Monday, January 28, 2013
This podcast is the first of the three-part conversation that I had with Mr. Jim Morris. Jim served as executive director of the UN World Food Program [UNWFP], the largest humanitarian program in the world. Jim was executive director of the Program for over five years and during his tenure the UNWFP fed over 15 million people in more than 100 countries. In this first conversation, he and I talk about the scope of hunger in the world today and some of the root causes of this. We also look at basic categories such as chronic hunger situations versus hunger caused by disasters or cataclysms, the distinction between hunger and malnourishment, and the question of world hunger from a moral or economic or political perspective. “The average 7-8 year old boy in North Korea is already 6-7” shorter and 40 pounds lighter than his counter-part in South Korea…. For $35-40 we can feed a child in school for a whole year."
Monday, January 21, 2013
In this final segment of my conversation with Duane Arnold and Michael Bell we discuss the tensions that exist in the present culture around the whole issue of the nature of suffering and martyrdom. We discuss, for example, the difference between the martyrdom that Archbishop Romero suffered and the martyrdom that is embraced by some terrorist extremists. Death and suffering within the Christian context are always connected to the person of Christ and his death on the Cross. In addition, we talk about how the whole life of the Christian is one in which we move more deeply into a life of sacrifice so that the idea of dying for something is not all that foreign because we have been dying to so many other things already. Next, we turn to the person of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a martyr at the hands of Nazi Germany, and the song they have created around Bonhoeffer's words of martyrdom. Finally, we talk about the anonymous words of martyrdom found at the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp and the incredible act of forgiveness of ones persecutors found in these words.
Monday, January 14, 2013
In the second part of my conversation with Michael Bell and Duane Arnold, creators of the "Martyrs' Project," we discuss the present reality of Christian martyrdom in the world today, how thousands of Christians are losing their lives, their livelihood, and their freedom all over the world simply because they are Christian. We discuss further on the ancient understanding of "martyr" as a witness who suffers for the faith. Michael asks the very provocative question, "What would you die for?" which leads to further questions: "What are you living for now? What would you be willing to suffer for?" Finally, our attention turns to the witness of Archbishop Oscar Romero, a 20th century Christian martyr and how his words of martyrdom lead them to create the song "Romero."
Monday, January 7, 2013
With this podcast, I begin the first of three conversations with Michael Bell and Duane Arnold. Duane and Michael founded “The Martyrs’ Project,” an Indianapolis based endeavor that takes the words of various Christian martyrs through the ages, many times the words uttered just prior to their death, and interprets them through various original musical compositions and genres. Intrigued by the meaning of martyr in Greek (marturious, "to witness"), Duane and Michael and I converse about their faith journeys in Jesus Christ that found direction and depth through the study of Church History and the Fathers of the Church. They note the profoundness of the martyrs in that they not only gave their lives because of their relationship with Jesus Christ, they died forgiving their executioners. The discussion highlights the Christian historical grounding of liturgy and social justice without drawing false division between the two.