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583: One Black Family’s Story about Poverty, Racism, & Grace with Esau McCaulley

Theologian and writer, Esau McCaulley, is back to talk about his new memoir “How Far to the Promised Land: One Black Family’s Story of Hope and Survival in the American South.” He says there is grace in learning to tell the complicated facets of his family’s story, rather than reducing it to a single story about race, poverty, or trauma. McCaulley believes that’s a lesson we need to apply to America’s story as well. Also this week, David Brooks writes about the courage and wisdom of three women during World War II. What do their stories tell us about the Christian life today? Plus, why are men thinking so much about the Roman Empire? And a three-legged bear walks into a bar.

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Getting Schooled - The Social Gospel 101

0:00 - Intro

1:22 - Show starts

2:13 - Theme Song

2:35 - Sponsor - Magic Spoon

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4:15 - A Three-Legged Bear Walks Into a Bar

10:23 - Men Thinking About Ancient Rome

16:58 - David Brooks’ article on women and wisdom

43:26 - Sponsor - Hiya Health

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44:31 - Sponsor - Fabric by Gerber Life

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45:43 - Interview Intro

Esau McCaulley

49:32 - Why Esau wrote a memoir

54:28 - The Black American Experience

1:20:34 - Fatherhood

1:26:48 - End Credits

Links mentioned in news segment:

A Three-Legged Bear Walks Into a Bar

Men Think About the Roman Empire All the Time. Here’s What Women Say They Think About

The Feminine Way to Wisdom

Other resources:

How Far to the Promised Land: One Black Family's Story of Hope and Survival in the American South by Esau McCaulley

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This interview with Esau McCaulley was so good. I felt like I’d listened to a great sermon from a wonderful teacher, because I did, and he is. Esau is so clearly gifted as a pastor and teacher.

I actually wrote down what he said about parenting his children:

“Goal is not to be a perfect father but an ordinary father, and to give my children less to recover from and more room to be the person God created them to be.”

We all come from families with “stuff” and he taught with compassion and humility. So many other examples I could site. I’ll definitely read his book.

Not sure if You’ll see this post because I listed to thid Episode…


By the way, in reference to the vomitorium, it wasn’t a place to barf. It was just an exit.


When listening to the discussion of the Brooks piece, I thought of Hagar--a marginalized single mom, fleeing for safety for herself and her child--and that it was a woman who called God "the One Who Sees."


Tim Keith
Tim Keith

I'm only part of the way in to this episode, but feel called out, I think of Rome probably two or three times a day on average. (Outside of the time I think about it in a biblical context (I'm a missionary)). Is there a good reason?? I see scary parallels between the late stage Roman republic's anemic political life and the modern west. But no, it's honestly because I like history and have particularly enjoyed the works of Mike Duncan and Tom Holland (not the actor). Plus, I come from the west and Rome is the empire we talk about in school and Uni. It is a little strange to me that other people without my esoteric tastes and…


Ernesto Tinajero
Ernesto Tinajero

I loved the David Brooks article, though I do think he pushes the idea of their being women as the source of their wisdom too much and ignores the men who also expressed the same wisdom during the same era. Their lives in attention and looking into the other face to face was also expressed in Martin Buber's "I and Thou", Emmanuel Levinas's "Totality and Infinity" and the whole body of work of Eli Wiesel. All three grew up in the brew of Judicaic thought it led them all to live extraordinary lives whether man or woman.

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