Category: Practitioners


Marion Larson on Bubbles, Bridges, and Multifaith Engagement

In an increasingly pluralistic world, can Christians break out of their bubble and engage individuals from different faiths while still retaining their own spiritual identity. Prof. Marion Larson of Bethel University discusses how she and her co-author, Prof. Sara Shady, have approached this subject theoretically and as a matter of practical experience. Prof. Larson shares her thoughts on the topics of ecumenism, tolerance, and approaching others with an attitude of hospitality.

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Kelsey Dallas on Religious Journalism

Deseret News journalist Kelsey Dallas joins us to discuss her path towards religious news writing, the importance of the Religion News Association, and a number of the stories she has covered throughout the years. We talk about stories regarding life on other planets (and how it would affect religious believers), pilgrimages to Chimayo (New Mexico), football prayer circles, and what has become of the faith of all these Millennials. A wide-ranging, uplifting, and fun conversation.

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Michael Boone’s Spiritual 40 Day Road Trip

So, you are lying in an emergency room and the doctor tells you that he is going to restart your heart in two minutes, and it should work but things could still go wrong. What goes through your mind? A motorcycle road trip through the western United States, of course! At least that is what Michael Boone thought of, and then made it reality, picking up on a religious theme of 40 days in the wilderness and learning about letting go, listening closely, and learning what Sabbath really means. He shares his inspiring insights about what became a “journey of the heart” in more ways than one.

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Martin Barrett on Sozo Friends & For-Profit Charities

Can a for-profit business that is inspired by one’s religious faith act as an effective charity? While many folks think that most charities need to be “non-profit,” Sozo Friends, created and operated by our guest Martin Barrett, introduces a new model that teams with restaurants, auto dealers, and mortgage companies to use wine, coffee, and chocolate to help a wide variety of faith-based organizations. We discuss Mr. Barrett’s history (including his time in Young Life) and how he used his love of wine and Jesus to help orphans, at-risk youth, and victims of sex trafficking.

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Proeschold-Bell and Adams on Clergy Mental Health

While many parishioners often look to their pastor for emotional and spiritual support, it is not often that we think that members of the clergy need such psychological assistance as well. Nonetheless, the demands of the ministry can be highly demanding and their unique professional role may often lead to isolation from important social support networks. Profs. Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell (Duke) and Chris Adams (Azusa Pacific) discuss the results of a recent study on the mental health of ministers within the United Methodist Church. The focus is not only on trying to address negative mental health outcomes, but ways in which positive mental health predictors can be encouraged. We also talk about how one counselor (Dr. Adams) has put this research to use in his own role as a counselor to seminarians and missionaries.

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Gregory Popcak on Religion, Psychology, & Seven Longings

Can religion coexist with psychological counseling? While some tension has existed between these realms, Dr. Gregory Popcak explains how they are mutually facilitative and discusses his career as a Catholic psychologist. We also talk about his book “Broken Gods” and the why and how humans can become more like “god” (small “g”) and what that means. While it may sound blasphemous, Dr. Popcak notes this was a theme with such luminaries as St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and C.S. Lewis!

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Jim McGuffey on Church Security (encore presentation)

In light of the horrific church shooting in South Carolina recently, we present a previously released episode related to one aspect of this news story: church security. While not the only angle to examine recent events from, the issue of church security has been one point of discussion.

Our prayers and condolences go out to all those affected by the events in Charleston.

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Carrie Miles on Religion, Gender, and Missionaries

What role does religion play in shaping cultural notions of gender, and how might this be related to economics and production in both agricultural and industrial societies? And can missionaries inadvertently carry over theological messages to cultures that unintentionally reinforce gender roles? Dr. Carrie Miles, of Chapman University and Empower International, answers these questions in a fascinating look at the intersection of theology, gender, and economics.

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Warren Bird on Church Leadership Teams

What makes for an effective leadership team? Using insights from business analysis, Dr. Warren Bird of the Leadership Network discusses a study conducted in over 200 churches that filtered out the various characteristics of groups that led to success. Our conversation also discusses the recent Pew Forum report on the declining presence of Christianity in the United States and finishes up with how church leadership should address a potentially new religious environment in America.

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Denis Dragovic on Religion & State-Building

What role do religious organizations play in constructing and reconstructing states? Denis Dragovic joins us from Australia to discuss his new book “Religion and Post-Conflict State-Building” and how he not only studied this topic, but also was an active participant in helping people around the world, and primarily the Middle East. Prof. Dragovic explains how religious groups — both international and domestic — help to contribute to the three key areas of state-building: legitimacy, security, and basic needs. Along the way, he also recounts how he helped rescue one of his aid workers who was kidnapped by rebels!

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