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Today in America, many Christians feel disillusioned as they watch the faith they hold dear being used to further a worldly political agenda. It is as if our religion has been taken hostage: forcibly wedded to a particular political ideology or economic system, or stripped down to a couple of hot-button issues, like abortion and same-sex marriage, as though to oppose these alone were the sum of our faith. Ironically, in our efforts to “take back America,” we have ourselves been taken captive by the prevailing culture and politics of imperialism, greed, racism, and xenophobia that surround us. And so the struggle for the soul of a nation has also become a struggle for the soul of the church. How can we regain a political voice that is neither power-hungry nor passive, neither conservative nor liberal, but simply Christ-like in its concern for justice and the poor?



Host S. J. Munson

is a retired pastor, as well as a writer and Bible teacher. He received a B.A. in English from Princeton University, along with a prize for fiction. His call to full-time ministry came while he was working in Hollywood as a screenwriter. He went on to receive an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a concentration in New Testament Greek. His novel The Treasure of Israel (2011) tracks the fate of the ancient treasure of the Jerusalem Temple as well as the Evangelical response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His most recent book, Christ Held Hostage: The Hijacking of American Christianity (2013), describes how the church can move beyond partisan politics and narrow “hot-button” Christianity to a broader, more Christ-like agenda that seeks a more just society for all.

Contact Pastor Munson: MajoringintheMajors@gmail.com
 

~ Books by Pastor SJ Munson ~

The Treasure of Israel

What ever happened to the treasure of the Jerusalem temple looted by the Romans in AD 70? Its fate is shrouded in mystery, danger, and death.... Former art historian Michael Grammaticus, Jr. has inherited an ancient and dangerous secret--and it seems he is the last to know! When his parents are killed under suspicious circumstances, he travels to Rome to investigate, and the clues lead him to a fascinating world of ancient art, medieval manuscripts, and a dangerous mix of religion and international politics. Descended from an endless line of Greek scholars, he can't resist being drawn into their cryptic world, and soon the same relentless forces that destroyed his father begin to hound Michael as well. He discovers not only that his father had been an outspoken advocate for Palestinian Christians, but also that one of his ancestors was the bearer of a secret that continues to haunt his family-- a riddle regarding the whereabouts of the coveted treasure of the Jerusalem temple. This journey of discovery also becomes one of faith, as the cynical and disillusioned Michael undergoes a harrowing tribulation that leads him not only to the reasons for his father's death, but also to something far greater than the temple treasure itself. A delight for lovers of fiction, art and ancient history-- and for anyone who ever wondered what really happened to that treasure! Click Title For Book

 

Christ Held Hostage:

The Hijacking of American Christianity

Today in America, many Christians feel disillusioned as they watch the faith they hold dear being used to further a worldly political agenda. It is as if our religion has been taken hostage: forcibly wedded to a particular political ideology or economic system, or stripped down to a couple of hot-button issues, like abortion and same-sex marriage, as though to oppose these were the sum of our faith. Ironically, in our efforts to “take back America,” we have ourselves been taken captive by the prevailing culture and politics of imperialism, greed, racism, and xenophobia that surround us. And so the struggle for the soul of a nation has also become a struggle for the soul of the church. How can we regain a political voice that is neither power-hungry nor passive, neither conservative nor liberal, but simply Christlike in its concern for justice and the poor?  Evangelical pastor and author S. J. Munson explores these issues from the perspective of both the Bible and history. What these have to say will both surprise and challenge us.  Each chapter includes questions for group discussion or personal reflection, and a prayer. A great book for small groups or individual study! Click Title For Book


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November 11, 2020 Show

Special Guest: Steven Hassan 

The Cult of Trump?
 

Many pundits predicted the 2020 election would be a rout, a thorough repudiation of Trumpism. Instead, it was a real squeaker. How did this happen? What kind of hold does this President have over his followers and why is he so effective at eliciting such loyalty? Our guest Steven Hassan, an expert on cult mind control, has some answers.

Steven Hassan M.A., M.Ed, LMHC, NCC is a world renowned expert on undue influence and cults, a mental health professional, speaker, consultant, author, and educator. He has been helping people leave destructive cults since 1976 after he was deprogrammed from Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church. He is the founding director of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center. He has authored four books including Combating Cult Mind Control, Freedom of Mind, and The Cult of Trump, a peer-reviewed journal article, other articles, text-book chapters, and weekly blogs. He has developed assessment, intervention, and recovery approaches, and co-developed a curriculum. He frequently speaks to advocacy groups, legal and mental health professional organizations, psychiatry training programs, think tanks, and government entities combating destructive cults, human trafficking, and extremism. He provides intervention, recovery, and expert consulting services. His work has translations in 10 languages. He is frequently interviewed and cited.

Freedom of Mind Resource Center  https://freedomofmind.com/

 

 

October 14, 2020 Show  

Special Guest: Chawkat Moucarry

Islam and Western Society


With the rise of right-wing nationalism in the West, many are asking if Islam is compatible with Western democracy and secularism. How do you explain the violence of certain Muslim groups? Are Muslims actually a threat to Western civilization? If not, how can we build bridges instead of walls, learning to live together and work together to build a better society?

Joining us again is Dr. Chawkat Moucarry, an Arab Christian, professor of Islamic Studies, author and lecturer on Arab-Christian dialogue.

 

 

September 9, 2020 Show

Special Guest: Chawkat Moucarry

Arabs and Christians in Dialogue:


With the rise of right-wing nationalism in the USA and worldwide, immigration has been in the spotlight and immigrants in the crosshairs. What does the Bible say about how we are to treat the stranger among us? Also, is it possible for Muslims and Christians to have dialogue and come to a place of mutual respect? As Christians how should we view the Israeli-Palestinian crisis? Joining us this month is Arab Christian professor and author Chawkat Moucarry.

Chawkat Moucarry was born in Aleppo (Syria) to a Roman Catholic home. At the age of eighteen he went to France to study. He has an MA in Christian theology and a PhD in Islamic Studies from the Sorbonne University (Paris). He is fluent in Arabic (mother tongue), French and English.

For twelve years, Chawkat worked for IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) with Arab and Muslim students. In 1994 he moved to England where he taught Islamic and Middle-Eastern Studies at All Nations Christian College. From 2006-2016 he served with World Vision International as director of inter-faith relations.

Chawkat is the author of several articles and books including The Prophet & the Messiah. An Arab Christian’s Perspective on Islam & Christianity (IVP, 2001), The Search for Forgiveness. Pardon and Punishment in Islam and Christianity (IVP, 2004) and Two Prayers for Today. The Lord’s Prayer and The Fatiha (CSS Books: Tiruvalla, 2007).

Chawkat is married with four grown-up children. In 2017 he went back to Paris where he is involved in various activities pertaining to Christian-Muslim relationships.

 

 

August 12, 2020 Show

Special Guest: Dean S. Seneca, MPH, MCURP

       COVID-19 and Native American Populations: A Follow-Up Interview

Last May, conditions on the Navajo Reservation were making national news. Americans were shocked to learn that lack of health care and infrastructure problems, such as inadequate or overcrowded housing and lack of running water, were sending COVID-19 infection rates soaring. My guest that month was Dean Seneca, who graciously agreed to do a follow-up interview this summer so that we can check in to see how things are going.  Dean S. Seneca, MPH MCURP, is a member of the Seneca Nation and an expert in public health policy and epidemiology. He formerly served in the Center for Disease Control's Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support. He is currently CEO of Seneca Scientific Solutions, a public health and urban and regional planning LLC.

During the interview Dean mentions the urgent importance of contact-tracing in controlling pandemics. If you would like Dean to contact you regarding training your community to create a contact-tracing task force, feel free to call or text him at 716.222.1974 or message him at his website:  https://www.senecascientificsolutions.com/

You can also donate to the following organizations currently addressing infrastructure problems among Navajo & Hopi communities:

Navajo Water Project: https://www.navajowaterproject.org/
 

In addition to writing your US Senator or Representative, if you are interested in gathering signatures for a petition to move Congress to seriously address the deplorable infrastructure problems on the Navajo and other Native American reservations, you can send your completed petitions to: 

 

 

July 8, 2020 Show

Special Guest: Andrew Comiskey

Healing Sexual Brokenness
Homosexuality is one of many issues that frequently divides the church. Typically, the church has responded to the homosexual with one of two extremes: condemnation or affirmation of the homosexual lifestyle. But is there a more balanced and biblical approach that welcomes the sexually broken while also offering God's hope and healing?  Andrew Comiskey (M.Div.) has worked extensively with the healing of the sexually and relationally broken. He is the Founding Director of Desert Stream/Living Waters Ministries, a multifaceted outreach to the broken. Andrew’s ministry grows both out of his own commitment to overcome homosexuality and his experience as a husband to Annette, father of four children and grandfather to five grandkids. He is author of Pursuing Sexual Wholeness (Creation House), Strength in Weakness (InterVarsity Press), Naked Surrender: Coming Home To Our True Sexuality (InterVarsity Press) and the Living Waters healing program. Andrew seeks to equip the Church to be whole and holy, a bride ready to receive Jesus. Andrew serves at St. Thomas More Parish in Kansas City, Missouri. After over four decades of ministry, Andrew still loves receiving and extending mercy to sexual sinners like himself. Check out his website at https://www.desertstream.org/

 

 

June 10, 2020 Show

Elaine Howard Ecklund, PhD.

Faith and Science? Do they need each other?
Historically, American Christianity has often had an antagonistic relationship with science. Even today, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we see examples of this in the reaction of various religious communities to scientific data. As Christians can we trust science? Is it really a threat? Or has the faith v. science divide created a false dichotomy? Can both peacefully coexist, and even live in harmony? Our guest is sociologist and author Dr. Elaine Howard Eckland, who has committed years of research to these questions. Her new book Why Science and Faith Need Each Other (Brazos Press, 2020) is fast becoming an essential resource for both churches and academia. Join us as we explore why science and faith always seem to be at loggerheads but why they really do need each other.

Elaine Howard Ecklund (PhD, Cornell University) is professor of sociology at Rice University in Houston, Texas, where she holds the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences. Ecklund has written six books, including Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think and Why Science and Faith Need Each Other: Eight Shared Values That Move Us beyond Fear. In 2010, Science vs. Religion was named a “Book of the Week” by Times Higher Education and the “Book of the Year” on religion by HuffPost. She has also authored numerous research articles, and her research is frequently cited by US and international media. In 2018, she gave the Gifford Lecture at the University of Edinburgh and from 2018–19 served as president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Ecklund is passionate about using research on religion to build common ground for the common good and, to that end, she founded the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice University in 2010. She speaks regularly at churches about the intersection of science and spirituality.

 

 

May 13, 2020 Show

Special Guest: Dean S. Seneca, MPH, MCURP

U.S. Native American Populations and COVID-19



Among the hardest hit by the pandemic is the Navajo country of the American Southwest, where limited healthcare and weak infrastructure has brought infection rates to the highest outside of New York and New Jersey. Here to talk about this is Dean Seneca, a citizen of the Seneca Nation and former health officer with the CDC.

Dean S. Seneca, MPH, MCURP, serves as the CEO of Seneca Scientific Solutions+, a Public Health and Urban and Regional Planning LLC https://www.senecascientificsolutions.com. In this position, he provides capacity building assistance for Tribal Nations in economic and community development that embraces the concepts of “healthy places for healthy people.” Services provided include strategic planning, economic development, public health policy, program science, epidemiology, grant writing, architectural site planning and building design, performance programming, health research, data management, and program evaluation. Areas of health expertise include chronic and infectious diseases, emergency preparedness and response, environmental health, toxicology and maternal/child health. Mr. Seneca is considered a subject matter expert in America Indian/Alaska Native Health disparities. Previously, Mr. Seneca served as a Senior Health Scientist in the Partnership Support Unit within the Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His main responsibilities were to build CDC’s national public health partners ability to provide greater capacity building assistance to state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments. Mr. Seneca has over 20 years of experience in the field of infectious disease outbreaks having been a first responder to Anthrax, H1N1, Ebola, Zika and now Covid19. Before arriving to CDC, he held the position of Tribal Planning Director for the Seneca Nation of Indians. He received both of his master’s degree(s) from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

 

 

April 8, 2020 Show

Special Guest: Robert Kolb

Martin Luther and Today's Pandemic

On this month's show we interview one of the foremost Lutheran scholars of our day, Robert Kolb. Listen in as we explore what the great 16th-century reformer Martin Luther has to say about pandemics and self-isolation, as well as other contemporary topics.

Robert Kolb graduated from Concordia Seminary (Master of Divinity 1967, Master of Sacred Theology, 1968) and the University of Wisconsin (Ph.D. 1973). After serving as director of the Center for Reformation in Saint Louis (1973-1977), he assumed a professorship in religion and in history at Concordia College, Saint Paul, Minnesota (1977-1993) before returning to head the Institute for Mission Studies at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, and teach systematic theology there (1993- 2009). From 1994 to 2006 he spent three months each year teaching abroad, chiefly in post-Soviet countries. Former associate editor and co-editor of The Sixteenth Century (1973-1997), he has continued to publish in the field of Reformation studies since his retirement. Recent books include Luther’s Treatise On Christian Freedom and Its Legacy (2019); Luther’s Wittenberg World: The Reformer’s Family, Friends, Followers, and Foes (2018); with Carl R. Trueman, Between Wittenberg and Geneva: Lutheran and Reformed Theology in Conversation (2017); Martin Luther and the Enduring Word of God: The Wittenberg School and its Scripture-Centered Proclamation (2016); Luther and the Stories of God: Biblical Narratives as a Foundation for Christian Living (2012); and with Charles P. Arand and James A. Nestingen, The Lutheran Confessions, History and Theology of the Book of Concord (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2012). With Timothy Wengert, he edited The Book of Concord, the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (2000), and with Irene Dingel and Lubomir Batka, he edited The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology (2014).

 

 

March 11, 2020 Show

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is a historian, writer, and professor emeritus in Ethic Studies at California State University. She is author or editor of 15 books, including Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico and the literary memoir trilogy: Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie; Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960-1975; and Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, and her award winning 2014 book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. Her most recent book is Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment. Forthcoming is a book on the US claim to be “a nation of immigrants

www.reddirtsite.com
http://www.beacon.org/An-Indigenous-Peoples-History-of-the-United-States-P1041.aspx

 

 

February 12, 2020 Show

John Wurzelmann

John Wurzelmann is a retired physician living in Chapel Hill.  As a member of the Holocaust Speaker's Bureau, he relates the story of his father, a teenage Polish Jew who escaped from a slave labor camp, and fought with the resistance in southern Poland. Eventually, upon returning home,  he learned that his entire family had been murdered. Dr. Wurzelmann hopes to provide some context for this tragedy, and invites the listener to consider the causes and consequences of bigotry.

 

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

 

January 8, 2020 Show

Half a Gospel?

Over a century and a half ago, the church in America began to divide in its efforts to grapple with the stresses caused by Modernism. Even today the rift is still not healed, with conservatives tending to focus inward, emphasizing personal holiness and the inerrancy of Scripture, and liberals focusing outward, emphasizing a social gospel that seeks to transform society. Searching for a church, the seeker is often forced to choose between evangelism or social concern, a highly personal kind of faith almost devoid of social conscience or social concern that frequently lacks Holy Spirit power. These are false dichotomies that should not exist. Why can't we have it all? Why do we have to be "either/or" Christians instead of "both/and"? On this broadcast we'll look at the history of this division and look for solutions to help bridge the gap.
 

 

December 11, 2019 Show

Special Guest: Dr. Joe Feagin

Systemic Racism and the Case for Reparations 

Our guest: Dr. Joe Feagin, the Distinguished Professor in sociology at Texas A & M University, has done much internationally recognized research on U.S. racism, sexism, and urban political economy issues. He has written 73 scholarly books and 200-plus scholarly articles in his social science areas. His books include Systemic Racism (Routledge 2006); Liberation Sociology (3rd ed., Paradigm 2014); White Party, White Government (Routledge 2012); The White Racial Frame (2nd ed., Routledge 2013); Latinos Facing Racism (Routledge 2014); How Blacks Built America (Routledge 2015); Elite White Men Ruling (Routledge, 2017); Racist America (4th ed., Routledge 2018); and Rethinking Diversity Frameworks in Higher Education (2020). He is the recipient of a 2012 Soka Gakkai International-USA Social Justice Award, the 2013 American Association for Affirmative Action’s Arthur Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award, and three major American Sociological Association awards: W. E. B. Du Bois Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award, the Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award (for research in the African American scholarly tradition), and the Public Understanding of Sociology Award. He was the 1999-2000 president of the American Sociological Association.

 

November 13, 2019 Show

How to Make Your Church More Racially Diverse

In 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. remarked that 11:00 Sunday mornings was "the most segregated hour in the nation." After almost 60 years one wonders why the church seems to have made so little progress in confronting the legacy of racism. Today, 90% of white Christians still worship in all-white churches, and 90% of blacks still worship is all-black churches, and the most shocking thing is that we seem to be okay with the arrangement!

For this broadcast, I am joined by Dr. Joye Smith-Munson, author and educator, as we discuss some practical things churches can do to confront racism and make themselves more racially and ethnically diverse

 

October 9, 2019 Show

Occitan: One language's fight to be heard

Special Guest: Dr. Philippe Martel


The United Nations has declared 2019 to be the year of indigenous languages, to call attention to the thousands of languages across the globe that are currently threatened with extinction. Tragically, the world loses one language every two weeks. When we think of languages in danger, however, we don't often think of a country like France. Yet linguistically speaking, France has a very rich and diverse history, with as many as 50 regional languages still spoken today. There, perhaps the language with the largest number of speakers, outside of French, is Occitan (formerly known as Languedoc or Provençal), which, despite centuries of suppression, is currently experiencing a resurgence, particularly among younger people.

Our guest Dr. Philippe Martel is a retired professor of Occitan studies at the University of Montpellier in the south of France. His specialties are the history of southern France and the attitude of the French school system toward regional languages. His most recent publication is Histoire de l'Occitanie, Embanner (2019).

 

September 11, 2019 Show

Losing One's Faith?: The Stage Theory of Spiritual Development

 
Young Christian adults going away to college for the first time sometimes return home claiming they "no longer believe," much to the consternation of their parents. Meanwhile, in the news recently, a few high-profile Christian leaders have shocked their communities by reporting they have "lost their faith." Many Christians scratch their heads wondering how these things can happen, while others blame the devil or our "liberal society" or even condemn the struggling believers as "traitors." But can questioning one's faith actually be a positive or normal thing? What is Stage Theory of Spiritual Development and how can it help us to understand and support people going through these traumatic upheavals of faith? Joining us this week to discuss this topic will be Dr. Joye Smith-Munson, Ed.D., author and educator (and in the interest of full disclosure, wife of host S J Munson).

 

August 14, 2019 Show

The Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox

serves as President/C.E.O. of The Evangelical Environmental Network and speaks nationally on creation care, especially on the environmental life threatening impacts on the poor and defenseless. Rev. Hescox co-authored Creation Care: The Evangelical’s Guide to Climate Change and a Healthy Environment with Paul Douglas, published numerous articles and contributed to Sacred Acts: How Churches are working together to Protect Earth’s Climate by New Society Publishers. He has testified before Congress, appeared on CNN, NPR, PRI and numerous radio programs both Christian and secular. Named one of the ten Environmental Religious Saints in the Huffington Post, Mitch lead the 300 mile Creation Care Walk from West Virginia to Washington, DC and the 80 mile Gulf Coast Prayer Walk during the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill. Mitch led EEN to successful championing of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and guided the EEN team to inspire comments for various rules and regulations. He serves on the National Association of Evangelicals Board of Directors.

For more information, check out www.creationcare.org .

 

July 10, 2019 Show

Levi Rickert

Levi Rickert is an American Indian journalist. A tribal citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Rickert founded Native News Online, a daily American Indian news publication where he serves as publisher and editor. Since its founding, Native News Online has grown into one of the most popular American Indian media websites in the U.S. As a journalist he has covered important events that impact Indian Country, including White House tribal nations conferences, Congressional hearings, missing and murdered Indigenous women, and the Standing Rock resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline. His passion is to help improve the lives of Indigenous peoples. Rickert is the author of several published essays. His most recent, “Indian Pride” appears inVoice on the Water: Great Lakes Native America Now, (Northern Michigan University Press). He also co-produced Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience, a documentary film shown on PBS.

www.nativenewsonline.netwww.artistfirst.com

 

Mallory Black 


Mallory Black, who is Diné (Navajo), is Communications Director of the StrongHearts Native Helpline, a free and confidential helpline for American Indians and Alaska Natives affected by domestic violence or dating violence. StrongHearts offers peer-to-peer support, crisis intervention, assistance with personalized safety planning, domestic violence information and education, and referrals to local, culturally appropriate resources. Their mission is to restore power to Native Americans impacted by domestic and dating violence by weaving together a braid of safety, sovereignty, and support.

Mallory is an award-winning freelance writer, having produced stories exploring Native American community health, culture and the environment that were published by the Native Health News Alliance, Native Peoples Magazine and the American Heart Association’s Voices for Healthy Kids Initiative.

www.strongheartshelpline.org

 

June 12, 2019 Show

Special Guest: Jared A. Brock


Jared Brock is the author of A Year of Living Prayerfully, Bearded Gospel Men, and The Road to Dawn. He's also the director of Over 18, Red Light Green Light, and Redeeming Uncle Tom: The Story of Josiah Henson. Jared has been interviewed on TODAY.com, CBS, 100 Huntley Street, and The 700 Club, and his writing has appeared in Esquire, Huffington Post, Smithsonian, Writer’s Digest, and TIME. He first kissed his wife, Michelle, in the seventh grade and together they've traveled to over 30 countries and have spoken in more than 100 cities around North America. Jared has a particular fondness for beards, burritos, and kombucha.
 

https://josiahhenson.com/
 

 

 

May 8, 2019 Show

Special Guest: Zohra Sarwari

Zohra Sarwari is an author of 15 books, author of 3 Homeschooling Curriculum's, international speaker, entrepreneur, publisher, and a homeschool teacher to her kids. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, a Master's Degree in Business Administration, and she is currently taking classes towards a Master's Degree Islamic Studies. Her passion is teaching Muslims to become the best they can be, while teaching Non-Muslims about the true Islam. She spends her time teaching her kids, taking classes, speaking, and coaching.

www.MuslimWomanSpeaker.com


 

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