S6:E5 Can I Love Extremists?

S6:E5 Can I Love Extremists?

Can I Love Extremists?

So many people define their faith by what they believe about Donald Trump. How can godly Christians return to the gospel to get us back on track?

In this round table discussion episode, Chris is joined by Pastor Ray McDaniel of First Baptist Church in Jackson, WY, and Nick Staron to prepare us for the season.

Topics Discussed:

  • What is Christianity?
  • The importance of forgiveness and going to those who are angry with us
  • Why is it important to cover things like the Watergate scandals of the 1970s in a Christian podcast?
  • The need for humility in our lives
  • The gospel in 10 words or less

Do you have a gospel message in 10 words or less? Find Truce on social media and let us know!

S4:E8 Can I Still Love the Church?

S4:E8 Can I Still Love the Church?

Can Christians love the Church in an era of deconstruction, politics, COVID, and BLM?

So many Christians are angry at the Church. Not just the Church but their local churches as well. Can Christians love the Church in an era of deconstruction, politics, COVID, and BLM? Producer Chris Staron decided to take a look inside one small congregation to see how Black Lives Matter, COVID, the 2020 Presidential Election, and more have impacted one community. How are people in Jackson, Wyoming responding in a time of dissension and deconstruction in the body of Christ?

Special thanks to Ray McDaniel and Karl Klemmer for talking with Chris for this interview.

Helpful Links:

Discussion Questions:

  • How have the last few years changed your ideas about the global Church?
  • How have they changed your ideas of your local church?
  • How would you respond if you were the pastor of a local church today and your congregation wanted you to pick a political side?
  • Should pastors speak about politics from the pulpit?
  • Why do we put so much emphasis on messages from the pulpit and discount the ability for congregants to have meaningful conversations on their own?
  • Are you deconstructing your faith? What does that term mean to you?
  • If you are deconstructing your faith, have you removed the local church? The Bible? If so, how has that impacted your faith?
  • Are you open to people who have different opinions? How do you interact with those people? Is it in person?
  • Do you have friends with different opinions than you? How can you get some if you don’t?
  • Do you see the Church as a “we” and “us” or as a “them”? Why?
S4:E6 Is It A Sin to Be Wealthy?

S4:E6 Is It A Sin to Be Wealthy?

What the richest town in the United States can teach us about the rich young ruler and the potential evils of wealth

Jackson, Wyoming is a small tourist town in the middle of nowhere. It is just a few miles south of Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone. Millions of people pass through each year as tourists. It’s a vacation hotspot. But for those who choose to stay in this region, Teton County is anything but a vacation. Rising income inequality and housing costs have created a hostile environment for working people. The median home price in Jackson went up 47% in 2020 alone, rising to $2.2 million while wages remain stagnant.

We’ve been talking for the last few episodes about myths of the American West, how cowboy myths about a lone rugged individual have shaped the US. Now it’s time to understand how cowboy myths have impacted American Christianity.

Our guest today is Justin Farrell. He’s a sociologist and professor at Yale. His book is Billionaire Wilderness. In it, Farrell recounts his studies of the ultra-wealthy. What makes them tick? What are they afraid of? Why do they dress the way they do? And what draws them to the far western border of Wyoming?

Discussion Questions:

  • Read the story of the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-27). What do you think of Jesus’ warning about wealthy people entering the kingdom of God?
  • Many of the tax avoidance practices discussed in this series are legal (except pretending to live in one place while living in another). Do you think that legality and morality are tied together?
  • Are these practices moral?
  • What types of friction do you experience in your own life?
  • How would more money change the level of friction you encounter?
  • How would less money change the level of friction you encounter?
  • Do you think that friction is a valuable thing to pay attention to in our lives?
  • What is the role of empathy in a Christian’s life?
  • How do you use money to benefit yourself as opposed to others?

Helpful Links:

S4:E5 Conservation Easements

S4:E5 Conservation Easements

How the ultra-wealthy use government funds to finance their backyards

Some of the wealthiest people in the world live (or pretend to live) in Jackson, Wyoming. That includes some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Digging into the property tax records, we discovered that one of the most successful actors in film history pays less in property tax than a single mom living on less land. What gives? Why are rich people paying less in property tax than working people?

The answer has to do with a thing called a conservation easement. A conservation easement is essentially an agreement between a landowner and the government that says, “I promise I’ll keep my property from certain kinds of building projects”. In return, the government gives the landowner massive tax benefits on the federal and local levels.

In this episode, Chris digs into the history of these instruments to understand what they are and how they are impacting rural Wyoming and the rest of the country.

UPDATE: The original version of this episode contained an error that has since been corrected. The original version stated that getting an $800,000 tax deduction was essentially the same as getting an $800,000 refund. That is incorrect. My apologies.

Helpful links:

Discussion Questions

  • What do you think about public land?
  • Do conservation easements seem fair?
  • Are conservation easements a helpful way to preserve the environment or government-sponsored private land? Both?
  • What should Jackson locals do to make the property taxes fair?
  • How do you feel when you learn that taxation practices favor the rich?
  • Are there conservation easements where you live?
S2:E34 Leverage: How Wealthy Christians Use Money to Change the Church

S2:E34 Leverage: How Wealthy Christians Use Money to Change the Church

John D. Rockefeller was a shrewd businessman. Even to the point of breaking the law to get what he wanted. His Standard Oil company was eventually broken up using the Sherman Antitrust act. But his money kept influencing society. On this episode of the Truce Podcast, we take a field trip to the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park to see how one wealthy family strong-armed Congress into declaring federal land. And we see how this kind of leverage is used in the modern Christian church.

The Bible verse used in this episode was excerpted from the Streetlights Audio Bible. https://www.streetlightsbible.com/

Helpful links:
National Park Stats
Washington Post Article – Founding of Grand Teton
Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum
National Elk Refuge
Grand Teton National Park