April 11, 2022
Dr. Christopher Bellitto, Professor of History, Kean University, author of 101 Questions and Answers about Popes and the Papacy suggests that the resignation of Pope Benedict and the election of Pope Francis had few if any precedents to follow. It will encourage future popes to do the same because of age or infirmity, but we’ve learned that some mistakes must be addressed to avoid uncertainty over who is true pope: dress and insignia, name and forms of address, publishing or being interviewed on controversial topics.
Dr. Bellitto is the author of ten books, including most recently Ageless Wisdom: Lifetime Lessons from the Bible (Paulist Press, 2016), along with 101 Questions and Answers on Popes and the Papacy (Paulist Press, 2008), and the companion volumes, The General Councils: A History of the 21 Church Councils from Nicaea to Vatican II and Renewing Christianity: A History of Church Reform from Day One to Vatican II (Paulist Press 2001-2002).
March 28, 2022
Darius Potts, Chief of Police in Ankeny Iowa, discusses the challenges facing law enforcement officers during a time of distrust and gaps between the police and the community. He is the first African American to be Police Chief in Ankeny, IA.
As Chief, he feels that one of his responsibilities is to decrease the stress levels that his officers face. That is accomplished in part by promoting communication and yearly structured mental health support for every officer.
Throughout his career in law enforcement, Potts has had to strike a balance between being an officer and dealing with the experiences of those in the communities he served. He explains the importance for both officers and the community to understand the long history of mistrust of police and that it is not a new phenomenon. African American candidates in law enforcement especially must grapple with this as they consider the profession.
Ankeny is a growing community, but the recruitment of officers is down. Fewer people are taking an interest in this profession. At present, his department is down seven staff members. The department will need more women and men for a growing community. Potts is optimistic about law enforcement and would encourage young people to consider it as their life work. With all the present-day challenges to law enforcement, Potts believes it is a noble profession.
March 14, 2022
The Seminary Explores catches up with The Rev. Eric Shafer, Senior Pastor of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Santa Monica, California before his upcoming retirement. He’s worn many hats in the past decades, including those of parish pastor, communications and fundraising executive leader, mentor, and partner in interfaith initiatives.
An ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, he is graduate of Muhlenberg College and Hamma School of Theology (now part of Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capitol University). Rev. Shafer was recognized with a 2021 Partnership Award from The Westside Coalition for Housing, Hunger and Health in Santa Monica. He serves on the President’s Council of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), is a member of the Santa Monica Bay Area Human Relations Council and is a founder and board member of Students 4 Students Homeless Shelters.
March 11, 2022
Dr. Christianson speaks with Ambassador Lawrence Taylor who provides his assessment of the current war in the Ukraine. Ambassador Taylor emphasizes the need for an immediate pause in hostilities and expresses deep concern that there is no easy way back or no quick resolution to this conflict.
For reference you may also want to listen to some of our past episodes on the Ukraine.
February 28, 2022
Dr. Russell Dalton, Professor of Religious Education, Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, Texas, discussed his interest and research in social justice in preparation for a forthcoming book. He shared that his motivation for this research came from the lack of religious education addressing social justice praxis.
In general, religious education may advocate for social justice but not give congregational members the practical tools for addressing social justice in their respective locations. As a model, he has used the educational method of the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights period in presentations on social justice as well as the of Jim Lawson workshops in Nashville. Both require critical reflection on what participants anticipate happening in their actions It is important for people to know the risks in social justice work and to trust their fellow co-participants in the work. At the conclusion of the conversation, Dalton gives some practical ideas that congregations can use to equip themselves to work on social justice.
January 17, 2022
On the anniversary of the January 6, 2021 insurrection, Rev. Dr. Norma Cook Everist, Distinguished Professor of Church and Ministry, emerita, Wartburg Theological Seminary, discussed the meaning of being political, the separation of church and state or the separation of religion and government. She uncovered the meaning of Christian Nationalism and the importance of Christian education in combatting this and similar ideologies. With all the divisions within the United States, Everist suggests building a trustworthy environment so that we can be different together. She concludes with the vocation of the church in these challenging times in our nation and the world.
December 20, 2021
This is a musical broadcast. Tom Jolin played and sang familiar and not so familiar Christmas and Advent carols from the United States and abroad. He accompanied himself on the hammer dulcimer, banjo, and accordion. He introduced each carol with the instrument he would use. The familiar carols are so inviting that the listeners will want to sing. Tom choose the carols he played based on the good Christmas memories from childhood that inspired him. He shared some of those memories in the introduction to the performances.
November 8, 2021
A Conversation with Poet Faith Shearin on the Eve of All Saints’ Day.
Poet Faith Shearin has received awards from The National Endowment for the Arts, Yaddo, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and elsewhere. Her poems have been featured on The Writers Almanac and American Life in Poetry and have appeared in journals such as New Ohio Review, Nimrod International Journal, Ploughshares, Alaska Quarterly Review and The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary Poets. Her most recent collection is Lost Language. She grew up on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. She now lives in Massachusetts.
October 11, 2021
Dr. Grafton, Academic Dean and Professor of Christian and Islamic Studies, Hartford Seminary, discusses his newest book which he edited, More Than a Cup of Coffee and Tea which was published this year. The book explores some of the important documents and themes that have emerged over the years in the area of Christian-Muslim relations. The book is accessible to both church leaders and laypersons. The global perspective of the book highlights programs and experiences around the world where Lutherans and other Christians encounter and build on the experiences of their Muslim neighbors. In his reflections on seminaries and Muslim issues, Grafton was enthusiastic about the number of seminaries who are including Islamic studies in their courses of studies. He feels that such additions to the curriculum help rostered church leaders to educate congregational members against Islamophobia.
August 2, 2021
Dr. Leonard Hummel is a Chaplain Hospice at Allina Health Care in Ulm, MN and is also Professor Emeritus at United Lutheran Seminary. He shares with us the nature and importance of the hospice chaplain in the end-of-life process including how it is integrated into the healthcare system and each patients support and medical team. He also shares some of the more specific challenges of shepherding people through the end-of-life experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. He reminds us that the end-of-life is a universal experience, that while shared, is also unique for each individual.