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‘Everything Good about God is True: Choosing Faith’ author Bruce Reyes-Chow is the guest on a new podcast


‘Around the Table’ looks at the at-home conversations that can foster faith formation

May 20, 2024

As the guest of the new podcast “Around the Table” from the Office of Christian Formation, the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, an author, speaker and Moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008), offers up his perspective on how conversations at home can improve and enrich family connections and spirituality.

Click here to listen to Reyes-Chow’s 35-minute conversation with podcast hosts the Rev. Michelle Thomas-Bush and the Rev. Cliff Haddox, pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Dayton, Ohio. Reyes-Chow’s latest book is “Everything Good about God is True: Choosing Faith.”

Reyes-Chow said he’s pleased that all three of his adult children still “attend and have a good relationship with the church.”

“That’s not to say we didn’t do anything except surround them with people who could have these conversations” with the children growing up, he said. “It often wasn’t me. If you’re a pastor or a church worker, they don’t want to hear you talk about that stuff.” The key is to arrange for other people to “engage in this work and influence their faith,” he said. “Nothing’s off the table when we talk about faith.”

The Rev. Michelle Thomas-Bush

“Our family, not surprisingly, is super-involved with social justice issues and trying to navigate those around faith,” he said. “We’re always talking about what’s our role in creating institutions that are causing pain and what’s our role to help move those out.”

“It’s actually an exciting conversation not just for young people, but for everybody,” he said. “In the book, I talk about Jesus as prophet, priest, pastor and poet. What are the ways we engage in this work that fit who we are as people? My kids have never seen a protest they could pass up.”

“I think it’s good for our young people to see that we do mess up,” Thomas-Bush said.

“And that what we’re doing isn’t out of shame or guilt. Our response comes out of gratitude,” Reyes-Chow replied. “This gratitude for the spirit that we have compels us to try to live better and create healing and wholeness in the world.”

With more and more people living outside of a community of faith, when they walk into your Christian space, “you’d better talk about Jesus and do it in a way that makes sense and feels right for you,” Reyes-Chow said. “If folks can’t articulate what they feel about Jesus, then what are you doing? I’m not a Jesus Bible-thumper, but at the same time that’s why we’re here, and if that doesn’t compel us into doing good in the world, then people aren’t interested, and why should they be?”

The Rev. Cliff Haddox

Reyes-Chow said he’s not talking about “walking up to someone cold in the café and saying, ‘You know what? God.’”

But “I can almost guarantee that if you’re in relationship with somebody they’ll either say, ‘huh?’ and then move on or, ‘huh, tell me about that.’ I think that’s where we’ve bifurcated what evangelism is, to where it’s one way or nothing. … It becomes natural. You’re not being apologetic about a deep part of your life.”

“I think that’s where many of us have just messed up. We have abdicated the Christian space and voice to a particular version of the faith,” Reyes-Chow said. To help temper the dominant voice coming from “this right-wing, conservative evangelical space,” other voices “must do our best to continue to speak it out a little bit louder, a little differently, in ways we feel we’re comfortable with … so that at least folks get the idea that there’s not just one version of this faith that we’re hearing about.”

“Even if we have to say, ‘We’re not that. We’re this,’ then at least people know what ‘this’ is,” he said.

Thomas-Bush wondered: If we hadn’t had those conversations around the table, how do we even start?

“I would say, you have to acknowledge that,” Reyes-Chow said. “That’s the crux of the book. I’m going to just ask the questions everyone’s asking.”

The book takes on “this idea that God has a plan for our life. … There isn’t this chessboard with a grandmaster moving us around,” Reyes-Chow said.

Mike Ferguson, Editor, Presbyterian News Service

Today’s Focus: ‘Around the Table’ podcast

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Kyna Herzinger, Records Manager, Presbyterian Historical Society 
Marquis Hill, Housekeeper, Stony Point Center, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Let us pray

Creator God, we thank you for your presence with us on this life’s journey. Please help us to identify our spiritual gifts and let the Spirit move us to action. Amen.

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