June 26, 2018
My guest today is writer, speaker and advocate for racial equality, Austin Channing Brown. In this episode, we discuss Austin's story in more detail, and the experiences she had of endemic, cultural racism as she grew up, as described in her new book, 'I'm Still Here' - and how her story has shaped her.
Austin speaks with great honesty about her own experiences visiting cotton fields as a child, and the reactions of white people around her, and how that experience compelled her to become an advocate for racial equality. With great frankness and insight, she shares a story of how systemic cultural racism can display itself, even at something as elementary as a job interview.
We also discuss white privliege, and how much genuine ignorance still exists in the Western World, even from those who would say they aren't racist, and how white privlege can blind us to the levels of systemic racism amongst us. Austin, with amazing grace, shares wisdom about how those like myself, with inbuilt white privilege, can open our minds and hearts to the stories and experiences of the black people in our midst, and to the systemic, cultural racism which still exists - and help bring the change and understanding which is desperately needed.
Austin is inspiring, humble and wise, and we all have so much to learn from her story and her wisdom - take a listen, and then go get her book. (which has been recommended by Chelsea Clinton, no less!).
June 11, 2018
Today, author, broadcaster and LGBT equality campaigner Vicky Beeching is my guest. Today we talk about her new memoir, 'Undivided', and Vicky shares with us the experiences of growing up as an LGBT Christian, how keeping this a secret from even those closest to her had an impact on her emotional, physical and mental health, especially as she moved into public Christian ministry in her twenties.
Vicky bravely shares the story of how she came close to committing suicide and what ultimately stopped her from doing so, and we explore just how damaging conservative theology around homosexuality, and purity culture, can cause such damage to our physical, emotional and mental health. We also discuss how Vicky faced the challenged of a diagnosis with ME and fibromyalgia, which limited the time and energy she could give to her work and relationships, and how this impacted the writing of her memoir.
Vicky and I also discuss the creative process of writing a memoir, and why it's so important to have a support network in place during that creative process, as well as the impact her own experiences had on her songwriting process during her career as a worship leader.
This an interview about the challenges of being an LGBT Christian, the damage of purity culture, trying to find your true identity, living with mental illness & suicidal thoughts, living with chronic illness, and how to pour yourself into the creative process and tell your story. But ultimately, Vicky's is a story a challenge and an inpsiration to all of us trying to find the courage to be true to our own story and live as our authentic self.
This is one of the most treasured, honest and moving interviews I've ever done, with someone who has become a beloved friend, about one of the best books I've ever read. Take a listen, and then go here and buy the book.
June 5, 2018
Today I'm joined again by two members of the Blacksmiths' Daughters - Julida and Sean Alter. This husband and wife team have now collaborated to form their own band, simply called Julyda. They've just released their first EP together, 'Do You Hear Me'.
In this episode we talk about the creative journey behind the formation of Julyda, and the EP itself. It's a powerful story, about faith, social justice, doubt, and mystery - which in many ways sums up the journey we'll all on, individually, and cooporately, in the world today.
We also explore the creative process behind the album, how we find our voice, how we can tell our unique stories in our art and how creating and engaging with music, writing and other forms of art can touch us and speak to us in unique and intimate ways.
You can find out more about Julyda and hear some of the songs from their amazing new EP at www.theblacksmithsdaughters.com/julyda