"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.
Rachel Held Evans is from Dayton, Tennessee, home of the Scopes Monkey Trial. It is certainly the Bible Belt. What happens when you grow beyond the beliefs of your church? Many follow a similar path to New York Times best-selling author, Rachel Held Evans. With wit and grace Rachel chronicles her journey of faith and doubt, leaving church and finding it again in her latest book, Searching For Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church.
I finish my three-part series on the "good" book with Jennifer Grace Bird. She teaches at Portland Community College and the University of Portland and has written a fantastic guide to the Bible, Permission Granted: Take the Bible Into Your Own Hands. She doesn't flinch from challenging the "bad" texts in the good book. More than a critique of the Bible, she encourages her readers to read the texts for themselves with a critical eye and not just accept it because it's what "the Bible says." You can disagree with the Bible. Permission granted.
In my second in a series of three on the Bible, world-renowned scholar on the historical Jesus, John Dominic Crossan returns to Religion For Life, to address one of the most troubling aspects of the Bible, the violence of God. How do we read and trust a book whose main character, God, is less ethical than most humans? His latest book is How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian: Struggling With Divine Violence from Genesis through Revelation.
David Felten, co-creator of Living the Questions, is also pastor of The Fountains in Fountain Hills, Arizona. He found himself under attack by fellow clergy who do not approve of his brand of Christianity. These clergy have used the op ed page of the local paper, newspaper advertisements, and expensive banners to campaign against David and progressive Christianity. David spoke with me about it as well as the strange times we are in regarding religious faith.