One of the most interesting (and entertaining) scholars with two Ph. D.'s, Robert M. Price, talks with me about three books: The Historical Bejeezus: What A Long Strange Quest It Has Been, The Amazing Colossal Apostle: The Search for the Historical Paul, and Preaching Deconstruction: Sermons Employing the Deconstructive Philosophy of Jacques Derrida and The Death of God Theology of Thomas J. J. Altizer. The question is: how critical can you go? Taking critical methods of interpreting scripture and turning over every dogmatic stone, Robert M. Price exposes Jesus and Paul as composite literary characters. If Jesus of the gospels is mythical all the way down and Paul's letters were written by a patchwork of authors, what is one to preach? Why the liberation of deconstruction, of course.
The murder of Trayvon Martin clinched the deal for Kelly Brown Douglas, Episcopal priest, and professor of religion at Goucher College. She decided she had to write a book about America's racism. She had to write about what it means to be a mother of a black male child in America. Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God defines a "kairos" moment for America. It is the time to name and dismantle the stand your ground culture.
He has been called "the most radical theologian in the world." Don Cupitt is a philosopher of religion and a former priest in the Church of England. He has written 50 books. His latest is Creative Faith: Religion As A Way of Worldmaking. He is the founder of the Sea of Faith Network. His philosophy in short? "He rejects all ideas of gaining salvation by escaping from this world of ours. "All this is all there is" he says and he now sees true religion in terms of joy in life and an active attempt to add value to the human lifeworld." It is an honor to have interviewed this great thinker.
The number of people not interested in religious institutions is rising. They are called the "Nones." Yet even though they may leave institutional religion behind many are still interested in spirituality and meaning-making. Margaret Placentra Johnston tells the stories of the nones who are on a quest for spiritual growth. Her book is Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Have Left Their Church Behind.
"Fierce" is not a word one would expect to associate with Mister Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. But Michael G. Long author of Peaceful Neighbor: Discovering the Countercultural Mister Rogers writes that Fred Rogers was a "fierce peacemaker" and his show that spanned over 30 years took on issues of war and peace, hunger, civil rights, and more. Dr. Long, professor at Elizabethtown College introduces us to a countercultural Mister Rogers on Religion For Life.
Hemant Mehta is the owner of the largest atheist blog on the web, The Friendly Atheist. He is the author of I Sold My Soul on eBay, The Young Atheist's Survival Guide, and The Friendly Atheist: Thoughts on the Role of Religion in Politics and Media. He talks with me about his story and his thoughts on religion in America. (By the way, you might enjoy an article I wrote for his blog!)
I welcome back Peter Rollins to discuss his new book, The Divine Magician: The Disappearance of Religion and the Discovery of Faith. Religion is a magic trick promising something at the end of the rainbow (eternal life, certainty, etc.) but the trick is that there is nothing there. The depth of faith is to embrace the world with all of its uncertainty.
Nicole Garcia is seeking ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. When that happens she will be the first transgender woman of color to be ordained in the ELCA. She speaks with me about her journey from male to female, her counseling practice, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the importance of queering the church. She was featured recently in a Religion News Service article, The journey of one transgender Latina in the church.
Nearly three years ago, Alex McNeill was on Religion For Life to discuss two journeys. His ordination to the ministry in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and his transition from female to male. Since then, Alex has become the executive director of More Light Presbyterians. He is the first openly transgender person to head a mainline Protestant organization. He talks about the steps he has taken on both journeys as well as next steps for justice for LGBTQ people in the church and society.
A sage once quipped: "Galileo put God out of a home and Darwin put God out of a job." In our modern understanding of the universe that requires no "supernatural shenanigans" to operate, is there "anything in the universe worthy of the name, God?" Nancy Ellen Abrams asks this question and suggests that there may be a way to speak of the reality of God. She returns to Religion For Life to discuss the concept of emergence and her latest book, A God That Could Be Real: Spirituality, Science and the Future of Our Planet.