Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Writer and the Cross with Darren Middleton PGE 80



A native of Nottingham, England, Dr. Darren J. N. Middleton received his Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of Manchester, his Master of Philosophy in Modern Christian Doctrine from the University of Oxford, and his Ph.D. in Literature and Theology from the University of Glasgow.

After teaching five years at Rhodes College and a 24 year tenure at Texas Christian University, Dr. Middleton is now Professor of Literature and Theology at and Director of Baylor University’s Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC). He is here to share with us some of the range of his work, but especially to talk about his most recent book, The Writer and the Cross: Interviews with Authors of Christian Historical Fiction.

Darren is author or editor of a dozen books, and over 50 articles and book chapters, addressing such varied subjects as Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis, Japanese author Shusaku Endo, English novelist Graham Greene, and American writer Cormac McCarthy, along with studies of the Rastafari, an interest growing out of childhood friendship with Jamaican immigrants to his hometown.

Among Darren books are Theology After Reading: Christian Imagination and the Power of FictionNovel Theology: Nikos Kazantzakis’s Encounter with Whiteheadian Process TheismRastafari and the Arts: An Introduction, and Mother Tongue Theologies: Poets, Novelists, Non-Western Christianity.

The intro and outro music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project.


Christians in Social Work Academic Panel PGE 79



This episode is the second interview with and about Christians in social work. The last episode focused upon the practitioners perspective. This episode focuses on the academic perspective. I am honored to have as my guests for this conversation Dr. Tanya Smith Brice, Dr. Jon E. Singletary, and Dr. Laine Scales.

Tanya is Vice President of Education at the Council on Social Work Education. Previously, she served as the Dean of the College of Professional Studies at Bowie State University and the Dean of the School of (Education) Health and Human Services at Benedict College.
She has served on the faculties of the University of South Carolina, Abilene Christian University, and Baylor University. Her research centers on addressing issues of structural violence specifically as it relates to the impact of those structures on African American people. Her publications focus on the development of the social welfare system by African American women for African American children and documents structural barriers to African American families. She provides consultation to community organizations, religious institutions, and educational institutions on the impact of their policies on African American families. She has taught and lectured all over the USA, as well as in the countries of Ghana, Sweden, Uganda, Colombia and the Republic of Moldova.

Jon was appointed dean of the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work in 2016 after having served as Associate Dean since 2011.  He has held the Diana R. Garland Endowed Chair in Child and Family Studies in the School since 2010 and first joined the faculty in 2003. Jon directed the Baylor Center for Family and Community Ministries.  In the Center, he helped lead $2 million of grant-related activities focused on studying congregational ministries that serve low-income communities.  His scholarship has focused on a range of Christian ministries, including family-based care for orphans and vulnerable children in Sub-Saharan Africa.  More recently, his research has focused on Christian contemplative practices and the Enneagram as a tool for spiritual formation.  Related to that research, Jon is the author of Leadership by the Number: Using the Enneagram to Strengthen Educational Leadership. Before coming to Baylor, he served as a Mennonite Pastor and a community organizer in Richmond, VA.

Laine is Professor and PhD Program Co-Director for the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. She completed 15 years as Associate Dean in Baylor’s Graduate School from 2004-2019. Her scholarly work led to her appointment as co-director of Baptist Scholars International Roundtable (BSIR). Laine is the author of Doing the Word: Southern Baptists’ Carver School of Church Social and its Predecessors, 1907-1997 (UT Press) and co-author/co-editor of several works, including the 6th Edition of Christianity and Social Work: Readings in the Integration of Christian Faith and Social Work Practice, and Christian Faith and University Life: Stewards of the Academy. Her research interests include doctoral education, history of Baptist women in social work and missions, and rural social work. Laine’s research on historical settlement houses led her to establish Good Neighbor Settlement House in Waco Texas, a social innovation experiment in nurturing community through an intergenerational experience of the arts, music, education, recreation, and worship.

The intro and outro music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project.


Christians in Social Work Practitioners Panel PGE 78



The teaching of Jewish and Christian scripture, and for Christians, particularly the example and teachings of Jesus, Paul, and the first writers of Christian scripture have emphasized the mandate to care for people. Some of the roots of the caring efforts of social work are in the Jewish/Christian tradition. There is much parallel and overlap between social work and Judaism and Christianity. Some of Christianity’s most important and effective ministries are done by Christians in social work.

This episode and the next seeks to give us a better understanding of social work and its relationship with Christianity. We will explore this relationship from two perspectives–that of practitioners and that of scholars. The engagement in scholarship and in practice really is not separated in my guests. They each participate in both areas, but for conversational purposes, we make the distinction.

This episode focuses on the practitioners. My guest are Dr. Rick Chamiec-Case, Lauren ‘Lo’ Reliford, and Dr. Lloyd Gestoso.

Rick is currently a self-employed faith-based nonprofit consultant. Before becoming self-employed, from 1988-1998 Rick was Director of Services and then Senior Vice President of Always Reaching for Independence. From 2006-2008 he was Assistant Professor of Social Work at Calvin College. And, from 1997-2021 Rick was Executive Director of North American Association of Christians in Social Work.

Lauren ‘Lo’ is the Political Director for Sojourners. Prior to coming to Sojourners, with over ten years of research, policy, advocacy, and government relations, Lo worked in domestic and international public health advocacy for a number of large nonprofit organizations. At Sojourners, Lo is responsible for developing and implementing Sojourners’ policy strategy, positioning, framing, messaging, and advocacy for outreach and impact on Capitol Hill and the presidential administration.

Lloyd has served in contexts dealing with child welfare and those living with opioid addiction and HIV/AIDS. He served in several hospitals and was the director of social services of a front-line AIDS housing/hospice serving the neediest people dying of AIDS in the Philadelphia region. Lloyd then transitioned to teaching undergraduate social work students leading a Department of Social Work which later became a School of Social Work with the addition of a Master of Social Work Program.  After 23 years of academic life, Lloyd was appointed as the current Executive Director of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work.

The intro and outro music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project.


Prison Chaplains Interview PGE 77



In this episode I have a conversation with those who are or have been prison chaplains. They get us started into understanding the nature and experience of the prison and ministry within that context. My guests are the Reverends Carol Sasser Dalton, Nancy Hastings Sehested, and Jody Griffin.

For the past fifteen years, Carol has been and continues to be chaplain at Western (formerly Swannano) Correctional Center for Women in Swannanoa, North Carolina. Although she works within the prison system, she is employed by the nonprofit Ministry of Hope. In addition to work in the prison, Carol has also done chaplaincy work at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina and Rutherford County Hospital in North Carolina working with patients experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, other mental health issues, substance abuse, and end-of-life issues.

Nancy is a retired pastor and prison chaplain. She served as a state prison chaplain in North Carolina for over a decade. Her chaplaincy included serving in minimum, medium and maximum security prisons for men. She was at Avery-Mitchell Correctional from 2000-2003. She was at the minimum and maximum security prisons at Marion Correctional from 2003-2013. She wrote a book about her experiences in Marked for Life: A Prison Chaplain’s Story.

Jody was a United States Army Reserve Chaplain with the 167TH Military Police Battalion and a Retired North Carolina Army National Guard Chaplain serving in United States Army and Navy confinement facilities. From 2016-2022 he was a community funded chaplain at Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution. He is currently the pastor of Central Baptist Church, Spruce Pine, North Carolina and chaplain at Medi Hospice, Boone, North Carolina.

The intro and outro music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project.


Lumbee Author and Poet Dana Lynell Lowery Interview PGE 76



My guest for this episode is Lumbee author, poet, librarian, and American Indian activist Dana Lynell Lowery. Dana is the author of Poems and Hollers from a Candy Apple IndianStrong Like Rhoda: Exploring Female Power in the Lumbee Tribe, and Lumbee Herstory. You can learn more about Dana from her website:

https://candyappleindian.com

The intro and outro music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project.


BJC 3 with Jennifer Hawks PGE 75



This episode is a continuation of my efforts to make you aware of issues relating to religious freedom and to the work of the BJC. I welcome back Jennifer Hawks. The cases Jennifer discusses are Ramirez vs Collier, Shurtleff vs Boston, Carson vs Makin, and Kennedy vs Bremerton. She also continues to discuss the BJC’s efforts in addressing Christian Nationalism. Jennifer speaks on the BJC’s report on the relationship between Christian Nationalism and the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Lastly, Jennifer discusses the efforts to get Congress to pass a bill relating to the preservation of Oak Flats.

To learn more about the efforts to address Christian Nationalism, you can also go to the website: Christians Against Christian Nationalism.

Jennifer is the associate general counsel at BJC. She provides legal analysis on church-state issues that arise before Congress, the courts and administrative agencies. She also assists in education efforts and responds to pastors and other constituents who have questions about church-state matters.

The intro and outro music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project.


Jubilee Partners with Don Mosley PGE 74



My guest for this episode is Don Mosley. Don has had and continues to have an amazing and vital ministry as a peacebuilder and care giver that has made the world a better place because it has made Christians and the Church more Christ-like because of the models he, his wife, Carolyn,  and those with him have provided for living faithfully as followers of our Lord Jesus Christ and as citizens of God’s kingdom.

Although not the founder, Don has had integral involvement and leadership in the development of Habitat for Humanity. He and his wife are among the cofounders of Jubilee Partners which is a ministry focused largely on refugees. Don is the author of With Our Own Eyes and Faith Beyond Borders.

Don is here to tell us his story and to give us an update on Jubilee Partners.

The intro and outro music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project.


Ownership Matters with Elias Crim PGE 73



My continuing interest in making you aware, my dear listeners, of alternatives to the growth economies of various free market capitalisms and state socialisms/communisms, I have focused to this point on Ecological or Steady State economics. In this episode I branch out and introduce you to the numerous efforts being called the solidarity economy. To do this, I have as my guest, Elias Crim. Elias provides a broad and general overview of many of the concepts and practices involved with this emerging economy. Hopefully, future episodes will look more in depth at specific approaches.

Elias earned his undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin and his M.A. from University of California, Berkeley. He is a founder of Solidarity Hall, a group blog which focuses on alternative economics, the co-host with Pete Davis of the podcast, Dorothy’s Place, named in memory and honor of Catholic political activist, Dorothy Day, and founding editor of Ownership Matters, a newsletter that focuses on the emerging landscape around impact investing, racial equity, and the solidarity economy.

The intro and outro music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project.


Poet Dr. Mischa Willett Interview PGE 72



My guest for this episode is Dr. Mischa Willett.

Dr. Willett is the author of two critically-acclaimed books of poetry: The Elegy Beta and Phases, and is editor of Philip James Bailey’s epic Festus. He teaches in the English Department at Seattle Pacific University and in its MFA program in Creative Writing. He is a specialist in British Literature of the Nineteenth-Century, particularly the poetry of writers such as William Wordsworth, Percy Shelley, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, though he often teaches Shakespeare and the History of Drama as well. Recently, his interest in the aesthetic movements of the period has caused him to engage the curious school of poets known as the “Spasmodics.”

As a Christian, scholar, and poet/artist, Mischa is here to share with us his poetry, his insights, and how he understands the integration of his faith, work, and art.

The intro and outro music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project.


Meta Commerse Interview 2 Her Memoir PGE 71



In this episode Meta Commerse returns as my guest to discuss her fifth book, her memoir, Womaning.

Meta Commerse is a Blues Doula. A former professor of History and English, she’s an award-winning author. Among her works are short stories, essays, poetry, numerous newspaper articles, one stage play, her story medicine novel, “The Mending Time,” and now her memoir, with more to come. She earned her MFA degree at Goddard College in Vermont. Meta is a social entrepreneur, creator of Story Medicine Worldwide, a community-based healing movement. She is a performing artist, singing jazz, blues, and gospel music. She is the mother of three adult children and grandmother to three young adult grandsons.

The link to purchasing her book is here:

https://www.storymedicineworldwide.com/shop/

The intro and outro music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project.