is back! He's coming out with a new hip hop album that will rattle some cages. Where is the line between art, religion, politics, and freedom? 

Direct download: Hip_Hop_Non_Prophet.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Listener questions answered.

What's burning, and what's at stake these days in the lives of Dan and Jeff as they return home from travels and speaking.

Direct download: Burning_Questions_Summer_2017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, we address the many ways in which Martin Luther has been mischaracterized, by friends and foes alike.

Dan and Jeff are joined by Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto, author of The Fabricated Luther (Concordia Publishing) and founder and director emeritus of the League of Faithful Masks. They are also joined by 1517's own Dr. Scott Keith, who wrote his dissertation on Luther's successor, Melanchthon.


Direct download: Will_The_Real_Martin_Luther_Please_Stand_Up.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

The historical importance of the concept of heresy. A discussion of Dan's odd travels and flight cancellations. Addiction as a sin but not as a moral failing. Gnosticism, Pelagianism, Donatism, and the importance of understanding that understanding heresy is a defense against the dark arts, not an excuse to poke people in the eye.


Direct download: Heresy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

This podcast discussion took place in France, where LFM founder, lay theologian, and renowned journalist, Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto tends to spend his summers. He joined us to discuss the vocations of voters, the way we consume and sift through media, and what that says for Kurt Winrich's business--investment. He is on the board of 1517 but also a principle at WCM Investments. Note: no investment advice is given; rather we discuss the real world importance of getting the news right.


Direct download: Voters_Investors_and_the_Media.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

At the end of a thoughtful and enriching week (Jeff was a speaker and MC of the weeklong experience at Concordia University Irvine), the guys brought the podcast to the live audience to reflect on issues related to transhumanism, the future economy, and careers that will remain in a world of increasing AI and automation.  We had a lot of fun. We play a game about robots, and interact with some very interesting young people, who got the chance to hear from some theologians, but also from Zoltan Istvan, California's upcoming Libertarian gubernatorial candidate and internationally known transhumanist.


For more information on the institute: 



Direct download: Live_at_Crosswise_Institute.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

The world got you down? Freaked out? Nothing new under the sun. First half: a discussion of Jeff's experience traveling to Madrid to view Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights" and other pieces. What was he saying with this bizarre work? Second half: a discussion of how echo chambers cause us to beat down people of principle. The example we primarily use is the case of leftist hysteria at Evergreen State College, but it can apply to most other groups that get into their own loops without generously listening to others in the world.

Direct download: Mad_World.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

The newest mask Blake Flattley joins the show to talk about liturgy, art, music, emotion, and the tricky music industry.  

Direct download: Sacred_and_Profane_Music.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Hold on to your hats kids! You might be in for some cognitive dissonance depending on where your sensibilities might be found. How about we talk about Trump, Jesus, and Reefer Madness. Listen up. Unless you are a sensitive type who can't abide by perplexing questions and evidence that we might all be wrong. Enjoy the Show!

Direct download: Baseball_Mom_on_Jesus_Trump_and_Reefer_Madness.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:56pm PDT

Marcos Ruiz introduces, then joins the show for the second live podcast of the Sexy/Monsters summer tour. There are few venues as cool for this sort of thing as Cubaocho, in Little Havana, Miami. Art, cocktails, music and dancing abound. So does good conversation.

On this show, Jeff and Dan discuss the spiritual peace we call "blood orange" and explain how the best way to get there is to confront what Jung described as the shadow self, and what Dan calls monsters. Then there's an interview with Marcos Ruiz, founder of the El Lector feast, talking about Cuban Americans and changing relations with Cuba itself these days. Finally, we take questions about sex drugs and religion from the audience, using the new Virtue in the Wasteland wheel. 

Direct download: Blood_Oranges_and_the_Shadow_Self_at_El_Lector.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Marcos Ruiz brought the guys out to Miami Florida, to a pig roast at Grenada Presbyterian Church for a live recording, to launch the books Sexy and Monsters. Audience Q&A.


Direct download: Sex_Drugs_Religion_Live.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

What if we stopped focussing on abstractions and ideologies, and took a moment to consider virtue? Virtue is often defined literally as manliness--the Romans equated virtue with heroic human excellence. Since manliness means something a bit different, we discuss being humane, and consider how our culture could benefit from humanizing issues that are otherwise seen as abstractions. We go through an exercise where we consider several classic virtues and see whether Trump exhibits them. All in good fun.


Direct download: Virtue_Means_Humanliness.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Factors related to whether you or someone you care about should go on to a formal BA or grad degree, now that you've graduated. What college alternatives exist? What about going to Europe? Should you take a gap year?

Dan and Jeff won't answer these questions for you, but they will invite you to freely ask yourself who you really are and what that means for the next phase of life.

Direct download: Fourth_Annual_Graduation_Special.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Dan and Jeff do a short introductory discussion about divorce and the difference between Pharisees and Jesus on this matter. Some follow up about Dan's relationship and the status of the books. Then they shift to a long form interview with the girlfriend of Jeff's son Auggie (who you heard back in the old days from time to time, and the bass player in the opening/closing music). Her name is Sydnie, was the child of divorce, and didn't tell us exactly how she would answer questions before we pushed "record." So check out what she says. This ain't theory, but rather an honest reflection on life after a broken marriage.

Direct download: Divorce_and_Its_Effects.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

This is part two of a new focus, and this is where it gets a bit heavy. Don't give in to despair.

Check out for more information on Sexy: The Quest for Erotic Virtue in Perplexing Times and for more information on Monsters: Addiction, Hope, Ex-Girlfriends, and Other Dangerous Things.




Direct download: If_Books_Could_Kill_Part_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:01pm PDT

After four years, Virtue in the Wasteland reboots, starting a new focus on sex, drugs, and religion, with a conversation between Jeff and Stacie Mallinson and Dan and Beth Anne van Voorhis, in the Gramercy Park Hotel, in New York.

The first part gives some of the back story and there's some playfulness. The second part may get a bit more uncomfortable. But despite the changes long time listeners might notice, the end should be familiar. Take heart.

Check out for show notes and cool links.

Direct download: If_Books_Could_Kill_Part_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Sometimes, we feel the need to defend great artifacts and contributors to culture. But why not let them speak for themselves, whatever the critics may think?

We return to some reflections on a Father John Misty concert, discuss the cultural significance of Saturday Night live, explore the importance of a sixteenth century painter who's wilder than Dali.  Enjoy.

Direct download: No_Excuses_Needed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Joel talks about the upcoming Crosswise Institute event in Irvine, transhumanism, robots, embodiment, and his trip to Iceland.

Direct download: Robot_Salad_and_the_Importance_in_Virtue_in_the_Coming_Age.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Father John Misty (the moniker for Josh Tillman, former drummer of the Fleet Foxes) dropped his third album Pure Comedy, through Sub Pop records this last week. Dan and Jeff discuss the cultural significance of this album, which is a contribution to the conversation about religion, politics, and technological culture today. Tillman reportedly was reading Zizek's Living in the End Times during the recording of the album. That book was part of a Virtue in the Wasteland "class" Dan and Jeff taught last year. Thus, it brings together ViW's favorite themes: where we are going culturally, whether everything will indeed be ok in the end, religion, philosophy, ideology, politics, and well-written pop music.

This may not be for everyone, but you may want to listen even if Father John Misty isn't your style. This is because he taps into a very real concern young people (but not just young people) are raising about why it seems so often that conservative religious people act "like godless animals."

By the way, the album cover is interesting: it is like a modern take on Hieronymus Bosch.


Direct download: Pure_Comedy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

This wraps up our series on the Reformation outside of German lands.

Direct download: Going_Dutch_Hard_Core_Calvinism_and_the_Spanish_Inquisition_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

This was supposed to be a serious, high-brow, educational show. It turned into something hard to categorize. We had fun at least.

Direct download: The_Karate_Kid_John_Calvin_and_the_King_of_France.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Part two in our series on the history of the reformations that took place outside of Germany. Henry VIII, Mary I, Elizabeth I, the Book of Common Prayer, and Anglicanism as a middle way between Wittenberg and Geneva.


Direct download: English_Reformation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

This is the first in a series of shows about the Reformations that took place in the sixteenth-century, outside of Germany and the Lutheran tradition.

We explore Zwingli's thought, the affair of the sausages, and political aspects of the Swiss reformation.


Direct download: The_Zurich_Reformation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Authoritarian personalities and evil revisited.

Direct download: Evil_Part_2.mp3
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Social movements with a real live sociologist.

Direct download: Social_Movements.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Dan and Jeff respond to tough listener questions raised by past shows.

Direct download: Burning_Questions.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:53pm PDT

Why does painting matter? We discuss: La la Land, New Sincerity, Edvard Munch, The Scream, Impressionism, and the art of children.

Join us for a great conversation with our friend Dr. Dan Siedell. Our guest is Director of Whale & Star, the Miami-based studio of artist Enrique Martínez Celaya, where he oversees research and development. He is visiting professor at Knox Theological Seminary and Kings College, NY. Previously, he taught modern and contemporary art history, theory, and criticism at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He was also Chief Curator of the Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for eleven years.  

He holds a Ph.D. in Modern and Contemporary Art History, Theory, and Criticism. University of Iowa (1995), and an M.A. inArt History, Theory, and Criticism. SUNY Stony Brook (1991).

He's the author of God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art (Baker Academic, 2008) and Who's Afraid of Modern Art?: Essays on Modern Art and Theology in Conversation (Cascade, 2015).


Direct download: Screaming_Paint_with_Dan_Siedell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Joe Laughon is back. Are we in an age of corruption and decay? Are we on the verge of a new world order, or on the edge of doom. Can we lock things down and keep the dangerous outsiders at bay? 


Direct download: Immigration_Trump_and_Our_Pal_Joe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

The corruption of power, why people want it, why we don't always realize that power is behind other "causes" and why people get aggressive when their power is questioned.

Jeff and Dan riff on a theme close to home for them, and for all of us these days.


Direct download: All_That_Power.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Listen to find out.

Also, the point: things have already changed and the results of those changes will affect institutions and ways we live in the future. No fear: everything is vanity, but all is enfolded into a larger, righteous cosmic story.

Direct download: Say_Goodbye_Forever.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Gustavo Arellano is one of the coolest journalists and authors in our neck of the woods. He’s the editor of the OC Weekly, where Dan and Jeff learned about bands to follow, local issues and stuff to see, when they were growing up. He is the author of the nationally syndicated column ¡Ask a Mexican! He is a best selling author with three great books to check out:

¡Ask a Mexican!,

Orange County: A Personal History, 

and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America

We also discuss politics, syncretistic religion, and the Catholic church’s scandals here in Southern California. 


Direct download: Dan_and_Jeff_Ask_A_Mexican.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

How a lot has already changed in 2017... it may have changed a while back but we discuss three ways in which politics, religion, and entertainment have shifted significantly. What we find each of these changes have in common is a questioning of longstanding authorities.

Direct download: Questioning_Authority.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

On today's show we discuss the idea of normal.  Having received so many emails from all around the world, we have a particularly American and west coast mentality.  We think some things are normal when in fact it might be shocking to others.  Is normal the same as good?  how do we judge what is "normal"?  Do we need to check what we believe is normal, or are they socially constructed and need not be judged as normal or abnormal?

From Aquinas to Warren Harding to Oingo Boingo.  Enjoy the show!

Direct download: normalshowfixed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT