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Progressive Spirit
Spirituality ~ Social Justice
Category: Spirituality
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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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May 11, 2018 02:45 PM PDT

May 15th marks the 70th anniversary of Israel's statehood. Palestinians refer to this as the Nakba, the Catastrophe, when more than 700,000 Palestinians left their homes from fear or were forcibly removed by Israelis who took their homes. On this 70th anniversary of the occupation, the people of Gaza have been staging a non-violent demonstration, The Great March of Returnthat culminates Tuesday the 15th.

According to the Middle Eastern Monitor"The demonstrations of the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege started on 30 March 2018. Since then Israeli forces have killed 53 demonstrators and wounded more than 8,500 others."

On this special edition of the Beloved Community, John Shuck's guests will speak about the ongoing Nakba for the people of Palestine and Gaza from their unique perspectives.

Waddah Sofan was shot and paralyzed by Israeli soldiers during the First Intifada in 1989. Waddah lives in Portland and considers himself "part of Palestinian/American, Muslim, Middle Eastern, people of color and disabled communities."

Gilad Atzmon, is a British Jazz artist and author. Gilad was born in Israel in 1963 and trained at the Rubin Academy of Music, Jerusalem (Composition and Jazz). Gilad writes on political matters, social issues,  Jewish identity and culture. He will be in Portland for a jazz concert May 14th and a talk on Truthfulness May 15th.

Retired Episcopal priest, Richard Toll, also of Portland, is president of the Board of Trustees of Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA). Rev. Toll received an honorary doctorate from the Church Divinity School of the School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California for his  commitment to justice and peace in the Holy Land.

May 06, 2018 10:34 PM PDT

On April 28th2018, The Husayniah Islamic Society of Seattle and Global Initiatives co-sponsored an interfaith educational event called Husayn Day.  The event was a reflection upon Husayn, the martyred grandson of the Prophet Mohammad. Rather than bow to his oppressors, he, along with 72 family members were killed in Karbala, Iraq in 680 CE. He is considered a martyr for justice, truth, love, and resistance. He is a leading figure in Shia Islam and his death is mourned each year by between 15 and 20 million pilgrims who visit his shrine during the forty-day period of mourning from Ashura to Arbaeen.

In the next two episodes, you will hear speeches from the presenters on Husayn and the yearly pilgrimage to his shrine. The presenters include, Dr. John Morrow, Sister Nicole Correri, Sheikh Fadhel Al-Salani, Sheik Ahmed Bahriny, Mohammad Baig, and me, John Shuck. 

The West is largely ignorant about Islam and, in particular, Shia Islam and the person of Hussain. Twenty million people visit his shrine each other. This the largest annual gathering of human beings on planet Earth. Yet, Western media ignores it. According to an article in the Huffington Post by Sayed Mahdi al-Modarresi, “World's Biggest Pilgrimage Now Underway, And Why You've Never Heard of it!” 

Why you have never heard of it probably has to do with the fact that the press is concerned more with negative, gory, and sensationalized tabloids, than with positive, inspiring narratives, particularly when it comes to Islam.

You will hear about it on Progressive Spirit.

In this first episode you will hear from Dr. John Morrow, full professor, author, senior research scholar, public speaker and activist. He is author of a number of numerous articles and books including The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World. Dr. Morrow provided a stirring poetic spiritual biography of Husayn.

You will also hear from Sister Nicole Correri. She is the preeminent female Shia speaker in North America. She will begin a Ph. D. program at Boston University in the Fall.  Sr. Correri told the importance of Zainab, Husayn’s sister, and described her experience attending Arbaeen. 

Watch the video of the entire conference. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVcjsmI8oy8&feature=youtu.be&a=

April 30, 2018 09:35 PM PDT

“On May 14th or May 15th the people of Gaza are going to make their big last effort to break out of prison. And it will be a huge mobilization to try to break down that prison fence, that ghetto fence, that concentration camp fence. And we here have to give our all to make sure to do our best to ascertain and to assure that they succeed.” — Dr. Norman Finkelstein

Dr. Norman Finkelstein speaks with John Shuck about his book, Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom. His book was not a “labor of love.” It is in part a coroner’s report. It is a story, backed with detail and research from one of the world’s leading voices on the Israel-Palestine conflict. It is the story of what happened to Gaza. Gaza, the martyred. 

But the story is not without hope. The hope, according to Finkelstein, is non-violent resistance, what Israel dreads most. 

April 24, 2018 08:48 AM PDT

 

Rev. Dr. Angela Yarber discusses the revolutionary work of the Holy Women Icons Project. As an intersectionally ecofeminist organization, the Holy Women Icons Project seeks to empower marginalized women and to be an accomplice in the work for justice for ethnic and racial minorities, women, LGBTQs, people with differing abilities, immigrants and refugees, the poor, animals, the earth, and all living at the margins of society.

This is the fifth and final episode in my series Revisioning Christianity. The series began with the icon of anastasis and it ends with icons of holy women throughout history, religion, and mythology.

Rev. Dr. Angela Yarber is the Founder and Executive Director of the Holy Women Icons Project. The Holy Women Icons Project seeks to empower marginalized women by telling the stories of revolutionary holy women through art, writing, and special events. Noticing a lack of women in iconography, she gave traditional iconography a folk-feminist twist by painting images of revolutionary holy women from history, mythology, and scripture. The Holy Women Icons Project also includes special events, retreats, workshops, lectures, sermons, and worship series related to these revolutionary holy women. And in 2017, HWIP began creating a retreat center on Hawaii Island to house these special events, artwork, and writings. 

Dr. Yarber speaks with John Shuck about her own journey toward simplicity, a renewed vocation, and her vision for queering the church by making the church fully inclusive and empowering for all people. She discusses her move to Hawaii with her wife and child, turning Holy Women Icons Project into a non-profit, her work in building self-esteem among adolescent girls, traversing grief, and honoring the stories of queer women of color through the Holy Women Icons Project. You can see and hear more of their story on the television show, Tiny House Nation

Rev. Dr. Yarber holds a Ph.D. in Art and Religion and is author of seven books that address the intersections among gender/sexuality, religion/spirituality, and the arts. An ordained, queer clergywoman, she served local churches for fourteen years, and she has taught graduate and undergraduate students since 2006. Her books include Microaggressions in MinistryHoly Women IconsHoly Women Icons Contemplative Coloring BookThe Gendered Pulpit, Dance in ScriptureTearing Open the Heavens, & Embodying the Feminine in the Dances of the World's Religions

Other guests in the series, Revisioning Christianity include:

John Dominic CrossanResurrecting Easter: How the West Lost and the East kept the Original Easter Vision,

Bart Ehrman:  The Triumph of Christianity: How A Forbidden Religion Swept the World,

David SkrbinaThe Jesus Hoax: How St. Paul’s Cabal Fooled the World for Two Thousand Years, and

Bishop John Shelby Spong: Unbelievable: How Neither Ancient Creeds nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith Today.

All of those interviews are available on podcast at
 Progressive Spirit. 

April 15, 2018 06:20 AM PDT

Bishop John Shelby Spong has been on the leading edge of progressive Christianity.

Over the decades he has shared his own honest journey with faith, doubt, and social activism as an Episcopal priest, bishop, and author. Some of his many books include: Living in Sin? A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture, and Why Christianity Must Change or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile.

He is the author of the newly released, Unbelievable: Why Neither Ancient Creeds Nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith Today.

This conversation with Bishop Spong is the fourth of five interviews in my series, Revisioning Christianity.

Already we heard from John Dominic CrossanResurrecting Easter: How the West Lost and the East kept the Original Easter Vision,

Bart Ehrman, author of The Triumph of Christianity: How A Forbidden Religion Swept the World,

and David SkrbinaThe Jesus Hoax: How St. Paul’s Cabal Fooled the World for Two Thousand Years.

Next week, I speak with Angela Yarber about the Holy Women Icons Project.

All of those interviews are available on podcast at Progressive Spirit.

April 13, 2018 07:41 PM PDT
The rising threat to free speech, Muslim-Christian dialogue, and LGBTQ+ advocacy.

John Shuck’s guests include Jeremy Rothe-Kushel. Nicole Correri, and Brett Webb-Mitchel.

**I will also be speaking with Lyn Neeley about the action Saturday in Portland Against U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad.**

Saturday, April 14, 1 PM, Rally: Waterfront Park, Battleship Memorial (Naito pkwy, Oak & Pine). March to Saturday Market.

Jeremy Rothe-Kushel talks about being arrested in a library for simply exercising his free speech rights. Charges against him eventually were dropped. The librarian who defended him also was arrested, injured, and ultimately, acquitted.  We will discuss free speech and public spaces.

Nicole Correri is the pre-eminent Shia speaker in North America. She will be talking about the legacy of Imam Husayn and her work in Muslim-Christian relations.

Brett Webb-Mitchell is an openly gay Presbyterian minister and pastor of Community of the Pilgrims Presbyterian Church in Portland. He has just been named the LBGTQ+ Advocacy Coordinator for the Oregon-Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Bios:

Jeremy Rothe-Kushel has a background in politics – from local to international, officeholder to activist – with experience in community organizing, mediajamming, documentary journalism and consensus-building in deep politics, economics and ecologics. Jeremy aims to coalesce a partisan-transcendent and permaculturally-informed #FullSpectrumPopulist #IntegralPolitics from the #RadicalMiddle with a #WeThePeoplePlatform and #CoalitionCabinet.

He is working on a documentary project titled “September Eleventh Uncoverage” based on a decade of his investigative research, activism and experience of covering and uncovering the 9/11 cover-up.

Rothe-Kushel has put public figures across the political spectrum “on the record” about vital issues that are often controversial and always emancipatory. Some of his journalistic encounters include Michael Hayden, John Yoo, Joe Biden, Eric Holder, Mike Pompeo, Kris Kobach, Ron Paul, Alex Jones, Jay Rockefeller, Ted Turner, Jill Stein and Amy Goodman.

Jeremy has a working background in permaculture design and implementation, and future-roots music production, performance and education.  While at Williams College completing his B.A. in Religion, he founded and over the next decade taught an original approach to musical education called “HipHop Empowerment”, with students of diverse ages and backgrounds from the Bronx to Boston, Southern Vermont to South Los Angeles.

Although he believes that well mineralized and microbialized, high-carbon humus might help solve most humanity’s problems, Jeremy currently sees that the “invisible domain” of politics, culture, multimedia, law, deliberative deep democracy and cooperative startup economics contains key elements to assemble and strategic means necessary to that ‘soilutionary’ end.

You can hear Jeremy on No Lies Radio and on the Pacifica Radio Network: False Flag Weekly News and Antedote.

Nicole Correri, the preeminent female Shia speaker in North America, considers herself a student of Islam and a follower of the Ahl al-Bayt (as). Before graduating with Honors in M. Ed. in Counseling from George Mason University, she received her B.A. in Psychology, Minor in Early Childhood Education from George Washington University, graduating Summa Cum Laude. She is a member of numerous academic honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa.

Nicole is a powerful public speaker who motivates her audience to embody Islam in practical, relevant, and meaningful ways.  With her solid academic background and passion for the religion, she brings a unique perspective to her audience with the goals of inspiration, education, and transformation.  Her work stems out of the gap she felt and observed for the English speaking Muslims in the West to make sense of religion in their context and  lived realities.  She is interested in an intellectual and inspirational approach to faith and articulates a practical theology with a sensibility for social, gender, and ethical justice.  Nicole is also committed to inter and intra-faith work, cultivating our shared humanity and bringing people together for the common good.  She continues to study Arabic with the Fawakih Institute since 2012 and as of Spring 2016 will be finishing up her Master’s degree in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary and has been accepted into the Ph.D. program in the Religion Department at Boston University.

Brett Webb-Mitchell , LGBTQ+ Advocacy Coordinator for the Oregon-Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church

He was an assistant professor of Christian nurture at United Methodist founded Duke Divinity School and now serves as an ordained pastor serving Community of Pilgrims Presbyterian Church in Portland. In addition to this, he’s written several books on the topics of human sexuality, Christian growth and what it means to be a gay parent. Book titles include: “Practicing Pilgrimage: Beyond Accessibility” and “Follow Me: Christian Growth on the Pilgrim’s Way.” Webb-Mitchell and his partner, Dan, have been together for 22 years, have two adult children and one grandchild on the way.

April 08, 2018 03:26 PM PDT

Dr. David Skrbina makes the case that Christianity started as a hoax by Paul:

"Jesus of Nazareth is one of the most famous men in history.  There are good reasons to believe that he walked the earth some two thousand years ago, and was eventually crucified.

But what about Jesus Christ, son of God?  What if he never existed?  What if the divine, virgin-born, resurrected Jesus Christ was a myth, a lie—even a hoax?  That would have huge implications for modern-day Christianity; it would mean that there is a gigantic falsehood at the core of the religion of some two billion people.

In this book, Dr. David Skrbina presents a profound and stunning theory:  that St. Paul and a band of friends constructed a ‘Jesus hoax.’  They took a kernel of truth based on Jesus, the man, and turned him into the divine savior of humanity.  They did so as a way to strike back at the hated Roman Empire, and to undermine its strength among the common people."


That is from the back cover of The Jesus Hoax: How St. Paul's Cabal Fooled the World for Two Thousand Years by Dr. David Skrbina. https://www.davidskrbina.com/jesus-hoax  

This is the third part of series on Revisioning Christianity. Different scholars bring different views to help us understand the history of Christianity and its future. How did Christianity become empire’s religion? Is it believable today? Was it ever believable? Does it yet have a message to inspire peace and justice? Or is it the result of a malicious hoax and a bad idea? 

John Shuck’s five guests include

1) Bart Ehrman, author of the newly released, The Triumph of Christianity: How A Forbidden Religion Swept the World,

2) John Dominic Crossan, who with his wife, Sarah Sexton Crossan have just released Resurrecting Easter: How the West Lost and the East Kept the Original Easter Vision.

3) John Shelby Spong, author of the newly released, Unbelievable: Why Neither Ancient Creeds Nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith Today,

4) Angela Yarber, creator of the Holy Women Icons Project, and this week,

5) David Skrbina, author of the newly released, The Jesus Hoax: How St. Paul’s Cabal Fooled the World for Two Thousand Years,

Dr. David Skrbina is a senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, where he's taught since 2003.  His areas of expertise are philosophy of mind, philosophy of technology, and history of religion. Professor Skrbina's books include Panpsychism in the West, The Metaphysics of Technology and Mind that Abides.  

Professor Skrbina corresponded extensively with Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, and in 2010 published Technological Slavery. This was the first book written by Ted Kaczynski.  It contains the only corrected version of his manifesto, five previously unpublished essays, and about 100 pages of letters to Dr. Skrbina.

Dr. Skrbina is a pioneer in eco-philosophy encompassing ethics, metaphysics, and cosmology and is Deputy Director of the Eco-Philosophy Center. He ran for Lieutenant Governor for the state of Michigan in 2006 with the Green Party. He has a master’s degree in Mathematics and a Ph. D. In philosophy. 
March 31, 2018 05:27 PM PDT

Bart Ehrman asks how did a religion that began with a small group of illiterate day laborers become the dominant religion of the Roman Empire in just three centuries? What was gained and what was lost when the Roman Empire became the Christian Roman Empire?

This is the second part of series on Revisioning Christianity. Different scholars bring different views to help us understand the history of Christianity and its future. How did Christianity become empire’s religion? Was Christianity a hoax? Is it believable today? Does it yet have a message to inspire peace and justice?  

John Shuck's five guests include

1) John Dominic Crossan, who with his wife, Sarah Sexton Crossan have just released Resurrecting Easter: How the West Lost and the East Kept the Original Easter Vision.

2) John Shelby Spong, author of the newly released, Unbelievable: Why Neither Ancient Creeds Nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith Today,

3) David Skrbina, author of the newly released, The Jesus Hoax: How St. Paul’s Cabal Fooled the World for Two Thousand Years,

4) Angela Yarber, creator of the Holy Women Icons Project, and this week,

5) Bart Ehrman, author of the newly released, The Triumph of Christianity: How A Forbidden Religion Swept the World,  

Bart Ehrman is a leading authority on the New Testament and the history of early Christianity. He is the author of more than 30 books and is Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He has been on my program three times previously. Previously we discussed his books, Did Jesus Exist? Jesus Before the Gospels, and How Jesus Became God. Today we explore the question, “How did Christianity triumph?” His book is The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World.

March 25, 2018 05:16 PM PDT

John Shuck begins a five-part series on Revisioning Christianity. How did Christianity triumph? Was it a hoax? Is it unbelievable? Does it yet have a message to inspire peace and justice?  My five guests include Bart Ehrman, author of the newly released, The Triumph of Christianity: How A Forbidden Religion Swept the WorldJohn Shelby Spong, author of the newly released, Unbelievable: Why Neither Ancient Creeds Nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith TodayDavid Skrbina, author of the newly released, The Jesus Hoax: How St. Paul's Cabal Fooled the World for Two Thousand YearsAngela Yarber, creator of the Holy Women Icons Project, and starting us off, John Dominic Crossan, who with his wife, Sarah Sexton Crossan have just released Resurrecting Easter: How the West Lost and the East Kept the Original Easter Vision.

Professor John Dominic Crossan is regarded as the foremost historical Jesus scholar of our time. He is the author of 30 or so books including his hugely influential, The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant. This is the third time Professor Crossan has been on Progressive Spirit. Previously on this show we discussed his books, The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus became fiction about Jesus, and How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian: Struggling with Divine Violence from Genesis Through Revelation.

In this episode, we discuss how the vision of Easter as depicted in the Eastern iconography of Anastasis "rising up" symbolizes non-violent resistance to empire.Re

March 23, 2018 01:37 PM PDT

Johann Hari suffered from depression since he was a child and took anti-depressants as a teenager because he was told that depression is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. He went on a quest to see if this is really the case. In his book,  Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression—and the Unexpected Solutionshe discusses that journey. He interviewed many social scientists who are uncovering evidence that depression and anxiety are largely caused by key problems with the way we live today not brain chemistry.

Johann Hari is a New York Times best-selling author. His book, Chasing the Scream: the First and Last Days of the War on Drugshas been translated into 15 languages and is currently being adapted into a major Hollywood film, and into a non-fiction documentary series.

He is one of the most-viewed TED talkers of all time: his talk, ‘Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong’, has (along with the animation based on it) been viewed more than 20 million times.

He has written over the past seven years for some of the world’s leading newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, the Spectator, Le Monde Diplomatique, the Melbourne Age, and Politico. He has also appeared on leading TV shows, including HBO’s Realtime With Bill Maher.

He was twice named ‘National Newspaper Journalist of the Year’ by Amnesty International. He has also been named ‘Cultural Commentator of the Year’ and ‘Environmental Commentator of the Year’ at the Comment Awards.

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