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faith

The comedy about moral philosophy just wrapped up its fourth and final season.

NBC's The Good Place captured the imaginations of people across all kinds of faiths because of the way it imagined what happens when we die. It also touched on existentialism and what it means to be human. After all, what does it mean to be a "good" person in our morally compromised world? What does it mean to be a "medium" person? (Listeners beware: spoilers will be aplenty).

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

In 1991, when Reverend Eric Williams was new to his ministry, he was asked to perform a funeral for a young man who'd died of AIDS. The parents wanted to honor their son with a church service. Their own pastor had refused. 

An unspoken rule exists among clergy that pastors don't agree to things their colleagues have refused to do, but Williams couldn't stop thinking about the young man's family. The reckoning Williams experienced on the night of that phone call is still shaping Kansas City's approach to AIDS intervention, not to mention his work as a pastor.

What motivates a Baptist pastor to provide AIDS education, a fitness center and other unconventional services.

Reverend Eric Williams has been at the forefront of AIDS outreach since 1991, when he held a funeral for an openly gay man after a colleague refused to do it. Today, he continues to focus his ministry on health as a way of helping his congregant achieve the "abundant life" he preaches about. Hear his story, beginning with a childhood in zipcode 64130.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

As the homicide count in Kansas City continues to creep up and mass shootings happen regularly across the country, religious leaders from the suburbs to the city are finding it increasingly necessary to address the violence.

"We see a lot of memes, Facebook, and social media about 'thoughts and prayers are not going to take us much further' but, indeed, prayer is the foundation of the church," says the Rev. Laurie Anderson, minister of church life at Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church in Overland Park.

Segment 1: Addressing gun violence from the pulpit

Local leaders looking for a fix to the gun violence problem in Kansas City have tried policy solutions of their own, and have begged for legislative action from the General Assembly in Jefferson City. Progress, though, has been limited. Will turning to a higher power help? We ask local faith leaders what role their churches have in curbing gun violence.

Segment 1: A historic look at the conflict between faith and satire.

From court jesters of the medieval era to comedians of the modern day, humor and religion haven't exactly been the best of friends. In this conversation, a University of Kansas professor recounts a long history of standoffs between faith and wit.

Segment 1: Community newspaper check-in with Camp Magazine.

From a continent-wide softball competition, to a ‘rainbow wave’ in local government — there’s a lot of news in Kansas City’s LGBTQ community. We visit with the editor of Camp Magazine, to take a look at recent headlines. 

Segment 2, beginning at 13:20: A local icon hangs up his cape.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Last year may have marked the beginning of a cultural shift for how people approach faith and politics . 

The passing of Rev. Billy Graham, the Pennsylvania priest sexual abuse scandal and the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh are examples of the top religion stories of the past year. Two members of the Religion Newswriters Association explained why these and others made the association's  list. 

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

Today, Stuart Swetland is the president of Donnelly College, which U.S. News & World Report recently recognized as the most diverse college in the Midwest. But in 1985, when TWA Flight 847 was hijacked, he was a Navy officer who was called to participate in a rescue mission with grim chances for survival. Hear his story.

Guest:

  • Stuart Swetland, President, Donnelly College

NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology / Flickr - CC

For some, a belief in God and adherence to fact-based scientific research are mutually exclusive. That's not the case for Katherine Hayhoe, who's had remarkable success convincing evangelical Christians that climate change is caused largely by human activity. It could be because she's a conservative Christian herself.

Pixabay - CC

From a targeted shooting in Olathe to the president's so-called "travel ban," tensions over race, culture and religion are high. Today, we delve into two experiences in the Muslim community and learn what living in Trump's America has been like for Islamic people.

Wylie "Cyote" C / Wikimedia Commons

In such a divided era in America, is respect for different faiths critical to the country's success? A former member of President Obama's Faith Advisory Council answers that question. Then, trout season begins on March 1 and there's no better place in Missouri to ring it in than Bennett Spring State Park, outside Lebanon.

Fibonacci Blue / Flickr - CC

From the Standing Rock protests to the European migrant crisis, we explore the stories of faith and values that made headlines in the last year. Then, we meet a community activist who has spent decades working on behalf of urban neighborhoods in Kansas City.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Despite her lifelong Muslim faith, Sofia Khan didn't always wear a head scarf. She was a spiritual person but considered herself a moderate practitioner of Islam, wearing a head scarf on certain occasions.

That changed after the 9/11 terror attacks.

"I realized a negative image was coming on my faith," Khan says. "I wanted to make a statement and show people this not what Islam is. There are so many Muslims living around you, you just don’t know who they are."

How Uncertainty Builds Faith In 'A Gray World'

Sep 27, 2016

During troubled times some turn to prayer, but when left with no answers they may question their beliefs. Religion writer Bill Tammeus says that doubt is natural, and can play a big part in strengthening one's faith.

While Mother Teresa certainly had her critics, she did spread a lot of hope to a lot of people. Her expedited canonization highlights the role saints play in the modern Catholic Church, and a process that's happening with unprecedented frequency.

Guests:

In researching Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church, Arkansas State University sociologist Rebecca Barrett-Fox got an intimate view of the ministry's operations. Despite what most people think, Barrett-Fox found the congregation and its roots aren't that far off the beaten path.