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Explore the beauty, spirituality, and meaning of silence with hosts Cassidy Hall, Kevin Johnson, and Carl McColman. Silence is a topic most of us think little about — yet it is vitally important to our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. We examine silence from spiritual, religious, psychological, philosophical, and other perspectives, celebrating how important silence is for our individual and shared lives.

Encountering Silence Cassidy Hall, Kevin Johnson, Carl McColman

    • Andlighet

Explore the beauty, spirituality, and meaning of silence with hosts Cassidy Hall, Kevin Johnson, and Carl McColman. Silence is a topic most of us think little about — yet it is vitally important to our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. We examine silence from spiritual, religious, psychological, philosophical, and other perspectives, celebrating how important silence is for our individual and shared lives.

    J. Brent Bill: Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love — and Holy Silence (Part Two)

    J. Brent Bill: Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love — and Holy Silence (Part Two)

    For our latest "Encountering Silence field recording," Cassidy Hall visits the farm of Indiana Quaker author J. Brent Bill for a conversation about silence and other essential elements of life. This is part two of a two-part episode; click here to listen to part one.





    Cassidy Hall and J. Brent Bill



    J. Brent Bill is a Quaker minister, retreat leader, and photographer. He's written more than twenty books, including Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality and Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love: Four Essentials for the Abundant Life. He has served as a local church pastor, denominational executive, seminary faculty member, and go-kart track operator. He lives on Ploughshares Farm, which is forty acres of former farmland being reclaimed to tall grass prairie and native hardwood forest.

    Finding rhythms of silence throughout our days, our ordinary day, really returns us to center, returns us to God, and keeps us centered. — J. Brent Bill

    Portrait of J. Brent Bill in coffee, by Chris Hagebak

    In writing, especially, I need the centeredness of silence, especially in the editing stages, to say 'Is this the right word? What am I conveying here, and am I conveying it in such a way that it can be heard? And the only way I can do that is to look at the words in silence. And I do regard my writing as a form of worship, in an exploration, too, in worship of where God is leading me. — J. Brent Bill

    Some of the resources and authors we mention in these episodes:



    J. Brent Bill, Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality

    J. Brent Bill, Life Lessons from a Bad Quaker: A Humble Stumble Toward Simplicity and Grace

    J. Brent Bill and Jennie Isbell, Finding God in the Verbs: Crafting a Fresh Language of Prayer

    J. Brent Bill, Mind the Light: Learning to See With Spiritual Eyes

    J. Brent Bill and Beth A. Booram, Awaken Your Senses: Exercises for Exploring the Wonder of God

    J. Brent Bill, Sacred Compass: The Way of Spiritual Discernment

    J. Brent Bill, Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love: Four Essentials for the Abundant Life

    T. Canby Jones, George Fox's Attitude Toward War

    Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion

    John Greenleaf Whittier, The Poetry of John Greenleaf Whittier: A Reader's Edition

    Thomas Merton, Day of a Stranger

    Patricia Klein et al., Just as We Were: A Nostalgic Look at Growing Up Born Again



    Episode 85: Beauty, Truth, Life, Love — and Holy Silence: A Conversation with J. Brent Bill (Part Two)

    Hosted by: Cassidy Hall

    Date Recorded: December 3, 2019

    • 30 min
    J. Brent Bill: Beauty, Truth, Life, Love — and Holy Silence (Part One)

    J. Brent Bill: Beauty, Truth, Life, Love — and Holy Silence (Part One)

    For our latest "Encountering Silence field recording," Cassidy Hall visits the farm of Indiana Quaker author J. Brent Bill for a conversation about silence and other essential elements of life. This is part one of a two-part episode; the remainder of this interview will be released on our next episode.



    J. Brent Bill



    J. Brent Bill is a Quaker minister, retreat leader, and photographer. He's written more than twenty books, including Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality and Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love: Four Essentials for the Abundant Life. He has served as a local church pastor, denominational executive, seminary faculty member, and go-kart track operator. He lives on Ploughshares Farm, which is forty acres of former farmland being reclaimed to tall grass prairie and native hardwood forest.

    Finding rhythms of silence throughout our days, our ordinary day, really returns us to center, returns us to God, and keeps us centered. — J. Brent Bill

    Cassidy Hall and J. Brent Bill

    In writing, especially, I need the centeredness of silence, especially in the editing stages, to say 'Is this the right word? What am I conveying here, and am I conveying it in such a way that it can be heard? And the only way I can do that is to look at the words in silence. And I do regard my writing as a form of worship, in an exploration, too, in worship of where God is leading me. — J. Brent Bill

    Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:



    J. Brent Bill, Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality

    J. Brent Bill, Life Lessons from a Bad Quaker: A Humble Stumble Toward Simplicity and Grace

    J. Brent Bill and Jennie Isbell, Finding God in the Verbs: Crafting a Fresh Language of Prayer

    J. Brent Bill, Mind the Light: Learning to See With Spiritual Eyes

    J. Brent Bill and Beth A. Booram, Awaken Your Senses: Exercises for Exploring the Wonder of God

    J. Brent Bill, Sacred Compass: The Way of Spiritual Discernment

    J. Brent Bill, Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love: Four Essentials for the Abundant Life

    T. Canby Jones, George Fox's Attitude Toward War

    Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion

    John Greenleaf Whittier, The Poetry of John Greenleaf Whittier: A Reader's Edition

    Thomas Merton, Day of a Stranger

    Patricia Klein et al., Just as We Were: A Nostalgic Look at Growing Up Born Again



    Episode 85: Beauty, Truth, Life, Love — and Holy Silence: A Conversation with J. Brent Bill (Part One)

    Hosted by: Cassidy Hall

    Date Recorded: December 3, 2019

    • 34 min
    Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza: Silence and Activist Theology (Part Two)

    Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza: Silence and Activist Theology (Part Two)

    Our conversation with Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, the author of Activist Theology, concludes this week, in part two of a two-part interview. To listen to part one, click here.



    Born to a Mexican woman and an Anglo man in Northern Mexico, the Republic of Texas, Dr. Robyn moved to Chicago, IL for graduate school, and completed a master’s degree in theological ethics at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Clinical Pastoral Education at a Trauma II Chicagoland hospital. Following graduate school, Dr. Robyn worked in domestic violence & sexual assault fields before joining the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.







    In 2009, Dr. Robyn began doctoral work at the University of Denver/Iliff School of Theology studying constructive philosophical theology & ethics, & completed a graduate certificate in Latinx Studies.



    As an activist-scholar, Dr. Robyn travels the country doing activist theology and continues to write, using the tools learned in both academy and activism to stand in the hybrid space of faith communities, academy, and movements for justice — curating activist scholarship with deep intention of bridging with difference.







    Dr. Robyn‘s life has been lived with the ongoing challenge to remain grounded in the center of their own difference as a non binary Trans mixed-raced Latinx. This has required the thoughtful intention of bridging with their white ancestors and Mexican ancestors and with those in the queer community. As a result, their life’s vocation is one that is committed to the deep relationality of bridging with difference.







    Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:



    Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Activist Theology

    Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

    Tripp Fuller, The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to Jesus

    Toni Morrison, The Measure of Our Lives

    James Baldwin, Jimmy's Blues and Other Poems

    Alfonsina Storni, My Heart Flooded with Water: Selected Poems

    Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza



    Some websites to visit include Dr. Robyn’s personal site, iRobyn.com, the Activist Theology Project, and Imaginarium.

    So much of our war against everyone has been around disembodiment; and if we encourage embodiment, we might see a different kind of people emerge. — Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza

    Episode 84: Silence and Activist Theology: A Conversation with Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza (Part Two)

    Hosted by: Cassidy Hall

    With: Carl McColman, Kevin Johnson

    Date Recorded: December 10, 2019

    • 22 min
    Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza: Silence and Activist Theology (Part One)

    Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza: Silence and Activist Theology (Part One)

    Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, the author of Activist Theology, joins our conversation this week. Born to a Mexican woman and an Anglo man in Northern Mexico, the Republic of Texas, Dr. Robyn moved to Chicago, IL for graduate school, and completed a master’s degree in theological ethics at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Clinical Pastoral Education at a Trauma II Chicagoland hospital. Following graduate school, Dr. Robyn worked in domestic violence & sexual assault fields before joining the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.



    This is part one of a two-part episode. To listen to part two, click here.







    In 2009, Dr. Robyn began doctoral work at the University of Denver/Iliff School of Theology studying constructive philosophical theology & ethics, & completed a graduate certificate in Latinx Studies.







    As an activist-scholar, Dr. Robyn travels the country doing activist theology and continues to write, using the tools learned in both academy and activism to stand in the hybrid space of faith communities, academy, and movements for justice — curating activist scholarship with deep intention of bridging with difference.







    Dr. Robyn's life has been lived with the ongoing challenge to remain grounded in the center of their own difference as a non binary Trans mixed-raced Latinx. This has required the thoughtful intention of bridging with their white ancestors and Mexican ancestors and with those in the queer community. As a result, their life’s vocation is one that is committed to the deep relationality of bridging with difference.







    Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:



    Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Activist Theology

    Alba Onofrio, Reverend Sex

    Erin C. Law, Salt Space



    Some websites to visit include Dr. Robyn's personal site, iRobyn.com, the Activist Theology Project, and Imaginarium.

    We can't repair relationships without being embodied. — Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza

    Episode 83: Silence and Activist Theology: A Conversation with Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza (Part One)

    Hosted by: Cassidy Hall

    With: Carl McColman, Kevin Johnson

    Date Recorded: December 10, 2019

    • 27 min
    Happy Birthday, Encountering Silence

    Happy Birthday, Encountering Silence

    Happy Birthday, Encountering Silence!



    This week marks the two-year anniversary of our first episode (listen to it here). To mark the occasion, we recorded a few thoughts about how the podcast has surprised us and expanded our own sense of both the beauty and power of silence — and the challenges that silence faces in our noisy and wounded world.

    Silence is the meeting place for knowing what we have to say when it's time to speak up and speak out. — Cassidy Hall

    Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:



    Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume Two (includes "Everything")

    Walter Brueggemann, Interrupting Silence: God’s Command to Speak Out.

    Barbara A. Holmes, Joy Unspeakable

    Therese Taylor-Stinson, Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around — Stories of Contemplation and Justice

    Rebecca Bratten Weiss (with Joanna Penn Copper), Mudwoman

    Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk

    Cynthia Bourgeault, The Heart of Centering Prayer

    Lerita Coleman Brown, When the Heart Speaks, Listen

    Mary Margaret Funk, Renouncing Violence

    James Finley, The Contemplative Heart

    John Cage, Silence: Lectures and Writings

    Parker J. Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness

    James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything

    Carrie Newcomer, The Beautiful Not Yet: Poems, Essays and Lyrics

    Helen E. Lees, Silence in Schools



    Silence is so beautiful that we have to speak out against its abuse. — Carl McColman

    Episode 82: Happy Birthday, Encountering Silence

    Hosted by: Carl McColman

    With: Cassidy Hall, Kevin Johnson

    Date Recorded: November 25, 2019

    Words can't capture the fact that silence can hold everything, and somehow hold it in gladness. — Kevin Johnson

    • 32 min
    An Orientation to Silence

    An Orientation to Silence

    If you are interested in the spirituality and psychology of silence, but are new to the idea of intentional silence, where do you begin? How do you orient yourself to the world of silence that is always available to you, right here and right now?





    Silence perpetuates its life as being wordless, empty, and nothingness; and at the same time, everything, and whole. Not only does it make it infinite, but it points to its wholeness. — Cassidy Hall

    Today's episode of our podcast explores a concept that arose from an interaction between Kevin and a new listener of the podcast, that recently took place on Facebook. Realizing that we did not have a single episode that functions as a kind of orientation to silence (as something more than just the mere absence of sound), we set out to record this episode to fill that gap.





    An orientation of silence centers around these questions of, "Is silence a silencing? Is it an opening? Is it an invitation?"... When you orient toward silence, maybe the first orientation is toward ambiguity." — Kevin Johnson

    We hope that if you are new to the podcast (and to intentional silence), that this episode will help to you get a sense of where we are coming from, and our philosophy behind why silence matters. But even if you have been listening to us since our first episode almost two years ago, we hope that this will be a helpful conversation — since we are all, always, continually invited to recalibrate and reorient ourselves to the gifts that silence has to offer us.





    We find silence, paradoxically, in the absence of silence; that there's something about the absence of silence that can pivot us back deeper into it. — Carl McColman

    Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:



    Thomas Merton, Day of a Stranger

    Martin Laird, Into the Silent Land

    Maggie Ross, Silence, A User’s Guide Volume 1: Process

    Christian Bobin, The Eighth Day: Selected Writings



    Carl, Cassidy, and Kevin



    Episode 81: An Orientation to Silence

    Hosted by: Kevin Johnson

    With: Carl McColman, Cassidy Hall

    Date Recorded: November 25, 2019

    • 28 min

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