Expanding Imagination with Amy Oden


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The fifth and final muscle the church needs to strengthen in order to be fit, agile, and ready for God’s now is Expanding Imagination. Dr. Amy Oden teaches theology, the history of Christianity and spiritual formation. Her ability to combine deep theological thought with spiritual practice and bring ancient wisdom to inform contemporary life is not just relevant…her work is truly revelatory for the church today.

In this conversation, Amy connects imagination with the life and ministry of Jesus and the work of the early church. She invites us to see curiosity as a spiritual practice so we can have the discipline to explore what God might be imagining instead of moving too quickly into problem solving and resolution. Amy explores how hospitality is connected to expanding imagination and the gift of science in giving us awe and wonder. This conversation is packed with insight and inspiration for becoming more imaginative in your context!


  • “It takes discipline to withhold that really strong muscle that we’ve developed very well of jumping to resolution. But instead what spiritual practices do is help us stay in the unknowing, the not knowing, the not jumping into conclusions long enough to pay attention to what God is up to here.” -Amy Oden [22:16]
  • “When we pay attention to our bodies, God has given us this incredible gift of embodiment where God is often revealed. God speaks to us through our bodies, and that’s often where grief shows up. ” -Amy Oden [30:45]


  • [00:00] Intro
  • [00:50] Answering questions from listeners
  • [04:57] How to start exercising the muscles
  • [09:07] Meet Dr. Amy Oden
  • [16:34] How Expanding Imagination applies to the church
  • [21:04] What spiritual practices inform about curiosity
  • [23:50] At the table with the stranger and the other
  • [29:06] How it links back to grief
  • [33:03] What “all” means to Amy
  • [38:29] Outro


Visit Amy Oden’s website to find out more about her books and other recent podcast interviews.

Read Amy’s book “Right Here, Right Now: The Practice of Christian Mindfulness

Read more about the Five Muscles on our website and download a PowerPoint presentation to share with your leadership.

“God Has Work for Us To Do” music and lyrics by Mark Miller. Visit Mark’s website at markamillermusic.com or find him on YouTube at youtube.com/c/markismusic67.

This podcast is brought to you by the Leadership Ministry team at TMF and Wesleyan Investive. Leadership Ministry connects diverse, high capacity leaders in conversations and environments that create a network of courage, learning, and innovation in order to help the church lean into its God-appointed mission. For more information and to support Leadership Ministry, visit tmf-fdn.org/leadership-ministry.

41 episodes