The church needs to lead the way in having grace-filled conversations about difficult & controversial topics. Whether it's about race, politics, gender, or why non-Christians don't like being around Christians, we need to be able to step into these conversations.
This video podcast is our effort to make that happen.
DISCLAIMER: You will likely disagree with something in these interviews. That's the point. Please don't assume that this is "where True Life stands," or even "where Pastor Chris stands" on any particular issue.
These are meant to be nuanced discussions in a time of broad-stoke headlines....grace-filled conversations in a time of angry social media rants.
Our hope is that these interviews help you understand differing viewpoints, give the benefit of the doubt to those who disagree with you, and inspire you to start some of these conversations yourself.
SERIES 8: RESPONDING TO CURRENT EVENTS (July, 2022)
In this episode, Dr. Tom Sargent (one of our elders and board members), Rebecca Carlson (our Kids Director), and Pastor Chris discuss how our church should respond in light of Roe V. Wade being overturned.
Does it change anything for us living in New Jersey?
How should we interact with those who disagree with us?
What can we do to support women in other states who will now be carrying their babies to term?
How can we avoid unnecessarily hardening the hearts of those who oppose our pro-life efforts?
SERIES 7: JUSTICE FOR THE FATHERLESS (July, 2021)
Episode 3 (July 15, 2021)
In this final episode we interview Jim Kelly, a local police officer who shares what reforms he believes would be helpful in law enforcement to decrease the number of fathers & young men in prison. He also shares what he believes the church could do a better job with - namely building better bridges with minority communities (where the fatherless rate is higher) as well as stop protecting men who are guilty of sexual abuse.
Episode 2 (July 7, 2021)
In episode 2 we interview Juan Mendez, the Director of Outreach for Men's Addiction and Recovery for Keswick Rehabilitation & Retreat Center. He talks about how the lack of a father correlates to drug and alcohol addiction, the void it leaves in a man's soul, and how the church should be focusing on small steps instead of big grand gestures.
Episode 1 (July 1, 2021)
Almost a quarter of U.S. children under the age of 18 live with one parent and no other adults (23%), more than three times the share of children around the world who do so (7%). - Source: U.S. Census Bureau
In Series 7 of our Peacemaker Podcast, we ask what it means for the church to fight for Justice for the Fatherless.
Instead of ending this series with a testimony, we start this one by interviewing Andre Flax, who talks about:
- Why fatherlessness is a justice issue.
- What a young man looks to when his father is not present.
- Possible factors for the high rate of fatherlessness in the black community
- And more.
SERIES 6: JUSTICE FOR THE FOREIGNER (May, 2021)
Episode 3 (May 19, 2021)
In the third and final episode, we interview Lizzie Noumi from Main Street Alliance Church. In the first half of the interview we hear her story, her background, and how she got from Cameroon to the United States.
Then we discuss her experiences here as an immigrant, including how the church did a good job in welcoming her but also where the church made mistakes.
Finally she gives us a beautiful picture of what the church is supposed to be, despite its dysfunction and all our personal offenses.
Episode 2 (May 12, 2021)
In our second interview with Matt Soerens from World Relief, we discuss practical ways for the church to help love the foreigner, regardless of one's political stance on policies.
Episode 1 (May 5, 2021)
In the first of 3 episodes, we interview Matt Soerens, who is the U.S. Director of Church Mobilization and Advocacy for World Relief. We discuss:
- biblical principles that should shape our views on foreigners;
- whether illegal immigration truly does put a burden on our economy;
- whether safety should really be a big priority for Christians ;
- how to honor the laws while loving our undocumented neighbors;
- and the opportunity that Christians have to fulfill Jesus' Great Commission in their own communities precisely because of immigration.
SERIES 5: JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF SEX TRAFFICKING (March, 2021)
Episode 3 (March 17, 2021)
In this final episode with Corey Nickols from Destiny Rescue we discuss:
- how the organization protects women & children after they are rescued;
- how a culture which perpetuates lust creates a demand for sex trafficking;
- how churches need to foster a community of grace where people can be open about struggles with lust;
- what the everyday person can do to combat sex trafficking.
Episode 2 (March 10, 2021)
In the second interview with Cory Nickols from Destiny Rescue, we discuss sex trafficking in the U.S., how predators use social media and gaming systems, who is most vulnerable to being lured into trafficking, and stories of redemption - both for the victims and even the traffickers.
Episode 1 (March 3, 2021)
In this first of two episodes, we interview Cory Nickols from Destiny Rescue, an organization on the front lines of combatting sex slavery and rescuing children from a life of oppression. We specifically discuss:
- How God called Cory into this fight;
- Statistics on this horrific injustice;
- Risk factors that make women & children especially vulnerable;
- How Destiny Rescue steps in;
- Stories of rescue.
SERIES 4: JUSTICE FOR THE UNBORN (February, 2021)
Episode 3 (February 17, 2021)
In this interview with Juan Mendez, we discuss: *the story of his mother's teenage pregnancy; *whether rape and incest are justifiable reasons for an abortion; *possible reasons why the abortion rate in the black community is higher; *and God's redeeming power over our family's brokenness.
Episode 2 (February 10, 2021)
In the second episode of “Justice for the Unborn” Dr. Tom interviews Dr. Peg Woolley, an OBGYN and the medical director of Solutions Pregnancy Center.
We talk about what actually goes into each kind of abortion, fetal development at each stage, changing legislature, and how churches need to do a better job discussing this topic without shaming women.
Episode 1 (February 3, 2021)
he unborn, the hungry, the fatherless, the foreigner, and victims of human trafficking -- there is much to learn about and pray for when it comes to seeking justice for these 5 vulnerable groups.
In this new JUSTICE series of our Peacemaker Podcast, we will cover each topic over the course of 2-3 episodes to better educate us all, call us all to pray, and give ways for us to join the fight against injustice. We start off with Justice for the Unborn, and in this first episode Pastor Chris & Dr. Tom interview Missy Stephens, Director of the Open Door Pregnancy Center.
SERIES 3: SOCIAL MEDIA, SCREEN TIME, AND THE DIGITAL WORLD (December, 2020)
Episode 2: December 16, 2020
A few parents from our church discuss:
1. The boundaries -- or lack thereof -- we have for our kids for social media and screen time.
2. How social media affects girls differently from boys.
3. How our faith should inform our views of the digital world.
4. Some ways we can leverage it all for good.
Episode 1: December 8, 2020
In this two-part series, our church's pastoral staff starts off by discussing:
1) How the digital world has been an OBSTACLE to our personal growth & mission.
2) The importance of -- and danger of -- spiritual disciplines.
3) How the digital world has been an ASSET to our personal growth and mission.
SERIES 2: ELECTION SEASON SERIES (September & October, 2020)
Finale: November 5, 2020
12 things Chris is taking away, has learned, or understands more fully after having done this election series.
Episode 7: October 29, 2020
A panel of women from True Life Church discuss why they vote the way they do, how to disagree with grace, the importance of praying for our leaders, and more.
Episode 6: October 22, 2020
Dr. Tom and Pastor Chris discuss a video which depicts the history of the White Evangelical vote and the Black Protestant vote since the end of the Civil War. They touch on identity politics, the importance of national elections, and how Christians can't depend on parties to tell them what to care for.
Episode 5: October 15, 2020
In this panel discussion with a group of men from our church, all with various views on the current White House Administration, we talk about three main topics: 1) the handling of Covid-19; 2) welfare & healthcare reform; and 3) abortion. Thanks to Nick Carlson, Jack Timmerman, Frank Martinez and Mike Francis for joining in.
Episode 4: October 8, 2020
In this interview with Frank Martinez -- father of four boys and five girls, husband to one wife, and most importantly, a follower of Jesus -- we discuss how his family values have colored his views on many topics, ranging from Regan to Clinton to Trump, gay marriage to gender dysphoria to racial tensions, and more.
Episode 3: October 1, 2020
Interview with Jack & Lori Miskin on voting differently as a married couple; whether you can be a pro-life Democrat; balancing wise financial stewardship with compassion for the down-n-out; and where a Christian's ultimate identity should be rooted.
Episode 2: September 24, 2020
In this follow-up with Dr. Tom Sargent we discuss the issues where his faith leads him to disagrees with his own camp / party, why he believes capitalism enables generosity more than socialism, health care reform, capital punishment, and why he doesn't believe anyone should defend their candidate's every move.
Episode 1: September 16, 2020
Tom Sargent and Leigh Nelson are friends. One calls himself a Christian Conservative and the other is a self-proclaimed Liberal Atheist. In this interview we discuss what it's like to disagree over politics while remaining friends, which side ignores science more, the dangers of legislating morality from either side, and what it actually means to be a liberal / conservative.
SERIES 1: DISCUSSIONS ABOUT RACE (June & July, 2020)
Episode 6: July 30, 2020
Jack Miskin and Andrew Aylett -- two long-time friends who are both part of True Life Church - discuss how they are processing the recent racial tensions and what it means for them to fight for racial diversity, equality, and justice.
Episode 5: July 16, 2020
A few of the Latino folks in our church discuss their experiences with prejudice (or the lack thereof), what it's like to be minorities at True Life Church, how we can be more inclusive of the larger Spanish community, and their views on immigration.
Thanks to Delanne Serrano, Chantell Mendez, Mariela Osorio, Daniel Nemcek, and Frank & Lisa Martinez for participating.
Episode 4: July 9, 2020
In this discussion we talk about:
* his journey to see politics through his faith;
* why he cares about racial reconciliation;
* a time when he felt he was the victim of racial prejudice;
* and how he believes the church needs to frame the conversation better.
Episode 3: July 2, 2020
In this discussion with Officer Jim Kelly, we talk about what he believes needs to be reformed in law enforcement, the danger of putting all tragic shootings in the same category, why he went to a recent protest, and how prejudice can form in the heart of a police officer.
Episode 2: June 18th, 2020
Kelvin is the Superintendent of the Metro District of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, our network of churches. Pastor Chris interviews him about the church's role in fighting racial injustice and the importance of lament.
Episode 1: June 11th, 2020
Anthony Powell is the Pastor of Redeemed Life Church in Azusa, CA and is also one of Pastor Chris' closest friends. They "grew up together spiritually" at a church in Los Angeles through their 20's. In this discussion Anthony talks candidly about what it's like to be a black man in our culture, the effects of George Floyd's death on his own soul, why he made a social post in support of his local police enforcement, and how the church needs to lead the way in building bridges.