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83 minutes | a month ago
Conversation with Christopher Carter
Today’s conversation features Christopher Carter, Assistant Professor and Assistant Chair & Department Diversity Officer in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego. Christopher Carter’s teaching and research focuses on philosophical and theological ethics, Black and Womanist theological ethics, environmental ethics, and animals and religion. He approaches religious studies as a liberation ethicist committed to exploring how the moral economy of U.S. religious thought and culture impact the everyday lives of marginalized populations, particularly African American and Latinx communities. He is active in the leadership of the American Academy of Religion where he serves as a steering committee member of both the Religion and Ecology and the Animals and Religion Group. Professor Carter is also a pastor within the United Methodist Church and currently serves as an assistant pastor at Pacific Beach United Methodist Church. He is married, and, together with his spouse, they have one child, Isaiah. We at the Academy got to know Christopher through Frank Rogers, longtime Academy Faculty and Advisory Board member. He taught Christopher as a PhD student at Claremont School of Theology several years ago. Christopher served as faculty for one of the Academy Day Apart Retreats in fall of 2020 and we hope to learn alongside him again soon. Enjoy Christopher and Claire's conversation, which starts with parenting and ends with Howard Thurman, and is interlaced with wisdom, laughter, and joy throughout.
67 minutes | 2 months ago
Conversation with Jenny Booth Potter
In this episode, our host, Claire, is joined by Jenny Booth Potter. Jenny is the Co-Host and Producer of The Next Question, a video-based web-series devoted to expanding the imagination for racial justice. In the first season, the show has already hosted conversations with Nikole Hannah-Jones, Rachel Cargle, Andre Henry, and Brené Brown, and includes co-hosts Austin Channing Brown and Chi Chi Okwu. You can find out more about The Next Question at www.tnqshow.com. In addition, Jenny has led anti-racism trainings for churches and spoken at conferences such as CCDA, FILO, and the World Vision Pastor’s Gathering. She is also on staff at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL as a creative producer where she writes, develops, directs, and produces creative content for Willow Creek Community Church and the Willow Creek Association. She enjoys creating spaces for people to connect and be transformed by the power of story. Listen on, beloveds, and as you listen, breathe, expand, grow, learn, transform.
62 minutes | 3 months ago
Conversation with Cole Arthur Riley
In this episode, we’re joined by Cole Arthur Riley, who is a writer, speaker, and liturgist. She currently serves as the Content and Spiritual Formation Manager for a Center for Christian Studies at Cornell University called Chesterton House. In her role, she produces and curates written content for spiritual formation and leads care and spiritual support for staff and students. While working for an Episcopal church, she became enamored with both Anglican and Catholic liturgical traditions, finding beauty in written prayer as well as the embodied experience of Eucharist and prayer services. Cole is the creator and writer of Black Liturgies—a project seeking to integrate the truths of Black dignity, lament, rage, justice, and rest into written prayers. You can follow the project on Instagram @blackliturgies. Broaching topics of spiritual practice, embodiment, expanding liturgy to speak to Blackness, the limitations and concerns of social media, and so much more, Cole and Claire spoke as colleagues, companions, and friends in this liminal space of spirituality and justice, prayer and protest, worship and work. Episode tracks: “Far Side of the Sea,” “Versailles,” and “Fearless” by Amy Stroup, used with permission.
64 minutes | 4 months ago
Conversation with Safiyah Fosua
In this episode, we’re joined by Safiyah Fosua, beloved Academy faculty and one of our four renowned teachers for our new one-year online offering, Spiritual Formation in Today’s World, that begins February 25, 2021. Learn more about Safiyah and the other faculty, curriculum, and sacred spiritual rhythm the one-year offers by visiting academy.upperroom.org and consulting the schedule for 2021. Claire's conversation with Safiyah was pure delight, and we're so excited to get to share it with you in this first month of 2021. Safiyah invites introspection, honor of the past, and hope for the future.
79 minutes | 5 months ago
Best of 2020
December's episode is a compilation of the best moments of 2020 from Claire's podcast conversations with Lisa Yebuah, Dan Wolpert, Ben Boswell, Amos Disasa, Frank Rogers, M Barclay, Lanecia Rouse, and Amy Stroup. Of course, we hosted many more conversations than these in 2020 with Academy leaders and friends—conversations that challenged us to act, opened us to joy, and reminded us that justice and mercy are the children of Love. The excerpts from the conversations in this “best of” podcast are just a few of our favorites, many of them memorable moments that changed our own thinking, feeling, and being in the world. In the end, we’re simply grateful. Grateful we can hold this space for holy and healing conversation; grateful we can talk about hard things, real things, big things; grateful we can show up, again and again, in the presence of the Holy One asking to be transformed for the healing and transformation of the world.
78 minutes | 6 months ago
Conversation with Luther Smith
Today’s conversation features Luther Smith, who is an ordained elder in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, longtime Academy faculty person, and a member of The Academy Advisory Board. Luther spent 35 years of his career as an activist, scholar, and professor at Candler School of Theology, and he is known to be an authority on the life and theology of Howard Thurman. Luther is Professor Emeritus of Church and Community at Candler and his current research focuses on the writings and correspondence of Howard Thurman, advocacy on behalf of children, and a spirituality of hope. He is married to Helen Pearson Smith and lives in Stone Mountain, GA. They have four children and five grandchildren. Whether you know Luther and have had the honor of learning both from and with him or today is your very first introduction to his life and work, you’re in for a treat. Our host Claire McKeever-Burgett says of him, “Luther served as faculty at the first Five-Day Academy I attended in 2014 and from that time on, he’s been a friend and wisdom guide, a breath of fresh air, a beacon of hope.” They gathered via Zoom in late summer to talk about everything from Howard Thurman to what keeps them grounded in these strange times. May their conversation offer you further insight, deeper inspiration, and abundant hope.
64 minutes | 7 months ago
Conversation with Rev. M Barclay
In this episode, we’re joined by Rev. M. Barclay who is the co-founder and executive director of enfleshed, a nonprofit creating and facilitating resources of spiritual nourishment for collective liberation. M is passionate about bringing fresh and relevant perspectives to the questions, traditions, and theologies that have sustained faith communities for centuries. They have extensive experience in writing, preaching, and teaching on Christianity and its relationship to queer and trans lives, feminism, white anti-racism, and other pressing matters of justice. M is a leader with the UMForward Collective and formerly served as Director of Communications with Reconciling Ministries Network. They have also enjoyed working as a hospital chaplain, youth director, justice associate, and faith coordinator for reproductive justice in Texas. M is proud to be a 2018-2020 Culture of Health Leader with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. They delight in queer community, finding the nearest hike while traveling, reading theologies, and working with stained glass.
65 minutes | 8 months ago
Conversation with Lanecia Rouse
In this episode, Claire is joined by Lanecia Rouse Tinsley who is a multidisciplinary visual artist based in Houston, TX, and the owner/creator of LAR Art Studio. Lanecia's portfolio includes a range of work in abstract painting, photography, teaching, writing, and speaking. Lanecia’s work is deeply informed by her studies in sociology, theology, and culture. Her works are products of contemplative and intuitive abstract composition practices. She explores in them various perspectives that might illumine our everyday quests to make life meaningful and content while grappling with fundamental questions about our existence. Lanecia is the perfect reminder that the work of love and justice is expansive work and it begs of us to stand our sacred ground, to open ourselves to change, and to deeply trust in the God who marches, dances, listens, learns, and sings along with us.
71 minutes | 9 months ago
Conversation with Amos Disasa
Today's conversation is with Amos Disasa, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, TX. The conversation, recorded at the end of June, is deep and wide, intense and honest, vulnerable and, at times, terrifying, in the sense that much of what we discuss cuts to the core, inviting deep introspection and authenticity. As Amos says, "We aim to have healthy conversations, not perfect ones." This feels like one of those conversations--healthy, whole, honest, true.
65 minutes | 9 months ago
A Conversation with Amy Stroup
Our new music is from today’s conversation partner on the podcast, a Nashville based singer songwriter, Amy Stroup, who graciously offered instrumentals from her songs “Far Side of the Sea,” “Versailles,” and “Fearless” for our podcast episodes going forward. You’ll want to check out all of Amy’s music on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your tunes. This episode sounds a lot like a conversation between longtime friends, because it is one. Claire and Amy have known each other since high school. At the beginning of June, they talked about all things songwriting, healing, racial justice, Richard Rohr, connection, spiritual practices that keep Amy grounded, who she’s currently listening to and reading, and more. While connection has always been important, it feels even more so in these days of living in the midst of a global pandemic and as we continually engage antiracism work. Maybe this will spur you to send a text to an old friend or quarantine for 14 days so you can safely drive to see your people. Maybe you’ll find some new music to dance to or rediscover an author who makes your heart come alive. However the Spirit moves you, our prayer is that we’ll remember, together, that the work of love and justice, the work of antiracism, the work of spiritual formation is expansive work and it begs of us to stand our sacred ground, to open ourselves to change, and to deeply trust in the God who marches, dances, listens, learns, and sings along with us. If you’re here for this kind of life-changing work, we’re so glad you found us, and we hope you’ll stay with us for the long haul.
84 minutes | 10 months ago
A Conversation with Ben Boswell
In this episode, we’re joined by Ben Boswell, Senior Pastor of Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and Two-Year Academy #39 graduate. In his role as Senior Minister, Ben works at the intersection of strategic leadership, spiritual formation, and social justice. In addition to pastoral responsibilities, Ben facilitates anti-racism trainings for white dominant congregations called, “What Does It Mean to Be White?" Ben is a former commissioned officer in the U.S. Army National Guard, a graduate of Marion Military Institute (AA), Campbell University (BA), Duke Divinity School (MDIV), St. Paul’s School of Theology (DMIN), and completed course work for a PhD in Moral Theology and Ethics at the Catholic University of America. Ben has served as a Commissioner on the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture, and on the board of the Alliance of Baptists and Baptist House at Duke Divinity School. In the following conversation, Ben and Claire discuss dismantling white supremacy, the Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color we all need to be following right now, his daughter, what it’s like to preach right now, and more.
80 minutes | 10 months ago
Conversation with Amy Steele & Sophia Agtarap
In this episode, we’re joined by Sophia Agtarap and Amy Steele of Vanderbilt Divinity School. The Academy and The Upper Room have partnered with both Sophia and Amy and Vanderbilt Divinity School on many endeavors, most recently the viewing and panel discussion of “Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story” that included Academy faculty person Luther Smith. What follows is a conversation with Amy and Sophia about spirituality and justice, how COVID-19 affected the divinity school and shifted theological education, taking care of ourselves and others in these strange and intense times, and more.
70 minutes | a year ago
Conversation with Lisa Yebuah
Today, Claire is joined by Lisa Yebuah. Their conversation encompasses everything from antiracism to sitting on the mourner’s bench to sabbath as resistance to joy unspeakable joy...and more. Being with Lisa is like all the elements of earth, fire, water, and air decided to have a gathering and they decided to gather and dance inside a person, inside Lisa. She is equal parts fire and water, earth and air, inviting us all to dance at the feet of justice and of joy.
68 minutes | a year ago
Conversation with Dan Wolpert
In this episode, we’re joined by Dan Wolpert who is Academy faculty, Upper Room Books author, Upper Room eLearning facilitator and teacher, Executive Director and co-founder of MICAH, the Minnesota Institute for Contemplation and Healing, spouse, partner, ally, activist, dad. Dan has been a student of the spiritual life since age 21 and has taught in the fields of psychology and spiritual formation in numerous settings. In addition to his retreat and teaching work, Dan provides counseling and spiritual direction services at MICAH. He is also the author of “Leading a Life with God, the practice of spiritual leadership", “Creating a Life with God: the call of ancient prayer practices", co-author of “Meeting God in Virtual Reality", and most recently “The Collapse of the Three Story Universe: Christianity in an age of Science”. Dan lives in Minneapolis, MN just two blocks from where George Floyd was killed. Claire and Dan's conversation is an important one, especially for white people. Dan helps illumine the spiritual life as THE life, encompassing all things from justice to activism to prayer to healthcare to work.
60 minutes | a year ago
Conversation with Elaine Heath
In this episode, Claire is joined by Elaine Heath, Academy faculty, Upper Room Books author, and so much more. Elaine’s scholarly work is interdisciplinary, integrating pastoral, biblical, and spiritual theology in ways that bridge the gap between academy, church, and world. Her current research interests focus on community as a means of healing trauma, emergent forms of Christianity, and alternative forms of theological education for the church in rapidly changing contexts. What follows is a conversation with Elaine about what is needed from us as spiritual leaders for these times, what it means to “neighbor well,” the profound and sound theology of Julian of Norwich, and so much more.
55 minutes | a year ago
Conversation with Roger Owens
In this episode, Claire speaks with Roger Owens from his home in Pittsburgh, where he’s now teaching spiritual formation classes to his seminary students online, enjoying family meals with his teenagers again, and discovering that The Academy and its rhythms are a helpful guide in this time of global pandemic...and always. What follows is a conversation with Roger about the expansiveness of God, the invitations of a global pandemic, his writing process, the spiritual practice of music, and more.
69 minutes | a year ago
Conversation with Frank Rogers
In this episode Claire talks with Frank Rogers via Zoom about all things spiritual formation, being gentle with ourselves in the midst of difficult emotions, how he found himself working the The Academy, practicing compassion, and more. What follows is an honest conversation with Frank about what it is to be human and healing in these uncertain times. It is full of joy and endless compassion, all things Frank embodies and lives in beautiful and inspiring ways.
60 minutes | a year ago
Conversation with Amy Oden
"Today," our host, Claire, says, "I get to talk with Amy Oden via Zoom about all things spiritual formation, healing in the time of COVID-19, her work with the Academy and why she thinks it’s important, and more. What follows is a conversation with Amy, who is a friend, mentor, and colleague in the way of Love."
54 minutes | a year ago
Conversation with Victor Perez
In this month's podcast, our host, Claire, talks with Victor Perez via Zoom about all things Bilingual (Spanish + English) Academy #42, which is scheduled to begin in August 2020 in San Antonio, TX, breathing deeply in the midst of a global pandemic, spiritual practice, prayer, family, Puerto Rico, and more. What follows is a conversation about what it is to be human and searching for true connection in these uncertain times.
61 minutes | a year ago
Rooted in Love: A Conversation with Marjorie Thompson
Our host, Claire, describes this month's podcast saying, "In this month’s podcast, I sit down with Marjorie Thompson, who is a longtime Academy faculty person, author, and my personal spiritual director. In light of the recent tornadoes that devastated parts of Nashville and Tennessee, as well as growing concerns about the coronavirus throughout the world and a politically charged election season here in the US, I wanted to talk with Marjorie about how to remain grounded faith leaders in the midst of chaos, disaster, and fear...What follows is a heartfelt conversation with one of my spiritual guides, a true friend and companion along the Way of Love. "
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