January 4, 2022
My guest this episode is Benjamin Saulsberry, the Public Engagement and Museum Education Director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center in Sumner, Mississippi.
The story of Emmett Till’s lynching and murder has long had a haunting effect on me, partially because I Iive about a mile north of the church where his funeral was held in 1955 and I went on a personal pilgrimage a few years ago where I walked 13 miles from that church to his grave site in suburban Chicago. A story about Till’s death was published in The Atlantic last summer and it was there I learned about the Till Center. Benjamin was kind enough to speak with me about the center and its goals for racial reconciliation and justice.
ABC is running a mini-series this week called “Women of the Movement” that is based on Till and his mother Mamie Till-Mobley and I thought it was a good time to air this podcast now.
August 6, 2021
One of the benefits of doing a podcast is it gives me the opportunity to reach out to people whose work I’ve long admired and see if there’s any chance they’d like to talk to me. It’s always a joyful surprise when many of them say yes. That was the case when I heard from Kathleen Norris and when she agreed to this conversation. I was greatly formed in my early days of ministry by her books, “The Cloister Walk” and “Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith,” and she’s written numerous other poems and books, as well, including “Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and A Writer’s Life,” which we talk about in this episode. Kathleen recently wrote an article in The Christian Century entitled "We have to be willing to begin again: This is true of failures in writing, in faith, in life itself.” She writes about failure in this article and that, of course, inspired me to reach out. You can learn more about Kathleen on her Facebook page and subscribe to her e-newsletter at Soul Telegram. To learn more about my ministry and back episodes of this podcast, you can go to my web site. Thanks again for listening.
June 16, 2021
My guest this week is Tyler Sit, the founding pastor of New City Church in Minneapolis, a community that describes itself as focuses on environmental justice and radical inclusion as a queer and people of color affirming place of worship. Tyler recently wrote a book called “Staying Awake: The Gospel for Changemakers” which gives an overview of some of the core spiritual practices at New City. It can be a bit of a challenge to find communities that fully embrace practices like centering marginalized voices and prayer and worship and church planting, but this book does so in ways that are engaging for both newcomers to Christianity and those who have been Christians their whole lives. This was a rich conversation and Tyler’s ministry gives me hope for what the church can be.
You can learn more about Tyler at his web site and also on Instagram @tylersit and on Facebook.
May 18, 2021
My guest for this episode is Dr. Wil Gafney.
Dr. Gafney is Professor of Hebrew Bible at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas. She is the author of several books including Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to Women of the Torah and of the Throne. She is also an Episcopal priest. We talked about a lot about biblical interpretation, including womanist biblical interpretation. For those who aren’t familiar with the word womanist, it was coined by the author Alice Walker and briefly means a black feminist or feminist of color but you can read her full definition here. This video about womanism is also helpful. This was a rich conversation and if you’ve ever felt like you’ve “failed” at reading the Bible, I hope you find it helpful.
You can learn more about Dr Gafney at her web site and also on social media where she is active on Twitter @wilgafney. To learn more about my ministry and listen back episodes of this podcast, you can go to my web site.
April 14, 2021
Jan Richardson is an artist, writer, and United Methodist pastor and has traveled widely as a retreat leader and conference speaker. Jan has written many books, including her most recent one, Sparrow: A Book of Life and Death and Life in which she shares in vulnerable and beautiful ways about the ache of grief and loss after the sudden death of her husband in 2013. We reflect on the nature of grief, how many people feel like they get grief “wrong” and also how failure is integrated into the creative process.
You can learn more about Jan at her web site and also on social media where she is on Instagram and on Facebook.
December 18, 2020
My guest for this podcast is Eboo Patel. Eboo is the founder of IFYC, Interfaith Youth Core, and is now a national figure in developing interfaith conversations and relationships. Named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Eboo served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council and is the author of several books, including "Acts of Faith: The Story of An American Muslim, in the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation" and "Out of Many Faiths: Religious Diversity and the American Promise." We talked about the state of interfaith relations in today’s society, the importance of connecting with young people, and where he finds hope.
You can learn more about IFYC at ifyc.org and you can follow Eboo on Twitter @EbooPatel.
October 15, 2020
My guest for this episode is Sheldrick Holmes. I don’t know about you, but it seems like every day I read about one of my favorite restaurants or businesses having to close because of the pandemic. It made me curious about how does a restaurant actually make ends meet in times like this? So I reached out to one of my new favorite coffee places in my neighborhood, The Grail Café, which opened just two months before the pandemic hit. They’ve hung in there and I reached out to the owner, Sheldrick Holmes, to share part of his story.
You can learn more about the Grail at www.thegrailcafe.com or on Instagram @thegrail.cafe.
October 1, 2020
My guest this week is church planter and pastor Kevin Makins.
Kevin is the founder of Eucharist Church in Hamilton, Ontario, and he recently wrote the book, “Why Would Anyone Go to Church?” The book is a very honest look at how his church came to be and his own personal joys and struggles in that process. We also do some reflections on the state of the church in Canada.
You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @kevinmakins.
September 17, 2020
I’m continuing this little mini-series about journalism as I talk to free-lance journalist, Derrick Clifton. Derrick is a journalist focused on the intersections of identity, culture and social justice issues. Their work has appeared at NBC News Digital, Vice, The Triibe and various other news and culture outlets. They were most recently the communications manager for ProPublica Illinois, the first regional newsroom operation of ProPublica.
Derrick has some engaging and honest things to say about the state of journalism today and their own experience of being a black queer journalist. You can follow Derrick on Twitter and Instagram @DerrickClifton.
September 3, 2020
A common topic for conversation these days centers around what information we’re receiving and whether we can trust that information. Because I have a little background in journalism, information sharing has always been of interest to me so I’m doing three episodes in a row dedicated to this topic. First up is a conversation with Charles Whitaker, the dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Before joining the Medill faculty, Charles was a senior editor at Ebony magazine and also worked as a reporter for the Miami Herald and the Louisville (Ky.) Times, He has received commendations for his work from a number of journalism societies, including the National Association of Black Journalists, Society of Professional Journalists and National Education Writers Association.
We had a wide-ranging conversation about the state of journalism today and some of the challenges that journalists—especially journalists of color—face in this new media landscape.