This Week in Heresy is a podcast that explores the margins of progressive thought, social justice, and religion. I share the stories of those who are different, on the margins, or doing spiritual and social justice work that just doesn't get a voice in today's media. The people I interview have a different take on spirituality, humanity, religion, and sexuality. They are clergy and laity from Pagan, Christian, Judaism, and many other traditions. They are also human beings with very human stories trying to make the world a better place.
TWIH Episode 81: Planting the Church Unusual with Darnell Fennell #radicalinclusion #blacklivesmatter
This episode we welcome Darnell Fennell, the founding pastor of Just Love, a radically inclusive church plant in Houstan, TX. We discuss what it’s like to create an inclusive church in an area that is seen as more conservative to the wider progressive community. What does it mean to be “church” and what are the difficulties in starting a new church in general? How do you bridge the conversation on race and privilege in a mixed congregation? What is the importance of doing the inner work outside of the worship space? We also discuss how to pastor people through the ever shifting political and social justice landscape, and the difficulties, financially and emotionally, of being progressive clergy.
Note: Apologies for some of the noise, Skype was being a bit cranky. Also, this was recorded at the end of May before the shootings in Orlando.
Darnell Fennell is a native Texan, from southwest Houston. He is no stranger to church having grown up in the Baptist tradition where he discovered a deep passion for ministry. In 2011 Fennell received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Religious Studies from the University of Houston followed by a Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Ca in 2014. As an ordained minister in Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), he has returned to Southwest Houston to begin work on a new church plant, Just Love. Darnell is over church as usual and desires to see a renewed Church, one that takes love seriously.
Just Love: http://www.justlovehouston.org
Facebook: D. D. Fennell
Pacific School of Religion
TWIH Episode 80: Learning from Where You're At with Pat Mosley #hb2
In this episode we talk with Pat Mosley, a Gardnerian witch in North Carolina. We talk about how Wicca takes on the culture of where it’s at, and how it’s not that much of a stretch for people to be multi-faith practitioners. Pat discusses his coven, Granny Magick, and his involvement in CUUPs. We also talk politics and #HB2 (also known as the “bathroom bill”) and how, on the ground in North Carolina, there are more people who are against it rather than for it. Pat talks about the uphill battle in challenging their state government and the disconnect of their elected leaders from the people they represent.
Note: After recording this podcast in May, and after another blow up around transgender women in women’s only spaces (primarily concerning Budapestian Dianic Witchcraft), Pat has announced a call for submissions for a anthology called “Arcane Perfection”. You can click here for more information.
Pat Mosley is a Weirdo Inspired to Create Here (WITCH). He writes semi-regularly at Patheos Pagan, but more of his work can be found at his website. Pat is a Gardnerian Witch, and is currently conspiring to author a book on one Appalachian coven's vision of Wicca in the next year or so. Pat is also a coordinator for Mountain CUUPs (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans) in Boone, North Carolina--where everyone is welcome to share a meal and sing a spell.
TWIH Episode 79: The Needles and the Compassion Done with Denise Cicuto #orlando
Denise Cicuto returns in this episode to talk about her call to study acupuncture through a visitation by Kuan Yin. We talk about her journey, not only through acupuncture school, but her spiritual journey with Kuan Yin and her current studies of the spiritual side of acupuncture . We also discuss the nature of Kuan Yin, and how compassion isn’t necessarily “fluffy”. We also talk about the importance of self care when doing activism and after major emotional events such as Orlando.
Denise Cicuto is a Witch and Healer. She is a third degree Priest in the Circle of Cerridwen. In another magickal tradition, she is a Gryffindor. Part of her spiritual mission includes leading an interfaith ceremony for those who have experienced pregnancy loss. The ceremony is called Spirit Babies and takes place at least once a year around the Winter Solstice (TWIH Episode 23: Mourning Pregnancy Loss Through Ritual). You can find some of her spiritual musings, which include incorporating Chinese Five Elements into Pagan ritual, at Through the Dragon Door.
A Licensed Acupuncturist, Denise is co-host of TCM Talk, a live show on Periscope focusing on different health issues and how Traditional Chinese Medicine can help. Denise is currently working towards certification in Alchemical Healing with Lorie Dechar and Benjamin Fox. She writes on her own acupuncture blog and also for AcuTake which is a great website for explaining acupuncture to people in a very down-to-earth way.
Circle of Cerridwen (st4r.org)
Five Spirits: Alchemical Acupuncture for Psychological and Spiritual Healing by Lorie Dechar
TWIH Episode 78: The Magick of Pagan Music with Sharon Knight
After a brief TWIH hiatus, we return with our guest Sharon Knight, a pagan musician who does both solo work and plays as a group with her partner Winter in Pandemonaeon. We talk about the art of performing, the magickal experience of being on stage, the future and past of pagan music, and how music influences her work, both spiritually and professionally. We also talk about her latest album and the work that goes into writing, recording, and making videos for an album.
Note: Please excuse the audio weirdness. We were having a bad Skype day.
Festival Favorites Sharon Knight and Winter are internationally touring musicians in the mythic-Celtic vein. Their penchant for combining fierce and gutsy bravado with ethereal beauty, a hearty dose of fantastical lyrics, and an obvious love of storytelling has inspired their own style, “Neofolk Romantique”. This often sounds less Celtic and more “Folktales that ran away with the Faeries at the turn of the century and took cover in an old trunk bound for the circus, which was then commandeered by pirates.” This suits them fine.
They have shared stages with mythic music favorites such as Faun, Omnia, Corvus Corax, SJ Tucker, Tricky Pixie, Heather Dale, Wendy Rule, Stellamara, and many more. They have recently completed a 100% crowd-funded CD and music video featuring several of these artists, called Portals, which they are touring to support now.
TWIH Episode 77: The Politics of the Body with Irene McCalphin
Irene McCalphin joins us this week to talk about the intersections of fat liberation and marginalization. Why is it important to have representation in spiritual imagery, both in regards to race and body size? Why is the language of our rituals important? How can we move through learning about these issues of marginalization and come to a place where we can see outside of ourselves to a more inclusive community? Why is it important to keep the language of the diet industry out of spiritual space? How can kink (BDSM) be used as a spiritual tool and a pathway to a positive self image?
Note: This episode discusses BDSM used as a way of spiritual expression and as a spiritual tool.
Irene McCalphin is a Bay Area writer, performance artist and eater of food in public. She blends modern movement and words with neoburlesque to create socially conscious art pieces that add voice to marginalized communities and celebrates the human body. A published author and poet Irene draws attention to the ever evolving intersections of fat, feminism, kink, spirituality and human sexuality.
She has facilitated and spoken at events such as NOLOSE, Fat Activist Conference: Tools for the Revolution and Fatty Affair. She has spoken at several universities including Berkeley, Stanford, Mills College and San Jose State. As a producer and presenter she consciously centers marginalized groups for spotlight appearances at events such as BayCon, Folsom Fringe, Red Hots Burlesque and Hubba Hubba Review.
Connect to her on social media and find out about all her shows and presentations via facebook, twitter and instagram or follow her at her sorely mismanaged blog.
TWIH Episode 76: Being Heathen with Cara Freyasdaughter
In this episode, we talk to Cara Freyasdaughter, where we discuss her journey to Heathenism, her introduction to Freya and Freyr, and some of the issues that are challenging modern Heathenism. What are CUUPs and ADF? What does the lore say about racism and other issues that have been being dealt with within the Heathen community?
Cara Freyasdaughter is a devotional polytheist dedicated to Freya and Freyr who works within a "reconstructed-ish" Heathen tradition. A current member of The Troth and ADF, she writes a biweekly blog on Patheos' Agora channel called "Happily Heathen". Currently, Cara leads Heathen rituals and Runes 'n Lore classes for the White Oak Grove CUUPs group and is a member of the Sinnissippi Tuath ADF Grove in northern Illinois.
The Troth (http://www.thetroth.org) The Troth is the largest International heathen organization. They are open and welcoming to people from all backgrounds.
Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (https://www.adf.org)—While this is officially a “druid” fellowship, all Indo-European mythologies are honored. ADF has a large, active, and diverse Heathen contingent.
Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans: http://www.cuups.org/
"Happily Heathen" on the Patheos Agora Channel (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/author/cfreyasdaughter/)
"Huginn's Heathen Hof" (http://www.heathenhof.com)
"A Community of Gods Surround Me" (communityofgods.wordpress.com)
"Freya: The Gold Thread" (thegoldthread.wordpress.com)
Modern Heathen Practice:
One of my favorite podcasts
This Week in Heresy goes to the edges of spirituality and religions, talking to people who blend different traditions, people who take risks. I enjoy every episode and look forward to each new one. This is not your mom's church podcast which means if you're like me, it's right up your alley.
Off to a good start
This podcast shows some promise. As a look into a world very different from my own and beliefs quite different from my own (I am an atheist), I found the first podcast intriguing. I am interested enough to subscribe and see where they go with this. The podcast reminded me of a poem I had on my wall on a backlight poster (many years ago when that cool) that said " I do my thing, and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful. (by Frederick E. Perl ). Yeah, I like to think I have lived by that. Best of luck and I am glad I found you.