Coffeepot Fellowship Podcast

Jul 30 2018 27 mins 4

Hear diverse leaders share their best and personal stories. We ask each guest for their story of biggest blunder or trial and about a happiest moment in their life. Every episode reminds us what it takes to be an accomplished leader. Bring your coffee or listen on the run. We'll deliver your daily pick-me-up.

Coffee with Sarah Arthur 2018
Jul 30 2018 36 mins  
Sarah Arthur returns to the podcast as "A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L'Engle, Author of A Wrinkle in Time" is arriving in stores. We laugh our way through episode #140 and back at episode #59. Sarah is the author of numerous books and resources on the intersection of faith and great stories. Her first book was the best-selling youth devotional, "Walking with Frodo: A Devotional Journey through The Lord of the Rings," followed by the award-winning "Walking with Bilbo: A Devotional Adventure through The Hobbit." She's also the editor of the literary guides to prayer series by Paraclete Press, including "Between Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide" (Jan. 2016). Sarah is a graduate of Wheaton Collegeand Duke University Divinity School, she speaks around the country on the role of stories and imagination in spiritual formation. She lives in Lansing, Michigan, with her young sons, Micah and Sam, and her husband, Tom, pastor of Sycamore Creek Church. A Light So Lovelyincludes interviews with people who knew Madeleine, including movie producer Catherine Hand and Madeleine's granddaughter, Charlotte Jones Voiklis, who wrote the book's foreword. Sarah also interviewed other writers/thought leaders including Phillip Yancey, Jana Riess, Sarah Bessey and Madeleine’s longtime housemate Barbara Braver. Be sure to look into Sarah's website for fall 2018 activities, including a podcast, in honor of Madeleine's would-be 100th birthday. Use the hashtag #mymadeleinemoment to share your favorite Madeleine moments on social media. Also keep Sarah in the loop with @holydreaming #alightsolovely! Lastly, Sarah has just finished her first novel which she has been working on for 15 years! She is currently shopping it to publishers, so look for that in the future. LINKS: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders #121 Coffee with Deanna Thompson #136 Coffee with Patrick Beaulier Madcap Coffee Michigan State University Books by Madeleine L'Engle: A Wrinkle In Time The Glorious Impossible The Crosswicks Journals: A Circle of Quiet, The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, The Irrational Season, and Two-Part Invention Books by Sarah Arthur: Coffee with God: 365 Devotions to Perk Up Your Day Walking with Frodo: A Devotional Journey through The Lord of the Rings Walking with Bilbo: A Devotional Adventure through The Hobbit Between Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide Light Upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L'Engle, Author of A Wrinkle in Time

Coffee with Ari Moffic
Jul 02 2018 21 mins  
LINKS: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Cohere Chicago Rabbi Riffs Open Dor Project ELI Talk: "Community IS Everything" Honi the Circle Maker Hebrew Union College Baltimore Hebrew University Indiana University InterfaithFamily/Chicago MORE: Founder of Cohere Chicago, Rabbi Ari Poster Moffic was ordained in 2007 from Hebrew Union College. She has an undergraduate degree from Indiana Universityin Religious Studies, a time when, she says, she got "slightly obsessed with Buddhism." She then went on to Baltimore to complete a Masters Degree in Jewish Education from Baltimore Hebrew University. She has been the Director of InterfaithFamily/Chicagoand spends her full-time rabbinate focused on supporting interfaith couples and families who are exploring Jewish life. Her husband is also a Reform Rabbi and they are the proud parents of a 8 year old and 10 year old. She is open to mall walking or meeting for a coffee and discussing how it is someone from Boston now lives in Chicago with no ocean. Rabbi Ari is usually giving people a multitude of options to try out Judaism. Here, though, she challenges us with a dynamic new way to understand Jewish community, obligation, and belonging. Watch her ELI Talkon the Coffeepot Fellowship show notes page. "Synagogues can't have the monopoly on what it means to be affiliated and what constitutes Jewish community. Synogogue is a vehicle for community for so many people. But the model isn't working for the majority of American Jews. And so we're going to need new models and new ways to think about Jewish community, not as opposed to or against, but in addition to. And we can tell people, We can encourage people to call their friendship groups and the people they meet up with to do Jewish things "community." - Rabbi Ari Moffic Like Ari, I (Jay McNeal) deeply appreciate the sacred spiritual moments in Starbucks with engaged couples, sharing the journey into their married lives. The opportunity to support and assist wandering souls in love through a sacred, confusing and critical time is precious. This is, of course, the story of being a pastor, helping people through sacred times. And, indeed, what time in life is not sacred? You can catch more of Ari in Rabbi Riffs!

Coffee with Eric Jackson
Jun 11 2018 27 mins  
Rev. Eric Jackson's quote from the Freedom New Hampshirewebsite jumped out at me. Perhaps it should not be outstanding that a pastor is firmly standing up for transgender people. As humans we shouldn't be surprised anymore that God surprises us with naturally occurring phenomena. It makes sense to be surprised at what the surprise isbut decreasingly so that there is a surprise at all. God has got us beat, hands down, in the creation department. Now can we stop hurting the souls, transgender and everyone else, who are blessings in God's beautifully diverse Creation? This pastor and Hartford Seminarydoctoral student is helping all of us understand that God's love is for everyone. "I believe in the radically inclusive love of God. This love extends to all of creation--including our transgender brothers and sisters-and calls me to support transgender equality in New Hampshire. At Smith Memorial UCC we are proud to welcome ALL of God's children to our congregation." -Rev. Eric Jackson Eric Jackson received his Master of Divinity from Drew Theological Seminaryand is clergy in the United Church of Christ. Eric is currently the senior pastor at Brookside Congregational Church. When asked he said he'd apply the following hashtags to describe himself: #coffeefiend #pastor and #activist. If you or your congregation want any resources or assistance for making your faith community more multi-cultural or more multi-racial then you can contact Eric at [email protected] LINKS: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Freedom New Hampshire Drew Theological Seminary Hartford Seminary Brookside Congregational Church

Coffee with Lyvonne Proverbs Picou
May 14 2018 22 mins  
Minister Lyvonne “Proverbs” Picou is a preacher, speaker, poet, educator, creative social entrepreneur, and an Emmy-award-winning media producer. A New York City native, Lyvonne is currently a part of the inaugural cohort for the Do Good X Startup Accelerator. Do Good X nurtures Christian social entrepreneurs who wish to do good in the world. She was also recently profiled as a Millennial Womanist to Watch by The Millennial Womanism Project. Through her organization, beautiful scars, Lyvonne promotes healthy and safe conversations around religion, sex, and Blackness in order to, ultimately, address the silence in the Black Church on sexual abuse. Lyvonne graduated from Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Arts in English Honors, Yale Divinity School with a Master of Divinity, and Columbia Theological Seminary with a Master of Theology. At Columbia, she published her thesis, The Problem with 'Father' God: Incest as a Silent Killer in the Black Church, an exploration of the praxis of using poetry to preach about sexual abuse from the pulpit. Lyvonne is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She currently resides in Oakland, CA with her husband, Brandon, and can be found on the instructor bike teaching classes at RiDE Oakland and on Facebook and Medium, as well as Twitter and Instagram (@LyvonneP). Lyvonne was kind and courageous enough to be our first podcast guest to be interviewed in front of a live audience inside of the Clergypreneursprivate Facebook group. It was awesome for me, as the host, to be able to share - in real time - the conversation as it unfolded and receive live responses with Facebook Live. Faith leaders are welcome to join at Members of Clergypreneurs Congregate get to give feedback and ask questions for future interviews in the extended, full interview inside the group. And, in this case, hear the very best part of the whole interview, was an original poem of Lyvonne's read by Lyvonne. All I can keep thinking is that I almost didn't ask her if she'd share a second poem with us before we said good-bye. Lyvonne, T-H-A-N-K--Y-O-U-! The poem was amazing! Thank you for speaking so much truth: here, in pulpits, everywhere. Links: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Sponsor: Clergypreneurs Congregate beautiful scars RiDE Oakland Do Good X Twitter: @LyvonneP Instagram: @LyvonneP Squarespace Psychology Today 2-1-1

Coffee with Patrick Beaulier
Apr 09 2018 23 mins  
Rabbi Patrick Beaulier is a co-founder of Darshan Yeshiva and PunkTorah. He is an author, speaker, pastor, seeker and facilitator. He is the rabbi for Bonay Kodesh, an independent, progressive Jewish community started south of Richmond, VA. Patrick has written or edited several books including Ahavah Rabbah, PunkTorah: The First Anthology and the NewKosher Vegan Cookbook, as well as countless articles for blogs such as PunkTorah and My Jewish Learning. Rabbi Patrick was ordained by Rabbinical Seminary International, a progressive rabbinical program in Manhattan, founded by the late Rabbi Joseph Gelberman. Patrick is also a member of the Richmond Rabbinical Association. You can find Patrick's profile at unitedfaithleaders.comwhere he also sits on the Board of Advisors. Patrick has also been featured in many books, including, The New Reform Judaism: Challenges and Reflections, Contemporary American Judaism: Transformation and Renewal, Oy Oy Oy Gevalt!: Jews and Punk, as well as articles in the Times of Israel, the Atlanta Jewish Times, and several other Jewish newspapers, magazines and blogs. Patrick's happiest ministry moment story revolves around the idea that "Every person matters." It is a powerful message and brings clarity to how ministry can look. As the pastor of Bonay Kodesh, Patrick respects and honors everyone's unique journey. Whether people are served by a ministry or minister of Bonay Kodesh for a moment or a period of time, Patrick is not attached to the metrics of their community. Taking the "long view," according to Patrick, "leads toward something that is just ... a promised land." Say little, do much. (Pirkei Avot 1:15) Evident from our Christmas and Hanukkah references, our conversation was recorded months ago. Sharing a message that is as valid in April 2018 as it was in December 2017, he offered encouragement in our difficult times. An important element of our conversation which should not be overlooked, is Rabbi Patrick's comment on the rise of nazism. Despite the gravity of this observation, Patrick, with a nod to Rob Bell, reassures our listeners that, in the end, love wins. LINKS: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Sponsor: Clergypreneurs Congregate Rabbinical Seminary International United Faith Leaders Board of Advisors United Faith Leader Profile for Rabbi Patrick Bonay Kodesh Darshan Yeshiva PunkTorah Patrick on Wikipedia

Coffee with Patricia Lyons
Dec 24 2017 30 mins  
The Rev. Dr. Patricia (“Tricia”) Lyons is currently serving on the Bishop’s Staff as Missioner for Evangelism and Community Engagement for the Diocese of Washington. For 17 years, she was a chaplain, religion teacher, varsity coach and JK-12 Director of Service Learning at St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Episcopal) School in Alexandria, VA. She has also taught as an adjunct at the Virginia Theological Seminary, teaching evening and summer courses to masters and doctoral students. Tricia has taught courses in Systematic Theology, C.S. Lewis, Sigmund Freud, Theology and Fiction, and most recently, Christian Themes in Harry Potter. Tricia is an honors graduate from Harvard College in the Comparative Study of Religion. She holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Harvard Divinity School. She received her doctorate from the Virginia Theological Seminary. Her doctoral thesis was a study of the stages of moral and spiritual development of adolescents. Tricia is the author of two acclaimed books. The first is a study of the spiritual lives and languages of teenagers, entitled, The Soul of Adolescence. And she recently published her second book on faith formation, Teaching Faith with Harry Potter. She has published numerous sermons, articles and book chapters on moral and spiritual development theory, as well as consulted for independent schools on moral formation and service learning programs. She has been a speaker at the annual conferences of regional independent school associations across the country as well as the national conferences of NAIS. She has worked as a consultant to individual independent schools, as well as to The National Association of Episcopal Schools on how to handle issues of community, diversity and justice in JK-12 independent schools. Tricia has also been a speaker at regional and national conferences in the Episcopal Church on faith formation, social justice, digital ministry and evangelism. Tricia was surprised as any that Harry Potter became something of importance in her life and ministry. The latest developments in God's surprising Tricia are in her role as the Hogwarts Chaplain! That's right, Tricia's most recent Facebook video as the Hogwarts Chaplain has over 2.5 thousand views! So your first stop should definitely be the Hogwarts Chaplain Facebook Page to watch some videos. Fair warning, don't underestimate the depth and information you're about to experience! Within our interview Tricia a provocative question arose, "Why doesn't God autosave?" As we conclude I invite you to ponder and respond on the Coffeepot Fellowship Podcast's Facebook Page. LINKS: Jay's Year-End Updates: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Upstart Ministry Clergypreneur Project Free Range Priest Backstory Preaching Interview with Dr. Lyons: The Hogwarts Chaplain! Teaching Faith with Harry Potter by Patricia Lyons The Soul of Adolescence: In Their Own Words by Patricia Lyons Harvard College Harvard Divinity School Virginia Theological Seminary

Coffee with Bethany Stolle
Nov 27 2017 21 mins  
Bethany Stolle is an interaction designer, curriculum developer, and entrepreneur with a ten years of experience. Bethany spent nearly a decade developing innovative, experiential curriculum for the non-profit religious publisher, Augsburg Fortress. Check out her work today at Stolle Creative. I saw Bethany lead a workshop for Virginia Theological Seminary's eFormation program. When I saw what Bethany brought to the table, figuratively, and the design table, literally, I knew I wanted to have her on the podcast so you could invite her to your design processes. On this show and in our sister ministry, United Faith Leaders, the notion of being entrepreneurial in ministry just keeps growing. Bethany brings her education and experiences, including the completion of an intensive program at Austin Center for Design (AC4D) called Interaction Design and Social Entrepreneurship to our creative and entrepreneurial conversation. Bethany's stories range from birth to death as we hear about her then-eleven-month-old son and her EMT experience. I hear your questions and assure you that the answers are inside the interview, so enjoy. (And if they're not then feel free to ask on our Facebook page under the post of Bethany's interview! Then you can like the page while you're there.) Links: Sponsor: United FaithLeaders Sponsor: Free Range Priest Stolle Creative Website Austin Center for Design (AC4D) Free Range Priest by Cathie Caimano eFormation Lutheran (ELCA) Virginia Theological Seminary

Coffee with Sarah Trone Garriott
Nov 11 2017 30 mins  
Rev. Sarah Trone Garriott is the Coordinator of Interfaith Engagement for DMARC, The Des Moines Area Religious Council, from which we grabbed the following biography! "Sarah works with the diverse faith communities of the greater Des Moines area to support the mission of DMARC, while also creating resources and opportunities to support faith communities in their work. Sarah also partners with The Comparison Project at Drake University in their efforts for interfaith awareness, dialogue, and scholarship. "As an AmeriCorps VISTA working for Northern New Mexico Legal Aid in Gallup, New Mexico, Sarah engaged community and faith leaders around the issue of Domestic Violence. As a hospital chaplain in Philadelphia and Chicago, Sarah supported patients and staff of all religious backgrounds. In parish ministry, first in rural Virginia and later in suburban Des Moines, it was her priority to build relationships beyond the church building and work together with interfaith partners. "Sarah holds a BA in History from the College of St. Scholastica, a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, a Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and ordination through Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). ----------------- Thank you to Sarah for coming on the show and for the courage to follow the full range of her callings! After our interview I had further opportunities to browse DMARC, The Comparison Project, and the Iowa Interfaith Exchange and they are very exciting projects! Be sure to check there for ideas and, in particular, the spring gathering of the Iowa Interfaith Exchange. The 2017 event appears to have been free so please participate if it is at all possible for you. Links: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Clergypreneurs Harvard Divinity School DMARC Des Moines Area Religious Council Americorps Vista A Spectrum of Faith: Religions of the World in America's Heartland Comparison Project Iowa Interfaith Exchange Sarah's blog a past church

Coffee with Marsha Foster Boyd
Oct 27 2017 43 mins  
Dr. Marsha Foster Boyd has been a seminary president, seminary professor, and the Director of Accreditation and Leadership Education at the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. She is the Chief Catalyst at Catalyst Connections Global and a co-founder of The Bridge Collective with Matthew Abrams. Come find out why her story of happiest ministry moment is now. Marsha has also just published a two-CD collection of stories called Healing on the Journey: Conversations to Shine Light on Your Path. Clearly, like us, she is a "story person," one who believes in and knows the power and importance of sharing stories. From this interview you also know that she has a rich life experience from which to draw so that her stories are laden with wisdom and insights. As a professor of pastoral care, a trained educator, and one who experienced the grief of an assassinated father, Dr. Boyd has a tapestry that is both gracious and inspiring. This was a fun interview to do, an honor that she said yes, and I hope we can share more time together. There are several ways to get more of Marsha! The Bridge Collective has an upcoming Spirituality & Social Change Retreat in Asheville North Carolina, November 9-12, 2017. If you miss the event or are too far away then ask them about future dates and locations. Links: The Bridge Collective Catalyst Connections Global Healing on the Journey: Conversations to Shine Light on Your Path (2 CD set) Spirituality & Social Change Retreat Marcus Foster Education Institute Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Sponsor: Free Range Priest Clergypreneur Training Clergypreneurs Live: Wednesdays at 2pm EST Coffee with Cathie Caimano

Coffee with Amelia Fulbright
Oct 02 2017 35 mins  
Reverend Amelia Fulbright is the founding minister at Labyrinth Progressive Student Ministry. Amelia went to Wake Forest University then studied Pastoral Care and Counseling at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. After seminary Amelia served for five years as an Associate Pastor at University Baptist Church in Austin, TX, before transitioning to full-time campus ministry. In addition to her work as a pastor, Amelia has previously worked in community mental health services in Cincinnati, OH and as a domestic violence crisis counselor in Austin. Amelia has a wide range of interests, including a special affinity for feminist theologies, contemplative spiritual practices, holistic medicine, and bluegrass music. She is also happily married and enjoys being a mother to her daughter, Vivienne. Even more succinctly: Curator of silence. Connoisseur of well-chosen words. Seeker after justice. Beneficiary of grace. Interesting to me was that I had previously interviewed Amelia's seminary president, Ted Wardlaw. That was on the Clergy for Hire Podcast which is the predecessor to the Coffeepot Fellowship. Perhaps we will initiate a Throwback Thursdays someday and re-publish those earlier interviews. Links: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Just Texas - Faith Voices for Reproductive Justice Amelia's Pro Facebook Page Labyrinth Progressive Student Ministry on Facebook Labyrinth Progressive Student Ministry Website Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary The University of Texas at Austin Wake Forest University University Baptist Church Twitther: @labyrinthatx President Ted Wardlaw, Austin Presbyterian Seminary President Rev. Kathleen Buckley

Coffee with Amir Hussain
Aug 07 2017 30 mins  
Dr. Amir Hussain is Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he teaches courses on world religions. His own particular speciality is the study of Islam, focusing on contemporary Muslim societies in North America. His academic degrees (BSc, MA, PhD) are all from the University of Toronto where he received a number of awards, including the university’s highest award for alumni service. His most recent book is Muslims and the Making of America where Dr. Hussain addresses the fear of American Muslims and the misconceptions regarding the religion. In this interview Amir mentions some fascinating distinctions in the story of Abraham's being called to sacrifice his son. While Jews and Christians work from the shared text of Genesis 22, Muslims have the same story with slightly different text in the Quran. The name of the son is missing in the Quran and is believed to be Abraham and Hagar's son, Ismail. In Amir's story of greatest trial he graciously reflected with us just after the 25th anniversary of his wife's passing. Shannon died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism when she was just 28. In his reflections Amir invoked this poem by William Blake when Amir said, "It is any easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity." “What is the price of Experience? Do men buy it for a song? Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No, it is bought with the price Of all that a man hath, his house, his wife, his children Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy And in the wither'd field where the farmer ploughs for bread in vain It is an easy thing to triumph in the summer's sun And in the vintage and to sing on the waggon loaded with corn It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted To speak the laws of prudence to the homeless wanderer To listen to the hungry raven's cry in wintry season When the red blood is fill'd with wine and with the marrow of lambs It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements To hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughterhouse moan; To see a god on every wind and a blessing on every blast To hear sounds of love in the thunderstorm that destroys our enemies' house; To rejoice in the blight that covers his field and the sickness that cuts off his children While our olive and vine sing and laugh round our door and our children bring fruits and flowers Then the groan and the dolour are quite forgotten and the slave grinding at the mill And the captive in chains and the poor in the prison and the soldier in the field When the shatter'd bone hath laid him groaning among the happier dead It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity: Thus could I sing and thus rejoice: but it is not so with me.” ― William Blake The next picture is with Morgan Freeman and the American Muslim calligrapher, Mohamed Zakariya. Amir is an advisor to The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, and they filmed a segment at the Islamic Center of Washington DC. This was the third episode of the second season, titled “Proof of God”. Links: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Muslims and the Making of America by Amir Hussain Oil & Water: Two Faiths One God by Amir Hussain A Concise Introduction to World Religions World Religions: Eastern Traditions World Religions: Western Traditions Video Interview on PBS (Travis Smiley Show) Bio and More Loyola Marymount University California State University Northridge William Blake Abraham's Blood Sacrifice (Muslim, Christian, and Jewish interpretations vary) The Qur'an: English translation and Parallel Arabic text (Amir referred to chapter 55) Richard Thompson Stevie Ray Vaughan Albert Collins (not Albert King) Mark Knopfler (from Dire Straits) Dire Straits

Coffee with Takiyah Nur Amin
Jul 27 2017 36 mins  
A few months ago I had the opportunity, along with 1500 others, to hear Dr. Takiyah Nur Amin on a panel discussion representing BLUU, Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism. Our Unitarian Universalist denomination is courageously discussing its past and present participation, along with the rest of America and religion, in white supremacy. BLUU is critical in helping our organization get woke. Three weeks later at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in New Orleans, after we had recorded this interview online, I had the very brief opportunity to swap a quick, real-life hug with Takiyah after a panel discussion she was leading. She was super busy but, of course, I had to say hello! You will certainly be able to tell from this interview that Takiyah has a very sharp mind and a very gracious heart. If that sounds like the making of a great faith leader, teacher, and social justice advocate then I would have to agree with you. But there's at least one more important ingredient that's important, passion around at least one subject. And she's got passion! About what? It's better if I let her tell you in her own words in the interview. Notes from the interview: Hypervisibility and misrecognition (Melissa Harris Perry), 'when you're a black person in the room, everyone sees you but they don't really know what they're looking at.' "Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." - Harriet Tubman "I don't believe that you can teach people who you don't love." - Takiyah Nur Amin "Maybe none of us deserves anything but we're all worthy of everything." - Takiyah Nur Amin Links: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Dr. Amin's Website UNC Charlotte Biography Unitarian Universalist Association Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU) University of North Carolina at Charlotte Melissa Harris Perry Girl Get Your Money Straight: A Sister's Guide to Healing Your Bank Account and Funding Your Dreams in Seven Simple Steps by Glinda Bridgforth

Coffee with Deanna Thompson
Jul 11 2017 25 mins  
Dying is part of America's null curriculum. Even in many Christian congregations, denominations, and seminaries, death and dying are rarely discussed. Today's guest is an author, speaker, and professor of religion at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, Dr. Deanna Thompson. Like all our listeners, she's living. But like only some of our listeners, she's living with incurable cancer. Since her diagnosis, Dr. Thompson has brought her experiences of cancer to bear on her work as a religious scholar. Recent books include The Virtual Body of Christ in a Suffering World and Hoping for More: Having Cancer, Talking Faith, and Accepting Grace We could easily have focused on the Book of Deuteronomy or Martin Luther and the Reformation for our interview. But we’re focusing instead on Dr. Thompson’s insights into what’s it’s like to live acutely aware of her mortality. You can order any of Deanna's books below except one she's writing about trauma, illness, and religious communities’ understandings and responses to those who are seriously ill. The new book takes some of its inspiration from Paul Kalanithi's book, When Breath Becomes Air. Reading Kalanithi may be the best way to prepare for Deanna's next publication. Both books will help readers find the strength and appreciation to get up and engage the day we have. I can only imagine how hard it is to get up and live a day fully when one feels badly. I imagine that it is challenging to plan trips and activities if one doesn’t know how they’ll feel on those distant days. But look at all Dr. Thompson has accomplished since her own diagnosis. In addition to the professional records there are vast numbers of family pictures of fun stuff going on with her, her husband, and her daughters. Even as this podcast is in production she is on a trip to London. In preparation for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation marked by Martin Luther's posting of his 95 Theses, I must also recommend ordering Dr. Thompson's Crossing the Divide: Luther, Feminism, and the Cross. My final note, which I just find too cool to resist mentioning, is that Dr. Thompson was recently inducted into her high school hall of fame! Dr. Thompson’s 8th grade English teacher saw the potential in 14-year-old Deanna, recognized Deanna’s teaching and leadership at Hamline University since 1996, her consistent personal traits, and recommended Dr. Thompson for consideration. October 7th, 2016, Burnsville High School immortalized one of its Class of 1985 graduates in Professor Deanna A. Thompson. While neither the Coffeepot Fellowship Podcast nor United Faith Leaders officially gives out awards yet, we’re certainly proud to stand up and cheer Dr. Thompson. Links: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders The Virtual Body of Christ in a Suffering World by Deanna A. Thompson Hoping for More: Having Cancer, Talking Faith, and Accepting Grace by Deanna A. Thompson Crossing the Divide: Luther, Feminism, and the Cross by Deanna A. Thompson Deuteronomy: A Theological Commentary by Deanna A. Thompson Deanna's Website CaringBridge When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi Thomas Becket ("I am not in danger, only near to death.") Samuel Beckett ("I can't go on. I'll go on.") Vanderbilt University (PhD) Yale University Divinity School (M.A.R.) St. Olaf College (B.A.)

Coffee with Jeanne Pupke
Jun 17 2017 16 mins  
Getting 30 minutes with Rev. Jeanne Pupke this particular week was an honor and nearly miraculous since there are just seven days left in her 18-month presidential campaign! Rev. Jeanne will be in New Orleans this week for the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association. In exactly one week, Saturday June 25th, 2017, all three candidates will be sweating it out as the votes are counted. And while my title won't change based on the votes, I'll be at the assembly praying it out as well. Your prayers are welcome too. While I cannot give an adequate presentation of the powerful impact Unitarian Universalists have had on the United States, I know that UU clergy can. What I can do is share some of my remarkable experience being part of Rev. Jeanne Pupke's church this year. I, a Baptist minister, and my wife, Kelli, arrived at First Unitarian Universalist Church in September 2016. My wife was a dual-degree student at Baptist Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity) and Virginia Commonwealth University (Master of Social Work). Kelli was the Social Justice Intern as part of her social work degree program so we knew we would be at this church every Sunday for the school year. I had very little expectation when I arrived. I was a veritable tabula rasa. The only expectation I believe I brought was that I would likely be, at best, a fringe member of the community that was not declaratively Christian. I could not have been more wrong. The senior pastor, the associate pastors, the religious educator, the assistants, the interns, and the other Christian clergy in the congregation(!) were fast colleagues. But colleagues in what? How would they lead worship with a community that did not all profess to follow God in general, let alone Jesus Christ? How could I worship Jesus Christ in my seat, as someone next to me worshiped the God of Judaism, next to someone who was an atheist? How would we pray? What songs could we sing? I won't answer these questions except to say that there are indeed answers. I knew quickly that this was a place I could "work" as a pastor because I loved what they were about. It took me just a few more months to join the congregation, all the while remaining a Christian and a Baptist minister. I was able to ally myself with the people of First UU and the values of Unitarian Universalism, integrating my experiences with my Christian beliefs. This was very significant to me and a powerful statement about Unitarian Universalists. My wife's story is similarly powerful but I will leave that for Kelli to tell and turn focus back to today's guest. A Catholic nun in a previous lifetime, Rev. Jeanne Pupke has been the senior pastor at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond Virginia for over a decade. It is a religion and a congregation so radically open-minded that beliefs of different religions and no religion are embraced in the one community. The church has grown in her time and continues its growth. In the era of donald trump they have experienced a particular surge. People are seeking community in a place that does not place them under the thumb of a narrow belief system. As most of my Richmond relationships revolve around Christian communities, I have found myself saying through this year that our church vastly congregates around social justice missions. Rev. Jeanne leads two Sunday services at 9 and 11AM. They are powerful and deeply meaningful. There are various other groups that meet to dive into specific spiritual education and worship every week - a Christian group, Buddhist group, Jewish studies and many more. Other groups are advocating for racial justice, women’s rights, LGBTQIA rights, immigrant rights through becoming a sanctuary congregation, and much more. I have also heard several critical voices that don't know Rev. Jeanne or this congregation tell me they had visited this church more than ten years ago. And I don't recognize the description. Every church has conflict; conflict is natural. There is healthy conflict happening today; the conflict of courageously moving forward. On one hand, we are not moving fast enough. On the other hand, I know that Rev. Jeanne is keeping a pulse on what we can handle, and pushing us. I knew that Rev. Jeanne had business experience before becoming clergy. I did not know that part of that experience was in this podcast's wheelhouse as a "coffee executive!" Mind blown. What else will we learn about Rev. Jeanne?!?! For example, who knew her exquisite drink of choice would be espresso con panna (hot espresso with cold whip cream on top)? What's more, I've been drinking in Rev. Jeanne's wisdom and inspiration Sunday after Sunday. I've been talking with her in the hallways of First UU and at meetings. She knows that sometimes things are more complicated than they seem. So when she delivers wisdom that is simple, do not miss its value. It's powerful and distilled to work in your heart and mind. When asked what she wanted to promote explicitly, it was simply this: we are one family. When we can remember and own this truth, "we are one family," then we will treat each other the way that we ought and the world will indeed be a better place. Links: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond Rev. Jeanne for UUA President! Rev. Jeanne on Facebook Twitter: @Jeannepupke4uua Unitarian Universalist Association Expresso Con Panna

Coffee with April Blaine
Jun 12 2017 24 mins  
Rev. April Blaine lives in Columbus, Ohio and is the Lead Pastor at Hilliard United Methodist Church. She went to Hendrix College and Methodist Theological School in Ohio. She is married with kiddos and is a passionate advocate for the enneagram. Babes, blessings, and bathtubs - that's what we're talking about today with April. If you think we're blessing babes in bathtubs ... well, you're not totally off the mark! I noticed a little pattern in April's stories, she's able to gain huge insights into our humanity through the lives of amazing young people in her midst. Those stories involve the full range of being human. This podcast episode is almost like watching the movie Inside Out where you, literally, get to name experiences like Joy and Anger. What we see, in its raw form in children (and college students), can help us be honest about all that is pretty and pretty ugly in us. Coming to grips with our true selves has innumerable benefits. First, we experience our own liberation. We no longer have to lie to or pretend with ourselves or others. Then we can have more compassion and grace with others because we know we're just as beautiful and just as ugly, just as wonderful and close-to-terrible as anyone else. April's courage to know and share her journey demonstrates how this is happening with her. What would you do with the claw-foot bathtub mysteriously chilling out in your church? Throw it away? Make an art project out of it? Paint it rainbow colors? Grow plants in it? Make a reading nook out of it? Fill it with holy water? Float things in it? Make it a float in a parade? I'll tell you that, after hearing April's bathtub story, I want to have a rainbow bathtub in any sanctuary I pastor in. Of course I'll do full immersion baptisms in it. And, what's more, every year I want to use it for blessings just like April did (hear episode) so that everyone knows God loves them just as they are and they are welcome just as they are because the Water is for them, just like the Bread of Life is for them. As Christians we definitely want everyone to come to the table, any table. We want everyone to come find and know that they are loved, by God and by others. We want everyone to experience the fullest life possible and extend that space to others. If others don't find their way to the table, a table, then God will find and make a way to them, just like April took the water to the parade, just like the water leapt from the parade route onto the crowd. There is a joyful responsibility upon each of us that we are not compelled to pick up but that many, fortunately, do. Thank you, April Blaine, for engaging a life of love so deeply. Links: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile Enneagram Institute The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert Methodist Theological School in Ohio Hendrix College Ohio State University (OSU) Hilliard United Methodist Church Summit United Methodist Church

Coffee with Paula Owens Parker
May 27 2017 24 mins  
The Rev. Dr. Paula Owens Parker is a Presbyterian minister and senior program developer of Roots Matter. Though Roots Matter’s approach to generational healing is rooted in the traumatic experience of chattel slavery and the African American spirituality created out of that experience, it has a deep and powerful connection with other groups and cultures who have experienced historical trauma. Roots Matter: Healing History, Honoring Heritage, and Renewing Hope was published in July 2016. Dr. Parker received her Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary (San Anselmo, CA.). She is a professor of Spiritual Formation at Union Presbyterian Seminary (Richmond, VA.), is a retreat leader, spiritual director, and healing prayer minister. She's received many awards including the 2013 Union Presbyterian Seminary Black Alumni/ae Trailblazer Award. Dr. Parker takes her coffee with 100% pure, light amber maple syrup. Dr. Parker is the founder and former executive director of The Daughters of Zelophehad, Inc., an ecumenical Christian transitional housing program for women in crisis and their children. The Daughters of Zelophehad name came from Numbers 27:1-11 when Moses was dividing up the promised land. Moses protected the rights of these women when there was no male heir. Dr. Parker is also a co-founder of SOZO School of Christian Healing Prayer at Richmond Hill, an urban ecumenical retreat center, and co-founder of Seven Sisters Sharing Seven Sayings, a Good Friday service that is held each year in the Richmond metropolitan area. SOZO means to save or to heal in Greek. Both scholars and ministers in their own rights, Paula Parker and Katie Cannon are collaborating on the development of a Center of Womanist Leadership. United Faith Leaders and The Coffeepot Fellowship look forward to that exciting project which Dr. Parker discusses in this episode. In conclusion, as you consider these two quotes from our interview, we urge the reading of Dr. Parker's book, Roots Matter: Healing History, Honoring Heritage, and Renewing Hope, for people of all backgrounds. "The decision you make today effects seven generations." -Sioux proverb "Trauma is trauma. It happens in all families, in all ways." -Rev. Dr. Paula Owens Parker Links: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Roots Matter: Healing History, Honoring Heritage, and Renewing Hope (Wipf & Stock, 2016) by Paula Owens Parker Roots Matter LLC Roots Matter on Facebook Katie Geneva Cannon Simple Green Smoothie - Thrive Richmond Hill Retreat Center The Coffeepot Fellowship on Facebook

Coffee with Sarah Langford Berger
May 22 2017 24 mins  
Let's go now to our Real World Correspondent, Sarah Langford Berger! Sarah is a hospice nurse with Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care. She has her Bachelor of Science from National American University. She's married to Chris Berger with two gorgeous kiddos. Make sure you listen to hear who Sarah met unexpectedly when she went to church! This show notes page is going to be more of a prequel to meeting Sarah. It will tell you about Sarah by telling you what kind of Jay McNeal she and her friends let in. If we do another episode together then it should include the story of the first night we actually met. But, for now, let's start before the beginning. We were both poor young adults living in one of the wealthiest counties in America when I showed up. I was doing my best to fit in when I arrived in the midwest but Sarah and her friends cared about more important things than conforming. I was a peculiar outcast when our paths crossed. I was, literally, working at Blockbuster Video after having resigned, burned out from my full time youth ministry job nearby. I was divorced, bankrupt, and failed at the ministry I left everything to serve. In the podcast you will hear what our common time was like to Sarah. For myself I remember many great joys, every youth I served and almost every adult but I also know how destructive a few of those adult church members were before I met Sarah. I was so naive. I do not have much of a theology of sin, evil, or the devil. Well, I do but I don't think they're worth much of my time or brain power. Learning to love and be kind consume all of my time and will consume all of my life, knowing that mastery is never in the cards. So why waste life teaching people about sin? People are good. People need love. Talk to them about the beauty, magnificence, courage, and other virtues that make them up! Find their joy and gifts and massage those into the raging fire they can become. But with that said, the same way Sarah cannot deny the truth of her wonderful church experience, I had an experience with my Kansas church staff that included the opposite of love. In the church I served I may have experienced something like the devil and certainly something of evil. The senior pastor kept his distance from my youth ministry. The associate pastor supervised me and we met weekly one-on-one. Let's call him Steve. The meetings were always positive and productive. The ministry was certainly an enormous beast. I will always be the first to say it was a huge job with a notable learning curve, with exactly one staff person - me. What I know in hindsight was that some of the youth parents gossiped about me when the plans for a youth evening fell through because of a funeral. Those voices funneled their criticism to one adult volunteer I'll call Victor. Volunteer Victor spent another three months attending every youth activity and building his case to have me fired. Then he brought his case to the associate pastor. My first discovery that there was a major problem was a meeting in a classroom in the basement with Victor and Steve where Victor read three full pages of single-spaced, 10-point font, bullet points about how I was incompetent. The only other time in my life I had received anything but high praise was was when I was a student teacher to 3rd graders. (I truly cannot communicate with 3rd graders.) While I'd have preferred earlier, more constructive communication, I was elated (after 24 hours of privately taking it personally) to have such thorough feedback. I took the information and made changes to my priorities in the youth ministry to deliver more of what they had been looking for (more administration and less pastoral care, more visible leadership and less letting others have the spotlight). In the classroom I said virtually nothing. Steve (associate) did not add anything or come to my defense. I simply heard and received the information. I was absolutely stunned. It was vicious and malicious. I don't know if he's proud of his accomplishment but he really had to want it. I had trusted him and welcomed him into every youth event and activity. There was nothing bad to hide and everything good to witness. While I provided for his comfort, he was sharpening his blade. The next meeting they brought me into was in Steve's office. This time, however, the devil was sitting behind the desk. Victor's presentation was predictably composed again but he was clearly out of control with the content of his spoken words now and written words before. Regardless of his professional execution, the entire situation was not insurmountable with appropriate response from our church leadership (myself included). Certainly, Steve would hear Victor politely and then kindly set the record straight. I may as well have not been in the room for what happened next. Steve mirrored Victor's play and increased the showmanship. Steve began whole-heartedly agreeing with Victor as if this had been Steve's exact feeling since I had been hired. Steve agreed with Victor and made up complete fiction that Steve had been telling me the same things for many months in our weekly meetings. I thought I was in the Twilight Zone. I was staring at Steve as this experienced pastor spilled bold-face lies about the content of dozens of meetings. These were not subtle misunderstandings or differences of perception; these we donald trump, throw-him-under-the-bus style lies. Because I loved the youth and I loved the church I've never told this story publicly. I did not fight to stay at the church. I left depressed and confused. They barely knew me and did not know how pure my heart was, how honestly I was bearing the love I knew through Jesus Christ to them. I did nothing to protect myself. I didn't keep contemporaneous notes like James Comey. I didn't make a big stink and try to stay, even though I'd seen other staff members treated badly also. I had no leverage. I had no power. I had no money. And, in the long view, I was still very young in my career in ministry. I had no resources, internally or externally, to fight their resources. And what would "winning" look like? I knew who my successor would be and I had set her up to be very successful with the youth that I loved. For them and their next leader, ugly as it was behind the scenes, I had to go. I ended up in the hospital being treated for depression. It was there that I wrote my letter giving two weeks notification to the church. I believe it was there that the senior pastor described Victor as a "lightning rod for negativity." The youth would never know this despicable story. They would always think of me with suspicion. Their next leader would get to tell them more about Jesus, and that was what it was suppose to be about - knowing Him and living into who we are called to be. One last unforgettable detail, my last day was a Sunday about ten days after I got out of the hospital. I was in our fellowship hall stationed behind a table for something. Victor came up and handed me a store-bought greeting card, which I opened with reluctance and trepidation. He had simply signed his name to the pre-printed message, "I see Jesus in you." Christians, this is a problem. You cannot do evil, you cannot kill Jesus, and then make it all better with a Hallmark card or a compliment. The two do not offset one another. The last thing I'll say is that I love that church. I did know many amazing adults. Two adult friends, Lara and Angela, will always stand out. Everyone deserves friends like them. I love that church because Victor and Steve aren't the whole church. Because of gossip I don't know which other parents fueled Victor's mission. How can one love and serve a congregation with secret enemies shaking your hand after the sermon? Whether you are a lay member or a staff person, if anyone gossips to you then it is your responsibility to direct the speaker to the person they are talking about! Never get in the middle. Never make a triangle. Communicate your own experience, opinions and observations to the source first. Do not start with a supervisor, senior pastor, other parent, or lightning rod for negativity. If you are intimidated, bring an observer. Church staff are real people with real lives. We have real families and real life expenses. Conflict itself is healthy, good, and normal but only when it is handled maturity and grace. Please stop undermining the church and its leadership. Well, before I go, senior pastors, that goes double for you. Send the gossipers, even if they're staff, to the person they have conflict with. Don't provide secret cover. You cannot deliver their feedback as accurately as they can. Hold people accountable, follow up, but do not deliver their messages. As one might imagine, my next phase of being in the midwest was a very dark time after the hospital and resignation. The dark season was mostly internal; it was emotional and spiritual. I didn't know Christians could be like this. Although this is when I met Sarah, Mike (her boyfriend), and Scott, they were the light. Links: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care National American University

Coffee with Teresa Pasquale Mateus
May 15 2017 24 mins  
Teresa Pasquale Mateus lives in Chicago, IL where she is a student at Chicago Theological Seminary. She is a a trauma specialist, a contemplative, a speaker, hails from Bogotá, Columbia, and is the author the books Sacred Wounds and Mending Broken. Her third book is forthcoming with the working title, Going Naked: The Art of Spiritual Shedding. Teresa Pasquale Mateus is a trauma specialist, integrative psychotherapist, contemplative practice and contemplative action educator, and a writer. She is a graduate of NYU's School of Clinical Social Work and The Living School at the Center for Action and Contemplation. She is also a trained yoga teacher through the Sivananda tradition and a provider of equine-facilitated psychotherapy. She teaches, speaks, leads workshops and retreats in the areas of trauma, spirituality and justice - often at the intersection points between those areas and paths to healing. As a trauma survivor herself, Teresa is fascinated with the resiliency of the soul. It is no surprise, therefore, that her full book titles are: Sacred Wounds: A Path To Healing From Spiritual Trauma, Mending Broken: A Personal Journey Through the Stages of Trauma + Recovery, and Going Naked: The Art of Spiritual Shedding (working title). Teresa Pasquale Mateus' birthday is October 15th, which is the feast day of St. Teresa of Ávila. While much less exciting, this episode is being published on - wait for it - Teresa's half birthday (and, therefore, the half feast day of St. Teresa)! Happy halves, to both Teresa's. To my own (poor) recollection, Teresa and I were not introduced prior to the podcast even though I believe we had been at the Wild Goose Festival together, probably more than once. She is familiar to me from her leadership roles there. I do my best to take in the wonderful and wide-ranging teachers and leaders at the Wild Goose Festival but, as one might imagine, it is an impossible task. Fortunately it was enough of an introduction to rightly convince me to follow up with her and ask if she'd talk with us here. I've been grateful for her roles at the Goose and now I know a fair bit more to appreciate. Thank you, Teresa, for the courage to heal, share that journey, and just fully be you. It's inspiring and permission-giving. Links: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Sponsor: United Church of Christ (UCC) Sacred Wounds: A Path To Healing From Spiritual Trauma Mending Broken: A Personal Journey Through the Stages of Trauma + Recovery Going Naked: The Art of Spiritual Shedding (working title) by Teresa Pasquale Mateus The Grey Nuns Chicago Theological Seminary NYU's School of Clinical Social Work The Living School at the Center for Action and Contemplation The Way with Martin Sheen Camp Hanover Wild Goose Festival

Coffee with Sarah Are
May 08 2017 23 mins  
Sarah Are is about to graduate from Columbia Theological Seminary near Atlanta, Georgia and relocate to Dallas, Texas! Sarah's courage to move as she answers her calls brought her through my own Richmond, Virginia for a summer while she completed her Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) and where she reconnected with her undergraduate alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University. With that same courage and the belief that God finds us all in various ways, Sarah helped launch a ministry called Sanctified Art with the mission of bringing worship and art together. The Are family, Sarah included, are storytellers. For that reason, at the end of this interview you will surely have a new appreciation of communion and you will know a certain four things. I am quite excited myself at the idea of spreading this family story of four things, even just among our mutual friends that she mentioned. I know that those friends (Amanda Hill, Scott Biggers, Laura Kelly, Daniel Burch, Matthew White, and Nathanael Blessington) will not be able to resist listening to this interview and retelling Sarah's stories in their ministries, which will certainly reach thousands of people. I will let the storyteller tell her own stories in the episode but I will pen the four things for listeners. I am responsible for myself. Every decision has a consequence. I am baptized. I am loved. Sarah, thank you for being a friend to the podcast. Thanks for being so honest, vulnerable, strong and straight-up being yourself. Links: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Sanctified Art Sarah's Website Sarah's College Vegetarian Food Blog "A Rented Kitchen" Coe College Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Columbia Theological Seminary Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, Designated Pastor for Youth and Young Adults (as of July 2017) Morningside Presbyterian Church (Interim Director of Youth Ministries at the time of the interview) Village Presbyterian Church (father, Rev. Tom Are) Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church (Overland Park, KS)

Coffee with Grace Aheron
May 01 2017 36 mins  
Grace Aheron is a force of nature all unto herself. She is wise, courageous and full of faith. Her stories include advocacy for others, leaps of faith, and living into her own being. I took some time at the beginning of our conversation to make relationship connections. Being introduced to Claire Hitchins and Taylor (Poindexter) Devine helps all of us know Grace and helps the world be a better place. The web of goodness and love I see developing in the Coffeepot Fellowship and United Faith Leaders is a beautiful thing. They are certainly forging new connections. However, they are mostly shining a light on the kinds of interconnectedness, beauty, and strength that already existed. We're truly grateful just to be participants. Do, please, make connections with Claire and Taylor. Grace promoted Black and Pink, which describes itself as an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and “free world” allies who support each other. Grace asked us especially to become penpals. There are many ways to get involved and support Black and Pink, so definitely dig into their website. Grace mentioned that Black and Pink also does work toward the abolition of the prison industrial complex with special urgency focused on the violence upon LGBTQ people. I'm glad this abolition came up, even briefly, because Americans (myself included) need to become much more aware of the injustices that are being perpetrated as law enforcement and incarceration. Our nation was on track to radically reduce the number of prisons when our government pivoted toward "law and order" and rapidly increased incarceration rates instead. And, spoiler alert, people of color were - and still are - incarcerated at disproportionately higher rates. So while it may seem instinctively absurd for 21st-century Americans to consider abolition of the prison industrial complex, that is largely a factor of 1) one's age and 2) one's skin color (and not necessarily in that order). Grace is presently accomplishing all of the good you hear about in the interview while being the "Y00f wrangler" and campus minister at St. Paul's Memorial Church and while living in the Charis Community Cville (Charlottesville, VA) which she founded after working for the Episcopal Diocese of California. "Nothing about us, without us, is for us." - slogan of South African disability and youth activists / poster by Ricardo Levins Morales Links: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Black and Pink(.org) Charis Community Cville St. Paul's Memorial Church Roman Catholic Womanpriests Interview with Taylor (Poindexter) Devine Claire Hitchins (t-shirts?) Wild Goose Festival Oberlin College University of Virginia (UVa)

Coffee with Lisa Cressman
Apr 22 2017 29 mins  
Rev. Dr. Lisa Cressman is the Founder and Steward of Backstory Preaching. She is the Assisting Priest at Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Houston, Texas. Her Doctor of Ministry is from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana, and her Master of Divinity is from Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California. Lisa also has her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Let your life speak" is an old Quaker adage and the title Parker Palmer has given to his popular book which is common reading at every seminary. For any preacher, like Lisa Cressman, the adage would become "let your life preach." Put better by Lisa herself, you will hear her adieu at the end of our interview as "be good news to preach good news." First we must be the Good News. Then and only then we can preach the Good News. If this is the life, promise and love you want to preach then you have come to the right place to get all the pieces in place that you will need to bring your preaching life into one accord. In my own mathematical, engineering undergraduate existence I developed an understanding that none of us gets to be a non-factor in life. While a lot of people try to effect nothing and no one, attempt to do no damage or no harm. That is not an available option. We are all a factor. If an equation of life could be written, like "Life = 7R x 8Q(3T/4P) - 2B + 9D," then what would you be? Yes, we get to choose. Of course, my job is to be asking myself, "What will I be? Will I be a plus or minus in the equation?" Even if I tried to be a zero, I'd fail. Try it yourself and you'll see, you only end up hurting people (minus). There's more. Multiplication is repeated addition, right? That's an option. As is division. And while superscripts aren't an option with my editor here, in life we can strive to have exponential effects. Saving the world from one lousy sermon at a time This mathematical construct may seem strange but it is what I was reminded of when Lisa talked with me about everyone preaching all of the time with the lives that they are living. When we recognize that we're already being a factor - that we cannot be otherwise - then we can choose to do it as well as possible. You're already preaching with your life you might just as soon preach well. Whatever we asses ourselves to be in life, with my equation, why don't we improve our impact (our role in the equation and in life, and, in this case, in our preaching)? Somewhere I read that Backstory Preaching is saving the world from one lousy sermon at a time! Lisa says, "Anybody can preach in the pulpit! Absolutely anybody can learn to do this." She gives us these critical questions: What does 'an effective sermon' mean? How do you recognize one? How do you produce one? What do we do with those questions now? Did I mention that her Doctor of Ministry is in PRACTICAL Theology? That means she won't give you theory without praxis. Try these. Craft An Effective Sermon By Friday (PDF e-course) (Online) Summer Camp for Preachers Now let's finish where we usually start, coffee. Lisa is also a doctor of coffee and gave us these words: "Coffee is an event; it is not a beverage." Links: Backstory Preaching Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Preaching Through Uncertain Times (instant access, self-paced course) Craft an Effective Sermon by Friday 1:1 Sermon Coaching (Online) Summer Camp for Preachers The Preacher's Trust (forthcoming book) Free Range Priest Father Cathie Caimano Coffeepot Fellowship Interview Festival of Homiletics San Antonio, TX, May 15-19, 2017 Seminary of the Southwest Church Divinity School of the Pacific Christian Theological Seminary Episcopal Church of the Epiphany University of Wisconsin-Madison

Coffee with Sushama Austin-Connor
Apr 17 2017 32 mins  
Sushama Austin-Connor has degrees from Emerson College, Fisk University, and Harvard Divinity School. Today she is part of the Princeton Seminary Continuing Education staff where she directs the Black Theology and Leadership Institute. She worships with her husband and two boys in the United Church of Christ and appreciates coffee from Dunkin' Donuts. (Sometimes the world really does run on Dunkin'!) Sushama describes herself as "faith leader, mom, wife, religionista, and media generalist." She'll hit each one of those in our conversation for listeners. Some listeners will definitely identify with a struggle Sushama is experiencing as she pursues ordination. Friends of this podcast will know that we love and support the Christian denomination called the United Church of Christ, UCC. It is the denomination which Sushama happily aligns herself to with its social justice values. You'll here her say, regarding her ministry/job at Princeton about choosing a theme for the Black Theology and Leadership Institute, that if they're not doing social justice then she doesn't know what they're doing. It's that important to her sense of Christianity and theology at Princeton that one might expect a social justice denomination like the UCC to wholey celebrate and quickly affirm that value in a candidate for ordained ministry. While some faith traditions are broadening their lenses about what ministries qualify for ordination, even the UCC is slow to empower a clearly otherwise strong candidate. I pray that our listeners stay connected to Sushama to find out how her ordination story develops. Maybe we can start an "Uncle Tony Campaign" to help Sushama. (You'll have to listen to the episode for the inside joke.) As you can hear in Sushama's voice and see in her pictures, Sushama definitely has the ability to "let it all hang out" and have a great time. Thanks for the boldness and security in who God made you to be, sister. Links: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Black Theology & Leadership Institute (BTLI) Princeton Theological Seminary Harvard Divinity School Emerson College Fisk University Reinhold Neibhur Documentary Prof. Preston Williams United Church of Christ (UCC) Twitter: @Sushama

Coffee with Cathie Caimano
Apr 10 2017 29 mins  
Hello, friends. I'm Father Cathie. I'm an Episcopal priest in North Carolina, serving congregations and people with the freedom to go where I am called. That's why my ministry is called Free Range Priest — instead of serving one church or group, I serve in many places and many ways. Through teaching and discussing Christian practice in everyday life, I help clergy and congregations re-imagine relationships and connect with audiences through digital evangelism. I became a Free Range Priest after a decade serving in Episcopal congregations in New York City, Durham, NC and Wichita, KS, then another five years serving regionally on a bishop's staff, where I worked with clergy and congregations through mission and ministry development. Today I consult and teach for Backstory Preaching, an online preaching program, as part of my Free Range Priest Ministry, along with blogging, speaking, coaching, and leading worship. I’m married to the love of my life, and together we raise my two dogs and his three kids (but don't call me a stepmom). I’m an avid runner, a pretty committed vegan, and a champion coffee-drinker. Jay: Coffee drinker!?!? Well then, Cathie, you've come to the right place! Welcome to the show and thank you for the introduction. As most of you know, I'm your host at Coffeepot Fellowship and a bit of a free range priest myself. If you were to browse the web pages for Free Range Priest and United Faith Leaders you would quickly understand why I am so excited to get to know Father Cathie. Cathie brings great experience and expertise to her ministries. One of the areas of expertise that has caught my attention has to do with her conceptualization and language. Her bachelor of science degree from Georgetown University is in Linguistics and her master of divinity is from The General Theological Seminary in NYC. What does a pastor with a linguistics degree - a degree in the study of language - feel or say when she is holding The Word of God in her hands, called to transfer, teach or communicate that holy body of words? Does it feel possible? Is it a burden? Does it feel futile? Or, rather, is it an easy joy? Jesus is the Living Word; is that even more marvelous to a Christian with a linguistics degree? Father Cathie shares that we each carry that Word - Jesus Christ - in us, that the Word is alive. The beauty is that we have been reading and communicating the Word, this Love, to one another for centuries. It is infinitely creative and mysterious. Each one of us is "translating" it and adding to that conversation all the time. This linguist is also a Biblical literalist, "a real one," she declares! You'll have to listen to this podcast episode to hear her make her case. Last but not least, Cathie also shared that she is at the beginning of this magnificent, risky, and exciting endeavor. Find ways to stay tuned and stay involved while the brainstorming and development take place. Father Cathie, with others, is facilitating a better, more creative future for God's beautiful Church and world. Let her know that you are interested in becoming certified as an official Free Range Priest. (By the way, you cannot simply start calling yourself a Free Range Priest without the certification. The name is actually Cathie's property.) To stay tuned in you can: follow her on Twitter and like the Free Range Priest Facebook Page. Links: United Faith Leaders United Church of Christ (UCC) Free Range Priest (the book!) by Fr. Cathie Caimano Free Range Priest Website Free Range Priest on Facebook Father Cathie's Blog (subscribe in right margin) Twitter: @frcathie RomanTEC on Facebook Presiding Bishop Michael Curry George Lakoff Backstory Preaching (don't forget to subscribe!) Backstory Preaching on Facebook

Coffee with Colber Prosper
Mar 27 2017 29 mins  
Colber Prosper and I met at the inception of the Wild Goose Festival's LEAD NOW! program in 2015. We both returned as contributors in 2016. LEAD NOW! applied his teaching and leadership skills while I joined the first-ever GooseCast, a stage dedicated to podcasters. Colber is an author and the founder of Prosper & Partners. Colber's first book, No Entry: Examining the Powers that Undermine Our Full Potential, is a unique breakthrough book. It is accessible like Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and has substance like The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. First, as any work of art it draws from unique combinations of sources. It synthesizes material and ideas from many wide-ranging sources, including hard sciences, music, poetry, social sciences and life experience. Second, No Entry is useful! Concepts discussed have lists, steps, or categories. You can identify what you have or what's missing in your circumstance and move to affect change in your life! And if you ever find yourself without clear direction then you can contact the team at Prosper & Partners! A third uniqueness is the code switching that takes place. By "code switching" I mean changing dialects or registers, or, in the extreme, actually changing languages. To a reader, like myself, who only knows "proper English" to be "the Queen's English," all of the content is still completely accessible. A reader might, again like myself, initially perceive there to be typos or grammatical errors. The error, however, is with the reader. The purpose of Colber's code switching in No Entry is to remain authentic to as many parts of himself as possible in the span of a short book. In our interview he says, "We need to start being able to share our full selves and not pieces of ourselves." Beyond the book, Colber is the founder and senior consultant for Prosper & Partners, an international consulting firm that specializes in professional and organizational development. He is an innovative and compassionate leader who has been recognized for his ability to educate youth and adult professionals on various topics. Colber is an experienced facilitator that has led a plethora of presentations and workshops. He has done extensive research on issues of inclusion, social justice, organizational change, middle management and higher education. He has also provided trainings in coalition building, substance abuse prevention and organizational development around the world in places such as Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Cape Town, South Africa, Nairobi, Kenya and several more. His extensive background in strategic planning and implementation has made him an asset to various higher educational institutions and non-profit organizations. Finally, Colber teaches at the University of the District of Columbia where his research is being used to increase student engagement. Links: No Entry: Examining the Powers that Undermine Our Full Potential by Colber Prosper Prosper & Partners Twitter: @ColberProsper United Faith Leaders Wild Goose Festival LEAD NOW Cohort at the Wild Goose University of the District of Columbia

Coffee with Leslie Boyd
Mar 20 2017 28 mins  
According to Mr. Rogers, Leslie Boyd has a very important job - telling the truth. "Truth-telling is a ministry and it's a joy to be able to do it," Leslie says. And Mr. Rogers is not the only famous reverend to encourage Leslie's truth-telling. Rev. Dr. William Barber, II seems to lend a microphone to Leslie every chance he gets. To learn more of Leslie's story after this interview, we recommend her blog (below) and her book, Life o' Mike. I was happy to have Leslie share about the joy that she experiences while holding politicians accountable. Many Americans, while we're learning quickly, don't really know the experience of rallies, protests, and marches. Americans like me had fallen asleep at the switch and thought the ugly parts of American history were in our rear-view mirror. Welcome to whiplash. But it doesn't have to be 100 percent sad 100 percent of the time when it comes to protesting. Leslie's experience has been one of camaraderie and sisterhood/brotherhood. When they're together about Good Work and fighting for the wellness of future souls, they feel good and it shows. Their good feelings take nothing away from the seriousness of their messages. And it is very clear that the politicians that these protesters are as serious as anyone comes. Always look on the bright side of life sub english spanish When we asked Leslie what she wanted to promote she said, "Honesty." On one hand, it is quite discouraging that this needs to be promoted. On the other hand, it' inspiring to see individuals banding together to fight for honesty and accountability from our leaders. The pain, devastation and death occurring because of selfishness and short-sightedness at the top are unnecessary. There's enough pain, devastation, and death that are outside of human control but the ability to be honest is entirely within our ability! Our democracy needs to change so that it is harder for incumbents to make careers out of disgraceful work. Leslie Boyd did go on to add "activism" to what she wants to promote. She said, "do something; you need to be active in this life." She suggested some ways and places everyone can actively live out the kindness to which they feel called. And then we come full circle, back to Mr. Rogers, and ask, "Won't you be mine, won't you be mine, won't you be ... my neighbor?" Links: Sponsor: United Faith Leaders Twitter: @leftyletters1 Life o' Mike by Leslie Boyd Letters from the Left on FB Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II Congressman Heath Shuler Governor Pat McCrory North Carolina NAACP Historic Thousands on Jone’s St (HKonJ) People’s Assembly Coalition Monty Python's Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Spanish subtitles) The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II

Coffee with Mark Achtemeier
Mar 13 2017 32 mins  
Rev. Dr. Mark Achtemeier is a minister, author and theologian of the Presbyterian Church (USA). He is well known for his biblical research regarding same-sex marriage and having argued just as passionately against same-sex marriage as he argues for it today. This son to prestigious old and new testament seminary professors presents his case in The Bible's Yes to Same-Sex Marriage. Many of our listeners know that I work at Union Presbyterian Seminary's Morton Library. More specifically, I work in the Instructional Resource Center where I stay busy supporting seminarians, faculty, and other patrons in the Digital Learning Lab and filling interlibrary loan requests (ILL). It is in the ILL capacity that the Achtemeier name regularly crosses my path. Requests from other schools all around the country want to borrow books, audio cassettes (yes, audio cassettes), and CD's by Paul, Elizabeth and Mark Achtemeier. The interesting thing to me was paying attention to the titles of their works. If these people were, in fact, related to each other then it seemed to me that they might not get along very well! The audio cassette titles often implicated conservative messages while there were many requests for Mark's above mentioned book. Nah, they couldn't be related. It had to be coincidence. Then after interviewing Tony Campolo and Bart Campolo I heard about several iconic Christian leaders who's children were doing ... dissimilar, but related ministries. Some of you have listened to our interview with the Campolo's or Frank Schaefer. (Check out the movie about Frank.) So I was very grateful that Mark Achtemeier was willing to begin a relationship with me and the Coffeepot Fellowship Podcast. These days the United States is extremely uneasy with the occupant of the White House. Americans, like myself, who have taken far too much for granted, find our nation in jeopardy. The President is undermining legitimate news agencies that cite their sources while giving credence to farcical conspiracy groups and tabloids. As we learn more and more about then-candidate Trump and now President Trump's connections with the Russian government, we wonder how to remove the cancer before it handicaps our country and costs innumerable lives here and abroad. We're all asking ourselves what we can do to protect our country and our neighbors, American and otherwise, within our borders and beyond. As an example, January 29th on Facebook there's a picture of a bundled up Mark in a crowd holding up a sign - the poster board is white, the handwriting is in all caps, black marker, except one word. It reads, "Christians oppose the ban!" The word 'oppose' is written in red. The caption reads as follows: "Places I never thought I'd be... "I have till now resisted passing impulses to join Facebook. But in the past 24 hours the news has been of the immigration ban, and detentions of legal residents without charges or access to lawyers, and airport protests, and Customs and Border Patrol agents defying orders of Federal judges. "At church today I learned about a hastily-organized protest rally coming together in downtown Dubuque this afternoon. I bought poster board and markers on my way home from worship and have been out this afternoon in 15 degree wind-chills marching along downtown streets, chanting in front of our local congressman's office, and holding my home-made sign in the air. "I can't afford to rely just on word-of-mouth to learn about these things anymore, so here. I am. Hello world. Do you understand? People are doing things they've never done before because we're willing to do whatever it takes for America to be its best self, for humanity to be its best self. Links: The Bible's Yes to Same-Sex Marriage, New Edition with Study Guide (2015) Jesus' Answer to President Trump's Immigration Ban Mark in the Huffington Post (2011-present) First Presbyterian Church Dubuque NY Times Subscribe to NY Times Elizabeth Achtemeier (Mark's mother) Paul Achtemeier (Mark's father) Tony Campolo Interview Bart Campolo Interview

Coffee with AmyBeth Willis
Mar 06 2017 20 mins  
AmyBeth Willis is the Director of Children and Youth at Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona and an organizer with the national sanctuary movement. AmyBeth comes to the sanctuary movement as an ally and to this podcast with lots of wisdom. AmyBeth and I met at an event at Richmond Hill organized by Lana Heath de Martínez and the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. AmyBeth was one of the leaders throughout the several-day event. Lana especially wanted me to attend an event with about 15 student-leaders pursuing U.S. citizenship. They were part of a the Latino Leadership Institute with Father Jack Podsiadlo. I was touched very deeply by these students, their hard work, and their desire to liberate other groups of people. They understood the largest vision of the American Dream. They deserve to be here more than I do, that's for sure. It was great to initially meet AmyBeth that night and to connect with her again in 2017 in this interview. Between our original meeting and the interview I've asked Lana repeatedly how I can help advocate for the Latinx communities, immigrant communities, and refugee communities. Repeatedly, Lana would reply, "Have you talked to AmyBeth yet?" There are several things to learn about Lana asking me repeatedly. First, most obviously, AmyBeth has knowledge, stories, and expertise to be shared with me and all of you. Second, Lana understands the importance of stories being shared. AmyBeth quotes Lilla Watson, who refuses to take credit for words from her community, "If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up in mine, then let us work together." AmyBeth knows that our own salvation comes by putting ourselves at risk and standing alongside the marginalized. In the words of American Jewish poet, Emma Lazarus, "Until we are all free, we are none of us free." We know Martin Luther King Jr. said, "no one is free until we are all free" and that this principle is fundamental to Latin American Liberation Theology. Thank you to AmyBeth Willis for being the source of so much courage, knowledge, and inspiration. Links: Southside Presbyterian Church Lilla Watson Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (Learn. Pray. Act.) Kim Bobo, Exec. Dir. VICPP Interview with Lana Heath de Martínez Richmond Hill Emory University Sanctuary Not Deportation Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time by Marcus Borg Latino Leadership Institute, Sacred Heart Center United Faith Leaders

Coffee with Katie Hays
Feb 20 2017 26 mins  
Katie Hays and I had church. Church happened. And it's happening now, as you read these words. And it will happen again when you hit 'play.' Katie told us about church moments beyond the church hour and walls. She told us about the random moment when a cell phone interruption identified church happening in her living room. Katie didn't recognize church happening then but she recognized it in our podcast. We recognized our church journey as threaded from a moment when she had church in the 'gayborhood.' And that thread goes back and back and back. Join us today as we pick up the thread and participate in church, in whatever form it is present to you, and move onward with courage. After many years in ministry, I don't think Katie Hays wants anyone rattling off her titles, schools and degrees. (Katie, just avert your eyes and ears for a moment. I'm sorry.) The Rev. Dr. Katie Hays has been to MIT, Princeton, Yale, has a lifetime in the Church, about 20 years in traditional ministry, lives in Texas and jumped ship from traditional ministry about 3 years ago. Now she's planted a church in Mansfield, TX ... where there are plenty of churches. I'm really guessing about how she feels about being in the spotlight. If she wanted to elevate herself I'm guessing she would have remembered to tell me she's got a doctoral degree! I barely discovered it on my own before publishing the episode, thanks to someone's 5-star review on iTunes and an interview with the Pension Fund of the Christian Church. I'm just going to share some of the items published by Galileo Church and let you marry those with what she says in the interview to create your experience of Katie. I believe Katie is truly being a conduit of both her community and God. All her personal God-given gifts are being applied, her math/science/engineering, her artistic creativity, her courage, her writing and her interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. But while all that is happening her ego and self are laid low in service and kindness to a much greater happening. That's just me. Feel free to tell me what you see under this episode's posting on The Coffeepot Fellowship Facebook Page. On Twitter (@Galileo_Church), Galileo Church describes itself like this: A quirky, LGBTQ+friendly church seeking spiritual refugees in Mansfield, Texas. Who would Jesus love? On Facebook they write: Galileo Church has four missional priorities. (In other words, what do believe God is calling us to DO?) 1. We do JUSTICE for LGBTQ people. 2. We do KINDNESS for people with mental illness or in emotional distress, and we welcome the non-neurotypical. 3. We do BEAUTY for our God-Who-Is-Beautiful. 4. We do RELATIONSHIP, for real, no bullshit, ever. Posts on our page almost always reflect our commitment to these priorities. If they don't, please call us on it. Mission Statement on Facebook: Galileo Church exists to shelter spiritual refugees, rally spiritual health for all who come, and fortify every tender soul with strength to follow Jesus into a life of world-changing service. “Spiritual refugees” are any for whom “church” has become painful, exclusive, boring, or irrelevant. If you're queer, doubtful, blue, science-y, skeptical, bruised... we are searching for you. Millenials (born 1980-2000) are Galileo’s particular focus, but all are welcome, including our LGBTQ neighbors. “A bruised reed [we] will not break, and a dimly burning wick [we] will not quench; [we] will faithfully bring forth justice.” (Isaiah 42:3, modified) In the end Katie and I agreed to share the good we're doing to keep the good going on. And so we coined the pay-it-forward notion "the good goes on." Feel free to greet the souls you meet with this greeting, "the good goes on." :) What are you doing to improve the world? You are keeping the good going. Links: That's What She Said (Podcast on iTunes) No H8 Campaign Broken Stalks: Galileo Church Intro Video Indigo Girls: Galileo Video Another interview of Katie United Faith Leaders

Coffee with Ellin Jimmerson
Feb 13 2017 23 mins  
As an expert on immigration, Dr. Ellin Jimmerson's conversation was a fun, meaningful, and timely. Jimmerson's movie, The Second Cooler, narrated by Martin Sheen, was released in 2013. It has won many awards and been screened at many universities, fund raisers, theaters, and other venues across the US. While we were conducting our interview rallies, marches and protests were happening all across the United States and the world in response to Donald Trump's two-day old executive order banning Muslims and refugees. The Second Cooler is a documentary about illegal migration shot primarily in Alabama, Arizona, and Mexico. The premise is that Arizona is the new Alabama—the epicenter of an intense struggle for migrant justice. The documentary brings basic migration issues into focus. Those issues include the impact of free trade agreements on migration, the lack of a legal way for poor Latin Americans to come to the United States, the inherent abuses of the guest worker program, the fact that many migrants are indigenous people, anti-immigrant politics in Alabama, the thousands of migrant deaths at the border, and an escalating ideology of the border. Ellin Jimmerson has a Masters in Southern History from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, a Ph. D. in 20th Century United States History from the University of Houston, Texas, and a Masters in Theological Studies from Vanderbilt Divinity School with a concentration in Latin American liberation theology. She is an ordained Baptist minister. Ellin points out in the interview that the current executive order did not come out of nowhere just because of Donald Trump. President Obama had earned the moniker Deporter-in-Chief for deporting three million people and the problems certainly predated President Obama. Ellin is the author of numerous articles, essays, and speeches. She writes for publication on various areas of history and religion. She has been interviewed on public, religious, and other radio stations and in podcasts around the US on the subject of immigration. Ellin cautions us of the phrase comprehensive immigration reform "because it means anything anyone wants it to mean." She assures us it will keep coming up. She has great recommendations about some of the most important and urgent things we can do. My first suggestion is this, watch the Second Cooler. You can download it right now (or order it). Jimmerson’s academic speciality is the intersection of US history, Latin American history, and Christianity. She has spoken to academic and non-academic audiences on liberation theology in the United States and Mexico. An ordained Baptist minister, she was Minister to the Community at Weatherly Heights Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama, USA from 2008-2015. Because her parents were Civil Rights Movement activists during the 1950s and 1960s in Albany, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama, she cut her teeth on social justice issues. You can find out more about Ellin Jimmerson and The Second Cooler at or LinkedIn: Ellin Jimmerson Facebook: Ellin Jimmerson Facebook: The Second Cooler Fan Page Twitter: @EllinJimmerson Links: The Second Cooler Before Night Falls by Reinaldo Arenas United Church of Christ (UCC) United Faith Leaders To Kill a Mockingbird (1962 Movie) To Kill a Mockingbird (1960 Book)

Coffee with Lenka Opalena
Feb 06 2017 34 mins  
Experience New York City, The United Nations, Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University, immigration, and 9/11/2001 through the lens of Lenka Opalena. She is from the former Czechoslovakia and is at the tail end of her Master of Divinity program at UTS in NYC. Acquainted rebellion in her own maturation, Lenka walks with others surviving post-traumatic stress disorder and addictions. I was originally excited to talk with Lenka because of her combined life in seminary and life in the United Nations. Little did I know that this guest of the Coffeepot Fellowship is a partner in a New York City coffee shop called Ost Cafe! "Lenka, how do you like your coffee?" could have been the first and last question I needed to ask in this entire episode. Lenka happiest ministry story was of a 15-year old addict who evolved into an 18-year old guru. Lenka admitted that working with addicts is very difficult, especially because relapse is part of recovery. Yet while Lenka told this story I could not help being reminded of a passage from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 6 verses 32 and 33, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same." I'm not sure that doing good for the sake of credit makes much sense to me. Realizing, however, that we are called to love not only those who are easy to love (is there such thing?), but everyone, is something that should settle deep into each of us. The gospel according to Lenka. Amen. As humble as Lenka is, I have no doubt that you can ask this wise guest questions on a vast range of topics and her global, seminarian, school-of-hard-knocks wisdom will make the asking worthwhile. If you're in NYC, show up at Ost Cafe and tell her you are there for her expert coffee advice and you know her from The Coffeepot Fellowship Podcast with Jay McNeal. When you do you will have made the world a much closer community. In the meantime, may we all destigmatize suffering and pray for one another. Just like 9/11, we're all truly in this together.

Coffee for White America
Aug 01 2016 10 mins  
Most of you know that in addition to having a full time job and hosting The Coffeepot Fellowship Podcast I am the Executive Director of another ministry called United Faith Leaders. United Faith Leaders often sponsors episodes of The Coffeepot Fellowship Podcast. Some people have assume that the guests on the podcast are the paying members of United Faith Leaders. What they have in common is the aspiration to expand humanity’s understanding of itself, faith and God. This episode of the podcast, if you haven’t figured it out already, is an aboration. So if you are here to meet a new guest, I apologize and you may skip this bonus episode. This is more of an audible blog post, beginning now. United Faith Leaders is clearly about unity. It’s about faith leaders coming together and serving everyone in the world. It’s about bearing God’s love to every soul in every dark corner of the world. It’s about bringing the light of love into every single heart. It’s about solidarity. It’s about making love manifest for every boy and girl, every man and woman, every age, every color, every everything. The only way for us to do this, as a humanity and as faith leaders, is to do it together. To deliver love everywhere we need everyone. In America you hear it in our watchwords like “freedom,” “equality,” “liberty,” and “justice.” And each of these things exist only as ideas in America. They are our aspirations. They are our “American Dream.” It has been said that America itself is only an idea, one still coming into being. I understand that but I would say that we are a concrete place. You can stomp on our dirt and swim in our waters. America is the place where the ideas are the ideas and ideals are still coming into being. One of my dreams is that as Americans, and more broadly as humans, we use the gift of education and critical thinking to accelerate the rate at which we progress. It is nice that each generation might be slightly less short-sighted than the one before, but I’m sure we can do better. Without devaluing our emotions and traditions, I call upon us to deep listening, education, conversation and introspection. While defiance may be important to retain, hostility and defensiveness are traits which hold us back. America gets painted as the opportunity to improve our station in life with our hard work. It means that all doors are open to all people equally. This dream is still unrealized equally in America and those with privilege tend to be less motivated to see the inequality or fix it. So forgive me as I speak as a white, ordained, highly educated, married, healthy, 44 year old, straight, cisgendered man in the United States of America in the 21st century. Every person has experienced prejudice. Every person has experienced being on the good side and bad side of favoritism. The point with prejudice is that women and minorities experience it relentlessly, with no escape. It is unjust when it happens to anyone just once. So it is far past time to stop allowing the injustices to occur everyday everywhere. As part of the steps toward healing racism, sexism, agism, etc. in the United States, privileged people will necessarily learn of our involvement in the perpetuating of these injustices. It’s okay; fully experience the pain and DO NOT respond defensively. As far as I know there is nothing to rightly say in response in that moment except to fully, deeply listen, understand and feel compassion. The response of privileged America needs to be with the rest of our lives — standing WITH those who are being slain and who’s doors of opportunity are not equally open. We should be making meetings with our elected officials, protesting with Black Lives Matter, marching in Pride events, and wearing our clergy attire. I try not to make blatantly political statements and I do not think we should vilify any human being. I try to speak generally and softly. Often I just need to shut up. This is NOT such a time. Every election has a moral element to it but some are far more consequential than others. And so, regarding the moral imperatives of our time I say … Donald Trump does not get to pick a date in history that is conveniently after his ancestors arrived. Every white American is an immigrant. Every American except Native Americans are not native to America. And if we are kicking out all of the Muslims then we should kick out all the Christians for our hostilities too. White people stole this land. Whatever hopeful and well-intended values we might have brought or developed we still carry the stain of our wrongs. After listening at a distance and watching safely on my high definition television, after reading many of the names of those killed by gun violence in America and those of color shot by our own police officers and subsequently acquitted by our courts, after the mass shootings, especially in Orlando, after back to back, mass murdering of innocent police officers by American citizens, after attending the Wild Goose Festival, processing and praying about what needs to happen, after watching the dark Republican National Convention and moving Democratic National Convention … here is my vision. Here is what I dream of happening in OUR United States of America in the days and decades to come. We need shared leadership. We need shared leadership everywhere, at every level. We need shared leadership in homes, on playgrounds, in classrooms, in workplaces, in courtrooms, in legislatures, in police stations, and on our streets. Justice and fairness, compassion and understanding, wisdom and progress, ask that the shared leadership is passionately for, and made up of, primarily women and minorities. In number and psyche we are wired to presume that leaders and authority come from the minds and mouths of white men. At the tables and in the rooms where policies, decisions and laws are being made and revised, women and minorities need to dwarf the the number of white men. To white men who feel like we have not been responsible for the prejudice in our country we need to wake up to the reality that our dominant inability to perceive prejudice and advocate for what we cannot see perpetuates the problems. Ideally, we need exit the rooms of power and influence until we are asked our opinions again. White men have had over 200 years of dominating the United States in all of its leadership positions - in business, at home and in government. It is time to be allies and accomplices to decades of improvements and revisions in the hands of our capable sisters and brothers. We can be productive and present in generally supportive roles. We have nothing to fear if we have truly done our best these first 200 years. If we have looked out for everyone else, if we have truly opened doors for everyone then we can trust that, in time, the playing field will become truly level for every American and perhaps every human being. This vision indeed sounds naive if one understand that America has succeeded based on a capitalistic economy which recognizes every individuals selfishness. Humanity has, however, at all times depended on the loyalty of our sisters and brothers. In our beginning it was said that “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately" (Benjamin Franklin). Like Gandhi and King clung to nonviolence, so must we. With grace, poise and courage we must take one courageous step at a time. What is today’s step that we must take? What is the challenge of our time, right now? Our first step today, July 31st, 2016, is this: Take a deep breathe and hear the deep frustrations and anger of every sister and brother from ocean to ocean, island to island, south to north. Do not react. Feel and understand. It may help to listen to The Coffeepot Fellowship Podcast. It may help to join or reach out to United Faith Leaders. It will definitely help to read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. I think both books are available as audiobooks too. As I have spoken here, women and minorities, please forgive me for any ways I have misspoken or erred. White men, let us please take a deep breath and grow. Our next role is not like any of the ones we have had before. We are to be calm listeners and supportive accomplices to everyone who is not like us. Thank you and God bless everyone everywhere.

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