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Existential Happy Hour
81 minutes | Jan 14, 2022
029: Allah and Abolition w/ Khalid Alexander
Khalid is an educator, advocate, and community organizer and a convert to the religion of Islam. In this conversation we talk about his spiritual path as a person of mixed racial heritage in a Christian-dominant culture who wound up finding and embracing Islam as his religion and way of life. We explore some of the theological similarities and differences between Christianity and Islam and talk about role of Islam as a counter to white supremacy in America. Khalid also explains the work he does as founder and president of Pillars of the Community, an organization dedicated to helping those affected by the criminal justice system in Southeast San Diego. Khalid is open, funny, honest, heartfelt, and passionate. He gives a unique perspective on the beliefs and experience of being Muslim in America, and challenges us to confront the systemic injustices of policing and incarceration that are accepted as normal in our society today. Connect with Pillars of the Community: Website: potcsd.orgInstagram: @potcsdTwitter: @potc619
76 minutes | Dec 17, 2021
028: A Very Existential Christmas
Deck the halls and make the yuletide gay, my friends! It's time once again for a special holiday edition of the show. A Very Existential Christmas weaves together poems, prayers, and stories in a unique exploration of Christmas without God. We begin by deconstructing the myth of Santa Claus before a brief commercial break and then come back for a poem, a short sermon I preached one advent Sunday back when I was still a Christian, another poem/prayer, and then a bit of theology about expectation and incarnation in the shadow of God's absence. If you are a long-time listener you may recognize this episode from last year -- it's about 75% the same as Episode 10 ("Advent/Absence") but I've redone the audio and added a bunch of new stuff and generally made it a lot better just for you. So pour yourself a warm beverage and curl up by the fire -- or put this in your earholes while you're driving around doing Christmas shit or going to your relatives house or staying at home being depressed -- and enjoy a Very Existential Christmas. (Christmas spirit not required.)
81 minutes | Nov 19, 2021
027: The Cryptonaturalist w/ Jarod K. Anderson
In this episode I talk with Jarrod K. Anderson about nature, death, and the universe. Jarrod is a storyteller, poet, and creator of the wildly popular nature podcast The Cryptonaturalist. I found Jarrod through his online poems and his book Field Guide to the Haunted Forest (which is worth purchasing for the title alone.) The language he uses to make meaning in a meaningless universe resonates deeply with me. I consider him a kindred soul. In this winding conversation we talk about creativity, being raised agnostic, approaching the Bible through the lenses of literature / trauma, human brains, contemplating death, the afterlife and eternity, human tribalism, the mysteries of interstellar consciousness, the biological function of cleverness, learning to live with depression, finding community outside religion, and learning to be quiet with the trees. Jarod on Twitter: @JarodAnderson + @CryptoNature Jarod on Instagram: @Cryptonaturalist Jarod's Website: jarodkanderson.com Jarod's Podcast: The Cryptonaturalist Jarod's Book: Field Guide to the Haunted Forest -------------------------------------------------Get Existential Happy Hour merch @ ExistentialHappyHour.comSupport the Show: micahjmurray.substack.comConnect on Instagram @existentialhappyhour + @micahjmurray
58 minutes | Oct 24, 2021
When I was a good Christian, I spent a lot of time thinking and talking about my worldview. It was an important part of identity-formation in my Evangelical faith communities. In this episode we revisit the idea of worldview, and talk about the evolution I have experienced as I have sought what is real. We begin with excerpts out of my own Personal Statement of Faith (from when I was a good Christian) before diving into an exploration of what it means to orient my life toward the universe through religious naturalism today. (tw: includes a lot of fundamentalist doctrine and mentions of abuse.)-------------------------------------------------Get Existential Happy Hour merch @ ExistentialHappyHour.comSupport / Subscribe @ micahjmurray.substack.comConnect on Instagram @existentialhappyhour + @micahjmurray
38 minutes | Sep 2, 2021
025: Summer's End
Pausing at the end of a hot and lonely summer to talk about making meaning, making content, and falling in love with a planet that is bursting into flames.
42 minutes | Aug 5, 2021
024: Deconstruction Therapy w/ Emily Maynard
I catch up with my friend Emily Maynard, a fellow surviver of religious bullshit who is now working to help other people live free and meaningful lives. We talk about growing up in American fundamentalism and purity culture, why therapy matters, what we mean when we talk about God, and the everlasting bullshit of the Gospel Coalition, and why people are leaving toxic Churches. We also talk about how to have support as you move through deconstructing beliefs, how to talk to family when your family doesn't understand, and whether or not forgiveness is a good idea. Emily Maynard is a California Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist No.115384, supervised by Emily Celis, LMFT and employed at S.A.G.E. Holistic Health and Wellness Center. Emily works with religious trauma survivors and people healing from spiritual abuse or difficult faith transitions. Emily on Instagram: @emilymaynard_thxEmily on the Web: sagewellnessctr.org/emily-maynard/
84 minutes | Jun 24, 2021
023: Being Post-Christian w/ Maria French
In this conversation, I talk with post-theist theologian / writer / educator Maria French about what it means to be a post-Christian person of faith. We share stories from our early years of childlike belief, our struggles to overcome indoctrination and find freedom, and our adventures in theology on the other side of belief in God. I'm so glad I got to connect with Maria about these things; the way she approaches Christianity and belief is so helpful for those of us seeking authentic, grounded belonging. If you were raised Christian and have struggled to make sense of your own spirituality, you will resonate with much of what we discuss in this episode. You can find more of Maria's work here:Maria's Patreon: http://patreon.com/mariaffm H&Co Website: https://www.handcogroup.com Sacred Anarchies Podcast: https://www.handcogroup.com/podcast Instagram: @francescafemme | @h_andco_ | @nomorecircles
49 minutes | May 20, 2021
022: The Sacred Depths of Nature w/ Ursula Goodenough
Today I'm talking with Dr. Ursual Goodenough about cells, nature, religion, and God. As a scientist and a religious naturalist, she has so much wisdom and perspective on finding the sacred in the ordinary miracle of biological life. If you are curious about finding a way to think about divinity outside of traditional theistic God constructs, you're not going to want to miss this conversation.
98 minutes | May 2, 2021
021: Sunday Mourning w/ Seven J
Seven J is a speaker, a mentor, and artist. In this episode we listen to some tracks off of his latest album "Sunday Mourning" and hear his experience of racism and corruption and spiritual abuse in the name of the church. I’ll give you a warning at the beginning, this is a painful story, and it may be difficult for those of us who have had abuse and trauma in our own lives. Seven speaks candidly and honestly about what he’s seen and experienced, including institutional religious abuse, racial violence, sexual exploitation of children, and suicidal ideation. So if you need to turn this off, or just take a break for a while, take it in chunks, I encourage you to listen to your body and give it what it needs to feel safe. As you are able, I invite you to listen to this album, listen to this conversation, listen to this story. Bear witness to the sin of racism in the church. Listen to the evil done by Christianity in the name of God, in the name of Jesus. For many of us trying pick up the pieces and move on after betrayal in the church, there are parts of this story that will be very familiar, and as you listen I hope that you know that you are not alone. This is Sunday mourning.Links:Spotify: Sunday Mourning Bandcamp: Sunday Mourning Soundcloud: Sunday Mourning Instagram: @sevenj_sjmTwitter: @sevenj_sjmCashApp: $SevenJSJMwinloseormaybe.com
50 minutes | Apr 23, 2021
020: Is God Good? w/ Dr. Anthony Pinn
Today I am very happy to introduce you Dr. Anthony Pinn. Dr Pinn is an author and thinker, a scholar of religion, and leader in the fields of African American Religious Studies as well as Humanist Theology. His writing on African American humanist theology has profoundly shaped my thinking about God over the past two years, and it was an honor to have this conversation with him. In this hour we talk about the problem with God, whether or not God is on the side of the oppressed, and what the future of religion looks like in America.
71 minutes | Apr 11, 2021
019: You Can Talk to God Like That w/ Abby Norman
Abby Norman is a pastor, author, and a dear friend. She also happens to be a Christian, which I used to be but am not anymore. In this episode talk about our diverging spiritual paths, and how we each navigate our relationships with religion ... with and without God. Abby also talks about her new book "You Can Talk to God Like That", available May 19 wherever books are sold. Follow Abby on Twitter: @AbbyNormanSays
82 minutes | Mar 19, 2021
018: Wholiness (A Sonic Event) w/ Josh Zak aka New Tycoon
In this episode we sit down with Josh Zak (aka New Tycoon) to talk about growing up fundamentalist, losing faith, and finding mystery. We also listen to a few tracks from his absolutely wonderful album "Wholiness", an exploration of shifting belief. This is how Josh describes it:"Wholiness is the acceptance of a long denied truth. It's a sorrowful and jubilant exclamation, sent back in time. It's the margins of my Bible, finally full of notes. It's compassionate heresy, joyful blasphemy, and peaceful apostasy. It's the rehabilitation of an emaciated spirituality.My wish for Wholiness is that you find something within that has nothing to do with faith. I hope you see my humanity. I hope you see your own. I hope you feel free."Listen on Spotify: Wholiness by New TycoonListen on Soundcloud: Wholiness by New TycoonListen on Apple Music: Wholiness by New TycoonJosh on Instagram: @jewzakJosh on Twitter: @jewzakJosh's Podcast: At Home In Our Hearts
83 minutes | Mar 12, 2021
017: What is Process Theology? w/ Mason Mennenga
Mason Mennenga is a podcaster, theologian, internet troll extraordinaire, and a fellow seminarian with me at United Theological Seminary. In this episode we start with a few jokes about The Office and the Enneagram, followed by a brief but serious discussion about The Office as a meta-myth with religious potential. Then we turn to the topic of Process Theology for a lengthy exploration of this fascinating metaphysical system for thinking about God, the World, and Creativity. We cover topics of creation, suffering, God's relationship with the world, my understanding of god as an uncaring but beautiful ocean, and what will happen to consciousness when humanity is inevitably replaced by artificial intelligence or annihilated by our ever-expanding sun.Mason's Website: https://masonmennenga.comMason on Twitter: @masonmennengaMason on Instagram: @masonmennengaMason on YouTube: youtube.com/masonmennenga
53 minutes | Mar 5, 2021
016: Deconstructing Religion w/ John D. Caputo
John Caputo is a philosopher and theologian who has been talking about existentialism, deconstruction, religion, and God since before most of us were born.In this conversation he shares his extraordinary insight with us about what those words mean. how we relate to the universe, and the future of religion.
70 minutes | Feb 26, 2021
015: #ChurchToo w/ Emily Joy Allison
In this episode I talk with Emily Joy Allison about her brand new book #ChurchToo: How Purity Culture Upholds Abuse and How to Find Healing. She tells us how the hashtag she started became part of an international conversation about abuse in the Church, why Christianity enables abusers, and how the death of the Church is probably a good thing. We also discuss seminary life, evangelical higher education, exploring Buddhism, staying in Christian-adjacent spaces, panentheism, the Grand Canyon, why poetry is better that theology papers, and the struggles of having an online brand so you can sell books. Order the Book: #ChurchToo Emily on Instagram: @emilyjoypoetryEmily on Twitter: @emilyjoypoetryHeadshot by @thejennybones-------------------------------------------------Get Existential Happy Hour merch @ ExistentialHappyHour.com Connect on Instagram @existentialhappyhour + @micahjmurray
40 minutes | Feb 17, 2021
014: Giving Up (for Lent)
"It's Ash Wednesday. I'm here to receive ashes and deny Christ." This is what I wrote in my journal at the start of Lent, two years ago. For this special Lent episode I have woven together a collection of poems and prayers and letters and stories I have written over half a dozen years as I have tried to make sense of my relationship with Jesus and the end of my Christianity. All together they tell a story about two Ash Wednesdays and the years in between.
116 minutes | Feb 13, 2021
013: Deconstructing Deconstruction w/ Josh the Youth Pastor
Today's conversation is with Josh Howard, pastor, podcaster, and author of "Determined to be Desperate". Josh believes that deconstruction is a wicked movement that targets people struggling with their faith, takes advantage of the broken and hurting, and leads them into darkness. And lately he's be asking around for folks in the deconstruction scene that he can interview for a book about it.So I said, “Yo, you have questions about deconstruction? Let’s talk.” This is the result.If you were ever in evangelicalism, this conversation will revisit some familiar questions and a lot of bible verses. It is painful at times, but I hope that in the end you know that you are not alone with your questions and there are better answers than what we were given.
73 minutes | Jan 15, 2021
012: Everything to Me w/ Melissa Greene
I am joined by Melissa Greene (who you may know from Avalon back in the day) to talk about loving and leaving church, breaking up with Jesus, finding God after Christianity, and how to love the world. This is one of my favorite conversations I've had yet, and I think you'll love it too.
54 minutes | Jan 4, 2021
011: Experiencing God w/ Science Mike
In this episode I talk with Mike McHargue aka Science Mike aka the Cozy Robot about God and science and brains and belief. He answers questions about religious trauma, ethical frameworks, and making meaning in the absence of belief in God. Check it out!
59 minutes | Dec 24, 2020
010: Advent / Absence (A Christmas Special)
Pour yourself a hot mug of something delicious and join me for a very special Christmas edition of Existential Happy Hour. This one includes a discussion of Santa and belief, Jesus and Incarnation, and the significance of divinity born from the womb of a virgin.
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