The Vision For Life Podcast

New episodes every Wednesday!

Episode 85 | Loving Our Neighbors, Part 5: Foster Care & Families In Crisis

May 25, 2022 • Autumn Gardner, Becky Braman, Jen Shepard

Love of neighbor is an imperative in the Old Testament law and in Jesus' own teaching on the continued moral ramifications of the law. Jesus depicts the love of neighbor as a sacrificial, costly act, reminiscent of his own love for us. Jen Shepard and Becky Braman join Autumn on the podcast to discuss the realities of foster care in Colorado, the Safe Families program, and how intentional compassion compels them to act on behalf of children and families in crisis. Resources mentioned in this episode: Safe Families, Denver Chapter (https://denver.safe-families.org/) Reframing Foster Care by Jason Johnson (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1625860951/)

Episode 84 | Loving Our Neighbors, Part 4: Education

May 18, 2022 • Autumn Gardner, Jill Anschutz

Who are our vulnerable neighbors? How can we get to know them? And how does the gospel compel us to act on their behalf? In today's episode, Autumn and Jill Anschutz answer these questions in light of the impact of our state and local educational systems on vulnerable children. Schools that perform consistently bring stability to the lives of children which links directly to outcomes they experience later in life. Jill is a Board Member of the Charter School Institute, an organization that authorizes charter schools for the state of Colorado, and Rocky Mountain Prep, a local Pre-K through 5th Grade charter school. Autumn and Jill conclude that church's active involvement in local educational institutions can be a means to bring about good for our neighbors and discuss the various ways that involvement may take shape. Resources mentioned in today's episode: - Status of Denver's Children (https://www.denvergov.org/content/dam/denvergov/Portals/713/documents/data-resources/StatusOfDenversChildren_ADA_2019.pdf) - 2021 Kids Count (https://www.coloradokids.org/data/publications/2021-kids-count/) - DPS Grade Level Expectations (https://www.transformeducationnow.org/post/are-kids-in-dps-meeting-grade-level-expectations-no-they-are-not) - Colorado Politics (https://www.coloradopolitics.com/) - Chalkbeat (https://co.chalkbeat.org/)

Episode 83 | Loving Our Neighbors, Part 3: Poverty In Denver & Poverty Alleviation

May 11, 2022 • Autumn Gardner, Jason Janz, Juan Peña

Autumn continues the discussion about the sacrificial love of neighbor inherent in the gospel in today's discussion with Jason Janz and Juan Peña of CrossPurpose. CrossPurpose is one of Fellowship Denver's Serve Denver partners. Their purpose as an organization is expressed in their mission statement: "CrossPurpose is a non-profit organization abolishing relational, economic, and spiritual poverty through career and community development." Autumn, Jason, and Juan discuss the reality of poverty in Denver, ways that "the rich" live in poverty, and how the relational wealth of God's Kingdom lived out by His church is a means to poverty alleviation.

Episode 82 | Loving Our Neighbors, Part 2: The Homeless

May 4, 2022 • Autumn Gardner, Ben Sooy

Loving our neighbor means reflecting the grace, mercy, and generosity we have personally received from God in the spaces in which we’ve been purposefully placed. Ben Sooy joins Autumn to talk about his work at Joshua Station, a housing facility run by Mile High Ministries that serves families transitioning out of homelessness. In Denver, three interconnected issues of homelessness, housing affordability, and social isolation keep many individuals and families trapped in chronic housing instability. How does Jesus' expectation that his followers actively love our neighbors in a self-sacrificial manner compel us to act on behalf of the vulnerable people in our communities? And how might churches in Denver respond to the needs of our homeless neighbors?

Episode 81 | Loving Our Neighbors, Part 1: Who Is My Neighbor?

April 27, 2022 • Autumn Gardner, Ben Sooy

Guest Ben Sooy joins Autumn on the podcast to discuss what loving our neighbors means in the biblical conception of the term, and how the gospel compels us to act for the good of neighbors in our local communities. In Luke 10, Jesus, in response to a question posed by a legal scholar, tells the story of a Jewish man who is ambushed by robbers, beaten, and left for dead. A priest and a Levite both pass the man, turning a blind eye to his pain and need. The unlikeliest of heroes, a Samaritan, has compassion on the dying man. Jesus goes on to say that the Samaritan's self-sacrificial care is a demonstration of genuine neighborly love.

Episode 80 | VFL Reads: The Coddling Of The American Mind

April 13, 2022 • Autumn Gardner, Hunter Beaumont

Autumn and Hunter revisit a 7-year old article that seems even more relevant today. In “The Coddling of the American Mind,” (The Atlantic, September 2015), Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff explain how “emotional safety” has caused many college classrooms to avoid controversial ideas. They lament the effect it has on the debate of ideas and how it leads us to confuse emotions with objective truth. A significant book by the same name followed, and years later, what started on campus seems to have spread to American society at large. How should Christians live, raise children, and engage in critical conversations in a culture that has defaulted to “emotional reasoning?” Article mentioned in this episode: "The Coddling of the American Mind" by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/)

Episode 79.5 | Spring Break!

April 6, 2022 • Autumn Gardner

No episode today, but we will be back with you next week on April 13!

Episode 79 | Church As Family, Part 2

March 30, 2022 • Autumn Gardner, Michael Goldstein, Angi Pratt

Family played a central role in man's earliest recorded history. Man and Woman, created in God's image, were joined in a union and given the sacred task of continuing God's creative work: bring more image-bearers into being, love them, and commission them to spread God's good kingdom over the face of the earth. They failed. They chose self-determinism, and their family brought about death instead of life. But God chose family once again as the vehicle to bring about redemption. Through a family a baby boy, God's own son, would be born. He would extend the invitation of sonship and the rich inheritance of God's family to all who would bear his name. If all who are a part of God's church are family, how does that reality shape our lives today? Autumn, Angi, and Michael discuss the vision and mission of Church as Family via the lens of the local church family and their personal experience.

Episode 78 | Church As Family, Part 1

March 23, 2022 • Autumn Gardner, Hunter Beaumont, Michael Goldstein

What is a "family"? A group of people biologically connected in some way? People who share a name or a common heritage? People with whom you crossfit or camp? Modern American culture oft applies the term "family" to any loosely connected group of people in an attempt to create a conception of connectedness or meaning. In Scripture "family" has both biological and redemptive meaning. Autumn, Hunter, and Michael discuss the theological significance of family in its Scriptural context and why church as family matters to us today.

Episode 77 | VFL Culture: Perspective On The Crisis In Ukraine

March 16, 2022 • Autumn Gardner, Dave Morlan

Articles referenced in this episode: - ‘Yes, He Would’: Fiona Hill on Putin and Nukes, an interview with Fiona Hill by Maura Reynolds (https://apple.news/AAOcZNM-3Rk-7SzjmXtUkvw) - Two Years Ago, I Warned You About The Coming Pandemic; Today I Am Warning You About The Fallout From Ukraine by Bryce Hoffman (https://apple.news/ADigts1PcRAmBim4SJgrmwQ) - How Vladimir Putin Lost Interest in the Present by Mikhail Zygar (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/10/opinion/putin-russia-ukraine.html)

Episode 76 | Making Sense Of The Bible, Part 4: Q&R

March 9, 2022 • Autumn Gardner, Hunter Beaumont

Hunter and Autumn respond to three listener questions. Q1: In the episode on the law, Autumn mentioned Psalm 119:97 in which David says “Oh how I love your law; it is my meditation all the day.” Is David using the word “law” to refer to The Torah or specifically to the law given to the Israelites? Q2: Many verses in the Bible mention God’s anger. See Ezra 8:22, Isaiah 42:25, and Deuteronomy 29:27. How does God’s anger relate to judgment? Q3: I've always thought of the difficulties and brokenness we experience in life as a natural consequence of the fall. For instance, if I make dinner for my family but my child refuses to eat, she may be hungry later. Her hunger is a natural consequence resulting from her decision, not a punishment that I’ve determined. The Bible speaks about God’s judgment in terms that sometimes sound like a natural consequence, but at other times sound like disciplinary action that God has taken. Where, or with whom, does the agency lie when we choose our own way or our own wisdom over God’s?

Episode 75 | Making Sense Of The Bible, Part 3: Judgement

March 2, 2022 • Autumn Gardner, Hunter Beaumont

Modern readers often struggle when reading the Bible, particularly the OT, to make sense of the violence that God not only seems to condone, but to command. Doesn't God command Israel to mercilessly wipe out the surrounding nations? Doesn't God use other nations to execute judgment against Israel, and at other times use Israel to be an instrument of judgment against other nations? Jesus may at first pass seem like a kinder, gentler depiction of God, but he also talks about Hell. Hunter and Autumn discuss some of the difficult Scripture passages that speak of God's judgment, and they consider the necessity of judgment to the establishment of God's kingdom.

Episode 74 | Making Sense Of The Bible, Part 2: The Law

February 23, 2022 • Autumn Gardner, Hunter Beaumont

Jesus not only claimed to “fulfill” the Scriptures, but in fulfilling them, he teaches us how to make sense of them. This is especially important when we read the Old Testament law because, at first blush, it seems like Christians apply some parts of the law but not others. For example, why do we keep the Old Testament’s sex ethic but disregard the laws about not eating shellfish or wearing clothes made from two kinds of fabric (stretchy jeans, anyone?). Autumn and Hunter consider posit that this way of interpreting and applying the law actually has something to do with how Jesus fulfills the Scriptures and how he taught his disciples to read them in light of him. Resources mentioned in this episode: "The Whole Christ" by Sinclair Ferguson (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1433548003)

Episode 73 | Making Sense Of The Bible, Part 1: The Whole Story

February 16, 2022 • Autumn Gardner, Hunter Beaumont

How do you read any part of the Bible–a chapter or a passage–and get something out of it? One of the keys is knowing the big story which holds all of the parts together. In this episode, Autumn and Hunter begin a series of conversations to help us make sense of the whole Bible. They discuss three major themes that connect all 66 books: The Kingdom of God, The Promise of God and the person of Jesus Christ. Resources mentioned in this episode: "According to Plan" by Graeme Goldsworthy (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0830826963) "The Christ of the Covenants" by O. Palmer Robertson (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0875524184) "Covenant and Creation" by William Dumbrell (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1842278258)

Episode 72 | VFL Reads: The Case Against The Trauma Plot

February 9, 2022 • Autumn Gardner, Hunter Beaumont

Hunter and Autumn discuss an article featured in the New Yorker, written by Parul Seghal, entitled The Case Against the Trauma Plot. Seghal posits that the "trauma plot" has become the primary narrative device used by script writers and authors during the past few decades. The "trauma plot" promises, via revelation of a person's past, to explain their idiosyncrasies, personality quirks, and failures in the present. The device rings hollow, though, as character after character become locked into a determinant version of themselves in the future. The popularization of the trauma plot holds a certain allure. It convinces us that we, too, can understand and type people in the present through the story of their past. The gospel, though, shatters the trajectory of the trauma plot. In Christ we are not just our past. In fact, II Corinthians 5 declares us "a new creation." Mentioned in this episode: "The Case Against the Trauma Plot" by Parul Seghal (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/01/03/the-case-against-the-trauma-plot) "Crossroads" by Jonathan Franzen (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0374181179)