In this episode I take us back to 2012 for a re-broadcast of interviews with Michael Zimmerman and Barbara Kingsolver.
In the first part of today’s show, you will hear an interview that first aired in February 2012 with Michael Zimmerman, the founder of the Clergy Letter Project and Evolution Weekend. Over 13 thousand Christian, Jewish, and Unitarian Universalist clergy have signed a letter in support of teaching evolution in public schools. On the Sunday closest to Darwin’s Birthday faith communities all over the United States celebrate Evolution Weekend by honoring science and religion.
Author Barbara Kingsolver lives in southwest Virginia. She is the author of 14 books including the The Poisonwood Bible, The Lacuna, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. She visited with me at the WEHC studio at Emory and Henry College to discuss her latest novel, Flight Behavior, a novel set in Southern Appalachia. In part it is about denial and the beliefs that get assigned to us.
Investigative Reporter, Hugh Turley, makes the case that the conclusion that Thomas Merton died by accident cannot possibly be true. Hugh Turley and David Martin are co-authors of the 2018 book, The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton, An Investigation.
John Shuck speaks live with Hugh Turley on Beloved Community about the death of Thomas Merton, who was an anti-war author and spiritual leader. He died mysteriously on December 10th, 1968 in Thailand.
"Merton was in apparent good health and at the height of his productive powers when he died suddenly and mysteriously while attending a monastic conference, on December 10th, 1968, near Bangkok, Thailand. He was 53 years old. Up to now, no one has examined the circumstances of his death systematically, critically, and what is most important honestly. That is our purpose here." p. 2.
Hugh Turley, as a volunteer columnist for the Hyattsville Life and Times was winner of the National Newspaper Association award for best serious column, small circulation, non-daily division.
The Book's website: The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton.
From the Progressive Spirit Archives, here are two interviews from 2012 and 2013.
Cultural Anthropologist, Carol Delaney discusses her book, Abraham on Trial: The Social Legacy of Biblical Myth. Dr. Delaney explores the roots of patriarchy by asking the question, what gave Abraham the right to sacrifice Isaac? What is the legacy of this myth on the way we regard children today?
Brene Brown is the author of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Dr. Brene Brown has done research on topics no one wants to discuss, shame and vulnerability. Yet it is through these human experiences that we find the courage to “dare greatly” and become “wholehearted.” In this candid conversation she weaves her own experience with her research and thus inspires us all to live courageous lives.
Why do the powers that be try to convince us that there is a “clash of cultures” or a conflict between Islam and the West or between Islam and Christianity?
To answer that, Dr. John Andrew Morrow discusses his book, The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World. We learn that Christianity and Islam co-existed peacefully with full protections for Christians for 1400 years. These covenants
“uniformly state that Muslims are not to attack peaceful Christian communities, rob them, stop churches from being repaired, tear down churches to build mosques, prevent their Christian wives from going to church and taking spiritual direction from Christian priests and elders, etc. On the contrary, the Prophet commands Muslims to actively protect these communities ‘until the End of the World’.”
In this informative conversation we learn about the rise of European Colonialism and its handmaiden, Islamic Fundamentalism (now funded and supported by the U.S., the Saudis, and Israel) and the role of these modern powers in smearing Islam and framing Muslims as “terrorists” for geopolitical interests.
Dr. John Andrew Morrow was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 1971. Raised in a multilingual family, he lived in Montreal for ten years and in the Greater Toronto Area for another twenty. The product of a Catholic education, he completed his elementary school in French, his high school in English, and his university studies in English, French, and Spanish. He embraced Islam at the age of 16 after which he adopted the name Ilyas ‘Abd al-‘Alim Islam. After completing his Honors BA, MA, and PhD at the University of Toronto, where he acquired expertise in Hispanic, Native, and Islamic Studies, he pursued post-graduate studies in Arabic in Morocco and the United States. Besides his Western education, Dr. Morrow has completed the full cycle of traditional Islamic seminary studies both independently and at the hands of a series of Sunni, Shi’i, and Sufi scholars. Not only is he a senior scholar, academic, and professor, he is also a respected ‘alim holding the titles of ustadh, duktur, hakim, and shaykh.
Dr. Morrow has spent over a decade and a half in the United States working at various universities including Park University, Northern State University, Eastern New Mexico University, the University of Virginia, and Ivy Tech where he was unanimously appointed to the rank of Full Professor. One of his most noteworthy and memorable experiences involved working as a professor of advanced Spanish, Islamic culture, and world literature for the Institute for Shipboard Education’s Semester at Sea Program. Aside from his academic duties, Dr. John Andrew Morrow is the Director of the Covenants Foundation, an organization dedicated to disseminating traditional, civilizational, Islam; promoting Islamic unity; protecting persecuted Christians; and improving relations between Muslims and members of other faiths. He regularly travels the world to promote peace and justice.
Dr. John Andrew Morrow is a Native North American and a proud member of the Metis Nation.
Isaac Butler and Dan Kois take us backstage and behind the scenes of the iconic play, "Angels In America" in their book, The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels In America. The book is an oral history, telling the story of the play and its influence from the voices of over 250 actors, actresses, and others who have given Angels In Americaits wings over the past 25 years. According to Isaac Butler, the political and social views of the play are still as relevant in the Trump era as they were in the Reagan era.
Angels In Americais currently running on Broadway through July 15th.
Isaac Butler is a writer and theater director, most recently of "Real Enemies", which premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Anthony Flaccavento was my first guest ever on this program when it was called Religion For Life. I had him on again last year when we discussed his book, Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real-World Experience for Transformative Change. He has been a farmer, entrepreneur and consultant for over 30 years. He is on the leading edge of building sustainable economies and communities and he hopes to bring this vision of Rural Progressive Politics to Washington. He is running for congress in Virginia’s Ninth District which encompasses Southwest Virginia.
Linda Kohanov is the author of the bestseller, The Tao of Equus. She teaches and speaks internationally. She established Eponaquest Worldwide to explore the healing potential of working with horses and offer programs on everything from emotional and social intelligence, leadership, stress reduction, and parenting to consensus building and mindfulness. We talk about her latest book, The Five Roles of a Master Herder: A Revolutionary Model for Socially Intelligent Leadership.
Anthony Flaccavento begins at 2:57.
Linda Kohanov begins at 29:16.
Professor Paul Ortiz is Associate Professor of History at the University of Floridaand is Director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program. Professor Ortiz has published and taught in the fields of African American history, Latino Studies, the African Diaspora, Social Movement Theory, U.S. History, U.S. South, labor, and documentary studies. He currently works with students in these and related fields.
He has written several books including Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920 received the 1990 Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Book Prize.
His latest book and our topic of discussion today is An African American and Latinx History of the United States.
From Beacon Press:
“Incisive and timely, this bottom-up history, told from the interconnected vantage points of Latinx and African Americans, reveals the radically different ways that people of the diaspora have addressed issues still plaguing the United States today, and it offers a way forward in the continued struggle for universal civil rights.”
It is not unusual to have a Nobel Prize winner write a book. But what about those who lose the Nobel Prize? Not too many write that book. Dr. Brian Keating did. He is an astrophysicist who teaches at the University of California at San Diego. He almost won the Nobel Prize, but not quite.
Professor Brian Keating is an astrophysicist with UC San Diego’s Department of Physics. He and his team develop instrumentation to study the early universe at radio, microwave and infrared wavelengths. He is the author of over 100 scientific publications and holds two U.S. Patents. He received an NSF CAREER award in 2006 and a 2007 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers at the White House from President Bush for a telescope he invented and deployed at the U.S. South Pole Research Station called “BICEP". Professor Keating became a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2016. He co-leads the Simons Array and Simons Observatory Cosmic Microwave Background experiments in the Atacama Desert of Chile, and is the author of Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science's Highest Honor.
On April 28th2018, The Husayniah Islamic Society of Seattle 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 these 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 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.
In this episode you will hear more about Husayn, and how he is for those who are devoted to him, a door to truth and justice, and how his sacrifice revealed the true Islam, the Islam of love.
In this episode you will hear from…
Sheikh Fadhel Al-Sahlani. Shiekh Al-Sahlani is the current leader of the Al-Khoei Foundationin New York.
Sheik Ahmed Bahriny. Sheik Ahmed Bahriny is the resident imam and religious director of the Islamic Education Centerin Potomoc, Maryland.
Mohammad Baig. Mohammad Baig leads the Alwalayah Communityin Montclair, California.
John Shuck. Minister at Southminster Presbyterian Church, Beaverton, Oregon.