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Progressive Spirit
Spirituality ~ Social Justice
Category: Spirituality
Location:
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I am the minister of Southminster Presbyterian Church in Beaverton, Oregon (Portland Metro). www.southmin.org


by John Shuck
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April 21, 2017 08:24 AM PDT

Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth was one of the leaders of the civil rights movement along with Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy.  But he was in many ways unsung.  Middle Georgia State University Professor Andrew Manis talks about the legacy of Fred Shuttlesworth.   In 1999, he wrote A Fire You Can’t Put Out: The Civil Rights Life of Birmingham’s Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth.  This book is in the process of being made into a film.

I also speak with Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.    He is a Georgetown University sociology professor, a New York Times contributing opinion writer, and a contributing editor of The New Republic, and of ESPN's The Undefeated website.  In January he released Tears We Cannot Stop:  A Sermon to White America.

Powerful spokespersons for truth about race past and present.  Fire and tears.

April 14, 2017 03:12 PM PDT

Mary Astor’s biggest role was Brigid O’Shaughnessy.  Brigid was the love interest of Sam Spade played by Humphrey Bogart in the film, the Maltese Falcon.

But Mary Astor is most famous for what happened off screen and was recorded in her diary.   Caricaturist Edward Sorel brings her story to life in the book he wrote and illustrated, Mary Astor’s Purple Diary:  The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936.

I also speak with a young minister, who at the age of 37 was diagnosed with a form of cancer usually reserved fo men in their 60s and 70s.  Jason Micheli tells his story in his book, Cancer is Funny:  Keeping Faith In Stage Serious Chemo.

April 08, 2017 05:50 PM PDT

 

Stephen Gray is the author of Cannabis and Spirituality: An Explorer’s Guide to an Ancient Plant Spirit Ally. On October 1st, 2015, Oregon joined Washington and Colorado as the third state to legalize recreational use of cannabis. Now that it is easy as going to one of the many cannabis shops in the state and choosing from a wide selection of strains, many who perhaps haven’t used cannabis since college or are curious and using it for the first time may have many questions about the plant.

Many misconceptions about cannabis abound. It is much maligned and misunderstood. Today we will address questions such as: What are its effects? What is a good dosage? Why do some people have negative experiences with it (such as paranoia or anxiety)? Is it addictive? Is it good for society to legalize cannabis?

We are also going to talk about the spirituality of cannabis. How can cannabis be an ally in spiritual practice?

In the second part of the show, I speak with Michael Eric Dyson, author of Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America about police brutality and racism and the killing of teenager Quanice Hayes by Portland police. 

March 30, 2017 07:45 PM PDT

On February 9th 2017 in Northeast Portland, a 17 year old child, Quanice Derrick Hayes was shot three times, twice in the chest and once through the head at point blank range. He was shot and killed by Portland Police Officer Andrew Hearst.

The family of Quanice Hayes is calling on Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler who also serves as police commissioner to instruct the district attorney to seek an indictment for Officer Hearst.

The mother of Quanice Hayes, Venus Hayes, and the lead organizer of “Don’t Shoot Portland”, Teressa Raiford, speak with me about their struggle for accountability, transparency, and justice.

March 25, 2017 10:12 PM PDT

The theme of this episode is transitions and transformations. Here are two people who see changes on the ground and are helping direct them toward a more flourishing outcome.

My first guest ever on this program, when it was called Religion For Life, is Anthony Flaccavento. He returns to discuss his book, "Building A Healthy Economy From the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real-World Experience for Transformative Change." In 1995 he founded Appalachian Sustainable Development and is now the president of SCALE Inc., a private consulting business that supports ecologically healthy economics.

In this book he provides examples of locally-based economies that are thriving all over the country. At the same time, he says that we are losing the battle at the policy levels both locally and nationally. His book is a call to action for entrepreneurs, scholars, policymakers, community activists and all citizens to re-think economy and act for a way of justice and commonsense from the bottom-up.

Deshna Ubeda is the director of Progressive Christianity Dot Org. She is directing The Embrace Festival, May, 4, 5, and 6 in Portland. Similar to Burning Man, Beloved, and Wild Goose, the Embrace Festival will feature presentations, art, music, dance, community and food for the purpose of building sacred community and inspiring social transformation. Here is its vision:

"In May 2017, people from all over the world will gather in Portland, Oregon to share knowledge and wisdom, learn from each other, celebrate, be inspired, and find the tools needed to create and enliven local movements within our communities. Together we will explore sacred oneness, Christ Consciousness, Buddha Nature, eco-spirituality, social justice and the way of universal and personal transformation that honors the Divine in all."

March 19, 2017 07:34 PM PDT

Progressive Spirit is now one hour! (Technically 54 minutes to accommodate top of the hour news). Ask your local public radio station to carry Progressive Spirit!

I am thrilled to have my conversation with Gretta Vosper be the first show in the now expanded Progressive Spirit!

Gretta Vosper is an atheist minister in the United Church of Canada. She is the author of 'With or Without God: Why The Way We Live is More Important Than What We Believe'' and 'Amen: What Prayer Can Mean In A World Beyond Belief.'

She is the leader of an exciting community in Toronto, West Hill United Church, that has been under fire from its larger institution for moving beyond the language of the church.

Gretta discusses the work of this community and her own struggles with the larger institution. Because of her theological views she was reviewed and declared to be "unsuitable" for ministry.

Is there a larger story, though? Gretta also talks about how the liberal United Church in order to grow has accepted into its clergy pentecostals and fundamentalists without examining their theology. The result, according to Gretta, is a church that is losing its progressive principles in order to increase its numbers.

In this interview she discusses her review process with the denomination, what she means by "atheist", the doublespeak of clergy who use the word "God" but do not mean it the way it is commonly understood, and the need for communities who want the ethical and spiritual vitality of a community without the archaic language of theism.

March 11, 2017 04:33 PM PST

Dr. Brett Webb-Mitchell is a pilgrim, speaker, writer, teacher, ordained Presbyterian pastor, parent, partner, and pet lover.

In 1999 he came out as a gay man and it was a pilgrimage that enabled him to be honest with himself.

Currently, Brett is a pastor serving St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Portland, Oregon, having been on the faculty of Duke University and North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina.

He is the author of ten books and three on pilgrimage. His latest is Practicing Pilgrimage: On Being and Becoming God’s Pilgrim People.

Brett directs the School of the Pilgrim taking people on pilgrimage around the world and in their backyards.

We discuss pilgrimage as spiritual awakening, liberation, and protest.

March 11, 2017 04:27 PM PST

Deshna Ubeda is the director of Progressive Christianity Dot Org. She is directing The Embrace Festival, May, 4, 5, and 6 in Portland. Similar to Burning Man, Beloved, and Wild Goose, the Embrace Festival will feature presentations, art, music, dance, community and food for the purpose of building sacred community and inspiring social transformation. Here is its vision:

In May 2017, people from all over the world will gather in Portland, Oregon to share knowledge and wisdom, learn from each other, celebrate, be inspired, and find the tools needed to create and enliven local movements within our communities. Together we will explore sacred oneness, Christ Consciousness, Buddha Nature, eco-spirituality, social justice and the way of universal and personal transformation that honors the Divine in all.

One of the presenters at the Embrace Festival is Gretta Vosper, an atheist minister in the United Church of Canada. She is the leader of an exciting community in Toronto that has been under fire from its larger institution for moving beyond the language of the church. Gretta discusses the work of this community and her own struggles with the larger institution.

Brett Webb-Mitchell brings sacred community and transformation outdoors and revisits the ancient practice of pilgrimage. He is the author of ten books and in his latest, Practicing Pilgrimage, he provides a trail map as to how pilgrimage can be a path for liberation and social justice.

March 05, 2017 12:25 PM PST

Carter Warden is a former conservative pastor of 25 years, now openly atheist. Using the pseudonym “Adam Mann”, he was a founder of The Clergy Project, an on-line support group for clergy who no longer believe the doctrines of the churches they serve. “Adam” was one of the original five interviewees in the 2010 Dennett-LaScola article, “Preachers who are not Believers.” While still in ministry, he was interviewed undercover by ABC World News Tonight and the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

Last fall he "came out" publicly as an atheist at the Freedom From Religion Foundation's annual gathering. A press release was picked up by the Johnson City Press and Carter was outed to his church, friends, and extended family. In this interview, he talks about that experience, the challenge facing clergy who no longer believe yet who make a living for their families by serving their churches, and the liberation when people are able to be honest with themselves and others about what they really believe.

Hear previous interviews on Progressive Spirit with individuals connected to the Clergy Project including Linda LaScola, Daniel Dennett, Dan Barker, Gretta Vosper, Ryan Bell, David Hayward, Pat Green, John Loftus, Bart Campolo, and Jerry DeWitt.

February 26, 2017 05:03 PM PST

Tony Campolo has been a fixture in the evangelical Christian scene for decades. For the past 30 years his son, Bart has followed in his footsteps. Their brand of Christianity is evangelical (personal salvation through Jesus) but with an emphasis on social justice and care for least of these.

Just over two years ago, Bart decided to tell his parents that he no longer could believe in God. Out of this painful and liberating revelation is their story, the film, Far From the Tree, and the book, Why I Left: Why I Stayed: Conversations on Christianity Between an Evangelical Father and His Humanist Son.

Bart is still in ministry. It isn’t Christianity, however. He is the University of Southern California’s first Humanist Chaplain. He speaks with me about what happens in many families when religion divides. Many families stop talking. The Campolos keep the conversation going.

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