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Munger Place Church is the East Dallas campus of Highland Park United Methodist Church. Worship services include both the best of the old and the best of the new. The music is rock and roll-based, sermons are both live and on video, and dress is casual. But at the same time, the services draw from 2,000 years of Christianity by incorporating some of the beautiful old hymns, prayers, and responses.
 
Michael C. Munger, Director of the interdisciplinary Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) program at Duke University, appears regularly as a guest on EconTalk, the award-winning economics podcast hosted by Russ Roberts of Stanford University's Hoover Institution. Podcast episodes featuring Mike Munger are listed here. EconTalk has been taking the Monday out of Mondays since 2006. All 750+ episodes are available in the archive. Go to EconTalk.org for transcripts, related resources, and c ...
 
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Munger Place Video Podcast

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Munger Place Video Podcast

Highland Park United Methodist Church

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Munger Place Church is the East Dallas campus of Highland Park United Methodist Church. Worship services include both the best of the old and the best of the new. The music is rock and roll-based, sermons are both live and on video, and dress is casual. But at the same time, the services draw from 2,000 years of Christianity by incorporating some of the beautiful old hymns, prayers, and responses.
 
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show series
 
Want to know that the water-into-wine miracle means? It means that God is Good(er). Preacher: Andrew Forrest Scripture: John 2:1-11; Isaiah 25:6-7 References: “BUT IDEAS AND IMAGES are also a primary stronghold of evil in the human self and in society. They determine how we ‘take’ the things and events of ordinary life. They control the meanings we…
 
Mark tells us that the women came to the tomb that first Easter morning, saw that it was empty, heard from the angel, and *still* left bewildered and afraid. Why? It’s because their categories couldn’t fit what God had just done. We think our outlook depends on our circumstances, but what happens when our circumstances give us no reason to be optim…
 
Change is inevitable, because God is moving history towards its goal. This is not to say that all change is good—it’s not—but rather that all change can be used by God. In fact, God works all things for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. Jesus knows this, which is why he enters Jerusalem in such a provocative way t…
 
These days everything is binary: either one or zero; black or white; good or evil, etc. Unfortunately, life doesn’t actually work like that. Fortunately, neither does the Bible. In fact, there is a beautiful sentence in Mark’s Gospel from a desperate father that got me thinking about “both/and” in place of “either/or.” And I’ve come up with a four …
 
It’s one of the most profound things Jesus ever says in Mark’s Gospel. But because it’s sandwiched between some amazing miracle stories, and because it’s not part of a memorable parable, it’s easy to overlook its importance. Which is a shame, because it not only explains why Jesus does what he does, it also helps us understand the entire story arc …
 
What if what we mean by “faith" and what the Bible means by “faith” have almost completely opposite meanings? When Jesus can’t do any miracles in his hometown because of his neighbors’ lack of faith, we think it means that if they simply believed more, then miracles would happen. But that kind of thinking reduces faith to a personal quality, like a…
 
Keep your ears stopped. Shut your eyes tight. Make your necks stiff. And harden your hearts. For: If you hear and see, If you receive and obey, This message will bring life abundant. Do you have ears? Use them. (Reflections on the Parable of the Sower.) Preacher: Andrew Forrest Scripture: Mark 4:1-25…
 
The portrayal of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel is a man of great power and authority: He commands the unclean spirits; He heals with a word; He calms the storm into silence. But there is one thing Jesus does NOT do, one thing he never commands or coerces. That one thing is, so to speak, the dog that doesn’t bark in Mark’s Gospel. And it is unbelievably im…
 
From the first page of Mark’s Gospel, we are immediately struck by the *strangeness* of the world we encounter. To paraphrase Thomas Merton, in Mark’s Gospel we encounter a “translucent world”, a world in which God is not far away but right at hand and one in which "the divine is shining through it all the time.” To many modern people, the idea of …
 
Paul closes his letter to the Ephesians with what has become one of the best-known metaphors in all of his writings: the armor of God. It’s a powerful, inspiring image, but what does it actually, practically mean? Paul says that the point of wearing the armor is “so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” In other words, somethin…
 
Yes, it’s an overwrought image (“A 'firing squad'? Come on!"), but nevertheless there is something about knowing you only have a finite amount of time left that helps you focus on what matters. I have a short amount of time left as the pastor for Munger Place Church, and that awareness has been a good reminder: I need to do whatever it takes to pre…
 
You know what I’ve noticed? The way the Apostle Paul prays for the Ephesian church is not how we pray. Either he’s wrong and needs to pray the way we pray, or else we need to learn from Paul and change our practices of prayer. (My money’s on the latter option.) See, it turns out that we don’t need what we think we need. What we really need is not p…
 
It is a good thing that these days we are acknowledging the ways that each of us has different privileges. But what happens next? After we acknowledge our privilege, how should we live? Let’s talk about how to play diversity bingo in church. Preacher: Andrew Forrest Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-14.…
 
Does difference always lead to division? Since Babel, the world’s answer has been: yes. And since difference is an inescapable part of life, this answer means the world always tries to erase difference, either through violence or a forced homogeneity. But difference is part of God’s plan, and difference is no threat to unity in Christ. Some thought…
 
We’re divided—tribe, tongue, people, nation—and we have been from the beginning. Since Eden, we’ve been divided by our differences, and our divisions have led to more divisions, and to contempt, and to hate. But those divisions are actually lies. There is in fact one human race. As the Apostle Paul reminds the Ephesians: "There is one body and one …
 
What if something amazing happened and you just totally ignored it? This is exactly what happened with the people in Bethlehem: the Christ was born right in their midst, and everyone but the shepherds missed it. The same things still happen at the time: we ignore amazing stories right in our midst. This Christmas I want to share with you the first …
 
Christmas lives right in the tension between God’s foreknowledge and our free will. Is history pre-determined or are we free to choose our actions? To the biblical authors, the answer is, “Yes.” Christmas is about God’s sovereign acts in human history AND about our freedom to take part in what God is doing. Here’s my question: how are you going to …
 
Hope is necessary for life. It’s hope that makes it possible to get up tomorrow morning, put your feet on the floor, and take a step. Hope is the belief that in the end, everything is going to be okay, and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end. We need hope, and Christmas provides it in surprising ways, as surprising as the gifts the magi brought to t…
 
I learned this week that the key to understanding Romans is to read it backwards. When you start at the end, you see that Paul really wants for the Romans is unity. Unity wasn’t any easier 2,000 years ago than it is today. Which doesn’t make it any less important. Preacher: Andrew Forrest Scripture: Romans 16…
 
I don’t like it when people tell me what to do, but nevertheless I’m going to do just that: I want you to pick just one of the pieces of advice Paul gives in Romans 12 and put it into practice this week. Everyone wants to know God’s will for his or her life, and Paul provides a way to find it. Paul also gives the church a way forward, too. It worke…
 
1. The imperative to tell the Good News to the people in our lives is the same as it’s been for 2,000 years. 2. And yet in our current cultural climate—so called “Negative World”—it’s difficult to know how to actually share our faith without turning people away from Christ. Here are some ideas. Preacher: Andrew Forrest Scripture: Romans 10:11-15…
 
My wife asked me this week, “What have your learned?” Time is so precious, and life is so short: I want to be sure I reflect back on time that passes. So, as we celebrate our 11th birthday at Munger, I’m thinking back over these past 11 years. This is what I’ve learned. Preacher: Andrew Forrest Scripture: Psalm 1…
 
This is my definition of suffering: Living through bad circumstances that you are unable to change. These days, we face two HUGE problems with regard to suffering: 1. It is inevitable in every human life. 2. Contemporary American culture has absolutely no idea what to do about it. Guess what? God’s word has a way forward for us. Turns out the Apost…
 
“Judge not, that you not be judged.” “Who am I to judge?” Yeah, well: This week I want to tell you why George Washington needs to face judgment. Actually, I want to tell you that it’s a good thing and a healing thing for George Washington to face judgment. More than that: I want to tell you why God’s judgment is actually a good thing for all of us.…
 
I know why we want to stay in the center of the herd—after all, it’s the early Christian that gets the lion. The herd gives us a (ultimately false) sense of safety, and in a world of howling jackals, we need all the safety we can get. And yet. In spite of our almost overwhelming sense to stay squarely with the herd, the Apostle Paul’s words to the …
 
Where else would we go? Whom else should we follow? What options do we have? Will ideology or technology or wealth or power or science give us what we need? This is the 3rd and final sermon in a series about the church as a refuge, a bit of Eden, an oasis in the desert. And this is the week we go on offense. I explain *why* I’m so intense about the…
 
I’m convinced that Aaron Renn is right, and that we live in what he calls “Negative World”. Here’s how he describes it: “In this world, being a Christian is a social negative, especially in high-status positions. Christianity in many ways as seen as undermining the social good. Traditional norms are expressly repudiated.” Now, we’ve been talking ab…
 
I’m taking it back, I’m taking it all back. Like Mikey under the wishing well in “The Goonies,” I’m taking it back. I’m taking back my attention, my focus, my heart from all the voices screaming at me, from the aggregator algorithms, from the scrolling chyrons. I’m taking back the only thing I really totally control—my thoughts—and refusing anymore…
 
My main thought after being really sick with Covid is this: We’ve all been played. What I mean is that the Apostle Paul is right: there is more going on than meets the eye—“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual force…
 
The Bible can be difficult to read, especially in its entirety. With a slightly better understanding of what the Bible is and what it is for, not only can we actually read the Bible well, but we can learn to love it. If you find yourself getting frustrated with the Bible, are you confident that you are reading it as it is intended to be read? Speak…
 
Kevin Garnett was right, and the Apostle Peter proved it. Okay, maybe that’s an overstatement. After winning the NBA Championship in 2011 Kevin Garnett bellowed, “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!” That may not be true when it comes to ordinary people playing in the NBA, but it is definitely true when it comes to the kind of life Christ has for his people. Abu…
 
There are two types of fools in this world and everyone will fall into one of these categories. The stakes are high: one fool has no hope, while the other has strength for today and hope for tomorrow! Which are you? Which am I? 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 **To hear more about Ashley & David's story, check out their blog Ever Singing For Joy (https://ever…
 
We are as connected to the world as ever and as disconnected from our purpose as ever - and the two are related. Have you ever wondered if the ancient saints of the faith had anything to say about smartphone use? Does the church have anything to say that ONLY the church can offer on this topic? Matthew 11:25-30 ESV John 1:1-5 ESV…
 
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