The Spiritual Edge | KALW

The Spiritual Edge

Credit Front Group

The Spiritual Edge is a multimedia project from KALW Public Radio exploring the shifting, dynamic nature of the American religious landscape. We seek the hot spots where change is occurring, including among immigrant groups, Christian communities, at the intersection between spirituality, religion and health, and in a growing DIY spiritual culture.

Visit the project's website.

Finding a personal relationship with God in jail

21 hours ago
Courtesy of Oscar

 

Our ongoing series The Spiritual Edge occasionally spotlights stories about how people have found their own personal religious beliefs. Today’s story profiles an Uber driver named Oscar from Napa. He didn’t grow up particularly religious, but during a months-long incarceration, he found the Bible that would change his life.

Tom Levy

Architecture has the power to transform. A building can make us feel joy or sadness, powerful or weak. 

 

This story originally aired in May of 2015. 

Islam has a rich artistic heritage of architecture, design, music, painting, and poetry. Muslim poets like Rumi and Hafez are famous for a depth and beauty that defies time. Today, that poetic tradition is still strong. It's kept alive in what many may perhaps consider an unlikely place—urban America, through the genre of hip hop.

 

Hana Baba

This story originally aired in 2015. 

Through much of their history, Sunni and Shia Muslims have lived peacefully together in countries like Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. But since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, sectarian conflict has escalated in the region. Here in the Bay Area,  around 75% of Muslims identify as Sunni, just four percent identify as Shia.

Mark Coplan

Visiting the Bay Area from Honduras, human rights activist Ismael Moreno stopped by the KALW studio to speak about root causes beneath the exodus that is pushing a growing number of Hondurans out of their home country.

Judy Silber

 

A crowd of about 60 people sit scattered in the pews of St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley. They sing “Caminando” — translated as “Walking,” in English, a nod to the millions of Mexicans and Central Americans who have journeyed to the United States in search of better lives.

  

Tracy Grubbs grew up fascinated, curious and also afraid of death. Her curiosity, plus her interest in Buddhism led her to volunteer at the Zen Hospice Project, a San Francisco center for the dying supported by the Buddhist community. Grubbs spoke with her colleague Lisa Messano.

Tom Levy

If you’re familiar with Black churches, you know that they’re lively and uplifting places. That’s how San Francisco native Yvette Flunder remembers hers.

Call this hotline if ICE is at your door

Nov 27, 2017
Tom Levy

The San Francisco Rapid Response Network hotline, (415) 200-1548, supports people faced with imminent deportation or immigration issues, and is part of a wave of regional support for immigrants living in the Bay Area.

You can get a full list of rapid-response hotlines for the greater Bay Area and adjacent regions at the end of this article. This story originally aired in March of 2017, and has been updated online. 

Erika Schultz

 


At most schools, band practice, sports, drama and the chess club are the options that kids choose from for their after-school activities. But in 2016, students at Point Defiance Elementary School in Tacoma, Washington, also had the opportunity to join an After School Satan Club.

  

Photo by CC Flickr user Julie Pimentel, resized and recropped

Western medicine once shunned alternative treatments like acupuncture, acupressure or the Indian system of Ayurveda. But the field of medicine is now taking them more seriously.

Molly Haley

In the Russian Orthodox Church, art is much more than just decoration. Small, elaborate paintings known as icons portray Christianity’s most famous persons, and are used as tools for prayer.

Tom Levy

If you had to hole up somewhere for months, or even years, what would you need?

StoryCorps: A good attitude until the end

Jun 12, 2017
Courtesy of StoryCorps

Frank Hatch lived with HIV for more than 20 years, only to be diagnosed with late-stage prostate cancer in 2010. For comfort and guidance, he turned to his Buddhism practice. And then, with encouragement from his nephew, he decided to do something he never thought he could: a 16-day rafting trip in the Grand Canyon.

Mark Betancourt

Gary Shepherd has spent more than half of his 45 years incarcerated — his entire adult life. In that time he’s become a self-taught scholar and a self-described spirit warrior, putting into action a deeply-held belief in the power of altruism and cooperation. All of this springs from Shepherd’s study of evolution. It’s made him what he calls an “evolutionary.”

The science of forgiveness

May 8, 2017
LiveOnceLiveWild.com

 

To forgive is not easy. The brain is wired to repeat offending moments over and over again, and our bodies — they’re programmed to react. Still, Fred Luskin, a psychologist and director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project says the effort to overcome anger is worth it. 

Tom Levy

About 20% of American Muslims are converts — people who didn’t grow up with the religion and often don’t have any cultural ties.

(Annie Mulligan /Freelancer)

When Miguel Prats revs the engine of his Harley Davidson, it might sound angry to some — but not to him.

In the 1980s, the term “sanctuary” was used in the context of churches that sheltered individuals and families fleeing war in the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

A spiritual haven for African refugees in Kansas City

Apr 11, 2017
Steve Mencher

Mid-February in Kansas City is usually a time for sweaters and scraping ice off your windshield. Not really when you'd expect to be firing up an air pump to inflate a kiddie pool. But the pool, if it holds air and water, may have a higher calling.

Some, Done, or None: To be Muslim in the U.S.

Apr 11, 2017
Judy Silber

The Spiritual Edge has been putting together a series of profiles about how people do — and do not — practice their religious beliefs. Ahmad Rashid Salim is Muslim, and a prayer leader at the Islamic Cultural Center in Oakland.

The Bay Area has about 250 thousand Muslim residents – more than three percent of the region’s population. But what many people know about Islam is limited to anti-Muslim messages that have come from the highest political office holders.

Tom Levy

 

Like other holy scriptures, the Quran has been studied and read, commented on, and interpreted mostly by men. There was a tradition of female scholarship early in Islam, but later, it was men at the helm of breaking down the verses, and deciding how they’re applicable to everyday life.

Courtesy of Islamic Scholarship Fund

Back in 2003, the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science published a study of Arab Muslim portrayals in a Hollywood movies. Out of 900 films, only a dozen had a positive portrayal. 

Muslim Americans in the heartland reckon with sting of national politics

Mar 28, 2017
Daniella Cheslow

 

President Trump campaigned on a promise to ban Muslims from the United States, and imposed travel restrictions on people from several Muslim-majority countries in his first few days in office. These moves have rattled Muslim-Americans, even those who have lived in the U.S., for generations. One of those communities is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Judy Silber

 

In the 1980s, hundreds of congregations across the country declared themselves to be sanctuaries, safe havens for refugees fleeing civil war in Central America. Today, there’s a revival underway of that original refugee sanctuary movement, in which churches make themselves sanctuary spaces.

Miranda Penn Turin

 

 

The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu are both in their 80s. During a week in 2015, the two spiritual leaders came together in Dharamsala, India to reflect. They discussed joy in the face of hardship, a topic both men know well.

Some, Done or None: Fasting for wisdom

Jan 24, 2017
"Titicaca Lake" by Flickr user Olivier Gryson. Cropped and resized under CC: http://bit.ly/2kpfFM9

 

KALW's Spiritual Edge project is interested in how ordinary people cultivate spirituality in their lives. To bring our findings to the air, we’ve been interviewing Bay Area residents about religion. 

Photo by Tom Levy

San Francisco's Japantown is a historic relic of an earlier time when Japanese immigrants and their families clustered here and found homes. In 1899, they founded a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist congregation, the first of that tradition on the continent.

Commentary: Are all Buddhists atheists?

Dec 2, 2016
Front Group

In the comments on our Nov. 21 story, "Some, None or Done: A Zen Atheist," listeners discussed whether Buddhism is theistic or non-theistic. We asked  John Nelson, a scholar of religion who serves on The Spiritual Edge's academic advisory committee, to help us understand the issue:

Pages