Be Spiritual – Episode 20

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UU Chalice by Inga Johannesen, UU Church of Chattanooga, TNIt’s a privilege to bring you this reflective and enlightening conversation with Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell, Minister Emerita of the First Unitarian Church of Portland, Oregon.

Last fall I heard and was fascinated by Marilyn’s dialog with Christopher Hitchens, the well-known atheist, that was sponsored, posted, and published by the Portland Monthly magazine. What first caught my attention was Marilyn’s description of her religious views as Christian, as I was looking for someone to articulate UU Christianity for this podcast.

Beyond that, Marilyn’s discussion with Christopher Hitchens was intriguing because of the irony of Hitchens the atheist telling Marilyn that she was not Christian. And once the interview was posted online, other voices agreed with Hitchens by rejecting Marilyn’s Christianity — some vitriolic as only online comments can be.

I travel to Portland from time to time, and last month Marilyn graciously invited me to her home to share and record her spiritual journey. In addition to the remarkable story of her path to ministry, I think you’ll find Marilyn’s views of Christianity and prayer thought provoking, even offering kernels of spiritual truth for agnostics and atheists.

To listen to Marilyn’s and my hour-long conversation, you may use the above audio player, download the mp3 file, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Our theme music is Floating Souls, composed and performed by Ambrish and made available royalty-free thanks to Music Alley from Mevio. The chalice artwork was created by Inga Johannesen, of the UU Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

More Information

To explore some of the topics that Marilyn and I touched upon, these links may be helpful:

  • Marilyn Sewell’s blog
  • Marilyn Sewell’s books, including A Little Book on Prayer
  • Facebook page for the movie Raw Faith
  • Starr King School for the Ministry — a Unitarian Universalist seminary
  • Transylvania — Marilyn refers to Transylvania as she describes the mystical experience that prompted her decision to attend Starr King. In the 16th century, in Transylvania, Francis David founded the first expression of the Unitarian faith in Europe. He was subsequently imprisoned over differences in belief about Jesus; he died, still in prison, in 1579. Read more of the history here on the American Unitarian Conference web site.
  • Web site of the First Unitarian Church of Portland
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4 Responses to Be Spiritual – Episode 20

  1. Raw Faith says:

    […] her spiritual journey, which became Episode 20 of this podcast. You can listen to our conversation here, which I think nicely complements the movie. When Marilyn and I spoke, I had not yet seen the film. […]

  2. […] you haven’t already heard it, Marilyn shared her religious journey on Episode 20 of the Be Spiritual podcast. This entry was posted in Of Interest and tagged Documentary Channel, Marilyn Sewell, Raw Faith. […]

  3. Jonny says:

    This was a wonderful interview. I love the honesty of Marilyn I can hear it in her voice. She has attracted many followers because of her authenticity and love as a basis of her ministry. She is especially honest about her struggles with faith and the definition of what God is. Thank you so much for posting this wonderful interview. It is an inspiration.

  4. Gary says:

    Jonny, thank you for listening to my interview with Marilyn and for taking the time to leave feedback. Her spiritual journey is quite compelling, as you note, and I appreciate her willingness to share it with us.

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