Poema S3 015 | Andy Mort Is A Gentle Rebel

May 9, 2018

Today I'm joined by my friend, inspiring writer and podcaster Andy Mort. Andy's work focusses on encouraging, providing support and community for highly sensitive people and introverts - people he calls 'gentle rebels'. Just like myself, Andy is an introverted highly sensitive type, and knows all the challenges which come with it.

Andy talks today about what it's like to be a highly sensitive introvert, how that can impact daily lives and relationships, and also the ability to have an impact with creative work.

He shares how those who aren't sensitive introverts can have healthy relationships with those who are, and how he discovered a way to have an creative impact even with those challenges, including the community he created for highly sensitive people and introverts and how it's been part of his own journey.

This was such a great conversation, and Andy is honest, down to earth, encouraging and wise - his words will bring hope and solidarity to all those challenged by being introverted or highly sensitive. 

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Poema S3 014 | Adam Baker on Creativity, Broken Dreams & The Divine Pursuit

April 25, 2018

Today my good friend Adam Baker joins me on the show. Adam is a singer-songwriter and former missionary, and today he shares his powerful and inspiring story with us.

Adam tells us of his creative journey which led him and his wife Sarah into missionary work on the African continent. With great honesty, Adam shares how these dreams went sour, the pain this caused, and how it led him and his wife to question and explore their faith in a way they had never done before - and how this led him deeper into his faith, pursuing God as never before - an experience which turned into a song, 'The Pursuit' (which you can hear at the end of the episode).

Adam's story reveals once again that doubting and questioning God, far from being something we should avoid, is something to be embraced, and can be a fundamental part of going deeper with the divine.

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Poema S3 013 | Brandan Robertson on The Unheard Stories Of LGBT Christians

April 18, 2018

Today I welcome my dear friend Brandan Robertson back to the show. Brandan Robertson is a pastor, speaker, author and LGBT activist from San Diego, US. Today we talk about his experiences as an LGBT pastor in the US, and about the release of a new book Brandan edited and compiled, 'Our Witness: The Unheard Stories of LGBT Christians'. 

Brandan shares a few of the most powerful stories sent to him by LGBT Christians of rejection, prejudice and abuse by members of the evanglelical church, and the dark and profound impact these have had on people's lives. And I discovered in our conversation that many of  these stories come from the church in the UK, which, far from being more inclusive and progressive,  is causing just as much damage to the lives of LGBT Christians. This was horrifying for me, and shows us just how much work needs to be done on LGBT inclusion. 

We also talk about the power of stories, over the power of theology and argument, to change people's perspectives, and how Brandan himself came to understand this. 

Brandan also talks about his experiences as an LGBT pastor, with a church which whilst it has many LGBT Christians, still has people who disagree on LGBT theology - including members of the LGBT community themselves. And he offers words of encouragement and hope to members of the LGBT community pursuing the journey of faith.

This is one of the deepest, powerful and arguably most important conversations I've had on the podcast. Whatever your perspective, I'd ask you listen with an open heart and open mind, and allow yourself to be moved. 

You can buy 'Our Witness' on Amazon now. 

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Poema S3 012 | Teresa Colón Is A Writer & Christian Living With Bipolar

April 11, 2018

I'm delighted to welcome my dear friend Teresa Colón to the show today. Teresa is a writer, podcaster, and mental health advocate, who has a dignosis of Bipolar Disorder. Today Teresa shares her raw, honest and inspiring story with us. 

Teresa talks about her long journey to diagnosis, and how being bipolar has impacted her day to day life. She shares how creativity, and in particular writing, helped her come to terms with her journey, and own the truth of her story - as well as bringing life and healing to others. Then she talks about how her diagnosis impacted her faith and her spiritual journey, and helped her understand how she is loved, blessed and precious - just as she is.

Finally, Teresa and I talk about our new podcast - my second podcast, to go alongside Poema - called Creating Normal, about creativity and mental illness. 

This conversation with Teresa left me, and will leave you, especially those with mental illness, a message of genuine hope, and solidarity. 

You can find Teresa's work at WoundedBirdsMinistry.com & the Creating Normal podcast here

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Poema S3 011 | Questions We Don’t Ask 6 - ‘What The Hell?’ (with Charles Porter)

April 3, 2018

Today the on-off series 'Questions We Don't Ask' continues with a discussion of hell. Which, obviously, means the question is 'What The Hell?'. So many people have so many different perspectives on hell, it's such an emotive and divisive topic in many ways. It's one that deserves examination and deeper reflection, because what we believe about hell has a huge bearing, indeed is usually born from, who we think God really is. 

My friend Charles Porter and I discuss the different perspectives today, each sharing our own views and experiences, the thoughts of some well known authors/thinkers on this subject and, as ever, it takes us into interesting and unexpected directions, ending with a discussion and experience of divine grace and Judas in the garden, which left us both in tears. 

Like all the questions in this series, it's merely a jumping off point into a bigger, wider discussion of Christian spirituality that many of us are having. I hope you'll come join us. 

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Poema S3 010 | Allison Fallon Is Indestructible

March 27, 2018

Author, speaker and coach Allison (Ally) Fallon joins me today. Ally has written several books and her latest, 'Indestructible:Leveraging Your Broken Heart to Become a Force of Love and Change in the World', is about to release. It's a memoir about the often painful and challenging journey she has been on in the last couple of years.

Today, Ally shares her powerful testimony. It's a story of divorce, brokenness, and then overcoming deep pain and finding a way through to a thriving life. Ally shares about the first actions she took on realising her marriage was ending, and the first steps she took to rebuilding her life. With great candidness and courage, she shares about the major challenges she faced, both personal and financial, and how she confronted those challenges. 

Ally also discusses the three key practices she discovered which can help people find healing and rebuild their lives - practices she lives out to this day, and which she now teaches to others. 

Ally concludes by sharing about what she believes is the only way out of trauma and pain, and to rebuild a thriving life. It's a message of hope for every single one of us. 

You can pre-order her book 'Indestructible' here and follow Ally on Twitter here.

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Poema S3 009 | Mariana Ruiz Is An Impact Driven Entrepreneur

March 21, 2018

Today my dear friend Mariana Ruiz joins me on the podcast. Mariana is a certified business coach and consultant, who works with creative people, people launching their businesses and helps them gain confidence and focus, and find their true selves. Mariana is passionate about authenticity and helping people connect with their true selves and do the work they were made to do - and share their unique story with the world. She cares most of all about helping people make an impact and becoming truly authentic in their lives and work.

Here she shares her powerful story of how she found her voice, how she moved from an overly busy life with no financial freedom and no purpose, to finding a clear purpose to her life, which has allowed her to make a positive impact on the world, overcoming deep pain and conflict in the process.

We discuss what it means to be truly authentic and having integrity in business, art and life, and Mariana shares how she manages to maintain her integrity whilst managing and marketing a successful business.

Mariana is kind, encouraging, and cares about helping people having a positive impact on the world - and she has so much wisdom to share. 

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Poema S3 008 | Dr Kate Thomas Can Bulletproof Your Psyche

March 13, 2018

Today Dr Kate Thomas returns to the podcast to discuss her latest book, 'Bulletproofing The Psyche'. We explore the different strategies Kate has discovered in recent years for both preventing and treating mental illness. She shares about her work on implimenting these strategies in her work in the the military, and how we can each implement them in our own lives.

We also talk about some best practices to treat mental illness, retraining our brains, and the concept of 'mental fitness' or 'resilience training' - training our brains to be more resilient, and to have mechanisms and strategies which can help us manage mental illness and cope with mental health challenges in way which is healthier and allows us to thrive. Kate also talks about the the importance of spirituality in combatting mental illness.

With great courage and honesty, Kate also shares about some of the challenges she's faced and is facing in her own life, and how the methods she teaches to others have been helpful to her on her own journey.

Kate is courageous, intelligent and wise - she has so much expert knowledge and experience in this area and I know this episode will be so helpful to you all. 

You can find out about her new book at: http://www.bulletproofingthepsyche.com/

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Poema S3 007 | Andrew Morgan on Making ‘The Heretic’ with Rob Bell

March 6, 2018

Today I'm delighted to be joined by filmaker Andrew Morgan. Andrew has just released his new movie, a documentary on Rob Bell called 'The Heretic'. The movie tells Rob's story, and gives an insider look into his work.

Andrew travelled with Rob on a couple of tours over the course of two years and recorded several of his onversations with him, as well as many of his speaking events. Andrew also spoke to many of his close friends and wife Kristen, all to get a deeper insight and understanding into who Rob is, what he's passionate about, and the issues and beliefs which drive him.

Andrew and I discuss the story behind the creation of the movie, and Andrew shares at length how making this movie was part of his own deeply personal and spritual journey. We explore how our art is often a reflection of our journey asnd how creativity can be part of a process of healing. We also touch on as well as what it's like travelling with Rob, what he learned from Rob, how the process of making this movie impacted his own life and beliefs, and the impact of making this movie during the rise and election of Donald Trump. 

Andrew is a great guy with a lot of passion, wisdom and insight, and amazing stories to share - this episode's definitely worth a listen.

*****

The Heretic' is available on iTunes and Amazon now...and having seen it myself, I can testify that it's an amazing, powerful, inspring, and deeply moving piece of moviemaking, and definitely worth a watch.

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Poema S3 006 | Sarah Fader Knows What Depression Feels Like

February 27, 2018

Today my dear friend, writer, podcaster and mental health advocate Sarah Fader, joins me on the show. Sarah, who herself faces mental health challenges, has become a strong and occasionally outspoken adovcate for mental health awareness. Sarah began the well known hashtag #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike, and founded Stigma Fighters, a website for those with mental health challenges to share their stories. 

With great honesty and courage, Sarah shares her own challenging and inspiring story, and offers wisdom, encouragement and hope to all those facing mental health challenges. Sarah also talks about her new '10 Step Depression Relief Workbook' - and about cognative behavioural therapy based approaches to combating depression and other mental illnesses, and demonstrates how these can be used practically. 

Sarah has so much to say about mental illness, anxiety and depression, and has a stubborn hope which will both inspire and challenge you - this is definitely worth a listen. 

**Special Offer**

To get a free PDF copy of the Depression Workbook sent to you via e-mail, send a tweet with my own and Sarah's twitter handles - @JamesPrescott77 @TheSarahFader - with your e-mail and the hashtag #IWantMyDepressionWorkbook - Sarah and I will select the winners! (you never know, it might be everyone who enters. You'll have to enter and see). 

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Poema S3 005 | Mike McHargue on How Social Media Impacts Mental Health

February 21, 2018

Today “Science Mike”, otherwise known as author, speaker and podcaster Mike McHargue, returns to the show.

On today’s episode Mike shares his thoughts on the impact of social media on mental illness, and how regulating our social media time — as he does - can improve our mental health. 

He also shares about his own recent spiritual journey, we touch on the recent shootings in Florida and talk about several methods all of us can use to improve our mental health - and a whole lot more.

Mike is one of the wisest, most intelligent and compassionate men I know, so sit back and get ready to be challenged and inspired.

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Poema S3 004 | Alexander Shaia on Community, Theosis & The Life Giving Power of Ash Wednesday

February 14, 2018

Today my dear friend and longtime friend of the show Alexander Shaia returns to the podcast.

This time we talk about the benefits & challenges of community & how this led directly to the creation of what we now call Lent, and Ash Wednesday. 

Alexander shares more of the history of Ash Wednesday - and the true symbolism behind the use of ashes. 

Finally, we look at the pre-atonement concept of Christian spirituality, theosis, and discover the grace, beauty and love which gives it is power. 

Alexnader is as wise and challenging as ever - this episode will blow your mind & transform how you experience both Ash Wednesday, Lent, and the passion of the Christ. 

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Poema S3 003 | Sarah Heath Is Finding Her Sonderlust

February 6, 2018

My dear friend Sarah Heath returns to the podcast today. Laat summer, challenged by her best friend, Sarah embarked on a journey into herself, going out of her comfort zone, trying to create the life she'd been running from. To find her 'Sonderlust'. (Or, you could say, find her Poema....)

Sarah is in the midst of this challenge now - to step back out into the world of dating after hiding away for so long, to be living in a place she loved, and love her work. If in a year she doesn't find happiness and joy, then she's committed to moving wherever her best friend tells her to go. To build happiness or make a drastic change.

This journey has led to her creating a podcast to chart her journey publicly, called 'Sonderlust'. The challenge has already brought up lots of issues around dating, realtionships, self-care, health, work, and identity. And she's still figuring this all out.

Sarah joins me in the midst of this journey, to share with honesty and wisdom about the lessons she's already learned, the challenges she's faced - and how this is a reflection of all of our journeys, into finding meaning and purpose to our lives, and stepping out of our comfort zones to create the life we've always wanted. 

I can't wait for you to hear this episode.

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Poema S3 002 | Laura Parrott Perry Wrote It Down

January 30, 2018

Today I'm joined once more by my dear friend Laura Parrott Perry, who has just released her first book 'She Wrote It Down'. Today she returns to the show and we discuss the book, the powerful and painful stories shared in it, and power of sharing our stories. 

Laura shares with great wisdom, insight and honesty, about how our stories will always tell themselves one way or another and about the choice we have to take control of our stories, by having the courage to share them - even if it's only with one other person.

Laura has a powerful, often painful testimony. I hope her story of healing and recovery from childhood sexual abuse, and alcoholism, will give you hope and inspiration to confront your own darkness, and find healing and redemption. Laura is one of the most courageous, and fiercely compassionate women I know, make sure you don't miss this episode (and then go buy her book!). 

**Trigger Warning: Alcoholism, Sexual Abuse** 

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Poema S3 001 | Overcoming Perfectionism with Caroline McGraw

January 24, 2018

The Poema Podcast returns for a new series today as I interview writer & speaker Caroline McGraw. Caroline shares her powerful story about how she learned the damage perfectionism can do to our lives.

Caroline talks movingly about how she learned to break through the trappings of perfectionism and find a thriving joyful love beyond it - and how we can all do this too. 

Caroline speaks with such honesty, wisdom and humour, and is so inspiring - it was such a blast to talk to her, so take a listen. 

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Poema S2 E12 | Questions We Don’t Ask 5 - What Do We Do When Outgrow Our Faith Community? - With Charles Porter

December 13, 2017

Today, with the last episode of 2017, we continue with our series on those difficult questions of our spiritual journey. My friend and recurring guest Charles Porter rejoins me to discuss the challenging question of what we do when we begin to outgrow our spiritual community, feel like it's time for us to move on, feel rejected or excluded from the community, or don't agree with the leadership and need to walk away. 

This is a question many close friends and people I know have been asking, and it's something Charles has a lot of experience of. He shares his own story and the challenges and struggles he and his wife have faced, and how they've found a way to navigate through them.

This is a hugely important discussion, and a question I believe many are silently asking without ever speaking it outloud. It's a question all of us need to discuss, and examine - and may be challenge we all face at one point or another. 

The podcast will return in the new year with more of this series and more - so enjoy this episode, and I'm sending you all much love and prayers for the upcoming holiday season.

See you in 2018!

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Poema S2 E11 | Questions We Don’t Ask 4 - Why Do We Believe? (with Daniel Skillman)

December 6, 2017

The "Questions We Don't Ask" series continues today with arguably one of the biggest questions of all - why do we believe? My friend Daniel Skillman joins me for a fascinating discussion about the very reasons we choose to believe - why we believe what we believe, why we change our beliefs, and why we believe in anything at all. And what believing can do to us.

Daniel has lots of profound wisdom and insight to share, and as ever in this series, our discussion goes off to all sorts of places. Faith, doubt, questions, mystery, the mystics, church, belief...and lots more. 

This series has been a huge eye opener for me on my own journey, I hope this episode challenges and inspires you too.  

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Poema S2 E10 | Questions We Don’t Ask 3 - What Kind Of Life Am I Being Drawn Into?

November 29, 2017

Today our we return to our series “Questions We Don’t Ask”, as myself and my friend Abi Lloyd discuss the challenging question of “What Kind of Life Am I Being Drawn Into?”.

As ever, this question takes us to some interesting and unexpected places, sharing our own stories and challenges, and draws out further, deeper questions about our faith, spirituality and church.  

It also raises more questions about exactly what kind of life Jesus would have us live, and who God even is. I hope you’ll join us. 

 

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Poema S2 09 | Claire Musters on Taking Off Our Masks

November 14, 2017

My dear friend, author and speaker Claire Musters, joins me on the show today. Claire shares her powerful and challenging testimony of how she had to confront the masks she was wearing, the darkness in her life, and how through the love and grace of friends, her devoted husband and God, she found a way to healing and transformation - and in the process discovered her authentic self. 

Claire also talks about the masks we all wear, the different roles we play in our lives, and how to confront the challenge of taking off those masks and doing the work to discover our authentic selves, as she writes about her new book 'Taking Off The Mask'. What we discover in our conversation is that taking off our masks is a journey to discover our true selves, and to know the divine in a deeper, richer way. 

Find more of Claire's work at www.clairemusters.com, and buy her new book 'Taking Off The Mask, on her website or on Amazon.

 

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Poema S2 08 | Kaitlin Curtice on Glory Happening

October 31, 2017

Kaitlin Curtice joins me on the podcast today. Kaitlin is a Native American Christian author, speaker and worship leader. As an enrolled member of the Potawatomi Citizen Band and someone who has grown up in the Christian faith, Kaitlin writes on the intersection of Native American spirituality, mystic faith in everyday life, and the church.

Kaitlin and I discuss her new book, 'Glory Happening', real stories of finding the divine in everyday places. We also explore how we can see the divine in the every day, why and how we believe, and how our spirituality can impact our creativity. 

Kaitin is a woman of grace and deep spirituality, and has so much wisdom to share with the world. This one's definitely worth a listen. 

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Poema S2 07 | Matt Bays on Finding God in the Ruins

October 25, 2017

I’m delighted to welcome author and speaker Matt Bays to the podcast today. 

Matt begins by sharing the powerful and moving story behind his book “Finding God In The Ruins”, his painful childhood which led to struggles with alcohol addiction, and how in the midst of his recovery he faced yet more challenges as his sister tragically lost her life to cancer.

We talk about dealing with grief, addiction and being honest with both God and ourselves about suffering, and asking those tough questions. About doubt, questioning and the mystery of the divine, and how we believe. 

Matt is humble, wise and honest, and it was a joy to talk to him. Have a listen and then check out his book. 

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Poema S2 06 | Tanya Marlow on Learning To Wait

October 17, 2017

Author and blogger Tanya Marlow joins me today to talk about her new book 'Those Who Wait'. It's a book about learning the art of divine patience, and stories from scripture and life which teach us about waiting on God.

Tanya has a powerful personal testimony which has taught her a lot about patience, both in life and in faith, and with her theological background has taken several stories from scripture and shown what they can tell us about waiting on God.

Everyone is waiting. We wait for a bus, a spouse, a different job, a better life. We wait for Christ. At best, it's irritating; at worst, unbearable. But what if our frustrated longings have spiritual value? Tanya discusses this with me today, with great wisdom, insight and joy. Tanya is one of the wisest, most grace-filled people I've encountered and it was a joy to chat to her. I know you'll be truly inspired by this conversation.

You can find Tanya's work at TanyaMarlow.com, follow her on Twitter at @Tanya_Marlow & you can buy her book 'Those Who Wait' on Amazon.

 

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Poema S2 05 | Kent Dobson on Being Bitten By A Camel

October 4, 2017

Today I'm joined by author, speaker and theologian Kent Dobson. 

Kent, with great vulnerability and wisdom, shares his own spiritual journey, including his pilgrimage up what is often known as Mount Sinai - where he was bitten by a camel, both physically and metaphorically. This is a story he tells in his new book 'Bitten By A Camel'.

Religion, God, Spirituality, Nature, Sacred Texts, Mystery, and the Human Soul are all being rethought, turned over and reborn.  This unfolding conversation is wild and full of life.  It crosses disciplines and backgrounds and languages. Kent's life is about joining and promoting this generative conversation, and today he shares this wisdom and story with us. 

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Poema S2 04 | The Blacksmiths Daughters On The Story Of An Album

September 27, 2017

Today musical quartet the Blacksmiths Daughters return to the podcast. Julida & Sean Alter return from our first interview we're also joined by the other half of the band, Annella and Brent Platter. Julida and Anetta are sisters, and together with their husbands, and others, are creating truly authentic, personal music. 

Their new video "You're My Man" releases not long ago, and their new album 'Seasons Turn', releases 10th October, and today we talk about the new songs, the new album, and the creative journey behind it. As we examine different songs written by different members of the band, we see how our personal stories can have a direct impact on the kind of work we create.

This is a fascinating look at the creative journey behind an album, and well worth a listen. 

*****

Check out their new video here and find out more about the new album and The Blacksmiths Daughters work here.

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Poema S2 03 | Perfectly Abnormal with Chris Morris

September 20, 2017

My dear friend and author Chris Morris joins me today. Chris is a long time advocate of issues surrounding chronic illness, and reconciling these with faith. As someone who lives with chronic illness himself and has family members with chronic illness, he knows the challenges chronic illness can bring - as well as some of the stigma, in particular around some religious circles.

Today Chris shares a bit of his story, lessons he's learned and research he's done behind the subject, all of which has resulted in the publishing of his new book, 'Perfectly Abnormal'. Chris shares the truth behind a lot of stigma and misinformation, and the authentic experience of living with chronic illness - and gives hope and inspiration for those living with chronic illness themselves. 

*****

I'd highly recommend 'Perfectly Normal' to all those who live with chronic illness, and anyone who knows someone who lives with it. In the book Chris strives to destroy some common myths facing the chronic illness community, including a poor theology of illness. From there, he begins a conversation about how to build a healthy place for the chronic illness community to be safe.

The book is available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, or wherever books are sold. 

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Poema S2 02 | Questions We Don’t Ask 2 - How Do I Believe?

September 13, 2017

Today our 'Questions We Don't Ask' series  continues, with the fundamental question of 'How Do I Believe?'

Continuing from where we left off last week, Charles Porter and I discuss how, whilst so often we discuss what we believe, that maybe the deeper, more fundamental question is how we believe. 

These conversations aren't merely about answering the question. The questions are more jumping off points into a much bigger, wider and deeper exploration of Christian spirituality and our own journeys - because ultimately, all our journeys are connected, and there's many of us asking these kind of questions.

This question takes us from spiral dynamics, to the mystics, to Richard Rohr & non-dual thinking, via Trump & Brexit, and on to tons of other places. We explore some challenging, uncomfortable territory - but territory it's absolutely necessary to cover to gain both a deeper understanding and depth to our spirituality.

Come and join us.

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Poema S2 01 | Questions We Don’t Ask 1 - What Do I Believe?

September 6, 2017

Season 2 of the Poema Podcast kicks off with a new series we'll be doing on and off over the next few months - Questions We Don't Ask. This series will see me and others discuss raw, honest and challenging questions of faith and our spiritual journey. Questions I've been asking myself a lot in the last year. The type of questions many of us don't like to ask, but the ones we need to ask more than anything if we really want to grow and move deeper in our spirituality.

These conversations aren't merely about answering the questions. The questions are more jumping off points into a much bigger, wider and deeper exploration of Christian spirituality and our own journeys - because ultimately, all our journeys are connected, and there's many of us asking these kind of questions.

Today, my friend Charles Porter, previous guest, formerly host of the Fable Podcast and founder of the Neighbourhood Liturgies, joins me to discuss the first question. 

"What Do I Believe?"

The conversation goes into some deep, wide and interesting places way beyond the initial question. I hope you'll join us, and that this helps you explore this and other questions on your own journey.

 

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Poema 025 | Where We Are

July 26, 2017

Today I do a reflection on my own journey of the last 18 months - both spiritual and creative - and the story of how the podcast, and all my creative work, has grown and evolved. I talk about the importance of taking a break, of refuelling, reimagining, disconnecting, and how this is absolutely necessary to our growth, and to creating more great work, and a thriving, healthy life.

This is the last episode of Season 1 of the Poema Podcast. Season 2 will begin in the Autumn, and in this episode I share more about this, why I'm doing it, and what you'll have to look forward to in Season 2. 

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Poema 024 | Matthew Brough On Spirituality For Normal People

July 12, 2017

Today I'm delighted to host Matthew Brough, pastor, author and host of the 'Spirituality For Normal People' podcast. We talk about whole range of topics, including creativity, the spirituality of writing fiction, spiritual practices and more.

Matthew shares his own story, and talks about how writing fiction has influenced his spiritual journey, and the circle of creativity and our spiritual journey - where each impacts and is part of the other, and how this has impacted his own role as a pastor. He also talks about his own spiritual practices, and how these have evolved and changed and the impact they've had on his creative side, in particular the birth of his podcast, 'Spirituality For Normal People', which explores creativity and spiritual practice. 

Matthew's got a lot of wisdom and insight to share on both spirituality and creativity, and this is well worth a listen.

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Poema 023 | Joy Resor & Finding Joy On Your Shoulders

July 5, 2017

Today I'm joined by author and spiritual counsellor Joy Resor. Joy shares her own story of how suffering and grief set her on the path to finding her true purpose, and how she discovered joy in the process. It's a powerful story of expanding spirituality, creativity as a healer, and how suffering can be a catalyst for authentic and even positive change in our lives.

Joy shows how it's possible to have truly hopeful, joyful perspective on our journey, whilst still bearing the scars of our past. This is definitely worth a listen!

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Poema 022 | Rebecca Lombardo on Creativity & Living With Mental Illness

June 28, 2017

Today author, blogger and podcaster Rebecca Lombardo joins me on the podcast. For 25 years Rebecca has battled with mental illness of various kinds. She's also had to undergo the trauma of losing both parents, and battled with suicidal thoughts. Yet through writing, publishing a book, podcasting, and an incredibly supportive husband, she has survived and is doing amazing work creating safe spaces for people to discuss mental illness.

Rebecca, with great courage and honesty, shares her story, and the truth that it's not always about having a happy thriving ending, but that the challenges of mental health are ongoing, a daily battle, and that everyone struggling with mental health has to find their own unique way of surviving, and maybe even, occasionally, thriving. 

Rebecca's story will both challenge and inspire you, and leave you encouraged. 

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Poema 021 | Gungor

June 6, 2017

Michael and Lisa Gungor are on the podcast today. Husband and wife, creatives, musicians, Jesus-followers, Michael and Lisa have created some amazing music over the years and have some phenomenal wisdom on spirituality, creativity, and the personal journey.

Michael and Lisa share with great honesty and wisdom about their own personal journey, the challenges and struggles they've had to confront in recent years, and how they've shaped their spiritual and creative journey.

The Gungors talk about the creative process and spiritual journey behind their recent One Wild Life album trilogy, and how creativty is both a spiritual and an organic process. They also unpack more of their own spiritual practices, and we discuss together how a real spiritual practice can be as simple as playing with your kids, and the truth about our habits and decisions.

Finally, they talk about what's happening in the world right now, the atmosphere of fear, of a force in the world "pulling back from the progress we've made" - and how and why here might be hope for us all.

This is truly inspiring, life giving and eye-opening interview, without doubt, one of the most amazing and inspiring I've ever done. Michael and Lisa have such wisdom, humilty and grace, and this is well worth a listen. 

****

"Spiritual practice is when you are sitting down and training your body and mind to engage with the divine in each and every moment" - Michael Gungor

"We often don't make decisions about what we do. We act on habit." - Lisa Gungor

"There's a force in the world pulling back from the progress we've made" - Michael Gungor

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Poema 020 | The Blacksmith’s Daughters on Making Melodies

June 2, 2017

Today I'm joined by Julida and Sean Alter, who make up one half of 'The Blacksmith's Daughters', a folk/rock band from Minneapolis. The band is comprised of Julida and Sean, and Julida's sister Anella Platta and her husband Brent. Julida and Anetta are from a family with a long history of being blacksmiths - hence the name 'The Blacksmith's Daughters'.

We discuss the creative process involved in songwriting and recording, and their unorthodox but effective approach to how they make their music. We also explore what true authentic creativity is, and holding in balance between creating great, honest work, but also wanting to put that work out into the world. 

This was such a fun interview to do. Julida And Sean are a great couple who have great insight into the creative process, and offer encouragement to all of us to go out and make melodies in our own creative work, whatever that might be - and to be ourselves.

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Poema 019 | The Sacred Art Of Wrestling

May 17, 2017

On the show today I do a short reflection on the importance of wrestling with the divine, and how I've learned from my own experience that being honest with God, voicing your doubts, questions, frustrations and anger towards God is actually the sign of a healthy relationship with Him.

I also talk about how sacred wrestling is something which deepens our faith, not weakens it - and finally about the voice of grace which says to us in those moments "Friend, do what you came here to do".

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Poema 018 | Identity & Moral Injury with Dr Kate Hendricks Thomas & Dr Karl Hamner

May 10, 2017

Today I'm joined by by returning guest Dr Kate Hendricks Thomas, and new guest Dr Karl Hamner, to discuss the issues of identity and moral injury. We discuss how to handle transitional periods of our lives, big shifts away from something familiar, which might have defined us, into a new season of life - and potentially a new identity.

Karl and Kate share how these concepts work in practice, in their own work and research in the military, transitioning former soldiers out of military service into civilian life, and the challenges and conflicts this brings for them - and what that might look like for the rest of us.

This is a fascinating examination of identity, where we ground ourselves, and how we confront those necessary and inevitable transitional periods of our lives. It's about the grief of leaving one season behind and how we move forward into a new one.

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Poema 017 | Putting Ego In The Back Seat

May 3, 2017

On today's episode I share some reflections on the latest season of my life - a book launch, confronting difficult truths, and why I'm taking a short sabbath from writing. I talk about how ego can be a good thing but how when we let it dictate our lives, when we let our ego define our value, then we can come to an unhealthy place.

And I also discuss how sometimes the best thing we can do for our vocation, passion and calling is to lay it down for a season, why practicing sabbath, and good self-care is so important, and finally, how who we are is more valuable than what we do.

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Poema 016 | Sarah Heath on Seeing Your Story Through God’s Eyes

April 26, 2017

Today my friend Sarah Heath returns to the podcast, to discuss her newly released book 'Whats Your Story - Seeing Your Life Through God's Eyes', a book about seeing our lives through the concept of story, using the Biblical story of Joseph as a lens to examine our own stories. 

Sarah talks about how she discovered the power of story in her own life and how it's impacted her story, and we discuss together how conflict and suffering are realities whichever path we take, but how God can use them to shape our lives for the better. Sarah shares how through scripture, and in our own lives, we can see that darkness and death isn't the end of the story, and there is hope and resurrection. 

Finally we talk about examples of the power of story in scripture, including both Joseph and Jesus, and how we can see our own stories in the lens of Christ, and how that can lead us to a deeper, more intimate relationship with the divine. 

Sarah is always such fun to talk to and has such wisdom and insight - her book, and her thoughts on the concept of story and scripture, had a profound impact on my life, I'm sure it will do for you. Take a listen!

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Poema 015 | Wendy H Jones on the Spirituality of Crime Writing and Marketing With Integrity

April 20, 2017

Today I'm joined by my friend Wendy H Jones. Wendy is a hugely successful crime writer, and international speaker. She's authored the Shona Mackenzie adult crime series which has sold tens of thousands of copies internationally, 'Power Packed Book Marketing', a book on how to successfully market your books with integrity, and is on the committee of the Association of Christian Writers. 

Wendy shares her story, and the background to how she got into writing adult crime fiction and how her Christian faith has influenced those books. And we talk about engaging with our dark sides, and where creative inspiration truly comes from.

Finally we discuss the realities of book marketing in the age of social media, and again how Christians in particular can market our work with integrity and keeping to the values of our faith.

Wendy is smart, fun, inspiring and has a lot of wisdom to share, this is well worth a listen!

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Poema 014 | Alexander Shaia on The Good Friday Resurrection

April 12, 2017

Alexander Shaia returns to Poema today to share about the Quadratos journey through the Easter story. He takes us back to an understanding of the story older, and wider than the traditional 'Holy Week' we all know and takes us into the story of the Christ and how we can identify with Jesus as He walks His passion. 

We examine in brief the difference between the gospel interpretations of the story, and what these different interpretations mean for our own journey, and take a deeper look into Gethsemane. There we find a Jesus who names the betrayer, but then calls him friend, and a Jesus whose struggles with obedience mirror our own.

Finally we examine Jesus cry 'My God, My God, Why Have You Forskaen Me?', and discuss how this is not a moment of despair, but a victory cry, not a moment of doubt, but supreme faith. And we see why every day of the Easter Story, from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, is a story of resurrection.

This will blow your mind and expand and deepen your understanding of the Easter story, and the scriptures, and bring the passion of Christ alive in a fresh way, as it has done for me. 

I'd encourage you to listen to this and engage with it over the Easter season, I certainly will be - and I believe it will make our Easters richer, deeper, more honest and more joyful. Have a happy and blessed Easter everyone.

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Poema 013 | Jessica Aguilar-Christy on Yoga & Christian Spirituality

April 5, 2017

Today I'm joined by my friend Jessica Aguilar-Christy. Jessica is a yoga instructor, and teaches yoga through the lens of Christianity with Soul Stretch Christian Yoga and at Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church. 

Today Jessica shares about the history of yoga, dispels myths many Christians believe about yoga and the truth behind the science of yoga. She also talks about the spiritual discipline of yoga and the impact it can have on one's Christian faith, and the impact it's had on her own spiritual journey.

This was such an eye-opening, inspiring and refreshing conversation which opened my eyes up to a new way of experiencing the divine, Jessica speaks with such wisdom and honesty, and is one of the most centred people I know. I was privileged to meet her and her husband last year on my trip to America. Jessica truly practices what she preaches, and there's no doubt yoga has had a big impact on deepening and centering her relationship with Jesus. 

This is well worth a listen. Also feel free to check out Jessica's work at https://www.jesuyogini.com/ 

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Poema 012 | Jo Cleary on her Radical Love Journey

March 22, 2017

I'm joined today by Jo Cleary, a learning development officer, and writer from Coventry in the UK, who blogs on issues of identity, self-worth and learning to love yourself. Jo shares her powerful story of depression, psychosis and chronic fatigue syndrome, and how they have all influenced both her spiritual and creative journey. 

We discuss together how mental health can impact your relationship with both God and the church, and the power of creativity for healing and transformation. And Jo shares honestly and vulnerably about how the her mental illness impacted her relationships and her day to day life. Jo explains how she discovered that God is someone who, no matter how much we might push him away, no matter how much we think He's abandoned us, will remain to pick up the pieces of our broken lives, and redeem them.

Finally Jo talks about her recent work, with the Radical Love Journey Facebook group & blog, and how she is using her story to give hope to others. 

Jo has a powerful story and great insight to share, on some important issues, it's definitely worth a listen.

 

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Poema 011 | Chasing Lovely on The Spirituality of Songwriting & Kickstarting a New EP (Wolfie #4)

March 15, 2017

Today my dear "wolfie" friends, musical and creative duo Chloe and Taylor Turner (AKA Chasing Lovely), join me again. Today we talk about the personal stories and influences behind their work, as well as the spiritual and personal journeys which influence all of us creatively, and shape who we are and who we become.

Chloe and Taylor talk about the journey of their first EP, Unbridled, (which released 2015 and is available now), and also, the the powerful, personal stories behind the songs on their upcoming EP - which they are currently raising money to make via Kickstarter. We also talk about how we interact with our own work and how others interpret creative work isn't always how we intended, that each of us comes to a creartive work with our own story, and how great art will meet us where and impact us there.

It's always great fun talking to Chloe and Taylor, who are wise beyond their years, and have great insight on creativity and spirituality - and are just plain awesome people! 

Take a listen, then, if you can, please ensure their new EP gets made, by going to support their Kickstarter in any way you can - you can find it here

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Poema 010 | Laura Parrott Perry on Surviving Sexual Abuse & Valuing Our Stories

March 8, 2017

Today I'm joined by my dear friend Laura Parrott Perry. Laura is an author and a speaker, and co-founder of Say It, Survior, a non-profit dedicated to helping survivors of sexual abuse. 

With great courage and honesty, Laura shares her own story of abuse, and it's impact on her and her family, and the story of how a phone call with her cousin and a blog post sharing her story, led to her co-founding a non-profit which now provides a safe space for survivors of sexual abuse to get the support and healing they need. 

Laura also talks about the importance of valuing our own story, and the power of owning our story and being honest about our journey. Laura argues passionately that all our stories have value, and all deserve respect, and to be received with love and grace - and when that happens, we can begin our journey to healing and transformation.

Laura speak with great wisdom, insight and courage, and her story is well worth a listen. 

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Poema 009 | Brian McLaren on The Great Spiritual Migration

March 1, 2017

Speaker, author and theologian Brian McLaren joins me today. Brian is the author of many books, such as 'A New Kind Of Christian' and 'A Generous Orthodoxy'. Today on the podcast we discuss his most recent work, 'The Great Spiritual Migration', which explores how our world is looking for a better way to be Christian.

Brian shares with great wisdom and insight about why the traditional models of church and Christian faith are no longer working, why the church is dying and it's connections with the rise of the political right in the West. And he shares an exciting new vision of what church can and could be if we choose to move beyond traditional boundaries of 'conservative' and 'liberal' and to a more transcendent, non-dual view of Jesus and the Christian faith.

Brian argues with great conviction that the most important thing is not simply what we believe - but how we believe it, and why it's important to be open to allow God to take us ever onward and deeper into more transcendent, mysterious, and inclusive understandings of who He is and what He wishes for His church to be. 

Brian is a man of great wisdom and insight, with a deep love for Jesus and His church - and his message is much needed. Definitely worth a listen!

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Poema 008 | Sarah Heath on Creativity & The Art Of Community

February 22, 2017

It's my pleasure to welcome Rev Sarah Heath onto the podcast today. Sarah is a minister in a small but growing church in Costa Mesa, California, as well as an artist, writer and author. Her first book 'What's Your Story? Seeing Your Life Through God's Eyes' releases this coming April. 

Sarah talks about her biggest passion, creativity. And together we explore the process of creativity and how this applies to all walks of life, not just the arts. Sarah talks about how she expresses her own creativity through painting, drawing, art, as well as writing - and how she's applied the principle of creativity in her work helping to create a church community. 

We discuss the myth that some people are creative and others are not creative - and Sarah makes a strong case to say we are all creative people, whether we're accountants, scientists, pastors, or writers. Sarah talks about he sees her role as helping others create the authentic lives and work they were made to live, and how that begins by her living autnentically. 

Sarah is such fun to talk to, has such wisdom, insight and passion for creativity and spirituality, and her words are so life giving and inspiring. Take a listen to her today & you'll be inspired to go out and create. 

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Poema 007 : Shelly E Johnson on Finding Our Mosaic Of Grace

February 15, 2017

Today on Poema I'm joined by singer/songwriter/worship leader Shelly E Johnson. Most well-known for writing the powerful worship anthem “Power of the Cross”, which has been recorded by Natalie Grant, Steve Green and is being used in churches worldwide, Shelly has served as worship leader alongside Beth Moore, Tony Nolan, Andy Stanley, and toured North America with renown Irish Hymn-writers Keith & Kristyn Getty.

Today Shelly shares her own powerful story, of losing a parent at an early age, how it impacted her relationship with God and her creative journey. Having lost a parent myself, and as an artist, much of her story resonated with my own, and we explore some deep truths about grief, suffering and the spiritual journey.

We also discuss the true meaning of grace, and how God through our experiences, we have seen how God takes these broken pieces of our lives, and rebuilds them into something more beautiful - a Mosaic Of Grace, the title of one of Shelly's most memorable songs, and the title of my own bestselling book.

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Poema 006 : Sarah Bessey on The Creative Altar Of God ( & The Spirituality Of Doctor Who)

February 8, 2017

Today Sarah Bessey, author of 'Jesus Feminist' and 'Out Of Sorts', joins me on the podcast. We talk about writing and creativity as ways we interact with the divine, and express ourselves spiritually - as well as the spirituality of the TV show Doctor Who.

Sarah talks about writing as her altar, her way of interacting with God, and expressing her spirituality - and how this can be true for all of us in all our creative work, not just the work we share publicly. Sarah and I also talk about authentic creativity really is, and how as artists, we can deal with both criticism and praise in a healthy, Godly way.

Sarah shares with great wisdom and insight, how what we believe about God shows up in every area of our lives - our parenting, our marriages, our work - whatever we do - and why we need to listen to our lives to see where our relationship with God is. 

Finally we talk about our mutual love of the TV show 'Doctor Who', the divine and theological truths we have found in the show, and how the show impacts our spirituality and relationship with God.

Sarah has such fierce integrity, wisdom and compassion, and a genuine love for God and others - talking to her is always such a blessing and again, in this interview, is so inspiring, encouraging and challenging. 

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Poema 005 : Matthew Schmitt On The Table Setters & Loving Your Enemies

February 1, 2017

Today I'm joined by Matthew Schmitt, co-founder of The Table Setters, a new organisation running diversity workshops, and doing consulting that helps to develop culturally integrated lives in churches, schools & businesses in the US.

Matthew and I talk about issues of race and equality in the US today, and the challenge of what it really means to love your enemy. The concept of the Table Setters is to bring people of different perspectives, races, backgrounds, beleifs around the same table and have healthy dialogue, and Matthew and I discuss together what this looks like - in particular in the current political climate in the US.

And with the election of Donald Trump as President, we talk about how progressives and conservatives, instead of hating on each other, might follow Jesus example, come around a table together, and hear each others stories - and how that is what may bring about the change we desperately need.

Matthew is a truly inspiring man, doing some groundbreaking work, and his words will both encourage and challenge you. 

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Poema 004: Kyle Strobel On Harry Potter & The Christian Way Of Power

January 25, 2017

Today, theologian and author Kyle Strobel joins me to talk about the challenging topic of what true wisdom is, and Christianity in relation to the concept of power - and how this has been misunderstood and abused.

Kyle and his colleague Jamin Goggin have interviewed some of the oldest and wisest prominent Christian leaders and learned a lot about what true Christ-like wisdom. We discuss how, in fact, the way of Jesus is about surrender, about giving up power, not claiming more and more. We talk about the myth of Christian celebrity, and Kyle shares the powerful metaphor of Harry Potter, and how his story is a metaphor for this in many ways, and what the story of Harry Potter has to say to our own spiritual journeys.

This is a fascinating insight into important issues of power, wisdom and surrender - and Kyle has great wisdom on the topic. Definitely worth a listen!

*****

Kyle's new book 'The Way Of The Dragon Or The Way of the Lamb', which explores this topic in much more depth, releases Jan 25. 

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Poema 003: Shane Claiborne on Executing Grace & The End Of The Death Penalty

January 19, 2017

The inspiring author, speaker and activist Shane Claiborne joins me today. He talks about his most recent work in campaigning for the end of the death penalty in the US. 

Shane passionately and with great wisdom shares about how the death penalty is about more issues than justice - it's about race, equality, and about grace.

He shares some moving testimonies of people on death row, and argues that as Christians we are called to believe that no one, not even murderers, are beyond redemption, and for an approach to justice which begins with grace, with mercy - and beginning to see all people as God sees them.

This is one of the most inspiring interviews I've ever done - and whether you're Christian or not, this will challenge, encourage and inspire you. 

 

Quotes:

"The death penalty has survived not despite Christians but because of us. The Bible belt is the death belt."

"We live in a world where violence is pervasive, we've created this myth of redemptive violence, this myth we can fight violence with violence. Violence is the problem, not the solution. The disease, not the cure"

"Support for the death penalty has hit historic lows"

"Jesus was an executed, forgiving victim of tremendous violence, who died with grace on His lips, saying 'Father forgive them, they don't know what they're doing'. That should change us."

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