Alter Guild Podcast: Season One
Episode One: "Remembering" (Isaiah 5 & 64:1-7)
Prophets remember the past in order to make sense of their present and to imagine a future. God calls us to resist the pull of nostalgia, instead recalling memories for the sake of building a more honest, just, and beautiful tomorrow.
Episode Two: "Resistance Rising” (Matthew 2:1-12)
We go looking to bend power in the predictable places, but God’s power doesn’t hunker down in a comfortable palace or the strong arm of a paranoid ruler. God’s power has a reputation for rumbling in the resistance.
Episode Three: "Nations Rise, Empires Fall” (Luke 2:1)
The first verse of the Birth Story is loaded with context that most of us miss. The power struggles and paranoia paint a timeless political landscape. It sets the scene with history, politics, culture, identity, and drama that help us understand the risky threat of baby Jesus. And, when push comes to shove, Herod will kill his friends and family to remind you of his love.
Episode Four: "Roots” (Matthew 1)
Matthew’s gospel begins with the genealogy of Jesus. His family tree includes some familiar patriarchs and heroes, but it also lists unlikely women and stories of relationships and bodies broken. What do these ancestors tell us about how God enters our human story?
Episode Five: "Waiting” (Luke 1:46-55)
We spent the season of Advent waiting for a baby to be born. But what about those who wait without a due date and for much longer than four winter weeks? In this episode we consider the ways this waiting is painful or unique for those who journey with infertility or the adoption process.
Episode Six: "Homegoing” (Luke 2:3-7)
For many, this time of year requires traveling toward family and heritage. But is this the same thing as going home? The holy family returned to Bethlehem for the census. In the same way, so many attend holiday events simply to be counted, which is not the same thing as belonging or feeling known.
Episode Seven: "Loud lamentation” (matthew 2:13-23)
A child is born, but in the wake of this joy there is great danger and death. Herod slaughters the innocent infants of Bethlehem in an effort to keep power that does not belong to him. Note: This episode contains content related to sexual assault and rape.
Episode Eight: "Joseph” (Matthew 1:18-25)
Parenthood is complicated. Step-parenthood is also complicated. Step-parenthood to the Son of God might be the most complicated. The story of Joseph is a story about the ultimate supporting role. The angels never told him it would be easy, but they did promise it would matter.
Episode Nine: "Consent” (Luke 1:26-38)
The story of the Annunciation -- with a teenage Mary obediently submitting to bear God's Child -- is complicated in light of power dynamics, abuse, and discussions about consent. In this episode we hear how Mary's consent, agency, and role as a prophet can be reclaimed, and how her story can help the church when discussing sexuality, purity, and power.
Episode Ten: "Light” (John 1:1-5)
Maybe your Christmas memories conjure light and gladness, but also seasons more complicated and painful. In this episode, Derek remembers a complicated Christmas; joyful because it was his first as a father, but scary because his brother was facing his heroin addiction. Note: This episode contains content related to drug addiction, overdose, and recovery.
Episode Eleven: "Ponder” (Luke 2:15-20)
When the stable guests had gone, Mary treasured their words in her heart and pondered them. Where and when do we ponder today and what does it feel like? This episode considers being present with the inner voice through two different lenses: introversion and depression.
Episode Twelve: "Word” (John 1:10-14)
The Word became flesh and dwelled among us. The Word is still living and active, proclaimed and embodied in all of our beauty, brokenness, and diversity. For this final episode of Season One, the Alter Guild invited some of their fine friends to share a Christmas message in thirty seconds or less. We give thanks for the Word and all of the voices who speak and sing it into flesh these days.