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Protect Your Noggin

Jeffrey C Mallinson, Jeff and Stacie Mallinson
126 episodes
Lessons in outfoxing religious wolves. We seek to reform religious education so everyone can be spiritually bold, free of manipulation and filled with deep peace. After 20+ years of professional work in religious education and educational nonprofits, hosts Jeff Mallinson (D.Phil. Oxford, philosophy and religion professor, author and speaker) and Stacie Mallinson (former nonprofit development professional, and now certified yoga instructor) realized that how we do religious education leads to a susceptibility to abusive behaviors. This is not a show that will focus on abuse, but rather the ways in which rethinking religious education and involvement with churches, sects, and gurus requires training in critical thinking and personal empowerment.

Disclaimer: the content and artwork of this podcast are the property of its owner and are not affiliated with nor endorsed by Audiotrails.

OUR HEARTS TO YOURS: LISTENER FEEDBACK

Peace, joy, happiness & whether we’ve been so focused on bad guys in religious circles that we might be only hostile to institutional religion. After a brief discussion of a student question, we focus (starting min 40) on a poignant email exchange with Tim, who was kind enough to let us reply to hi…

Knowing Contentment (Tao Te Ching 46)

When nations surf the Tao resources are used for human flourishing. When nations lose touch with the Tao resources are built up and set aside for war. No vice is more vicious than covetousness. No misery is worse than discontent.

Teaching the Way (How to Surf the Tao 11)

Using Tao Te Ching chapters 19, 22, 35, and 57 we discuss wisdom for teaching the Tao, which it turns out is not done through dogmatism, polemics, coercion, virtue signaling, or legalism, but rather through example, embodiment, and romancing folks into a better flow.

Stillness and Clarity (Tao Te Ching 45)

The grand system seems defective. But, it will never malfunction. Grand abundance seems empty. But, it is inexhaustible. Grand justice seems crooked. Grand virtuosity seems unskilled. Grand eloquence seems unlearned. Motion warms us when it’s cold. Stillness cools us when it’s hot. Clarity and stil…

No Regrets: The Wild (Trans)Gender Journey of Greg Eilers

We discuss the journey of Greg Eilers, which involves gender dysphoria growing up, successful work at a conservative Lutheran pastor, resignation from the pastoral office to pursue full transition, including a full range of surgeries and legal name change to Gina, and finally a detransition. This i…

BRAINWORMS, DISINFORMATION AND ONLINE PROPAGANDA

Many of us know people who have been infected by blatant falsehood. Guest Sean Nowlan, a student at Jeff’s university, helps break down what’s going on with foreign powers using online technology to sow disinformation and divide their rival nation. We discussing the connection between American evan…

#CHURCHTOO with Emily Joy

Understanding and confronting sexual abuse in the church. Emily Joy was instrumental in starting the Twitter hashtag #CHURCHTOO & has written a book by that same name. We discuss her perspective on the various ways in which American evangelicalism’s way of thinking makes abusive relationships more …

The Key to Longevity (Tao Te Ching 44)

Learning to be content  avoids dishonor. Knowing when to stop  averts disaster. This is the key to longevity in life’s endeavors.

EVOLOVE by Bohemian Artist and Mystic Isaac Frazee

Jeff reads an abridgement of Isaac Frazee, Evolove: The Quest and Findings of an Efficiency Expert (1929). This book explores several themes related to the emphases of our podcast. Frazee’s work is largely unknown today but reflects interesting challenges to industrialism, unquestioned capitalism, …

Embodying the Way (Tao Te Ching 43)

Anyone who’s come this far with the Tao Te Ching will surely be familiar with the central concept of this chapter. Flowing subtly past obstacles, like water around a boulder, is a natural illustration of a greater principle. Water shows up as a classic example of one of the “softest things” since…

Stained Glass Rainbows: Sexual Minorities in Conservative Christianity

Our guest today is Jonathan Hoyt, who is a Kantor and organist in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and who also happens to be gay and celibate.  Learn how Jonathan has come to exist between two cultural worlds, how he reconciles his faith and sexuality, and why he calls himself gay rather than “…

The Liberal Arts as Medicine for Our Ailing Times

A keynote lecture Jeff gave to the TriCampus Undergraduate Conference, a collaborative effort of Concordia U., Irvine, Fresno Pacific U., and Pepperdine U. It took place on Saturday, 2/27. Jeff explains how a college education, properly done, can be a helpful tool in pushing back against the crisis…

One Two Three Ten Thousand (Tao Te Ching 42)

I affirm what a wise man once said: “A violent man will meet an untimely death.” I consider this the foundation for all my teaching.

Informal Fallacies in the Popular Defense of Ravi Zacharias

Following up on last' week’s interview with Steve Baughman, we use comments on Steve Baughman’s video about Ravi Zacharias’ scandalous behavior to illustrate ten informal fallacies. This is not a rehashing of the scandal itself but a closer look at the lack of critical thinking among religious supp…

The Secret Chord (Tao Te Ching 41)

When the wise learn of the Tao,  they surf it throughout their lives.  When most of us learn of the Tao, we sometimes surf it,  sometimes wipe out. When fools learn of the Tao, they laugh at it.  And of course they do! If they didn’t, it wouldn’t be the Tao.

Lessons from The Ravi Zacharias Scandal with Steve Boughman

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries Canada shut down this week, in the wake of startling public reports about the heinous deeds of their late founder Ravi Zacharias, world famous apologist (and owner of massage joints). We chat with immigration lawyer, and banjo master Steve Baughman who wrote …

Breathe (How To Surf the Tao 10)

Whether you are an atheist or a believer, into Eastern or Western traditions, a physical practice is perhaps the best way to actually experience and realize what it is to surf the Tao. You don’t need to get into some spiritual zone or commune with celestial beings; rather, we’re inviting you time t…

The Spirits of Love and Hate with Godesulloh Bawa

Our guest is a recent alumnus from Concordia University and joins the conversation from Nigeria to discuss his insights about the ways in which people try to oppose hate, racism and injustice in the United States. Sometimes, he suggests, we tend to focus on hating injustice but don’t emphasize lovi…

Protect Your Noggin with Humor and Comedian Alyssa Sabo

We explore coping with trauma and religion through comedy with the help of comedian, writer, actress, and liver-transplant survivor Alyssa Sabo. She shares some of her story and we enjoy reflecting on life in the 90s, purity culture in evangelical America, rollerblading, ghosting church, and the vi…

Born from Nothing (Tao Te Ching 40)

The Tao’s flow involves reversals. Its methods are flexible. The living things in this world are born from something. That something was born from nothing.

Meet the One (Tao Te Ching 39)

The heavens met the One and were clarified. The earth met the One and became calm. Spirits met the One and became conscious. Valleys met the One and were filled with flowing water. The living things met the One and came alive. Leaders met the One and modeled justice for everyone. All of this all ha…

First Aid for Relationship Conflicts

Jeff and Stacie try out a relationship strategy for use especially in the immediate wake of a conflict-producing event in a romantic relationship, religious community, or workplace. In order to “Taosurf” relationships, they suggest that it can be helpful to separate out a) intentions, b) actions, c…

Happy Hour with the Lewises

Grab your favorite beverage and join us for a long form conversation with our new friends Lori and Cliff Lewis (veteran Christian radio DJ and hair metal guitarist respectively), to discuss their experiences with Contemporary Christian Music, Lutheranism, the idea of vocation, and Solomon’s wisdom.…

Great Virtue (Tao Te Ching 38)

When societies focus on etiquette and the husk of ethical relations, we are often dangerously close to having to turn to coercion and force instead of naturally harmonious interactions. This is where “flexing the muscles” comes in. When folks don’t follow the rules, the enforcers of societal stabil…

The Tao, Suffering & Religious Education with Corey Farr

An interview with Corey Farr, creator of the podcast A Christian Reads the Tao Te Ching. We discuss our favorite and least favorite chapters of the Tao Te Ching. We explore karma, providence, orphanages, and religious education. Farr is a seminary graduate, a Christian Anarchist, a writer, a poet a…

A Tipsy New Years Eve Discussion about Setting Intentions

Why do many set an “intention” at the start of a contemplative practice or yin yoga session? How does this relate to New Year’s resolutions? Without the normal opportunities for group festivities, Jeff and Stacie spend a quiet evening discussing the advantages and dangers of setting expectations an…

America’s Culture of Food Fear and Freedom

This episode shares an international student perspective on American food, work & religion. We interview Jeff’s compelling student Malik, who is an international student who was stuck with us on an empty campus over the winter break. We invited candid observations from our guest, who obliged our qu…

Let Your Children Flourish (Tao Te Ching 37)

"The Tao does not coerce." --Lao Tzu.  In this reflection, Stacie uses this chapter to help answer a question about rearing children through the way of non-domination.

Exhale (Tao Te Ching 36)

If you want to exhale, first take a deep breath. If you want to relax, first tense your muscles. If you want to clear your mind first notice your frantic thoughts. If you want to receive, first give. This is how to perceive  the light that’s hidden amid the shadows.

A True Family Christmas Special with Guest Casey Tinnin

We discuss the nature of a true family and the importance of maintaining boundaries, especially in religious contexts in which we believe we have good intentions but are inappropriately trying to fix others. At min 41 we interview Rev. Casey Tinnin, one of Jeff’s favorite students over the years, a…