Last update: 2013-06-30

New beliefs for a new millennium

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2013-06-30 :: ABC Radio National
Stem cell biologist Bruce Lipton is bridging science and spirit through The Biology of Belief, while research psychologist Peter Todd is devising a new theology for a new millennium bringing together Jungian psychology, physics, and theology.…


Tibetan compassion in action

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2013-06-23 :: ABC Radio National
'Respected Mother', Ama Jetsun Pema la is known to thousands of children in the Tibetan Children's Village to which she has devoted her life for over 40 years. Yet, this sister of the Dalai Lama says she's only learning Buddhism formally now.…


Rocking the cradle Catholics

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2013-06-16 :: ABC Radio National
Raised in traditional Catholic families, Dr Michelle Mulvihill and Mrs Patricia Feenan were both deeply hurt by the Church's handling of child sexual abuse.…


The Dead Sea Scrolls and Jesus: the life work of Geza Vermes

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2013-06-09 :: ABC Radio National
Geza Vermes, who died in Oxford on May 8th, at age 88, was one of the first to examine the Dead Sea Scrolls after their discovery in 1947, and his studies of Jesus and his Jewish context changed the face of New Testament studies.…


Gay marriage

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2013-06-02 :: ABC Radio National
God speaks to Gene Robinson, so when he was the first openly gay priest to be consecrated a bishop in the Episcopalian Church in New Hampshire he had God on his side.…


A sack full of sins

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2013-05-26 :: ABC Radio National
Ailsa Piper revived a medieval practice of carrying the sins of others on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela—to relieve their guilt but also to teach her lessons about her own sins.…


From here to Eternity

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2013-05-19 :: ABC Radio National
The urge to merge with Eternity has raised up saints, transformed sacred space, and inspired the faithful to resist injustice. Yet the belief in Eternity and its ante room Purgatory has also been a battleground that saw churches topple.…


Flea Market Jesus

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2013-05-12 :: ABC Radio National
A sociologist of church organisations in America, Art Farnsley II is fascinated by the mix of religious conservatism, free thought and a particular gun culture he found in flea markets.…


Buddhism on the move

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2013-05-05 :: ABC Radio National
Buddhism is a uniquely moveable feast, says Professor Lewis Lancaster, since it did not anchor itself to a place, a people or a language.…


AC Grayling: A Secular Inquisition

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2013-04-28 :: ABC Radio National
What do God and Faeries have in common? According to AC Grayling they're indistinguishable. On a recent trip to Australia, the London based philosopher and author of The God Argument, engaged Rachael in a spirited argument about his view that religion is for the mentally challenged. A staunch believer that humanity has evolved to a rational stage of culture that has no need of faith or God, Grayling is embarked on a secular inquisition of sorts to rout our society of believers.…


Practical Christianity

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2013-04-21 :: ABC Radio National
The Great War and The Great Depression resulted in thousands of family evictions in the 1920s and 30s, but for some lucky families the practical Christianity of one Rev. Robert Hammond provided them with the unimaginable, their own homes. He not only established Hammondville Pioneer Homes but he also transformed St Barnabas Anglican Church in Sydney into a welfare hub, where the destitute were given care, like the legendary Arthur Stace, 'Eternity man'. Historian Meredith Lake author of Faith in Action (2013) and former resident of Hammondville and Independent MP of NSW John Hatton recount the extraordinary legacy of 'practical Christianity'.…


Hearing God Speak

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2013-04-14 :: ABC Radio National
Do you have to be Jesus to hear God speak? Or just loony? Neither, if you're an Evangelical Christian, for whom hearing God speak is the most treasured part of your prayer life. Evangelical Christians use prayer, meditation and spiritual exercises that help develop a mind that is open to revelation and a personal relationship to God. Psychological anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann spent years with the Vineyard Christian Fellowship, and in her book When God Talks Back (2012), she explains how Evangelical Christians hear God's voice in a secular world where doubts assail them.…


Ben Lee: Catch my spirit

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2013-04-07 :: ABC Radio National
Celebrated as one of the youngest and most innovative pop music stars in the business, Ben Lee recorded his first album with Noise Addict at age 15, and went on to win his first major Aria Awards in 2005 for Catch My Disease. But as his career soared so did his ambition, and he started to question the meaning of success.  He found a guru, Sri Narayani Amma, who showed him the way to peace and joy in what he describes as a miracle. Now Lee is furthering his spiritual quest with the help of the South American 'death vine' Ayahuasca, which promises spiritual awakening and an insight into the meaning of one's life.  We hear what that means to Ben who has journeyed far from his Jewish upbringing in Sydney.…


The Gospel of Luke and the Broadway actor

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2013-03-31 :: ABC Radio National
Bruce Kuhn had a dramatic awakening. As a Broadway actor in productions like Les Miserables, Chess, and the Cotton Patch Gospel, he was moved by the drama, pathos, and the truth-telling insights of great writing. Then the Gospel of Luke came across his horizon, and his life changed forever. Bruce became a Christian and realised that the Gospel told a magnificent story that was as transforming now as it was in the first century. Now Bruce brings his exciting theatrical gifts to his one man shows in churches and universities, and finds that the audience's reactions are far more profound than in the reading of the text. Bruce Kuhn established Theatre for the Mind and Spirit and has taught story telling at Regent University in Canada, and Oxford University in the UK.…


The Bishop and the Atheist, Father and Son

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2013-03-31 :: ABC Radio National
At Easter the Biblical story of Father and Son recounts how Jesus came to accept both the faith and the fate for which God the Father divinely ordained him. Bishop Graeme Rutherford of the Anglican Church raised his son Jonathan in the Christian faith, but at the age of 19 Jonathan started to read Russell, Chomsky and Dawkins. Jonathan became an atheist, and father and son, Christian and atheist, argued about their divergent views. Then they published their dialogue as Beloved Father, Beloved Son. Today they have become closer despite their differences.…


The Archbishop and the Rabbi on Genesis

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2013-03-24 :: ABC Radio National
Archbishop Peter Jensen of Sydney's Anglican Cathedral interviews Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence of The Great Synagogue on the Jewish understanding of Genesis 1:11, and finds both common ground and wisdom for a secular age. In this delightful conversation, Rabbi Lawrence brings his love of science, his wealth of rabbinical stories, and his anarchic sense humour to promote a belief in the shared redemption of the world based on humanity created in God's image.…


Cardinals and Popes

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2013-03-17 :: ABC Radio National
The election of Pope Francis contains some ironies, but as second favourite in the last conclave eight years ago, he is ready to bring Latin American Catholics to a new prominence, according to Maria-Paz Lopez, Vatican correspondent for LaVanguardia, Barcelona, Spain. Cardinals' lives were often far from saintly, but those 'raised to the purple' were the power behind the papal throne. Catholic historian Michael Walsh gives an insight into the cardinalate past and present. Pope Benedict XVI has quickly retired into the background, but his legacy will be examined and extolled for years to come. Clifford Longley, religious commentator for The Times for 20 years and lead writer for The Tablet makes his assessment.…


Muslims in America: Melting Pot or Tossed Salad

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2013-03-09 :: ABC Radio National
Saeed Khan loves his Thanksgiving turkey with cranberry sauce and corn on the side. He is a member of America's oldest and largest Muslim community, but as a professor of the history and politics of the Muslim diaspora, at Wayne State University, Michigan, he's all too aware of the mixed blessing of the 'melting pot' ideal. Kahn likens today's society as more a 'tossed salad' model where difference is honoured but not considered a barrier to civility or even bonding at Thanksgiving and the Superbowl. Sharia law, however, is bridge too far for many American states, and currently 14 have laws or proposed legislation banning religious law, and with it Sharia.…


Panting and Chanting (incl. 3 music videos)

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2013-03-02 :: ABC Radio National
Margot Anand, the Sorbonne-trained psychologist and Tantric teacher, believes sacred sex is the foundation of a fulfilling spiritual life. Trained in Hindu and Buddhist Tantra, Anand has taught Tantric Sky Dancing for 25 years, to students as diverse as married couples and Jesuit priests. The aim is to experience the luminous state of orgasm, and learn to move that energy up the solar plexus into your heart and head. Deva Premal and Miten hold healing workshops of mantra chanting where couples and groups learn to vibrate, breathe and move together.…


Agnes of God and other nun stories

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2013-02-23 :: ABC Radio National
A true story of a novice who became pregnant and killed her child is the basis of a play that pitches a psychologist against a Mother Superior in the search for truth and the meaning of faith. Shona Benson, director of Agnes of God for the Adelaide Fringe, discusses why she is personally drawn to the play, which raises current issues about the tension between scientific and spiritual realities. Richard Leonard SJ, Director of the Catholic Film Office, discusses the changing face of nuns in cinema and the way their stories relate to current issues, including sexual abuse and capital punishment.…


Monastery of the Heart

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2013-02-16 :: ABC Radio National
America's most outspoken Catholic nun, Sr Joan Chittister, breaks down the high walls of the monastery in her extended poem, The Monastery of the Heart. She invites us to 'stop the noise within' and consider a relationship to God which opens to the self and is a bridge to the world. Based on the Rule of Benedict, Chittister's testament is full of wise counsel and spiritual direction that speaks to people of all traditions and none. Yet Sr Joan's role as a leading figure in the Roman Catholic Church's women religious in America, has also put her in the line of fire, which she addresses in this extended interview and reading from her home in Erie Country, Pennsylvania.…


Religion in China

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2013-02-09 :: ABC Radio National
Religion is growing rapidly in China, despite communism's prohibition and persecution of its adherents. Yet the story is not straightforward, including communism's enthusiasm for Qui Gong, and its sanctioning of some forms of Christianity and Buddhism. Fenggang Yang is a world expert on contemporary religious change in China, and his recent book Religion in China has been hailed as a brilliant analysis of the past, present and future of belief and practice in the world's most powerful economy. Director of the Centre on Religion and Chinese Society, sociologist at Purdue College of Liberal Arts, Professor Yang spoke to Rachael at the recent SSSR/RRA conference in Phoenix, Arizona.…


Ghoulable or Just Paranormal?

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2013-02-02 :: ABC Radio National
Most people have at least one paranormal experience, says psychologist Tony Jinks. The dream that proved predictive, the medium who knew all about your departed mother, the vision at the foot of the bed, the creepy sense that a house was haunted are all experiences that show people are open to non-rational phenomena. Psychologists usually explain them by reducing the experiences to an emotional trauma or dysfunction. But Jinks believes they may be a positive way of living a rich and meaningful life. His own paranormal experience is wild!…


Carl Jung: regaining religion

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2013-01-26 :: ABC Radio National
Carl Jung's exploration of the psyche took him deep into the world of religion, myth and the occult. The founder of depth psychology, Jung said that his patients suffered from a lack of what religion used to give people, but lost, and that healing would come from a direct experience of the Divine... And the Art Gallery of NSW exhibition on Australian Symbolism delves into the art of dreams.…


Buddhism East and West: Lama Surya Das and Ven. Phra Anil Sakya

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2013-01-19 :: ABC Radio National
Chant master and proponent of American Buddhism Lama Surya Das believes that Buddhism is trans-sectarian, working alongside and even including the wisdom and practice of other faiths. Founder of the Dzogchen Center in Cambridge, Mass, Lama Surya is in Australia to teach young people how to cope with the time poor, technology rich life. Venerable Phra Anil Sakya combines the Thai Forest Buddhist tradition with degrees in philosophy and anthropology, to bring a contemporary perspective to Buddhism in Thailand, which is undergoing a popular and practical resurgence in his country.…


Love in Lancashire

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2013-01-12 :: ABC Radio National
Jeanette Winterson's adopted mum loved God but found it hard to love her child. Jeanette would search for love and wrestle with it, while enduring a harsh faith and an exorcism. In this intimate conversation, Jeanette talks of her Christian upbringing, her love of reading the Bible and the tales of the Holy Grail, which gave her profound hope, grounded her spiritual life, and shaped her into one of England's most acclaimed writers, and, in her words, 'a missionary of a different kind'.…


Cool Christianity

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2013-01-05 :: ABC Radio National
The Church in the Graveyard in Newtown, Sydney caters to young Christians who like their coffee latte, their music contemporary, and their faith more open and expressive than the services preferred by their parents generation. Hipster or Cool Christianity has gained a lot of attention, particularly in the U.S., but Australians are ambivalent about it. Assistant Minister Rev'd Andrew Errington and a number of congregants talk about the distinctive features of the Church in the Graveyard.…


My Spiritual Diary - Ross Fitzgerald

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2012-12-29 :: ABC Radio National
Do you have spiritual thoughts? Or do they drift away in a fog while you're busy doing something else? My Spiritual Diary is a monthly series on The Spirit of Things where people in all walks of life keep a record of their spiritual thoughts and practice. Sharing their feelings and observations, they focus on the things that give meaning to their lives, in the day to day.…


Stained Glass Poetry

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2012-12-22 :: ABC Radio National
The stained glass windows of St Bartholomew's Church in Adelaide were the catalyst for Light and Glorie (2012), a collection of poetry edited by Thomas Sullivan and Aidan Coleman. Aidan and Thom invited leading South Australian poets to write in response to St Bart's windows. The result was an impressive collection of poems, and a revitalising of the St Bart community of church-goers. Reading their poems are Jude Aquilina, Maggie Emmett, Rachael Mead, Jennifer Liston Steve Evans, Martin Christmas as well as editors as Thom Sullivan and Aidan Colemann who also talk about the role of poetry in faith and faith in poetry.…


Child Theology

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2012-12-15 :: ABC Radio National
CHILD THEOLOGY: No its not kids writing theology, thank goodness, its theologians thinking more seriously about children than they ever have before. Given the incidence of child abuse by clerics, it is an urgent question whether a lack of serious thinking about children is partly to blame. Professor Marcia Bunge, Director of the Child in Religion and Ethics Project at Christ College, Valparaiso University, Indiana, is a leading figure in the Child Theology Movement. She addresses both the theological resources that exist to grow strong morally responsible children, and the propensity of theologians to sideline children as a 'cute' topic.…


Human Potential and Spiritual Privilege

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2012-12-08 :: ABC Radio National
Beatniks and psychotherapists, theologians and gurus all beat a trail to Esalen Institute on the Big Sur on California's north coast, to expand their human and spiritual potential. Founded by Dick Price and Michael Murphy in 1962, Esalen was a hub of experimentation where new psychotherapies, like Gestalt psychology, were invented and mind-body-spirit was launched Marion Goldman, author of The Great American Soul Rush, tracks the history of Esalen and its impact of religion and spirituality. Jeffrey Kripal, author of Esalen: American and The Religion of No Religion, talks about his collaboration with Michael Murphy and Esalen's Centre for Theory and Research .…


My Spiritual Diary: Ven. Freeman Trebilcock

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2012-12-01 :: ABC Radio National
At 24, Freeman Trebilcock is a young Buddhist monk who thinks actions speak louder than words, which is why he is often very busy. Recently on the road with the visiting Nepalese singing nun, Ani Choying Drolma, organising of the tour tested his Buddhist practice to the limit. Keeping a Spiritual Diary was a grounding experience for Freeman, who after twelve years has not yet found a stable routine to his spiritual practice. Freeman's special interest in interfaith work has won him accolades and awards, but being CEO of Interaction in Melbourne and founder of Loving Kindness Peaceful Youth has also confirmed his view that young people have strong spiritual interests and passions and a desire to work for the common good.…


80 years exploring spirituality

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2012-11-24 :: ABC Radio National
EREMOS has been exploring spirituality in Australia for 30 years, through its retreats, its magazine, and its special lectures by visiting scholars. Founded to deepen and broaden Christian spirituality and learn from indigenous spiritual connections to the land, Eremos's diverse membership are encouraged 'to experience the tension between certainty and belief, knowing and unknowing.' FINDHORN was founded 50 years ago as an experimental spiritual community in Scotland, and today it continues to thrive as one of the largest alternative communities in Britain. Starting life with a few people in a caravan park, 'the emerging "community" was an accidental offshoot of their committed dedication to God.' John Talbott, its former director, now lives in Australia, planning to seed a Findhorn ecovillage Downunder.…


Secular Fundamentalists and the Judeo-Christian Ethic

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2012-11-17 :: ABC Radio National
Secular fundamentalists are removing all traces of God and religion from the Public Square in America, says Dennis Prager, popular radio show host and author of Still the Best Hope (2012). Prager, who cites some alarming examples of 'religion cleansing' is also a Jewish defender of the Judeo-Christian ethic, which gave us the secular state but not secularism, a product of the Left. Debbie Weissman, the President of the International Council of Christians and Jews thinks the Judeo-Christian ethic is a helpful but limited idea.…


Nazi Dreams and Realities

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2012-11-10 :: ABC Radio National
Australian filmmaker Rod Freedman's Uncle Chatzkel (1999) told the story of the Jews of Zagare, Lithuania, who were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators. In July this year, he was present with Australian author Rose Zwi (Last Walk in Naryshkin Park) at a reconciliation event when a young Lithuanian initiated a memorial in the town square of Zagare where 3,000 Jews were rounded up and shot in 1941. David Bird's Nazi Dreamtime (2012) documents the Australian enthusiasts for Hitler's Germany. Eccentric mystics, such as AR Mills and aesthetic believers like architect William Hardy Wilson were among them.…


My Spiritual Diary: Dr Catherine Crock

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2012-11-04 :: ABC Radio National
The award winning doctor and mother of five, Catherine Crock is on a mission to change the hospital culture. She's introduced music in the hospital setting by producing 12 HUSH CDs, raised funds for children's hospitals across Australia and co-founded the Australian Institute for Patient and Family Centred Care. Family has been formative and sustaining, yet a potentially lethal allergy and a heart condition give this inspirational woman cause to reflect on her own mortality and the sources of her deepest joy.…


Cheeky nun chants for children

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2012-10-28 :: ABC Radio National
A Buddhist nun who loves Bollywood movies, Ani Choying Drolma leads an unconventional life. Born in poverty and hardship in Nepal, a chance meeting with an American jazz guitarist who heard her chant put her on the road to worldwide fame. Ani's cheeky personality and sharp intellect together with her earnings as an international concert artist have enabled her to build a school for girls and also a medical clinic in her native Nepal. Ani's story of deprivation and family violence is tempered by love and respect for her parents and by the Buddhist teaching of compassion.…


Riddles and Revelations

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2012-10-21 :: ABC Radio National
Guessing riddles was a lethal game in the ancient world, but Jesus spoke in riddles and parables to challenge his listeners to think in a new way and shake them out of their complacency, says John Dominic Crossan, author of The Power of Parable. Receiving divine revelations was part of the early Christian experience, but only one Book of Revelation among many that were discovered was included in the New Testament. Why the others were excluded is explained by Elaine Pagels, author of Revelations: Visions, Prophecy and Politics in the Book of Revelation.…


Service not Servitude: Women in the Church

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2012-10-14 :: ABC Radio National
Women's equality was widely accepted when the Anglican Church of Australia was still barring women from the priesthood. Twenty years later there are almost 500 Anglican women priests in Australia. Elaine Lindsay and Janet Scarfe, editors of Preachers, Prophets and Heretics: Anglican Women's Ministry (2012) give a ringside perspective on this unique struggle in Australian history. Mimi Haddad, President of Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE), argues that the early Evangelical Christians were strong supporters of women's equality, including in ministry.…


I Am Claire: My Transgender Spiritual Diary

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2012-10-07 :: ABC Radio National
Husband, Father, and Girlfriend, Claire is also someone who spent many years in the Anglican Church as a youth worker and assistant pastor. His inner girl lived in shame and was not only rejected by the Church but also, he believed, by God, until a pastor had a different message for him. Since then, Claire, who is also a serious surfer and a worker in child protection, has enjoyed acceptance by a loving God, his family and him/herself.…


The Himalayas to the Darling Downs: Cities of Peace and Harmony

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2012-09-30 :: ABC Radio National
Lumbini, Nepal, the Buddha's birthplace is a small poor hamlet that is set to be reborn as a model city of peace and harmony. Toowoomba, Queensland has a vision to become a leading example of a multi-faith community that lives in peace and harmony.…


A Jesuit Scholar of Hinduism

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2012-09-23 :: ABC Radio National
Frank Clooney taught Hindu and Buddhist students in Nepal's Francis Xavier College in the 1970s, and found that he was learning from them. The young Jesuit novitiate returned to the US and became one of the most respected scholars of Sanskrit and Tamil texts. He is also a champion of inter-faith dialogue. He speaks to Rachael about the future of interfaith understanding and learning from Hinduism in a world where India is becoming increasingly important.…


Enriching Art: Mandorla Religious Art Award

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2012-09-16 :: ABC Radio National
The Mandorla Religious Art Award, based in Perth, is Australia's richest religious art prize. Feminine themes were dominant as artists responded to the verse in Paul's Letter to the Galatians (4:4) 'In the fullness of time, God sent his son into the world, born of a woman, born under the Law.' The winning work, John Paul's Palm Sunday, is described as sensuous yet ethereal, by former curator Jeanette Lewis Hill, while the youth award winner, 16-year-old Julian Poon, who has Asperger's syndrome, was inspired by the cathedrals he's visited around the world. Chair, Angela McCarthy, discusses the indispensable role of Christianity in Western art. Includes several artists and viewers.…


Coptic Christianity and September 11

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2012-09-09 :: ABC Radio National
Egypt was entirely Christian by the time of the 7th century Arab conquest. Coptic Christianity lays claim to the origins of monasticism and boasts some of the most important early Church Fathers, but its production of a famous library of early Christian and Gnostic writings discovered at Nag Hammadi in 1945 brought it to the forefront of Christian scholarship. Malcolm Choat and Victor Ghica of Macquarie University Coptic Studies program reveal Coptic Christianity's unique history, while Coptic priest Father Shanouda explains the importance of the Coptic New Year which is celebrated on September 11.…


Dave Andrews' Ramadan Diary

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2012-09-02 :: ABC Radio National
Living with compassion for the stranger has epitomised the Christian life for Dave Andrews, founder of the community network The Waiter's Union in West End Brisbane. This year Dave, after profound dialogues with his Muslim friends and teachers, has kept a Ramadan Diary, in order to enter into the meaning of the Bismillah ('In the name of God, most Gracious, most compassionate'). Dave discovers in Islam there are concepts of God as the all merciful which can show the way to a more harmonious world.…


Apocalypse Now

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2012-08-26 :: ABC Radio National
Albrecht Dürer's illustrated Book of Revelation became a 'best seller' in 1498 when its lurid images of the End Times seemed to reflect a Europe on the brink of collapse. The NGV's original copy is the centrepiece of a new exhibition which will reveal the apocalyptic consciousness. In turn of the century England when the Empire was crumbling, an Anglican, Freemason and spiritualist John Ward founded a groundbreaking museum of human civilisation which was popular but based on his belief that the world was about to end. Scandal and serendipity brought the community and the museum to Australia.…


A Couple of Dedicated Salvos

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2012-08-19 :: ABC Radio National
On the occasion of the Salvation Army's centenary of the founder William Booth (d. 20 August 1912), and the current trial of the Salvos chaplaincy program in NSW, Qld and ACT clubs, comes this repeat broadcast of two remarkable Salvos. Brendan and Sandra Nottle are the husband and wife team who head up Melbourne 614, a community organisation dedicated to the broken and forgotten people at the margins of society. They live 'the three R's: Rebuilding, Restoring and Renewing lives, all of which clearly express the resurrection theology at the heart of the Salvation Army. (First broadcast April 24 2011).…


Spong's Christian Humanism

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2012-08-12 :: ABC Radio National
Retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong has not softened his radical message: that the non-religious world wants a humanist message from the Bible. In the New Testament's Gospel of John, Spong finds a humanist Christianity which does not require belief in Jesus as God, but as a man with a radically inclusive message of love for humanity. But will Spong's controversial reading of the Bible, which includes his speculation that Saint Paul was homosexual, turn people away from the Bible or towards it? His new book is Reclaiming The Bible for a Non Religious World (2012).…


My Spiritual Diary: Angels and Insects

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2012-08-05 :: ABC Radio National
When Lisa Conti wanted to throw herself under a train, the young mother felt she had nothing to live for. But her baby boy and visions of angels came to her rescue. In Melbourne, Carolyn Leach-Paholski cares for the spirit of things. She puts to rest her 'broken needles' following a Shinto tradition, and ponders the death of a grasshopper she failed to rescue. Both Lisa and Carolyn share their spiritual diaries with Rachael.…


Forced marriage

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2012-07-29 :: ABC Radio National
Marriage of under-aged girls is a traditional practice which has family and religious endorsement in some migrant communities. Psychotherapist and Community Relations Commissioner Dr Eman Sharobeem is an Egyptian Coptic Christian who was a victim of forced marriage, and now she helps other young women in similar circumstances. Director of Anti-Slavery Australia, Dr Jennifer Burn, discusses the legal, cultural and religious dimensions of forced marriage and the current Australian efforts to make it a crime in Australian law.…


Cool Christianity

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2012-07-22 :: ABC Radio National
The Church in the Graveyard in Newtown, Sydney caters to young Christians who like their coffee latte, their music contemporary, and their faith more open and expressive than the services preferred by their parents generation. Hipster or Cool Christianity has gained a lot of attention, particularly in the U.S., but Australians are ambivalent about it. Assistant Minister Rev'd Andrew Errington and a number of congregants talk about the distinctive features of the Church in the Graveyard.…


Haunted Houses

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2012-07-15 :: ABC Radio National
Are you about to renovate your house? You know, knocking down a few walls. Well be prepared. You might find something you weren't banking on—which if disturbed could change your luck. On the other hand, your house may be so spooky you've decided to cut your losses and sell a.s.a.p. Haunted Houses and their expert decoders join Rachael for an adventure into the unknown.…


Crusaders and Pacifists

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2012-07-08 :: ABC Radio National
Time magazine's most popular theologian in America, Stanley Hauerwas, is an 'anti-liberal' Christian who believes in pacifism, but is the first to admit that it doesn't lead to harmony, but rather to conflict. A bricklayer cum theologian, Stanley recently authored his memoir, Hannah's Child (2012). Pakistani American scholar Asma Barlas defends her criticism of 'the West' and what she calls its latent Crusader consciousness. She has published on this topic, including Islam, Muslims and the US: Essays on Religion and Politics (2004). Both Hauerwas and Barlas were brought to the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne.…


My Spiritual Diary: Moira Rayner, From Osho to Iggy

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2012-07-01 :: ABC Radio National
Fighting for human rights and equal opportunity has put Melbourne barrister Moira Rayner in the limelight, but her life-long spiritual quest has not taken a back seat in her highly demanding life. Even when the chips were down, and she was accused of corruption when she was an acting commissioner of the Corruption and Crime Commission of Western Australia, she found solace and support in Christian meditation. From a Presbyterian childhood to the innovative guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), Moira finally found what she was looking for in the St Ignatius Spiritual Exercises.…


Buddhism East and West: Lama Surya Das and Ven. Phra Anil Sakya

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2012-06-24 :: ABC Radio National
Chant master and proponent of American Buddhism Lama Surya Das believes that Buddhism is trans-sectarian, working alongside and even including the wisdom and practice of other faiths. Founder of the Dzogchen Center in Cambridge, Mass, Lama Surya is in Australia to teach young people how to cope with the time poor, technology rich life. Venerable Phra Anil Sakya combines the Thai Forest Buddhist tradition with degrees in philosophy and anthropology, to bring a contemporary perspective to Buddhism in Thailand, which is undergoing a popular and practical resurgence in his country.…


Inside story of the Second Vatican Council: Yves Congar's Diary

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2012-06-17 :: ABC Radio National
Embargoed until 2000, Yves Congar's private journal of the day-to-day deliberations of the Council reveals his frustrations with the powerful personalities who impeded his efforts during the four-year process of Vatican II. Yves Congar was a prominent theologian of Christian unity (ecumenism) who suffered exile and censorship by Rome. Yet the eminent historian of Vatican II, Fr Joseph Komonchak, in Australia to launch the first English translation of Yves Congar: My Journal of the Council, gives his assessment of Congar as one of the most important theologians of Vatican II, a fact Congar himself barely recognised.…


Love in Lancashire

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2012-06-10 :: ABC Radio National
Jeanette Winterson's adopted mum loved God but found it hard to love her child. Jeanette would search for love and wrestle with it, while enduring a harsh faith and an exorcism. In this intimate conversation, Jeanette talks of her Christian upbringing, her love of reading the Bible and the tales of the Holy Grail, which gave her profound hope, grounded her spiritual life, and shaped her into one of England's most acclaimed writers, and, in her words, 'a missionary of a different kind'.…


Two prominent Roman Catholics call for change

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2012-06-03 :: ABC Radio National
What is at stake if the Roman Catholic Church does not move with the times?  The recent US Bishops' censure of Women Religious and the dismissal of several priests from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia on charges relating to child sexual abuse provide the backdrop to a conversation with two highly accomplished Catholic thinkers and servants of the church, Brother Louis De Thomasis and Dr Phyllis Zagano.…


Archaeology and the media

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2012-05-27 :: ABC Radio National
Jesus' family tomb is one of the more sensational 'discoveries' of recent years, but is it true? Media interest in ancient discoveries is forcing the slow and painstaking discipline of archaeology into a swift and swashbuckling sport according to Egyptologist Dr Karin Sowada. In contrast, 25 years of digging and reconstructing a site at the Dead Sea in Jordan, under the direction of Konstantinos Politis, has yielded one of the most striking ancient churches, the Sanctuary of Lot's Cave.…


Mormon Yankees

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2012-05-20 :: ABC Radio National
They were basketball players and Mormon missionaries who brought the sport to Australia to spread the message of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the 50s. Historian and film maker Professor Fred Woods of Brigham Young University, Utah, tells the story of their remarkable success, leading up to the ’56 Olympics. …


Douglas Kirkland: photographing souls

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2012-05-13 :: ABC Radio National
Douglas Kirkland is Hollywood’s most notable photographer, and in a career that spans more than 50 years, he’s caught just about everyone in his lens. In a rare interview of his life and work, the small-town, church-attending boy who made it big talks to Rachael about seeing celebrities as people, the ethics of nude photos of children, the indigenous belief that a photograph can 'steal' a spirit, and the only time he used his camera as a weapon.  …


My Spiritual Diary: Dr Howard Goldenberg

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2012-05-06 :: ABC Radio National
He's never kept a diary before, and found keeping a Spiritual Diary for The Spirit of Things embarrassing, pretentious, but also very valuable. Howard Goldenberg is a physician who is used to making a prognosis of his patients' health, but now he turns his attention to himself, and probes his conscience for the true meaning of his Jewish faith.…


Carl Jung: regaining religion

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2012-04-29 :: ABC Radio National
Carl Jung's exploration of the psyche took him deep into the world of religion, myth and the occult. The founder of depth psychology, Jung said that his patients suffered from a lack of what religion used to give people, but lost, and that healing would come from a direct experience of the Divine... And the Art Gallery of NSW exhibition on Australian Symbolism delves into the art of dreams.…


Religion journalists

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2012-04-22 :: ABC Radio National
Religion journalists cover the most explosive issue, which is why most media prefer to 'bury', censor or ignore religion altogether. At a unique gathering in Bellagio, Italy, religion journalists from Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Israel and Jordan, talk to Rachael Kohn about how and why they are breaking the code of silence.…


A Bible for Atheists

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2012-04-15 :: ABC Radio National
THE SECULAR BIBLE: He bills himself as 'the maker' not the author of The Good Book, a Secular Bible, but philosopher AC Grayling is no shrinking violet when it comes to claiming that his magnum opus for atheists should take its place alongside the Bible, to read for generations to come. Still, he doesn't think it belongs in Alain de Botton's proposed Temple to Atheism…


THE MESSIAH, THE PROPHET AND DEAD SEA SOURCES

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2012-04-08 :: ABC Radio National
Easter and Passover are historically and religiously related, but two Hebrew University scholars have separately argued for some surprising continuities and disjunctions in the Christian and Jewish beliefs that mark the respective festivals.…


My Spiritual Diary: Jo Swinney

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2012-04-01 :: ABC Radio National
Jo Swinney is a Christian author and mum who keeps a Spiritual Diary for Lent and finds that the spiritual task she sets herself of reading the Bible every day is more difficult than she imagined. But the diary has helped her to focus on the true meaning of 'home' as Easter approaches.…


Life after a cult

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2012-03-25 :: ABC Radio National
Cults have attracted attention for their authoritarian methods of controlling followers, but when people have managed to escape, they are often unable to cope 'on the outside'. Based in New York, Lorna and Bill Goldberg specialise in providing ex-members the psychological support they need to lead normal lives. And author Maggie Groff explains why she wrote about a cult in her first rom-com novel.…


Rome's Sistine Chapel and Secret Archives

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2012-03-18 :: ABC Radio National
The first exhibition from the Vatican's Secret Archives is on display and BBC's Rome correspondent David Willey is our guide, and on the 500th anniversary of the Sistine Chapel art critic Laura Gascoigne explains its unusual layout and Michelangelo's faith.…


My Spiritual Diary: Jane Rutter

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2012-03-03 :: ABC Radio National
Emotional honesty and living according to a golden rule of following her inspiration is what drives Jane Rutter, one of Australia's premier flautists. Nature, Sufism, and a profound belief in music as the language of 'Divine Communion,' Jane is frank, forceful and funny about the spiritual values that infuse her life.…


Hare Krishna and Yoga

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2012-02-25 :: ABC Radio National
India exported Hare Krishna and Yoga to the West in the 1960s. While Hare Krishna remained a small but loyal movement of shaven headed followers, Yoga has become popular in the West by feminising its practice.…


Old Jews, New Jews

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2012-02-18 :: ABC Radio National
Is it consistency or change that has led to Jewish survival for over 3,000 years? The Chief Rabbi of the UK, Lord Jonathan Sacks, urges Orthodoxy while leading social researcher of Judaism. Dr Bethamie Horowitz celebrates 'the wide tent' of mostly non-Orthodox Jewish life in America.…


2011-11-27 The Sufi Spirit

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2011-11-26 Length: 54m 54s
Prayer that brings a permanent awareness of the Divine Reality is the aim of Sufism first and foremost, which London based Sufi scholar, Reza Shah-Kazemi, believes is the key to its universality. Sufism's mystical universalism is what interests Hebrew Uni…


2011-11-20 Body Mind Spirit

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2011-11-19 Length: 53m 57s
Forget 'no pain, no gain'. Mark Bunn, former AFL footballer and author of Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health, discovered in Yoga and Ayurveda medicine that true body fitness is a spiritual goal with positive physical results. And forget mind-numbing holiday…


2011-11-13 Religion Under Attack

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2011-11-12 Length: 53m 58s
One third of the world's population is experiencing increased religious persecution according to Pew Research Center's recent study on religion in the public sphere. Brian Grim, Director of Cross National Data, talks about the implications, while Gregor P…


2011-11-06 God in the 21st Century

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2011-11-05 Length: 53m 58s
Robyn Williams of Radio National's The Science Show shares his unmitigated disappointment in the God which totally failed his expectations. Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins, from Emanuel Synagogue, argues that the expectations are misplaced, and blame should squarely…


2011-10-30 Couples: In the Light of Love - Kim and Perry, Tracey and Lorraine

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2011-10-29 Length: 54m 30s
Seven billion people in the world, and many of them are children whose chances for a normal life are cut short, due to unmet needs. But some couples forsake a comfortable life to help them by becoming foster parents. Kim and Perry decided they'd limit the…


2011-10-23 Religion in Malaysia

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2011-10-22 Length: 53m 58s
Religious pluralism marks the history of Malaysia, but riots in 1969 fostered tensions between religious groups that have had lasting effects. Recently-retired Chief Justice of Malaysia, Zaki bin Tun Azmi, says religious pluralism is very well managed in …


2011-10-16 Three Times Time

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2011-10-15 Length: 53m 58s
A Christian, a Buddhist and a Jew wrestle with the one thing that rules our lives but we never have enough of - time. Recorded at the Perth Winter Arts Festival this year, Catholic Father Oscar Aguilera, Buddhist teacher and author, David Michie, and Pro…


2011-09-25 Couples: In the Light of Love - Tanveer Ahmed and Alina Hughes

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2011-09-24 Length: 53m 58s
Bangladesh-born Tanveer Ahmed, a well-known journalist, psychiatrist and sometime stand-up comedian, says he's a 'cultural Muslim' Aussie. This suits his wife Alina, whose English and Ukrainian heritage makes Christmas and Easter important family celebrat…


2011-09-18 Women Against the Law - UPDATED

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2011-09-17 Length: 54m 28s
Religious legal traditions which do not treat women equal to men are challenged today by feminists, such as Anat Hoffman, Israeli founder of Women at the Wall, who was recently arrested for praying at the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem, Patricia Fres…


2011-09-11 God After Ground Zero

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2011-09-10 Length: 53m 58s
The 9/11 attacks prompted a major critique against Islamism in particular and against 'fundamentalist' religion in general, and kick-started an international atheist movement. Muslims, Christians and Jews have had the unenviable task of re-examining the a…


2011-09-04 Sacred and Profane Music

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2011-09-03 Length: 54m 28s
'Luther was in no way afraid of the idea of dancing in church' says Nicholas Bannan, which is how the preordained notions of sacred decorum were opened up to include rousing music in sacred settings. Associate Professor of Music at the University of West…


2011-08-28 Couples: In the Light of Love - Kim Cunio and Heather Lee

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2011-08-27 Length: 53m 58s
Two of Australia's most gifted musical talents, Kim Cunio and Heather Lee, are a professional and a personal partnership, who specialise in bringing sacred music to the stage and developing new forms for interfaith settings. Their marriage is a celebrati…


2011-08-21 Virtues to the Rescue

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2011-08-20 Length: 54m 28s
The London riots prompted soul-searching and rescue remedies from politicians and priests. But for Mark Vernon who lives in South London where some of the rioting happened it is the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who has the answer. Virtues ed…


2011-08-14 What To Say To Suffering and Death

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2011-08-13 Length: 53m 57s
When a horrific accident left Richard Leonard's sister a quadriplegic, the words of 'consolation' by the faithful were far from comforting. As a Catholic priest and a movie critic, Richard, who wrote Where the Hell is God?, plumbs the theological and movi…


2011-08-07 An Evening With John Lennox

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2011-08-06 Length: 54m 27s
Mathematician, philosopher of science, and Christian, John Lennox of Oxford University has made a name for himself debating Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Peter Singer on the compatibility of religion and science. Recorded in front of an audien…


2011-07-31 Couples: In the Light of Love - Una and Denis Glennon

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2011-07-30 Length: 53m 58s
Since their daughter, Ciara, was murdered more than 13 years ago, the Glennon's lives have changed irrevocably. From paralyzing grief to living a meaningful life again has been a long and painful journey, with profound soul searching. They are both 'in a …


2011-07-24 Play It Again God

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2011-07-23 Length: 53m 58s
Imagine a class full of children who are fascinated by stories that teach them to 'think big' and deepen their spiritual response to the world. 'Godly Play' in action has just been launched in Australia, although Jeanette Acland has been using it success…


2011-07-17 Global Village, or Techno-Tribalism?

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2011-07-16 Length: 53m 57s
Is the massive religious and spiritual 'traffic' on the internet resulting in inclusivity and expansive world views? Or is it generating the opposite: self-directed interaction within narrow interests and tribal subcultures? Dr Quentin Schultze in Michig…


2011-07-10 A Tale of Two Women in Jerusalem

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2011-07-09 Length: 54m 28s
Palestinian Muslim Suheir Rasul and Jewish Zionist Sharon Rosen are deeply connected to the land they both call home, but they don't see a problem with that. Suheir and Sharon share a deep friendship and a vision of coexistence, and as co-directors of Se…


2011-07-03 Couples: In the Light of Love - Dave and Bess Nungarrayi Price

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2011-07-02 Length: 53m 57s
For over thirty years, Dave, an Irish Catholic from Newcastle and Bess, a Walpiri woman from Yuendumu, have been married, raising a family, and working for the betterment of Aboriginal Australians in the Northern Territory. Bess is the Chair of the North…


2011-06-26 Dalai Lama Direct (incl. video)

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2011-06-25 Length: 54m 28s
At the age of 76, the Dalai Lama isn't beating around the bush. In an exclusive interview with Rachael Kohn, he talks about the need for religious leaders to get off their high horse and meet the people, the importance of democracy, and the possibilities …


2011-06-19 Freedom and Happiness

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2011-06-18 Length: 53m 58s
When the world hurts, Jewish mysticism offers a route to paradise, both real and imagined, says Rachel Elior, the foremost expert on Jewish mysticism and head of Jewish Thought at Hebrew University. Mysticism, including meditation, can help us overcome t…


2010-12-12 Transcending Difference Together

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2010-12-11 Length: 53m 6s
Khashyar Darvich explains why he made the film, Dalai Lama Renaissance, about 40 spiritual seekers and thinkers who met with the Dalai Lama to find ways to change the world. And Interfaith minister Stephanie Dowrick talks about how `seeking the sacred,´ t…


2010-12-05 Hearing is Believing

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2010-12-04 Length: 28s
`Seeing is believing´ is wrong, says Jeremy Begbie, the pianist and Christian theologian who gave the 2010 New College lecture series, Music, Modernity and God at UNSW. In this lecture, `Can We Be Free with God in Our Space?´, Begbie demonstrates with mus…


2010-11-28 Spiritual and Secular

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2010-11-27 Length: 53m 58s
Today only 55% of Australians describe themselves as religious or spiritual, but the most passionate advocates of Atheism are older males. Dr. Philip Hughes´ recent review of Christian ministry in Australia, Shaping Australia´s Spirituality, reveals the i…


2010-11-21 Sacred Activist

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2010-11-20 Length: 53m 58s
Andrew Harvey was once a Religious Studies Professor at Oxford University, but found that academia could not solve the world´s catastrophic conflicts and environmental problems. Now he combines the mystic´s passion for God with the activist´s pursuit of j…


2010-11-14 Aborigines Choosing Islam

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2010-11-13 Length: 53m 58s
Part Aborigine and part Afghan, 'Ramiz' realised he did not 'fit in' and spent his youth finding alternative paths, until his life hit rock bottom. That was when Islam offered a way out. Also on the program is Dr. Peta Stephenson, author of Islam Dreaming…


2010-11-14 Aborigines Choosing Islam

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2010-11-13 Length: 53m 58s
Part Aborigine and part Afghan, 'Ramiz' realised he did not 'fit in' and spent his youth finding alternative paths, until his life hit rock bottom. That was when Islam offered a way out. Also on the program is Dr. Peta Stephenson, author of Islam Dreaming…


2010-11-07 Interfacing With Interfaith

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2010-11-06 Length: 54m 27s
In a special guest edition of The Spirit of Things, Rachael Kohn gives the chair to Benji Holzman, Colin Lee and Mohamad Assoum, who discuss the highs and lows of interfaith dialogue with two Jews, two Catholics and two Muslims, all young people intereste…


2010-11-07 Interfacing With Interfaith

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2010-11-06 Length: 54m 27s
In a special guest edition of The Spirit of Things, Rachael Kohn gives the chair to Benji Holzman, Colin Lee and Mohamad Assoum, who discuss the highs and lows of interfaith dialogue with two Jews, two Catholics and two Muslims, all young people intereste…


2010-10-31 Selfless and Happy

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2010-10-30 Length: 53m 58s
Aspiring to be a bestselling novelist made David Michie miserable, until he realised the ego he was feeding didn´t really exist. In his latest book on Buddhism, Enlightenment to Go, David draws on the medieval Indian monk, Shanti Deva, for the secret of h…


2010-10-31 Selfless and Happy

play
2010-10-30 Length: 53m 58s
Aspiring to be a bestselling novelist made David Michie miserable, until he realised the ego he was feeding didn´t really exist. In his latest book on Buddhism, Enlightenment to Go, David draws on the medieval Indian monk, Shanti Deva, for the secret of h…


About this podcast:

The Spirit of Things - Program podcast

The Spirit of Things is an adventure into religion and spirituality. It explores contemporary values and beliefs as expressed through ritual, art, music, and sacred texts.

The Spirit of Things - Program podcast