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557: The Rise of Christian Nashville-ism & What Christians Must Do with Claude Alexander

Why doesn’t Congress work? A recent article explains how diversity, education, and geography are driving the political parties apart. These findings also help explain the widening fractures among evangelicals. In the past, evangelicalism was primarily driven by academic institutions in the North, but now it’s increasingly fueled by entertainment interests in the South. Phil explains this rise of “Christian Nashville-ism.” Then, Skye talks to Bishop Claude Alexander about his book “Necessary Christianity,” and what he believes to be the most urgent issues facing the church today. Plus, more listener feedback about teen mental health research, how puppies, infants, and Baby Yoda hack our brains, and an unexpected animal attack in Ohio.

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0:00 - Intro

3:15 - Theme Song

3:37 - Zebra Attack!

10:38 - Cute Babies

22:45 - Feedback from our Mental Health Discussion

30:56 - The Four Quadrants of American Politics

40:13 - Fragmentation of Evangelical Politics

49:16 - Rise of Christian Nashville-ism


56:57 - Sponsor - Hiya to receive 50% off your first order

58:03 - Sponsor: Faithful Counseling

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59:07 - Guest Interview - Claude Alexander

1:03:41 - Determining one’s calling

1:10:08 - What must the American church do today

1:18:58 - What can the white evangelical church learn from the black church

1:31:42 - End Credits

Links mentioned in news segment:

Ohio man nearly loses arm in zebra attack at farm

Why your brain thinks this puppy is undoubtedly cuter than a baby

Feedback from episode 556’s discussion on mental health

The Four Quadrants of American Politics

The fragmentation of evangelical politics

Other resources:

Necessary Christianity: What Jesus Shows We Must Be and Do by Claude Alexander

Becoming the Church: God's People in Purpose and Power by Claude Alexander -

Required: God's Call to Justice, Mercy, and Humility to Overcome Racial Division by Claude Alexander -

The Politics of the Cross: A Christian Alternative to Partisanship by Daniel Williams -

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Paul K
Paul K

Skye, have you written anything on young people realizing they want to be pastors because of their own feelings of insignificance? I have had similar thoughts.


How should we respond to "Midwest" culture and "Southern" culture influencing the church in significant ways. Clearly neither of these cultures are biblical and each is riddled with sin, albeit different sinful out-workings. Our response needs to be working on finding our way to church community and a cultural expression that Jesus would recognize as following Him. To that end we need to be critical of the deep sin of both of these cultures and their influence. As a Midwesterner (transplanted from the Northeast) it is easiest for me to point at the issues I see in Southern culture. But following Jesus means looking more closely at the sins of myself and my own culture before I consider proclaimin…


The Christian “Nashville-ism” is an apt name for what I observe, living in the south. I just saw a car with bumper stickers that included “Faith, Hope, and Love,” and a “Come and Take It” sign. I have a sort of admiration for the rugged individualism of the south, but there are also big drawbacks to it as well. The most glaring problem was that that sort of individualism didn’t translate well into a collective effort to mask and vaccinate during the pandemic. And, as I write this, there are bills in my state legislature designed to deny any public health agency from placing any restrictions on the state during any potential future pandemics. This individualism also is difficult to…


Regina McCurdy
Regina McCurdy

I couldn’t help but think about the movie Boss Baby when the conversation turned to cute animals being bred to look like cute babies. But what got me and my husband rolling in laughter was Skye’s comment about who else is not indigenous to Ohio. Watching this interaction on YouTube was award-winning. 😂



I think more than just a takeover by Nashville Christianity (love that turn of phrase, Phil!) from Christian Nationalism, or by fundamentalism's takeover of evangelicalism, is the toxic undercurrent of a Civil War that never really ended. Sharecropping. Jim Crow. White Christian private schools. Red lining. Blue Lives Matter. Anti-woke slogans. Pick your bigotry of choice. Until there is confession and repentance for bigotry, racism and the systemic injustice (I know, I know--trigger words that shut down conversation for many), just some of slavery's progeny, this culture war--a continuation of the Civil War--won't end any time soon. I was raised a fundamentalist in the south. As I grew spiritually and left the heretical teachings of the dispensational, "we're the only…

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