Progressive Spirit



Progressive Spirit is an exciting program that meets listeners at the intersection of spirituality and social justice.


  • RFL 17 Nancy Ellen Abrams and Joel Primack and the New Universe

    01/05/2012 Duración: 28min

    My guests on Religion For Life are Nancy Ellen Abrams and Joel Primack, authors of a new book, The New Universe and the Human Future: How a Shared Cosmology Could Transform the World.  Dr. Primack is professor of physics at the University of California at Santa Cruz and Nancy Ellen Abrams is a cultural philosopher. Together they find a way of integrating our cosmology with meaning and offer a hopeful vision for our human future on Earth.

  • Rev. Jane Adams Spahr and Marriage Equality

    22/04/2012 Duración: 28min

    In 2008, during that period of time when same-gender marriage was legal in California, Presbyterian Church (USA) minister, Rev. Jane Adams Spahr, officiated at 16 same-gender weddings.  She was taken to church court and accused of violating her ordination vows.  The case finally ended up before the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission, the "supreme court" of the PC(USA).   By an 8-6 vote she was found guilty.  Marriage is officially one man and one woman in the PC(USA) regardless of state law.    She is my guest.  She talks about the case, what it means for clergy and the church, and her ministry to LGBT people. “To turn my back on the love and lifelong commitments of these wonderful couples would have gone against my faith, the ministry where I was called, and most of all, against God’s amazing hospitality and welcome where love and justice meet together.” --Rev. Jane Adams Spahr Here are some posts of mine about her work.

  • Andrew McKnight--Singer/Songwriter

    17/04/2012 Duración: 28min

    Singer, songwriter, guitar player, and poet, Andrew McKnight is my guest.  He performed a benefit concert for us a few months ago to raise awareness against mountain top removal mining.   He sings about the people, places, and passions of Appalachia: Since permanently leaving his corporate environmental engineering career in 1996, award-winning folk and Americana artist Andrew McKnight's musical journey has traced over half a million miles of blue highways, and earned him a wealth of critical acclaim and enthusiastic fans for his captivating performances and five CDs. While he was in the neighborhood, he stopped by the studio, talked with me and sang a few of his songs.  I have the interview and the songs he sung just for you this week on Religion For Life!

  • Landon Whittsitt: Open Source Church

    09/04/2012 Duración: 28min

    Rev. Landon Whitsitt is the Vice Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)   He is the author of Open Source Church:  Making Room for the Wisdom of All.  Drawing his metaphor from open source software, he suggests the church of the future would do well to consider being "open source" regarding welcoming new people and new ideas.  He was the Theologian In Residence at Tusculum College in February 2012.  He graciously agreed to visit the WETS studio and talk with me on Religion For Life. He blogs at landon whitsitt (dot) com

  • Carol Delaney: Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem

    02/04/2012 Duración: 28min

    Cultural anthropologist, Carol Delaney, returns to Religion For Life to discuss her latest book, Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem.  We know the children's rhyme:  "In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue."  But why?  Because he wanted to find gold in order to start a crusade to conquer Jerusalem for the Christians so that Christ would return.   Professor Delaney takes us into the medieval mindset and helps us understand Columbus in his time and place.   I discussed her book in a recent sermon and you can hear her provocative thesis on Religion For Life.

  • Thomas Hill and Peacebuilding in Iraq

    27/03/2012 Duración: 28min

    Professor Thomas Hill is clinical assistant professor at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He is a peacebuilding practitioner and researcher with a decade of experience focusing on Iraq. Since 2003, he has made more than 20 visits to Iraq and has overseen the design, development, and implementation of a series of interrelated research and educational projects focused on the development of sustainable peace in Iraq. We discuss the crucial work of peacebuilding on Religion For Life.

  • Carol Landis and the Green Interfaith Network

    19/03/2012 Duración: 28min

    On the next Religion For Life, I speak with Dr. Carol Landis, the president of the board of directors of the Green Interfaith Network.   The Green Interfaith Network (GINI) seeks to "build a network of cool congregations" in our area.   Carol speaks with me about the work of GINI including its advocacy for Tennessee's mountains. 

  • RFL 7 Carol Delaney, Abraham on Trial

    12/03/2012 Duración: 28min

    Cultural anthropologist, Dr. Carol Delaney, talks about her book, Abraham On Trial: The Social Legacy of Biblical Myth, on the next Religion For Life.  Dr. Delaney explores the roots of patriarchy by asking the question, what gave Abraham the right to sacrifice (murder) Isaac?  What is the legacy of this myth on the way we regard children today?

  • RFL 10 Sandy Westin and the United Religions Initiative

    06/03/2012 Duración: 26min

    Sandy Westin served as the North American Regional Coordinator of the The United Religions Initiative or URI from July 2009 through December 2011. The United Religions Initiative seeks "to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings." A chapter or cooperation circle of URI is active in the Tri-Cities.  Ms. Westin talks with me about the United Religion Initiative's work around the world and in our neighborhood.

  • Keith Frederick and Joseph Rhymer of PFLAG Tri-Cities and The Tennessee Equality Project

    29/02/2012 Duración: 27min

    Keith Frederick is the president of PFLAG Tri-Cities (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).  Joseph Rhymer is the chair of the Tennessee Equality Project Tri-Cities. Both gentlemen are my guests on Religion For Life.  They will speak about the work of these two organizations in the Tri-Cities on behalf of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender persons and their families.  Be assured that religion has a role in all of this as well!

  • Dr. Laura Hartman--The Christian Consumer

    19/02/2012 Duración: 27min

    Dr. Laura Hartman, author of The Christian Consumer: Living Faithfully in a Fragile World is my guest on Religion For Life.   Dr. Hartman is a professor of religion at Augustana College and she draws from the Christian tradition in order to provide guidelines for making ethical choices regarding consumption.

  • Michael Zimmerman: Evolution Sunday

    13/02/2012 Duración: 29min

    Dr. Michael Zimmerman, a biologist, is the founder of the Clergy Letter Project and Evolution Weekend. Over 13 thousand Christian, Jewish, and Unitarian Universalist clergy have signed a letter in support of teaching evolution in public schools. On the Sunday closest to Darwin’s Birthday (February 12th) faith communities all over the United States celebrate Evolution Weekend by honoring science and religion. Dr. Zimmerman speaks candidly about the state of science education and the need for scientific literacy. He writes on the topic of science and religion at the Huffington Post.

  • Rev. Jacqueline Luck: What is Unitarian Universalism?

    07/02/2012 Duración: 27min

    Rev. Jacqueline Luck is my guest on Religion For Life.  She is the minister at the Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Gray, Tennessee. Among many projects, Rev. Luck is active with United Religions Initiative and the Green Interfaith Network. She talked with me about the history and commitments of Unitarian Universalism, and practicing a liberal faith in East Tennessee.

  • Sarah Sentilles, "Breaking Up With God: A Love Story"

    31/01/2012 Duración: 27min

    Author Sarah Sentilles is my guest on Religion For Life.  In her book, Breaking Up With God:  A Love Story, Dr. Sentilles shares her theological journey and demonstrates why if the church is going to have any relevancy to educated and inquiring minds, it is going to need to challenge its patriarchy and its outdated images of God.   You can find more about her book on my blog, Shuck and Jive. 

  • Iraqi Refugee and Peacemaker, Mazen Alsaqa

    23/01/2012 Duración: 26min

    International Peacemaker of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Mazen Alsaqa, is my guest on Religion For Life. He is a Christian refugee from Iraq now living in Michigan. In the Fall of 2011 he visited East Tennessee to tell his story of the plight of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq. Read about his visit on my blog.  Here are articles about him in the Johnson City Press, the Greeneville Sun, and MSNBC. 

  • Mountain Top Removal Is a Moral Issue--Jennie Young

    15/01/2012 Duración: 25min

    Jennie Young is my guest on Religion For Life.  She is a concerned citizen talking candidly about the possibility of losing Tennessee's signature mountains due to mountain top removal strip mining unless we act.  Read an article about her in the Elizabethton Star.  This is the mountain top removal action packet, Not One More Mountain.  

  • Religion For Life, Episode 1: Anthony Flaccavento

    05/01/2012 Duración: 28min

    Anthony Flaccavento of S.C.A.L.E. is my guest on Religion For Life.   The topic is building local, sustainable, ecologically sound economies. 

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