Well, here’s something.

Ryan Dobson has all the radio instincts of his mildly famous father, and his co-host Toben is a crack up.   The combination made for a lively, rollicking conversation that opened with me reducing Montana to F-150 outdoorsy and Washington to Subaru-Outback-sporty-outdoorsy.  A joke about Oregon being the home of VW’s, and it was downhill from there.

For two solid hours. 

In short, it was the most fun on a radio interview I’ve ever had, and if they were all this fun I’d give up writing and go work in radio.

We talk everything from my life in high school to the history of Mere-O to tattoos (Ryan has several, which officially made him the first radio host who understood the culture) to sex and everything else.  If you’re new to Mere-O and want to hear a little about my background, some of the key parts are there in the first ten minutes.  And if you want to know what I fail at, it’s there in the last five.

With a lot of interesting, relevant stuff in between (particularly the second hour, when I found my groove and we really began going).

If you have been reading Mere-O for five years or five months, I suspect you will find it an interesting and enjoyable listen.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


  1. When my brother and sister and I were young and growing up in Oregon, to entertain ourselves during long drives we used to play a game we called “Slug Bug!”. The goal was to keep a sharp look-out for VW bugs and shout “Slug Bug!” before anyone else in the car could. Each bug was good for a shout, and each shout was worth a point. It was pretty easy to rack up the points. (Don’t know if VW bugs are known as “slug bugs” outside my family.) All this to say: your joke about Oregon seems spot on. :-)


    1. Matthew Lee Anderson January 6, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      We played “slug bug” too. And Oregon was definitely fertile territory for it!


  2. From one dabbler to another, terrif. interview Matt.

    (I think I only pulled away twice, which is pretty focused for me!)


    1. Matthew Lee Anderson January 6, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      Hah! Thanks, Greg. I appreciate the kind feedback. I really had fun with it, so I’m glad you enjoyed listening.


  3. Loved the interview. Was laughing out loud and talking back to you all! At one point you commented “people ought to think…” then finished the sentence, but at the slight pause, I was already talking to you:”yes, please, that would be wonderful, can we all just stop and think before reacting on what we feel all the time?”. So, so true that there are a bunch of important doctrinal questions we have to address really soon before a tidal wave of massively complicated situations swamp us.


    1. Matthew Lee Anderson January 7, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      Hah! Thanks, Alison. It amuses me that someone would have been talking along with the conversation. Hopefully not in public. : )


  4. And then Jesus came upon his disciples and said, “What’s this shit I’ve been hearing about a human sacrifice for sins!!? What kind of Neanderthal bullshit is that!!!? Blood sacrifice!!!!!!!!!!!? Listen, you can take that pile of Stone Age donkey shit and shove it straight up your goddamn asses!!!”–Jesus Christ, the Lost Gospel



    1. Matthew Lee Anderson January 8, 2012 at 11:43 am

      With wit that deft, how will we survive?

      Thanks for dropping by, and please feel free to do so again. Though perhaps without the tasteless rot. If there’s an argument to be made, I’d rather not sort through crudities to find it.




  5. Just thought you might enjoy an accurate depiction of Christian doctrine, though the eyes of a sane person!


    1. Matthew Lee Anderson January 9, 2012 at 7:34 am

      Ah, if profligate profanity is now the mark of sanity, then I’m more optimistic Christianity’s future than I’ve ever been! Cheers.


  6. Hey just listening to the interview and I am not through it yet but I am wondering why you didn’t press him on MMA? It seems that your theology of the body would have some helpful things to say about the contemporary obsession with MMA. Something like this article seems up your alley: http://theotherjournal.com/2011/06/28/the-confessions-of-a-cage-fighter-masculinity-misogyny-and-the-fear-of-losing-control/


    1. Matthew Lee Anderson January 11, 2012 at 5:48 pm


      Yeah, I’ve had that Other Journal piece in the queue for a while now to think about more and respond to. I’m not an MMA expert, though I think I said I am “ambivalent” about it. That might have been a different conversation, though. Don’t remember. : )

      That said, I do have my worries. However, I just wasn’t quite prepared for the conversation to get too deep into that topic, so I left that one alone. For now. Only for now.



      1. Thanks for the response. I did make it to the end of interview and I have to admit I was kind of disappointed. When I started reading MereO I generally accepted I come from a different theological stream than you but that we shared more in common in a generous understanding of orthodoxy than not (think Hans Frei not Brian McLaren). But as the radio hosts got hyped up on throwing words around blindly (most notably doctrine and abuse but also just a general I see all tone when clearly they don’t) I was really surprised not to see you take the balanced and nuanced stance you normally take on the blog. The whole thing kind of really left a bad taste in my mouth and it just didn’t appear like their was much room for a Hauerwas leaning Barth reading post liberal Mennonite pastor in whatever your defining as Mere Orthodoxy. Obviously I don’t expect or want you to agree with me but what I heard on the interview really betrayed the good work that is being done here. Not trying to be too hard on a radio interview but it seemed in the interviews fevor for neo-reformed Driscoll like theology you forgot about the people who appreciate this forum for not being that in tone or substance and thus looking very different in conclusion even if it close to same. Just my two cents. Again, I only mention it because I really do appreciate this blog.


        1. Matthew Lee Anderson January 12, 2012 at 7:33 pm


          I’ve been thinking about this all day, as I really appreciate the feedback and want carefully consider it.

          First off, thank you for being candid. The critiques are always welcome, and I’m happy that you took the time to listen to it and then let me know your reaction.

          Second, it’s true that we were playing fast and loose with “doctrine” and “abuse.” It’s hard in such contexts to know what to challenge, what to nuance, what to correct, and what to just let go. I am still learning that, and not doing particularly well with it. Frankly, I feel some sort of dinner-guest style hospitality rules apply, where if someone invites me on to their show I’m not going to say much unless I really think it’s out of joint. “I’m still learning” isn’t a reason, but, well, it’s something.

          As to the tone, I’m sorry for it, and I completely understand why you were put off by it. It got a little triumphalistic, clearly, and while I think the contextual differences between the two platforms are significant, I’m not sure that satisfies it. My own position, of course, is closer to theirs, and I’m not quite as good at nuancing everything as I might like otherwise when speaking and not typing. What’s more, it’s just difficult when heading into what is (for me) “friendly” territory and remember to nuance things in ways that would, if not satisfy everyone, at least remember everyone’s positions and objections and value them accordingly. There’s a lot more assumptions that get made in such a conversation than I make here at Mere-O, if only because I *know* how divergent Mere-O’s readership is. I don’t think I’m being inconsistent, as I didn’t say anything on the show that I wouldn’t stand by (even if I might nuance them a bit more). But for all that, I value hospitality and want to make Mere-O a place where folks with divergent views can hash things out.

          Which is to say, “Hauerwas leaning Barth reading post liberal Mennonites” are absolutely welcome around here. After all, I do hope that Barth makes the occasional appearance in my content (and he should, given that I read him), as does Hauerwas. I’m not a pacificist, but I think they’re fun to dialogue with and bear witness in a way that I think is important for the church. But while at the end of the day I hope to win the argument, my goal is to make sure it’s been had first.

          And lastly, with regard to “however” we’re defining Mere-O, I have been kicking around writing a “What is Mere-O” set of posts for a while. Maybe I will.

          In all, I’m sorry you were disappointed, and grateful (more than you know) for the kind words at Mere-O. We used to have a lot of commenters who held us to a ridiculously high standard, and while they’ve trickled off over the years (or maybe I drove them away), I miss their voice and am very grateful that you took the time to provide some to me.




          1. Hey Matt, (I am a Matt as well, my last is Shedden)
            Thanks for hearing that I wasn’t trying to cut you down or be harsh, it is just the tone I heard on the radio show wasn’t the tone I heard on the blog and I was wondering if I was reading the blog correctly. It would have been better stated in a personal email but I don’t have one for you. Mere O represents the type of Christian thinking I disagree (although I don’t disagree that often) with but appreciate because it is smart, kind, and proposes good questions for what Christianity represents without being triumphalist. So thanks for hearing my words as a call to what I think is best about what the blog offers instead of a negative response to everything.
            As an aside I do think a desire to “win” the argument reminds me of these words form Rowan Williams about the desire the to be right “being subtlest mechanism of self-destruction and to cling to it in the face of grace is a thinly veiled self hatred and an offense to anarchic mercy of God.”
            But to be honest I get bored with blogs I agree with on almost everything.

          2. Matthew Lee Anderson January 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm


            No problem at all. Full disclosure: I have a pretty strong triumphalist streak (that goes well with my contrarian streak, since triumphalism is on the outs!) that tends to come out in person more because I get to hear people pushback immediately and engage in the dialectic. But I think it leads me into vice, so I do try to counteract it as much as possible in my writing.

            That Williams quote is a doozy. Where’s it from? I’ve been reading Lost Icons lately, and it’s lots of fun.

            And completely agree on getting bored with blogs you agree with. There’s a reason you don’t see many links to Christian blogs around these parts! : )


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