P&A on NPE: Couch Surfing and Discussing the Ailing Church

Paul and Ashley Swearengin celebrate their 26th anniversary by sitting on their new couch and talking about the dying American Evangelical Church and the meaning of justice and a Christian nation.

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Podcast Transcript (Transcribed by AI, so not 100% accurate.)

P&A Couch Surf & Discuss the Dying Evangelical Church
[00:00:00] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:00:00] this notion of all men are created equal.
[00:00:02] I mean, that is straight out of heaven. So when people talk about like our nation is a Christian nation, my heart says yes, because our founding documents reflect God’s view of who people are, all men and women. Are creative equal, like that ambition, that aspiration, we have to hold that dear. to me is the connection of God’s heart for our country is because we are trying to agree with him that people are equal here.
[00:00:28] And if that’s not reflected, then we’re hypocrites If [00:01:00] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:01:32] Good morning. Good morning. Saturday morning.
[00:01:36] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:01:36] Happy Saturday, everyone. I’m looking at my watch. It’s 11:00 AM. We are late.
[00:01:39] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:01:39] We got a slow start this morning, which we deserve every once in a while.
[00:01:44] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:01:44] Oh my gosh. So I think I worked till like one in the morning, every night, this week or every morning, this week.
[00:01:50] And then last night I found myself it’s Friday night. I don’t need to work. I still sit up until one. And so we woke up this morning. It was like nine 30.
[00:01:59] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:01:59] we have not [00:02:00] slept in that late. I think I know in 26 years of marriage, which we celebrated our anniversary this week.
[00:02:06] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:02:06] Yeah. In fact, some of you who may have joined in with us on previous Saturday mornings, or watch this later in the week, you’re like, Hey, that’s a different corner of your house that you’re podcasting from today.
[00:02:18] The answer is you’re right. we, first of all, we feel like we have. Used every square inch of our little home office and tried to like move the phone around to like, make it look different today. We thought, you know what? Let’s sit on the couch because this couch is our anniversary
[00:02:36] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:02:36] couch. Yes.
[00:02:37] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:02:37] Yeah. So Wednesday was our 26th.
[00:02:39] Wedding anniversary and, you know, COVID style. What did we celebrate it with doing absolutely nothing. Except we had ordered this couch, thanks to Slater’s I’m going out of business sale, which, sorry that they’re going out of business, but they retired and we got a screaming deal on this couch and it took months to get, so we sat on our [00:03:00] couch for, our anniversary.
[00:03:01] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:03:01] Yeah. And it was great because we got to. Couch on our fifth anniversary. And that couch that we got on our fifth anniversary, went out the door. Two days ago and this couch came in.
[00:03:13] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:03:13] So we figure every 20 years we get a new couch and that’s like a symbol of our, I guess our like major milestones with one another is like, okay, we’re on year one of the 20 year cap.
[00:03:24] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:03:24] So you’re not, you’re not just lounging to be lazy in the shot. We’re trying to show that we got this really cool new couch.
[00:03:31] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:03:31] So excited about having a reclining couch. Yeah. So I think I could die. Happy just sitting right here.
[00:03:40] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:03:40] Since we got it and we have a little more furniture coming. So yes, it’s it was a COVID.
[00:03:46] Anniversary celebration, taking care of the homestead. Here’s pudgy right here, hanging out with us on the
[00:03:52] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:03:52] show. Good morning and welcome to the nonpartisan evangelical. We just like to hang out on Saturday mornings. I’m Ashley that’s. [00:04:00] Paul Paul is the nonpartisan evangelical. I consider myself a nonpartisan evangelical, and we just invite you into this discussion that we’d like to have with each other, with all of you.
[00:04:09] We love seeing your comments and your emails and your direct messages during the week. And, Got some, got some fun feedback over the last few weeks. Some of you who have been watching know that we joked about, whether or not it’s okay for a Christian to cuss that turned into a pretty significant conversation thread
[00:04:27] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:04:27] and cause we kinda liked to do it.
[00:04:29] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:04:29] Yes. If you haven’t figured that out by now, we, we’d like to do it to show that we’re not bound by. just like religious
[00:04:35] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:04:35] rules.
[00:04:36] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:04:36] So it’s become a little bit of that for us, but,
[00:04:38] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:04:38] it’s also cathartic every once in a while too
[00:04:41] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:04:41] true. And I S I say eight years and, you know, city politics
[00:04:45] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:04:45] and the city of Fresno,
[00:04:46] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:04:46] like, if you’re not cussing, then you’re probably like drinking or doing drugs, or like some other really destructive.
[00:04:52] Like you just want to poke your eye out most of the time. So. I found that a good, you know, a well-placed cuss word relieved some of that time.
[00:04:58] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:04:58] Well done, well [00:05:00] done the least
[00:05:00] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:05:00] destructive to my own personal self, but got some guts and comments on, on that who knew it
[00:05:06] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:05:06] was such a topic for people. Yeah. So we had some very good friends who said, Hey, we love the message that you’re sharing.
[00:05:12] And we were going to send this to our friends and we were loving it. But then we couldn’t, because you said curse words in the middle of it. And we have some good assemblies of God, friends who would never go for that.
[00:05:22] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:05:22] It would hurt their hearts too much. And it would disqualify the other things we were talking about.
[00:05:27] And so they said, Hey, can you, can you maybe not talk about that? That’s good feedback.
[00:05:31] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:05:31] Very good for you. Thank you
[00:05:32] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:05:32] for that. Okay.
[00:05:32] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:05:32] Because I do think you honor where you are and you honor that, but then we got some other feedback.
[00:05:38] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:05:38] Yeah. I’m the other end, the other side of
[00:05:40] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:05:40] the. We had some other friends. I actually was telling that story too, about that feedback of people who would be turned off by the cursing.
[00:05:48] And they’re like, Oh, our family loved it. Our family loves you now because you guys do say swear words. So one man’s curse word is another man’s
[00:05:57] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:05:57] endearment. Paul is to swear in Jen’s
[00:06:00] [00:06:00] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:06:00] class. I’m surprised it took me
[00:06:02] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:06:02] three weeks to come up with that one. Anyway, we promise we’re moving on from that topic today, we just wanted to like put a final, Sort of a period at the end of that kind of needless run on paragraph over the last three weeks.
[00:06:15] So you’ll be happy to know if you’re joining in or you’re watching sometime during the week. We’re not going to talk about that today. Okay. Yeah. So, but what we do want to chat about as per usual, on our Saturday morning chats, we really just like to lift up the, like, what we feel like is happening in our country today and, through a lens of like, God, what is your heart?
[00:06:35] What are you doing? And, as people who grew up in the evangelical church, I’m a pastor’s kid, Paul’s a pastor’s kid. He was a pastor. So I former pastor’s wife, like we know the evangelical church. We, it has been very formative in our lives. And we so value. the people who are pursuing God in the evangelical church today.
[00:06:55] And, and we really, since that something is new and different [00:07:00] and that there are significant things that need to change that are changing. That’s God’s heart to bring about that change so that more people can understand God’s love for them. And, And that love won’t get trapped and blocked by the bizarre marriage of white conservative, conservative evangelicalism, and the political stuff that’s going on in our country day.
[00:07:20] So
[00:07:20] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:07:20] that’s like a good word.
[00:07:22] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:07:22] It is bizarre. I mean, it’s, it’s unheard. Holy
[00:07:25] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:07:25] as another good word. Yeah. it’s a marriage that should never have happened and actually has been going on in, in American evangelicalism for about 50 years now. So it’s really ingrained to the point where we don’t even. No that were in that marriage anymore.
[00:07:40] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:07:40] Yeah. So we seek to detangle that, and you may feel like, gosh, you guys kind of talk about the same thing every week. That’s right. We do. There is this enormous juggernaut of a mindset that needs, that needs to be awakened that needs to have some light shine on it. Like we need to be thinking differently because.
[00:07:58] The way God has being [00:08:00] represented today to culture and to people who may not have a relationship with God through the prison of the white conservative evangelical church is absolutely a problem. So I’ll just say that’s probably our thesis right there. and then I, as a person who does something else for a living every day, you tend to focus a lot on this during the week.
[00:08:19] I just like to catch up on what Paul has been writing and saying through his podcast. So today, what I really love that you posted this week is, you posted a blog on essentially the future of the evangelical church.
[00:08:33] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:08:33] Yeah. Oh, do you want me to talk about
[00:08:35] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:08:35] that?
[00:08:37] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:08:37] I didn’t know if we had more setup to do before we went into the setup.
[00:08:40] That was a lot of setup.
[00:08:41] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:08:41] I know. I’m good. I’m good at the setup. It’s a little long sometimes. Hold on. I’ll give you the title of it. Alright, here we go. Old evangelicalism is dying. A new thing is springing up.
[00:08:52] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:08:52] Yeah. So it’s a good news. Bad news.
[00:08:55] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:08:55] Bad news. Good news.
[00:08:55] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:08:55] Bad news. Good news. That’s right. That’s right.
[00:08:58] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:08:58] So lay off the [00:09:00] bad news for us.
[00:09:01] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:09:01] The bad news is really you’ve already encapsulated it. That what I see when I read the gospels in the story of Jesus, he was looking at the church and the religious system when he was on earth. And he said this religious system has to go. And the religious system said that the problem in our country, the reason Israel is no longer great is because of those tax collectors and that Roman government and those Samaritans who worshiped.
[00:09:31] Differently than we worship. If we could get all of those people to either change or be eliminated, then Israel would be great again. And that was the Pharaoh sickle heart that Jesus pointed out and said, you guys are the problem. And today in America, I think it’s a very similar thing where we’re saying it’s, it’s those gay people.
[00:09:53] It’s those women having an abortion. It’s there. The reason America’s not great, whatever the definition of great is. [00:10:00] And we need to make America great again. So we have to get those people to stop doing their bad stuff. We need more law and order in the country and more traditional family. And I think if Jesus were in the flesh on earth today, he’d be saying.
[00:10:13] No, actually, you guys are the problem and you guys need to change and you need to clean up your house and then things can start to change in the culture. You can start to be a positive, impactful force in culture. Sure. Again, and so my thesis of the bad news is that old evangelicalism is, is sick and probably going to recover because we’ve been in this mindset for so long that.
[00:10:36] You know, when we S to me the whole thing of Donald Trump and none of this is about Donald Trump himself. Cause we’ve been talking about this much longer than him, but if that’s not a mirror, That we can look at ourselves and say, wait a second, something’s wrong in the, here in our mindset,
[00:10:53] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:10:53] then what would be
[00:10:54] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:10:54] then what, what would be, so I think the message of that is, Oh, we’re never changing from this [00:11:00] in this generation.
[00:11:00] We, we are so ingrained and ensconced in this. It isn’t changing. So that’s why my thesis of ODA old evangelicalism is dying as well as, and I’m sorry to keep going on and on, but the data just shows millennials. And gen Z ears flat out. Aren’t going to do it. They’re just not going to be four Sunday a month tithing families anymore.
[00:11:22] And that’s the model of the evangelical church. And like any industry, like the dairy industry today has to be saying this next generation is not drinking milk. They’re they’re going another way. So we’re going to have to change our business. Evangelicalism the same as, Hey, the millennials, aren’t going to do this mindset thing that we’re in.
[00:11:41] So we’re either going to have to change or become irrelevant in the next generation.
[00:11:45] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:11:45] So I want to read a couple of the lines. This is under the category of the bad news and we’ll get to the good news just a little bit. but the things that really jumped
[00:11:53] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:11:53] out, are we going to give a gift at the end, by the way,
[00:11:55] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:11:55] we’re going to give a gift at the end.
[00:11:56] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:11:56] So we’re supposed to say stay till the end and we’ll have a little gift [00:12:00] for somebody out there.
[00:12:02] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:12:02] In fact, let’s just do a quick time check. I would say
[00:12:05] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:12:05] 11, 11.
[00:12:06] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:12:06] Alright, well, there you go. Probably by 1130. We’re going to be wrapped up here. So, hang with us till 1130 and you could be eligible to win a very fast,
[00:12:15] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:12:15] huge prize.
[00:12:17] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:12:17] We are calling it the VSG, the very special kit, hang with us until the end. And you will be glad. Yeah,
[00:12:25] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:12:25] by the way, we, we did have two winners last week and I failed to fulfill our promise. And so I owe you guys big time, so I will fix that. Okay.
[00:12:33] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:12:33] And that, that VSG last week was three months free prescription prescription subscription to Patrion or patriotic.
[00:12:41] The picture on
[00:12:41] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:12:41] can be a prescription for it. That’s true
[00:12:44] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:12:44] for a change mindset, but how about we give them an extra month? Cause you missed the week four months of, free subscription to the Patrion site. So extra content, a little more Paul stuff, whatever. So, sorry about that. You guys that won [00:13:00] the prize last week.
[00:13:00] We forgot to close that loop. Okay. Back to our regularly scheduled that wasn’t a VSG advertisement.
[00:13:09] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:13:09] Excuse me.
[00:13:10] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:13:10] Okay. So this is what you said. I’m going to read it. cause I really love this language. I felt like you just nailed it. Okay. Partisan Evans. Pardon me? Partisan conservative evangelicalism dash white evangelicalism is sick and irreparably.
[00:13:22] So, and it’s coming to a calamitous end. So you couldn’t say that any more dramatically, like it’s just like, there’s not an out there. This is sick. It will not be fixed. You go on to say, and I really liked this. The 50 year intertwining of white evangelicals with white conservative politics has metastasized our mindset and spirit.
[00:13:45] It cannot be tweaked or rooted out. You are in a throw the baby out mode, right?
[00:13:55] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:13:55] Yeah. And it makes me sad to say that because I love the church. I love the [00:14:00] angelical church. I’ve invested much of my life in it. And I’ve spent my a lot of years here banging my head against the wall saying, Hey, we need to repent of this guys.
[00:14:08] We need to repent and turn. And I’m convinced like Jeremiah in the book, all the heat Jeremiah was saying to him, to the followers of God, of his day. Guys, it’s not going to get fixed. It’s going to take calamity and overturn of our system for this to change. In fact, I think that’s what Jesus was saying in the gospels as well as, okay.
[00:14:28] The system has to be completely overturned and I’m, I’m fairly committed evangelicalism. Can’t can’t change at this point. You’ve been doing something for so long. It does become metastasized to your bones. It becomes who you are. And in many ways, that’s the narrative I’ve been hearing from guests I’ve had on the podcast.
[00:14:46] They’re like, Hey. Donald Trump, isn’t this outlier thing of the evangelical church. It’s what the evangelical church has been growing towards and building itself towards for a long, long time. And it, and it just is what it is.
[00:14:58]Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:14:58] so I want to say [00:15:00] one more like exclamation point on this point. Cause I, I really, this just sums it up.
[00:15:04] You say welcome to 2020 and the blind. Deaf falsely prophesying
[00:15:09] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:15:09] church
[00:15:11] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:15:11] aligned death, falsely prophesying. So imagine that those words are being said, not necessarily to individual people because,
[00:15:19] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:15:19] and not individual churches, we know great churches doing great
[00:15:23] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:15:23] things.
[00:15:24] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:15:24] This is a mindset over the whole thing.
[00:15:26] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:15:26] That’s it. And I was, you know, I feel like. I draw inspiration from, you know, churches, our own church. We let like people pursuing God together in faith and, and, shoring each other up and creating community like that is so great. So maybe when I said throwing the baby out with the bath water, maybe that’s the baby that we’re trying to have berm.
[00:15:45] I shouldn’t suggest that that’s being thrown out, but really what you’re saying is like, look, dial it back. You know, and just look across the nation and we know this is actually an international phenomenon, but let’s just leave it at our borders for a minute. Like [00:16:00] just dial it back and consider what is the, what is the overall message and heart and spirit that is about the white evangelical church and the way that it is married up to political power.
[00:16:10] This has been 50 years in the making. It’s been an intentional pursuit by some. particularly those in political wings who weren’t, Oh, maybe they were faith-filled, but they weren’t necessarily church men or women, but they saw the opportunity to achieve political power. If they pulled in the conservative church, the white conservative church, they manipulated and used those tendencies for them own advantage for their own candidates advantage.
[00:16:35] We’re reading about it in, Stu Steven’s book. It was all a lie. I talked about it last week and listening to it on audible right now and he breaks it down. And there are actually a lot of people, in that sort of a conservative political consultant world that are starting to say, actually it was all a lie.
[00:16:52] There are racist tendencies. There are,
[00:16:54] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:16:54] we’re intentional about mixing it into the Republican. Yep. Process,
[00:16:59] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:16:59] they spooned [00:17:00] it up and we in the church just consumed it.
[00:17:03] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:17:03] Well, he had the great line. I think maybe we did talk about it last week, so I’m sorry if it’s repetitive. But in the interview I saw with Stu Stevens the other day, he said we used to be concerned in the Republican party about the lack of African American voters and voters from communities of color, but we don’t care anymore.
[00:17:19] Now, now that’s not even a concern anymore. We made a determination to go another way. and so that’s part of it. And the fact then that a church that’s called to stand with the marginalized and the orphan and those lacking justice from their community is intertwined with that political thought. I think that’s when, yeah, that’s when Jesus comes in and turns over tables.
[00:17:42] And, and when I say metastasize, what that means is, you know, when, when cancer gets to a point in a human body, The doctor can say, well, we can kill the cancer, but in killing the cancer, it’s going to kill the patient. And so why put them through that pain? And I think this has [00:18:00] become metastasized to of angelical thought and, and we see the outgrowth of it in a lot of ways, you know, Jerry Falwell jr this week, having sort of his downfall, I think those are the inevitable outgrowth.
[00:18:13] And I think we’re going to start to see more of that start to pop up around because. This thing has become so important to us that at some point you start to say, okay, this is who we are. This isn’t something that I can just call out and prophetically and ask people to change. It. It kind of cannot be changed at this point.
[00:18:32] So I that’s, when I think God says, Hey, let’s just overturn that system. And so I don’t like, I don’t think God brought COVID, that’s not what I’m saying, but. But man, look at the opportunity when, when churches are being asked to step aside from their gatherings to me, I get excited and say, this could be a great opportunity to learn a whole new way to operate.
[00:18:54] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:18:54] We’re going to pivot to the good news here in just a second. And I’m looking at my watch realizing we need to give equal time to the good [00:19:00] news because you know, we’ve been going on about the bad news. but just a quick break for those of you who are just joining us. This is the nonpartisan evangelical.
[00:19:07] That would be him. I am Ashley
[00:19:09] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:19:09] on our anniversary
[00:19:09] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:19:09] couch. we, we promise we’re not going to be sitting here reclining probably in the feature. Well, we have ambitions of maybe today going out to like a local park or, the Eaton trail out by San Joaquin river. And guess how hot it’s going to be today in central California.
[00:19:25] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:19:25] 107
[00:19:26] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:19:26] hundred, 707 on its way to 111 hundred 12. So we thought, yeah, not the week to try to do even at 10 30 or 11 in the morning, something outside. so we’re here in our nice ground floor, air conditioned room. Hopefully it stays cool the rest of the day, but, we got this Cal anniversary. Replacing a 20 year old couch.
[00:19:45] So every 20 years, well, just imagine 20 years from now when we’re celebrating our 46th wedding anniversary, will we be sitting on this couch talking about anything
[00:19:55] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:19:55] to fake, to whatever I’m sure Facebook will have gone the way of [00:20:00] MySpace by then. So will, what will we be talking to them?
[00:20:02] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:20:02] Exactly. We’ll just be like mine, just like mine, melding with people.
[00:20:06] We won’t even be like using our words, but anyway,
[00:20:10] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:20:10] by the way, that’s not the only gift. That you gave me for our anniversary. He made me chili. I love chili. Just I’m a chili fanatic
[00:20:19] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:20:19] embarrassed, honestly like, okay. So yes, the vision I have I had for like, how could we celebrate our anniversary? In the middle of COVID was like, well, you know, maybe I could make Paul’s favorite dinner or get takeout and like plan a picnic in the backyard when it gets dark, maybe have candle light out there.
[00:20:37] And then I was like, I’m just going to be real about this. Paul loves a pot of chili. So in the middle of August, in Fresno, California in a heat wave, what am I doing for our 26th wedding anniversary? I’m using my Ninja foodie and making like crock. I love
[00:20:51] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:20:51] it. Love it, love it. We don’t sound very romantic, but.
[00:20:55] Nor ferric sophisticated.
[00:20:58] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:20:58] Like we are. [00:21:00] And actually people probably don’t know that like we’re straight out of like Midwest, like Missouri, Texas, Arkansas. Yeah. So we’re like straight out of like hillbilly country.
[00:21:11] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:21:11] Yeah. Straight out of Branson before Branson was Branson. Yes, I did. I lived in Branson as a young kid and there was nothing there.
[00:21:18] And now it’s, my brothers have been there and they said you wouldn’t believe it.
[00:21:21] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:21:21] But when we were there, it was
[00:21:24] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:21:24] nothing. There was nothing.
[00:21:25]Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:21:25] we have a little bit of ambient noise in the background. Our son, Sam is making breakfast. And, I wonder if, if we, I can make you some eggs in like 10 minutes. Okay.
[00:21:34] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:21:34] You can do it. It’s okay, go ahead. I don’t think it’s a problem.
[00:21:37] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:21:37] Okay. Fine. Fine. I’m fine. Anyway, we were getting to, the good news and I also just want to mention. A NPE podcast.com that’s NPE podcast.com. this week you’re going to be posting a podcast that you just did with a mod MIRSA, who is a former Emir from a Muslim congregation in Kern County, and is, the Muslim in the podcast, a Christian [00:22:00] and a Muslim walk into a studio.
[00:22:01] So he’s the featured Muslim on that? I’ve been
[00:22:04] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:22:04] friend Bob Prater. Does that podcast with him on.
[00:22:06] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:22:06] And you guys have a good chat about, Christians and
[00:22:09] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:22:09] should Christians, can Christians be friends with Muslims? Should we be afraid of Muslims in America? It’s a really fascinating conversation. You’re going to want to hear that
[00:22:17] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:22:17] one.
[00:22:18] That’s the kind of content that you’ll see on NPE podcast.com, Google there today, and, and subscribe to the podcast and sign up for the email newsletters list. Okay. Done with that was like a really extended break.
[00:22:30] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:22:30] And
[00:22:31] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:22:31] now back to our cause I’ve talked about the good news, cause we started with. Bad news.
[00:22:35] Good news. Here’s the good news. If God is allowing significant and, and, and really irreparable destruction to happen in the white evangelical church, he’s doing it for a reason. He’s doing it to take us to what he has for us. Tell us what you think that is.
[00:22:49] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:22:49] Yeah. What I see is rather than church being a building, we go to on a Sunday morning and every church has been talking about this for a long time.
[00:22:59] Now [00:23:00] is the opportunity, I think, to really start to think what does. Church looked like big C church, not little C the church down the street. but just church in general. And I, and, and what I, and I see it in millennials, what they’re looking for is community. What they’re looking for is places where they can be themselves and be real where they can ask questions.
[00:23:19] So I think, yeah, the church of the future has got to be a place where we actually. Ask questions and talk about difficult concepts. What church has become now is, is a theater where people sit and watch the show on the stage, and then the pastor gets up and tells us what we already know and what we’re comfortable with.
[00:23:37] He may call out certain sins that we’ve become comfortable with being sins. And it may tweak us a little bit like, Ooh, aye. Aye. Stole bubble gum when I was 12, I need to confess that. But I think what it’s going to become in the future is, is looking at the deep concepts of God and who is God? And how do we see the Bible and really thinking.
[00:23:56] What are we, what are we reaching to out in the cosmos out there [00:24:00] so much more of people bringing their gifts together. Like the Bible says and sharing community and taking care of one another, rather than it being sort of this Sunday morning show where we all come together on a regular basis. And I think that’s going to be an amazing change.
[00:24:16] It’s gonna be look very different than the Christian Church. We’re going to have to be, we’re going to get to be accepting of people that we’ve not been accepting of it before. It’s not going to be exclusive and we’re right. You’re wrong. It’s going to start to say more of how do we look at this together and walk this out.
[00:24:32] It’s going to be much less fear filled. I don’t know what else, what else do you want me to say? Well you’re so you,
[00:24:37] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:24:37] you make like three points in the,
[00:24:39] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:24:39] in your blog. And
[00:24:43] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:24:43] yeah, you’re, you’re kind of covering it right now, but, first of all, you talk about, a corporate heart for justice and in you, the way you express it as a corporate heart for justice in a city region and country, I would say like, cause sometimes that’s a little hard to get your head around.
[00:24:57] It feels so big, but like a corporate [00:25:00] heart for justice in people, groups, you know, where you, where you find yourself, where you find yourself. Living working, et cetera, like having a mindset. That’s like, man, we, we are really going after the ambition of, really our nations
[00:25:13] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:25:13] and the definition of sorry to interrupt you there.
[00:25:16] But the, the definition of that people group is going to be expanded. Cause right now, what you hear a lot in evangelical churches is like take care of your family. That’s what’s really important is take care of your family. And so it becomes this single household responsibility and maybe a few others in our orbit.
[00:25:33] And I think, you know, Jeremiah 29, seven verses like that are saying, no, no, I see you in people, groups, and you’re responsible for that whole people group. So it can be a neighborhood. It can, it can be a city. And I think if we live in Northeast Fresno and think Southwest Fresno is not our responsibility, God’s going to expand that vision.
[00:25:53] That those people are mattered. Have to matter to me too.
[00:25:57]Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:25:57] I actually really love what you just said. this is going to sound kind of hyper [00:26:00] spiritual or something, but, this notion of all men are created equal.
[00:26:03] I mean, that is straight out of heaven. So when people talk about like our nation is a Christian nation, my heart says yes, because our founding documents reflect God’s view of who people are, all men and women. Are creative equal, like that ambition, that aspiration, we have to hold that dear. I feel like, as we value that as individuals, and we just say, Hey, I’m a person who’s hanging on to that.
[00:26:29] I stand for that. And I expect to see that in my own life and in the circles all around me and whatever I can influence. That’s that is the underpinning of democracy. So I don’t mean to go on about that, but, that to me is the connection of God’s heart for our country is because we are trying to agree with him that people are equal here.
[00:26:51] And if that’s not reflected, then we’re hypocrites. If that’s not reflected, then of course, we’re not going to be a Christian nation. Being a Christian [00:27:00] nation is not because we pass this law. We did this, we did this, which is your second point, actually. Is that, a legalistic code of rules, is not what being a Christian nation is about.
[00:27:11] That. I mean, if that is what, that’s the old garment trying to put that back on and that’s exactly what the Pharisees and the Sadducees were doing in Jesus days. Like, Oh yeah. We’re like God’s chosen people we know will reflect that and having, like, trying to make our laws perfect.
[00:27:25] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:27:25] If we can just enforce that code of laws, Israel will be made great again.
[00:27:29] And you know, it was really reflected this week in a friend sent me an article. From a theologian that’s of some significance in our circles of Christian them. And, and he had this list of 25 reasons. He supported president Trump and they were things like banning transgender people from the military. And some things like that that are really extra biblical.
[00:27:57] That aren’t a part of the [00:28:00] viable while. All men are created equal is so much a part of what the Bible is all about. It’s everywhere in every book of the Bible and that we just slough off that we’re in this season, I’m getting a chance to stand with people of color. We’re trying to find excuses with uses of words like Marxism and traditional family too, to absolve ourselves from caring about that.
[00:28:26] When that is. In the very text of the Bible we read and these other things that we have now called in this list of rules, this legalistic code just aren’t there. And so that’s, again, the sign of what we’ve made important versus what the Bible says is important to show why we need to change and go to this new space.
[00:28:46]Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:28:46] yeah, I’m having a moment. That’s like, that’s, that’s really powerful and profound. We need to come back to that next week.
[00:28:53]Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:28:53] we never remember what we’re coming back to next week.
[00:28:56] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:28:56] We don’t remember. We’d come back to, we don’t remember to give people their free subscriptions. [00:29:00] It’s a very professional operation around here.
[00:29:04] Okay. So anyway, just to, just to put it in case you were keeping track, Paul was saying the generational shift, the good news here, the Isaiah 43. something new is emerging. I’m doing a new thing. Don’t you think? I see it. This is a time where calling people like, Hey, join us. And like, don’t you see it, right?
[00:29:19] Don’t you see that God is shifting us towards a place where we have a corporate heart for justice, for people groups, for a city region, country around the world, et cetera. We’re saying no to the legalistic rules and not seeing that. That is what makes us a Christian nation. But instead. our value for all men and all people are created equal that in fact is our best connection to heaven and a Christian value set.
[00:29:42] And then lastly, authentic community, which, we’re trying to cultivate here, frankly, at the nonpartisan evangelical, authentic community.
[00:29:49] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:29:49] Yeah. And that’s some of why we do this on Saturday mornings and got it. I got a neat private message this week from a young man. Who said, Hey, I read your book. I’ve been, I’ve been [00:30:00] following some of your blogs and podcasts, and he says, I’m not ready to agree with everything you say, but I’m really enjoying the opportunity to think about it.
[00:30:08] And I messaged him back and said, and it’s, it’s a young man that we know. And, and I said, well, I’m really glad that you don’t agree with everything. I said, I agree with everything. She doesn’t agree with it because you shouldn’t, but your thinking and that’s what matters. And that’s too often in the evangelical church, we sort of press against.
[00:30:26] Thinking and exploring. And so I told this young man, like, I just want to give you permission and to pursue ideas and think, and have your mind renewed. And so. that’s the type of community that we’re loving, that we’re getting to minister to a lot of people that we never got to be around and hang out with when we were leading an evangelical church.
[00:30:46] And yeah, so that type of community is growing. And I think even more, we’re going to start to see that because, I started saying corporatized, we don’t like that idea, but just. Regularly people are gonna find ways to get together and take care [00:31:00] of each other and in a new way, that’s going to be super, super cool for the next generation.
[00:31:05] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:31:05] If we, if we can collect as individuals in our neighborhoods, city, state, country, whatever, if we can grab, if we can grab onto the notion, all God, God says that all men and women are created equal God’s perspective on people. Are we going to hang onto that and we can hang on, you know, grab, grab a friend, hang on to somebody else, help take care of one another.
[00:31:29] Like to me that like that’s the underpinning of our society and it is the best reflection of God’s heart. That’s
[00:31:36] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:31:36] good. Well said.
[00:31:39]
[00:31:39] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:31:39] All right. So we need to wrap up because we said we would right around 1130 and we want to reward those of you who have stuck around and, you get now a very special gift.
[00:31:49] So, we’re, we’re going to have to get more creative maybe next week, because we’ve been doing this now for three weeks, but the first person to indicate. In the chat [00:32:00] box that you would like a free autographed copy of Paul’s book. The first person we hear from that says, yep, that’s me. I want it. And you were going to get this very special
[00:32:08] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:32:08] gift.
[00:32:08] We’re waiting. We’re looking who will be first, who will be first countdown. Let’s not do this on the couch next week, by the
[00:32:15] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:32:15] way. Well, it’s going to begin. It’s probably going to be triple digit. We can’t go outside. but we’ll try to find a more creative location. So the first person is, and this is what happens every week.
[00:32:27] When we do our very special gift, people are shy. They’re sitting there thinking like, Oh, it’s too good to be true. And they’re like, somebody else is going to get it. I’m like, Oh,
[00:32:40] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:32:40] all right. Stephen is a Pata,
[00:32:43] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:32:43] Stephen Virta
[00:32:44] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:32:44] and Cindy says she wants one. All right, we’ll get one to send it to, we always end up giving two though.
[00:32:48] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:32:48] Hi, it was a tie. So we’ll do two. And then, do you want to do a Patrion? Subscription as well.
[00:32:54] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:32:54] Do we want to do a patron on subscription? Boy? She’s good. Yeah,
[00:32:57] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:32:57] I know. That’s true. So I should mention that. [00:33:00] So Patrion is our way of supporting this work. we’re asking folks to consider signing up for five 99 a month, 1299 a month, $5 and 99 cents.
[00:33:10]and we raised a little bit of money. We want to put that into helping to extend the message here, the nonpartisan evangelical buy some ads, you know, be able to have a little bit of resource to work, maybe work with some people someday to expand what we’re doing. Yeah. So that’s what those dollars go to.
[00:33:26] So, you might not have won the free. Subscription this week, but you could feel fine up at, why do you find it?
[00:33:33] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:33:33] Well, you go to NPE podcast.com our website, and it’s in the upper right hand corner. It says Patriot. And you just click on that button and you’re there.
[00:33:41] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:33:41] Yeah. So you can, it’s like five 99 a month.
[00:33:43] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:33:43] Yeah. One of the things we want to do is hire a social media manager because I mean, I’m up way late in the night, trying to make sure we’re taking care of all the social media. So, your subscription to NP podcast.com, we would love to get to a hundred [00:34:00] subscribers on there and, and be able to sort of bring on somebody to help with that.
[00:34:04] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:34:04] Yes, then, then we would not forget to send it out the free cap.
[00:34:09] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:34:09] Yes, exactly.
[00:34:10] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:34:10] Yeah. Having a little bit of extra help will be a good thing. And we think this is a powerful and important message. We want to connect to other people who are feeling this way. Other people who are sharing different aspects of.
[00:34:21]how they’re seeing God in this season and that takes some financial resource. So, but we personally think that everybody in the world should be listening to us.
[00:34:30] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:34:30] Yeah. Our friend Craig’s as he’s going to sign up and Craig had a birthday this week,
[00:34:34] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:34:34] so happy birthday Craig,
[00:34:36] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:34:36] and, yeah, so, awesome.
[00:34:38] Awesome. So who wants to be our Patrion subscription winner for three months? And she’ll expand it to four I’m sure if we forget
[00:34:47] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:34:47] and by the way, That is rounding up. That is an $18 value. Wow. So
[00:34:54] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:34:54] come on, we spare no expense, no expense. at least you can know where you can know [00:35:00] we’re frugal in that for our anniversary, we had chili and a new couch, so we’re not gonna frivolously spend your
[00:35:06] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:35:06] menu.
[00:35:07] Couch is quite nice, but we got it. On a rock bottom,
[00:35:10] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:35:10] really
[00:35:11] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:35:11] close out sale. So that was the, that was the good.
[00:35:13] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:35:13] Yeah. Alright. Well, we’ll get somebody who wants to be our Patrion
[00:35:16] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:35:16] subscriber coming up. I think we got someone.
[00:35:18] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:35:18] Oh, Cindy. Cindy is going to get a book and a Patriot subscription. Wow. Big win for Cindy
[00:35:24] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:35:24] this week for being interested.
[00:35:26] We appreciate you very much.
[00:35:28] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:35:28] And by the way, the way you can help us is share this video on your social media. Tell your friends. we just want to start growing the brand. We’re partnering up with some other podcasts, but the way, you know, you can help by writing a review for the book on Amazon, writing a review for the podcast on Apple podcasts, sharing our videos and our content on social media.
[00:35:48] These are the things that helped all of those shares tell Amazon and Apple and Facebook and Instagram, Hey, these guys matter. And so that’s how you can really help us. Without [00:36:00] costing you anything at all,
[00:36:01] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:36:01] we have to outsmart the algorithms.
[00:36:02] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:36:02] Yes. And then you can join us on Patrion and help financially. So those were all great.
[00:36:06] The robots beat the bots. That’s our new, our new motto.
[00:36:11] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:36:11] Okay. We got to pray.
[00:36:13] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:36:13] Okay. Oh, is that for me? Oh, I’m sorry. I was reading a note on the comment string there. All right. How do we pray this week? So I don’t, I don’t like to just jump in and pray, you know, I like to sort of hear. From heaven. What, what the prayer is for people watching in.
[00:36:32] And so if you feel something first, you can jump in.
[00:36:35] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:36:35] Okay. Yeah, I will. And I’m going to close my eyes and pray. So thank you, God. Thank you God. For the people who are listening right now, thank you for people who will come along and stumble on this podcast during the weekend. Listen, we know that you see them, you see, you see each person who’s turning their ear and turning their heart to you.
[00:36:56] And we just say, thank you, God, that you [00:37:00] love us, that you love each other person and their own special way, you know how to reach people. And I just that’s my prayer today. God, is that people who need to connect with you and feel like, ah, there is, there has to Cod, he loves me. He will help me just stuff that we cannot do on our own as independent and capable as we may be.
[00:37:21] We cannot do it on our own. So God, I pray that you would just turn our hearts to you and you would help us to know that you are here for us, that your plans for us are not bad not to harm us, but to give us a hope and a future that you hold our ambitions, our desires, our heartaches, you hold all of those in your hands and that we can trust you with those things.
[00:37:45] So Lord, would you let people hear that? Would you let them hear that as they’re listening to this message and would you let them connect with you this week in a special way? I pray that in the name of Jesus.
[00:38:00] [00:38:00] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:38:00] Yeah. And the reason I call out the things I do in Christianity and in the evangelical church is not because of the results of it. As far as politics and all those things go. Yeah. It’s because the, the mission of Christianity, the mission of Jesus was to give people with blind eyes, sight, and to set captives free.
[00:38:27] And so what bothers me about this political intertwining of religion is that it captures people and puts them in bondage. It, it puts a set of rules on them. And so my prayer today is that. You, my blessing for you watching is that you would be set free from that, that you would be free to explore everything that you are and who you are to love people and not feel like you have to be angry or exclusive of people that, that political system that’s been put on top of a religious system to be put on top of all of [00:39:00] us.
[00:39:00] I just want to wipe that away and say, now you’re free to just be in relationship with the God of heaven, the creator of the universe, and start to say, okay, how do I walk out my daily life? So I just speak, speak freedom from any bondage of any religious political system. That’s really sort of church he’s talking.
[00:39:21] I don’t know if I can say it any better than that, but I just want you to be free to love people around you and to be
[00:39:27] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:39:27] loved to know God’s true and perfect love for you.
[00:39:31] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:39:31] Yeah, that’s good. Yeah. Yeah. I almost don’t know what I’m saying, but I just say be free to live life. As it, as it brings value and safety to you, to be able to pursue, the purpose of your life and what’s in your heart to pursue.
[00:39:48] And don’t let anybody tell you that it has to fit into a construct of a religious, political, mindset, because that is not what Jesus came to portray to the [00:40:00] world. And that’s not God’s heart for the world. So I just pray freedom for you over that,
[00:40:04] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:40:04] over that. 10 minutes over, which is about our usual. So there you go.
[00:40:10] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:40:10] All right guys, have a great week. Love being with you.
[00:40:13] Ashley Swearengin, Co-Host: [00:40:13] Yes. And love to hear it from me during the week. Feel free to give us a shout out and a, you can reach out to Paul and social media and share your thoughts and let us know what’s going on with you. we’ll keep you in our prayers and, just enjoy connecting with you.
[00:40:25] So thanks. Have a great weekend and a good week. See you next week.
[00:40:29] Paul Swearengin, Non-Partisan Evangelical: [00:40:29] Bye guys.

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