RTN Theology #21- Recognizing That We Are Not Who We Should Be w/Esau McCaulley

February 27, 2020
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RTN Theology #21 features Esau McCaulley—priest, professor, writer, and theologian— talking about the Christian season of Lent. Our wide-ranging conversation includes how the darkest day of the church calendar is the exact day when he found a new and permanent church home. While Esau repeatedly attempts to convert and confirm Chris into the Anglican Church, they also talk about how the vast biblical narrative is communicated with but a few liturgical words and actions, what it is like to do liturgy with kids, why people from different Christian traditions change church environments, how emerging leaders of color are connecting with and transfiguring liturgical traditions, and even a little bit about N.T. Wright and Kanye West. Featuring Lenten music from Liturgical Folk throughout.

The Rev. Dr. Canon Esau McCaulley serves as assistant professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. Canon McCaulley is also the director of Next Generation Leadership for the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) a province-wide initiative committed to raising up and training the next generation of Anglican clergy and lay leadership.

He completed his Ph.D. in New Testament at the University of St Andrews where he studied under the direction of N.T. Wright. His research and writing focuses on Pauline theology and the intersection of race, Christian identity,  and the pursuit of social justice. His forthcoming book is titled Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope (Nov 2020, IVP Academic). Reading While Black looks at the tradition of African American biblical interpretation and argues that the Bible rightly understood and read from a decidedly black perspective can speak a word of hope to African Americans in the United States. He is also the editor of a forthcoming multi-ethnic commentary called the New Testament in Color (Also under contract by IVP academic). Alongside these more academic works, he also writes popular pieces for numerous outlets including Christianity Today and the Witness: A Black Christian Collective. He is also the host of a brand new podcast called The Disrupters Podcast.


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Featured music: Liturgical Folk is a collaborative church music project headed by Fr. Ryan Flanigan & Fr. Nelson Koscheski (and a growing list of other collaborators) in Dallas, TX. Ryan is a songwriter, church music director (All Saints Dallas), and curator of new songs for the growing liturgical renewal movement in America. As an artist rooted in the Christian Story, Ryan works to create beautiful and believable sacred music for the sake of the world. He believes the Church can be a credible artistic witness of God’s beauty, truth, and goodness to the whole world, not only Christians. Ryan’s melodies are accessible and rooted in the inherently joyful sounds of the American folk tradition.

Liturgical Folk began as a music project that centers around Koscheski’s religious poems set to Flanigan’s folk tunes. Since writing that first hymn in early 2015, Liturgical Folk has gained the support of producer Isaac Wardell (RTNT #16). The hymns range from mournful lamentations to spirited carols. Many include language influenced by Koscheski’s childhood spent on Texas ranches. Most wrestle with substantial themes such as sorrow and hope. The collaboration of Flanigan, [born in 1979], and Koscheski, [born in 1941], is also a unique cross-generational pairing of two men united by a belief that when music is honest and refined it can be a credible, positive witness for the church. Their Lent record has been reviewed in Mockingbird and Missio Alliance, and they just released a new album of Psalm Settings.

Spotify /// Bandcamp


Lit Folk Vol 2

Episode theme music: Jesus Said by David Childers

Episode edited by Gary Fletcher.

Episode produced & hosted by Bob Crawford & Chris Breslin.

If you enjoyed this episode, you may also enjoy these similar RTN Theology episodes:

RTN Theology #1 w/James K.A. Smith

RTN Theology #16 w/Porter’s Gate Project

RTN Theology #18 w/David Taylor

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