Series 41: For the Love of Faith Shakers

Faith can be a polarizing topic in our culture today, in an era where your religious beliefs might be all mixed up with your political views, your moral compass, and your perspective on others who believe differently than you. But what about those people whose faith guides them to make a difference in culture that is about love and acceptance–not hate and judgment? In this series, we’re talking to changemakers who wear their faith loud and proud, but are shaking up culture both inside and outside the church. They’re living their faith out in nontraditional spaces, in places with nontraditional people. And they’re showing up in all the places that they are walking with incredible faithfulness and courage to show the heart of a God who’s not in the business of “smiting” us, but loving us.


Language that Transcends Differences–The Poetry of Faith ft. Pádraig Ó Tuama

April 26, 2022

We’re wrapping up our Faith Shakers series this week, and we hope you’ve found it as eye-opening and enlightening as we have to see what people of faith in non-traditional spaces have been doing to make the world a better, more thoughtful place. This episode takes us to yet another unique space where faith and art are being combined to great effect–and it’s through poetry. In case you’re having flashbacks to Shakespearean sonnets you had to study in high school, fear not. We’re going beyond poetry to recognize the beauty in the lyrics we love from our favorite songs, to the way thoughts are constructed by deep thinkers like modern poet Maya Angelou. Language, words, and poetry have always been a tool deeply embedded inside any sort of faith search.  So this…

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Finding Our Spiritual Homeland with Krista Tippett

April 19, 2022

In the past, questioning the spiritual majority was unacceptable. Not only were people of faith expected to fall into line and just accept what was laid out by church leaders, but they were also expected to carry those beliefs throughout their entire lives–even when those tenets no longer aligned with their own values.  And if they dropped them? Well, then they likely got dropped by their faith institutions. Fortunately for us all, there have been some quiet trail blazers who have been pushing at the edges of those institutions, asking hard questions, and paving the way for so many of us to shift and develop and grow our faith into living, breathing entities that enhance life–instead of being burdensome.  One of those trailblazers joins us this week—the creator and host of the…

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Is the Church Dead? A Millennial’s Perspective on Religion with Casper ter Kuile

April 12, 2022

A dilemma that has gripped the hearts of traditional church leaders and their followers is the trend toward “non-affiliation–” those folks referred to as the “Nones” – who check “none” when asked if they affiliate with any religion or attend any church. Which begs the question–why? Why aren’t people attending church like they used to? And why are people outright leaving the church?  Are people still seeking and finding spiritual community somewhere out there?  Writer, speaker and co-founder of the Sacred Design Lab, Casper ter Kuile–a graduate of Harvard Divinity School who once identified as an atheist–has done some fascinating research on why people–millennials in particular–are leaving religious institutions in droves; what it is they are searching for, and the surpising places they are finding connection and hope. Caspar published a study…

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Social Media and Spirituality with Heather Thompson Day

April 6, 2022

We’re back with another installment of our Faith Shakers series–talking to people who are doing work in the name of faith in “not so typical places,” using nontraditional ways to bring life and light to people’s lives. One of the not so typical places people of faith are congregating more than ever is on social media. So many of us have a love/hate relationship with the medium. Sometimes it gives us the feeling of connection and community–especially during times where connection in person isn’t possible (remember the pandemic lockdown, everyone?). Other times, it can be a source of stress, a place where we’re constantly comparing ourselves to others, an alternate reality of only our “best selves” shown to the world through carefully curated content. Religion, faith and spirituality have their place on…

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Can Faith Thrive Within Political Divides? Lisa Schultz from the US Senate’s Chaplain’s Office

March 29, 2022

We’re not always comfortable with people who push us past our comfort zones, who ask hard questions, who bring us a different perspective, a different angle–but we get so much from there. As we continue our Faith Shakers series, we’re talking to people who challenge unjust systems and are doing dynamic things in faith spaces and how those things are positively impacting the world. This week’s discussion takes place at a location that many would consider to be a hotbed of divisiveness–where many believe it hard to show love; the center of our political world–Washington D.C. This particular location is important because it’s representative of our public discourse, the direction of our country’s legislation, policy, and rhetoric. As we explore this highly emotional and volatile topic, we have a guest who has…

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Who Says God is a White Man? Finding Ourselves in the Divine with Dr. Christena Cleveland

March 22, 2022

We’re back with a fourth episode in this powerful series; For the Love of Faith Shakers. As many of us who might have come from a Western evangelical Christian community, we were presented a God that has a strong patriarchal presence. As we dig into the history of that, we learn that this image has been crafted, held together and governed by men, as those in power tend to shape the deities as they want to see them. However, history–the same written and oral history that gives us the basis for the Bible–tells us that Jesus likely wasn’t caucasian with blue eyes as we often see him depicted, but that he was Jewish, born and raised in the middle east and more than likely, was a person of color. But the image…

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Reconnecting to Our Faith Through Art: Morgan Harper Nichols

March 15, 2022

Through our entire Faith Shakers series, we’ve been finding the places where faith is vibrant and alive–both outside the church and inside it–and who has been creating safe spaces for faith to be expressed; no matter where you fall on the religious spectrum. For centuries, art has been an integral part of the religious tradition. Some of the most breathtaking art was commissioned by leaders of the church and still adorns the walls, architecture, windows and gardens in some of the most famous religious landmarks all over the world. However, over the last century, the tie to art and religion seems to be tenuous.  And those creatives who seek to express their faith or their relationship to God through art don’t always have a conduit to do so in religious spaces. But,…

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Bringing Prayer to Her People: Cole Arthur Riley’s Black Liturgies

March 8, 2022

We’re back with more of our Faith Shakers series–with another person of faith who’s inhabiting something different than what we normally expect or see in faith spaces. When it comes to better understanding the church and how faith exists outside its walls, we must take into consideration voices that haven’t been largely represented in many church traditions. Communities of color were often not considered in the long history of  liturgy in the church–and if you’re not familiar with what liturgy is, the technical definition is the “ritual or script for various forms of public worship in churches.” And those scripts and rituals more often than not didn’t take into account the Black experience. That’s where our guest today comes in. Cole Arthur Riley is an author and the creator behind the uber…

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Growing Up Evangelical and Gay with Jonathan Merritt

March 1, 2022

It’s an origin story we’ve heard time and time again; a young person trying to figure out who they are as they grow up—in the context of their families, their religious beliefs, and their sexuality. And when all of those areas conflate, there can be fallout and damage—especially when they discover how and who they choose to love isn’t embraced by their faith or family structures. Award winning journalist and writer Jonathan Merritt navigated this particular firestorm in his own life by pursuing a Masters in Divinity and Theology and becoming a journalist who asked hard hitting questions at the intersections of faith and culture. But it would take years for him to sort out who he himself was in the midst of it. Growing up in the family of an evangelical…

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