Christian Thought and Faith

Illustration by Marlin Lavanhar (via The Black Wall Street Times)

On this edition of ST, we're pleased to speak with Marlin Lavanhar, a Unitarian Universalist minister who's been based at All Souls Church here in Tulsa since 2000. A longtime social justice activist and tireless human rights advocate, Lavanhar recently launched a series of editorial cartoons focused on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre -- and on the urgent need for reparations to be conveyed to those directly affected by this vast, tragic, century-old crime.

(Note: This interview first aired back in October.) We welcome Sarah Smarsh back to StudioTulsa for a discussion of her latest book. It's a collection of essays that all focus on a certain country-music icon who also happens to be one of the most unifying figures in American culture: Dolly Parton. Smarsh talks with us about how Parton has, for decades now, both embodied and emboldened American women who live and work in poverty.

Photo Credit Union Theological Seminary

Our guest is the Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, a well-known theologian who grew up in Oklahoma and is now the President and Johnston Family Professor for Religion and Democracy at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. (Union is an interdenominational seminary that was established in 1836.) Formerly a professor at Yale Divinity School, Dr. Jones has published many articles and books over the years, and she's an ordained minister in both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. On Sunday the 31st, Dr.

Our guest on StudioTulsa is Keele Burgin, an entrepreneur, activist, author, filmmaker -- and survivor. She tells us about her new memoir, which candidly documents her incredible personal story of self-preservation, self-discovery, and self-betterment. As was noted of this book by Jennifer Read Hawthorne, a bestselling author: "Keele Burgin is a living, breathing example of the triumph of the human spirit. The story of how she overcame the extreme abuse of her childhood is nothing short of breathtaking.

(Note: This interview originally aired last fall.) Our guest is Linda Kay Klein, whose detailed and engrossing new memoir looks at the devastating effects that evangelical Christianity's purity culture has had on a generation of young women in America. Back in the 1990s, the widespread white evangelical Christian culture created a "purity movement" of sorts -- purity rings, purity pledges, purity balls, etc. Girls were seen by this movement as potential sexual "stumbling blocks" for boys and men, and any expression of a girl's sexuality could be judged as a corruption of her character.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in January.) Our guest is Dr. Duane Bidwell, a  professor of practical theology, spiritual care, and counseling at Claremont School of Theology in California. He tells us about his book, "When One Religion Isn't Enough: The Lives of Spiritually Fluid People." This timely volume, named a Best Book of 2018 by Library Journal, looks closely and respectfully at the lives of people who embrace two or more religious traditions.

Our guest on StudioTulsa is Tamara Lebak, a Tulsa-based executive coach, organizational development consultant, and minister. She's also an accomplsihed singer-songwriter in the folk/roots/blues/alt-country manner, and she joins us to discuss her new album: "The Psalms Project: Volume 1." As Lebak has written of herself and her music online: "I'm a Universalist minister who believes that the Bible is ultimately about the relentless and persistent love of God.

Our guest is Nancy Pittman, the first-ever president of Tulsa's Phillips Theological Seminary. Pittman was officially named to this post quite recently, and she joins us to talk about her own background as well as her aims and plans for this longtime religious and educational institution. As Pittman notes on the PTS website: "We are nationwide network of students, faculty, churches, alumni/ae, trustees, and friends dedicated to learning and living the way of Jesus.

Our guest is Dr. Duane Bidwell, a  professor of practical theology, spiritual care, and counseling at Claremont School of Theology in California. He tells us about his well-regarded new book, "When One Religion Isn't Enough: The Lives of Spiritually Fluid People." This especially timely volume, named a Best Book of 2018 by Library Journal, looks closely and respectfully at the lives of people who embrace two or more religious traditions.

Our guest is Tim Sharp, who has for several years now served as both Artistic Director and Conductor of the Tulsa Oratorio Chorus. He tells us about the newest TOC concert, "Russian Choral Classics," which will happen on Friday night (the 14th) at 7:30pm in Holy Family Cathedral (in downtown Tulsa). The evening will offer a cappella choral works -- both sacred and secular -- by Chesnokov, Grechaninov, Rachmaninov, and others. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please go here.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we're discussing a special presentation of George Frideric Handel's Messiah. The beloved Baroque-era masterwork -- a timeless holiday favorite -- will be presented this coming Saturday and Sunday, the 8th and 9th, at Saint John's Church in Tulsa (at 4200 South Atlanta Place). Our guests are the special visiting conductor for this concert, Timothy Brown, and the organist and choirmaster at Saint John's, Joseph Arndt.

Our guest is Linda Kay Klein, whose detailed and engrossing new memoir looks at the devastating effects that evangelical Christianity's purity culture has had on a generation of young women in America. Back in the 1990s, the widespread white evangelical Christian culture created a "purity movement" of sorts -- purity rings, purity pledges, purity balls, etc. Girls were seen by this movement as potential sexual "stumbling blocks" for boys and men, and any expression of a girl's sexuality could be judged as a corruption of her character.

Our guest today is John Pavlovitz, a progressive Christian pastor, writer, and activist from Raleigh, North Carolina. He's the author of the popular blog, "Stuff That Needs To Be Said," which offers advice and admonitions for Christians living in the era of Trump.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the Denver-based artist and author Melanie Gillman, who holds an MFA in comics from the Center for Cartoon Studies. Gillman is a queer, nonbinary, and award-winning cartoonist who specializes in color-pencil work and creates narratives with LGBTQ young-adult themes and subjects. Currently living and working here in our community as a Tulsa Artist Fellow, Gillman has a new book out; it's a graphic novel called "As the Crow Flies." We discuss this book on today's show.

(Note: This program first aired back in January.) On this edition of ST, we speak with Randall Fuller, the Chapman Professor of English here at TU.

On this edition of ST, we welcome the award-winning Oklahoma writer Rilla Askew back to our show. Her new book, just out, is her first-ever nonfiction volume; it's a collection of nine linked essays entitled "Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place." In this timely and reflective work, she argues that the State of Oklahoma -- whether we are talking about police violence, gun culture, race relations, secret history, religious fervor, spellbinding landscapes, or brutal weather -- is actually a "microcosm" of the United States.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we speak with Bart Ehrman, the Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. Prof.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Randall Fuller, the Chapman Professor of English here at TU. He joins us to discuss his new book, "The Book That Changed America: How Darwin's Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation." As the historian Eric Foner recently wrote of this book in The New York Times: "Fuller...is [previously] the author of a prize-winning study of the Civil War's impact on American literature.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with Dr. Ken Wolgemuth, an adjunct professor in the Dept. of Geosciences at the University of Tulsa who also works as a petroleum consultant. Dr. Wolgemuth is a devout Christian, as he tells us today, yet he's also very much a man of science. He's also one of the contributors to a new geology text that focuses attention on an ongoing debate within America's evangelical and conservative Christian communities, the age of the earth.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with Tim Sharp, the well-regarded and widely experienced Artistic Director and Conductor of the Tulsa Oratorio Chorus (or TOC). Later this week, on Thursday the 15th, the TOC will present a special holiday program, "The 'Glorias' of Christmas," beginning at 7:30pm in the Lorton Performance Center on the University of Tulsa campus. This concert will feature two separate and distinct (but equally wonderful) "Glorias" -- one by Antonio Vivaldi, the other by Francis Poulenc -- that both draw upon the same written text.

The Supreme Court has by now affirmed, of course, that gay marriage is the law of the land, and LGBTQ lifestyles, television shows, cultures, and communities are becoming more and more present -- and thus more and more visible -- in American life. How is this sea-change affecting America's churches, especially here in the middle of the country? On this edition of ST, we speak with Rev. Cynthia Meyer, a United Methodist minister. Earlier this year, she came out -- while she was preaching a homily -- to her Edgerton, Kansas, congregation.

On this edition of StudioTulsa Medical Monday, we welcome Dr. Lisa Miller, an author and psychologist whose latest book, a bestseller called "The Spiritual Child," is now out in paperback. Dr. Miller -- who wrote an article for Time.com last year based on this book entitled "Why Kids Who Believe in Something Are Happier and Healthier" -- is the Director of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University's Teachers College, and she joins us by phone.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we share an interesting chat with Krista Tippett that was taped last Saturday afternoon at a Book Smart Tulsa event at All Souls Unitarian Church. Tippett is, of course, the award-winning host of the public radio program On Being, which airs on KWGS Sundays at noon -- and which is widely acclaimed for its insightful and extended conversations regarding life's biggest questions. It's an always-engaging show whose guests include all sorts of experts, from theologians and scientists to poets and musicians.

On this edition of ST, we chat with The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, who's the president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP. Rev.

On this installment of ST, we listen back to a 1999 interview with Marcus Borg, a noted liberal theologian and New Testament scholar who was among the first -- from the 1980s onward -- to analyze Jesus as a historical figure. Borg, who died last week at age 72 of a lung ailment, appeared on StudioTulsa a few times over the years. This discussion marks his first appearance on our program.

On Sunday the 25th -- at Grace Lutheran Church (2331 East 5th Place) in Tulsa -- the 28th Annual Knippa Interfaith / Ecumenical Lecture will be given. It is free to the public, it starts at 7pm, and it will feature the Rev. Dr. John M. Buchanan, Pastor Emeritus of the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago (where he served for more than 25 years). Buchanan is also the editor and publisher of The Christian Century magazine; he has received numerous doctorates and honors for his scholarship, and he's written three books.

KWGS News file photo

From pharmacists who refuse to dispense Plan B drugs (which prevent ovulation) to legislation designed to limit a patient's end-of-life or euthanasia options, there's no shortage of controversial topics in America today when it comes to religion/morality overlapping with science/medicine. On this edition of ST, we discuss such a topic as we confront certain practices of some Catholic hospitals.

(Note: This show first aired in June.) On this installment of ST, we speak with Rachel Urquhart, a writer whose work has been published in The New Yorker, Tin House, Elle, The New York Times, Vogue, and Spy, among other publications. Urquhart has recently published her first novel, "The Visionist," which is a widely acclaimed historical drama about a teenage girl who finds refuge --- or perhaps does not find refuge --- in an 1840s Shaker community.

(Note: This interview originally aired earlier this year.) There's an old Lenny Bruce one-liner that goes like this: "Everyday, people are straying away from the church and going back to God." In this day and age, there must be some truth to that idea; while it's true that more and more people in this country are giving up on the religion they grew up with or else rejecting organized religion entirely, it's also true that many who have turned away from religious institutions --- as well as many others who've lived wholly without religion --- really do hunger for something more than what con

On this installment of ST, we speak with Rachel Urquhart, a writer whose work has been published in The New Yorker, Tin House, Elle, The New York Times, Vogue, and Spy, among other publications. Urquhart has recently published her first novel, "The Visionist," which is a widely acclaimed historical drama about a teenage girl who finds refuge --- or perhaps does not find refuge --- in an 1840s Shaker community.

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