Sacred Tension

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March 26, 2019  

Black, Trans, Queer

J Mase III is a Black/trans/queer poet & educator based in Seattle, by way of Philly. He is the author of “If I Should Die Under the Knife, Tell my Kidney I was the Fiercest Poet Around”, as well as “And Then I Got Fired: One Transqueer’s Reflections on Grief, Unemployment, and Inappropriate Jokes about Death”. 

As an educator, J Mase has worked with thousands of community members in the US, the UK, and Canada on the needs of LGBTQIA youth and adults in spaces such as K-12 schools, universities, faith communities, and restricted care facilities among others. 

He is the founder of awQward, the first ever trans and queer people of color specific talent agency. Currently, he is co-editing The #BlackTransPrayerBook with awQward artist Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi. 

As a performer, he has shared stages with world renowned artists like Chuck D and the Indigo Girls. His work and musings have been featured on MSNBC, NBC OUT, Essence Live, Atlanta Black Star, GO Magazine, Believe Out Loud, Everyday Feminism, Black Girl Dangerous, Upworthy, the New York Times, Buzzfeed, the Root, the Huffington Post and more.  

Find J Mase III here. Support the Black Trans Prayer Book here

March 12, 2019  

Dismantling Supremacy Culture

In this episode of Sacred Tension, I talk to Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, PhD about the process of dismantling toxic power within our culture. We talk about my gradual journey of understanding what, exactly, racism and sexism are, and the process of overcoming them. Robyn ultimately advocates for radical courage and imagination, and I found this conversation deeply moving.

Knowing intimately that the borderlands are a place of learning and growth, Dr. Robyn draws on their identity and heritage as a queer Latinx in everything that they do. From doubt to divine and everywhere in between, their call as an activist-theologian demands the vision to disrupt hegemony and colonialist structures of multi-layered oppression.

As an anti-oppression, anti-racist, non-binary Trans*gressive Latinx, Robyn takes seriously their call as an activist theologian and ethicist to bridge together theories and practices that result in communities responding to pressing social concerns. Robyn sees this work as a life-orienting vocation, deeply committed to translating theory to practice, and embedded in re-imagining our moral horizon to one which privileges a politics of radical difference.

March 5, 2019  

FrazzleDrip, Satanists, and Other Moral Panics

The history of the United States is dotted by moral panics: delusional mass hysterias over complete fictions like the Illuminati, 9/11 trutherism, Stranger Danger, and Pedophilic Satanists. Now, in a climate in which the fertile jungle of the internet seems to produce new conspiracy theories by the day, we need to understand the importance of moral panics, how they warp minds, and destroy lives.

Joining me today is Chelsea Webber-Smith, producer of the excellent podcast American Hysteria. In this conversation we explore the causes of moral panic, the current moral panics in our culture, what led Chelsea down this strange path of studying conspiracy theories and moral panics, and what frightens her the most about moral panics. This was a great conversation, and I had enormous fun.

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Other Rock Candy shows: Eleventylife

February 18, 2019  

The Theology of Heaven’s Gate

In March of 1997, Heaven’s Gate committed ritual suicide to the astonishment and horror of the world. Over 20 years later, we are still piecing together the mystery of this fringe UFO religion: who were they, what did they believe, and why did they end so horribly? Joining me for today’s Sacred Tension podcast is Benjamin Zeller, widely considered the leading authority on Heaven’s Gate.

Zeller walks us through why he calls Heaven’s Gate a religion and not a cult, the theology of Heaven’s Gate and how it is, at its most basic level, Christian, whether we will ever have society without religion, and much more. I found this an incredibly thought provoking conversation, and I hope you do too.

Benjamin Zeller is a researcher and teacher of religion in America. He focuses on religious currents that are new or alternative, including new religions, the religious engagement with science, and the quasi-religious relationship people have with food. Dr. Zeller holds a doctorate from the University of North Carolina, an M.T.S. from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester.

Other Rock Candy Podcasts: Eleventylife

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February 12, 2019  

A Theist and a Nontheist Have a Conversation

Our culture is rife with unproductive conversations about God and religion. Donald and I attempt to rectify this by sitting down and talking about our belief and unbelief in God. 

February 4, 2019  

When Maggie Met Molly

Despite the social taboo against certain psychedelic and psychoactive drugs, the medical world is now experimenting on previously forbidden drugs with promising results. In this episode of Sacred Tension, I speak with Maggie Eli about her clinical trial on MDMA, AKA Molly or Ecstasy. We talk about PTSD, living with mental illness, religious trauma, Christianity, and how MDMA helped her heal from debilitating mental illness.

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Other Rock Candy shows: Eleventylife

February 1, 2019  

On Not Believing in God but Experiencing Him Anyway

January 25, 2019  

Why I Still Call Myself a Christian

Find the full transcript of this mini episode here:

January 22, 2019  

Demon Possession

In this episode, Joseph Laycock joins us again to discuss demon possession. What is it? why do humans experience it? What does the experience of demon possession say about religion and human nature in general? Joseph and I discuss these issues and more.

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Other Rock Candy podcasts: EleventyLife


January 18, 2019  

Mini Episode: A Few Questions You Might Have About Satanism

Find the link to this blog post here.