Image courtesy of The British Film Institute. Copyright © BFI/Lindsey C. Vickers, all rights reserved, used by TMR with kind permission.The next podcast—a TMR Movie Roundtable on the obscure, almost forgotten British supernatural horror film The Appointment (1981/2) starring Edward Woodward (of The Wicker Man fame)—should be posted in the next couple of days: probably Friday 5th, or Saturday 6th July. We are joined by the usual talented crew: Antony Rotunno, Mark Campbell and Frank Johnson.

Blessings, Julian.

[The Appointment was rescued in 2022 from (totally unwarranted) virtual media oblivion by the valliant afforts of The British Film Institute, which has included it as part of their Flipside series. A Blu-ray disc is available from the BFI shop (https://shop.bfi.org.uk/the-appointment-blu-ray.html), which I think is only in PAL format, so it may not be playable in every country. Thanks also to BFI.org.uk for preparing a digital screening for us so that all four of us could see the film for the roundtable.]

[Images (here and slide show image) courtesy of The British Film Institute. Copyright © BFI/Lindsey C. Vickers, all rights reserved, used by TMR with kind permission.]


Current Programme

MarkGlanville"I think, as we are forced from the centre—but, even better, as we relinquish the centre, and let go of power among ourselves and in culture, and become more dependent on God—that our spiritual power will, in a sense, return."—Dr Mark Glanville

We welcome to the programme Dr Mark Glanville, Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Regent College, Vancouver, for a conversation—in words and music—on his recently published book, Improvising Church : Scripture as the Source of Harmony, Rhythm, and Soul (InterVarsity Press, Academic, 2024).

"The post-Christian cultural turn is creating the conditions for a crisis of confidence in the church and in pastoral ministry. While such changes can be disruptive and disconcerting, our new cultural reality makes the present moment a uniquely exciting time to reimagine churches that bear witness to Christ. How do we move beyond cookie-cutter approaches (which may have worked in the past) to building the creative, compassionate, and incarnational churches we long for? Biblical scholar and accomplished jazz pianist Mark Glanville plays with a metaphor of improvisation to chart twelve themes as the key "notes" on which Christian communities play as they bear witness to God in the world today. Building on these two dynamic traditions—jazz music and Christian community—Improvising Church unfolds a biblical, practical, and inventive vision for churches seeking to receive and extend the healing of Christ."—(IVPress.com)


We shall be joined again by our good friend Antony Rotunno for another of our one-to-one chats that have been a feature of TMR for several years now. This time we intend to discuss something that, at first sight, might seem to run the risk of being a little hackneyed, but which, we believe, has the potential to lead to a very fruitful conversation. We shall use the film The Matrix (hold on, keep reading!) as a springboard (not a review!) for discussing the "truther" phenomenon—not "the truth movement", given that neither of us is persuaded that there is such a movement, per se—and consider ways in which popular interpretations of themes in The Matrix have helped to mould people's experiences of "taking the red pill" in response to various epistemological shocks in the real world.

(As to the claim that The Matrix has always been a hidden trans allegory, as the Wachowskis maintain, we shall largely put that aside and treat the film as a cultural artefact in its own right.)


We shall welcome back to the programme Vince McCann—author of the autobiographical Freed from Satan's Grasp and host of the Chezno1969 YouTube channel—for a conversation on Evangelism and the Witnesses.

Vince, who joined us back in 2014 to talk about the dangers of the Ouija Board, will this time speak with us from his extensive experience of ministry to the Jehovah's Witnesses  and share with us practical advice to help us in our own conversations with those caught up in New Religious Movements that claim the Bible as a foundational text.


Future Programmes

We expect to be joined again by the theologian and historian Dr Martin Erdmann for a series of interviews on the subject of his major book The Spiritualisation of Technology (2022).

"Dr Martin Erdmann studied theology at Columbia International University in the USA (Master of Divinity in Missiology and New Testament Studies), at the University of Basel in Switzerland and at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland (Master of Theology in New Testament Studies and Patristics). In 1996, he founded Online Communication Systems, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. In 1999, he was awarded a doctoral degree in Modern Church History at Brunel University London in England. From 2000-2001 he engaged in post-doctoral studies in New Testament and History of Theology at the Séminaire Libre De Théologie À Genève (Free Seminary of Theology, Geneva, Switzerland). From 2003 to 2010 he was an Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies (distance education) at Patrick Henry College, Virginia. For four years Dr Erdmann headed up the NT department of the Staatsunabhängige Theologische Hochschule Basel (State-independent Theological Seminary), Switzerland. In his position as Senior Scientist at the University Hospital in Basel, he was involved in researching the ethical implications of Nanotechnology. In 2017 the Károli Gáspár-University in Budapest, Hungary awarded him the Dr. Habil. degree in Systematic Theology. Since 2003 he has directed the Verax Institute (Christian apologetics). Dr Erdmann is married to Joy and has two children, Estelle Chérie and Johannes Luc."


Results from TMR survey

Format: Everyone who responded said that they particularly appreciate the interviews (and other types of one-to-one conversation) and asked that these remain at the core of TMR's programming. They also generally prefer in-depth conversations.

Subjects: The majority of respondents are happy with the types of subjects covered on the podcast. (Some aren't keen on subjects that are specifically Christian, while others aren't keen on subjects that are not specifically Christian. Given that this mix is central to TMR's philosophy, such difference of opinion is only to be expected.)

Frequency: Very few asked for the podcasts to be posted at any regular interval (such as weekly or fortnightly), but instead stressed the importance of quality over quantity.

Conclusion: I shall therefore continue in much the same way, but prioritise the in-depth conversations, even though that may impact the frequency with which I post podcasts.

Many thanks to those who contributed.

Julian.


Other arrangements in the pipeline. I am currently working on the following projects (in no particular order): a follow-up interview with Jacob Hornberger on the Zapruder Film Mystery; an interview in the area of World Religions (from a Christian perspective); an interview in the area of the Philosophy of Miracle; an interview on the Orality of Scripture; an interview on "Improvising Church"; a half serious, half tongue-in-cheek roundtable on the subject of "Skience" (my word for "The Science"); and a series of interviews with Dr Martin Erdmann on his book The Spiritualisation of Technology.

 
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