Aside from going to church every Sunday, which I’m sure you do, and eagerly participating in the liturgy and ceremonies of worship, what are some other rituals you participate in on a regular basis? The author of “Human Rites,” spelled R-I-T-E-S, would like you to think about the rituals we live by, what they mean, and how they function in all aspects of life.
My guest today is Dru Johnson, a professor and author with a fascinating biography and a new book entitled, “Human Rites: the Power of Rituals, Habits, and Sacraments.” His book comes out in February, but I was able to see an advance copy and have the conversation you’re about to hear. I found him to be an especially engaging guest who offers something new to this very old conversation.
Tomorrow is election day! And many are saying that this is the most consequential election in modern history.
Today we’re once again hearing from our guest host, LaKesha Womack, as she interviews Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Founder of Grace and Race Ministries, and a former head of the Washington office for the National Council of Churches. Brenda has devoted her life to the work of racial understanding, healing and reconciliation, and in the context of the issues we are wrestling with in this election, there may not be a better person to hear from today.
So if you’re standing in a long line waiting to vote, put your earbuds in and enjoy this conversation between LaKesha Womack and Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell. If you have already voted, pass this along to someone who has not. And if you haven’t planned on voting, get out there and exercise your civic duty.
Over the past few weeks we have been holding webinars, with mixed success, designed to help us learn better ways of getting out the vote. Our host for these webinars, LaKesha Womack, has interviewed experts on state and local elections, the importance of the Supreme Court, and has hosted a town hall at our Christian Unity Gathering. Due to some technical problems encountered along the way, we’ve shifted gears and are having the last of these conversations here.
So this week, a treat for you: LaKesha is our guest host, and today she interviews Rev. Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, one of Washington’s most powerful faith leaders and the first female Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus. And of course you already know LaKesha; she was a guest on this podcast just a few weeks ago. Get ready for an important conversation that you’ll want to share with others as we all get ready for election day, Tuesday, November 6th.
Awaken, confront, transform: that’s what we’re talking about when we say “ACT to End Racism.” Awakening to racism means listening to the difficult truths and confronting the racism in ourselves and our institutions.
My guest this week is Rev. Dr. David Anderson Hooker. David has spent most of his career transforming conflicts in some of the most difficult spaces on the planet. He’s not only the guest of this podcast, he’s also our keynote speaker for the Christian Unity Gathering, October 14-17. David is full of practical ways for churches to be part of God’s transforming work. He’s also one of the more enthusiastic and inspiring guests I’ve had on this podcast.
What’s the most important thing you can do between now and November 6th?
My guest today is LaKesha Womack, founder of the Womack Consulting Group, and leader of a series of webinars hosted by the National Council of Churches this fall. What’s the most important thing you can do between now and November 6th? You can make sure you’re registered to vote, get educated, join with others to make sure your congregation is educated, and most of all, VOTE. Oh, and you should join the webinars LaKesha is leading.
Last weekend marked the first anniversary of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, that took the life of Heather Heyer along with two police officers as well. In Washington, DC, where a rally was being planned by those who carried out the “Unite the Right” rally last year, tensions were high. But Charlottesville was prepared for the worst.
This week we will debrief with Rev. Phil Woodson, a United Methodist pastor in Charlottesville who was an eyewitness to the events that have been unfolding over the entirety of the past year. Phil will reflect on what’s taken place over the past year, what’s different from last year, and where white supremacy is showing up today.
When it became clear that the families crossing into the United States from Mexico were being separated as part of a “zero-tolerance” policy, an outcry ensued that forced President Trump to backtrack. Did he really shut down this inhuman policy, or did it just get worse?
Today we will hear from Rev. Aundreia Alexander about her trip to McAllen, Texas, to see for herself what is going on there, and to offer a prophetic witness with other leaders in the faith community. We will also talk with Matt Hawthorne of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and we’ll discuss this country’s use of indefinite detention and how that connects with the crisis at the border today.
It’s going to be a long time before we stop talking about the ACT to End Racism rally that took place in April, the launch of a multi-year initiative to end racism in our selves, our churches, and our institutions.
On today’s podcast we begin sharing some of the powerful speeches that made up the program on April 4th. If you were there, you’ll remember the amazing spirit that overwhelmed us all. If you weren’t able to be there, get ready to hear some of what was said from the podium that day. It will be long remembered as a great day in the life of our nation and our churches, but get ready, it’s only the beginning.
Quick: when you are out in the city or on an airplane and notice someone wearing a turban and a beard, what is your first thought? How much do you know about the fifth largest monotheistic religion?
My guest today is Gurwin Ahuja, founder of the “We Are Sikhs” campaign, a national campaign to help build awareness around a faith community most of us don’t know much about. Gurwin has been a guest on this podcast before, and he’s one of my favorite people: an energetic activist working to help us all understand each other better. If you find yourself wanting to know more about the neighbors around you, please stay with me and listen in.
When justice-seeking is at the center of one’s spirituality, community can sometimes be hard to find. That’s why a group of people set out to build that community, or at least give it a good, encouraging boost, by holding a festival in the mountains of North Carolina called “Wild Goose.”
In today’s podcast, I speak with Brian McLaren, speaker and author of several books. Brian is also one of the founders of the Wild Goose Festival, which the National Council of Churches is a proud sponsor of. If you’re looking for a place where spirituality, justice, music, and art are the focus, listen in to this conversation.