Joseph Baker is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at East Tennessee State University. His latest book, American Secularism: Cultural Contours of Nonreligious Belief Systems, co-authored with Buster G. Smith, explores the rise of secularity in the United States. Why are more and more people identifying as "non-religious" and what are the forces shaping this change? Religion and secularism from a sociological point of view.
Mary Pflum Peterson is an Emmy Award winning producer for Good Morning America. She is a driven, highly successful television professional and former reporter for CNN. Her childhood, however, was complicated. Her mother suffered an emotional breakdown and took solace in hoarding, filling the house with "treasures." The bond that held mother and daughter was symbolized by the white dresses that marked important milestones in their lives. She tells her powerful and important story in White Dresses: A Memoir of Love and Secrets, Mothers and Daughters.
Eric Elnes is a minister in the United Church of Christ at Countryside Community Church in Omaha, Nebraska and author of Gifts of the Dark Wood: Seven Blessings for Soulful Skeptics (and Other Wanderers). He is also the author of The Phoenix Affirmations: A New Vision for the Future of Christianity. He hosts a webcast called Darkwood Brew. He spoke with me about seven gifts we find in the Dark Wood of our lives.
Val Webb is a theologian and scientist from Australia. She is the author of nine books including her latest Testing Tradition and Liberating Theology: Finding Your Own Voice. She returns to Religion For Life to speak with me about the importance of being critical of theological creeds and finding your path.
Jeffrey Robbins is Chair and Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania. He is the author or editor of eight books. He is a Westar Fellow and a member of the new "God and the Human Future" Seminar. He along with Thomas Sheehan will be at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Beaverton, Oregon, November 6-7 to discuss God, Christianity, and the Human Future. In this candid conversation, Dr. Robbins talks about the "problem of God" and his upcoming book, Radical Theology: A Theological Method for Change.
Martin Winiecki is the coordinator of the Institute for Global Peace Work in Tamera, Portugal. Terra Nova is a movement, a school, a community, and a vision for a world at peace. He speaks with me about the community and the book he helped translate from German by Dr. Dieter Duhm called Terra Nova: Global Revolution and the Healing of Love. Martin is on a nationwide tour to promote this vision of holistic "system change – environmental stewardship; establishing new paradigms for love, sexuality, and partnership; inner peace work; and global peace work" and will be in Portland Saturday, October 24th for a presentation.
Jerry Coyne is a professor in the department of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago. He specializes in understanding the origin of species. In addition to numerous scientific papers and his scholarly book in his field, Speciation, he is the author of the popular book, Why Evolution Is True. His most recent effort to communicate to popular audiences about science is his latest book, Faith Vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible.
Peter Watson is an intellectual historian and the author of fifteen books on the history of ideas. His latest book is The Age of Atheists: How We Have Sought to Live Since the Death of God. He traces the history of atheism from Nietzsche to Dawkins. His book is a fascinating tour of poets, artists, philosophers, and others who have sought meaning in the midst of life without God.
Ryan Bell, a former Seventh Day Adventist Pastor, tried an experiment. What would life be like if he spent a year without God? He blogged about his adventure at Year Without God. He talks about that year, what he is doing now, and his new podcast, Life After God. Ryan is the third in my three-part series on pastors who have left the ministry and the church's beliefs behind.
In the second of my three-part series on ex-ministers, I speak with Pat Green. When the ministry ended for Pat due to his commitment to same-gender marriage, he left the church and scrambled to find work. He ended up driving a taxi in the Chicago area. That is where his ministry became real. He blogged about his experience and has just finished a book, Night Moves: An Ex-Preacher's Journey to Hell in a Taxi.