Kiran Singh Sirah is the director of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee. He says his family is a mini United Nations as it is a huge mix of religions and ethnicities. He believes in the power of story to unite and to make for peace. He speaks with me about the power of stories, his Sikh religious tradition, and the exciting work of the International Storytelling Center.
Here is advice you don't often hear from clergy: never pray again! If you have ever wondered about the point (or pointlessness) of prayer, you'll find these friars to be fellow travelers. My guests, Aric Clark, Doug Hagler, and Nick Larson are Two Friars and A Fool (Twitter, Facebook) and have authored a book, Never Pray Again! Lift Your Head, Unfold Your Hands, and Get to Work! They encourage us to turn prayer into action and they speak candidly about their own struggles with the concept of prayer.
We are familiar with the War Pentagon on the Potomac. In Southwest Virginia a building is under construction that could be more powerful, the Peace Pentagon. Laura George, executive director of The Oracle Institute speaks with me about a fascinating new community that is "an advocate for peace and a vanguard for conscious evolution."
Author of Leaving Church and An Altar in the World, Barbara Brown Taylor takes us on a tour of the dark places in her latest lyrical book, Learning to Walk in the Dark. She explores real and metaphorical darkness and confronts the fear of that darkness. She urges us to feel around in the dark whether that darkness be grief, doubt, or the unknown and rather than light it up, be present with it. Join us on a journey in the dark!
Singer/songwriter/poet Carrie Newcomer has a new album A Permeable Life (Facebook). Accompanying her cd is a book, A Permeable Life: Poems and Essays. She spoke with me on Religion For Life about the cd, songwriting, what she has learned from her dog, spirituality, building community, and keeping hopeful! You'll love it!
I continue my conversation about the Book of Acts. This week I speak with Dennis Smith, New Testament Professor at Phillips Theological Seminary, chair of the Acts Seminar and co-editor of Acts and Christian Beginnings: The Acts Seminar Report. The Acts Seminar spent ten years analyzing the Book of Acts from an historical perspective. They made some important conclusions. Here is a top ten list! Bottom line: Acts is a second-century myth of Christian origins. They are ready to shake up scholarship and they invite critical response.
Is the Book of Acts in the New Testament history or myth? For the next two weeks I speak with the two co-chairs of the Acts Seminar, Joseph Tyson and Dennis Smith. For ten years the Westar Institute has evaluated the historicity of the Book of Acts. They have produced Acts and Christian Beginnings: The Acts Seminar Report. They have made some important conclusions. Here is a top ten list. This week I speak with Dr. Tyson of Southern Methodist University about his take on Acts and the Acts Seminar.
Charles "Chuck" Shingledecker cares about religion and about matters of faith. He cares so much that he is willing to engage in the honest searching tradition of apophatic theology. The fruit of this search is his book, Freedom to Doubt. He puts his inquiring mind to work doubting biblical stories and theological doctrines and shows that doubt, not fear, is the beginning of wisdom.
Fed up with the arrogance, intolerance, and absolutism of religion? Rev. Martin Thielen, pastor of the Cookeville United Methodist Church in Cookeville, Tennessee is too. But he says that is not what religion has to be. He makes the case for good religion in his latest book, The Answer to Bad Religion is Not No Religion: A Guide to Good Religion for Seekers, Skeptics, and Believers. Join us for a candid conversation about religion, good and bad!
Why is the South so religious? Why is it the Bible Belt? Do begin to answer that complex question we need to go back to Colonial times before the First Great Awakening. Dr. Thomas Little is associate professor of history at Emory and Henry College in Emory, Virginia and the author of The Origins of Southern Evangelicalism: Religious Revivalism in the South Carolina Low Country, 1670-1760. He spoke with me about the early history of religious revival in the South.