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Evolutionary Love and Other Big Ideas — John Durham Peters and Terryl Givens
Evolutionary Love and Other Big Ideas — John Durham Peters and Terryl Givens

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It can be delicious sometimes to just sit and listen to two great minds musing on some of the great questions of life. Even when their conversations feel a bit beyond our grasp, they point to deeper realms and invite us to journey with them into a richer intellectual life.

That’s exactly what we have for you today. Two of the great intellectuals in the Latter-day Saint world, Terryl Givens and John Durham Peters, invite us to drop in on a conversation between good friends—a conversation that ranges across a variety of fascinating topics.

John Durham Peters (born 1958) is Professor of English and Professor of Film & Media Studies at Yale University. A media historian and social theorist, he authored the acclaimed book Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication. His other books include Courting the Abyss and The Marvelous Clouds.

Full Episode Transcript

Terryl Givens: Hello and welcome to another episode of Conversations with Terryl Givens, sponsored by Faith Matters. I am here with one of my beloved friends and an academic whom I just highly admire and love talking to because he has such a lively and engaging mind. His name is John Durham Peters. He’s the Maria Rosa Menocal Professor of English and Film-

John Durham Peters: Menocal. It’s Cuban.

Terryl Givens: [crosstalk] Oh, okay.

John Durham Peters: Yeah.

Terryl Givens: [inaudible] Professor of English and of Film and Media Studies at Yale. That’s fairly recent, right? You’ve been there just a few years. You came from-

John Durham Peters: Four and a half years. Yep.

Terryl Givens: Four and a half years, that long. Came from an endowed chair at Iowa. We can’t seem to arrange ourselves so that we’re on the same half of the continent at the same time but he’s… Well, as I’ve mentioned, expert in media studies. You’re quite prolific. You’ve written a number of books, some of which I have read more thoroughly than others. I myself was deeply influenced and moved by, I think it was your first book, 1999, Speaking into the Air, a kind of history of communication, but a lot more interesting and engaging than that category can sound to some people outside of media studies. Then you did another one, Courting the Abyss?

John Durham Peters: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Terryl Givens: That was a few years later. Then you did The Marvelous Clouds which got a lot of fanfare for its ambitious history of everything that you’ve managed to [inaudible] within the rubric of media. Then most recently, just last year, you did Promiscuous Knowledge which you kind of co-wrote with your friend, Kenneth Cmiel. I’m working my way through that one but it’s-

John Durham Peters: Really?

Terryl Givens: Yes, I am.

John Durham Peters: Wow. You’re in a rare group.

Terryl Givens: And it’s…

John Durham Peters: Do not publish a book in March 2020.

Terryl Givens: Yeah. Well, one would’ve thought maybe that people didn’t have anything else to do except read during these days of COVID. So we’re going to be talking today about a range of topics. You are generally referred to, in reviews, as a polyglot. Your media studies, you kind of do intellectual history, you do some philosophy, you manage to weave theology.

John Durham Peters: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Terryl Givens: Into much of what you do and so I’m hoping to maybe intersect with many of those boundaries today.

John Durham Peters: Mormonism contains all truth.

Terryl Givens: There you go.

John Durham Peters: [crosstalk] as a teenager with Brigham Young and I thought, “Let’s do this thing.”

Terryl Givens: Yeah. Well that’s one thing I love about your interview style. I’m thinking, for example, the LA Times review, which was a quite extensive review of your book The Marvelous Clouds, and the way you introduced Mormonism and Mormon theology into the conversation, it’s never gratuitous, it’s never forced or evangelistic. You have a very sincere and well-rooted way of seeing Mormon theology as interconnected with so many other disciplines and ideas. I noticed that in the LA Times and elsewhere, they often don’t pick up the ball and run with-

John Durham Peters: Right? Yeah. They don’t.

Terryl Givens: They just pass that over in silence and go on to the next question.

John Durham Peters: Is that a lateral? No, that was a fun ball.

Terryl Givens: Gee, there’s so many places we could start for our point of departure but I’m going to just pick one kind of arbitrarily, can I do that?

John Durham Peters: Go ahead.

Terryl Givens: That comes out of your LA Times interview and-

John Durham Peters: LA Review of Books. Yeah.

Terryl Givens: I’m sorry. LA Review of Books.

John Durham Peters: No worries. Yeah.

Terryl Givens: A theme that you tend to go back to occasionally, I think this was an important part of your Speaking into the Air, was an attempt to kind of demystify or deromanticize a lot of our ideas about the past in that book about communication and interrelatedness and romantic love. You kind of come back to that theme in this recent book, in so far as everybody’s writing books about the technology glut and the information deluge, you set yourself apart by taking rather novel approaches to a tired theme and one way you do that is evident in these words. I’m just going to read a few sentences from your interview.
You say “The philosophy of technology is often infected by a romanticism that sees technology as a loss of an elemental relation to the cosmos that we tend to be diluted with conceptions of original purity.” And then you ask, “Why would we want to go back to Eden? Living in a world rich with objects and subjects is a step forward, an opportunity, especially if we embrace the covenants that moor our sometimes errant ship. Here, my Mormonism,” you say, “with its materialist metaphysics, media-friendly theology, affirmation of this worldly embodiment is a step toward divinity and rigorous sense of responsibility for choice surely shines through my philosophy of technology.”
I’d love to hear, I’ve read right a good bit on it, but I’d love to hear you talk about this a bit more for our audience because you’re not infatuated with technology in the way that many of the millennials are just kind of addicted to it. So what do you mean? How might we reevaluate our relationship to technology and its role in our lives?

John Durham Peters: Great, great question. You know, the epigraph to The Marvelous Clouds is Alma 37:6, which I don’t know if anybody… It’s also an epigraph from Emerson. There are two epigraphs from my two favorite books from the 1830, basically. You know, God works by means. Means are media. What would it mean if we took seriously the idea that God uses techniques or technologies? For me, this contrast is important, actually, because I do think that technique is something which is primordial in human being and perhaps divine being that we need help, that we’re materially embedded in environments. We are placed in that sphere to act freely.
From section 93, “Why wouldn’t a divine life also be one of means?” Technology, I think, is something different because it necessarily implies a kind of gadget, a kind of material quality. This is why in chapter 2 of that book, The Marvelous Clouds, they talk about whales and dolphins who are presumably highly intelligent and presumably full of techniques, of politicking and singing and raising families and ethics and so on, but without technologies because their world prohibits any kind of engineering, any kind of infrastructure engineering. So yeah.

Terryl Givens: Part of what you’re doing is you broaden definitions in a way.

John Durham Peters: Yeah.

Terryl Givens: Sometimes people push back, right?

John Durham Peters: Yeah, absolutely.

Terryl Givens: Like The Marvelous Clouds. Nobody thinks of clouds as a form of media and so, correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that what you’re doing is to say, well, there are at least two different ways that meaning can be constituted. One is through intentionality, kind of system of signs we engage in self consciously, but that other natural phenomena, we also interpret because they have meanings. They are pointers [crosstalk] to other realities.

John Durham Peters: Right? Yeah. We can read that which was never written. I mean, there’s a lot to read out there. Books are written but so are clouds, so are leaves, so is the history of the cosmos.
You know, Charles Sanders Peirce is a thinker who’s very important to me and he talks about continuity in which he basically thinks there’s a continuity of intelligence from what he calls slime-mold or, in other words, protoplasm up to God. And this just resonates very, very deeply with me, maybe it’s reading Orson Pratt as a teenager but it’s sort of panpsychist idea that objects are imbued and alive with intelligence, and that the whole world is sort of… I mean, this is Vault of [inaudible] metaphor but the whole world is mute because of the fall. It should be singing but we still have to figure out how to translate it. You know, we have to understand how to read the cosmos and that this is part of our… Section 88 is full of this kind of suggestion, of course. You know, that the earth rolls upon its wings.

Terryl Givens: Yeah. And there’s been a striking turn in this direction, hasn’t there? On the part of philosophers and cosmologists and theorists of consciousness. I’m thinking of Thomas Nagel, I’m thinking of Stuart Kauffman and others who are suggesting that matter seems to follow certain principles of self-organization.

John Durham Peters: Yeah.

Terryl Givens: That there seems to, if not fully sentience or consciousness, but there is some kind of intelligence at work that seems to be moving in the direction of always greater intelligence, a greater kind of [crosstalk] these elements.

John Durham Peters: Peirce’s great word is ‘evolutionary love’ which is a direct attack upon the kind of social Darwinist or social [inaudible] Spencerian, sorry, this is all… I’m teaching a class in the 19th century next semester so this is all in my head, but the kind of brutal reading of Darwin, Peirce says, “No, let’s think about evolutionary love. Let’s think about the highest achievement of evolution as thirdness, as connection, as interpretation, connection, love.

Terryl Givens: That kind of corresponds rather nicely with certain ideas in the King Follet discourse, right?

John Durham Peters: Very much so.

Terryl Givens: That’s the point of the song. So tell me, how does your project, how is it influenced by and how is it different from the kind of 19th century project of natural theology that also wants to read all of creation as kind of emblematic of God and his nature?

John Durham Peters: Yeah. Such a good question because I’m torn somewhere between someone like Charles Babbage who has this amazing treatise, theological treatise from 1838 in which he basically says that the whole universe, even the air, is a library of everything that’s ever happened. He’s been reading… He’s buddies with Laplace, the mathematician, and he believes in infinitesimal vibrations and such that if we could travel fast enough and far enough, we could reconstruct the [foreign language] Missions. It’s his idea that we could reconstruct everything that happened. So Babbage on the one side, Herman Melville on the other side with Moby-Dick in which it’s sort of… You know, the universe may have a meaning but who’s the person in that novel who really wants to figure out what the universe means? It’s Ahab. It is a sort of frantic, manic quest and he thinks he’s got it figured out and that there’s a kind of looming malevolence in the cosmos embodied in the white whale.
And Ishmael, the narrator of Moby-Dick, of course is much more agnostic. That agnosticism seems really quite appealing in many ways. I mean, it’s Alma with [inaudible] The Alma’s evidences which he offers are not ones which are totally binding, they’re ones which require the will and the interpretive fortitude or the interpretive will, I guess is the right word, of the reader. So yeah, I guess I’m stuck somewhere between the universe singing out in all of its glory and the sort of ultimate breakdown of our ability to read it well.

Terryl Givens: Yeah. Let me see if I can pull a couple of these threads together to pose another question. It seems to me like Emerson is a profound influence on…

John Durham Peters: Absolutely.

Terryl Givens: Your thinking as well. And I’m thinking too of what I thought was, in his essay on nature, a brilliant kind of critique of this false dichotomy between nature and civilization, right? Are we doing anything different when we build a skyscraper than a beaver is when it builds its lodge, right? So there’s kind of collapse of those polarities which is also related to his critique of faux primitivism, this sense that we want to get back to this pristine purity before civilization just spoiled it.

Now I want to see if I can put this into a kind of theological context because it seems that part of what you’re resisting here is a kind of typically Calvinist outlook on life as a kind of undeviating declension from a primordial innocence. It seems to me that you’re combining both a kind of evolutionary outlook with a kind of Mormon, forward-looking, theosis-oriented modality to suggest that we… And I don’t want to put words in your mouth because I’m all, you know.

John Durham Peters: Yeah.

Terryl Givens: It’s already pretty well-known that this is part of my project, but would I be correct in saying that part of what you’re trying to do as well is to divest us of a Protestant overlay to the way we read history that you think works in negative ways?

John Durham Peters: Yeah. There is no primal purity. We come into the world technical beings, social beings, connected beings so the idea… I’m still thinking about Calvinism and if that fits or not, and I’ll give a historic meaning, a brief historical point.

I went on my mission in the Netherlands. I spent part of it in deeply Catholic territory and the typical answer we would get when we knocked on people’s door was [foreign language] which means something like “I’m Catholic so go away” and we were appalled. This was our sort of Mormon Protestantism coming through, that they wouldn’t know or care about their theology, that they wouldn’t see this as the kind of literate intellectual project.
But then I got transferred to the Calvinist zone and this was really, really intense and I didn’t know which one I liked better or liked worse. The other thing I was going to say is one of my favorite authors is a Calvinist. You probably like her too, Marilynne Robinson.

Terryl Givens: Oh, absolutely. Yeah.

John Durham Peters: And so her project-

Terryl Givens: She’s not really a Calvinist.

John Durham Peters: She says she’s a Calvinist but her whole point is try to redeem puritanism from its slur of being anti-worldly, anti-natural, anti-embodied, anti-pleasure. These categories are tricky but I lose interest really fast when I hear people cringing about “Why can’t we just go back to Eden?” I just have this reflex that I can’t stop myself.

Terryl Givens: Well, there’s another interesting theological intersection here that I think you’re contesting. We have an Article of Faith that talks about… We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive church, right? I’d much rather talk about we believe in the same impulses and inclinations that existed in the primitive church. I think those are far more important but we tend to overread that Article of Faith, don’t we? And so that’s part of what creates not just a sentimental but a theological nostalgia for a past that never existed.

John Durham Peters: Right.

Terryl Givens: Because the church wasn’t as full-blown and developed. You know, my favorite contemporary theologian is probably David Bentley Hart.

John Durham Peters: Really? Interesting.

Terryl Givens: He can be incredibly caustic.

John Durham Peters: Yes, he is Mr. Caustic.

Terryl Givens: Yeah. All theological values matter to him except kindness. But he’s written recently on this theme where he says we have to move beyond this… In fact, I just happened to have this. I posted on my wall. I like it so well so can I just read some of this and then have you comment on this?
He said, “The configuration of the old Christian order is irrecoverable and in many ways that is for the best, but the possibilities of another perhaps radically different Christian social vision remain to be explored and cultivated in its first…” He says, “Christian thought can always return to the apocalyptic novum of the event of the gospel in its first beginning and drawing renewed vigor from that inexhaustible source, imagine new expressions of the love it is supposed to proclaim to the world and new ways beyond the impasses of the present.”
See, it seems to me that when Joseph Smith uses the word ‘restoration’ and to this day, you find many religious historians who categorize Mormonism as a restorationist tradition, right? In the tradition of Campbell and Stone and others.

John Durham Peters: Right.

Terryl Givens: And I think nothing could be further from the truth because typical restorationism was all about reduction. We go back, we strip, we refine, and Joseph Smith was, “No, we go forward. We expand. We add.” And so I’m just happy to hear you express these kinds of thoughts because it seems to me to give added emphasis to the need to shift our focus forward rather than backward in these nostalgic ways.

John Durham Peters: Yeah. Nostalgia is a trap, isn’t it?

Terryl Givens: Yeah. It is and it can be paralyzing and it’s counterproductive, I think, to the project of a continuing restoration.

John Durham Peters: Right. My favorite absurd example is Nephi in the tower in Helaman which he says, “If I could only have lived in the days of Lehi and Nephi.”

Terryl Givens: Yeah.

John Durham Peters: Come on. He obviously didn’t read the text or didn’t read it very well.

Terryl Givens: Exactly.

John Durham Peters: Maybe he didn’t have access to the small plates. I don’t know.

Terryl Givens: Well, it seems to me there’s a parallel theme here too that has to do with how exactly do we envision that future? It seems that as Mormons were kind of caught between Scylla and Charybdis because on the one hand we look back and we get all nostalgic and sentimental, and we look forward and we get all apocalyptic.

John Durham Peters: Yeah.

Terryl Givens: And horrified by the specter of this destruction. You’ve written that you think we may need to rethink exactly what our vision of the end time, the endgame should be so can you talk about that?

John Durham Peters: Yeah. There are a couple directions I want to go because in the past year and a half, we’ve all been involved in reckonings of various kinds in which you have a kind of reverse nostalgia in which we’re able to us see the past as a kind of iniquitous DNA which continues to determine us. That’s something I’d be interested in thinking about a bit.

In the book that I’m trying to write but not really writing, it’s about weather and it’s about climate and one of the questions is, are there other ways of thinking about climate change besides the apocalyptic? Because apocalypse, as you well know, is a literary genre which comes together with certain kinds of expectations and themes in the same way that the genres we tend to use for thinking about the future tend to be apocalypse or especially the future of climate change or pastoral or tragedy. Could we think comedy? Comedy’s about regeneration and The Marvelous Clouds does end with the kind of dark comedy in saying that we humans may not exist anymore but the planet’s going to keep chugging. Whatever happens, there’s going to be some kind of new forms of life. The cockroaches are going to survive. They can survive anything.

What are the genres we can use to think about the future and what are the theological tools that we have to think about really complicated pasts? Because this nation and this church has been doing a lot of work to think about its past and I’m not sure that we’re always doing it very productively.

Terryl Givens: Yeah. Well, this may take us down a detour. We don’t want to go but you raised, in my mind, the question of transhumanism. It’s been noted by more than one person that Latter-day Saints seem to be the only religious denomination that is represented to a significant degree among humanist communities and organizations. For those who don’t know what we mean by transhumanism, maybe you could go ahead and fill in a definition there but I’m just wondering, with the kind of revisionist, appreciative approach you take to technology and media, how would you identify yourself relative to transhumanist kind of [crosstalk]

John Durham Peters: I think I’m skeptical because… Not that I understand it well enough. I was invited to speak at one of their conferences in [inaudible] Cancelled because of COVID. But I think finitude is absolutely essential and mortality is a gift. And as I understand transhumanism, it’s that we should mobilize the wonderful tools that we have, whether to prolong or even find eternal life, and death we have to kind of embrace.

The Marvelous Clouds ends with Socrates, Jesus and Confucius as my three heroes, all of whom refused to write, all of whom refused a certain kind of technology, a technology of prolongation, of extension of life, and nonetheless lived on because of the work of their disciples. Their message was all “Don’t fear death.” This may not be fair to transhumanism and Tamara Kneese and my son Benjamin Peters have actually written a really interesting piece about Mormon transhumanism so they know more.

Terryl Givens: Okay. Well, what you’ve said just brings to mind another marvelous, provocative statement of yours, just happens to be absolutely apropos what you just said. You said, “Many have written on the danger of cognitive deterioration.” We’re so reliant now on forms of technology, we don’t have to learn much for ourselves. Google is an extension of the brain, and then you say, “But something more insidious, a kind of existential deorientation is at work in which presumptions of universal storage alter our relation to loss and death.”

You remind me, in saying that, of a statement made by an atheist friend of mine once. We were talking, in collegial conversation, about the possibility of life after death and he said, “Well, I think that one has to believe in the absolute finality of death to give any value to the life that is bookended.”

John Durham Peters:Yeah.

Terryl Givens: I see there’s a kind of logic to that and yet I wonder, does anybody really believe that?

John Durham Peters: Really? There’s Martin Hagglund up there. ‘This Life’ makes that precise argument. I don’t know if you know this book. My Yale colleague.

Terryl Givens: I don’t. Well, you seem to be not going quite that far.

John Durham Peters: No.

Terryl Givens: But you’re saying something like that, something that approaches that in that there’s the necessity to recognize our finitude.

John Durham Peters: Right.

Terryl Givens: In a way that puts more value on the transient and the provisional, is that right?

John Durham Peters: Absolutely. Who knows what’s beyond the grave. I love walking around cemeteries, there’s a lot in New Haven, and finding funny gravestones. I found one that said “Stone”, I found one that said “Mortel”, but my favorite one was one that said [foreign language] If you pronounce the way… It wasn’t exactly two words in German but, in German, that means “Who knows.”

Thomas Hobbes said famously that “The gravestone is the ultimate philosopher’s stone.” [inaudible] of course said, “Let’s not think about death. Let’s think about birth.” A kind of great feminist or protofeminist rejoinder to the boy philosopher’s obsession with death. But there’s something sweet about finitude, I mean, there’s that old Scott Card story about the aliens who come around and hang around cemeteries because they find it so beautiful that these mortals can die because they’re stuck, they can’t die.

Terryl Givens: Yeah. Let me shift gears just a little bit. We have just a few minutes left and I want you to speak what I thought were some of your more profound and transformational insights, in terms of the way they affected my relationships that come from Speaking into the Air. It’s where you demythologize romantic love.

As a young starry-eyed teenager or post-teenager, I always thought there was something beautiful about the Latter-day Saint conception of eternal marriage that posited in Erastus Snow’s vocabulary, a kind of existential, combinatorial essence that you come to constitute as a man and woman. You become a new being, not beings. That notion of becoming completely one, completely united probably wasn’t the healthiest way in which to [crosstalk] a marriage relationship because one of the other has to submit, right? You give a very different account of love across difference. Can you just say a few things about that?

John Durham Peters: Yeah. In some ways, marriage itself done right is the great critique of romantic love because it takes you to something better. I love the word ‘cleave’.

Terryl Givens: Yeah.

John Durham Peters: Cleave means to divide and it means to join, and I think that’s the great word for marriage because it’s precisely, it’s the scandal of difference which can seem so agonizing when there’s some kind of misunderstanding. It can seem like this eternal gulf between hearts and the poets have been lamenting that forever but on the other hand, what a cacophony it would be if we had to listen to each other’s half-baked thoughts before they were filtered through language and reflection and reason and kindness and so on. So this idea that telepathy, a kind of instantaneous fusion of our hearts would be a good thing? No, thank you. I don’t want my stupid, unfiltered thoughts… It’s hard enough.

James is great on this. The Book of James, that the tongue is so unruly. I’ve said stuff which were not properly filtered and I’ve lived to regret it in marriage and in other ways. If I didn’t have that shield of processing my being through the materiality of embodiment and language and existence and time, and the household flow and all the things that we’re engaged in, that makes marriage much richer, rather than dreaming of a Vulcan mind meld. Heaven forbid, I don’t want Dr. Spock extracting, mining all of my deep, dark thoughts.

Terryl Givens: Yeah. Well, as long as you call that a sentimental view of love and not a romantic view of love, and you mean romantic in the colloquial sense, because in romanticism itself, there’s this interesting critique of that that I think underlies the prevalence of the theme of incest, right? It’s as if what they’re saying is if you keep projecting yourself onto the other, that’s ultimately what you’re tending towards. You see it in Mary Shelly, and you see it in Lord Byron, and you see it in [crosstalk].

John Durham Peters: You do.

Terryl Givens: You see it everywhere.

John Durham Peters: You do.

Terryl Givens: So I don’t know if they were conscious of that but at some level I think they were saying, “No, difference is essential to this healthy-”

John Durham Peters: I mean, Hegel and his phenomenology. You might remember this passage when he is saying that “The love of brother and sister is the highest form.”

Terryl Givens: No.

John Durham Peters: Because it lacks desire.

Terryl Givens: Right.

John Durham Peters: Because there is no desire there and then he starts tripping on Antigone, of course, which was the great drama of the 19th century. Oedipus is the great drama of the 20th century. It’s clear that the romantics are actually much smarter than we give them credit for being. They’re the ones who recognize that it’s all breaking down and they make poetry out of it. That’s the great lesson. You discover breakdown. You don’t mope.

Terryl Givens: Yeah.

John Durham Peters: You make poetry. You write an ode to dejection. You just don’t go moping around. You do something with it. That’s a lesson for us as married or as humans connected with other humans. Marriage is maybe the most intense form but certainly not the only.

Terryl Givens: Right. Well, I love your image of difference is what creates the gap across which the spark can ignite. That became really pivotal so thank you for that.

John, do you have any concluding thoughts before we wrap up, anything that we’ve left unsaid that you wish we had addressed?

John Durham Peters: I want to talk about the constitution.

Terryl Givens: All right. If we get cut off [inaudible] but let’s give it a try. I think we’ve got five minutes left.

John Durham Peters: A member the bishopric invited me to give a talk, essentially the 4th of July talk the last Sunday of June on the constitution and assigned me some reading from President Oaks. There are a bunch of discoveries but the main discovery was we officially believe the constitution to be an inspired document, and yet the constitution was a profoundly flawed document.

Terryl Givens: Right.

John Durham Peters: Because it endorsed slavery. It actually awarded money via taxation and representation to slave states. It excluded women from voting. So race and gender, two of the great sins that our nation has been involved in and yet, how do we recognize that to have been inspired? I think this discovery that inspiration does not preclude imperfection which may not even be a strong enough word, like grotesque, abuse, there’s no other word for slavery. How could that be inspired?

And I think that to me is a really rich way of kind of applying an atonement theology to think about history and the crimes of history. I recently read Isabel Wilkerson, Caste, which is a very compelling read but all of her metaphors are determinist. It’s DNA, it’s botanical. Whatever happened with slavery is still happening now. It’s compelling but I also think that there are other ways of thinking about the past as amnesty without amnesia, to use the famous words of Adam Michnik, the Polish journalist and political theorist.

There are lots of directions we could go. We don’t have time but I think this is quite fruitful in terms of thinking about the church’s very complicated racial, racist past.

Terryl Givens: Right.

John Durham Peters: I don’t know, we can book another conversation.

Terryl Givens: Okay. Maybe we’ll do that because the comment that you’ve made in passing deserves an hour itself is how this ties to the atonement and that the atonement can substantively change the past.

John Durham Peters: [inaudible]

Terryl Givens: That’s the whole infinitude of, it seems to me, the atonement as it has-

John Durham Peters: It changes the past and it [inaudible] the future. We think of the future as open-ended, we think of the past as fixed, and the atonement flips that. That’s one of the many marvels of it.

Terryl Givens: Right. Well, John, I’m definitely going to have you back.

John Durham Peters: Okay.

Terryl Givens: Appreciate it.

John Durham Peters: Maybe in person, who knows.

Terryl Givens: I hope so. Thanks so much for spending your time with us today.

John Durham Peters: Well, it’s a real pleasure. Thanks for such great questions and kind words, and thanks for the great work you’re doing.

Terryl Givens: Thank you.

Aubrey Chaves: Thanks so much for listening. We hope that you enjoyed this conversation with Terryl Givens and John Durham Peters. As always, if Faith Matters content is resonating with you and you get the chance, we would love for you to leave us a review on Apple Podcast or whatever platform you listen on. We read every review and so appreciate the way it helps us to get the word out about Faith Matters. Thanks again for listening and remember, you can check out more at

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