"In your garden, there is influence. Even if you just have a small garden, is your presence there creating positive change? Is it bringing about peace? Is it glorifying God?" Aaron Shamp talks about developing leadership skills as a Christian in a post-Christian world. Learn more at: aaronshamp.com.
Gary Myers: Hi, my name is Gary Myers.
Joe Fontenot: And I'm Joe Fontenot.
Gary Myers: We're the host of the Answering the Call Podcast.
Joe Fontenot: This the podcast so we talk to people who are answering God's call. Today, our guest is Aaron Shamp who is a pastor and he writes for Focus on the Family along with other national publications.
Joe Fontenot: Aaron talks about living in a post-Christian culture and how to develop leadership skills and what books to read to get started. Here's Aaron.
Marilyn: Hey, Aaron. I know you've written some articles and some have even been published at Focus on The Family. Why don't you tell me a little bit about that? How did you get connected with a Focus on the Family?
Aaron Shamp: I got connected with them through a friend of mine named Alan Briggs. He's a writer based out of Colorado Springs. He's actually a writer, a leadership coach. He's previously even been an adventure guide, a really interesting guy, good friend of mine. He's walked with me through some of my writing journey. He's giving me feedback on articles, helped me in figuring out how to relate to editors into different publications and so on. He got me connected with him
Marilyn: He was a friend first. Is that what you're saying? You just kind of met him somewhere or-
Aaron Shamp: Yeah.
Marilyn: How did this thing happened?
Aaron Shamp: Yeah. Interesting a little meeting, just kind of happened by chance. He was passing through Lafayette with a mutual friend who the mutual friend called me up that day and said, "Hey, I'm coming through Lafayette. Want to get lunch?" Not mentioning that Alan's with them. I said, "Yeah. I'm always out for lunch." We went, and Alan was there.
Aaron Shamp: I was kind of surprised by that, but we're getting connected staying in touch. It's been a really great fruitful relationship-
Marilyn: Oh that's great.
Aaron Shamp: ... ever since then.
Marilyn: What kind of writing have you done for Focus on the Family?
Aaron Shamp: For them, I've written specifically for Boundless. That's the Arm of Focus that is working on connecting with young singles primarily. That'll be college-age and then post college young professionals. They do a lot of content on relationship advice trying to navigate the Christian world, the church world as a single person whether you're in school, out of school, and so on. Yes, those are the ones that I've written with specifically.
Marilyn: Then, it sounds like a natural fit for you from what I know about your church. You've got a church that probably can't be called a church plan. I think it's a full-fledged up and going church, but you have a lot of young people in your church. Is that right?
Aaron Shamp: We do. The vast majority of our congregation would be between the ages of 18 or 19 like a college freshman to about 35. I would say 80% or more of our congregation is in that age range.
Marilyn: Wow. A lot of them are single.
Aaron Shamp: A lot of singles, and then a lot of young married couples without kids, just a handful of families.
Marilyn: Well, that's very interesting. Singles today probably have some questions, and maybe thoughts and issues that are a little different from what my generation. I would think that would be a very interesting article and topics to write about. I would like to ask you how this fits in your writing fits in with being a pastor.
Marilyn: Your church and your congregation perhaps maybe they kind of keep you in touch with what today's culture needs to know, what they're asking. Would that be fair to say?
Aaron Shamp: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean I think that pastors should be uniquely equipped to be able to touch on the issues that people are thinking about questioning and so on because our role is to be a shepherd. A shepherd is not a shepherd if he's not in the lives of the sheep. Absolutely.
Aaron Shamp: Yeah. That's definitely true, not just relationally but through the ministry of preaching and teaching. I get a lot of content going around in my head that can be turned into articles, blog posts, and so on. That's typically where I get ideas for different blog posts. One that I had recently published with Boundless back in June, it was how digital minimalism can change your life.
Marilyn: Oh really.
Aaron Shamp: Yeah. That's just come out of dozens of conversations I've had with once again all Millennials about the concern that they have over the way that digital devices, social media, and all that is just affecting our lives and affecting our relationships.
Marilyn: This is kind of how to unplug a little bit. Is that what that means?
Aaron Shamp: Yeah. It definitely is about unplugging, about detoxing from-
Marilyn: That's a good word.
Aaron Shamp: ... the junk of social media. Well, I get that from Cal Newport. The whole term comes from Newport. He recently published a book. I don't remember what month but it was earlier this year called Digital Minimalism. I got a lot of inspiration from that obviously. It's in the title I referenced him in that article but also integrated some Christian thinkers in there some of my own thoughts.
Aaron Shamp: Boundless loved it. They took the article without any revision requests. I mean just took it as is and published it. It got a lot of really great feedback. That one's been a good one. Once again, that one came from pastoral ministry.
Marilyn: Yes. Of course, you have a degree from the seminary, New Orleans Baptist Seminary and apologetics. I can just see all of these different aspects of your ministry and writing working together. But this is interesting people. I think in the younger community especially are looking for relationships and how to get out of the digital age and get into real relationships.
Marilyn: I can see that fitting together.
Aaron Shamp: Yeah, absolutely. You know what? What social media has done is it's given us the facade of connection. It's like trying to live off of jelly beans whenever we're made to live off of whole food.
Marilyn: More solid food.
Aaron Shamp: I think that a lot of young people especially even though they aren't stereotypes that way in the broader culture, I really think that young people are noticing that.
Marilyn: I think so too.
Aaron Shamp: I'm concerned about it.
Marilyn: Now, what kind of writing would you to do? You're young. You've got a lot of years ahead of you. if you could just choose a field that you would love to get into in writing, what would you say?
Aaron Shamp: That's hard to narrow down because I've got a lot of interests. I love writing and engaging a lot of different types of conversations. One of my favorite words is interdisciplinary.
Marilyn: That's a good word.
Aaron Shamp: I love seeing different spheres of life, disciplines of thought and so on crossing over one another, connecting and bringing for something new. Yeah. It's really difficult for me to narrow it down to just one or two fields. I guess so since I do have a degree in apologetics. Apologetics worldview philosophy is something that I'll always enjoy gauging in, writing about, and talking about.
Aaron Shamp: It's one of my passions just a part of who I am in the way that I think. Also, leadership, I love talking about leadership, effective living.
Marilyn: Yes. Now, before we get into that, we might just go ahead and explain what we mean by apologetics in Christian apologetics. I'll let you just sort of explain. There may be somebody listening who doesn't know what that means. What is apologetics?
Aaron Shamp: The classical way of describing it would be a rational defense of the faith coming from First Peter chapter 3 talking about be ready to give an answer for anyone who ask me for a reason for the hope that is in you. That's where we get the Greek word apologia and apologetics. Yeah. That's the traditional way of describing it. The way that I'll describe it, I would drop the word rational and say a defense of the faith just for the sake of simplicity and also because I'm a big believer in that our apologetics needs to be broad engaging the entire person. It needs to be willing to cross over into other spheres than just the mind, rational thought.
Marilyn: I agree which it shows people that it can add value to their life. When they know Jesus, it changes their life. It can transform their life. All right. Now, you mentioned leadership, and I did want to ask you about that because you have one degree from the seminary, but you have already begun the M.Div in leadership. Am I right about that?
Aaron Shamp: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That's right. Yeah.
Marilyn: Okay. This is very interesting, leadership. What does a degree in leadership mean, and what does that do for you?
Aaron Shamp: Yeah. It is something that is the intention or goal, obviously, is to help me grow as a leader, growing in not only personal effectiveness and skills but in interpersonal skills and also in organizational skills. I think those would be the kind of major areas of where leadership happens, self-leadership, leadership with others and a leadership over an organization when there's vision casting and so on.
Aaron Shamp: The goal of getting a degree in leadership would be that it would increase effectiveness and all those areas.
Marilyn: Okay. To be effective in, let's say, as a pastor just as you think about what it takes to be effective as a pastor, what are some things that come to your mind? What are some skills that make a pastor effective these days?
Aaron Shamp: That's a really good question. Obviously, we want to start with a deep relationship with God. We definitely want to start with a close walk with Jesus Christ being a lifelong student of Christ, a disciple. Earlier, I said how pastors are to be shepherds. You cannot shepherd well if you're not following the good shepherd. The ultimate shepherd said, "I'll be number one obviously." I think it's worth saying and not just assuming it.
Aaron Shamp: Yeah, so definitely that. I think that, so far, my experience, I'm still young. I haven't been in pastoral ministry for decades, but so far my experience, I see like two opposite ends of a spectrum of where pastors and their personalities tend to fall. One end would be I just love studying the Bible and teaching and preaching, but I'm not really a people person. You get those guys.
Aaron Shamp: On the other hand, you get these guys who say, "Theology." I'm a nuts-and-bolts kind of guy. I hear that a lot. I think that to be effective pastors especially in the 21st century in a postmodern world, we need to be able to be both. We need to be able to be in the middle of that spectrum, someone who can be an intellectual who can study, who can communicate well, and who can boldly proclaim the truth of the gospel, and who can be good with people.
Aaron Shamp: I would say that I tend to fall a little bit closer to that first end of the spectrum that I've talked about, someone who can just really flourish and the individual study, and the life of the mind and all that. Over the past several years, I've had to put intentional work and time into growing the interpersonal skills which has paid off incredibly. [crosstalk 00:11:40] just God has worked through those things in an amazing way.
Marilyn: If hearing you correctly, you are perhaps saying that as you move from being more book oriented, learning oriented out to being relational but still probably, would I be right in guessing, that going back to those books as a way to refresh who you are in your ministry, would that be right?
Aaron Shamp: Absolutely. If I would show you my calendar, then that's reflected. I tend to organize my week and individual days based off of how extroverted do I need to be, and then how introverted can I be.
Marilyn: You're an introvert, you consider yourself.
Aaron Shamp: I am.
Marilyn: I consider myself an introvert.
Aaron Shamp: I am.
Aaron Shamp: But I've also learned that it's not exactly a dichotomy. It's probably true that more of us fall into the category of ambivert than just one or the other like someone who fully falls in one of the others a little bit more rare. Most of us, and I've realized that I could put myself in this category, can kind of dial it.
Aaron Shamp: Though you might have a natural inclination, you can kind of dial it up and down. That's me when it comes to extroverted people time. I can dial it up as I need to, but it requires a lot of energy. I need to pair up some times of refreshing and a long time with that. My weekly schedule is literally broken up into days of being out, having a lot of meetings, being in the community a little bit more and then a day working from the home office just me and my little dog and doing a lot of reading. It really refreshes me and, over the long term, keeps me healthy.
Marilyn: Well, this is encouraging. I mean there have been plenty of times in my life as a Christian where I thought I don't really want to be around people. It's hard for me too ... I've learned but it's hard for me to just start conversations to go out and door to door evangelism is still terrifying to me, walking into a room full of people is kind of scary. But yet, God can use that and even as a pastor.
Marilyn: A pastor can be an introvert. I think that's encouraging. Do you think the leadership degree can't appeal to you perhaps because you are a little bit more of an introvert than an extrovert?
Aaron Shamp: Yeah. I don't know if I would draw the connection between my interest and then pursuing it to-
Marilyn: To personality.
Aaron Shamp: Yeah, to personality as much as just a couple years ago, I started to discover a new sense of my calling. My calling didn't necessarily change, but in growing and in pursuing God's calling, my life started to see this new side of it, and that he was calling me to grow as a leader in that he might have more of a plan for me in that direction in the future.
Aaron Shamp: That's more [crosstalk 00:14:50] [inaudible 00:14:51] rather than-
Marilyn: And just a personality type.
Aaron Shamp: Yeah, exactly. I would say so.
Marilyn: All right. Yeah. Now, you've used the word effective. I'd like to ask you what does it mean for every Christian? Can every Christian be effective when we're living in basically a post-Christian culture, in other words, is it important for every Christian maybe to develop some type of leadership skill or to at least explore that a little bit more? What do you think?
Aaron Shamp: I think we need to figure out what we mean by effective to really be able to answer that question well.
Marilyn: Tell me.
Aaron Shamp: Yeah. What does it mean for Christians in a post-Christian culture to live effective lives? I don't exactly know the answer either. I'm asking the question too. My first thought would be and you can tell me what you think, my first thought would be going to the New Testaments, the New Testament's pair imperatives. This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately, the pair P-A-I-R, imperatives of fleeing sin, mortifying the flesh, and pursuing righteousness. Those two always go together.
Aaron Shamp: Over the past year or more, I've been thinking a lot more about that, about how I think that we have a lot of Christians living an ineffective Christian life because we're either not doing that at all. We're just living like decent lives where we're avoiding like the major sins but not actually fleeing from all temptation sin, truly mortifying the flesh, and then doing the positive imperative side of that, pursuing righteousness.
Aaron Shamp: Oh, very interesting. Yes, so we're living these lives where were not bad people, but we're not all that good either. Our lives don't look all that different from people who don't follow Christ with maybe the exception of, well, you don't go to the R-rated movies.
Aaron Shamp: I think that Christians living an effective life in this century and culture means starting to actually mortify the flesh and pursue righteousness because through that, we grow more into the image of Christ. That is what I would say is that's a Christian living effectively becoming more like Christ.
Marilyn: Now, that's very interesting. I just, by chance, stumbled onto a book recently beyond awkward when talking about Jesus is outside your comfort zone. It's written by Beau Crosetto, I think, is how it's pronounced, but IVP. University Press, and it's fascinating to me because he talks a great deal about our post-modern culture where people are interested in knowing that Christianity and the Christian faith is real and that they're driven by experience. They're very experiential.
Marilyn: They're kind of interested in checking it out as to is it real before they want to know more about the beliefs. I think when we are effective in our evangelism, we are talking a language they understand, but he stresses and this is what I really appreciated about his book that they may be interested in that, but he said there is a point where they have to recognize that knowing Jesus changes their life.
Aaron Shamp: That's good.
Marilyn: That struck me as that goes along with exactly what you're saying that when we're different, when we truly are changed and transformed by Jesus, then we will be effective.
Aaron Shamp: That's excellent. Yeah. Then, I think where the real difference comes to kind of loop back around to the original question about leadership and so on is that living an effective life of fleeing sin and pursuing righteousness which grows us more into the image of Christ should also make us more bold.
Aaron Shamp: I think that's an area boldness and courage where we really lack. I think a lot of us are held back by fear.
Marilyn: If that's what we mean by talking about living effectively and so on, then absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. I think it's essential that every Christian today starts to pursue an effective life.
Marilyn: Well, just started reading this book, and I just find it very interesting because I think it speaks to an introvert like me. Though I like facts and details, he really is I think just trying to convince a Christian that you know tell them how Jesus has transformed your life never, tell them these stories of your life. This will help lead them to Jesus, and then the more that you show them Jesus, the more they'll be interested in it.
Marilyn: I thought it was really, really good. Most people probably don't consider themselves leaders. so I want to ask you this. I've kind of talked about introverts. Do you think every Christian can develop some type of leadership skill or at least can be more effective and being effective? Is that possible?
Aaron Shamp: Absolutely. Absolutely. The first stage of leadership is always self-leadership. I think that we're all called to some sort of self-leadership. Self-leadership to break it down to different words would be living a life based upon principles. What that means is to live proactively.
Aaron Shamp: The choices that you're making the way that you're responding to different stimuli and circumstances and so on is coming from those principles which are seated very deeply in you. As a Christian, we live by some very deep principles which are supposed to be seated in us, the gospel and all of the moral commands coming from the New Testament, the life that is laid out before us that we're supposed to model from Jesus and Peter and Paul and John and so on.
Aaron Shamp: If that's what self-leadership means to be living out of all of those principles, then, yeah. Absolutely. I think every Christian can and should strive to grow as a leader in that sense and then to discover whatever sphere of influence it is that God has placed in their lives where he's calling them to be a catalyst for positive change just looking around.
Aaron Shamp: For all of us, our sphere of influence is going to be different sizes. Some are going to be smaller. Others are going to a larger. But whatever that domain is around you, that God's giving you just a little bit of influence and control like-
Marilyn: Every life touches [crosstalk 00:21:55].
Aaron Shamp: ... They had a garden. In the garden, they had a influence there. Even if you just have a small garden not the whole world, is your presence in that garden creating positive change? Is it bringing about peace? Is it glorifying God? Then, after you make that assessment, then start making the appropriate changes to become that leader bringing about positive change that God's called you to be.
Marilyn: Now, that's interesting. I taught a Sunday School class for women middle-aged and older. I think many of them wondered about that, oh, I've not been to seminary. I've not been a Christian very long. I wasn't raised as Christian. I would always tell them, "Yeah, but you tell me stories of people in your family that come to you looking for comfort when they've failed at something or looking for advice about a relationship or what can I do."
Marilyn: I said "That's where your influence is." I think that is a remarkable sphere of influence. I think every Christian ... That's a good point. I like that every Christian has some place where they can make a mark in somebody else's life.
Aaron Shamp: Yeah. Absolutely.
Marilyn: Do you feel like that the young people ... I'm going to talk about generations for a minute. The young people today, do you think they are looking for principles to live by? Is our young adult generation hungry for finding a principle to live by?
Aaron Shamp: I think so. Even if when we're talking to an individual, they don't realize it. I do think so. I think that there is an absolute gap in our society and culture today of eternal principles and values for which to order your life around. Then, by following those values experiencing a sense of purpose, greater meaning to your life. The values and principles that used to hold up our society, culture or cultural institutions in recent decades that bottom that foundation has just fallen out.
Aaron Shamp: I think that there are especially when we're talking about Millennials, Gen Z, yeah, I do think that there is a, I think Charles Taylor said, malaise. I do think that there is this general modern malaise of just going on fun vacations and drinking craft coffee and having a great Instagram feed isn't all that fulfilling.
Marilyn: Yeah. They are looking ... Well, that's kind of inspiring and encouraging too because I'm convinced that the Christian worldview and faith has more to offer in that sense than any other set of principles that I've run across. I've been around a while.
Aaron Shamp: Yeah, absolutely. One of my roles, Redeemer, our church, is leading our ministry called Faith Forum which is an apologetics ministry. We put on events a few times a year where we have a topic set for the night. I give a talk on it. We do open Q&A and so on. At our last event which we held in a coffee shop downtown was on ... The topic was called Better Than Happy living a life of meaning and purpose and then trying to show how the gospel is the best foundation for discovering a life of meaning and purpose and then how that is so much better than just living for your own personal happiness, pleasure and so on.
Aaron Shamp: It drew out a really big crowd, people who are very interested and engaged and even the non-Christians who are there really getting a lot out of it being very interested though they maybe weren't ready yet to receive Christ. I had one guy specifically he said to me, "I came just open-minded, interested, but I've got to say I'm really, really surprised how much I got out of it."
Marilyn: Is that right?
Aaron Shamp: Yeah.
Marilyn: Wow. That is [crosstalk 00:26:14].
Aaron Shamp: Absolutely. We shouldn't shy away from sharing the rich resources that there are in the Christian worldview, like you said, because they can bring about positive change in people's life.
Marilyn: That's interesting. This book I mentioned a minute ago by Beau Crosetto, he talks about telling stories of Jesus and using that as a way to begin a conversation. I know it didn't sound like a new approach but to me, that seems like a new approach, the stories where Jesus leads someone to find, to think about what is most valuable in my life, what am I living for.
Marilyn: Of course, one of the stories I like that just means so much to me is when he brings back from the dead, the son of the widow of Nain. He's not asked to. He simply feels for her, feels compassion. Here's a woman who is losing everything to live for. She's already a widow, her only son. It's going to affect her economically and yet Jesus just heals her out of compassion.
Marilyn: I think stories like that, we begin to tell people that Jesus that he was a son of God of great compassion that it can open many doors.
Aaron Shamp: Why is that story specifically speak to you so deeply?
Marilyn: Yeah. That's a good question. I think because all of us sooner or later wonder does anybody really love me. Does anybody really care what happens in my life? I think as Christians, we sometimes go, "Well, I'm praying that God will do this in my life," but maybe he didn't intend to bless my life. Maybe he intends for me to not have a fulfilled dream or for my son or daughter to not be healed.
Marilyn: We do these kind of things. We begin to pray and then we begin to think of all the reasons why Jesus would not answer that. I think that story right there just shows me Jesus's heart that he wants and is very willing to bless and even when we don't even think to ask him, it just shows me Jesus's heart. I think that's why.
Aaron Shamp: Those are the kind of questions and doubts that you've resonated with.
Marilyn: Yeah. I've been a Christian for many years, but every Christian has a moment they go through in life where they go, "Is Jesus really who I think he is?" Does he know what's going on in my life? Does he care? I think stories like that answer, "Oh, yes he does. He's very much aware." Even if you can't pray, even if you're in that place where you're so emotionally distraught that you can't even put a prayer together, he's very much aware, and he's working in your life.
Aaron Shamp: That's awesome.
Marilyn: I think that's why.
Aaron Shamp: That story connects with you so deeply because you can see yourself in that story?
Marilyn: Yes. I think.
Aaron Shamp: That's why stories are so powerful because we can speak in propositions where we're witnessing and doing apologetics, and we should because propositions communicate truth very well, but when we can take those propositions and then wrap flesh around them in the form of a story, then the person you're talking to can seat himself in this story and the proposition that you said before which was just God is love like, okay, well, good to know.
Aaron Shamp: But then once they can see themselves in that story and that proposition, that truth is brought to life in this story, then they can connect with it. It becomes powerful. They become something that the truth that was entered into their mind could actually pierce the heart. I think we've got to include a lot more story and a lot more things that connect with the imagination in our apologetics and in our witnesses.
Marilyn: I think so too. I think so too. Every Christian has story, and the women in my Sunday class who just ... I love them so deeply. They taught me a lot about what it means to walk faithfully through a lot of hard times, but I said, "Tell, tell them these stories." Remember these stories where you prayed and God answered and tell those two people. It will make a difference.
Marilyn: All right. Well, I don't want to get away until I get to ask you about some books that you are reading or books that have influenced your life. What about that? You got some favorite authors?
Aaron Shamp: Oh yeah. We got a lot of favorite authors which, I don't know [inaudible 00:31:00] when you're just like all of them?
Aaron Shamp: Yeah. I guess some of the ones that I've identified with and connected with the most deeply would be everybody's favorite CS Lewis. I love Lewis. I've read several of his books. I've got a lot more to go, but I've loved Lewis. Whenever I was first getting into apologetics several years ago, it was his writings that I was first reading and really, really resonating with.
Aaron Shamp: Another huge influence in my life has been Tim Keller. I've listened to or read hundreds of his sermons and almost all of his books. His communication style just really touched me deeply something that I found myself identifying with and something that has really helped shape my own communication style.
Aaron Shamp: Yeah.
Marilyn: His book, the reason of God, is a great book. I have given that to people that are asking questions about God.
Aaron Shamp: Yeah. Then, the one is kind of a follow to it making sense of God. Excellent too. Really, really good. Those are two the main ones that come to mind.
Marilyn: I know we've talked about in other times Nancy Pearcey.
Aaron Shamp: Oh yes. I love Nancy Pearcey. I became interested in her through Francis Schaeffer. That'll be another one my top favorites. Absolutely love Schaeffer. If there's one person that I could choose to like that's someone that I want to be like. The way that I communicate and think and so on, it'll really be Schaeffer because Schaeffer, in my opinion, he thought and communicated almost as well as Lewis. It's hard to think he beats Lewis in terms of writing ability.
Aaron Shamp: But he's up there. He's a lot closer than most of us, but his heart. My brother is getting into Schaeffer right now reading some of this stuff and that's the first thing he pointed out to me is he just said ... You can feel how much he loves people as he's talking about philosophy or art. That's why I would choose Schaeffer who I could become like but... Yes. Absolutely, Schaeffer and then ... Yeah. Through him, I discovered Nancy Pearcey, I read Total Truth, and I've read almost all of Love Thy Body. So good.
Marilyn: That's her latest. I want to go back to Francis Schaeffer for a minute in case we have somebody that's listening and doesn't know who that is because he is with Jesus. He's not still alive. But why don't you tell us a little bit about Francis Schaeffer? By the way, Nancy Pearcey became a Christian because she knew Francis Schaeffer, and went to his ... The place where he just welcomed in so many young people.
Aaron Shamp: Whenever I started to talk to anyone about Schaeffer, I usually recommend for them to start with either How Should We Then Live or the God Who Is There which I would say those probably is two most famous books for good reason whenever you read them.
Aaron Shamp: I recommend them to start there. If they're interested, go to YouTube and find some of those videos. Actually, if you have Amazon Prime, the How Should We Then Live series that they made is all Amazon Prime so you can watch-
Marilyn: Oh, I didn't know that.
Aaron Shamp: ... yeah. The whole series, you can watch it. But then I always tell them, "But get ready. He was an eccentric guy," because you start to watch it and here he comes. He's got the crazy hair and the goatee and he's dressed in knickers and like just ... Very odd. [crosstalk 00:34:45] Yeah. But then, I explained but it's because he lived in the Swiss farmlands. He had a farmhouse. That's how the guys in that area would dress.
Aaron Shamp: He was contextualized. Like you said, it was called LaBrie. It was a home where they had an open invitation for anyone who was interested to come live with them, farm with them and, in all their free time, have discussions about Christianity about Jesus the gospel.
Marilyn: [crosstalk 00:35:15] anything. That was the 60s and 70s. That was really appealing to a lot of American youth who were seeking and trying to figure out.
Aaron Shamp: Yeah, and that was Nancy Pearcey. I think she was an agnostic. I believe she was studying in Germany or passing through Germany, something like that, and heard about it and figured, "Well, I'm close enough." She went over there and spend some time with him and became a Christian, became one of his disciples and then wherever you read her writings now, you can definitely see the influence there.
Aaron Shamp: I mean I think that she's carried on his legacy in a magnificent way.
Marilyn: I think so too.
Aaron Shamp: Oh my goodness.
Marilyn: She's quite a writer and just so intelligent. I know that she has used Francis Schaeffer's illustration of two stories. Let me see if I can kind of explain it and then you correct it but, basically, she's saying if you think of a house with two stories, the bottom story today and in is that what's true is based on facts, but facts alone leave you very empty.
Marilyn: People will jump up to the second story and borrow value from something like atheism, for example, might borrow from Christianity that every human is equal. Well, they can't really justify that from atheism. That's more of a Christian value.
Marilyn: She spends a lot of time showing what has come about because of this two-stories split that we've done.
Aaron Shamp: Yeah. That's an excellent explanation. Usually, the way I say it is just that the bottom story is the public realm. The upper story is the private realm.
Marilyn: Oh that's a good one.
Aaron Shamp: Objective truth which belongs in the bottom realm can only be based upon empirical facts.
Aaron Shamp: Everything else that is not an empirical evidence, that kind of a fact is not objective truth but subjective or just the realm of private opinion, and that belongs to the upper story. Yeah. Nancy's taken that and just really done some profound things with it and Love Thy Body in the chapter where she talks about the transgender issues. She shows how the whole world view of transgenderism is based upon the split two-story view where in the bottom realm, we have the body, the literal just physical body made up of flesh and organs and bones and so on.
Aaron Shamp: Then, the upper story is where gender is. That explains why gender is not connected to in this thinking. Gender is not connected to any kind of objective biological reality at all. They're completely disconnected and so one can choose whoever gender they please.
Marilyn: That's exactly right. By that split, that two-story split we are saying this is what our culture thinks. She makes a very strong case that the biblical worldview really unites those two. We're not fragmented anymore but that we're whole persons.
Marilyn: Yeah. I love the way you explain that that in, transgenderism, it's no longer who you are based on DNA, chromosomes, anatomy, physiology. But it's just based on feeling. It's very subjective. That's a very good illustration of what we're talking about.
Marilyn: I'll let you close by maybe bringing that back together that transgenderism shows that very completely that the split, I'll let you just close by telling us how the biblical worldview does bring that back together, maybe a final word on how there is hope in Christ that we can live as whole people.
Aaron Shamp: Wow. [inaudible 00:39:18] end with a good one. The reason that the two-story split exists is because at some point, in our not-too-distant past, our culture decided to only look for truth in this world. You could also-
Marilyn: And material things. Right.
Aaron Shamp: ... Yeah, and material things. But the problem is that you cannot derive any values from materialism. That's something Schaeffer talks about a lot. He talks about all the people who've tried to do it. You reference to the New Atheists, people like Sam Harris. They try to do it. It cannot be done. It falls apart every time. To search for any basis for objective values, we have to look outside of materialism, outside of this world.
Aaron Shamp: Then, you have all the different spiritual philosophies that come in and world religions. What Christianity stands out in a very unique sense in and what makes it different is that so very similar to the other spiritual philosophies, we do claim that you can find values in the transcendent. We do argue that they are objective values.
Aaron Shamp: You can find objective values in the transcendent. What makes Christianity very unique is that the transcendent became imminent. God who in his character is the basis for all the values that we hold, came down into history and even before coming down into history and flesh and the person of Jesus, he acted in history.
Aaron Shamp: He penetrated time to work in our world throughout the entire New Testament. Whenever the transcendent, [inaudible 00:41:07] time and comes and works into our world, well, then we can start to verify its existence.
Aaron Shamp: Because the Bible claims, the Christian worldview claims that God became man entered human history, lived his life, crucified, rose from the dead and so on, because of that specific claim, we can test it. We can verify whether or not it is true. Of course, we're on the time to go into the various arguments for that but based upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we declare that the Christian worldview is truth, objective truth, and therefore all of the values, principles, promises, the whole package that comes along with it is truth upon which we can successfully build a unified life where we don't have to split our thinking and truly our person.
Aaron Shamp: Two, well, here's the things I know for sure. Here's the things I just kind of hope. All of that is based upon the gospel, the death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ which happened in history, and we can test through examining evidence.
Marilyn: Excellent. That's a great way to end. It is a testable faith. We stand on that. Thank you so much.
Aaron Shamp: Thank you.
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