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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 18, 2017 11:18 PM PDT

Contemporary American Society is saturated with fear, fear that is out of proportion to the actual threats we face. That is how Michael Kinnamon, a widely respected leader and scholar in the ecumenical movement begins his book, The Witness of Religion In An Age of Fear.

Why are we so afraid? Of what are we afraid? How can we respond with courage?

I also speak with one of the 100 most spiritually influential people alive today, according to Mind, Body, Spirit magazine. Steve Taylor is a spiritual psychologist, author, and lecturer. We tend to think that spiritual enlightenment or awakening is for the professionals, those who devote their lives to meditation or simplicity or study. Steve Taylor says awakening is accessible to all. He is the author of The Leap: The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening.

Michael Kinnamon Interview, 2:00 - 28:07
Steve Taylor Interview, 28:37-53

May 12, 2017 01:00 PM PDT

What if we brought mindfulness to schools and Buddhism to economics?

Clair Brown teaches at Cal Berkely and is the author of Buddhist Economics: An Enlightened Approach to the Dismal Science.

Caverly Morgan is the founder of "Peace in Schools," the first for credit high school mindfulness course in the nation.

What if we brought mindfulness to schools and Buddhism to economics?

We just might make a more compassionate world.

:00-26:00  Caverly Morgan Interview

26:30-53:00  Clair Brown Interview

May 06, 2017 12:34 PM PDT

When we hear the word theology, we may think we are going to engage in esoteric reflections about divinity and the afterlife.  But theology at its best is not about God or gods, but about life and its meaning and the myths that drive us.   Arthur Dewey is professor of theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati.  He is a scholar of the historical Jesus and a Fellow of Westar Institute, popularly known as the Jesus Seminar.   He says that “

“Theology is resonant. At its best, it lends rhythm and rhyme to the raw energy of life. It improvises on this world without trying to escape to a heaven somewhere else”

We are going to talk about his book, Wisdom Notes: Theological Riffs on Life and Living

The Ramadan Tent Project is a creation of students in London.   It is an open iftar, a breaking of the fast, in which the public is invited.   The first ever Ramadan Tent Project in the United States was held last year in Beaverton, Oregon.  The students who brought it to Portland will do it again this year.   We will hear about this event and we will hear about the heart of Islam from two bright and compassionate university students, Sadaf Assadi and Hanan Alzubaidy.

:02 - 34:45 Arthur Dewey

34:45 - 54. Sadaf Assadi and Hanan Al-Zubaidy

April 29, 2017 07:13 PM PDT

What is moral?  How has morality changed and how does that effect how we make decisions and evaluate the decisions of others in politics, business, and sex?   In Behaving Badly:  The New Morality in Politics, Sex and Business. Eden Collinsworth embarks on a personal journey to discover morality in a new globalized culture.

Eden Collinsworth is a former media executive and business consultant.  She was formerly of Arbor House Publishing Company founder of the LA based monthly magazine Buzz before becoming a vice president at Hearst Corporation.

She wrote a best-selling book in China for Chinese businesspeople on Western deportment and she launched Collinsworth & Associates, a Bejing based consulting firm which specialized in intercultural communication.

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.
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