Introductions: Angelina Burkholder, Tim Taylor and Michael Sapiro

It’s Season 1, Episode 001! Meet the hosts of the Living Uncommon podcast, learn about the purpose behind the project, and get a sneak peek at the conversations coming up in season one.

Episode transcript

Angelina: It’s interesting because in our office, there are very interesting conversations that happen out in like the general area, and even just in our small group, there’s a wide range of stances on different topics. Being able to bring it here and have it be a little bit more structured and kind of explore those topics with other people from the University, and potentially outside guests, I’m really excited for what’s to come.

Angelina: Welcome to the living uncommon podcast. I’m Angelina, and I’m here with Michael and Tim. We’re super excited to be here after months of planning and preparation. Before we get started, we just want to mention that all three of us work at Concordia University. We’re actually in the same department, and throughout this season, you’ll hear a lot of interesting viewpoints and a lot of different opinions. And, although we are sponsored and supported by Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor, everything that you’ll hear here is not intended to be official statements of the University. They’re just our own viewpoints, and we’re just interested in having conversations about what’s going on in the world and what it looks like for Christians to engage and to do that thoughtfully. So, let’s introduce ourselves. Why don’t you go ahead and start.

Tim: My name is Tim. I was born in South Carolina. I’ve lived in Southern California four times for very different reasons. This is my second time living in Wisconsin. The first time, I lived for a summer with my grandparents before we moved to Chicago.

Angelina: You’ve been all over!

Tim: I have. My mom and I have I’ve lived in every major region of the country except the Pacific Northwest. So, that’s been kind of interesting to get perspective on the country and kind of understand how different people think and interact.

That is one reason why this is the topic that’s near and dear to my heart, because when you’re within a particular region, you assume everyone thinks like you. It’s been interesting like living in different parts of the country and having some of those assumptions challenged. So, there’s that. I’m trying to think of something else.

Angelina: No, talk about your milk.

Tim: So, I feel like this is not really as big of a deal as it sounds, but my family and I, we do have milk delivered to us by a milkman in glass jars every other week. We also get butter, and sometimes eggs.

Angelina: See, I didn’t even know that that still existed until you mentioned that. So, I find that incredibly fascinating.

Tim: We have a cooler that they gave us for the privilege of a small phenomenal amount of money, and it’s amazing.

Angelina: So, you just put that outside?

Tim: We do, and they will come in depending on the weather, and they’ll just like drop off whatever we have in our order. And if it’s warm out, they’ll put in dried ice, which is kind of cool. So, yes, we get milk cuz we’re hipster localist kind of people.

Angelina: Hey, I think more people should buy local. I fully support it.

Tim: And it tastes better too.

Michael: Yeah, it does.

Tim: Yeah, I will say that I come from a long line of dairy farmers. Anyway, so, that’s enough about me. I’m married and have two daughters.

Michael: The name of your high school mascot?

Tim: I was home-schooled for large portions of my life, so I don’t claim a mascot.

Angelina: I was home-schooled for a total of one year.

Tim: How was that?

Angelina: I hated every minute of it. Which is really interesting because I’m a severe introvert. But, I hated being by myself.

Tim: I love that during home schooling, I would just do a whole day’s worth of school from like 8:00 and get done at lunchtime, and that was it.

Angelina: See, I don’t I didn’t have any motivation to do that. So, it was like April, and I had done like less than half a year’s of work. So, I had two months to just cram it all in.

Michael: So, we’re homeschooling my daughter right now, she’s six, and it’s fun. It’s a little challenging. She’s never experienced school, so she doesn’t know what she’s missing. But, there’s a new school that’s opening up here that’s outdoors the whole time, so it’s like six hours a day outdoor, and then like an hour or so in the classroom for lunch and whatever. Even in the winter time, you’re outdoors. It’s called place-based learning. We’ll see how that goes. It’s kind of cruel in some ways. I don’t know. Do you wanna be outside in Wisconsin? We’re very pale people, and it’s like I can’t be outside for ten minutes. She’s just like me, so, poor kid.

Tim: My dream was always to be in a library with as few people around me as possible with lots of great books. Like, that’s really the dream. Sometimes, over a lunch, I will retreat up to the library and read for a little bit to kind of recharge for the afternoon.

Michael: Tell us about yourself, Angelina.

Angelina: I am new to Wisconsin, so I’m experiencing Wisconsin winter.

Tim: Have you eaten a bratwurst yet? Do you know what a bratwurst is?

Angelina: I know what a bratwurst is.

Tim: I had a co-worker who went to Marquette, and she’s originally from Illinois. She did not have a bratwurst the entire four years of college. She’s a self-proclaimed tailgater. I’m just asking.

Angelina: So, I know what it is, but I have not had it here yet. Yeah, no, I don’t eat a lot of meat. We don’t eat meat at home. We try to cook at home most of the time, so the only time that we would, like, it’s not that we don’t eat meat. The only time we’d eat meat is if we go out and we want a burger, we’ll have one.

Michael: You’ve probably had a kringle.

Angelina: So many kringles!

Michael: For some reason, I think it’s funny you never heard of a Kringle before. If anyone doesn’t know what a Kringle is, it’s like a pastry you kind of fold it over.

Angelina: It’s pretty amazing.

Tim: It looks like a wreath kind of.

Michael: Yeah, it looks kind of like a wreath filled with jam.

Angelina: I started working at Concordia, and then, all of a sudden, there were kringles like every other week.

Tim: We’re very festive place. Have you had fried cheese curds?

Angelina: Yes

Tim: Have you had regular cheese curds?

Angelina: Yes

Tim: You can supposedly tell they’re fresh if they squeak. And, they really do squeak.

Angelina: I would have my mother-in-law get us someone. We would put in an order for Wisconsin cheese curds, even though we were down in Tennessee.

Tim: So, how did you get from Tennessee to Wisconsin? Well, why were you in Tennessee? I guess that’s the question.

Angelina: I didn’t want to move back home after I graduated from college. My home is northern Indiana. So, I’d interned down in Nashville for a summer, and really loved it, and my husband, then boyfriend, had also done a summer. So, we both had internships, and we loved it, and so we said, let’s move there after we graduate. Neither one of us had jobs, but had enough money to get by on a few months of rent. We started missing the Midwest and decided it would either be Wisconsin or Michigan, and we both got jobs in Wisconsin. So, I guess we’re moving to Wisconsin. And, it happened really quickly. It was like in a matter of months that we packed everything into a u-haul, and that’s me.

Tim: So, Michael, we know you have a daughter that you’re homeschooling and that you’re gonna expose the harsh elements to for six hours a day. Anything else you’d like to share about yourself?

Michael: I have a son who I think is psychopathic. He’s three. Yesterday, we were watching a green arrow cartoon, and green arrow is using a bow and arrow and shooting these bad guys, and my son has a toy gun, and he looks at me and he goes, “It’s not that complicated.” And, he holds up the gun and starts shooting it. It’s like, gosh, this kid is tough. It’s like, it’s Charles Bronson. Yeah, but anyway, I have those two kids.

My wife is very involved in local food too. Just how Tim is in to that. She runs farmers markets in the area. I was born in Wisconsin, but I lived in Minneapolis for about 13 years and in Iowa for three years. I got out of Iowa pretty quickly. No offense to people in Iowa. Actually, Iowa’s fine. I’ve been back here for about four or five years. In my past, I thought I was gonna play rock and roll music. I played in bands for awhile, and then I said “No, I think I’ll be a philosophy professor.” So, I went on that track for awhile. I studied in Switzerland for just a brief period of time, and then got much more interesting by going into marketing. So, now I’m in higher ed marketing.

Tim: I feel like up to the marketing department part you sounded kind of like Bono. You know you have like the whole musician thing, but then you have these sort of like philosophical thoughts like musings.

Michael: The bono of higher ed marketing. That’s gonna make people hate me more than anything.

Angelina: Speaking of the podcast…

Michael: Yeah, I mean, so the reason we’re having a podcast is because Concordia University is a pretty unique place. This podcast isn’t just about Concordia University, but it’s kind of about society right now and how people are supposed to live in society.

Angelina: It’s interesting because in our office, there are very interesting conversations that happen out in like the general area, and even just in our small group, there’s a wide range of stances on different topics. Being able to bring it here and have it be a little bit more structured and kind of explore those topics with other people from the University, and potentially outside guests, I’m really excited for what’s to come.

Michael: So, we have a Bible verse that has guided our podcasts.

Tim: So, we’re looking at Colossians 4:6, and it says, “Let your speech always be gracious and seasoned with salt so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” In today’s society, I think this verse just really stood out to us. As Michael alluded to, there’s just so much controversy in our society. It feels like everyone’s divided. It seems like there’s not really a place for, sort of thoughtful, discourse, where you’re really trying to understand somebody else and reach an agreement, but instead, there’s more of an inclination to be radical or say something outrageous, and probably some of that’s being fueled by social media where there’s a reward for standing out and saying something.

For me, thinking about this verse, and talking about being gracious, kind, and charitable, I think part of that is just recognizing that when God made humanity, he made us reflect him. So. just as we’re being charitable, we should be kind also.

The next part of that verse is “seasoned with salt.” I think, you know, there’s that aspect of salt being both a seasoning, but also a preservative. So, it’s as we’re being gracious and kind, there are aspects sometimes where you might have to say something that’s a hard truth to hear. And, it should be done in a kind and loving way. But, you know, it’s not just open arms and whatever, it’s all great. Sometimes, we do have to say no. This is what the Bible says, and this is a hard thing. We don’t feel comfortable necessarily saying it, but, you know, it’s what God has revealed. So, I think that this verse has a lot of implications and applications for this course today.

Angelina: I love the balance of the two because I think there are so many people who act like, you know, they live their lives in a way that’s really grace filled, and then there’s people who live their lives super salty. I love this verse because it brings it together. Like, you can’t have one without the other, and, just like what you were saying, you have to speak truth, and you have to do that with grace. You have to be full of grace, but you have to have that added layer of truth in there.

Michael: You kind of have to enter that dialogue assuming better intentions from the other and be reluctant to judge. I guess that is another way of entering into it. So, to me, it’s kind of like telling you how to approach, even before you begin speaking, it tells you how to approach that conversation. Also, I mean, the salt aspect of it is being able to give a reason for what you believe in and what you think. It’s not necessarily entering with an argument, but being clear-headed about who you are and what you think on some level. That’s going to be the verse that kind of guides us, and it’s foundational to a lot of the things we’ll be doing on this podcast.

Angelina: To give you a little bit of a preview of some of our upcoming shows, we’re gonna be talking in two weeks with Dr. Ferry about how do you create a culture of Grace in higher education. Dr. Ferry is the president of Concordia.

Michael: Yes, he is our boss ultimately.

Angelina: Concordia University is a really interesting place, and we’re really excited to have a conversation with him. And then, we’re going to be talking with some of our education professors about what does it look like to be a Christian educator today, and what should the priorities of those educators be. We’ll be having a really interesting discussion about the limits of free speech.We’ll be doing a little bit of talking about truth and does truth even matter, or what does truth even mean. We have some interesting conversations coming up, and we invite you to give us your feedback as you’re hearing episodes and even what your experience has been in these same conversations.

Tim: And, one way you can do that, or multiple ways, if you have questions or comments or feedback, or you want to know where you can get milk locally delivered in Wisconsin, you can reach out to us. We have a website, and we also are on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We will have links for all of those in our show notes, so you can find them easily. But, by all means, please reach out to us if you have any questions or comments, or if there’s a topic in the future that you feel really strongly, or you’re curious, about. Let us know! We’re always looking for ideas and good conversations,

Michael: And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that we are sponsored today by Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor and their online programs. So, there’s dozens of programs you can take through Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. Everything ranging from an MBA in innovation and entrepreneurship to a bachelor’s degree in theology. Maybe you’re a nurse and you want to get your DNP. There’s just dozens. So, do yourself a favor, and go to online.cuw.edu and just check out some of the options.

You know, I’ve worked in higher ed for a long time, and I’ve not seen online education necessarily done the way that Concordia does it. It’s just very human. I mean, people worry about online education being kind of cold and distant. You don’t really find much of a community. You know, you kind of miss that experience being in the classroom, and it’s definitely not like that at Concordia. From the groups that the students are in where they take prayer requests and lift eachother up and support each other, to they way the OSSAs, or online student success advisors, just work one-on-one with you. It’s a very unique experience. So, online.cuw.edu, if you’re thinking about doing an online program,or know someone who is, definitely go and check that out.

We look forward to sharing this podcast journey with you. We’re going to be releasing podcasts every two to four weeks. And the first one, as Angelina mentioned, will feature the president of Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor, Reverend, Dr. Patrick Ferry. Look for that to drop in two weeks. And, talk to you then.

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