Poema Podcast
Poema S6 058 | Victoria Sun Esparza on Human Centred Design & Faith - 1: Empathy

Poema S6 058 | Victoria Sun Esparza on Human Centred Design & Faith - 1: Empathy

November 27, 2020

Today I'm joined for the first part of a 3 part series with Victoria Sun Esparza on Human Centred Design and faith. Victoria is the founder and CEO for In the Water Designs, a consulting firm that specializes in design-thinking strategy for religious organizations and non-profits.

In the first part of this series we explore the concept of human centred design and how it impacts the world we live in and how we engage with the world.

And we also discuss  the importance of empathy when we are building and creating spaces and communities of faith - and in the creative process as a whole - and share some examples of how this can impact our lives in unexpected but significant ways. 

Poema S6 057 | Barry Taylor on 2020 & ‘The New Normal’

Poema S6 057 | Barry Taylor on 2020 & ‘The New Normal’

November 23, 2020

Today author, philosopher, theologian and speaker Barry Taylor joins me on the podcast. Today we talk about the impact of the pandemic and the murder of George Flloyd on both faith and culture.

We talk about the illusion of 'going back to normal' and how we struggle to come to terms with the changes in our lives, and how we often hide this grief with certainty. And then speculate on the possibilities and changes to our world, to our culture and the church as a result of what we've seen in 2020.

All this, and a lot more with the brilliant Barry Taylor. 

Poema S6 056 | Tim Fall on Running for Judge

Poema S6 056 | Tim Fall on Running for Judge

November 20, 2020

Today author and superior court judge Tim Fall joins me to discuss his book 'Running For Judge', and explore how the pressures of his election campaign, being a judge and some events in his own life impacted his mental health. 

We discuss how he learned healthy practices and routines to improve his mental health and deal with the trauma he experienced, and this intertwined with his faith journey - and the impact writing a book telling his story has had. 

Tim's got great wisdom, lived experience and insight into mental health and faith, this was such a great conversation. 

Poema S6 055 | Chuck DeGroat on When Narcissism Comes To Church

Poema S6 055 | Chuck DeGroat on When Narcissism Comes To Church

November 17, 2020

Today I'm joined by author, therapist, spiritual director Chuck DeGroat to talk about his work and in particular the themes of his book 'When Narcissism Comes To Church'. 

Chuck shares from research and experience about narcissistic behaviour and how this has manifested itself in toxic religion, evangelicalism and fundamentalism, how it's almost become an ideal or idol in that world. We then dive into the damaging impact this can have on the church, and indeed the wider world - including the election of a narcissistic President back in 2016.

Chuck explores ideas co how we can move on from this way of doing church, and have a faith, a church and a spirituality free of narcissism and toxic fundamentalism. 

Poema S6 054 | Kimberly Stover on Reflection, Recovery, & Rising from Toxic Religion

Poema S6 054 | Kimberly Stover on Reflection, Recovery, & Rising from Toxic Religion

November 9, 2020

Today I'm joined by writer and advocate Kimberly Stover, in an episode recorded pre-2020 Presidential election. Kimberly creates resources and written material for those leaving evangelicalism behind and on the journey of spiritual journey. 

In this episode Kimberly shares her own spiritual journey, her experiences of growing up in evangelicalism, how she broke free of it and the impact this journey had her relationships, her spirituality, her identity, and her life as she knew it. 

We also talk about Trumpism and its links to evangelicalism and its' impact on the church, on her own life and on America, and the deeper issues its exposed. Kimberly tells us how we can break free of toxic religion, and find genuine freedom, and our truest, most authentic selves. 

Poema S6 053 | Brandan Robertson on our Nomad Journey

Poema S6 053 | Brandan Robertson on our Nomad Journey

November 2, 2020

Today my beloved friend, pastor, author and activist Brandan Robertson returns to the podcast to discuss his own recent journey, the release of two new books, and the movement of the spirit which we might be seeing and how this has been reflected in recent politics in both the UK and USA. 

Brandan talks about his own experiences and reflections of the last four years, the toxic evangelical system of power and his own experience of it as an LGBTQ progressive Christian, how we might move forward, and his own hopes and vision of what the future might bring. 

Brandan also shares more about his own personal journey, and the creative process behind his new book of devotionals, and talks about his faith journey of the last 8 months, the questions and doubts it brought, and how the pandemic has impacted his experience and understanding of the divine. He also talks about how we can find a sense of God, of hope, if the worst happens in the US election.

I left this conversation with a real sense of hope, I believe you will too. 

Poema S6 052 | Fundamentalism, Politics & Religion with Stephanie McCown

Poema S6 052 | Fundamentalism, Politics & Religion with Stephanie McCown

October 30, 2020

Today my friend Stephanie McCown joins me to discuss fundamentalism and its impact on politics and faith in both the UK and US. 

In particular we discuss progressive fundamentalism, which has grown and become more toxic, more abusive and more damaging as time as gone on - both to individuals, the church and our politics. We also share our own experiences and perspectives on this politically from our respective countries, talk about the progressive "purity test" and a lot more.

We then move to explore this in context of the story of Jesus, who Jesus was and what he stood for - and find a striking metaphor for today's world from Jesus story, and from a popular movie franchise. And explore what a more inclusive, non-dualistic, non-fundamentalist faith and politics might look like - and where we are finding hope. 

This episode releases 4 days before the 2020 US Presidential election - and feels more timely than ever.

Poema S6 051 | Irene M Cho on Finding the Inbetween

Poema S6 051 | Irene M Cho on Finding the Inbetween

October 26, 2020

Today I'm joined Irene Cho. Irene is a national speaker, writer, consultant, and advisor, focusing predominantly on youth identity and faith development, race and diversity, organizational leadership, and women in leadership. 

In this episode Irene shares her experiences of white evangelical Christianity, and this was contrasting with her own education and understanding of the way of Jesus. She talks about how she was exposed to a variety of different theological perspectives of God, and how this has impacted her and her work.

Irene shares her own perspective on God, and how she believes he looks at the world with what is happening in 2020. She then talks about the capitalist, evangelical, patriarchal system we live in, and its systemic racism, and her own experiences of this system.

Irene goes on to talk about what action we can take to tear down this corrupt system and create a world, a system which is loving, inclusive, just and more in tune with the true way of Jesus.

Poema S6 050 | D.L. Mayfield on the Myth of the American Dream

Poema S6 050 | D.L. Mayfield on the Myth of the American Dream

October 19, 2020

Today author D.L. Mayfield joins me to discuss her book 'The Myth of the American Dream' and her journey out of the evangelical/capitalist system into a deeper awareness of what the commands of Jesus really mean for us. 

D.L shares how the idea of the way of Jesus preached by evangelicalism and the system it supports, contrast so much with the basic commands of Jesus - to love our neighbour. She then explores four dimensions to we this - affluence, autonomy, safety, and power - and the uncomfortable truth of who white privileged Christians might really be in the Jesus story.

She talks about privilege, and her experience of how when the system benefits us, it can blind us to the lived experience of reality of how things really are for the oppressed and marginalised. And then, where that leaves people who want to be truly faithful to the teachings of Jesus. 

 

Poema S6 049 | Suzanne DeWitt Hall on Sex with God

Poema S6 049 | Suzanne DeWitt Hall on Sex with God

October 15, 2020

Today author Suzanne DeWitt Hall joins me to talk about her new book 'Sex with God: Meditations on the sacred nature of sex in a post-purity-culture world '

Suzanne shares her own story, experiences in purity culture and the impact it had on her and her faith. She also talks about how she broke free of purity culture and discovered a healthy, sacred sexual ethic.

Then Suzanne dives deep into exploring how we can invite God into our sex lives, and how can transform sexual intimacy into an experience with and in worship to the divine. 

Poema S6 048 | Jamie Lee Finch on Why Your Body is a Person

Poema S6 048 | Jamie Lee Finch on Why Your Body is a Person

October 12, 2020

Today my friend, embodiment coach Jamie Lee Finch, joins me to discuss how we can become fully embodied, to connect more fully with ourselves and our bodies.

Jamie talks about the big shift from seeing our bodies not as an it, but a he/she/they - a person, and the profound impact it can have on our own personal journeys. She talks about how we learn to listen to and respond our bodies as they speak to us, and the transformation she had in her own life when she learned to do this, and how she's seen this in her clients.

We also discuss my experience of doing this in my work with Jamie, and the real time change which can happen in so many aspects of our being, including our mental and emotional health, and in escaping toxic purity culture. 

Jamie also shares some simple, practical steps we can all take to begin doing this work, and knowing and listening to our bodies better.

Jamie's work has been transformative for me - I know it can be for you too.

Poema S6 047 | Shelby Forsythia on Your Grief, Your Way

Poema S6 047 | Shelby Forsythia on Your Grief, Your Way

October 5, 2020

Today my friend, author intuitive grief guide Shelby Forsythia, returns to the podcast. Together we discuss and our collective grief experiences of 2020, both from our own individual perspectives and from a broader perspective.

Shelby tells us about healthy ways of naming and processing our grief, the knowing before the knowing, the grief before the grief, and grieving people we've never met but who've inspired us.

We also explore how this years collective grief, can trigger familiar grief responses. Shelby talks about her new book of reflections for grievers, with a reading from the book, and how people can use these to help with the grieving process.

Shelby also shares how grief never leaves us, and how we can build a healthy relationship with our grief. We also discuss our shared experience of losing a mother, the unique type of loss this can be, and how we all process grief differently. 

There's also some fun intuitive comments from Shelby which were uncanny in relation to my own story - and there was a real sense of solidarity, with two friends who've both lost a mother, sharing our stories together. 

*****

Get Shelby's new book 'Your Grief Your Way' on all online booksellers & Audible now.

Poema S6 046 | Rob Bell on why Everything Is Spiritual

Poema S6 046 | Rob Bell on why Everything Is Spiritual

September 28, 2020

This week I'm joined by special guest Rob Bell, to chat about his new book, about grief, birth, death, mental health, creativity - and why everything is spiritual. 

In this episode Rob tells us of his experience of lockdown, and we explore different types of grief. Rob shares about the 'good grief' of a season of life ending and something new and wonderful being born. Sharing from his own story, Rob also talks about how grief is always an engine room for growth.

We also discuss how Rob processed mental health challenges when leaving the church he planted and found healthier ways to live.

And finally Rob talks about the creative journey, both in art and in life, writing from the heart, and finding joy and freedom from the need to perform and impress, and embracing a life of risk and adventure - where everything is spiritual.

Poema S6 045 | Chad E Jarnagin on Learning To Be: Part Two

Poema S6 045 | Chad E Jarnagin on Learning To Be: Part Two

September 24, 2020

This is the second of my conversations with Chad E Jaragin, recorded 9 months after the previous episode, we reflect on the changes in the world in those 9 months. 

We discuss the global pandemic, the death of George Floyd and increasing awareness of systemic racism, and the collective grief and trauma we are all experiencing, and it's impact - both present and future - on all of us. 

We explore how grief and trauma, if we process it well, can be an engine for transformation, and how we can practice self-care, contemplation and have more grace with ourselves in the midst of all that's going on.

Chad then explores where we can find the divine in this time we're living and how our relationship to him/her/them, could be impacted by it - in positive and negative ways - and where we can find hope. 

Poema S6 044 | Chad E Jarnagin on Learning To Be: Part One

Poema S6 044 | Chad E Jarnagin on Learning To Be: Part One

September 21, 2020

This week I'll be releasing two episodes with author & Priest Chad E Jarnagin - this first episode was recorded in January, before the global pandemic, murder of George Floyd, and the other traumatic events of January really unfolded.  The second, coming out later this week was recorded this month.

Chad talks about his life & work, true spiritual transformation beyond simple deconstruction, and learning to be.

He explores how people are not able to move forward with new, healthy practices and rhythms without first healing from past toxins, abuse, and unhealthy patterns, and how we need to go on an inner pilgrimage to have our emotional and spiritual health transforme.

Chad explains how we can explore a discover and deeper peace and knowing within us, and improve our spiritual & emotional health through contemplative spirituality, and how contemplative practices can help us go deeper in intimacy with the divine, and with ourselves, as we are. 

 

Poema S6 043 | Brittney Moses on Mental Health, Faith & The Pandemic

Poema S6 043 | Brittney Moses on Mental Health, Faith & The Pandemic

September 17, 2020

This week I'm joined by mental health advocate, author and podcaster Brittney Moses. Brittney works on issues at the intersection of faith, culture & mental health and is host of the Faith & Mental Wellness Podcast, studying clinical psychology at UCLA.

In this episode we explore the challenges the pandemic, lockdown and grief of 2020 has given us in terms of our mental health, our routines and our faith. We discuss how little day to day disruptions can impact us, and whats happening could affect us emotionally, mentally and physically - and what steps we can take to love ourselves better and take care of our mental health.

Brittney also tells her own story, of losing and coming back to faith, her mental health challenges, and how she began exploring the intersection between mental health and faith, becoming a mental health activist. She also talks about mistakes churches and pastors have made in dealing with mental health, and how we can create church communities which are trauma informed.

Brittney ends by saying how important it is for us - and for churches - to name the mental health conditions we're struggling with, and how this can be the beginning of healing and transformation, both in individuals and church communities.

Poema S6 042 | Jess Mally on Systemic Racism & Discovering Who We Are

Poema S6 042 | Jess Mally on Systemic Racism & Discovering Who We Are

September 9, 2020

My friend, writer and activist Jess Mally, joins me to tell her powerful story, and share her lived experiences of systemic racism*.

Jess shares the incredible story of how she tracked down her birth father, with the most random set of coincidences happening in a row - and how she rebuilt her relationship with him. She also shares about her challenges with depression, and how she has encountered systemic racism. 

Jess goes on to talk about the racial murders in the US, the false accusations made by Amy Cooper and shares what it was like to observe these racial murders & incidents as a black person, including the grief and trauma this caused her personally and the collective grief of the black community.

She shares what it's like to feel unsafe as a black person, and then talks about the importance of anti-racism work, and the work white people need to do to bring about change.

_

*Please note this episode was recorded in early June, before the death of Chadwick Boseman and other racially-motivated murders or attacks since. 

Poema S6 041 | Shari A Smith on Deconstruction, Grief & “End Times”

Poema S6 041 | Shari A Smith on Deconstruction, Grief & “End Times”

September 6, 2020

Today I'm joined by writer Shari A Smith. Shari is a blogger and writer for Ezer Rising, and today she tells her story of faith deconstruction, in the context of grief, and the global pandemic.

Shari talks about her upbringing and end times theology she grew up with, and how her journey led her to question her theology and her perspective on faith. Then we shift into talking about the grief of leaving evangelicalism and shift into talking about grief in the context of the pandemic and how all our lives have changed. 

Shari also talks about how the dynamic of her relationship with God changed through deconstruction, and grieving what she'd left behind. She also shares how writing was a cathartic, therapeutic practice for her, and we discuss how writing and the creative process can help us process grief and our emotions generally. 

Shari concludes by coming back to the divine truth she holds on to which gives her rest and peace, grounded in the reality of what we are living through - and how we're not alone. 

Poema S6 040 | Adam Asher & The Edge of Adventure

Poema S6 040 | Adam Asher & The Edge of Adventure

August 31, 2020

Today I'm joined by Adam Asher, creator and host of 'The Edge of Adventure' show and podcast,  where he takes his viewers to some of the most remote corners of the globe in search of what matters most & introduces his audience to some of the most inspiring travelers on the planet.

In this episode he talks about his work and his passion for travel and sharing stories, and shares some experiences of discovering unseen people doing incredible work in different parts of the world.

He shares about what he believes is our longing to do work which matters, to do something out of our normal routine - and make the most of our time here. And how this work can be something big or small, seen or unseen, but it all matters.

Adam concludes by saying our lives can become so much better when we stop centering ourselves, and look outwards to serving and honouring the needs, stories and experiences of others. 

Poema S6 039 | Jo Luehmann on Decolonizing Theology & Faith

Poema S6 039 | Jo Luehmann on Decolonizing Theology & Faith

August 23, 2020

Today I'm joined by activist & writer Jo Luehmann. Jo tells her own story, her background in evangelical Christianity and journey out of this into an awareness and understanding of how it was actually part of a systemically racist, oppressive, patriarchal system, including purity culture. 

Jo shares her journey out of this system and how it impacted both her marriage and her faith and how she deconstructed and decolonized her faith and found a new, more authentic understanding of Jesus spirituality.

Jo goes on to talk about how we can decolonize our own faith and theology, and how true faith/life deconstruction can only happen if it involves unlearning systemic racism and decolonizing.

Finally, Jo discusses how white people in particular can unlearn systemic racism and toxic theology, and find a faith which is free from the colonial, racist, patriarchal system which has been built around it.

Poema S6 038 | Rev Rob Lee on Church, Mental Illness & The Pandemic

Poema S6 038 | Rev Rob Lee on Church, Mental Illness & The Pandemic

August 16, 2020

I'm honoured to be joined by Rev Rob Lee today. Rob is a pastor and author who has bipolar disorder, who is known for his mental health and anti-racism work in the US. 

Today he shares about life of a pastor during a pandemic, the experience of living with bipolar disorder as a pastor in a pandemic, and finding the divine in the midst of times of struggle and trauma. 

He talks about how we need to sit with trauma, how we can find comfort in the midst of difficult times. He also discusses the power of healthy community, including church, to support those facing mental health challenges, and his own experiences of this. 

We end with some thoughts and reflections on what life, church and faith will look like post pandemic, the scars we will carry - and whether will acknowledge them like Jesus did, or hide from them. 

Poema S6 037 | Megan K Westra on Being Born Again & Again

Poema S6 037 | Megan K Westra on Being Born Again & Again

August 12, 2020

Today author and podcaster Megan K Westra joins me to discuss her new book 'Being Born Again & Again', and the idea that salvation isn't a product, or something we acquire - but an invitation to radical transformation. 

Megan discusses how she learned how the message of the Bible has been twisted and distorted, in particular to serve political / capitalist, purposes and support oppressive, systemically racist systems. She tells me how God is forming a new family, where we all belong, and we're all connected.

Megan shares how she discovered how we can dig back to the roots of the Jesus story, and then allow ourselves to be truly challenged. She tells me the idea that the call of Jesus is a call to acquire, but a message to surrender and be radically transformed - and what this might mean for us.

*****

Get Megan's book wherever books are sold, and find info on her work at meganwestra.com

Poema S6 036 | Shirley Fessell on Redemption from Biblical Battering

Poema S6 036 | Shirley Fessell on Redemption from Biblical Battering

August 9, 2020

**Trigger Warning: Domestic Abuse**

 

Today author and domestic abuse survivor Shirley Fessell joins me to share her powerful story of living with and surviving domestic abuse, how she got free - and how she took her story and used it to help others. 

Shirley shares the seven levels of confusion victims of domestic abuse can get drawn into, and several practical steps to get out from under these confusions and find freedom from abuse & the abuser.

She also talks about how evangelical Christianity and church have played a role in enabling abuse and reminds us it is possible to get free, and begin again.

 

Find her work at: https://shirleyfessel.com/ 

Poema S6 035 | Holly Stallcup on Singleness & The Global Pandemic

Poema S6 035 | Holly Stallcup on Singleness & The Global Pandemic

August 2, 2020

Today my friend Holly Stallcup, Executive Director of Now She Rises, joins me to talk about the challenges of singleness - both coming from an evangelical Christian background and how the global pandemic and lockdown, have created new challenges and issues for single people.

 

Holly and I are both single so we were able to cover a lot of ground and share some of our own unique experiences as single people and challenges we are facing during lockdown, including loneliness and social disconnection, and its impact on mental health. We also talk about how things might look for singletons going forward in a post pandemic world, as well as acknowledging the gifts and freedoms singleness allows. 

 

This is an important episode both for singletons and those in couples who know singletons - singleness is an issue we need to discuss and become more aware of collectively, in a culture tilted in favour of coupling, and Holly has some amazing insight into this. 

Poema S6 034 | Holly Oxhandler on Mental Health & Church During & Beyond The Pandemic

Poema S6 034 | Holly Oxhandler on Mental Health & Church During & Beyond The Pandemic

July 26, 2020

Today researcher and podcast host Holly Oxhandler Phd, LMSW joins me to talk about how the church can deal better with mental health - in particular during and post pandemic in the new realities it presents.

 

Holly shares the challenges the church faces dealing with people with mental illness and shares her thoughts on how churches, social workers, therapists and other professionals can work together in a healthier way to provide positive support to those struggling with their mental health. She also shares practical steps churches can take to deal with the issue of mental heath in a much healthier way without stigma. 

 

Holly also discusses how managing mental health, including in the church, post pandemic, will change and what we need to do to adapt - and how church and mental health professionals need to work together much more and better if we're to deal with the grief and trauma the pandemic had brought us. 

 

 

Poema S6 033 | Marlena Graves on Why The Way Up Is Down

Poema S6 033 | Marlena Graves on Why The Way Up Is Down

July 19, 2020

Today author and speaker Marlena Graves returns to the podcast to talk about her new book 'The Way Up Is Down'. We explore how we can grow deeper in our spirituality, and come closer to the divine through emptying ourselves, through the act of surrender and letting go of materiality, ego, and pride - in contrast to how a lot of Western culture and even parts of the church have taught us.

Marlena tells her own story, of her recovery from the grief of leaving a church community which had hurt her, the challenges she faced with her relationship with God and how she came to a place of raw honesty in her interactions with the divine. 

Marlena shares the raw truth about Jesus's example of how when we humble ourselves, surrender, pour ourselves out, it's there we find true intimacy with the divine, and freedom to grow and become more like the Jesus we follow. 

Poema S6 032 | Heather Thompson Day on Communication, Faith & The Power of Story

Poema S6 032 | Heather Thompson Day on Communication, Faith & The Power of Story

July 6, 2020

Today I'm joined by Professor of Communication, interdenominational speaker and feature writer Heather Thompson Day. In this episode we discuss communication, and the power of words and stories to shape our lives, our circumstances and our relationships. 

Heather shares how stories are what shape us, how we frame conversations can have an impact on how we work, and our spiritual journey. And she demonstrates how we can influences people's perspectives and opinions much more effectively, and communicate better, when we frame it in the context of story. 

We also talk about how stories can shape our faith journey and our theology way more effectively than any academic, theological argument, because we can all connect over story. She reminds us that the best communicators are the best listeners, and how education allied your own story can make you a very communicator on a topic - but it begins with story. And we end by talking about why the Jesus story is so compelling. 

Poema S6 031 | Elle Rose on Being Gray Ace, Demisexual & Panromantic

Poema S6 031 | Elle Rose on Being Gray Ace, Demisexual & Panromantic

June 28, 2020

In this episode Elle Rose returns to talk about being gray ace, demisexual and panromantic. Elle talks about what these are, what they mean and her own experience of self-discovery as she explored and named these core parts of her identity. 

Elle talks about the challenges of acceptance of grays/demisexuals/panromantics both corporately and individually, sharing the challenges she faced accepting herself, as well as being accepted by others, and even by parts of the LGBTQ community, and the impact this can have on emotional and mental health.

Elle's is a story of discovering her true identity and finding peace with herself, and is one which will give hope to other grays. And for non-grays it will help understanding what living gray, demisexual and panromantic means, and allow us to be better allies. 

Poema S6 030 | Joe Potosi on Childhood Trauma & Growing Up Between a Rock & A Hard Place

Poema S6 030 | Joe Potosi on Childhood Trauma & Growing Up Between a Rock & A Hard Place

June 24, 2020

**Trigger Warning: Domestic abuse, child abuse.**

Today I'm joined by author and mental health activist Joe Potosi. Joe courageously shares his story of childhood trauma and abuse, growing up in a broken home - and how this impacted him and his emotional & mental health. 

Joe shares how he learned surviving does not mean forgetting; instead it means living and not allowing those who have abused us to live rent free in our heads.

Joe's is a story of tenacity, resilience, introspection, redemption and forgiveness, and ultimately triumph over these hardships. In spite of all that Joe endured, after the dust settled he was still standing and was able to rebuild his life again - and use his experiences to help others.

Poema S6 029 | Elle Rose on Living with DPRD, ADHD & Depression

Poema S6 029 | Elle Rose on Living with DPRD, ADHD & Depression

June 16, 2020

Today I'm joined by activist, artist and creator Elle Rose. In this episode Elle tells her story of living with ADHD, (DPRD Depersonalisation Derealisation Disorder) and depression. We explore in more depth what DPRD is, and what it's like to live with this rarely-discussed condition.

Elle also courageously shares the challenges she had in understanding this for herself, accepting herself and trying to convince both her own family and even medical professionals of this condition - and how this impacted her own emotional health. We discuss the challenges of finding a diagnosis for mental health conditions and how important and helpful it can be.

We also explore just how much ignorance and stigma still exists around mental health, and Ellen shares her own experiences of how even the medical profession and medical system in the US has been so unhelpful - and explains how those with mental health conditions need to push for becoming advocates for ourselves, do our own research, and be partners in our own treatment. 

We also explore Elle's creative journey and making her art has been helpful and therapeutic, finding ways to express feelings she had no words for, and how unconscious things can be unlocked in the creative process. Before ending with a reflection on where we see mental illness in comic book movies & their characters, and how this can be helpful for us.

Elle's is a voice of honesty, courage, solidarity and hope - this is well worth a listen. 

Poema S6 028 | Rev Dr Shannon Polk on Systemic Racism & The Work of Change

Poema S6 028 | Rev Dr Shannon Polk on Systemic Racism & The Work of Change

June 10, 2020

Today's guest is Rev Dr Shannon Polk. Shannon is thought leader on the topics of race, gender, class, and faith, as well and as doing work to to develop leadership training programs for women and people of color.

In this episode Shannon shares her own deeply challenging and powerful experiences of systemic racism, starting right the way from childhood, and shares a powerful story of how her white husband encountered and began to understand the systems of racism and white supremacy. 

We also discuss the work Shannon does to change cultures of systemic racism in the workplace, and the challenges she encounters in doing this work - and what it takes to create a culture without systemic racism. We talk about the true cost of doing the work of learning and unlearning in regards to systemic racism, just how important this work is - and how white people can begin to do this work wherever they are.

For white people especially this will be a discomforting episode - but it has a message we all need to hear. 

Poema S6 027 | Sierra Nichole on Deconstruction & Progressive Fundamentalism

Poema S6 027 | Sierra Nichole on Deconstruction & Progressive Fundamentalism

May 31, 2020

Today I'm joined by my friend, activist and writer Sierra Nichole, co-founder of Ezer Rising. In this episode - recorded pre-pandemic - Sierra shares her deconstruction story, from her beginnings and upbringing inn evangelicalism through progressive Christianity and beyond, in a short space of time.

Sierra also shares honestly about the abuse she suffered from fundamentalist progressive Christianity, and how exclusive and divisive this can be. We talk about what fundamentalism is, and the difference between a healthy progressive faith and a fundamentalist one. Sierra also talks about her own journey to become LGBTQ affirming, and what she learned about being an ally, doing the work of learning and unlearning beliefs, and how we need to be aware of and unlearn our own inbuilt biases. 

Sierra also discusses the importance and responsibility of having a platform, and how we need to use our platforms to amplify and lift up others voices, in particular the voices of the marginalised and oppressed, and how she plans on doing this with her own platform - even suggesting some great names to follow (some of whom have been guests and are upcoming guests). 

Sierra has so much wisdom on all these areas, and great humility - she was a great guest, this is well worth a listen.

Poema S6 026 | Alexander Shaia on the Holiness of Uncertainty

Poema S6 026 | Alexander Shaia on the Holiness of Uncertainty

May 25, 2020

This week my friend Alexander Shaia returns to the podcast to talk about the spiritual journey in the context of the pandemic. We explore how and why the world will never be same, the sacred grieving we're all going through, the and concept of moving from womb to tomb.

Alexander shares wisdom about darkness and the womb as the birthplace of new life, new growth and transformation - and how this can be true for all of us. He talks about how this metaphor is giving him hope, even in the midst of the struggles and challenges and the pandemic, and how this will change us in way we don't even know yet. 

This episode is both a challenging and hopeful message we all need to hear right now.

Poema S6 025 | Jessica Kantrowitz on The Long Night of Depression

Poema S6 025 | Jessica Kantrowitz on The Long Night of Depression

May 19, 2020

My beloved friend Jessica Kantrowitz joins me on the podcast today to celebrate and talk about her new book, "The Long Night: Poems & Stories To Help You Through Depression". 

Jessica shares her story of living with depression, how it impacted the course of her life.She shares vulnerably and honestly about the challenges of depression and how she learned practices and set boundaries which allowed her to be emotionally healthy. 

Jessica also shares about how her journey with depression impacted her spiritual journey and her creative journey, and how writing in general, and in particular writing this book, has been important for her healing and emotional health.

Finally, Jessica shares some practical tips, wisdom and encouragement for all suffering with depression and anxiety - and gives us hope from her own experience, of how 'the long night' doesn't last forever, and there is hope and new life on the other side of depression.

*****

'The Long Night: Readings & Stories To Help You Through Depression' is available to buy now. You can get in on Amazon here.

Poema S6 024 | KJ Ramsey on This Too Shall Last

Poema S6 024 | KJ Ramsey on This Too Shall Last

May 14, 2020

Today KJ Ramsey returns to the show to talk about her new book "This Too Shall Last". KJ shares a bit about her story of chronic illness, spiritual abuse and how she found God in the midst of her suffering.

KJ shares with great honesty about the struggle for the wait for a diagnosis, the shame she felt from those who doubted her and having to prove, and how this impacted her faith journey. She talks about how this taught her how to surrender, how to to the wilderness again and again and be vulnerable with God - and how there she encountered a God who had been vulnerable on her behalf.

This is a powerful, challenging, and hopeful story, a story of finding God in the midst of still unresolved suffering - a God who suffers in us and with us. 

Poema S6 023 | Grief Matters: Shelby Forsythia on Permission To Grieve

Poema S6 023 | Grief Matters: Shelby Forsythia on Permission To Grieve

May 10, 2020

Today I'm delighted to welcome certified grief recovery specialist and author Shelby Forsythia to the show. We continue our examination of grief by both sharing our grief stories, and Shelby explores the lessons she learned about grief, both through her own experience of losing a parent and in training as a grief counsellor/specialist. 

Shelby unpacks the idea of grief as a human experience, rather than a force we try to fight against, and unpacks the truth of how we all grieve in our own unique way. We also discuss how unacknowledged grief can impact us individually, culturally - and politically.

She shares the core truth of how we can give ourselves permission to grieve - to allow ourselves to experience grief in the way we need to, how this can be liberating and allow us to heal and live with our grief, seeing grief almost as a rite of passage rather than a heavy weight to carry. 

 

Poema S6 022 | Grief Matters 6: Aundi Kolber

Poema S6 022 | Grief Matters 6: Aundi Kolber

May 4, 2020

Today we resume our series on grief. In an episode recorded just before the pandemic hit, therapist and author Aundi Kolber and I discuss grief from a therapeutic perspective. Aundi has a unique perspective both as a therapist, as as someone who has experienced grief and loss in her own life. 

Aundi and I discuss why it's important to feel our grief, but why it's also important to not let ourselves get overwhelmed, and move out of the grief when we need to. Aundi talks about what she believes lies the heart of grief, and what healthy grieving can allow us to do. She shares her experience and expertise in guiding us how to grieve well and process our emotions and loss in a way which frees us from it power and allows us to move forward with our lives after loss. 

Although we recorded this pre-pandemic, it now feels more relevant than ever, and Aundi has immense knowledge, wisdom and experience in grief and trauma, which we all need right now. 

Poema S6 021 | Mike McHargue on Naming Grief & Why You Are A Miracle

Poema S6 021 | Mike McHargue on Naming Grief & Why You Are A Miracle

April 30, 2020

Today my friend, author and podcaster Mike McHargue joins me on the show to discuss his new book 'You Are a Miracle (and a Pain in the Ass)', and our emotional responses to the current pandemic. 

Mike and I discuss the collective grief we're all experiencing and the importance of taking care of our emotional health in the midst of this pandemic, the science behind it, the consequences of not doing it - and the steps we can take to be present in our own lives and emotions right now.

Mike then shares very honestly the story behind the book, the trauma of his heart condition which impacted not just his physical health but his finances and emotional health, as well as the grief of losing a beloved friends, the anxiety and panic attacks he experienced - and the changes he had to make to get himself physically, mentally and emotionally healthy again. 

He also unpacks some truths he discovered about ancient survival mechanisms still impact us now, how our environment impacts our behaviour way more than he realises. He shares what happens in our brain when we confront our grief and trauma instead of hide from it, and leaves us with wisdom about how we can love ourselves, engage with our trauma, and remember we are all a living, breathing miracle.

Poema S6 020 | The 200th - Becky Castle Miller Interviews James Prescott

Poema S6 020 | The 200th - Becky Castle Miller Interviews James Prescott

April 26, 2020

Today it's the 200th episode of the podcast, and to celebrate my beloved friend and former guest Becky Castle Miller interviews me! 

We discuss all sorts of things, with some challenging and honest questions like 

- What do I believe & the role of Jesus in my life

- The unhealthiest point in my personal journey, how I got to the healthiest...and the bits in-between.

- Why and how did I start the podcast, and my all-time favourite guests.

And on a lighter note, there's a few lighting rounds involving Doctor Who (obviously), favourite books, favourite kind of tea, and more. 

This episode was such a joy, and I'm so grateful to Becky for asking such great questions, and to all of you for listening every week, you make this all possible. 

Onwards... 

 

Poema S6 019 | Maria French & Barry Taylor on The Impact of the Pandemic on Church, Spirituality & Society

Poema S6 019 | Maria French & Barry Taylor on The Impact of the Pandemic on Church, Spirituality & Society

April 22, 2020

Today Maria French and Barry Taylor of H&Co join me to discuss the wider impact of the global pandemic on each of us individually, as well as corporately. We explore the impact it's already having, on society and in our interactions and relationships - and the challenge of loneliness and solitude.

We then move into a deeper discussion on the impact on the wider church, on how we have spiritual community and the use of technology, both in church and in our culture, and why things have changed forever - and won't go back.

Finally we examine the potential impact on people's own spiritual and personal journeys, the opportunities this could bring, and our grounds for hope in this difficult period for us all. 

This was an insightful and eye-opening conversation, Maria and Barry both have expert philosophical, cultural and theological insight and help unpack our experiences of the pandemic and it's potential impact in a way which both challenges and inspires. 

Check out their work at handcogroup.com

Poema S6 018 | Felicity Morse on Self-Care During The Pandemic

Poema S6 018 | Felicity Morse on Self-Care During The Pandemic

April 19, 2020

Today I'm joined again by life coach Felicity Morse. Together we discuss our emotional and trauma response to COVID19, the impact it can have on our well being, and practical steps to help our emotional health during lockdown.

Felicity shares her own struggles, and steps she's taking, and some of the emotional challenges we might face - and outlines some healthy and unhealthy responses to this.

Felicity reminds us how we're all unique, and how we all might be responding to the pandemic in our own unique ways, that all of these are acceptable. She reminds us to have grace with ourselves and not put massive expectations for ourselves right now, and outlines some basic principles and practical steps of self-love and self-care we can all take that can centre us and help us be fully present, however we are reacting and responding. 

Poema S6 017 | Grief Matters: Mia Leigh Renna on the Grief of Recovery

Poema S6 017 | Grief Matters: Mia Leigh Renna on the Grief of Recovery

April 13, 2020

**Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment & Domestic Abuse**

Today, Mia Leigh Renna joins me to share her heartbreaking story of sexual abuse, domestic abuse and recovery - and the grief we experience when we are forced to leave an old life behind and begin again. She also highlights how little support there is for military women who have suffered abuse, both within and outside the structures she had known.

Mia shares how she had to rediscover her true identity and create a new life for herself, acknowledging what had been and receiving support to find healing, but choosing to be free of its power.

This was recorded before the current pandemic, but feels more relevant than ever. It's a story of a different kind of grief - the kind of grief all of us are carrying right now, of a life we've had to leave behind. 

Poema S6 016 | Gricel Medina on Our Communal Grief & Showing Our Scars

Poema S6 016 | Gricel Medina on Our Communal Grief & Showing Our Scars

April 10, 2020

Today, pastor, writer and activist Gricel Medina joins me for a special Good Friday reflection. Together we explore our experiences of the pandemic, and we discuss the collective grief we are all carrying. 

Gricel shares her own experiences as a pastor right now, and we also discuss the long term impact of the pandemic, how the world has changed - and why we can't go back. 

Then we go into more depth about our communal grief, how we can confront this in the context of the death and resurrection of Jesus. How Jesus chose to face and feel his pain, the significance of Jesus resurrecting with all his scars, rather than without them, and how important it is for our freedom and new life beyond the pandemic, as we process our collective grief.

Poema S6 015 | Jennifer Dawn Watts on 12 Step Spiritual Community & Mental Health During a Pandemic

Poema S6 015 | Jennifer Dawn Watts on 12 Step Spiritual Community & Mental Health During a Pandemic

April 5, 2020

This week my friend, therapist, qualified pastor & podcaster Jennifer Dawn Watts joins me to explore the benefits of 12 steps when used in the context of spiritual community, and uses her experience as a therapist to share advice and practical wisdom about managing our mental and emotional health during the pandemic. 

Jennifer shares her own experiences in 12 step spiritual community, and why she believes this model is increasingly beneficial in the world we're living in. We talk about how the 12 step process can be beneficial for those going through a faith deconstruction or dealing with trauma, and how this model can help many of us in the circumstances we're all faced with right now.

Then Jennifer talks about living in the reality of the pandemic, her own experience, how these circumstances can impact our mental health. She shares some very simple, practical steps we can all take to ensure we're acknowledging our collective and individual trauma, but also able to free ourselves of its power, and take care of our own mental, emotional and physical health. 

Poema S6 014 | K.J. Ramsey on Self-Care, Spirituality & Grief in a Pandemic

Poema S6 014 | K.J. Ramsey on Self-Care, Spirituality & Grief in a Pandemic

March 29, 2020

In today's special episode my friend, author and therapist K.J. Ramsey returns to the show to discuss how we can practice positive self-care during the COVID19 pandemic, and explore how this impacts our mental & emotional health and our spirituality - and how we can respond in a healthy, life giving way.

KJ & I also explore in depth how what we're all experiencing is a form of grief. We discuss why it's absolutely crucial we acknowledge the grief and fear we're carrying, rather than deny it, and KJ outlines some simple practices which can help us understand and process this grief in a healthy way, so we are no longer carrying the weight of it alone. 

KJ also discusses how we can draw closer to God during the pandemic, and somehow find the divine abiding within us in the midst of our suffering - and how God suffers with us.

You can find KJ's work and get her book 'This Too Shall Last' at kjramsey.com 

Poema S6 013 | Grief Matters 4: Kristen Kansiewicz on Church Therapy

Poema S6 013 | Grief Matters 4: Kristen Kansiewicz on Church Therapy

March 23, 2020

Kristen Kansiewicz has served as a counselor in a church setting since 2005 and has a BA is psychology. Today she joins us to explore how the church has failed in how it's dealt with grief, trauma and mental health in the past, and offers practical solutions to how we can do better now - which feel even more relevant with COVID19 having such an impact on the world.

Kristen heads up 'Church Therapy', an organisation committed to providing trained therapists and counsellors to churches to support congregations and help churches confront trauma, grief and mental health more effectively, and talks about this work and how communities of faith can begin to deal with this constructively. 

She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision from Regent University. She graduated with a Master of Arts in Counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Wheaton College, so is an expert in this field - and has a lot of wisdom to share, both from her training and experience. 

**Please note - this was recorded pre-COVID19, hence there being no reference to it in the episode, however much of what we discussed feels very relevant right now**

 

Find out more about Kristen's work at www.churchtherapy.com 

Poema S6 012 | Grief Matters 3: Ana’s Story

Poema S6 012 | Grief Matters 3: Ana’s Story

March 15, 2020

**Trigger Warning: Emotional, physical and spiritual abuse**

Today in the third part of our series Grief Matters, my friend Ana shares her powerful story.

In it we explore a not just the grief of losing someone you love, but another kind of grief - the grief and trauma of leaving evangelical church behind, the grief of deconstruction, and trauma of abusive relationships and leaving those behind to begin a new life. 

Ana's is a powerful testimony, but it's also a story of hope. It's a story of how when we have the courage leave a painful and difficult life behind, there is the chance for something new and powerful to begin. That when we grieve well, there is a chance of resurrection in our own lives.

Poema S6 011 | Coronavirus: Grief, Solidarity & Hope

Poema S6 011 | Coronavirus: Grief, Solidarity & Hope

March 14, 2020

Today, a bonus episode of the podcast. In this episode I reflect on the impact of the coronavirus - our individual and collective, fear, anxiety and grief. I share how it's impacted my life, and how none of us are alone in our experiences. 

I also speak about the opportunity to learn to grieve and lean into the pain, to provide solidarity and support to each other, to connect more deeply with ourselves and each other, and finder a deeper, wider perspective - and even small joy - in the journey we're on together. 

This is, at it's heart, a podcast about how we are not alone. You are not alone. 

If you need someone to chat to, or community, connect with me on Twitter at @JamesPrescott77 and join my new online community - 'Poema Podcast - Continuing the Conversation'. 

Poema S6 010 | Grief Matters 2: Tracie Loux

Poema S6 010 | Grief Matters 2: Tracie Loux

March 8, 2020

In the second of our series Grief Matters, I'm joined by speaker and artist Tracie Loux. Tracie shares the story of the loss of her son Mattie, the journey of his illness and eventual death, and her own experience during this journey.

Tracie talks about the 'collateral damage' of grief, how it impcts our work, our marriages, our relationships and even our daily habits, and how she survived her own collateral damage and began to create a new life for herself.

Tracie also shares how she found healing in her art, and also discovered a different level and type of grief - grief for her own life before Mattie's passing, a life she lost.

Tracie has a powerful story, as well as incredible wisdom and insight on surviving grief and learning to thrive. I know you'll love this episode.

Poema 06 009 | Grief Matters 1: Kahhe’s Story

Poema 06 009 | Grief Matters 1: Kahhe’s Story

March 1, 2020

Today we begin a new series on the podcast - Grief Matters - where we will hear stories of grief and loss, talk to therapists and grief counsellors, about the important subject of grief, loss and death. 

In this episode my friend and musician Kahhe shares the story of the loss of a parent, the impact this had on her life, her creativity, and how it changed her perspectives on life, spirituality and relationships. 

(*Please note there for slight sound issues with the recording, but I've shared this episode as I believe this story needs to be heard)

Play this podcast on Podbean App