Rabbi Natan Margalit is the Director of Organic Torah, which is a not-for-profit, program based, educational initiative to integrate ancient Jewish wisdom as a leading-edge voice in contemporary efforts to create a healthier, more sustainable, prosperous and just world. I met Rabbi Natan through our resident guru, Rabbi Alan Ullman, and when we first talked, there was an immediate spark between us. I kept interrupting him, shouting YES!!! so much that he could hardly finish a sentence. So we decided we needed to record a podcast, because I knew you would love him. Please check out his work at Organic Torah, and if you're in the Boston area, please look him up and attend one of his classes. He's brilliant, creative, and I'm so grateful you are going to get to glean some of his wisdom.
It's Holy Week. Before we can get to the resurrection, we need to go through the pain of loss. Mary Magdalene, we are told, "stood by the empty tomb and wept." Grieving loss can be a tricky thing - you think you're done, and then grief sneaks up on you and lets you know that there's more to do. Sometimes this shows up in your dreams, haunting you with bizarre scenes. Sometimes it shows up in your body - through sickness, a persistent ache, or extreme fatigue. This week, we pause to take a look at the ways in which most of us need to process grief and loss more than we think we do. Music this week by my friends in the amazing band Grayshot (the song: Long Year)
One of my friends recently told me that I HAD to read this new book - The Way of the Dragon Or the Way of the Lamb, by Kyle Strobel and Jamin Goggin. It's one of those books that is so good that it sort of hurts to read it. Kyle and Jamin decided to seek out people over the age of 70 who had a different relationship with power - such as J. I. Packer, Dallas Willard, Marva Dawn, John Perkins, Jean Vanier, James Houston, and Eugene Peterson - gathering their uncommon wisdom about taking the path of vulnerability and weakness instead of grabbing power. I loved my conversation with Jamin and Kyle, and I now consider their book required reading for every pastor. Enjoy.
"Violence unmakes the world, but preemptive love has the power to unmake violence."
Jeremy Courtney is the founder and CEO of the Preemptive Love Coalition, which brings relief to families fleeing war in Syria and Iraq. They help refugees rebuild their lives. And we provide lifesaving medical care for children in conflict zones.
Jeremy and his wife Jessica moved to New York City just after 9/11, then to Istanbul, and finally to Iraq during the Iraq War in 2006. Their story is less heroic than it is humble; they have simply fallen in love with the Iraqi people, so they are in it for the long haul because in their words, the Iraqi people are "our people." Enjoy.
John D. Blase is a gentle, wise soul, and he just published a book of poetry, titled: The Jubilee: Poems. His words help me want to love better, stay grounded in what matters, and use my words to heal and restore, instead of divide and conquer. He's also the author of Know When to Hold 'Em: The High Stakes Game of Fatherhood, Touching Wonder: Recapturing the Awe of Christmas, and he co-wrote of All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir, with Brennan Manning. We talked poetry, of course, but we also talked about writing in general, about the importance of civil discourse, Brennan Manning, and what it means that our words form us. You can purchase The Jubliee: Poems here, and you can connect with John on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on his website. The music on this episode comes with permission from one of my favorite singer/songwriters, the brilliant Sara Groves. The song is called Floodplain.
Ruth Haley Barton is one of my dear friends, and has also been a mentor for many years. She's the author of many books, and is also the Director of the Transforming Center, which is dedicated to strengthening the souls of pastors, Christian leaders, and the congregations and organizations they serve. In this episode, we talked all about the nature of transformation -- it was so good for my soul. Ruth just recently launched a brand new podcast called Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, and season 1 is all about Developing Sacred Rhythms in the Life of a Leader. I got the chance to interview her in all nine episodes; we had some expansive conversations that I think will really be helpful in your own journey of spiritual transformation. Enjoy this conversation, and then make sure to check out her new podcast!
Music: I am New by Joel Hanson
Have you ever experienced that awkward moment when someone asks you a question, and you know they want an either/or response, but you just can't go there? Have you ever wanted to demand a better, more expansive question, one that respects the nature of your answer, and the fact that their small question can't contain the truth of your nuanced answer? Well, well, well. You need to get to know Mu. Enjoy! Links: Music kindly provided by Sisters of Murphy (songs: 17 and Green Over Red (Radio Edit). Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. And - I meant to mention this, but forgot: Listen to this fabulous interview with Krista Tippet and Padraig O Tuama to hear more about Mu.
Lent is the season when most of us feel deprived, guilty, and hungry. But it was really meant to be a season where those of us who feel lost, lonely, and empty could return to God to be filled and finally satisfied. It's a season to get really honest about the ways in which we've gorged ourselves on things that don't satisfy. It's a season to come home. Enjoy. Music used by permission from The Brilliance. Songs: See The Love, Oh Earth, Brother (featuring Propaganda), and Night Has Passed/Morning Has Broken.
On today's podcast, I talked about your body, your soul, your mind, and your spirit. In all of those areas, what are you saying yes to? What are you saying no to? What limits are you recognizing and how are you gently noticing what you need, and then moving toward those things? In this season of such high anxiety and stress, it's important to pay attention to these four areas, and start getting serious about what you are saying yes to, and what you are saying no to. Enjoy! Resources: Music on this podcast brought to you by Ben Rosenbush and the Brighton, from their album A Wild Hunger. Sabbath, by Wayne Mueller; A Prayer Guide for Lent by Daniel Lukas. And email me at steve (at) stevewiens.com if you live in Syndey and want to meet likeminded folks!
Jeff Johnson is the founder and director of Motion 117 Productions, where he creates films, primarily because he's fascinated with the question "why." Jeff's also a part of the incredible band Cloud Cult, who produced a feature film called The Seeker, which Jeff directed. It's beautiful, haunting, and surprising. Jeff's a very good friend of mine (he's also the father of twins). I loved talking to him about his creative process and the journey of telling fascinating and hopeful stories in the world. Enjoy!