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Start your week out right by thinking about the giant gulf between yourself and economic stability! Actually, that's not the point of this show.  It's also not a "how to save your money" show.  We're not even sure if we go with Ancient Indian, Greek or modern sages on the use of money to make money.
How should we think about money in the context of virtue and living in a society where debt seems almost inevitable.  Whether it is a home, car, college or credit card it seems that we are indebted to someone.  Many ancient texts forbade usury (interest?) and warned about taking on debt (or lending).  Come along with us as we run through the ancient world, the first banks and the two of us playing with nuanced ways to think about handling what little money we might have.  We are not economists, nor personal financial advisors.  Rather just a philosopher/theologian and historian using our primary fields to deal with the ethics of making and using money. We riff on characters from Aristotle to Marx to John Winthrop, the DeMedici's and some ideas we've found helpful.

 
 
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On this episode we discuss Shusaku Endo's Silence (a Japanese novel about Jesuit missionaries), a favorite of Graham Greene (The Power and the Glory) and a novel being made into a film by Martin Scorcese.  
We discuss the book, Scorcese's career and how both have dealt with faith and what happens when mentors let us down.  Jeff has a special love of Endo's work and Dan loves all things Scorcese, so we bring knowledge of both and discuss some of the themes that are parallel their lives, and our own.

 
 
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Years and years ago, Jeff was a fresh faced and newly minted DPhil out of Oxford teaching his first course at Concordia University.  In that same year, Dan was a fresh(er) faced and sideburn-ed college wiseacre.  Jeff spent a good amount of time in the class musing on anti-wisdom in the ancient world (especially the meaninglessness in Ecclesiastes and suffering in Job).  Dan was curious about this take on wisdom (and the turning of constructs on their heads).  Well, you know how the story ends: the two of them ended up, reunited at Concordia as colleagues, and then co-hosts of this dog and pony show.  It's surprising this show didn't happen earlier, insofar as the seemingly meaningless world and its wisdom seem to have grown more confusing in the ensuing decades.  Jeff does the heavy lifting (this is in his primary field) and Dan plays the student and interlocutor. Enjoy the show!

 
 
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It started with a Facebook post made by Jeff.  He praised "The Interview" and proclaimed that not only was a hilarious movie, but that it was an important film.  Dan immediately fired back (having also seen it the night before) that he thought it was a disappointment.  The conversation went to text, got a little heated, and then conversation was stopped to resume organically on the podcast.  Usually a self styled sophomoric spy comedy wouldn't be high on the list of topics for ViW.  Yet, after the media and political scandal that led it to be cancelled, the studio to be rebuked by the President, and it to be released in alternative formats, the film began to take on a bigger role as part of the landscape of political satire and censorship.  On this episode (the first of 2015, and the first in our release time) we decided to take on the film, the nature of "endorsing" films, political satire and the relative significance of film as subversive art.
As usual, there is the standard amount of jib jab and storytelling, but also ways to think about consuming mass culture.  Enjoy the show!

 
 
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It's our last episode of 2014! And after the merriment of our 100th episode (you did listen to that one, yes? Koenig AND Armstrong!) we decided to get a little deeper.  It fit, not only because of our post Christmas malaise, but also as we looked at the year in review and saw civil (and un-civil) disobedience as a major theme over the past few months.  We start with a poem by Shelley and move into Henry David Thoreau's "On Civil Disobedience" before tackling modern issues (particular such as Ferguson and Eric Gardner, and general in the case of millennial apathy). And for those interested, Dan goes into a bit of history on the antebellum years in America,  those crap presidents you can never remember (Pierce, Fillmore, Taylor, etc...) and how that generation can mirror our own.
As we enter the new year we are looking forward to new guests, a few tweaks here and there, and more virtuous and wastelandy goodness.  Enjoy the show!

 
 
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For our last two episodes we have been able to get some of our most requested recurring guests (Dr. Lu on episode 99 and Drs Koenig and Armstrong on this episode).  Not only do we celebrate our 100th episode with two of our good friends, we talk with them about the contradictions of Christmas.  From conspicuous consumption to authentic ritual, we try to distinguish holiday cheer from imitation Kristmas.  Dr. Koenig is a sociologist and Dr. Armstrong has his PhD in the Classics and a Masters in Theology.
Warning (sort of): This episode is packed full of content goodness, but also a good amount of merry making and possibly walking gingerly on a few lines (and discussing cutting them with biscotti).  From the sacred to profane, we offer up a cup of Christmas cheer brimming with the contradictions of Kristmas.  Enjoy our homage to a Charlie Brown Brown Christmas at the end.

 
 
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ViW 75 is our 99th episode! We know, the numbering is strange, and we will update it for the new year (This is the 75th week, and we sometimes release extra episodes a week).  As we ramp up to our 100th show we have brought in some of the guests from earlier shows that have been the most popular.  This week we have research psychologist Dr. John Lu (Ph.D, University of California, Irvine) talking about a field of health psychology known as "optimization".  We here at ViW do not dig hokey self help nonsense (think of "the Secret").  But what happens when responsible researchers in the field of research psychology (not therapy, but bio-psycho-social research) start thinking about "how to be better?".  What if, one of these researchers happens to share some of our wasteland pessimism but also thinks a lot about the good life, and is a good friend? Well, you get this episode.
Dr. Lu recently spoke to a large group of students on this topic and it was such a success many suggested (and we concurred) that this needed to be an episode.  
Download and listen on a car ride, whilst cleaning for the holidays, etc... and if this tickles your fancy, check out one of our earliest shows "The Road to Happiness" with Dr. Lu
(Photo courtesy of someone John's wife got to take their family pictures. John talks about his son and how having a child caused him to evaluate his strengths and weakness. If you know John, this is the happiest he has ever looked)

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We keep the holiday train rolling with a discussion of the best (and a few of the worst) Christmas movies.  While we discuss the movies we like (and dislike) the most, we also discuss what it is about these particular movies that make them resonate with our culture.  What does the popularity of Home Alone, or Elf say about our culture (good things!).  What are the archetypes that Christmas movies tap in to? While you're in the holiday mood- feel free to check out our shows from Christmases past on the best Christmas pop songs- Here and the best Christmas Hymns- Here.

And keep watching this space- our 100th Episode spectacular is going to be released by the end of this year, with some of your favorite guests from shows past.

 
 
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This time of year we tend to hear a lot about "the war" on Christmas.  Or, we hear that Christmas is nothing but a pack of pagan celebrations wrapped up in the American flag and the baby Jesus.  Hand wringing abounds.
Here at ViW we think this is the most wonderful time of the year, a time of cultural cohesion and cheer amidst the darkness.  As for a "war" on Christmas- keep watching this space and our "Tiniest of things are Forever" site.  As for the claims that Christmas is a combination of pagan rituals.  Well, that might be right.  At least culturally we have appropriated traditions from various cultures and set them amidst the Dickensian trappings and religious imagery.  On this episode we celebrate this most wonderful time of the year, take a deeper look at some of our fondest traditions and urge us all to embrace both tidings of good cheer and some peculiar yuletide cultural hand-me-downs.

 
 
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Philosopher of science Dr. Angus Menuge joins us to talk about the vocation of a scientist, especially that of a scientist who is also religious.  Prof. Dan Deen (Concordia University, Irvine), another philosopher of science is along for the expedition.  We talk about new atheism, virtue, epistemology, science, biology, physics, paradigms, theories, and Motörhead (that's right).  Dr. Menuge is professor of philosophy at Concordia University Wisconsin and is the president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. His research interests include philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, apologetics, and C. S. Lewis. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Diploma in Christian Apologetics from the International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism and Human Rights, Strasbourg. He is editor of C. S. Lewis: Lightbearer in the ShadowlandsChrist and Culture in Dialogue, Reading God's World and of Legitimizing Human Rights (forthcoming). He is author of Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science (Rowman and Littlefield, 2004). His most recent work focuses on libertarian free will and the creative powers of agents.