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Choose Your Own Religion
90 minutes | Nov 8, 2020
Reformed and Always Reforming
In the last episode of Choose Your Own Religion, my mom and dad come on the show to talk about the long, strange trip of my faith journey and what it means for me to be back in the religion I grew up in. We talk about Presbyterians, parables, and get personal.
65 minutes | Oct 19, 2020
The Second to Last Supper with Ryan Middledorf
Ryan Middledorf, founder of the Campfire Media network, comes on the second to last ever CYOR to talk about the five year journey this podcast has taken. We talk about Christianity, community, participating in broken things, and do some hardcore reminiscing.
64 minutes | Sep 24, 2020
Revisiting the Good Friday Experiment with Rick Doblin
Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), comes on to talk about the famous “Good Friday Experiment”, an experiment run at Boston University’s Marsh Chapel by Walter Pahnke while at Harvard Divinity School. Rick also tells the story of his follow-up study more than two decades later, sharing all the factors that went into Pahnke’s attempts to study mystical experiences afforded by psilocybin and how the study participants reflected back on their experiences later in life. Please join the Center for the Study of World Religions on Wednesday, October 21st at 4pm for a panel featuring two psilocybin clinical trial participants in dialogue with the historian of religions Jeffrey J. Kripal (Rice University) exploring these contemporary psychedelic trials. Links: Pahnke’s dissertation Rick Doblin's undergraduate thesis following up on the experiment Howard Thurman’s Good Friday sermon preached during the experiment More from MAPS.org
53 minutes | Apr 11, 2020
Talking With My Dad About Easter
I check in with my dad, Presbyterian minister Rev. Dr. Jody Welker, to talk about this year’s surreal Easter. We work our way through Passover, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday, talking about the kinds of messages from Holy Week that bother us and inspire us.
44 minutes | Mar 16, 2020
Closing the Distance with Molly Silverstein
In the first episode of a new series called “Closing the Distance,” poet, writer, and Harvard Divinity School student Molly Silverstein (also my partner) helps talk through our emotions and feel our way through the darkness in the early days of the coronavirus. As we keep the physical distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we need all the help we can get from art, authenticity, and each other.
59 minutes | Dec 8, 2019
Burning Man Blessings with Rev. Dr. Brian Baker
Rev. Dr. Brian Baker chooses his own religion! Brian is an Episcopalian priest, veteran, and co-founder of Camp Religious AF, a Christian theme camp that lives at Burning Man. He came on the podcast to tell me about the journey to his first Burning Man, the evolution of Religious AF, and what it means to be an authentic, inclusive Christian community on the playa. We also talk about healing Christian trauma, wrestling with scripture, learning from other religions, radical agnosticism, and what the Army has in common with Burning Man. For more of Brian’s work go to deanbaker.org and check out Religious AF’s website at religiousafcamp.com.
72 minutes | Nov 29, 2019
Spiritual Spaces with Khadija Ali
Khadija Ali chooses her own religion! Khadija is a Master of Theological Studies candidate at Harvard Divinity School and in this episode she told me her spiritual biography growing up as a Muslim in Nashville, Tennessee. We also talk about questioning, the limitations of understanding, the impact of our community, candor, and an interfaith dialogue about the nature of interfaith dialogue itself.
73 minutes | Nov 19, 2019
Loud Silences with Cody Hooks
Cody Hooks chooses his own religion! Cody is a writer, editor, gardener, journalist and Master of Divinity candidate at Harvard Divinity School, and he came to tell me about life as a rural journalist in New Mexico. We talked about Tarot as scripture, ethnography, the nitty gritty of local journalism, storytelling ethics, desert energy, polyamory, and what emerges from loud silences. Cody’s Ember oracle card Cody’s Thunderclap oracle card
56 minutes | Nov 3, 2019
The Poetics of Healing with Jason Adam Sheets
Jason Adam Sheets chooses his own religion! Jason is a poet, a Master of Theological Studies candidate at Harvard Divinity School, and author of the book The Hour Wasp. In this episode we talk about the spirituality of poetry, the creative process, surrealism, death, symbolism, generational trauma, being authentic and of service, the healing potential of poetry. Find the “The Hour Wasp” here.
60 minutes | Oct 27, 2019
Embodied Discernment with Jessica Young
Jessica Young chooses her own religion! Jessica is a yoga teacher, writer, storyteller, and Master of Divinity candidate at Harvard Divinity School. She came on the pod to talk about the intersection of her yoga practice and discernment of Christian ministry. We talked about yoga, dance, theological translation, loving our bodies, learning from teaching, and getting drunk on discernment. For more of Jessica’s writing and work, check out adevotedyogi.com!
62 minutes | Oct 13, 2019
Service and Sacrifice with Sister Mary Therese Perez
Sister Mary Therese Perez chooses her own religion! Mary is a member of my cohort at Harvard Divinity School and she came to share her journey to becoming a Catholic nun in the Dominican Order. We talk about faith as identity, calls to service, sacrifice, contemplative practice, and a new conception of sexuality.
99 minutes | Oct 8, 2019
Just the Beginning with Lindsay Sanwald aka Idgy Dean
Lindsay Sanwald aka Idgy Dean chooses her own religion! Lindsay is a classmate of mine at Harvard Divinity School who creates and performs amazing psychedelic spiritual surf rock, and she came on to share her musical, creative, and spiritual journey. We also muse on comparative theology, Christianity, and spiritually working with anger. Go to idgydean.com for more of her music!
55 minutes | Sep 9, 2019
2 Welker 2 Handle with Rev. Dr. Jody Welker
This week’s guest on Choose Your Own Religion is none other than my dad! Rev. Dr. Jody Welker has been a Presbyterian minister for nearly 40 years, and I finally had him on the show to mark my beginning at Harvard Divinity School and my unlikely return to Christianity. We talk about our different takes on the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit, and the relationship between psychedelics and Christianity.
56 minutes | May 21, 2019
The Silent Retreat with Jessica Michelle Singleton
Jessica Michelle Singleton chooses her own religion again! She came back to the show to talk about a 10-day silent meditation retreat that spawned her one-woman show, “Codependent Arising” as seen on Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We talk about how meditation helps us with suffering, compassion, abandonment, helplessness, and dealing with ghosting! Recorded live from beautiful Debs Regional Park in Los Angeles, CA. Check out her podcast Ignorance is #Blessed and check out her #1 iTunes album “Please. Don’t. Leave. Me.” and more at jmscomedy.com and on Twitter @jmscomedy!
83 minutes | Apr 28, 2019
Don’t Blend, Harmonize with Da’Jon James
Da’Jon James chooses his own religion! Da’Jon is the outgoing music director at Throop Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasadena, CA, and on this episode we explored the relationship between music, emotions, and worship, as well as diving into a conversation on race--diversity initiatives, tokenism, and Da’Jon sharing his lived experience as we talked about how we can learn not to blend together, but to harmonize. Check out Top Shelf Vocal at topshelfvocal.com and go to chooseyourownreligion.com for past episodes and future events where you can tell your own story!
27 minutes | Apr 13, 2019
Live Offerings: Life Support
Live stories told by three Los Angeles storytellers centering on finding comfort in unlikely places, from anxious Tarot readings, the loneliness of a New Mexico monestary, to a partner’s miraculous hospital experience. Featuring storytellers Erica Blumfield, Rex McDaniel, and Ashton Clarke. Recorded in March 2019 at Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasadena, CA. Go to chooseyourownreligion.com for past episodes and future events where you can tell your own story.
77 minutes | Mar 25, 2019
Composting Ourselves with Jonathan Levy
Jonathan Levy chooses his own religion! Jonathan, aka “Zero Waste Guy” is a Zero Waste Project Manager and Green Building Council True Advisor, and on this episode we talked about environmentalism and spirituality. We also talked about the challenges of dating as an environmentalism, making others feel less guilty around you, environmental capitalism, transcendent moments with nature, community, and Unitarian Universalism. Episode includes hkis story from the live Choose Your Own Religion in January 2019. Check out more of Jonathan’s work at zerowasteguy.com and on Instagram @zerowasteguy, and come hear more stories and tell your own at the next live show on Friday, March 29th at 7:30pm at Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasadena!
73 minutes | Feb 22, 2019
Bypassing Spiritual Bypassing with Erica Gerard
Storyteller and actress Erica Gerard talks to Joe about her call to becoming a rabbi...and her call away from it. Choose Your Own Religion: because everyone has a story, no matter what they believe.
55 minutes | Feb 12, 2019
Many Kinds of Normal with David LaMotte
David LaMotte chooses his own religion again! David LaMotte is an award-winning songwriter, speaker and writer, as well as the founder and president of PEG Partners (Proyecto para las Escuelas Guatemaltecas, or Guatemalan School Project) and a member of the Abraham Jam. In this episode we talk about our experiences in Guatemala and how to make big changes with small differences, as well as David’s interfaith music project with Abraham Jam.
84 minutes | Jan 19, 2019
Interfaith Obstacles with Tahil Sharma
Tahil Sharma chooses his own religion! Tahil is an Interfaith Minister for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the Faith Program Manager at Brave New Films, and he came on the show to discussed the beauty and challenges of interfaith dialogue. He told me his story of growing up with a Hindu father and a Sikh mother and almost getting arrested at the border in December.
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