The author/pastor/activist Carlos A. Rodriguez, founder of Happy Sonship, is about to move with his wife, Catherine, and their three young children from Raleigh, North Carolina back to his native Puerto Rico to help with the ongoing recovery efforts in the wake of last year's devastating Hurricane Marie. Carlos and Cath, who are both parents of children adopted from Africa, go deep to talk about what "home" really means, what makes a family a family, the idea of homecoming that pervades scripture, food as the preeminent spiritual love language, prodigal children, prodigal parents, and what a rich, terrifying, messy, sacred time of transition this moment is for all of us.
Kell and Cath (and special guest Jonathan Martin) take a field trip to Rainbow Ranch Petting Zoo in rural Nashville, Illiinois. Kell's longtime friends Alan Blumhorst and Marty Stanberry, have operated Rainbow Ranch for 16 years on the family farm Alan's family has owned for more than 150 years. As some of the couple's dozens of exotic and domestic animals—including peacocks, a zebra, camels, alpacas, flocks of sheep and goats, potbellied pigs, a macaw named Max and a blind llama named Lover settle in for the night as sun sets over the farm fields—Alan talks about growing up gay in the heartland, leaving home to come out and coming home to find his true calling, and what it means to make a home your own in this far-reaching, funny, poignant, and surprising group conversation.
Come for the peacocks squawking in a 170-year-old pecan tree. Stay for the profound insights about family, legacy, and a place of one's own.
Cath and Kell are joined by their friend (and sometimes traveling companion) author/speaker/preacher/pastor/podcaster-extraordinaire Jonathan Martin for a particularly honest (and vulnerable) conversation about what home means when you're in a liminal space. Where is home? How do you find it? Who is home? How do you know? What does home feel like? How do you discern which "home" God is calling you to next in a season of epic change?
At least two of us got a little verklempt more than once, so you might want to have a box of tissues on hand. And don't forget to check out the Resources & Tools section of TheShwell.com for links to pretty much everything we mention.
What does it mean to do all things through Christ? Does it just apply to the hard stuff? Or does it mean ALL the stuff?
In this meta-ration Kell explores what it means to come home to the present moment and within that moment find the fruits of the spirit—and, in turn, to be able to do even the smallest things out of the love and patience of a Christ consciousness.
To accompany her Meta-Tation on the theme of homecoming, Kell guides you through a 10-minute mindfulness meditation to help you "come home to the present moment."
In this meta-tation, Kell explores the practice of disruption as it relates to our spiritual development and also our spiritual grounding. How can we engage seemingly "heretical" thinking to move us forward into a reconstructed faith and how can we be intentional about placing ourselves in challenging worship spaces that keep us centered in our faith? Kell discusses a seminal moment in her journey reading M.Scott Peck's A Different Drum and his theory on the Four Stages of Spiritual Development as well her more recent reading of Rohr's Falling Upward. Also, articles from the Harvard Crimson on Harvard taking on Orthodox Christianity and the America Magazine's account of Pope Francis' warning against Gnosticism. All this and the story of Kell's most humiliating moment of her life - on stage, in front of a room packed with 20 year old Evangelicals.
Ira Glass, the longtime host of NPR's This American Life, king of public radio, and all-around mensch, is the producer of a new Netflix original film Come Sunday. The film, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jason Segal, Condola Rashad, Danny Glover, and Martin Sheen (as Oral Roberts), follows the real-life story of Bishop Carlton Pearson (Ejiofor)—a prominent pentecostal evangelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma who falls from grace when (he believes) God spoke to him whilst watching a TV news report on the Rwandan genocide to say that there is no hell (or that if it does, it's empty) because Jesus's death on the cross brought salvation to all of humanity for all time. Pearson loses his ministry, is put on (ecclesiastical) trial for heresy, and becomes a pariah to the religious community that celebrated him for more than 20 years.
Ira joined Cath for a conversation about faith and doubt, hell and heresy, how Christians and other religious communities are portrayed in the media, growing up Jewish, what he learned from Pearson's story about the nature of belief, and how a nice atheist like him wound up making a film like this.
It's a humdinger.
Episode 3.1: Interview with ‘Summer in the Forest’ director Randall Wright—On Sacred Friendship & the Ministry of Presence
The new documentary Summer in the Forest, which opens in theaters across the United States on April 6, follows several residents of L'Arche—an international federation of homes, programs, and support for people living with developmental disabilities. Founded in 1964 by the Canadian philosopher/theologian Jean Vanier, L'Arche is built on the basic model of a small group of adults, some with disabilities and some without disabilities, living together in homes and apartments, sharing and building life together built on love and sacred friendship. There are now more than 150 L'Arche communities in 37 countries worldwide.
Cath is joined by Randall Wright, the director of Summer in the Forest, for a wide-ranging conversation about the film and the profound, enduring effects it had on the filmmakers and the men and women of the L'Arche communities in Trosly, France and in Bethlemen, Palestine who are featured in the film—an extraordinary tour de force of intimate storytelling and powerfully eloquent exploration about friendship and the gift, ministry, and practice of presence.
Cath and Kell are joined by Gareth Higgins—author, film critic, peace activist, community builder, and convener of all manner of festivals, workshops, and retreats (and possessor of one of the most beautiful speaking voices of all time)—to explore the idea of Anam Cara. Known as "soul friends" in Celtic spiritual traditions, Gareth, a native of Belfast, walks us through what it means to be truly present, what he learned about that and sacred friendship from the late Irish poet-philosopher-mystic John O'Donohue, and how we all might create those sacred connections in our own lives, communities, and the world.
Mentorship goes beyond teaching and friendship. It is of holy combination of both. In this episode, Kell interviews one her best friends, Nick Otten, who has been a teacher for more than 50 years. Nick is Kell's mentor, her assistant, her writing and walking partner, but more than anything else, he is her friend. Here they talk about how the practice of mentoring, sacred friendship, and the gift of presence has shaped their lives together and individually.