I had a blast talking with Dr. Mark Wallace. We ended up having so much fun we’ve decided to do it again. Be on the lookout for details about a Homebrewed Happy Hour in which we will discuss Christian Animism and the questions/topics you send in. After you hear his account of Jesus as a Shaman or the incantatory nature of faith, I am sure you will have a few questions. I would suggest checking out When God was a Bird if you are already excited 🙂

In this conversation we discuss…

  • Mark’s Billy Graham conversion experience and religious life growing up in SoCal
  • His intellectual journey and the influence of his advisor Paul Ricouer
  • The philosophical hermeneutics of Ricouer and its application to religion
  • Why Pascal’s wager isn’t nearly as cool as the wager of faith in Ricouer
  • The predicament of belief in post-religious context
  • The power and possibility within confessional traditions
  • Modernity’s problematic politic of life
  • The need to nest our understanding of salvation(s) within an account of creation
  • How Jesus is a Shaman
  • Why every good Biblical literalist knows that God is a bird

If you are interested in the work of Ricouer and its relation to religion, then check out this text that Mark Wallace edited of his mentor – Figuring the Sacred:Religion, Narrative, and Imagination. I doubt I could exaggerate how influential that book has been for my own self-reflection.

Mark I. Wallace is Professor of Religion and Environmental Studies at Swarthmore College and core faculty for the U.S. State Department’s Institutes on Religious Pluralism at Temple University. His books include When God was a Bird, Green Christianity: Five Ways to a Sustainable Future and Finding God in the Singing River: Christianity, Spirit, Nature.

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