top of page

Episode 449: The Atlanta Shootings & Courageous Leadership with Richard Stearns


Is evangelical purity culture to blame for the murder of eight people at spas in Atlanta? Or is anti-Asian racism the cause? What about America’s gun culture or mental illness? Phil, Skye, and Christian discuss the many facets of the tragedy and get vulnerable about their own history with evangelicalism’s obsession with sex.


Then, Skye talks with Richard Stearns, president emeritus of World Vision, about his new book on leadership. Stearns recalls his own battle with purity culture when he tried to convince evangelicals to fight the AIDS epidemic 20 years ago, and he discusses the lack of courageous leadership in many parts of the church today. Also this week—a News of the Butter update.


Podcast Phil references:


"Lead Like It Matters to God" by Richard Stearns:




27 Comments


Kyle Bradley
Kyle Bradley
Apr 06, 2021

I've only thumbed through a handful of the comments so I don't know if it's been mentioned already but I wanted to point out an angle surrounding the discussion on the Atlanta shooter that I believe was missed.

I feel like, at least based on my own understanding of these two words, that there is a distinct difference between how "conviction" is to be understood by believers versus how "guilt" is perceived by those same people.

I'd be curious to hear thoughts.

Like
Michelle  Staub
Michelle Staub
Apr 09, 2021
Replying to

Yes there is definitely a difference, conviction is a 2 step process. The Holy Spirit first reveals your sin and then leads you to repentance and reconciliation. Guilt is not of God but is bondage in emotional shame with no heart change.


You are right, this is exactly where the Church’s response to sexuality is failing. We surround anything sexual with shame and secrecy. Not only are we not teaching people how to bring their sin to God (the only way to actually address the sin), but we also make it taboo to ask for accountability.


The human response to guilt since creation has been to shift blame. Society has been shifting the blame to girls throughout all of history.…

Like

Michelle  Staub
Michelle Staub
Mar 31, 2021

I see many women have pointed out one of the main things I came here to bring up, which is the Church’s reluctance to address sexuality in boys (teaching them how to address their own sin), and instead focuses on a cultural modesty. Studies have shown sexual arousal is influenced more by what is socially expected to arouse boys than what body part they see. No one today is undone by seeing an ankle and yet for a long time hiding your ankles was extremely important for modesty (more than cleavage). So by constantly telling our youth and men all of these things will arouse them, we are literally creating the atmosphere we are trying to save them from.

So…

Like
Christine Roosa
Christine Roosa
Mar 31, 2021
Replying to

Well said. Puts words to things I've been thinking for years and haven't been able to articulate.

Like

Bonnie Toney
Bonnie Toney
Mar 27, 2021

Hey, I’m halfway through the episode, and I wanted to jot down a couple of my thoughts from the host discussion before I get to the guest.

Firstly, from really early in the show, I have to take issue with Skye’s comment that he hasn’t seen anyone mention mental health in relation to this shooting, “because it’s not a political issue.” Mental health is absolutely a political issue - an enormous part of the push on the left to get universal healthcare is for mental health coverage. Normalizing mental health care is another very prominent platform plank of left-leaning groups. (Maybe this goes some ways towards proving that you folks AREN’T the radical left hooligans that the far right has…

Like
aubs
aubs
Mar 27, 2021
Replying to

hard agree!

Like

aubs
aubs
Mar 26, 2021

Wow! First of all, Phil and Christian - thank you big time for your vulnerability. Second of all, I really, really enjoyed (if that’s the right word to use) this episode. Thank you for everything that you guys said. This was such an important conversation and I had so many thoughts I came on here to share, but I just cant get them into words. If you’re looking to talk more about how purity culture and toxic mainstream christian teachings about sex have damaged the church, you should totally have Sheila Gregoire on your show as a guest! Y’all’s podcasts are the only two I regularly listen to. And third of all, I LOVED this guest!!! That was so good!!

Like
Replying to

I’m late to the party, but yes, yes, and yes. The discussion on the shame surrounding sex (premarital or otherwise) definitely reminded me of The Great Sex Rescue by Gregoire (suggested by others here) that shares the results of research about the effects on Christian women and their marriages of messages promoted by best-selling books, some of which you guys have touched on in other discussions. I rolled my eyes when my friend suggested another sex book, but this one truly has something new to say, and it made the rounds among my conservative evangelical friends who lamented that they had believed these messages for so long.


I grew up on the tail end of purity culture, and even though…


Like

Amie White
Amie White
Mar 25, 2021

I really enjoyed this week's conversation. But I did want to offer another perspective on Phil's question of how the shooter crafted his theology. Specifically, Phil asked how someone who grew up learning to pluck out their own eye could turn instead to murder.


I graduated HS in '96, at the height of purity culture fervor. 90% of the discussions we had on purity involved how women were to avoid leading men into temptation. Everything from what we wore to the way we walked was viewed as a potential stumbling block. The onus, therefore, was on WOMEN to prevent men from sinning. With this theological mindset, it's not too far a leap to think a man could believe the only…

Like
Christine Roosa
Christine Roosa
Mar 25, 2021
Replying to

I was thinking very similar things. It's MY fault that a man looks at me. He has no onus in his actions if the reason he acted on his impulses was because I was attractive to him.

Like
bottom of page