This is the weekly podcast of the National Council of Churches. Enjoy the best features and interviews from insightful guests from across the ecumenical and interfaith movement.
April is Earth Month
On Wednesday we celebrated Earth Day, a day that has been celebrated every year since 1970 on April 22nd. It’s a day for raising awareness of human activity’s negative impact upon the earth and is a day for political action and civic participation as well. It’s the culmination of an entire month of focus on the environment, and for people of faith, it has a special significance as a day of reverence for God’s creating and sustaining work.
Creation Justice Ministries has committed itself to its theme for 2020, “The Fierce Urgency of Now.” We know we have ten years to take action to avert the most catastrophic damage to the life-sustaining climate God blessed us with, and entrusted to our care. This is Earth Month, and my guest is the executive director of Creation Justice Ministries, Shantha Ready Alonso. Shantha is a tireless advocate among faith leaders in the US, and today she will reinforce just how fiercely urgent our collective action on behalf of the planet is.
A View From Above and Below
Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer is the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ. He’s also the chair of the governing board of the National Council of Churches, and as such, is well-positioned to give us a macro-view of the way things are unfolding. John also has a faith with boundless energy and hope, and I know you’ll hear that in his voice today. It’s a little of what we all need during these difficult times.
The Church and COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered nearly every aspect of life in the US and around the world. Every institution is affected, and the church is no exception. Colleges have sent students home, cleared out the classrooms, and are adapting to an online-only world. Churches have, for the most part, closed their doors on Sunday mornings and are struggling with how to maintain the kind of community life that congregants depend on.
As we embark upon a series of conversations in which we will attempt to understand how this adaptation is taking place, my guest today is a pastor and leader in Washington DC who had already taken steps to connect people beyond those gathering in the sanctuary. Rev. Dr. Christopher Zacharias joins us to describe how he and his congregation are adapting to offer ministries when the beautiful building his congregation normally gathers in is now off-limits. If you’re struggling with this challenge also, you’ll want to listen in today.
Faith, Activism, Humility
As we ponder the horrors of the massacre of 49 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, we have to reckon with the fact that home-grown hatred and extremism has gone global. One of the great things about working with other faith groups is that we get to see how others view their mandate to fight hatred and extremism through the lens of their faith.
Simran Jeet Singh is one of today’s most influential Sikh thinkers. Simran holds graduate degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University, and he is the author of “Covering Sikhs,” a guidebook to help journalists accurately report on the Sikh community. Today we get to speak together about bias, advocating for each other, and the need for humility in a society where we feel that we have to know everything.
A New Bible Translation
Stop and think about it for a second: if you were to encourage churches to work together, wouldn’t it make sense to be reading the same translation of the Bible together? This has been one of the hallmarks of the ecumenical movement for decades, and this is receiving a special amount of attention. For the first time in 30 years, the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible is getting an update.
My guest today is Roy Medley, former head of the American Baptist Church, former chair of the National Council of Churches Governing Board, now working with the NCC, Friendship Press, and the Society of Biblical Literature to develop an update to the foremost scholarly translation of the Bible, the New Revised Standard Version. This is a historic, ambitious work, and Roy is going to bring us up to date.
Encore: "Human Rites"
This week’s podcast is an encore presentation of my interview with Dru Johnson, author of “Human Rites: the Power of Rituals, Habits, and Sacraments,” which is to be released on Thursday, February 21.
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