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Feb 6, 2018

Tray and Mel are joined by Philip Yancey for episode 143 to discuss his story of leaving the faith due to the fundamentalist church he grew up with and what brought him back to Christ. Tune-in as one of the leading Christian voices of our day describes his journey from understanding God as a scowling super cop to a loving and gracious Father and the specific elements that God used to reveal Himself.

Philip, Tray and Mel dive into a discussion of the beauty of sex in God’s plan for our lives and how he seeks to have a personal relationship with us. He often meets us in this unique and vulnerable place. They also reflect on how to not become slaves to earthly passions while still enjoying them as Christ did.

Philip reflects back on his childhood and growing up in the fundamentalist church and how this eventually led to the hardening of his heart and caused him to turn away from faith entirely. Growing up in a strict, fundamentalist church in the southern USA, a young Philip Yancey tended to view God as “a scowling Supercop, searching for anyone who might be having a good time—in order to squash them.” Yancey jokes today about being “in recovery” from a toxic church. “Of course, there were good qualities too. If a neighbor’s house burned down, the congregation would rally around and show charity—if, that is, the house belonged to a white person. I grew up confused by the contradictions. We heard about love and grace, but I didn’t experience much. And we were taught that God answers prayers, miraculously, but my father died of polio just after my first birthday, despite many prayers for his healing.”

Eventually Philip was brought back to God through nature, classical music and romantic love. These things brought Philip back to a true understanding of God his nature.

Yancey worked as a journalist in Chicago for some twenty years, editing the youth magazine Campus Life while also writing for a wide variety of magazines including Reader’s Digest, Saturday Evening Post, National Wildlife, and Christianity Today. In the process he interviewed diverse people enriched by their personal faith, such as President Jimmy Carter, Habitat for Humanity founder Millard Fuller, and Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement. In 1992 he and his wife Janet, a social worker and hospice chaplain, moved to the foothills of Colorado. His writing took a more personal, introspective turn even as his activities turned outward. “Writing is such an introspective act that I found myself looking for ways to connect with the planet bodily. My interests include skiing, climbing mountains, mountain-biking, golf, international travel, jogging, nature, theology (in small doses), politics, literature, and classical music.”