Good Faith is a podcast from The Dispatch. Join hosts David French and Curtis Chang for an engaging discussion of faith and its intersection with politics, culture, and law.
In Times of Trouble: Watch & Pray
It’s been an eventful week, and for many a deeply troubling one. But of course, no matter what end of the political spectrum you come from, weeks like this seem increasingly common. The hits just keep on coming, as do the feelings of loss and fear. So how are we as Christians to navigate such deeply troubled times? This week, David and Curtis dive into this question with some interesting thoughts from Rudyard Kipling, and some even more important (and eternal) wisdom from the Psalms.
-Sign up for David’s Frenc...
Rest & Remembrance
This week David’s theological wingman Curtis returns from his July sabbatical. He’s rested and raring to go, but rather than dive into another hot political or cultural issue, Curtis actually has some remarkable insights to share about the nature of sabbath rest and the spiritual discipline of letting go, stepping away from our illusions of ultimate control and placing all our striving in God’s hands. In the second half of this episode Curtis also shares some important thoughts about the nature of remembrance and loss based on his experience at the 9/11 Memorial. If you’re a regular...
Speaking Truth to Red and Blue
While Curtis is still on sabbatical, David talks to Justin Giboney, co-founder of the AND Campaign, about racial justice, political tribalism, and the “God gap” in the Democratic Party. They discuss the problems with left and right as they grapple with extremism, and they talk about Justin’s experiences talking about hot-button topics from a politically heterodox (but theologically orthodox) point of view.
-Good Faith Debates: How Should the Church Address Racial Injustice?
-Compassion (&) Conviction by Justin Giboney
-Sign up for David’s French Pr...
The Religion of American Greatness
David talks to Georgetown professor and Bush administration alum Paul Miller about Paul's new book, “The Religion of American Greatness: What's Wrong With Christian Nationalism.” Paul defines Christian nationalism, discusses what's wrong with it theologically, what's wrong with it politically, and how it invariably leads to conflict and illiberalism. They also discuss Christian underrepresentation in the academy and other elite spaces, including its causes and consequences.
-“The Religion of American Greatness” by Paul D. Miller
-Sign up for David’s French Press newsletter
-Follow Curtis’ work at RedeemingB
Beautiful People Don't Just Happen
David talks to Scott Sauls, an author and pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. They talk about handling the exhaustion of the current moment, whether winsomeness "works," and the challenges facing pastors in the face of relentless criticism. They also address Scott's prescient warnings about the dangers of culture war obsessions--warnings that date well before the present extreme polarization.
-“Beautiful People Don't Just Happen” by Scott Sauls
-“Jesus Outside the Lines” by Scott Sauls
-Sign up for David’s French Press newsletter
We Need to Build
This week Eboo Patel, a Muslim pioneer in interfaith work, joins David and Curtis to discuss his book, We Need to Build. They discuss the need to allow people of different faiths to be able to bring their whole selves, including real and significant religious disagreements, to these conversations. Eboo also helps us understand why it is so important to do more than criticize what we don’t like in the culture, but instead to adopt the more mature approach of actually building what we want to see in society.
Feeling Overwhelmed by the News Cycle?
Dobbs; January 6 hearings; war in Ukraine; mass shootings. We are being overwhelmed on a weekly basis by a relentlessly heavy news cycle. In this week’s episode David and Curtis give us a break from all this to talk with us about anxiety, despair and weariness. Wait . . . what?! Yes that’s right, this is the Good Faith version of “lighter” fare! It’s actually a very uplifting conversation and you may even walk away with some helpful ways to navigate the overwhelming feelings all of us are experiencing these days.
-Future Tense: Why...
Roe Gone, Now What? / Classical Liberalism & Racial Justice
In part one of this two part podcast, Curtis and David respond to the breaking news that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. Rather than dive into the legal or political dimensions of the ruling, they take a look at the social and spiritual dimensions, asking questions like:What does this actually mean for abortion in America?What are the opportunities and fears now in play?How should a pro-life Christian respond to pro-choice friends and family members?How should a pro-choice Christian respond to this decision?What is the most important move to make now...
Why Pay Attention to the January 6 Hearings?
Some folks are fascinated by the unfolding narrative of the January 6 hearings, but many are simply tuning out, feeling it is just more politics. This week David and Curtis help us think through why we should be paying attention to these hearings. They explore some of the underlying stories around the key players involved and how those stories not only impact how we think of these people, but perhaps even how we think of ourselves.
-Megan N. Fontenot - Exploring the People of Middle-earth: Boromir the Brave
-Brooke Singman (F...
Russell Moore Wants Us To Be Strange (But Not Crazy)
Joining David and Curtis this week is Russell Moore, the director of Christianity Today’s Public Theology Project. With the Southern Baptist Convention taking place next week in the immediate aftermath of a 3rd party report on sexual abuse and institutional coverup, Russell helps us unpack some of what went wrong in his former denomination. He also offers helpful guidance on how church leaders and all followers of Christ should be responding to such situations (hint: it’s not to ignore it or cover it up). He also discusses the issue of “crazy as a church growth strategy,” suggesting that whi...
Gun Violence, Gun Rights & Gun Idolatry
This week David and Curtis tackle the tough subject of gun violence. They look at the various tensions between gun rights and gun control and the hyper-polarized responses we are apt to have on one side or the other. They also help us take a step back to think through the “how” of approaching such a complex issue versus just the “what” of our preferred policy outcome.
-Rand Corporation - Gun Policy in America
-Rand Corporation - How Gun Policies Affect Mass Shootings
-Malcolm Gladwell (New Yorker) - Thresho...
Telling the Truth about Christian Institutional Sin
Joining David and Curtis this week is special guest Nancy French. In a departure from her normal work as a best selling author, Nancy has spent the last 2 years investigating cases of sexual abuse and institutional coverup at one of the nations largest Christian summer camps, Kanakuk Kamps in Branson, Missouri. Going beyond mere reporting on what happened, our hosts help frame the sad situation at Kanakuk in the broader context of the calling we all have to first tell the truth about the institutions we engage with, but also to work toward their repentance and repair.
Replacing White Replacement Theory
In this special episode of the Good Faith podcast we pause to reflect on the tragic shooting in Buffalo and explore its underlying racial motivations, so-called “white replacement theory.” Joining David and Curtis (and producer Kris) is our special guest Chuck Mingo, pastor and founder of Living Undivided. Chuck helps us unpack some of the history behind this insidious “theory” and why its scarcity mindset is in direct contradiction to the abundance of God revealed in the Bible. The discussion also explores the connection of this current tragedy and its motivations to broader understandings of immigration, as well as to the n...
Why Are Teens Growing More Anxious?
It is increasingly obvious that teenagers across the country are experiencing a spike in anxiety, often with serious and debilitating consequences. This week David and Curtis speak to one of the foremost experts on the subject, Kara Powell, executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute. Kara’s well-researched and empathetic insights are critical for all of us to help the teens in our lives navigate these challenging times.
-Faith in an Anxious World: A 4-week High School Curriculum
-Faith in an Anxious World Parenting Podcast
-Matt Richtel (New...
Integrity & the Abortion Debate
What does the surprise leak of Justice Alito’s opinion in the highly anticipated case Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization reveal about the intellectual integrity of his legal argument? What does it perhaps reveal about the integrity of the institution of the Supreme Court itself? In the midst of all the controversy and preliminary conclusions, David and Curtis try to help us think through this complex cultural moment through the lens of integrity.
-Caitlin Flanagan: “The Dishonesty of the Abortion Debate”
-Romney Discusses the State of Family Policy an...
The Partisan Mind vs the Mind of Christ
In this week’s episode David and Curtis explore the concept of the “partisan mind”; what it is, where it comes from, and why it is in conflict with the “mind of Christ”. They look at the social science behind partisan polarization and offer some practical tips on how we can tell when we are (and how we can avoid) falling into the snare of the partisan mind.
-Nichole Argo Ben Itzhak (Over Zero) - The Science of Polarization and Insights for Bridge-building
-Barna: Pastors Share Top Reasons They’ve Considered...
Technology as Mammon, with special guest Andy Crouch
How is it possible that the people who have harnessed technological progress to become the wealthiest nation in history are still so remarkably unhappy? Is it possible that we have asked technology to do too much? Is it perhaps impacting our ability to be fully formed humans? Join this fascinating conversation with David, Curtis, and Curtis’ old roommate Andy Crouch, who guides us in thinking about our relationship with technology and how to be more human.
-Andy Crouch - The Life We’re Looking For: Reclaiming Relationship in a Technological World
Democracy is in Danger: Should Christians Care?
Liberal democracy is under military threat abroad, and intellectual threat in America. And many of these domestic attacks are coming from within Christianity. So should Christians care about defending democracy? What are the connections between our Christian faith and America’s form of self-government? This week David and Curtis dive headlong into this deep and fascinating issue, including some history, some theology, and some critical guidance for why we Christians must indeed care about the state of our democracy and its institutions.
-French Press: “A Christian Defense of American Classical Liberalism”
Fundamentalism Part Deux
This week David and Curtis offer a follow up discussion on fundamentalism, clarifying some key points from the previous episode and diving deeper into how we can become fundamentalists without even knowing it! Do our increasingly homogenous social groups perhaps push us toward fundamentalism and even radicalization? How might the presence of even a few diverse voices impact these groups? This then leads to a discussion about liberal democracy and how it is under assault, not just globally (as in Russia/Ukraine), but even here in the US. How should our Christian faith inform things like our system of...
What the Heck is a Fundamentalist?
In a continuation of our “What the Heck is . . .?” series, David and Curtis help us think about the concept of fundamentalism and how it fits into the current cultural moment. Is fundamentalism just a set of beliefs? Is it a way of approaching belief? Does it perhaps even extend beyond traditional religious belief to certain political beliefs? And where do uncertainty and humility fit into all of this? Join us as we unpack how fundamentalism functions both within the church and in the wider culture.
-Richard Hofstadter (Harper’s Magazine): “The Paranoid...
Two Dangers: the Contrarian Mind & War Porn
This week David and Curtis start with confession time, each looking closely at the challenges of contrarianism and pride that impact all of us in our modern discourse. They unpack the tricky balance between knowing, certainty, and humility, including the possibility that we might be wrong.
In the second half, they dive into the spiritual challenge of staying attentive to the war in Ukraine without just watching it as a form of perverse entertainment. In another tricky balance, our hosts offer suggestions for staying connected in ways that are less personally destructive and more spiritually healthy.
David Brooks & Peter Wehner
Joining David and Curtis this week are two of the most influential voices speaking to Christian faith in the public square, David Brooks and Peter Wehner. Both Peter and David recently wrote landmark pieces analyzing the current landscape of American evangelicalism. In this podcast, they discuss the signs of hope and restoration for the troubled movement. Also, in a bit of self-revelation, they share about the books that most influenced their own faith journeys.
-Peter Wehner: “The Evangelical Church is Breaking Apart”
-David Brooks: “The Dissenters Trying to Save Evangel...
The Wisdom of Mortality with Jonathan Tjarks
David and Curtis are honored this week to share the microphone with Jonathan Tjarks, famed NBA beat writer and podcaster for The Ringer. Jonathan’s recent piece “Does My Son Know You?” was a rare moment of candid sharing and distilled wisdom in light of his recent cancer diagnosis. This is truly a must listen as Jonathan shares a poignant perspective on faith, family and the power of community. Be sure to stay tuned to the end where he also breaks down a potential Grizzlies-Warriors matchup in the NBA playoffs, leaving one of our hosts happy and one sad.
The Spiritual Power of Leadership
This week David and Curtis help us look at leadership and what it is about certain leaders that seems to resonate so deep in our souls. Why does President Zelensky’s stand in Kyiv inspire us? Is it possible that a man who claims no Christian identity can be bearing the image of God? How do we recognize these images while not falling for the temptation of idolatry and worship of leaders as false images? Join us for this fascinating and timely discussion of the spiritual power of leadership.
-French Press: “When...
Praying Through Wars, Real and Imaginary
David and Curtis talk to Tish Harrison Warren, an author, Anglican priest, and writer for The New York Times. Their conversation about prayer gets very real, as they first talk about prayer in wartime. Then they move back to the American cultural struggles, and discuss the disturbing tendency to compare peace to war and the toxic effect on our lives and hearts.
-Sign up for Tish Harrison Warren’s newsletter
-And David’s French Press
What the Heck is a Christian Nationalist?
On today’s podcast, David and Curtis tackle Christian nationalism. What is it? Is it an ideology? A theology? An emotional, visceral connection? Or some combination of all three? Then they talk about healthy patriotism and how to love your national home, warts and all.
-Thomas Kidd: “Christian Nationalism vs. Christian Patriotism”
-Deseret News: “What the latest data tells us about Christian nationalism”
-French Press: “Discerning the Difference Between Christian Nationalism and Christian Patriotism”
-French Press: “The Seeds of Political Violence Are Being Sown in Church”
Making the Multi-Ethnic Dream a Reality
David and Curtis talk to Dr. Derwin Gray about his career path from college football to the NFL to seminary and, ultimately, to the founder and pastor of Transformation church, a multi-ethnic congregation in South Carolina. Dr. Gray talks about his new book, How to Heal Our Racial Divide and David and Curtis ask him about political and racial tensions in church, critical race theory, and how he proposes reaching a church that's polarized on political and racial grounds.
-How to Heal Our Racial Divide by Derwin Gray
Grace in Public Discourse
How should we react when people say or do things we find offensive in public discourse? What is the role of forgiveness and grace in these contexts? How do we determine if apologies are sincere and the offending party is worthy of an opportunity for repentance and repair? Join David and Curtis as they discuss this timely topic and offer some guidance for how we can make some space for grace in our public discourse.
-David French (WaPo): “Here’s the difference between Colin Kaepernick and Roseanne Barr”
Lessons from The Rise & Fall of Mars Hill with Mike Cosper
David and Curtis are excited to welcome the inaugural guest of the Good Faith podcast, Mike Cosper. Mike is the Director of Podcasting for Christianity Today and is most well known as the producer and host of The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill. Join David, Curtis and Mike as they discuss some of the lessons Mike took away from the process of diving deep into such a painful story. As you will see, the lessons are sometimes hard (just like the gospel itself), but they are also surprisingly hopeful (just like the gospel itself).
When Pastors Head for the Exits
Why are so many pastors considering leaving the ministry? Is it the pandemic? Is it the political and racial polarization? Is it something else? Join David and Curtis as they delve into the growing crisis of pastoral burnout, including a very personal story from Curtis about his own journey to becoming a “former senior pastor”.
-Barna Group - 38% of U.S. Pastors Have Thought About Quitting Full-Time Ministry in the Past Year
-Michelle Boorstein - The first Christmas as a layperson: Burned out by the pandemic, many clergy quit in the...
Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?
Conflict feels like it’s everywhere these days. Church communities, old friendships and even families are being pulled apart by tensions over politics, the pandemic, race and more. When should we stay in a church or relationship? When should we perhaps leave? Is there a biblical model to navigate these decisions and what comes in the aftermath? Join David and Curtis to discuss how we as Christians should approach these perplexing questions.
-The Russell Moore Show: Beth Moore Didn’t Expect Us to Be Us
Is America a Christian Nation?
What exactly is a Christian nation? Is America becoming post-Christian? Is it easier or harder to be a Christian in America today than it was 30 years ago? What about 70 years ago? Join David French and Curtis Chang to think through these important questions and to consider some perhaps quite surprising answers.
We’re the Adults Now
Why would a 53-year-old man decide that this is the year he will finally become an adult? Find out in this special New Year’s episode where David and Curtis discuss the urgent need for all of us to step up and be the grown ups, both in the church and in the broader culture.
Is Empathy a Sin?
In a special Christmas episode, David French and Curtis Chang talk about the ultimate act of empathy (God becoming human) and the somewhat surprising debate going on in certain corners of the evangelical church; the idea that empathy can be a sin. How far should we go to understand another’s pain? Does empathy require moral agreement? Is our empathy sometimes selective, reserved for those we agree with and withheld from those we don’t?
David and Curtis also dig into some reader mail for a fascinating discussion of the issue of abortion and some surprising realities that...
Loneliness and Hope in the Season of Advent
This week David French and Curtis Chang take a hard look at the silent killer of loneliness. Why is loneliness on the rise in America? What might hope look like, and how do we access it? Join us for this Advent episode where the reality of God’s incarnation in Jesus takes center stage, and the true story of hope in dark times is revealed.
-Carol Graham: Premature Mortality and the Long Decline of Hope in America
-Social Capital Project - Opioid Overdoses by Demographic
-The college con...
Evangelical Politics: Theology or Sociology?
In a follow up to last week’s Deconstructing Faith episode, David French and Curtis Chang dive into the sometimes murky and contradictory political views of Christians. All too frequently, the political stances we think are biblical are actually just cultural.
Why are most Christians’ political stances so predictable? For example, why do many believers who care about abortion not care as much about systemic racism? Or vice versa?
Tune into today’s episode as Curtis and David tackle the fascinating interaction between politics, culture, and the Bible… and end with a surprising take on abortion a...
Deconstructing Faith: Necessary, Dangerous or Both?
David French and Curtis Chang discuss the hot topic of “deconstruction,” a term with multiple meanings, from reevaluation of specific faith related issues to a deeper questioning of Christian faith itself. For many the discussion around deconstruction stems from some sense of pain or hurt caused by the church. David and Curtis (and producer Kris) explore the complex and deeply personal dimensions of this process, including practical suggestions for listeners.
-The French Press: Under Attack from Fundamentalist Pirates, Evangelical Baptists Refused to Give Up the Ship
-Karen Swallow Prior: “With th...
What the Heck is an Evangelical?
David French and his theological wingman Curtis Chang dive into the term “evangelical”, defining it historically and discussing how it fits in the current American context. Is it really a set of religious beliefs, a set of cultural beliefs, or a set of political beliefs? How does evangelicalism compare with fundamentalism? Is evangelical a term worth salvaging for Christians, or has it become too closely tied to a political movement to retain any spiritual relevance?
-The French Press: “Did Donald Trump Make the Church Great Again?”
-Pew Research Center: “More White...
Liberty University and the Reality of Institutional Sin
In the inaugural episode of the Good Faith Podcast, David French and his theological wingman Curtis Chang discuss some of the recent issues at Liberty University and how Christians should think about the concept of institutional sin. Curtis makes the theological case for how human institutions fit into the biblical narrative and that as such, they are both made in the image of God and also capable of sin and brokenness. They also discuss why it is important for Christians to place a high priority on being honest and open about institutional sin in our own ranks, amongst our...
Good Faith Trailer
Good Faith is a new podcast from The Dispatch. Join hosts David French and Curtis Chang for a conversation with a focus on faith and politics, faith and culture, and faith and law. Notice the common theme there? Subscribe and watch your feed for our brand new podcast, Good Faith.