Virtue in the Wasteland Podcast (general)

If we look at our landscapes, our cities, our churches, and our homes, we can tell what we value.  Indeed, we can determine who our real gods are.  From cathedrals to bank buildings, we have, as a race, shifted our allegiances (sometimes from God to mammon).  Dan and Jeff banter about Mirecea Eliade, the layout of a home, and though we only use the term once: cultural Feng Shui.  

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

Commencement speaches tend to be salads of platitudes and cliches.  But one great one was offered by David Foster Wallace ("This is Water").  We share our advice to students who graduate this year, but also to anyone who wants to reset, wake up, and live well.

Direct download: Graduation_Special_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Fighting, our fights, and the Crusades.  This is part of our recent theme: "The Wrong Side of History." Historian and scholar of Islam, Adam Francisco (a Faithful Mask Fellow) joins us to reset our understanding of the history and legacy of the crusades.  

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

We bring Rev. Dr. C. J. Armstrong back to help unpack the ways in which religious communities and other groups maintain their identity, struggle with welcoming outsiders and maintaining identity, and appear to the outside world.  We go into the concept of taboos in Freud and Alasdair MacInytre, and spend some time giving a brief history of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, as a case study for this topic.

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

This is a brief show that we hope to elaborate on later. (Dan's edit: a show on which we wish to elaborate later).  In some ways it was occasioned by a comment by Jesse Nigro, posted to a 1517 Legacy blog post by Jeff. How is it that two guys in a conservative and sometimes prickly denomination are simultaneously irenic.  We ultimately argue that by being confident in our confession, we can be in dialog with people from radically different perspectives.  It's not that we jump on the fad of the hour, but rather that because of our anchor, we need not fret when strange winds blow.


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

Narrative, fiction, stories, and myth. Why do stories matter? What do they say about society and ideology.  Come find out. 


We mention Casey Abrams, George Washington, Cato, Into the Woods, John Milbank, Radical Orthodoxy, postliberalism, Turretin, ACTC, Stephen Jay Gould, and Enlightenment.

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

How should we talk to our children about dating?  How should we date ourselves? Dr. C. J. Armstrong comes along for the mellow ride, as a chapperone. Courtship, love, romance, sex, adolescence, and flirtation.

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

Onanism is an old word for masturbation. Why?  What is the historical background to the ways in which the church has understood sexuality, the body, what is normal, and how to talk to young people about sexuality.  We discuss the origins of the Graham cracker, grain based cereal, and 19th century health fads.

This is the first in a series of shows dedicated to evaluating whether the church has been on the wrong side of history and learning how we can apply lessons from the past to our cultural engagement today.

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

Don't listen to this one first, if you've never heard the show before.  We've been busy, so this show checks in and answers some mail that's been piling up.  Is Dan really a Republican?  What have we been reading?  Why are we in LA?

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

Hear what some sharp students and Faithful Masks Fellow Dr. Kristen Koenig have to say about hearing President Obama at the 50th anniversary of the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.  Martin Luther King Jr., Al Sharpton, Barack Obama, Rosa Young, Concordia Alabama, and more.  

This is episode 114.

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

A discussion of political, cultural, or religious code words and signs that separate the in group from the out group.


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

Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto, author of Triumph of the Absurd, discusses ways in which we can apply lessons from Vietnam for today's crises.  

Direct download: Overcoming_the_Absurd.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm PDT

Introverts, introversion, C. G. Jung, dreams, and how to live an optimal life as an introvert or someone who loves an introvert.  What is the MBTI test and does it matter? Should it lock us in to patterns of life?  Dr. Cosgrove is a Prof. of Psychology at Concordia University Irvine.

This is episode #111.  

Direct download: Introvert_Uprising.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:44pm PDT

We're not giving up on this show.  But we are talking about ways in which giving something up for a time might be good for us.

Just days after Valentine's Day, we ask what's up with Lent? Is it worth giving a shot?  Even if we aren't Roman Catholic?  Or even religous at all?  

Jeff explains why he has recently changed his favorite holiday from Ash Wednesday to an unlikely day on the calendar (for him).  Dan goes deep into major artists in popular culture, like REM and the Pixies.  Listen to find out how (or whether) this all fits together.

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

A Valentine's day bonus.  Sociologist Kristen Koenig joins us to deconstruct relationships in contemporary culture, the holiday called Valentine's day, the nature of passion, eros, love, commitment, and our era's dissolution.  

This is episode #109

Direct download: 50_Shades_of_Love.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:44pm PDT

We try to move past the meaninglessness of some ideologies, past the cheap hope of the positive thinking movement, and on to a path to hope.  We have an ethical obligation to hope until its last embers have been extinguished.  Patience, friends. Things are going to be fine.  There's a crack in everything, as Leonard Cohen says, but that's how the light gets through.  

This is episode 108.


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

Lending with interest in European history, Adam Smith, social ethics, borrowing, debt, greed, and cash societies.  The song we play at the break is "Gimme Some Money" by the spoof band Spinal Tap.

Direct download: Usury_and_Debt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm PDT

Shūsaku Endō, his Tanizaki Prize winning novel Silence, when mentors disappoint you, Jesuits, the Catholic mission to Japan in the early modern era, Francis Xavier, Martin Scorsesse, Pure Land Buddhism, Jodo Shu, Jodo Shinshu, faith, doubt, martyrdom, and the silence of God in the midst of suffering and abandonment.  We won't give any spoilers till after the music break.  Check out other wasteland companions if you dig this sort of thing.

Direct download: Silence.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:04pm PDT

What is anti-wisdom?  What is it's purpose?  How does it inform our spirituality, emotions, ethics, and philosophy?  Job and Ecclesiastes are examples in the Hebrew Bible.  They deal with themes that assist us during times when conventional wisdom can't help us.  

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

We discuss the recent film by James Franco and Seth Rogan, its cultural effects, and its international implications.  We discuss the difficulty of liking things on facebook that have ideological baggage.  We share our new year's resolutions for each other.

Episode 102

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

Shelley, Thoreau, Ferguson, the police, the law, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ideology, Žižek, and our post-Christmas depression.


Direct download: Disobedience.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

For our hundredth episode, we discuss the sociology and cultural implications of Christmas traditions in the west.  Joining us are Faithful Mask Fellows, Dr. Koenig (a sociologist) and Dr. Armstrong (a classics scholar and occasional pulpit jockey).  This one gets a bit giddy and a tad out of hand, since we recorded at the end of a semester and were celebrating the fact that we hit 100.  

Direct download: The_Sociology_of_Kristmas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

This isn't your normal self-help conversation.  Dr. Lu is brutally honest.  He is all about research and not so much of the fluff.  But we can learn some things about parenting, continuous improvement, setting realistic and motivating goals, and letting go of our egos.

Direct download: ViW75_Optimize_Yourself.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

We run down the top 10 christmas films, what they say about our culture, and the message they have for us about life together, overcoming the grinches in our world and virtue.

We definitely will hit on It's A Wonderful Life and Christmas Vacation.  Will your favorite make the list?  Will Charlie Brown?

Direct download: ViW73_Christmas_Movies.mp3
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The pagan roots of Christmas and other reflections on the greatest holiday around.

Direct download: ViW72_A_Very_Pagan_Christmas.mp3
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We talk NFL, explain why we've been wrestling with immigration, share some stories about our week, and end by applying philosopher of science, Ian Barbour's four transparadigmatic criteria to NFL viewing and other indulgences.

Just Dan and Jeff between classes.  Enjoy the expedition.

Direct download: ViW71_I_Wish_I_Knew_How_To_Quit_You_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

In anticipation of President Obama's executive action related to immigration and Central American Child Refugees, Joe Laughon of Café Con Leche Republicans returns to the show to discuss the controversial idea of opening the US borders.  Is it possible that it is in our economic and moral interest to do so?  What about communism and radical Islam?  What about drugs?  What about the burden of social service resources?  Come with an open mind and feel free to disagree and remain friends with our show.  Whatever your political position, undocumented (aka illegal) immigrants (aka aliens) are human beings, so we need to consider a virtuous response to our current crisis.

Direct download: ViW71_Immigration_Amnesty_and_Child_Refugees.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Survivor of the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Alex Nsengimana tells of his experiences during the bloodshed, from the vantage point of the capital city.  He also shares his story of transformation and hope.  He currently works with Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan's Purse.

Direct download: ViW70_Rwanda_Two_Decades_Later.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

While Dan is out speaking at the Teigen Reformation Lectures, classicist and biblical scholar, Dr. C. J. Armstrong sits down with Jeff to trace the theme of the hero's journey to the underworld and back.  What does it look like?  Can we fight against death.  Why does the Apostle's Creed say that Jesus descended into hell?  Listen in and find out.

Direct download: ViW69_Underworld_Travel_Guide.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:40am PDT

Our second spooktacular. This is a show about stuff you should be more afraid of than you are.  Dan shares the biggest fears of friends and experts. Jeff shares his recipe for a mini-bug-out-bag, should the apocalypse arise.  Dr. CJ Armstrong joins the wasteland gents at the end to bring a word of comfort in the face of fear and death.  Jeff reads a moving passage from Peter Berger's book A Rumor of Angels.

Direct download: ViW68_Be_Afraider.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

We mail it in.  We were going to a basketball game, so why not?  We talk about mailing it in.

If you find the audio quality distracting, come back next week, when we'll be back in studio.  

Direct download: ViW67_Mailing_It_In.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Rapture culture rapping with Dr. Amy Frykholm, writer for and associate editor with the Christian Century, and author of Rapture Culture, Julian of Norwich: A Contemplative Biography,  and See Me Naked: Stories of Sexual Exile in American Christianity. We talk about Nicolas Cage, dispensationalism, the rapture, eschatology, the recent film adaption of the books, the way gender plays into the book series, American religion, popcorn, paper planes, and happiness.  We had a lot of fun with this one.

Direct download: ViW66_Left_Behind_with_Dr_Amy_Frykholm.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

South Africa, Yoruba, Christianity, excommunication, Nelson Mandela, women in African society, racism in America and one superb woman: Nokukhanya Shabalala. We play a clip from Micah Bournes.

Direct download: ViW65_Africa_-_The_Good_The_Bad_and_The_Beautiful_with_Noks_Shabalala.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

This one is a messy but relaxed discussion of the big question of human culture: are we basically violent and chaotic, or cooperative and caring?  Should we embrace utopianism and primitivism?  Scotland voted to stay in the UK.  What does this mean?  Jeff thought he saw a sea monster.  Was it because of what Jeff failed to describe with the correct term, which is hyperactive agency detection device.  

Direct download: ViW64_The_State_of_Nature.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

All about the phenomenon of witch hunts, contemporary and old timey.  Salem, McCarthy, and Bewitched.

Direct download: ViW63_Witch_Hunts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

We discuss recent downfalls of evangelical Christian leaders, the vocation of the journalist, including the work of Janet Mefferd.  We check to see if the hosts are dogmatists or authoritarians using an old psychology questionaire.  We reflect on the structures that failed Mark Driscoll, Ted Haggard, and Bill Gothard.

Direct download: ViW62_Dont_Touch_the_Anointed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

We talk about the history of the Reformation as it affected the idea of vocation, the Max Weber thesis, the puritans, Theodore Beza, the practical syllogism, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, providence, Roger Williams, and Labor Day.

Direct download: ViW61_The_Protestant_Work_Ethic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

You'll have to excuse us this week for sounding a bit like the odd couple.  Stemming from a conversation that began some time ago, Dan truly believes that we live in the greatest time period in human history (yeah, yeah, there are caveats of course) and Jeff is pretty sure that we aren't.  Dan is very unfashionable in some circles for his love of the Enlightenment, and Jeff is sometimes cautious when he talks about why he can dig the postmodernists.  Nevertheless, this show discusses just how good (or bad) we have it right now from a historical and philosophical perspective.  
And if that seems a little too heavy, while we were recording, our favorite classicist CJ Armstrong strolled by the studio and we had him sit in and join the conversation and add a bit of levity (you might not get the Flinstone's reference, but Dan is still laughing about it). Enjoy!


We mention Jacobi, Hamann, Radical Pietism, Kierkegaard, Grundtvig, Continental Philosophy, Voltaire, Ovid, Art of Love, Metamorphoses.

Direct download: ViW60_Greatest_Era_in_Human_History.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Too often we get caught up using bad analogies.  While there are many commonly used poor analogies, we find the hitler/holocaust and "fall of rome" parallels particularly confusing and unhelpful. What do these events have that cause constant modern analogies? How might we better understand certain landmark historical events without taking them out of time and making a modern "version"?  In what ways are the present and future different?  We tackle these and other related topics.  Give it a listen.

Direct download: ViW_59_The_Hitler_Show_Edited.mp3
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Dr. Adam Francisco, a historian who specializes in Islam and Middle Eastern history, joins us as we discuss the current conflict in the between Israel and Hamas, and the possible future of Palestine.

Direct download: ViW58_The_Overpromised_Land.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

We look back at the first full year+ of our podcast+.  We ponder what we might have done differently, what we enjoyed most, and where we are heading in year two.  We didn't miss a single week release and don't intend to in the next year.  Thanks for listening and engaging with us through facebook, the website, and through our Twitter and Instagram presence.  Thanks especially for listening and spreading the word. Dan is in the mountains and Jeff is in Key Largo while this is dropping.  So, if you write a comment and we don't respond, we will get to it after our much needed breaks from the bustle and the hustle.  



Direct download: ViW57_A_Year_in_the_Wasteland.mp3
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What is a cult?  How do we balance tolerance and critical thinking when it comes to new religious movements?  Are their authoritarian personalties in my own, established religious community?  How are multilevel marketing and pyramid schemes like cults?  Is cult a bad word or is it a concept we need to preserve for the good of a safe and healthy society?  We wrestle with these questions and more.  We mention Jim Jones, Swedenborgianism, the Guru Maharaji, Amway, Scientology, and the FLDS. We love everyone.  Please don't sue us; we have no money and few assets, so it wouldn't be worth it.   Moreover, we are critical of ourselves and our own communities, various states that never really done nobody wrong, and the entire Inland Empire on occasion.  So it's all in good fun.  If we talk about your group, and you don't think we've represented it properly, feel free to explain where we were mistaken in the comment section.  Or, better, stage a press conference explaining why you think Virtue in the Wasteland is bad, making sure to get coverage from the major media outlets, and making sure to wear your sect's most distinctive clothing and strange hairdos, if applicable.  

Direct download: ViW56_Culty.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

We discuss the promises and perils of making books into movies.  We focus on Steinbeck's East of Eden and Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, but we also mention and/or discuss the following: Ian Flemming's James Bond stories, Michael Crighton and Jurassic Park, Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, the Cohen Brothers and Huckleberry Finn, musicals, The Last Temptation of Christ, Jungian archetypes, the value of mythology, and the importance of fairy tales.


Direct download: ViW55_When_Books_Become_Movies.mp3
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We freestyle chat about the nature of the good life and the ways in which we measure life's success.  This is about vocational questions for young people looking to the future or folks who want to redirect their lives later in the game.  We mention Daoism, LeBron James and The Decision, Stoicism, and whether you might want to rethink your current path.

Direct download: ViW54_The_Good_Life-Barometers_of_Success.mp3
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The 4th of July is upon us! Are you ready for the party? No, seriously. Are you ready? We've all been to parties with terrible hosts, terrible guests, poorly thought out games or ice breakers, etc...  On today's summertime show we break from our recent heavier topics and talk about how to throw a party.  As we were discussing this idea with our friends and colleagues we realized that there are some definite party do's and don'ts.  And maybe this isn't as frivolous as we first thought.  Hosting a party can be an important event in bringing together various people and opening a camaraderie in our ever self secluding world.

Direct download: How_to_Throw_a_Party_Fixed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:41am PDT

The history and ethical problems with the war on drugs.  We discuss the nature of addiction and why private prisons are an unethical place to house those who have substance dependency.  We argue that we should focus on actual data and seek to be virtuous toward our addict neighbors, rather than merely looking virtuous to our upstanding and "together" neighbors.  Discussion topics include initiatives to legalize cannabis, the history of the penitentiary system, methodone, and other social issues related to narcotics.

Direct download: ViW51_The_War_on_Drugs.mp3
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Happy Father's Day.

Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, his son Ted Rosenbladt, Steve Byrnes, Dan Deen and other old friends try and capture the sort of conversation that has been happening for decades on the Rosenbladt deck.  Dan was out for this one, but he's got a history of joining in these back yard conversations.

What is it to be a good father?

What is it to be a true brother--or friend?

We discuss answers to all this and a kind of love called philia.  Ted, of New Reformaion Press, also reveals some plans for an organization called 1517.


Direct download: ViW50_Fathers_and_Brotherhood.mp3
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Armageddon.  Apocalypse.  Rapture.  What do such words mean?  This show is about the end of the world, what it will be like according to several ideologies, and why it matters.  Even if you don't believe strongly in a particular religion or political ideology, you probably have an implicit theory of the end (eschatology), and your neighbors sure do.  Sometimes, our views about the end of the world have serious consequences for our life in the world today.  Even though we don't spend much time on the traditional theological conversation, we do mention the distinction between premillennial, postmillennial, and amillennial theologies.

Oh, and Dan also lets us know whether Putin is bringing on a third world war.

Direct download: ViW49_The_Way_the_World_Ends.mp3
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It feels good to give.  But what we don't often realize is the uneven ways charities distribute our gifts.  We talk about the best and worst nonprofit organizations as regards their stewardship of donor money.  We talk about ways for young professionals to consider a career in the world of development aka fundraising.  Philanthropy is best done with knowledge.  This show gets us on the right track at least.

Direct download: ViW48_Give_it_Away_Now.mp3
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The Winriches are former Jesus Freaks.  They are currently highly involved in youth work, music, and nonprofit organizations.  We talk about the good, the, bad, and the musical as it relates to working with adolescent religious education.

Direct download: ViW47_Youth_Gone_Wild.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

What does the average person NEED to know about video games? Jeff's son joins the show to share the top five things folks need to know (especially parents) about the world of video games.  We find that it is a world that you are probably too worried about in some regards and not wary enough of in other regards.  

Direct download: ViW46_Gaming_Gaming_2.mp3
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Freak out.  Dr. Kristen Koenig joins us again, this time to discuss those who are outside the societal norm. I'm surprised we never got to mentioning Michel Foucault.  But we did deal with important issues related to what it means to be normal and how we should respond to the other.  We mix a little sociology with a bit of good old human decency.  And some awkwardness.

Direct download: ViW45_Freaks_and_Geeks.mp3
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When scandals strike, or big decisions need to be made, do we let the masses decide how to respond?  Clippers owners, media stars, and your neighbor all are involved in this one.  How helpful is the popular opinion?  Do we seek an honor culture or a virtue culture?

Direct download: ViW44_The_Court_of_Public_Opinion_1.mp3
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Commencement is about beginnings.  We address those who graduate this spring and all those who are adults and out of school.  We talk abou the importance of ongoing exploration of the world and ways to stay sharp.  We share some of our favorite podcasts for learning as adults.  

Direct download: ViW43_A_Graduation_Special.mp3
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What do amateur ornithology and coffee snobbery have to do with anything?  We explain the personal and cultural value that avoocations bring.    Dan explains some ways to enjoy a better coffee.  Jeff explains why he loves birds so much and explains how to get started as an amateur bird watcher.

Direct download: ViW42_The_Birds_and_The_Beans.mp3
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What is virtue anyway, and can it be taught?  This is not our dissertation on the subject, just some friendly conversation with several colleagues who participated in a panel conversation on great texts.  Dr. Scott Ashmon, Dr. John Lu, Dr. C.J. Armstrong, and Prof. Dan Deen gathered in Dr. Ashmon's Hilton suite for beverages and conversation.  We talk about ethos, pathos, logos, virtue, habituation, Aristotle, Virgil, and love.  This affects everything from parenting to pedagogy, so give it a listen.

Direct download: ViW41_Can_Virtue_Be_Taught_.mp3
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We list great classical, early modern, and modern books and why they are worth reading.  

Direct download: ViW39_Great_Books.mp3
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Art prof Rachel Hays raps with Dan and Jeff about art, its history, and why Jeff is wrong to dig Banksy so much.  

Direct download: ViW38_Embroidery_Faith_Banksy_Whatever.mp3
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We discuss holidays associated with American immigrant communities and ask whether they might be culturally inappropriate. Joe Laughon joins us once again.  We discuss Public Enemy's "By the Time I Get To Arizona" video, St. Patrick's Day, and Cinco De Mayo.  

Direct download: ViW37_Racist_Holidays.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Dan and Jeff start by a list of regrets, clarifications and retractions from prior shows. Then they talk about MBTI (Meyers Briggs) profiles and what celebrities share them.  Finally they answer listener questions.  We talk Lana Del Ray, Putin, the Big Lebowski, nihilism, and narcissism.

Direct download: ViW36_You_Asked_for_It.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

On this, our 50th episode (enter fanfare) we discuss the nature of sanity and insanity. Wait, before you think that this is a highfalutin' philosophical show (well, it does have some philosophy) we came to this show by way of a question we asked ourselves: who is the sanest person we know?
This lead us down a rabbit hole for a week as we tried to put together a composite of the "sanest person" we know. Perhaps, sanity is illusive. Perhaps we are all insane. Or, like most things... it's complicated and we're not quite sure. But, join us as we discuss Dan's adventure with his two boys and missing cat, Jeff's new bike, and we think out loud through the thought of G.K. Chesterton, Soren Kierkegaard and others. We play some Old 97's and Beastie Boys and get around to making a little more sense of the world, our collective selves, and what it means to be sane.  The closing song is a cover of "Crazy Train" by the Denver country band The Railbenders.

Direct download: ViW35_Are_You_Insane_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

We share things we wish were true but probably aren't.  We share things we are pretty darn sure aren't true are not true.  

We discuss conspiracy theories, the Melanchthon Circle, Santiago Sam, kambucha, alchemy, neoplatonism, St. Augustine's Confessions, Masonry, Airborne, occult philosophy, esoterica, the JFK assasination, Ethiopia's claim to have the Ark of the Covenant, and postmodernity.

Direct download: ViW34_I_Want_to_Believe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

We talk about several recent scandals and leaders who have fallen from cultural grace.  Then, we call Jeff's old friend Chris to talk about his experience with the movement led by Bill Gothard. We discuss authoritarianism, spiritual abuse, Woody Allen, Ted Haggard, Anthony Weiner, and Lance Armstrong.  

Direct download: ViW33_ScandalScandal.mp3
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With Jeff Macaré, a favorite Lutheran hippy.  We talk about music,  the nature of digital and analog sound, Dan's diet of caffeine, nicotine and prozac and more importantly: the ambiguity of the word "nature" and Jaff Macare on his vocation of filtering water (that's right! water filtering! Seriously, hear what he has to say about that bottled water you're drinking)

Direct download: ViW32_Water_Water_Everywhere_But_Not_A_Drop_To_Drink.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

We move from individuals to society in our quest to understand narcissism.  Sociologists, Dr. Kristen Koenig (B.A., Occidental College, M.Sc., University of Oxford, D.Phil., University of York) joins us to make sense of it all.  This is one of our favorite conversations yet.  We find out what the "i" in "iPhone" means.  You are going to dig Dr. Koenig! Has narcissism as a trait (not the disorder per se), including vanity and selfishness been on the rise over the last several decades?  Listen to find out.

Direct download: ViW31_Narcissism__Sociology.mp3
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Dr. John Lu, social psychologist, joins us for a discussion of the nature of the DSM (a tool for diagnosing psychological disorders), the nature of narcissism, and the concept of an operational definition.  This is the second of several episodes planned for spring on the topic of narcissism. 

Direct download: ViW30_Defining_Narcissism.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

The hosts play with some initial ideas related to art and why we like what we like.  Dan explains some of the background behind conversations about art and beauty we will have over the coming months.  Don't expect a full and comprehensive lecture.  Expect the opening volley in a larger discussion about beauty (since we've talked a bit more about goodness and truth in our first six months).  Dan gives some art history background.  Jeff talks about beauty in the Bible.  We share our top guilty aesthetic pleasures and guilty aesthetic displeasures.

Direct download: ViW29_Aesthetics_--_First_Thoughts_on_Art_and_Beauty.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

The myth of Narcissus with classicist and Faithful Masks Fellow Dr. C. J. Armstrong.  We each take an online narcissism test and share the results.  Stories about Dan's kids.

Direct download: ViW28_Narcissism_Classic__Contemporary.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Stories about snags over the winter vacation, things we learned from vocation fails in our own lives, and historical vocation fails.  Thanks for checking out the first podcast of 2014.

Topics include:

Epic of Gilgamesh

Householder Yogi

Drinking your own urine for health benefits

Upgrade to Garage Band

The Big Lebowski

One Week


Norton Motorcycles

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Sucker Punch

Jerry Garcia Senior

Bob Dylan Senior

Young Life

Paul Fairweather, Symbolic Regression Therapy

Dr. Bruce Gordon


Crystal Pepsi

Arch Delux

47 Ronin

Direct download: ViW27_Vocation_Fails.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:25am PDT

Don't be that guy.

Direct download: ViW26_New_Years_Culural_Resolutions.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

The best popular culture and heroic news artifacts and events of the year.  

Direct download: ViW25_Wasteland_Awards_2013.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30pm PDT

We break down the top songs that bring Christmas cheer.  

Direct download: ViW24_Best_Pop_and_Traditional_Christmas_Songs_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

We share the best Christmas hymns (sacred songs).  We provide clips only of each; but listen all the way through and we share a classic: a hymn performed by Dr. Rod Rosenbladt in its entirety. 

Direct download: ViW23_The_Best_Christmas_Hymns.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:31am PDT

ViW22 Nihilism

We do our best to define what we mean by nihilism, the history of reductionism, meaninglessness, and the ways in which this leads to indifference and narcissism.  

Direct download: ViW22_Nihilism.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

We explain the true, modern origins of the American national holiday of Thanksgiving.  Why do we get tired after eating the dinner?  Why do presidents pardon a Turkey each year?  

Direct download: ViW21_Thanksgiving_Part_2_-_A_Secular_Feast_Day_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

The often untold history leading up to the first Thanksgiving.  Jeff tells about one of his favorite topics in history: the Florida Holy Wars of the 1560s; this is the Thanksgiving that almost was.  Dan gives the true story of the Pilgrims' first thanksgiving meal.  We argue that Thanksgiving is a holiday with religious roots, but that the holiday as we have it today originates in the secular or "left hand" kingdom, and thus is of value to all people in the US.  Foreign listeners should listen to find out why we Americans have such a fetish for Turkey once a year, and for some interesting stories from early modern history.  

Direct download: ViW20_Thanksgiving_Part_1_-_Historical_Background.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

The second part of a two part conversation about the intersections of religion and politics.  In this episode, we focus on US Supreme court cases related to the exercise of religion.

Direct download: ViW19_State_and_Church.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

What is the distinction between the two kingdoms?  Should faithful citizens want to merge the church and state?  Is America a Christian nation?  Where did James Madison get his ideas?  We rely heavily on Dr. Dan van Voorhis' knowledge of American history to help address these questions and more.

Direct download: VIW18_Church_and_State.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Renaissance wizards, strange stuff in general, and the closest thing the hosts have to direct ghost experiences.  

Direct download: ViW17_Are_Ghosts_Real.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

The history, cultural significance, and overall value of the movies.  We are joined by Micah Luce, who earned his MAR in Theology and Cinema from Yale Divinity School.  We also have with us Eleanor Pettus, Assistant Professor of History at Concordia University and Faculty in Residence for the CUI Bono Living-Learning Community, and Joel Oesch, former guest, and director of Christ College's MA program.  Several of us share our most memorable moviegoing moments.    Micah shares a recipe for geekdom movie marathons.  We ask whether moviegoing creates authentic community.  

Direct download: ViW16b_The_Cultural_Importance_of_Cinema.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Zombies in history and popular culture, the Walking Dead season premiere, and philosophical thoughts related to our time of technology and fragmentation.  Dr. C.J. Armstrong joins in this episode.

Direct download: ViW16_The_Walking_Dead_and_Other_Zombies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

How culture faces death, with clacissist Dr. C. J. Armstrong.  A quiz game on world funeral traditions.  The history of funerals from the ancient word to today.  

Direct download: ViW15_Funerals.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

What do you fear?  What do Dan and Jeff fear?  How do we face our fears?  We address this in this podcast that kicks off our October theme of things that scare us.  

Direct download: ViW14_Fear_Itself.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Spoken word and hip hop artist Micah Bournes chats with us about life in Long Beach, faith and art, and contemporary hip hop culture.  We discuss ways in which people of faith can enter into their cultural conversation with good art, rather than with religious parodies of popular culture. Micah shares what he's listening to lately, a couple poems (one previously unheard). 

Direct download: ViW13_Art_in_the_Wasteland_with_Micah_Bournes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Former UFC fighter describes his work with the Mbuti Pygmies.  He tells heartbreaking stories but also uplifting developments in his work to fight for the freedom of these slaves, their reestablishment in hunter-gatherer land, and his future work to bring culturally-appropriate housing technology.  There was audio interference in almost every room and with every piece of equipment, but we pieced together the best parts from the day, especially Justin's presentation to students about Fight for the Forgotten.

Direct download: ViW12_Fighting_for_the_Forgotten_with_Jutin_Wren.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Ethical dilemmas in our alleged wasteland.  Dan poses tough questions to college students and tells them "the right answer".  Syria, homeschooling, government internet snooping.  

Direct download: ViW11__Would_you_Rather_Student_Guests.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Dan shares his top ten rules to follow before getting a tattoo.  Jeff's pop comes and explains why tattoos are a horrible idea.  Dr. Jack Schultz, an anthropology professor, discusses tattoos in traditional cultures.

Direct download: ViW10_Tattoos.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

The top 10 songs that talk about Jesus but aren't from explicitly religious artists.  We discuss the role of Jesus in Western culture, artist Mark Wallinger, the nature of blasphemy, and some interesting artists you might not have heard before.

Direct download: ViW9_Jesus_the_Rock_and_Roll_Icon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

We go deep into the cultural value of education, whether you should go or send your children, and the affects of reductionism and secularism on higher education in the West.  

Direct download: ViW_8_Back_to_School_in_the_Wasteland.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

The history, philosophy, and psychology of happiness.  Dr. John Lu, a colleague and social psychologist joins us.  We play a game to guess the happiest US states and countries around the globe.  We find out from Dr. Lu whether money can buy happiness.  

Direct download: ViW_7_The_Road_to_Happiness.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Location, location, location.  Choosing where to live can be one of life's most important concerns, but it's also a decision we often give little sophisticated attention.  Chosing a hometown affects your and your children's ability to fulfil your vocation, and be as virtuous as possible.  It can also affect your potential earning power.  We share about our experience in suburban wastelands, ask whether a good person should live in an urban environment, and why some who grew up in the city are nervous in the country.

Direct download: ViW6_Where_to_live_in_the_Wasteland.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

How can we effectively be good neighbors to human beings around the world?  Dan shares the top events that connected America to the world in history.  We interview Andrew Syed about various ways to care about others, including the nonprofit, NGO, and for-profit world.  

Direct download: ViW5_America_and_the_World.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Should a virtuous person waste time on sports?  We chat with classical scholar (that means ancient Greece and Rome), Dr. C.J. Armsrong about the history and ethics of sports.  We share the top five banned sports and the top ten most culturally significant American sports moments. This is a show for people who are fanatics as well as those who hate professional sports.  It's about its prominent role in our world and it might be the most fun we've had to date thinking through this stuff.  

Direct download: ViW4_Bread__Circuses.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Dan and Jeff banter about technology and how we might have to fight killer robots.  We discuss the ways in which American society benefits from technology but also the need for true human associations.

Direct download: ViW3_Technology.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

After the first episode, we needed to have a bit more fun.  Here we discuss the nature of humor, share our list of topic comedies and comedians, and talk about the ways in which laughter is a sign of wisdom and transcendence.  We don't recommend you watch or listen to all the pop culture artifacts we discuss--especially with your mom--but we use these as a catalyst for understanding why it is important to take our engagement seriously, without failing to laugh at ourselves. We argue that humor is important for religious and political contexts.

Direct download: ViW2_Humor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:10pm PDT

ViW1 Evil

We discuss the complexity of evil, especially by investigating its portrayal in film The show sets up the context for the podcast in general, and so it emphasizes the darker aspects of our culture.  Don't fret though, future episodes will cover toopics like humor and interviews with artists. Go to for show notes or further information.  Please subscribe and give us a rating to help us get underway.

Direct download: ViW1_Evil.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30am PDT