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.
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.
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