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December 31 - An Imperishable Inheritance
1 Peter 1: 3-5
Not every treasure can be stored in a box. Not everything of value
can be itemized in a legal document. Pastor, educator, and author
Herbert Brokering outlines how he intends to distribute his lifelong
wealth to those whom he loves. His list of “wealth” will surprise
even experts who spend their life coaching others on how to leave a
legacy of true worth.
December 24 - Silent Night
Luke 2: 1-14
In the cold rain and snow on Christmas night 1914, the unimaginable
happened in the trenches of World War I. Young German, French,
British, and Belgian soldiers spontaneously threw down their arms
and came together across the front lines to exchange gifts, sing
carols, eat, drink, and even play soccer. Renowned historian
Weintraub shares a vivid picture of how this forgotten moment in
military history proved to be one of the most beautiful Christmas
stories of all times.
December 17 Advent 3: Four Directives
for Peace with God
Philippians 4: 4-7
In the final segment of his special Advent series, host Peter Marty
takes a fresh look at one of the most striking passages ever written
from a prison cell. Join him to capture what the apostle Paul must
have had in mind when he asked his fellow Christians to rejoice, be
gentle, not worry, and express thanks.
December 10- Advent 2: The God Who Waits
In this second of a three-part series leading up to Christmas, host
Peter Marty explores what is meant by “the patience of God.” When
our passions are short-lived, our behaviors uneven, and our sins
offensive, few individuals speak with as much clarity to our lives
as the Old Testament prophets. Malachi is one who gives us a clue
for getting a fresh start on meeting the challenge of reshaping our
distorted lives. His insight begins with the patience of God.
December 3 - Advent 1: Abounding in Love
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
In the first of a three-part Advent series featuring in depth
biblical reflections and music of the season, host Peter Marty
contemplates a powerful prayer of the apostle Paul. It’s a prayer
from the oldest book in the New Testament, 1 Thessalonians, that
lifts up the quest for togetherness, holiness, and love that
Christian people are hungry for in Christian community.
November 26 - The
Man Who Didn’t Notice the Poor
Mary Nelson knows a whole lot about
community organizing and neighborhood revitalizing. For most of her
adult life, she has led the powerful Bethel New Life ministry on
Chicago’s west side. Through her work, she has seen the deadly
nature of the gap between rich and poor wreak havoc. Jesus tells a
story about this gap one day. It’s a story that includes all of our
November 19 -
Thankful Beyond Understanding
Luke 17: 11-19
Author and pastor
Ted Loder cares a great
deal about how we fashion our prayer lives. He has written several
books on prayer that are as poetic as they are prayerful. This
program’s reflection speaks to the joy contained in one of Loder’s
prayers of thanksgiving, in a week when Americans are remembering
what it means to live thankfully.
November 12 - The
Jungle of Life: Part 2 – Choosing to Forgive
In this second of a two-part series,
featuring conversation with missionary and ex-hostage
Gracia Burnham, the subject of forgiveness takes center stage. How do
you forgive an enemy who has done unspeakable things? Gracia Burnham
is author of several books that address her enslavement in a
Philippine jungle, including her latest, To Fly Again: Surviving
the Tailspins of Life.
- November 5 -
The Jungle of
Life: Part 1 – Overflowing Hope
In the first of a two-part series,
missionary Gracia Burnham describes the horror of being a
hostage of the Abu Sayyaf in the Philippine jungle for more than a
year. But more importantly, she details the Christian hope that kept
her going, even after her husband was killed. Gracia Burnham is
author of the New York Times bestseller: In the Presence
of My Enemies.
October 29 - The Gift of Spiritual
If we knew how to approach God, love God,
and serve God all by ourselves, there would be no need for
companionship on our spiritual journey. But finding our way is a
holy enterprise that deserves greater perspective than just our own.
The Rev. David Miller, Dean of the Chapel at the Lutheran School of
Theology at Chicago, and Director of Spiritual Formation, is in the
business of guiding others toward rich spiritual journeys.
October 22 - A Theological ABC
Retired Chaplain of Yale University and Lutheran pastor
John Vannorsdall has spent his life shaping sentences into
rich meaning. His goal has always been to work the power of God into
peoples’ lives. Today we learn Rev. Vannorsdall’s definitions of
some key words in the Christian vocabulary.
October 15 - Building Schools at Very High
American Greg Mortenson
isn’t afraid of anything. For 13 years now, this husband and young
father has spent half of every year living with Islamic mullahs,
village chieftains, and Shiite clerics, in remote Pakistan and
Afghanistan. What’s he doing in the mountains where the Taliban
dwell? He’s building a better future for children living there, one
school at a time.
October 8 - A Crayon Labeled Flesh
The Rev. Heidi Neumark, author of
Breathing Space: A Spiritual Journey in the South Bronx, has many
more wild experiences in her 19-year ministry in the South Bronx
than can fit between the two covers of a book. Her joy in the Lord,
and her deep love of people will breathe new life into all who hear
October 1 - The Goliath of Racism
1 Samuel 17
Urban poverty and crime are frustrating
enough. But when racism figures into the mix, it’s really
frustrating. Racism has its own monstrous way of dividing people
unnecessarily. Minneapolis city councilman
Don Samuels knows that
biblically, politically, and humanely, racism is no way to live. Don
will share his own unique way of responding to the crises of
division and hatred.
September 24 - A Spirituality You Can
1 Corinthians 2: 12-13
Whatever believers cultivate by way of a relationship with Christ,
the nature of that relationship must add up to more than just an
inward, privatized journey that leaves them pretending to be in
control of God. Mary Ann
Brussat, journalist and author of a number of books,
including the work titled: Spiritual Literacy, understands this
danger. That’s why she is determined to keep the practical and the
spiritual aspects of our lives as parts of the same whole.
September 17 - Unholy
Hatred in a Holy Land
Psalm 122: 6-9
It’s hard to believe that a
little slice of land, roughly the size of the state of New Jersey, could
contain so much bloodshed. Yet this is precisely the continuing legacy
of the Holy Land. So much of the killing is carried out in the name of
God. Bishop Munib Younan
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land, knows
the pain of this as much as anyone. But he also has an eye and a heart
bent on peace.
September 10 - Flight 93 –
The Famous Phone Call
The whole world over seems
to know the name Todd Beamer, and his now famous words “Let’s Roll.” He
spoke these words during an extended phone conversation on 9/11, the day
Flight 93 went down. Few people know the person who answered that call.
Lisa Jefferson is her
name. Her life stands as a testimony of great faith and true
responsibility in a time of crisis.
- September 3 - An
Undocumented Immigrant Named Jesus
Matthew 2: 12-14
Immigration feels like an
academic issue, or a “Washington problem,” until one starts to meet
immigrants and those who assist them. Then, the whole matter becomes
infinitely more complex and real.
Father Arturo Bañuelas, a Catholic priest serving in the
border town of El Paso, Texas, joins us for a conversation about the
human dimensions of immigration and the plight of those who suffer most.
August 27 - Saints Who Go Out in Style
There’s no one way to die. But to be ushered
into the kingdom with someone at your bedside playing beautiful music is
hard to beat. Karin Gunderson is a harpist with a heavenly touch. Her
concert stage is the nearest hospice center. Explore God’s grace in her
as she helps others die well.
- August 20 - The Rhythm of the Word 2
Take a run-down city neighborhood infested
with crime and drugs and you have a recipe of disaster for young boys.
That is unless someone like Leslie Hunter comes along. Meet this man of
enormous faith who reaches inner city Chicago youth through
spell-binding poetry, creative group time, and his own supply of God’s
- August 13 - My Forever Mom
Adopting a child requires all kinds of
determination and love. Adopting five children, all on the same day,
requires amazing grace.
Lynn Pauley is full of such grace. She joins us
to describe the privilege she enjoys in being the mother of five adopted
kids from inner city Los Angeles.
- August 6 - A Life vs. a Lifestyle
The search for meaning in life is as old as
Adam and Eve. Before wasting more time hungering after the wrong things,
listen for a word from Jesus that has as much to do with making a life
as making a living.
- July 30 - God, We Need to Talk
The next disaster to strike may be a powerful
hurricane on the Florida coast, or your doctor’s sober announcement to
you of a wicked disease found in your body.
Gary Harbaugh helps us make
sense of how God’s will goes to work in these times of devastation when
we’re, frankly, overwhelmed.
- July 23 - Unanswered Prayer
Luke 18: 9-14
What do we do when God does not seem to answer
our prayers, and our Christian faith doesn’t seem to “work?” Where is
God when the cry of our hearts hears little more than silence?
Gerald Sittser, professor of religion at Whitworth College, brings incredible
hope and insight to these questions. His responses carry enormous
weight, born as they are out of great personal suffering.
- July 16 - The Sweetness of Grace
Curt Riess is this week’s
guest on Grace Matters. His extensive knowledge of the honey
industry, his initiative in fostering fair trade practices in South
America, and his strong Christian faith all combine to offer a perfect
opportunity for re-examining the sweetness of grace, as we know it from
- July 9 - The Main Thing
Hebrews 13: 20-21
Keeping “the main thing the main thing in
life” is a challenge for all of us. How we focus our internal life,
centered in God as it deserves to be, and our external life, centered in
service to others as it should be, says a lot about whether or not we
have life together. Guest Kathy Holmgren, wife of Seattle Seahawks
football coach Mike Holmgren, understands these internal and external
dimensions of life extraordinarily well.
- July 2 - Christian Improvisation
Living the Christian life well requires a
lot of creativity. Following Jesus asks for more than dull
imitation. Significantly, some of the very features that make for
creative Christian discipleship also make for excellent jazz
improvisation. Program guest
Andy Tecson, a composer and jazz saxophonist, describes his
special love for bringing jazz worship into the life of the church.
- June 25 - A Canopy of Grace
Corinthians 1:10 13
To belong to a “Big Tent Church” is to be a
member of a community of Christians that prizes unity over uniformity.
In a conversation with The Lutheran Magazine editor
Dan Lehmann, and in
a follow up reflection, Peter Marty explores six features of churches
that delight in living under a large canopy of grace and common purpose.
- June 18 - The Perfect Silent Crime
Senator George McGovern, the
crisis of chronic global hunger is inexcusable, given the massive food
wealth of so many countries. One of every seven citizens in the world
struggles with severe malnutrition and hunger. McGovern shares his dream
for ending this sorry state of affairs.
- June 11 - Twisting Your Life Inside Out
Luke 14:16 24
The parables of Jesus are short and sweet. Or,
are they so sweet when they twist your life inside out? Biblical scholar
Mark Hoffman explores ways to experience these little stories of Jesus,
and what they can do to our lives when we read them as something other
than ancient tales.
- June 4 - The End of the World is Near ... Or
Mark 13: 32 37
Amazingly confident speculation occupies the
minds of many end times thinkers. Yet Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t half as
confident or specific of the details as are most of these prediction
gurus. Biblical scholar Barbara Rossing explores the subject of her work
on rapture, and some of the dangers that accompany popular books that
merge fiction with questionable biblical interpretation.
May 28 - What Do You Want on Your Tombstone?
1 Corinthians 12:7
What would happen if we spent less energy
setting goals, and more energy living up to the commitments that are
basic to our lives? It’s a question of interest to
Joe Holt, Director of
Executive Ethics at Notre Dame University. Join him, and host Peter
Marty, for an inside look at becoming the moral and ethical characters
we all want to be.
- May 21 - Living With God in an Arranged
Special guest this week is
Esther Prabhakar, a
woman full of grace and faith who has an extraordinary prayer life and
ministry, organized around a beautiful concept of prayer journaling. She
also knows something about arranged marriages. Esther’s own experience
prompts the question, “What would it be like to live in an arranged
marriage with God, where something other than mutual attraction was the
- May 14 - Dry Clean Christianity
Dick Hardel is an absolute “pro” when it comes
to underscoring the importance of living with a passionate faith. If
every parent could hear his message, churches and homes across America
would completely revise their operation. His words are full of grace and
responsibility in a time when parents and grandparents need to think
deeply about what they’re passing along to the next generation.
What happens when you dress yourself in love
can make the difference between a hopeful day and a woeful day. For
nationally acclaimed coach Joe Ehrmann, love lived in the right way is
exactly what young adolescent males need more than anything else. Meet
this ex-NFL great who has a definition of success like you’ve never
April 30 - Dear God, We Need More Food
Sometimes feeding the hungry requires no
sophisticated effort at all—no committees, no agency, no special grant
money—just commitment. Kay Fennell has such commitment. Listen in on a
conversation with this woman who, with her husband, feeds hungry people
on Chicago’s Lower Wacker Drive.
- April 23 - The Thrill of Singing
Few things compare with the exhilaration of
human voices singing in tune with one another to the glory of God.
Weston Noble, nationally acclaimed conductor emeritus at Luther College,
Decorah, Iowa, is our guest. He explores the joy of leading a college
choir for nearly six decades.
- April 16 - Quit Marinating in Fear Easter
The proclamation of Easter morning, “Do not be
afraid; He is risen,” forms the backbone of Christianity. It also
indicates how we’re supposed to live creatively and fruitfully. In a
broadcast that includes special Easter music, join Peter Marty for an
Easter sermon that’s guaranteed to have you rethinking your own life in
April 9 - Lent 6: The Via Dolorosa – The Final
Walk Palm Sunday
Matthew 27: 27-31
It’s one of the most famous streets in the
world. The Via Dolorosa is where Jesus took his final steps, weathering
the mockery of those who could not comprehend his way of love.
Experience your own walk on this narrow street, and recall the
commitment of Jesus to your health and salvation.
April 2 - Lent 5: Mount of Olives – The
Hillside of Prayer
Luke 19: 41-44
As Jesus approaches the city of Jerusalem for
the final time, he weeps. In crying, he reveals his sadness for a city
and for a people who cannot “get it together.” We all know that tears
can say great things. In the case of Jesus, they speak a sorrow over the
way things are, instead of the way they’re supposed to be.
There is no city like Jerusalem, golden with
age and color, yet blackened by centuries of hatred and killing. Jesus
knew this city well, not only because of his many travels to the
temple there, but also for his high hopes for the people of Jerusalem.
Listen in on the joy and sadness of walking through Jerusalem today.
February 26 - Faith Made of Steel!
Thompson isn’t into crafting idols. But he does know how to
take a piece of raw stainless steel and make the scriptures come alive
through it. Listen to this metal sculptor articulate the importance of
faith, and the joy of his work with metal.
- February 19 - Money. Money. Money.
Matthew 6:19-21, 24
Money is a worry, a blessing, and a
necessity. But it can also become a god. This may be why the
scriptures record one sixth of Jesus’ words as related to money or
wealth. Popular radio talk show host and author
Dave Ramsey spends his
every day thinking about our use and misuse of money. We’ll tap into
- February 12 - Jesus on the High Seas
One could argue that the opposite of faith
in the Bible is not sin or unbelief; it is the refusal to move.
Faithful living calls for people to be willing to budge from their
fixed vantage points and stuck-in-the-mud habits.
Andy Krey ministers
in coastal ports to seafarers from around the world, people who spend
most of their life “on the go.”
- February 5 - The Noun of Being Christian
The word “Christian” is too big and
exceptional to be used as an adjective. It’s a noun. And when it comes
to remembering exactly who you are, Christian ought to be the core
identity that shapes everything else. Listen to
Peter Mayer, a
talented musician who plays lead guitar for the Jimmy Buffett band,
and who understands the noun of being Christian.
January 29 - Looking for Missing Sheep
The Bethlehem Lutheran congregation in New
Orleans is one of many churches practically wiped out by Hurricane
Katrina and the broken levee system. But through the tenacity of its
Pastor Patrick Keen, the faithfulness of its remaining members, and
the power of the Holy Spirit, this congregation will rise again. For
now, it’s a search for members who are missing.
- January 22 - Watch Your Feet!
No Christian in the 20th century made quite
the imprint that German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer did from his
opposition to the Nazi regime and his faithfulness to Christ. In
preparation for what would be Bonhoeffer’s 100th birthday on February
4, 2006, we visit with Bonhoeffer film producer,
Martin Doblmeier, on
the greatness of this extraordinary saint, and the PBS release of the
- January 15 - Mixing God and Country
For anyone who loves their Lord and their
country, the distinction between the two loyalties seems obvious. Yet,
there always lurks the danger of confusing the two. Professor
Erickson knows this all too well from his three decades of studying
the behavior of the German Church in Nazi Germany.
- January 8 - Our Home is Your Home
When most people come home from the
hospital, recuperation is anything but complete. Imagine being a
homeless person released from hospital surgery or an emergency room
visit. Where do you recuperate?
Tom Holmes saw an urgent need and left
a thriving career to help homeless people thrive in a home filled with
- January 1 - Religion in the News
Romans 14:1-4, 10
What were the big religious news stories in
2005? What can we expect to develop in 2006? Religion news writer
David Briggs has a keen eye on such things, and a concern as well for
how religious people of different perspectives sometimes interact with