Politics and Religion. We’re not supposed to talk about that, right? Wrong! We only say that nowadays because the loudest, most extreme voices have taken over the whole conversation. Well, we‘re taking some of that space back! If you’re dying for some dialogue instead of all the yelling; if you know it’s okay to have differences without having to hate each other; if you believe politics and religion are too important to let ”the screamers” drown out the rest of us and would love some engaging, provocative and fun conversations about this stuff, then ”Talkin‘ Politics & Religion Without Killin‘ Each Other” is for you!
In this conversation with columnist, public speaker, recovering attorney and playwright, Wajahat Ali, we discuss what it's like to live in a country you love that doesn't always love you back; representation and how often different folks are portrayed as invisible, the sidekick, the punchline or the villain; how it was to be the only Muslim kid going to a Jesuit Catholic H.S.; seeing the common values and stories in both the Bible and the Koran; what it was like, as a Muslim who was born here and grew up here, after 9/11; the dangers in turning our prophets into nothing more than mascots; the tendency to "sell Jesus" with the selling points being the promise of having white teeth, a mansion and a yacht; and so much more.
Wajahat Ali is a Daily Beast columnist and co-host of the excellent podcast democracy-ish. His first book Go Back To Where You Came From: And, Other Helpful Recommendations on Becoming American was published in January of 2022. He is all about sharing stories that are by us, for everyone: universal narratives told through a culturally specific lens to entertain, educate and bridge the global divides. You may have seen or heard Wajahat on television and podcasts for his brilliant, incisive, and witty political commentary. His essays, interviews, and reporting have appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Guardian, and New York Review of Books.
Hopefully this conversation with Reverend Dr. Jacqui Lewis will be as much of a gift to you as it was for me. We explored some deep questions like, What was the failure of the people of Israel around the time of Yeshua ben Yosef? Is our own generation also failing Jesus as Messiah? What does it mean to be a "drum major for peace"? What is the church's culpability in racism? What is ubiquitously God's call on our life - whether we're Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Bantu, Sikh, or any other faith? What does it mean to be a theologian in residence in one's own life?
The REV. DR. JACQUI LEWIS is Senior Minister and Minister for Vision, Worship, and the Arts at Middle Collegiate Church, a church that was founded in 1628 and one of the oldest continuous Protestant congregations in North America; and she is Executive Director and Co-Founder of The Middle Project which, along with Middle Church, hosted fifteen annual conferences to train faith leaders to combat racism, poverty and bigotry by growing multiethnic congregations that work for justice. Rev. Dr. Lewis is a prolific author, her latest book teaches us how to love the hell out of the world. It’s called Fierce Love: A Bold Path to Ferocious Courage and Rule-Breaking Kindness That Can Heal the World.
In the 2nd part of our conversation with Jonathan Rauch, we do a deeper dive into his timely, ground breaking book THE CONSTITUTION OF KNOWLEDGE: A DEFENSE OF TRUTH. We discuss its goals of peace, freedom and knowledge; why authoritarians hate the Constitution of Knowledge; how to diagnose and resist the ills of disinformation and cancel culture; the effects of cancel culture such as "the spiral of silence"; how, at its center, the MAGA movement is all about disinformation; and how to transform the world by planting the seeds of big ideas.
JONATHAN RAUCH, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is the author of eight books and many articles on public policy, culture, and government. He is a contributing writer for The Atlantic and recipient of the 2005 National Magazine Award, the magazine industry’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. His latest book, The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth is a deep-diving account of how to push back against disinformation, canceling, and other new threats to our fact-based epistemic order. His writing has also appeared in many other publications including The Economist, Time, The New York Times, The New York Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Slate, and others. Jonathan graduated from Yale University. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards for his writing and has appeared as a guest on many television and radio programs. But perhaps most remarkably, he does not like shrimp!
Corey Nathan started out as a stockbroker by day while studying at a theatre conservatory at night. Since then, he’s been an entrepreneur with one foot in business and one foot in creative pursuits having built such endeavors as a niche executive search firm; a theatre and film ensemble; a residential and commercial service company; a 501c3 to help folks during the pandemic; and most recently a new media/content company. Much of Corey’s current work springs from his personal story. He was raised in an observant Jewish family attending an Orthodox synagogue. Then in his late 20s, much to the family's chagrin, Corey became a Christian. Soon after this, however, he began to find many prevailing sociopolitical positions of American Evangelicalism at odds with the Scriptures that are supposed to be Christians’ authority. Avocationally, Corey loves theology, politics and culture and enjoys invigorating conversations with renowned experts of these subjects on his podcast, Talkin’ Politics & Religion Without Killin’ Each Other.