Ryan and Phillip's Conversation Rules

We look at current events and trends and take a broad view of what those things mean to the Kingdom. We will attempt to answer the question: “Why should Christians care about this?” The answer to this question cuts both ways. Either it is a subject that Christians care too much about and shouldn’t, or don’t care enough about and should.
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Ryan and Phillip's Conversation Rules






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Now displaying: 2016
Jun 16, 2016

Stanford boy has Ryan and Phillip FIRED UP!

Here, they discuss the case that captured everyone's attention, they discuss the culture that exists that created such a miscarriage of justice, and (of course) the church's response.  

Jun 14, 2016

Ryan and Phillip post a special edition of Conversation Rules where we discuss the events in Orlando, and the way forward as we continue to minister to a community that is hurting.  

Jun 9, 2016

In late June, 500 spiritual leaders will engage in a listening session  with the Republican nominee.  The hope for the nominee is to get an endorsement.  The hope for the spiritual leaders is that their fears are addressed and mitigated.  This begs the question: does the simple action of crossing the threshold at Trump tower pose significant costs to the gospel.  Ryan and Phillip discuss.  

Jun 2, 2016

Ryan and Phillip welcome Kyle Simmons to the studios at 8120 to discuss the DC Talk Cruise and the overall state of Contemporary Christian Music.  We discuss the problems with CCM and the importance of honesty in art.

Kyle's T-shirt Company:  

May 26, 2016

Ryan and Phillip discuss George Zimmerman selling his gun on an auction site.  More importantly, they talk about how the previous support of Zimmerman by Christians is impeding the cause of uniting the Church.  Part of being wise is to be careful who we allow to speak for us.  


In segment three, we thank those in uniform for fighting for the freedom that allows us to host a podcast.  

May 19, 2016

Are Millennials the worst generation in history?  Is the future of the country and the church in capable hands?  Ryan and Phillip tackle generational studies and talk about how the next generation has more to offer than meets the eye. 

May 18, 2016

Phillip's quick convo giving Senate projections

May 12, 2016

In a complicated episode, Ryan and Phillip discuss the options available to us for president.  They detail on how both candidates have fatal flaws that they cannot overcome.

So what is the believer to do?  Is there a third option?  Is our lack of a vote for one candidate tacit support for the other?  At what point does the "lesser of two evils" argument no longer apply.  When is evil, simply evil! 

Get ready...this episode has some spice! 

May 11, 2016

As the drama starts to subside, Phillip talks about how fortunate Trump and Hillary are to have each other!

May 5, 2016

In this episode, we take a step back and discuss an article written by Jonathan Merritt.  Merritt discusses in the Atlantic what is extremism, what is Christian extremism, and what it means for the American church.  

May 4, 2016

Phillip's quick convo.  Post Indiana analysis and the presumptive nomination of Donald Trump.  

Apr 28, 2016

Outraged!  This seems to be the language of the day.  An outrageous event sparks, the news media sets the kindling, and social media fans the flame.  Anger is an emotion that we have been given by God.  There are times for righteous anger.  But at what point does our outrage become problematic?  

Apr 27, 2016

Phillip's solo quick convo segment where he breaks down the latest Super Tuesday election analysis.  Trump clean sweeps, and Hillary claims the title of "Presumptive Nominee".  

Apr 21, 2016

The American Church has produced the phenomena of the celebrity pastor. Some are travesties such as Creflo Dollar and the rest televangelist prosperity gospel movement. Some have experienced moral failures. Some are just a passing failure. What they all have in common is that they placed something else in front of Jesus as the most important thing. Ryan and Phillip discuss the important lessons to be learned from the celebu-pastor.

Apr 20, 2016

Introducting Phillip Larsen's Political Analysis. This is the inaugural episode. 

Apr 14, 2016

In this episode: Ryan and Phillip Feel the BERN!


More accurately, they discuss the Bernie Sanders phenomena, discuss the growing divide in the Democratic Party, discuss the misconceptions about Bernie’s policies, and try to explain why Bernie is still a viable contender for the nomination.


Moreover, they discuss why this matters. Are Bernie’s policies addressing issues that the church should already been involved in? What are the lessons of the “Feel the Bern” movement.

Apr 7, 2016

Ryan and Phillip discuss the Georgia, North Carolina, and other RFRA laws.


As the culture becomes apathetic to the gospel message, and the threat directed at religious liberty becomes more pronounced, what response can Christians take that ultimately honors the gospel.



Opening day of Baseball.

Mar 31, 2016


Analytics and Episode 1 revisit:


I have a podcast, so I get to wish my wife a happy birthday in public. She turns 26 again.


The evolution of Paul Ryan.


Phill: the first time I heard of Paul Ryan was in early 2010.

  • Obama goes to a GOP policy retreat and starts fielding questions.
    • By the way, Obama was invited…he didn’t just crash the party
    • For those who didn’t see it, it was intriguing theater. Obama is in front of the entire republican caucus and is taking questions.
  • I was working at a restaurant, so I was either off work that day, or I didn’t have to go in until later. So I watched all that I could.
  • One moment that elevated Paul Ryan from middle of the pack rank and file, to bonafide policy wonk is that Obama complimented him.
    • Obama to Ryan: “You’ve studied this stuff [budgetary policy], and take it very seriously”
      • In this statement, Obama calls Ryan the expert. Before this, I’m not sure you could have picked Paul Ryan out of a line up. 2 years and change later, Paul Ryan is the nominee for VP. 5 years later, Paul Ryan is Speaker of the House, and third in line for the presidency.
    • Paul Ryan was an ideologue
      • Being VP means that you are the designated attack dog.
        • Probably one of the best lines of his VP Debate:
          • “The president likes to say he has a plan. He has a speech.”
        • Paul Ryan was at one point an Ayn Rand disciple (Ryan Declarations from New York Magazine)
          • Who is Ayn Rand
            • Ultra libertarian novelist. Her work painted all government as corrupt and evil, and all private sector as benevolent and good. Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead are two of her works.
            • Rand’s work established the “makers” and “takers” rhetoric. That’ll be important in a moment.
            • Once was interviewed voiced her disdain for Reagan.
              • What do I think of Reagan. The best answer to give is that I don’t think of him. And the more I see, the less I think. The appalling disgrace of his administration is the connection to the Moral Majority.
            • Is a vehement atheist
              • Concept that altruism is immoral and selfishness is good.
            • The caricature of capitalism of the left is Ayn Rand who see everything (from people, to resources, to governments) as resources to be exploited for individual gain.
          • Ryan listed Atlas Shrugged of one of the books that he frequently re-reads.
            • Giving it out as Christmas presents, and made all of his interns read it.
          • His speeches frequently divided the country into “makers” and “takers”.
          • Ryan declared:
            • Rand’s thinking is “sorely needed right now”, because we are “living in an Ayn Rand novel.”
            • Ayn Rand, more than anyone else, did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism, and this, to me, is what matters most.”
          • Declared the Ayn Rand’s philosophies are the reason that he got involved in public service, saying that her philosophy inspires “almost every fight we are inivolved in here on Capitol Hill”
        • Paul Ryan now:
          • First, he has called foul on his own candidates a couple of different times. Which as Speaker of the House, calling out your own party’s candidates for being inflammatory is not something that happens every cycle. Perhaps it’s recency bias, but I can’t recall it every happening, and couldn’t dig up any research of this happening.
            • Called out the violence at the rallies.
            • Called for a focus on issues and not on rhetoric
            • Perhaps it a nod towards John Boehner falling on the grenade as he walked out the door, but Ryan’s congress has a lot less crazy coming out of it.
              • Of course we are coming up on the 6 month anniversary
            • Paul Ryan’s about face.


“But in a confident America, we aren’t afraid to disagree with each other. We don’t lock ourselves in an echo chamber, where we take comfort in the dogmas and opinions we already hold. We don’t shut down on people — and we don’t shut people down. If someone has a bad idea, we tell them why our idea is better. We don’t insult them into agreeing with us. We try to persuade them. We test their assumptions. And while we’re at it, we test our own assumptions too.

I’m certainly not going to stand here and tell you I have always met this standard.


There was a time when I would talk about a difference between “makers” and “takers” in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, and really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized I was wrong. “Takers” wasn’t how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, just trying to take care of her family. Most people don’t want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn’t castigate a large group of Americans to make a point.


So I stopped thinking about it that way — and talking about it that way. But I didn’t come out and say all this to be politically correct. I was just wrong. And of course, there are still going to be times when I say things I wish I hadn’t.  There are still going to be times when I follow the wrong impulse.”


  • Early on in this podcast, we lamented the lack of civility in the discourse. You didn’t see this, because…podcast…but when we talk about the tenor of the debate over the last decade…we begin to cry. It’s ugly…I’m not proud.
    • When we see a leader try to shift the debate, we want to applaud that person…especially if they have come around to team “facts matter calm voice”.
  • Social media has made us into narcissists. Politicians have been world class narcissists. We don’t like to admit we are wrong. Politicians especially don’t like to admit they they are wrong. So that is why this is such a big deal.
    • Because of Ryan’s history with Ayn Rand (who I think is an awful human), I’ve not always liked Paul Ryan’s policies and rhetoric.
      • This week, Paul began to walk that back saying that he was wrong and that he was sorry.
        • This is what leaders do.
      • Whether we are in leadership positions, strive for leadership, or want nothing to do with leadership, there are lessons that need to be pulled.
        • Leaders are not ideologues
        • Leaders are no demagogues.
        • Leaders look to bring people up
        • Leaders hold themselves accountable
        • Leaders apologize for their mistakes
        • Leaders seek to be honest brokers, deal makers, peace makers, truth sayers, and people who stand in the gap and meet opposition half way.
      • We live in a world where the screeching voice gets the airtime. In a place and point where serious issues need serious people to make serious decisions, let’s have more Paul Ryan.
        • We’ve said that we need statesman. Democrat, Republican, Whig, Bull Moose, doesn’t matter. Today, we want to point to Paul Ryan and say: This week, you were a statesman, and we applaud you!
Mar 24, 2016

Millennials and generational studies.


Apple and the FBI


Libel Laws and Trump



Declaration of Genocide, Just War, Refugees, Radicals, and the Christian response

  • State department finally declaring genocide
    • Criticism is justified. Genocide should have been declared a year ago.
  • The denying of refugees
    • People have been crying foul about ISIS since the start…but when it comes to actual action its: whoa, whoa, whoa…we need to be cautious.
  • Just war
    • The Right to go to war.
      • Is war justified?
        • Self-Defense
      • The Right conduct in war.
        • Is the conduct done within the conflict moral
      • Our military is made up of some of the greatest people…therefore we need to be extra cautious on sending them to every conflict.
      • War is a pro-life issue
        • Not about ISIS. Honestly, I don’t care about ISIS.
        • It is the collateral damage.
          • Today’s orphan is tomorrow’s radical.
            • Especially when we seemingly indiscriminately bomb certain areas with flying robots.
          • Undeclared genocide
            • World history is littered with “undeclared genocide”.
              • We tend to destroy the things that threaten our perceived power.
            • The legacy of invisible children.
            • If we are against evil, are we against evil everywhere.
              • Central and western Africa in in constant ebbs and flows of genocide, yet there are no public hearings addressing that.
            • This isn’t call of duty. Calling for “carpet bombing” and “seeing if the sand can glow”, and “knocking the hell out of ISIS” is going to cost people their lives…and not just the perpetraitors. American blood will be spilled.
            • Percentages of Americans who have served.
              • ~1.4 million people serving in the military. In a country of ~350 million, that equals ~0.4%.
                • Compare that to ~24% of men who served in WWII
                • We ask an awful lot from a scant few of the population.
              • The decisions we are making have no tangible consequence to our lives, because chances are, we know very few people who will have to sacrifice.
            • We are to love our enemies:
              • What does that mean?
                • Talking about loving our enemies is easy when it’s Bob from accounting who doesn’t like the way you dress.
                • What about ISIS?
              • Seeing Christ move in the despondency.
              • Just like today’s orphan is tomorrow’s radical, today’s refugee has the potential to be tomorrow’s brother.
                • Not going to start the conversation if they treated as pariahs before the conversation even starts.
                  • Hence the importance of moderating our words when talking about Muslims and refugees.
                  • The danger of straw man arguments, where we set up a caricature of a people group, and then pass it off as reality (i.e. all Muslims are terrorists)
                • The risk of dying from the sword isn’t a new proposition.
                  • Do we idolize our carnal security?
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