#120—Briefly Mormon, with Adam Miller and Spencer Fluhman [MIPodcast]

  • We’re continuing our series talking with authors of the brief theological introductions to the Book of Mormon. Adam Miller is here to talk about his volume on Mormon—a book that he calls “a beginner’s guide to the end of the world.” Mormon testifies of Christ even as everything he loves seems to be slipping through his fingers.

    For the last few episodes in this series we wanted to get series editors on the mic to talk to the authors. So this episode features guest host Spencer Fluhman, executive director of the Maxwell Institute and co-editor of the brief theological introductions to the Book of Mormon series.

  • BLAIR HODGES: It’s the Maxwell Institute Podcast. I’m Blair Hodges. We’re continuing our series talking with authors of the brief theological introductions to the Book of Mormon. Adam Miller joins us in this episode to talk about his volume on Mormon—a book he calls “a beginner’s guide to the end of the world.” Mormon testifies of Christ even as everything he loves seems to be slipping through his fingers.

    For the last few episodes in this series, we wanted to get the series editors on the mic to talk to the authors. So this episode features a guest host, Spencer Fluhman, executive director of the Maxwell Institute and co-editor of the brief theological introductions to the Book of Mormon series.

    Questions and comments can be sent to mipodcast@byu.edu. And now, it’s Spencer Fluhman guest hosting with Adam Miller talking about Mormon: a brief theological introduction.

    * * *

    SPENCER FLUHMAN: Friends, I’m Spencer Fluhman, guest host of the Maxwell Institute Podcast. I’m here with Dr. Adam Miller. Welcome to the podcast, Adam.

    ADAM MILLER: It’s my pleasure to be on the podcast. My honor to be interviewed by you personally.

    FLUHMAN: This isn’t your first rodeo on the podcast. We owe you some kind of—I think you get a jacket by this point or something.

    MILLER: A letterman’s jacket? I get a letter?

    FLUHMAN: That’s right. That’s exactly right. Thanks for coming on again. We’re here to talk about a lightning strike of a book that you have written called Mormon: a brief theological introduction—part of our Maxwell Institute series on the Book of Mormon; brief theological introductions. You’ve written a lot of books, but this one’s your favorite.

    MILLER: Whichever one came out most recently is always my favorite. [laughter]

    FLUHMAN: Or about to come out. Yeah, this one is marvelous. I’m a fan of all you write, but this one’s marvelous. I’ve read it twice now and it wasn’t diminished on the second reading, I’m glad to report. I loved it every bit as much on the second reading as the first.

    I want to start by having you talk through the way you see Mormon’s book as a whole. You describe it early on as a “beginner’s guide to the end of the world.” What brought you to that and what do you intend in reading Mormon’s book this way?

    MILLER: Well I think there are a lot of different ways we can read Mormon’s book but this was a way that appealed to me. I think the appeal to me was to read his experience as a kind of lens onto what it’s like as a disciple of Jesus Christ to find yourself living through the loss of all things. And in that respect, though Mormon’s example is a pretty dramatic example of what that looks like, I think that’s a kind of shared, universal feature of discipleship.

    The basic problem we find ourselves facing as human beings is that the world is continually passing away, and we are continually, all of us, whether quickly or slowly, gradually or dramatically, losing all things as the world passes away beneath our feet. And Christian discipleship, I think, can be profitably understood as a response to that basic problem we all find ourselves facing and that I think Mormon faces in a really dramatic and a really helpful way.

    Mormon as theological historian

    FLUHMAN: You resist seeing Mormon as I pictured him as a kid, as just a historian or chronicler of a kind of sad story about his civilization. He’s not just a historian and I take some umbrage at that implication of your book, by the way, as a historian! I hear you. I see you. I see what you’re doing. [laughter]

    But for you, Mormon is using the past in a particular way to do a particular kind of work that’s visionary and prophetic. It’s a different view of Mormon than at least some of us have. He’s not just a chronicler; he’s not just an editor. He’s modeling something about a certain kind of religion in a certain kind of world, but as you say, that matters to us now.

    MILLER: Yeah, I think that’s right. Mormon is clearly interested in history, but I think it’s also clear that for Mormon, he’s always interested in history as raw material. He’s interested in history as raw material for helping him to generate his witness of Christ. His witness both for why we need Christ and how Christ can intervene and respond to the kinds of problems we face, whether that’s in the past or whether that’s in the present.

    If there’s a kind of distinctive editorial feature of Mormon’s own specific book, I think it’s the fact that he continually breaks the fourth wall and continually reaches out to address us future readers as if we were present. Implicating us in the live power of Christ as it’s manifest in the things that he’s writing about. Even if the raw material for what he’s writing is historical.

    Miller reading scripture theologically as “Christophysicist”

    FLUHMAN: Your comment about raw materials brings to mind another portion of your book actually I can’t help but kind of circle to, and that is early on, you talk about the raw materials that you work with as a philosopher and as a theologian in particular. I mean, all the series authors in the series are modeling a certain kind of craft of a theologian, even if it’s a lowercase t.

    So spend a couple of minutes, Adam, and reflect on the raw materials that you had to work with as the writer of the book. Because in some ways I think this relates, at least to me as a reader, that relates to the model that you see in Mormon. What’s it like to be a theologian like you reading a text like this, how do you do it?

    MILLER: Yeah, I see Mormon as a witness of Christ who uses the historical materials for the sake of that witness. Now for me as a theologian here, writing explicitly as a theologian, especially in this series of books, I view the theological project basically in those same terms. There’s a lot of different ways to do theology and to think about theology. But for me, the business of theology always comes back to the business of offering a witness of Christ and offering a witness of Christ not just as something that happened to other people a long time ago, but as a witness of Christ’s live, ongoing power at work in the world around us—right here, right now.

    I don’t practice theology as a form of history, I’m not asking questions about what religious people did believe or say or do, or even as a form of official dogmatics where we might ask what should religious people believe or say or do. But as, instead, a kind of direct investigation right here right now into how Christ manifests in our world. And then I take up in a very similar way to Mormon himself did with the historical materials. I take Mormon himself up as raw material here for a reflection not on Mormon, or even his historicity, but a reflection by way of Mormon on Christ himself.

    FLUHMAN: You invent a term for this, in fact, in the book. It’s fancy sounding. But you call yourself a “Christophysicist,” which will grab some. I think it’ll stop readers and say, “Now what?” But that’s what you’re getting at. You express a kind of concern that if we only treat these texts as artifacts that even Christ risks being treated as an artifact. It seems like you’re kind of worrying that theology not get pushed out of the intellectual life of the Latter-day Saints, lest we, in your words, “bracket Christ.”

    MILLER: Yeah, I think that’s right. I think we run the risk if we prioritize history or even exclusively prioritize historical concerns—we risk bracketing Christ from our reflections on our religion. And at the end of the day, our religion can’t be about itself without being an empty shell. At the end of the day, our religion must be about Christ or our religion has failed. Thus, at the end of the day all of our reflections on our religion, even historical reflections, must come back to the question of being reflections on Christ himself, on the fundamental problems that we experience as human beings, and on how Christ, as a live power, right here and now, responds to this fundamental problem.

    Being sober and quick to observe

    FLUHMAN: Thanks for that. I take all of that as friendly fire to your fellow striving historians. So I take it with all the goodness that you intend there Adam, no doubt.

    And I want to loop back now to Mormon’s book itself and maybe to Mormon again, because you see in Mormon a kind of mood, a kind of disposition that for you is meaningful for modern-day Saints, and it’s a kind of—well, you’ve written it in a kind of haunting way, frankly. I can’t quit thinking about it because it seems to defy a kind of cheeriness that we Latter-day Saints are known for. We’re kind of durably cheerful. More than one commentator has noted the Disney-esque character of some parts of our culture. But this is not that kind of story and this is not that kind of voice that you find in Mormon. So, talk through why this mood of Mormon—this sober mood, this disposition—is theologically significant.

    MILLER: One of the things that struck me first when I started working on reading carefully through Mormon’s own book in the Book of Mormon was the repeated self-descriptions that we get of him, first reported by him from Amaron where Amaron claims that he’s going to vouch safe the records to Mormon because Mormon is “sober and quick to observe.” He’s sober and quick to observe. And then just a few verses later when Mormon is explaining to us why he is personally visited by Jesus Christ, the only reason he gives is the fact that he was “sober.” He was “somewhat of a sober mind” he says, adding a bit of a qualifier there when the descriptions now in his own voice. But that really struck me that here we have a man living through the end of the world as a witness of Christ, exemplifying what it looks like to be a disciple under those circumstances, and what characterizes him by his own account, what most characterizes him is the fact that he is sober.

    He has this kind of deep attunement to the kind of trouble and tragedy and loss that’s inherent in the world. That’s inherent to the fact that whether it’s happening in this really dramatic way like it does to him or whether it’s happening in a much more ordinary, subtle way like it does to most of us, our lives are passing away. We’re getting old, we’re losing our loved ones, all of our goals and dreams and aspirations are evaporating before our eyes. Even if we achieve some of them the way that we thought we might want to.

    But the whole thing is all passing away and he models this brand of discipleship in which, instead of avoiding all of that trouble or jumping over those losses, he models this kind of discipleship in which he is soberly attuned to all of this trouble. And that puts him in a position to do something about it in the same way that we see, for instance, Christ as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief who is then empowered as a result to respond to all these troubles. If we try to skip over them, we’ve missed the heart of discipleship itself.

    Loss versus sacrifice

    FLUHMAN: So here we have Mormon and his contemporaries, his people that he loves and he’s watching them crumble to dust figuratively and literally. He’s experiencing the same nightmare of decline and loss and so on. But this cataclysmic stress that he and his people are passing through is a kind of prism. He’s refracting through it differently than they’re refracting through it. They’re both experiencing the same chaos and mayhem and terror, there’s no other word for it. It’s terror. But he’s going through it differently as you say. He’s positioned differently. He’s experiencing it differently and so you draw a distinction in the book between mere loss and sacrifice. He’s doing one and they’re doing the other. Elaborate on that, would you? What meanings do you tease out there for readers in the book?

    MILLER: Yeah this is the basic template that I use to understand the kind of discipleship that Mormon is modeling. That Christian discipleship as Mormon models it occurs at the crossroads of two things. On the one hand, it occurs at the junction of a certain kind of world and on the other hand, it occurs at the junction of that world with a certain kind of religion.

    What kind of world? A world in which we are, all of us, guaranteed to lose all things. As Joseph Smith himself put it, “Everything that has a beginning, has an end.” That’s pretty brutal. Most things have a beginning. Everything that has a beginning has an end. That’s the world that we live in. We will all lose all things.

    But Christian discipleship adds to that world, responds to that world with a certain kind of religion. A religion that is grounded in the premise that we have to learn how to sacrifice all things. As the Lectures On Faith put it, “Any religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things has not the power to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” This is ground zero for the practice of Christian discipleship. Christian discipleship is carried out as the business of learning how to sacrifice all things rather than cling to all things.

    And what Mormon models is the fact that the only Christian and redemptive response to the fact of losing all things is a willingness on our part to not just lose them, but to willingly sacrifice our claim to them in the process so that we can, by way of this redemptive sacrifice, avoid sheer ruin and find instead the possibility of continually new beginnings, in Christ.

    FLUHMAN: And that strikes me as a nice bridge toward a really thoughtful, and for me, helpful conversation about creation. Because for you, this perpetual losing, which itself feels so at odds with so much of Western culture to me—

    MILLER: So much of which is built around the avoidance of this very fact, yeah.

    FLUHMAN: Exactly. In fact, you portray Mormon’s contemporaries with a literal death-grip on their possessions in a kind of fantasy of permanence or security or what have you. But it’s not a hope-less-ness that comes with that. We shouldn’t misread Mormon as a kind of hopeless resignation to loss that the world as it is points to God as God is. That every loss is a beginning as well. If every beginning has an end, these ends have beginnings and the world—in your words—the world is constantly being recreated. You worry about us framing creation in the past tense only. Say more about that if you will.

    MILLER: If we ask ourselves the question, “Why is the world always ending? Why is it continually passing away?” The answer is that because the world is always beginning again. God didn’t just create the world just once in the past; He’s continually creating and recreating the world moment by moment, day by day, again and again, over and over. The process of creation rolls forward. And the question for us as disciples is whether or not we’re going to participate willingly in this business of continually recreating the world, or whether we’re going to fight against it. And what it looks like to willingly participate in the creation of a new world is to willingly sacrifice our hold on the old one. We have to willingly sacrifice our claim to all of these old worlds as they pass away in order to get on board with God’s program of continually creating new ones.

    This is something that Mormon—what Moroni in particular in the later chapters of Mormon—himself emphasizes. When he hammers home the point again and again that the day of miracles has not passed. The day of miracles has not ceased ,and Moroni’s number one example of the miracles that have not ceased is creation itself. God’s ongoing work of creation. That’s, in particular, the miracle he has in mind.

    And so, what happens is that if you and I are willing, like Mormon, to engage in sacrificing all things as we lose all things, this aligns us with God’s own will and allows us to participate in the world’s recreation of something new. As something that better manifests God’s own image.

    FLUHMAN: You portray a kind of risky God here in a way.

    MILLER: Very.

    FLUHMAN:  You note that there are safer interpretations of God to create mentally. You know, a God who is kind of presiding over a static known thing that he’s in fact preserving and securing. But this different view of God is riskier because of this continual act of recreation.

    What I love about your comment here too, honestly, is that it points to me. At one point in the book you say, “People are more like rivers than rocks.” In that we ourselves, if we will see it this way, we can let ourselves be caught up in this same transformative becoming recreation rather than holding, again, death-grip-like onto possessions or status or moments or whatever.

    MILLER: Or people.

    FLUHMAN: Or people. That’s hard work though! This is hard work. Is this the book we wanted? Is this the book we wanted in the Book of Mormon?

    MILLER: This is neither the book nor the world that most of us would by default evidently prefer. There’s something really striking about the way that Mormon and Moroni also both insist on our seeing God not just as the Creator of the World, but to come back again and again to the fact that those who are denying God are also in part denying the fact that God as Christ will come down and sacrifice himself on our behalf as the Lamb of God.

    To deny God is to deny God not only as the Creator as we try to opt out of participating in that continual work of recreation, but to deny the fact that God Himself is in the business of sacrificing all things, that there are no exceptions to the rule here. That everyone must sacrifice all things and this includes himself, who models for us even better than Mormon himself, how to engage in the work of redeeming all things by sacrificing all things, even as all things are lost in the business of recreating all things.

    Apocalyptic discipleship and living in the spirit

    FLUHMAN: And that strikes me as an entirely different sense of the cost of discipleship. We would, I suspect, like to partition off that sacrificial self-offering from what Christlike-ness looks like in the world. We’d rather treat people nicely and forgive the slights, but that kind of sacrifice is something different.

    I’ve got a passage here that I want to read from the book. It stopped me in my tracks and gets at this kind of life that you call “apocalyptic discipleship” and it’s about living in the Spirit. I’m just going to read a portion here, quoting you to you.

    “To live without God in the world is to live without the Spirit. It is to live without the constant recreative push of that Spirit striving with you. Spirit strives. It pushes and pulls and strains. Spirit materializes at the bleeding edge of the world’s recreation. It materializes at the white hot tip of time’s spear. At the point where the future passes through the crucible of the present to become the past.”

    Talk me through that passage. It’s rich language but it’s calling me to live in a different kind of way in the world.

    MILLER: Yes, I think it’s calling for us to be engaged at whatever it is that we’re doing. To show up for it. To be here. Present tense. Right here, right now. Doing what we’re doing, full attention, with love and compassion. I think this is, as a practical matter, probably the most predictable fruit of the spirit. That the Spirit makes you feel alive. It fills you with life. You feel plugged into the fabric of reality, to the people that you’re with, to the thing that you’re doing. And in the process you lose yourself because you have sacrificed yourself to whatever it is that you’re doing. You’ve sacrificed your ego, you’ve sacrificed your own concerns and you’ve lost yourself in the work of caring for the present moment. Whatever that looked like. Whether that was having dinner with your family or whether that was grading papers in the afternoon or whether that was doing a podcast with Spencer Fluhman. Whatever it is, right? All in. Right here, right now. Sacrificing all of it, and that’s where the Spirit shows up. When we feel plugged in and alive in that way because we’re sacrificing ourselves for the sake of what we’re doing.

    FLUHMAN: The contemporaries of Mormon in your hands typically form a kind of nice foil to this very kind of living. They’re almost zombies in your hands. I might be overstating, but they’re the walking dead. There is almost an inevitability to their demise because they’ve already lost in some ways in that again, they’re denying that loss. They’re denying the kind of sacrificial losing that you’re talking about. They’re holding on so tightly. It’s almost a numbing kind of effect for them.

    And I saw in that myself in some ways and our lives in that way, busy as they are, filled with stuff as they are, distracted as they are. You say that sin in the book is living in this kind of denial. Tell us more about what Mormon’s book taught you about sin and this kind of denial of the grain of the universe as you say.

    MILLER: Zombies is a nice description. The walking dead, I think is fair to say, is a quasi-scriptural description. What does it mean to be someone who is living in sin? To be someone who is living in sin is to be someone who is spiritually dead. You are nominally alive, physically, but you’re not really alive. The most important part of you, your spirit, is dead. And you end up in this position of spiritual death when, scared of losing everything, you refuse to willingly participate in the work of creating new life. In the work of creating a new world. And you cling to all the things you have and you don’t let them go and you won’t sacrifice them and you won’t consecrate them and you won’t give them back to God and you invest your time and effort here into creating an illusion of stability, to creating a kind of fantasy world in which you won’t have to lose all things and you might even enlist your own religion in helping you construct this fantasy world in which you won’t, like God, have to sacrifice everything. And then you end up in this position in which you have, effectively, killed yourself. Or put to death part of yourself.

    The cost of that fantasy is the fact that you’ve had to unplug from reality and no longer participate in the present moment because that’s where all the losses are happening. And you try to wall yourself off either into memories from the past or fantasies about how you want things to be in the future. And you feel numb and empty and everything that you do feels meaningless and pointless because you’re not willing to sacrifice in order to be part of what God is going to do with or without you.

    FLUHMAN: I’m glad you agreed with my zombie reading of your reading.

    MILLER: That’s just straight up out of the scriptures as far as I can tell. [laughter]

    FLUHMAN: Well, yeah. And your descriptions, again, of that kind of life—that life desperate to not lose anything else, struck me as so haunting in the present that it helped conjure that. But again, it points to, for me at least, a different view of God than we might imagine ourselves.

    I’ve got another paragraph that I want to read to you that you wrote.

    MILLER: That’s my favorite thing, please continue. [laughter]

    The atonement

    FLUHMAN: This is Adam Miller from Mormon: a brief theological introduction, roundabout page 109.

    “Atoning sacrifice isn’t simply what is required after the fact as a kind of cosmic Band-Aid because the law, which wouldn’t have needed sacrifice otherwise, was broken. God’s own atoning act of sacrifice wasn’t the backup plan. Rather, because the law can only ever be fulfilled by way of love and sacrifice, the whole plan of redemption works the other way around. The fantasy that sacrifice is avoidable even to God is what broke the law in the first place.”

    So, how should that change the way we understand our relationship to God?

    MILLER: We can start with a kind of big-picture view here about the way that the Christian story is traditionally told outside of the Latter-day Saints, outside of the context of the Restoration. Traditionally the Christian story goes something like this: God who never changes, who is not subject to time in any way like the rest of us, creates a world. Adam and Eve sin. As a result, all kinds of suffering and loss enter into the world as a kind of punishment. And if we manage to make it our way out of this world, because God then had to, of necessity, sacrifice himself to fix what we broke, we will go back to that world where God is where nothing changes. Where there’s no such thing as loss or creation or transformation. That’s the traditional version of the story.

    I don’t think that’s the version of the story that we, as Latter-day Saints, can accept. If only because in our version of the story, this world—mortality itself—is not a total loss but one of the very greatest gifts that God could have given us to participate in this world, in these bodies, in this continual process of transformation. And the way that we, Latter-day Saints, tell this story, God is not separate from this whole process of change and transformation and creation, he’s in the thick of it with us. And the fact that he’s in the thick of it with us, sacrificing all things for us in the same that we’re called to sacrifice all things, isn’t his way of putting a Band-Aid on something that was broken because we weren’t supposed to lose everything. But it is in fact part and parcel of the way things were meant to be from the beginning if, from the beginning, progression and creation and ongoing transformation were not just for us, but for all things the order of the day.

    Which means I think that we probably need to do a better job of separating ourselves from the rest of the Christian tradition in this respect so that we can be clear about the nature of what’s going on in Christ’s atonement and exactly what kind of problem His atonement is meant to solve. And it’s not the kind of problem, I think, that traditional Christianity thinks it is.

    FLUHMAN: That’s beautiful by the way, and gets me thinking a little bit pastorally to be honest. If my day job is as a scholar and administrator, my evening and weekend job is different, and it’s more pastorally oriented, and your book asks us to think about imperfections differently as well. And I see this as a symptom of a kind of problem for modern Latter-day Saints. As a hyper-focus on imperfections. But here you highlight the fact that with Mormon, Moroni to a certain extent, the word “imperfections” pops up here kind of prominently. How does Mormon’s book help us reorient towards the world’s imperfections? And towards our own as well?

    MILLER: If I remember my own book correctly, which I may not because I wrote it more than a year ago now. But the word “imperfections” is only used five times in the scriptures and all five of them in Mormon. It comes up repeatedly as Moroni frets a bit about the imperfections of the record and what our response to these imperfections will be.

    If you were to ask me, “What does it look like as a practical matter, on a daily basis, on an hourly basis, to go about the business of sacrificing all things?” I think the best answer that I could give to that sort of question is that the actual work of sacrificing all things looks like the continual work of forgiving all things. It looks like the continual work of forgiving the world the fact that it is passing away. That it is not going to last. That it is not going to satisfy me in the way that I want to. That the world is never going to stop and freeze in place and be what I hoped it would be and that as a result, to be a Christian who doesn’t run away from the loss of all things, who actively takes up the work of sacrificing all things, that as a practical matter, mostly looks like my continually engaging in the work of forgiving all things.

    In particular, forgiving the loss of all things. Forgiving even the loss of what I hoped things would be even in the best of scenarios. Forgiving myself the fact that I have lost what I thought I wanted to be, to one degree or another, in one way or another, professionally or religiously or in relationships with other people. Coming back again and again here to the work of forgiving all things.

    I think this also might prompt for us a really important shift in how we think about what it looks like to be a Christian disciple. A lot of the time I think we’re investing a lot of effort in trying to get God to forgive us, as if that’s what being a Christian was about. Trying to get God to forgive me. But I think at the end of the day, the actual work of being a Christian is exactly the opposite. The actual work of being a Christian is investing myself in continually forgiving all things rather than trying to continually get myself to be forgiven of all things.

    Changed by wrestling with scripture

    FLUHMAN: Fantastic. The highest compliment I can give to you and to all of the authors of the brief theological introductions to the Book of Mormon is that in wrestling with you as you wrestle with this treasured text, this treasured scripture of ours, I’ve changed. And I’m different. I’m a little bit different than I was before this wrestling with you all wrestling with these holy things. How have you changed through writing the book? What’s it meant to you to write it?

    MILLER: In a very real way, I find myself transformed by the things I write, especially this sort of thing. I find myself more sober and melancholy and attuned to loss than maybe I ever have been. I mean, this may be partly connected to just the practical realities to the fact that here I am, middle-aged. My children are grown or almost grown; my children leaving home or about to leave home and they’re not coming back. Finding myself here in middle-age exposed to the loss of my parents. To the loss of my father who died this summer. Exposed here in middle-age to the fact that whatever kinds of professional goals I had for myself will almost certainly largely go unrealized. Whatever fantasies that had been propping me to one degree or another to this point are increasingly hard to continue to put any faith in. And here all these things are passing away. My own body passing away out from underneath me. My hair greying, my beard greying, my strength failing.

    And here in the midst of it all, finding that the Christian response to all of this loss works. That if I can do what Christ asks me to do, if like him, I can try to sacrifice all things, especially by forgiving the loss of all things, that even in the midst of all of this passing away, I can be part of the creation of something new and I can be part of redeeming both the world and my own life and all that loss will not be sheer loss but that it can, in God’s hand, work for the greater good.

    FLUHMAN: Adam, thank you for being on the Maxwell Institute Podcast. Your book is a gift. I can’t wait for the world to have it. It’s called Mormon: a brief theological introduction and I am very grateful for time with you Adam Miller. Thanks.

    MILLER: It’s my pleasure. And let me just say, by way of conclusion, that I am very grateful for the support the Maxwell Institute has given my work both in these publications and in the Latter-day Saint Theology Seminar. Let me say that on the record here, publicly, that I think you have done an absolutely astonishing job, Spencer Fluhman, at retooling the Institute for the challenges of the twenty-first century. And I love you for it. And let me say, last of all, that I love the Maxwell Institute Podcast and Blair Hodges has done an amazing, often unsung job over these many years and produced, I think, a wealth of material that will bless people for a long, long time to come.

    FLUHMAN: Thank you brother. We love you. Grateful for the time together and can’t wait for the book to be in the world. Thanks again.

    * * *

    HODGES: Thanks for listening to another episode of the Maxwell Institute Podcast. Coming up next we’re going to have James E. Fualconer on the mic. He’ll interview Rosalynde Welch, author of the book Ether: a brief theological introduction. Jim Faulconer was one of the editors on that book. They’ll sit down together and talk about the process and the product.

    Before we go I want to check out a few reviews of the month here. We got one from Scott K. Hicks that says, “The Adam Miller interviews are my favorites (slightly biased), but I’ve enjoyed them all and I’m pushing to be a completist.”

    Alright, thanks Scott. I hope you liked this interview with Adam as well. I think he’s been on the podcast more than anybody else has.

    We have another review here from “HeCallsMeShell.” This one says, “My heart and mind love this equally. I cannot overstate how much I enjoy this podcast. I have yet to find an episode that doesn’t interest me. Here I find beautiful people offering us their human faith and intellect with graceful vulnerability. Thank you.”

    Well, thank you ” HeCallsMeShell.” Thanks for taking the time to write that review. It means a lot to us.

    If you’d like to rate and review the podcast, you can do that in Apple Podcasts—I think that’s the only place where people write reviews. But we also have people leaving comments here and there. I usually see one from “Georgia Born” over on YouTube. Always leaves a kind comment after each episode, we appreciate that as well.

    Alright, well, we’ll be back next time with James E. Faulconer talking to Rosalynde Welch about Ether: a brief theological introduction.