If you liked the last five episodes, I think you’ll be stoked to hear this.
Quick (and Fun!) Announcement
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Hey guys, we’re still on a holiday break around here so I won’t keep you long, but I wanted to make a quick announcement that I hope you’re as excited about as I am. I started The Good List exactly a year ago today (January 1, 2020) to serve as a bright spot in your weekly listens to remind you that there is good in the world. And of course, I couldn’t have possibly predicted the year 2020 turned out to be. I think the year made it all the more important for us all to remember the good stuff that makes our lives just a bit better. And if you listened in near the end, you know that I ended 2020 talking with a dear friend of mine, Seth Haines, about looking at all these good things — as well as the harder things of life — through a sacramental lens.
Well, I won’t go into the details, but I heard from so, so, so many of you during those final five episodes with Seth about how much you loved them. Some of you told me it was the best thing you listened to in 2020, some of you sent handwritten notes telling me how much you needed this conversation, that it helped you make more sense of 2020, and I have to say on the creating side — for me and Seth — we both agreed that it was one of our favorite things we created in 2020. I think this conversation was something we ALL needed.
Behind the scenes, I had been wondering if there was something more here to share with you all — and I actually had been thinking about this since early fall. Seth and I, along with our spouses Amber and Kyle, love to talk about this idea of looking beyond what’s on the surface for what might be more real than we can see with our eyes, and Seth and I would frequently talk about this on Voxer. We’d also talk shop on Voxer about our work as writers, and we started to see this idea form — that maybe others wanted to join in on this conversation too — that perhaps others would want to grab a drink and sit with us at a table to talk about seeing the divine in the ordinary.
I won’t belabor the point… What started as a five-episode series called A Drink With a Friend is becoming something long-term. Seth is joining me here as a regular co-host of this podcast, and we’re changing the name to A Drink With a Friend, to illustrate the sacramental nature of so many good things in our ordinary, everyday lives — like joining a friend after a long workweek over drinks at the local pub or cafe to talk about the things that really matter. I think we all need this reminder these days, and so we’re inviting you to join us through this podcast.
Now, before I go any further, a few details you’re probably wondering: as a listener, you don’t need to do anything more than subscribe to this same podcast — the feed won’t change for you. On the back end, we’ll be adjusting things like the show’s name, description, and artwork, and it may take a few days for services like Apple Podcasts to register these changes, but they’ll eventually be there. Like always, the show is on Apple, Spotify, Google Play, Overcast, and beyond, wherever you already listen to podcasts. It’s the same feed.
You might also be wondering if the show’s topic is going to suddenly shift gears, and the answer is mostly no as well. And the reason is that from the beginning, The Good List has been about seeing beauty, goodness, and truth everywhere. Seth and I are still going to focus on that, and we’re even going to still share with you regularly the little things we’re enjoying that you can check out for yourself.
But our conversations will shift in that we’re going to peel back the layers of things and talk about what we think is really there. St. Ignatius of Loyola described sacramentality simply as “seeing God in all things,” and this is what we want to focus on because this is what we both want more of in our own lives.
In fact, here’s a quote from Seth himself, in his book The Book of Waking Up:
“Pleasure—what is it but a conduit to experience the goodness of God in the land of the living?
Pleasure—what is it but an icon, a portal meant to draw us into the life and love of God. This is the poor-man’s, working definition of the $10 word ‘sacramental.’ As Alexander Schmemann put it in his book Eucharist: Sacrament of the Kingdom, God’s creation has a certain sort of sacramentality. He wrote, ‘for the world was created and given to man for conversion of creaturely life into participation in divine life.’ In other words, God didn’t create pleasures for the fun of it; God created pleasure so our everyday lives would be filled with signs of the divine.”
So, on A Drink With a Friend, we’re going to intentionally recognize — and invite you to join us in recognizing — all of creation as a call to participate with the Creator, and then living into that call with gratitude. We’re going to explore the beauty, truth, and goodness of living, sharing how it draws us into something transcendent. And we want you in.
We also want to share more stories because we humans are hardwired to learn and love through stories. We hope to share some of our own stories, but also some of your stories, stories from our friends, and stories from the everyday people we bump into in our lives. As co-hosts, the show will regularly be me and Seth, but every now and then we also hope to invite another friend to the table to share a drink with us and share what’s on their mind. And finally — if there’s enough interest, we may also start an exclusive area for those of you who are super into this idea and want to dive more into conversation with us about what it means to live sacramentally, where we may give you a little more for deep-diving into this idea while also giving you space to safely ask hard and good questions and bring up things you’d like to ponder over with friends and drinks around the table. If this is of any interest to you, let Seth or me know and we’ll consider it.
So if you’re listening to this and you’re typically reluctant to change, all I ask is that you keep on listening to give the new format a chance. If you like me and how I think at all, I guarantee you you’ll probably also like Seth. He and his wife Amber are some of the finest people I know. We’ve gone to Italy together, we’ve visited their home in Arkansas, and they’re right there with all of us in the messy middle of life — working, praying, loving, wrestling, and just trying to figure stuff out.
Seth and I also both still very much want to hear from you! We want to feature your voices in the show still, sharing with all of us the beautiful, good, and true little things in your life that are making things better. So, please still call 401-684-GOOD to leave a short voicemail, telling us about that thing, habit, idea, or work of art you think we should know about. That’s 401-684-4663.
So guys, thanks so much for this first year of The Good List — it’s been a true blessing to me. And thanks already for staying along for the ride with A Drink With a Friend! Seth and I will be with you with a brand new episode to kick off your year next Friday. We’ll talk to you then.