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.

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.

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.

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.

Call this hotline number if ICE is at your door

Mar 8, 2017
Tom Levy

All over the Bay Area faith groups are stepping up to oppose the Trump administration’s executive orders that could clear the way for massive deportations. 

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.

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. 

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.

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:

The Spiritual Edge, a new series exploring the leading edges of faith, spirituality and religion, is seeking pitches from experienced reporters to help expand our reach to a national audience.

Some, None or Done: A Zen Atheist

Nov 21, 2016
Courtesy of Judy Silber

We've been asking our listeners through a survey: What role do religion and spirituality play in your life? Heather Hernandez responded. She's a Berkeley librarian who calls herself a Zen Atheist.

Courtesy of Kaya Oakes

 

 

One big trend in the US over the last few decades is that the country is becoming less religious. Far more people are categorizing themselves as Nones — people who say they don’t have a religious identity.

Tom Levy

 


Western literature’s most important books have been translated, not once, but many times. The book at the top of the charts is the Bible: more than 100 translations, and that’s just in English.

Tom Levy

If you’re familiar with Black churches you know they’re lively and uplifting places. That’s how San Francisco native Yvette Flunder remembers hers. At the Pentecostal Church she grew up in, she recalls pastors and church leaders who were tender and kind and understanding. That is, until one topic came up.

Incubating progressive leadership in the Black Church

Sep 19, 2016
Photo courtesy of Ben Trefny

 


Mike McBride is pastor of The Way Christian Center in Berkeley. He’s also the Director of Urban Strategies for the PICO National Network of progressive, faith-based organizations.

Are you a spiritual "some," "done" or "none"?

Sep 15, 2016
Illustration by Front Group.

Tom Levy

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

Tom Levy

I’m Jewish.  I feel a strong affinity for Judaism – the beauty of its rituals, teachings and music. But it can be hard to relate. 

John Navas

The KALW News team is looking for an experienced radio journalism story editor to work on a special project called The Spiritual Edge (TSE), exploring the innovative American spirit through the lens of spirituality and religion. This initiative, launched in 2014, will be directed toward building a national audience and launching a podcast with stories coming from KALW reporters and from around the country.

 

U.C. Berkeley is known for its world-class scientists, in disciplines like physics, chemistry or biology. 

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.

Hana Baba

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.

Hana Baba

About 20 Muslim families are gathered on a hilltop outside the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, just after sunset. A water fountain bubbles, women and men chat, kids run around with snacks in their hands, and everyone at some point or another, looks up to the sky. They are moonsighting, scanning the sky for the new crescent moon that will signify the beginning of the month, Ramadan. 

StoryCorps: Keeping family traditions alive

Jun 17, 2015

It’s not always easy to pass down family traditions, especially when they don’t match mainstream American culture. But that’s what Maria Sanchez and Roberto Vargas are trying to do. For both, Danza Azteca traditions have been important for honoring their Mexican and Nicaraguan cultural heritage. The couple sat down with their children, ages 12 and 14, for a talk about ethnic identity and why Danza is so important to them.

Tom Levy

Three hours north of San Francisco, just east of the ocean, rise the steep, green hills of Cazadero. It’s an idyllic setting: open space with farms, a variety of oak trees, and an abundance of grasses.

A mixed flock of sheep and goats nibble on the plants in what is an almost Biblical scene. My guide and owner of these animals is named Starhawk. From our vantage point on the hill, we hear the chattering of birds. She points above us, to the trunk of a dead tree.

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