What Does It Look Like to Be Followers of Jesus Today? [Podcast]

Joerg Rieger, Founding Director of the Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice, recently appeared in five episodes of the Faith & Reason podcast, which reaches 10,000 listeners in 56 countries.

In the first episode, Joerg joins Debo, David, and Ann to explore the tension between the Christian perceptions of God: the kingly, dominant God of Caesar vs. the humble, human God of Jesus.

When we talk about God, he says, which God are we talking about? If this God is one with Jesus, a working person and refugee who served the marginalized, what does it look like for us to be followers of Jesus today?

Listen here.

In the second episode, they unpack the distinction between religion and politics.

When Jesus says “Give to God what is God’s, and give to Caesar what is Caesar’s,” what is he really saying?

Listen to hear a startling parallel between our current situation and that of ancient Rome: in Rome, the assumption was that if Caesar was in control, peace for everyone would be maintained. In today’s economic system, the assumption is that if the top 1% remains in control, they’re the job creators and everyone will benefit.

How is God manifesting when communities start reclaiming grassroots power for themselves?

Listen here.

In the third episode, they delve into the differences between "malignant religion" and "life-giving religion."

What is the relationship Jesus had with materialism and to what extent is preaching the good news to the poor life-giving versus malignant?

Religion that is malignant does not care about others, justifies oppression, and creates negative outcomes for people. Religion that is life-giving brings real good news to the poor, embraces everyone, and creates real love for our neighbor.

Debo brings up the rapture in relation to malignant and life-giving religions, and Reiger makes the point that the rapture is often used as a diversion tactic and is used without much substance. What difference is rapture theology making, and who is it serving?

In a broader sense, how is your spirituality functioning, and how can we speak back to the malignant religion that is encroaching in our own lives?

Listen here.

Episodes four and five are also below, in which they discuss what keeps the “American Dream” in place, how to empower church leaders to speak with true resistance when it puts the financial interests of their church at risk, and finally, how an individual can use their religion to make a difference.