Prison Justice and Transit Justice

The United States with five percent of the world’s population  incarcerates 25% of the world’s prisoners.   Mass incarceration in the United States is well-known.   Today’s guest points out something not as well known.   Overcrowded and underfunded prisons now outsource educational and mental health services to religious groups.   These religious organizations are overwhelmingly run by nondenominational protestant Christians who see prisoners as captive audiences for their message.   Is there a problem here?

Laura Everett is a United Church of Christ minister in Boston who for the last eight years has made the bicycle her main vehicle of transportation in all four seasons.   She has found that riding her bike has connected her with her city, expanded her community, activated her on issues of transit justice, and increased her spiritual growth.  She is happier because she rides her bike.

As May is National Bike Month, it is timely to talk with Laura about her book, Holy Spokes: The Search for Urban Spirituality on Two Wheels.

Tanya Erzen Interview 00:00-27:18
Laura Everett Interview 27:48-53:00

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Ramadan Tent Project, Portland

You are invited to an open Iftar, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday evenings (May 27, 28, 29) at the Muslim Educational Trust.   It is a great opportunity to enjoy a meal (provided by the students) and experience an inter-faith celebration!   It is the Ramadan Tent Project Portland.  It begins at 7:30 pm each evening.
Here is an interview I had with the two organizers Sadaf Assadi and Hanan Alzubaidy on the Pacifica Radio Network.

They were also interviewed on OPB’s Think Out Loud today.  Listen here.

They could get a big crowd.  You can help them purchase food by donating here.

Facing Fear and Waking Up

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 – 28:37
Steve Taylor Interview, 28:37-54

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A New Endorsement!

Check out this incredibly kind endorsement from Professor Andrew Manis about Progressive Spirit:

I consider John Shuck the Terry Gross of religious topics—a high compliment, I think, because she is one of the best interviewers in American broadcasting. Nobody reads a guest’s books more thoroughly or asks questions more perceptively. For my money John and Terry are in ‘a league of their own.’ 

Read more endorsements here.  If you like Progressive Spirit, please leave a review and/or a recommendation at iTunes, GoogleplayStitcher or on whatever app you use to listen.   It is the best way to get more exposure to the important voices heard on Progressive Spirit!

Mindfulness in Education and Economics

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

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Riffs, Rhythm, Rhyme, and Ramadan

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 Al-Zubaidy.

:02 – 34:45 Arthur Dewey
34:45 – 54. Sadaf Assadi and Hanan Al-Zubaidy

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WPVM, 103.7, Asheville, NC- Su 8a – 9a (Eastern)
WEHC, 90.7, Emory, VA- Su noon, M 1p
KBOO, 90.7, Portland, OR- 2nd Fr 9-10a (Pacific)
KZAX, 94.9, Bellingham, WA- Su 8a (Pacific)
KCEI, 90.1, Taos, NM-TBA
KFZR, 93.3, Frazier Park, CA- TBA
KOYO,107.1, Oroville, CA-TBA
WZRD, 88.3, Chicago, IL-TBA
KKFI, 90.1, Kansas City, MO-TBA
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