Conversation with Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann

July 11, 2018

My guest for this week’s podcast Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann.

Rabbi Lizzi catalyzed the founding of Mishkan Chicago, a new Jewish faith community that describes itself this way: An unconventional kind of community, a cross-community community, designed to enhance the Jewish landscape in Chicago and create a new way in.

Lizzi has received many honors because of her work including being a 2016-2017 Schusterman Fellow, a 2018 winner of the Lippman Kanfer Fellowship in Applied Jewish Wisdom and listed as one of the Top 20 Real Rabbis by

In our conversation, Lizzi reflected on the joys and challenges of founding of Mishkan and what it means to create a space for those who felt on the fringes of the Jewish community; what perseverance and resilience means for her and its connection to her faith; and the practices that keep her going.


Conversation with Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell & Jason Byassee

May 2, 2018

My guests for this week’s podcast Rae Jean Proeschold Bell & Jason Byassee.

Rae Jean and Jason have recently wrote the book, “Faithful and Fractured: Responding to the Clergy Health Crisis,” a book that seeks to answer the question why are pastors in such poor health and what can be done about it? Rae Jean is associate research professor of global health at the Duke Global Health Institute and the Duke Center for Health Inequalities and Jason is the Butler Chair in Homiletics and Biblical Hermenuetics at Vancouver School of Theology and the author of several books and a contributing editor to the Christian Century.

Jason and Rae Jean reflect on the unique vocation of being a pastor, the true joys of the job but also the distinct challenges that can lead to poor emotional, spiritual and physical health. This is a really good conversation not only for clergy but for those who work with and care for them.


Conversation with Lisa Sharon Harper

April 11, 2018

My guest for this week’s podcast is Lisa Sharon Harper.

Lisa is a prolific speaker, writer and activist and is the founder and president of, a consulting group dedicated to shrinking the narrative gap in our nation by convening forums and experiences that bring commonalities toward a just world. Ms. Harper is the author of several books, including The Very Good Gospel, recognized as the "2016 Book of the Year" by Englewood Review of Books, explores God’s intent for the wholeness of all relationships in light of today’s headlines.

This was a very open and honest conversation and Lisa shares her thoughts on numerous topics including the nature of shalom, her growing up in the conservative evangelical world, the 2016 election. I think I can safely say that when you’re done listening, you won’t ask yourself, what does Lisa really think?


Conversation with Olympian Brian Hansen

March 28, 2018

My guest for this week’s podcast is Olympic speedskater Brian Hansen.

Brian is a 3-time Olympian, including competing in the 1500, team pursuit and mass start events. Brian won an silver medal in team pursuit in 2010.  

We talked about his Olympic experiences, what it takes to stay in elite condition, and how he responds to setbacks.


Conversation with Jonathan Eig

March 14, 2018

My guest for this week’s podcast is Jonathan Eig. Eig’s book “Ali:A Life” was published last year and is considered the definitive biography of Muhammad Ali. The book won the 2018 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing

Ken Burns calls Jonathan Eig a "master storyteller." Eig is the author of five books, three of them New York Times best sellers. Eig is a former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, where he remains a contributing writer. Eig has also written for The New York TimesThe New Yorker, The Washington Post, and, among others.

Jonathan now lives in Chicago and we had a chance to sit down and talk about his career as a writer and explore the fascinating life of Muhammad Ali. I hope you enjoy it.


Conversation with Jennifer Knapp

February 28, 2018

My guest for this week’s podcast is Jennifer Knapp.

Jennifer is a singer, author and activist who recently released her latest album Love Comes Back Around, her sixth album in a music career with two distinct sections. After releasing three contemporary Christian albums in the late ’90s and early 2000s, which garnered her two Dove Awards and a Grammy nomination, she took a break from music and moved to Australia before resuming her career in 2009. The following year, she came out as gay and released Letting Go, her first mainstream album. Set Me Free followed in 2014, in conjunction with a memoir, Facing the Music: My Story.

In this episode, we talk about her career in contemporary Christian music, vulnerability, and her own fond relationship with failure.


Conversation with Rev. Lillian Daniel

January 27, 2018

My guest for this week’s podcast is Rev. Lillian Daniel.

Lillian Daniel is a noted preacher, teacher and writer and she jokes on her website that while she has taught preaching at a number of schools, including Chicago Theological Seminary and Yale Divinity School, she can’t be held responsible for everyone who falls asleep in church.

Her new book, Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don't Belong To is generating international conversation about the changing religious landscape. ​It continues the theme of her 2013 book When ‘Spiritual But Not Religious’ Is Not Enough about the growing number of people who claim "none" as their religious preference.

In this episode, we talk about her books, what it means to apologize and confess, and explore the state of the mainline church.

You learn more about her by going to her web site


Conversation with Daffany Clark of “The Fosters”

January 7, 2018

My guest for this week’s podcast is Daffany Clark.

Daffany is a Chicago-area native who now is an actress in Los Angeles. She’s a recurring guest start on the TV show “The Fosters,” in addition to numerous other roles. This spring she is launching a one-woman show called “Pieces” that tells the intricate story of one woman’s past, comprised of family mental illness, abandonment, foster care and deep psychological scars forcing her to overcome her struggles and find her purpose in life.

In this episode, we talk about the challenges of making it as a working actor in Hollywood and being a role model for others. You can learn more about her by going to her website.


Conversation with Fr. James Martin, SJ

December 15, 2017

Father James Martin is a Jesuit priest, editor at large of America magazine, and bestselling author of such books as  Jesus: A Pilgrimage and The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything. He has appeared on many major radio and television networks, ranging from NPR’s Fresh Air to Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. Before entering the Jesuits in 1988, Father Martin graduated from the Wharton School of Business and worked for General Electric for six years. In 2017, Pope Francis appointed him to be a Consultor for the Vatican's Secretariat for Communication.

In this episode, we talk about his latest book calling for the Catholic church to be more welcoming of LGBT Catholics, how he responds to those who criticize his writings, and what spiritual practices keep him grounded. I hope you enjoy it.


Conversation with Dr. Eugenia Cheng, author of “How to Bake Pi”

December 3, 2017

My guest for this week’s podcast is Dr. Eugenia Cheng, Scientist In Residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Alongside her research in Category Theory and undergraduate teaching her aim is to rid the world of “math phobia”.  Her first popular math book, How to Bake Pi, was published by Basic Books in 2015 to widespread acclaim acclaim including from the New York Times, National Geographic, Scientific American, and she was interviewed around the world including on the BBC, NPR and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Her next popular math book, Beyond Infinity was published in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2017 . Eugenia is also a concert pianist.

You can learn more at her web site,