Learning How to See with Brian McLaren

Center for Action and Contemplation

  • 43 minutes 15 seconds
    Seeing Nature as a Doctor (Part 2) With Theresa Martella

    How do you feel when you witness the destruction of creation?

    In this episode, Brian interviews Teresa Martella, an environmental scientist and spiritual ecologist, about the interconnectedness of ecology and spirituality. Together they discuss the ecological crisis, climate change, and the deep grief that comes with witnessing the destruction of the natural world. Teresa shares her personal journey of reconciling her scientific background with her spiritual beliefs and finding a contemplative practice to ground herself in the face of climate change grief. They explore the need for a shift in human relationships with the Earth and the importance of finding meaning and purpose in uncertain times.

    About Theresa: Theresa Martella is a spiritual director and spiritual ecologist who is skilled at listening deeply to you as you explore your spirituality in a non-judging and loving way. Theresa is a student of contemplative wisdom, having spent two years studying at the Center for Action and Contemplation under Richard Rohr and other great teachers of our time. She will complete her certification in Spiritual Direction at the Benedictine Spiritual Direction Training program at Benet Hill Monastery in Colorado Springs in August 2024.

    Resources:

    • The transcript for this episode can be found here.
    • To learn more about Theresa's work, visit her website here.
    24 May 2024, 6:01 am
  • 57 minutes 40 seconds
    Seeing Nature as a Doctor (Part 1) With Debra Rienstra and Melanie Griffin

    How does the connection between nature and spirituality influence your understanding of the environment and the challenges that it faces?

    In the next two-part series, we're exploring a new way of seeing nature, as a doctor -- but not in the traditional sense. Through conversations with academics, activists, scientists and spiritual directors, we're examining the issues facing our climate and as well as practical solutions that lend to healing our planet. In this episode, our guests, Deborah Rienstra and Melanie Griffin, discuss the importance of joy, love, and anger in healing the world, emphasizing the need for action and engagement at both the local and personal level in the face of environmental challenges.

    About Debra:

    Debra Rienstra is professor of English at Calvin University, where she has taught writing and literature since 1996. She is the author of four books—on motherhood, spirituality, worship, and ecotheology/climate change—as well as numerous essays, poems, and scholarly articles. She writes the fortnightly Refugia Newsletter on Substack, a newsletter for people of faith who want to know and do more about climate. She also writes fortnightly for The Reformed Journal blog, writing about spirituality, climate change, pop culture, the church, the arts, higher ed, and more. Her literary essays have appeared in Rock & Sling, The Examined Life Journal, and Aethlon, among other places.

    Debra was raised in Michigan and holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a PhD from Rutgers University. She and her husband, Rev. Dr. Ron Rienstra, have three grown children. When not writing (or grading!) or reading, Debra enjoys figuring out how to garden, solving crossword puzzles, hiking in the dunes near Lake Michigan, or listening to very wonky podcasts.

    About Melanie:

    Melanie Griffin is a writer and social justice activist who spent nearly thirty years lobbying for the Sierra Club in Washington, D.C. Her major campaigns included public lands and wildlife and air and energy policy. She was the founder and director of the Club’s first National Partnerships Program. Melanie holds a Masters in Creative Nonfiction and is a certified Spiritual Director. She served for three years as a pastor at a progressive Christian church in suburban Maryland and taught at a Quaker school. She leads writing workshops and contemplative retreats and loves to garden, read, and travel.

    Resources:

    • The transcript for this episode can be found here.
    • To learn more about Debra's work, visit her website here.
    • Debra's book, Refugia Faith, was mention in this episode. You can find that here.
    • Follow Debra's work on Substack here.
    • To learn more about Melanie's work with Third Act, visit their website here.
    17 May 2024, 8:09 pm
  • 38 minutes 22 seconds
    Seeing Nature as a Lover (Part 2) With Miriam Smith

    What shapes the connection between your inner and outer landscapes?  

    On the second part of seeing nature like a lover, Brian interviews a non-profit leader in sustainable development, Miriam Smith. In this episode, Miriam shares her powerful story of growing up in Chad during a civil war. She discusses how these experiences shaped her perspective on life and instilled a deep passion for nature and the environment, and how this informs her work with Eden Thriving, an organization dedicated to sustainable development and landscape restoration. Miriam emphasizes the importance of cherishing both our inner and outer landscapes, highlighting the connection between love and care for both ourselves, and our planet. Lastly, Miriam also shares about her efforts to protect and restore land in Kenya, underscoring the significance of cherishing our planet. You can read more about that at the link in the resource section.

    Miriam Smith loves the outdoors, campfires, ‘ah-ha’ moments, poetry and the contemplative life. Her childhood was spent in Central and Eastern Africa where she gained a deep love for living close to nature, being present at a grassroots level, and working with dedicated teammates to cultivate the potential of land and lives. While raising her three children, she has served in a variety of non-profit community development programs in Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Kenya. She makes her permanent home along the banks of the Malewa River in Naivasha, Kenya where she serves as the Founding Director of Eden Thriving, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing the environmental roots of poverty. (www.edenthriving.org

    Resources:

    • The transcript for this episode can be found here.
    • To learn more about Miriam's work with restoring the land in Kenya, visit this website here.
    • To learn more about Miriam, check out her website here.
    10 May 2024, 4:11 pm
  • 42 minutes 35 seconds
    Seeing Nature as a Lover (Part 1) With Scott Smith

    What can you do, big or small, to create a positive impact on the planet?

    In this episode, Brian interviews Scott Smith, a retired wildlife ecologist, about his career in conservation and the importance of protecting the natural world. Scott shares his early love for nature and how it led him to become a wildlife ecologist. He discusses the work of conservation, including habitat preservation, species monitoring, and genetic flow. Scott also highlights the interconnectedness between human society and the environment, emphasizing the need to address poverty, equity, and social justice in conservation efforts.

    Resources:

    • The transcript for this episode can be found here.
    • If you're in Maryland, check out the events at Trinity Outdoors here.
    3 May 2024, 5:02 pm
  • 35 minutes 45 seconds
    Seeing Nature as a Scientist (Part 2) With Susan J. Tweit

    What sparks your sense of wonder in the natural world? 

    In this episode, we're continuing our exploration of learning how to see like a scientist with botanist and author Susan Tweit. Brian McLaren and Susan Tweit explore how a hike in the Badlands sparked Susan's passion for sharing nature's wonders. In this conversation, they explore the power of science and storytelling as a way of deepening our connection with the Earth and igniting positive action for healing the planet, fueled by both love and grief for the environment.

    Susan J. Tweit is a plant biologist who began her career working in the wilderness studying wildfires, grizzly bear habitat and sagebrush ecosystems. She turned to writing when she realized she loved telling the stories in the data. She is an award-winning author of twelve books, including a previous memoir, Walking Nature Home, and Bless the Birds: Living with Love in a Time of Dying. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

    Resources:

    • The transcript for this episode can be found here.
    • For more information about Brian's new book, Life After Doom, you can find more information here.
    • To learn more about Susan J Tweit's work, visit her website here.


    Connect with us:

    • Have a question you'd like Brian to answer about this season? Email us: [email protected] or leave us voicemail. Questions for this season will only be accepted until June 21st, 2024.
    • This podcast is made possible, thanks to the generosity of our donors. If you would love to support the ongoing work of the Center for Action and Contemplation and the continued work of our podcasts, you can donate at https://cac.org/support-cac/podcasts/ Thank you!


    26 April 2024, 6:01 am
  • 43 minutes 13 seconds
    Seeing Nature as a Scientist (Part 1) With Paul Wallace

    Can we look at nature with both wonder and a scientist's eye?

    In this episode, we're learning how to see nature from the perspective of a scientist. In Part 1, Author and professor Paul Wallace joins Brian to explore the intersection of science and spirituality in the natural world. Together, they discuss the awe-inspiring scale of the universe, the contemplative nature of scientific inquiry, and the urgent call to protect our dwindling bird populations.

    Paul Wallace is a physicist, astronomer, and pastor who explores the intersection of science and faith. He is a professor at Agnes Scott College and has a Ph.D. in physics and a Master of Divinity and is passionate about making science and religion accessible to all.

    Resources:

    • The transcript for this episode can be found here.
    • For more information about Brian's new book, Life After Doom, you can find more information here.
    • To learn more about Paul Wallace's work, visit his website here.


    Connect with us:

    • Have a question you'd like Brian to answer about this season? Email us: [email protected] or leave us voicemail. Questions for this season will only be accepted until June 21st, 2024.
    • This podcast is made possible, thanks to the generosity of our donors. If you would love to support the ongoing work of the Center for Action and Contemplation and the continued work of our podcasts, you can donate at https://cac.org/support-cac/podcasts/ Thank you!
    19 April 2024, 6:01 am
  • 48 minutes 59 seconds
    Seeing Nature as a Child (Wonder)

    What can children teach us about loving nature?

    In the first episode of season 6, three of Brian’s grandchildren — Ella, Ada, and Lucas — drop by to talk about how to take responsibility and care for the planet. In this conversation, we see the from the perspective of a child as three of Brian's grandchildren highlight the impact of climate change through a shared love of animals and emphasizing the need for a more sustainable and compassionate relationship with nature.

    Resources:

    • The transcript for this episode can be found here.
    • For more information about Brian's new book, Life After Doom, you can find more information here.
    • Check out Brian's grandkids Newt YouTube channel here.


    Connect with us:

    • Have a question you'd like Brian to answer about this season? Email us: [email protected] or leave us voicemail. Questions for this season will only be accepted until June 21st, 2024.
    • This podcast is made possible, thanks to the generosity of our donors. If you would love to support the ongoing work of the Center for Action and Contemplation and the continued work of our podcasts, you can donate at https://cac.org/support-cac/podcasts/ Thank you!
    12 April 2024, 6:01 am
  • 6 minutes 55 seconds
    Introducing: Learning How to See "Nature"

    Welcome to the sixth season of Learning How to See which focuses on learning how to see nature in a new way. In this season, we'll look at nature through the lens of a child, a scientist, a lover, a doctor, a seeker, and a gardener. The goal is to develop a deeper connection and appreciation for the natural world. We need to see every tree and stone, every bird and fish, every stream and prairie and star with eyes of love and wonder. That's not just a matter of joy and meaning for our individual lives, it's increasingly a matter of survival for our species. We hope you'll join us for the new seasons of Learning How to See.

    Resources:

    • Why Don't They Get It? by Brian McLaren can be found here.
    • Cory and the Seventh Story by Brian McLaren can be found here.
    • More info on Life and Doom, the new book by Brian McLaren can be found here.
    11 April 2024, 11:19 pm
  • 32 minutes 48 seconds
    The Seventh Story

    What if we could reimagine the future of storytelling?

    In the last episode of Season 5 of Learning How to See, join in the conversation about how to create a new kind of space in which we can all participate in shifting our world towards greater Love and justice.  

    Resources:

    • The transcript for this episode can be found here.
    • To learn more about Gareth Higgins, click here.
    • To learn more about Brian McLaren, click here.
    • To explore the seven stories in more depth, visit the website here. You'll find details about the children's book, essays for adults, and more.


    Connect with us:

    • Have a question you'd like Brian or Gareth to answer about the seven stories? Email us: [email protected] or leave us voicemail. Questions for this season will only be accepted until November 22nd, 2023.
    • This podcast is made possible, thanks to the generosity of our donors. If you would love to support the ongoing work of the Center for Action and Contemplation and the continued work of our podcasts, you can donate at https://cac.org/support-cac/podcasts/ Thank you!
    24 November 2023, 7:01 am
  • 27 minutes 54 seconds
    Accumulation Stories

    How do you embrace the wisdom of letting go?

    In this episode, Brian and Gareth explore the power of sharing to explore the Accumulation Story, a justification of our human need to hold onto things, people, and circumstances. 

    Gareth explains: “This is a story about money and fear. It's a story about being possessed by things rather than enjoying and sharing them. And it's a story nested within a bigger story about how sometimes when we think we have more, we actually have less.” 

    Resources:

    • The transcript for this episode can be found here.
    • To learn more about Gareth Higgins, click here.
    • To learn more about Brian McLaren, click here.
    • To explore the seven stories in more depth, visit the website here. You'll find details about the children's book, essays for adults, and more.


    Connect with us:

    • Have a question you'd like Brian or Gareth to answer about the seven stories? Email us: [email protected] or leave us voicemail. Questions for this season will only be accepted until November 22nd, 2023.
    • This podcast is made possible, thanks to the generosity of our donors. If you would love to support the ongoing work of the Center for Action and Contemplation and the continued work of our podcasts, you can donate at https://cac.org/support-cac/podcasts/ Thank you!
    17 November 2023, 7:01 am
  • 33 minutes 12 seconds
    Victimization Stories

    How do you tell the story of a time you have been wronged or betrayed? 

    Many of us experience victimization. But when does "victim" become an outdated part of our identity? Brian McLaren offers us: “If victims allow themselves to take an offramp from their victimizing stories, they embrace another way to define their lives.”  

    We're continuing forward with powerful explorations of storytelling as resilience and transformation.

    Resources:

    • The transcript for this episode can be found here.
    • To learn more about Gareth Higgins, click here.
    • To learn more about Brian McLaren, click here.
    • To explore the seven stories in more depth, visit the website here. You'll find details about the children's book, essays for adults, and more.


    Connect with us:

    • Have a question you'd like Brian or Gareth to answer about the seven stories? Email us: [email protected] or leave us voicemail. Questions for this season will only be accepted until November 22nd, 2023.
    • This podcast is made possible, thanks to the generosity of our donors. If you would love to support the ongoing work of the Center for Action and Contemplation and the continued work of our podcasts, you can donate at https://cac.org/support-cac/podcasts/ Thank you!


     

    10 November 2023, 7:01 am
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