Today a couple of young Mormon men stopped by for a chat. After a 45 minute long theological conversation about San Francisco, interpretation of sacred texts and social disagreements we may have, they wished me well left me this.
Two of my favorite interviewers these days both find their homes on public radio, Terry Gross from National Public Radio's Fresh Air and Ira Glass from Chicago's Public Radio's This American Life. They both have different styles and personalities for sure, but what I love about them is that they both manage to tell a story. Somehow, through prodding in the right places, poking around where there may be some nugget of life and/or discovering some insight where even the interviewee may not have expected it, they bring an idea, issue and/or experience to life.
Oh if we could all be Terry or Ira.
Well this week - finally giving up my dreams of playing shortstop for the Oakland Athletics or becoming an astronaut - I have begun the steep learning curve of one-on-one interviewing. As part of the new incarnation and format of God Complex Radio*, co-host, Carol Howard Merritt and I will each do some one-on-one interview segments that will make up part of GCR 2.0. Along with some other crazy good segments, Carol and I will then banter a bit on the interview that week. I had the pleasure to conduct the first interview and was able to sit down across the airwaves and talk with Brian McClaren. Always gracious and thoughtful, we talked about his life and calling as a writer, pastor and, depending on who you ask, a liberating voice of emerging Christianity or a person who has walked away from what it means to be a Christian at all. Later in the week, I also did a short segment with friend, colleague and artist, Abby King Kaiser, on her calling and journey to find that place where her ministry and art intersect.
Now I am sure that through my base knowledge of the English language and the editing wizardry of the GCR production staff - AKA Landon Whitsitt - the interviews will come out great and far more focused that I usually am, but . . . I want to and will get better at this. Being able to create some space where folks can share their stories, their passions and positive images of what it means to be a Christian today is truly a privilege . . . especially in a climate of religious discourse that is so often hijacked by reactionary, inflammatory and downright outrageous representations of the church. At least that is what we are trying to do. This first time was my chance to start getting into the rhythm, figure out what to do without my co-host to save my butt and generally develop my own interviewing personality. So very much looking forward to developing my inner Ira Gross or Terry Glass and I hope you'll come along for the ride.
* The new God Complex Radio podcast will drop on Friday, January 22nd with a new website, logo, podcast link and more. Official information and links should begin getting leaked to the media horde and paparazzi next week, but until then if you want to keep updated please feel to follow GRC on Twitter or join the GCR FB Fan Page and we'll see you on the 22nd!
While my own family was dealing with sickness and the ordinary rhythms of life were welcomed distractions, today's overwhelming image for me was of the devastating aftermath the earthquake in Haiti. So much to say, so much to do. Give what you can . . . wherever you can . . . however you can. This picture is from Reuters.
Sometimes in the face of tragedy and feelings of helplessness, all we can do is pray. Then there is the opportunity to offer our prayers, resources and actions when we, together, can be a divine presence of peace and healing. As the global community rallies around Haiti this day, let us begin the journey. Below is a prayer offered up by a few leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) by myself, Linda Valentine, Executive Director of the General Assembly Mission Council and Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly.
We Pray for Haiti
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As the eyes of the world turn to Haiti, let us join our hearts in prayer:
God of compassion Please watch over the people of Haiti, And weave out of these terrible happenings wonders of goodness and grace. Surround those who have been affected by tragedy With a sense of your present love, And hold them in faith. Though they are lost in grief, May they find you and be comforted; Guide us as a church To find ways of providing assistance that heals wounds and provides hope Help us to remember that when one of your children suffer We all suffer Through Jesus Christ who was dead, but lives and rules this world with you. Amen. (Adapted from Book of Common Worship)
-Bruce Reyes-Chow, Gradye Parsons and Linda Valentine
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is responding to this earthquake through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and its partners. Presbyterian World Mission is gathering information on the safety and status of our mission personnel and ecumenical partners in the area. For updates on the earthquake and the church’s response, please visit PDA. Initial reports indicate a large number of casualties and widespread damage especially in the capital city of Port-au-Prince.
You, too, can be part of God’s answer to prayer for those affected by this disaster. Information on the situation and prayers and worship resources are available through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. Funds from One Great Hour of Sharing are already helping with the initial response. You can give to the ongoing relief through PDA account number DR000064.
“Peace it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
Thank to all who have asked for this. This is a compilation of many different benedictions that I have heard throughout the years, no originality claimed, just some great opportunities to share it.
Go forth into the world
With compassion and justice in your heart
Give voice to the silent
Give strength to the weak
See one another
Hear one another
Care for one another
And love one another
It's all that easy
And it's all that hard
Now may the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ
The love of God
And the power of the Holy Spirit
Be with us all, now and forever more