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Poema 021 | Gungor

Michael and Lisa Gungor are on the podcast today. Husband and wife, creatives, musicians, Jesus-followers, Michael and Lisa have created some amazing music over the years and have some phenomenal wisdom on spirituality, creativity, and the personal journey.

Michael and Lisa share with great honesty and wisdom about their own personal journey, the challenges and struggles they’ve had to confront in recent years, and how they’ve shaped their spiritual and creative journey.

The Gungors talk about the creative process and spiritual journey behind their recent One Wild Life album trilogy, and how creativty is both a spiritual and an organic process. They also unpack more of their own spiritual practices, and we discuss together how a real spiritual practice can be as simple as playing with your kids, and the truth about our habits and decisions.

Finally, they talk about what’s happening in the world right now, the atmosphere of fear, of a force in the world “pulling back from the progress we’ve made” – and how and why here might be hope for us all.

This is truly inspiring, life giving and eye-opening interview, without doubt, one of the most amazing and inspiring I’ve ever done. Michael and Lisa have such wisdom, humility and grace, and this is well worth a listen.

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“Spiritual practice is when you are sitting down and training your body and mind to engage with the divine in each and every moment” – Michael Gungor

“We often don’t make decisions about what we do. We act on habit.” – Lisa Gungor

“There’s a force in the world pulling back from the progress we’ve made” – Michael Gungor

Poema 020 | The Blacksmith’s Daughters on Making Melodies

Today I’m joined by Julida and Sean Alter, who make up one half of ‘The Blacksmith’s Daughters’, a folk/rock band from Minneapolis. The band is comprised of Julida and Sean, and Julida’s sister Anella Platta and her husband Brent. Julida and Anetta are from a family with a long history of being blacksmiths – hence the name ‘The Blacksmith’s Daughters’.

We discuss the creative process involved in songwriting and recording, and their unorthodox but effective approach to how they make their music. We also explore what true authentic creativity is, and holding in balance between creating great, honest work, but also wanting to put that work out into the world.

This was such a fun interview to do. Julida And Sean are a great couple who have great insight into the creative process, and offer encouragement to all of us to go out and make melodies in our own creative work, whatever that might be – and to be ourselves.

Poema 019 | The Sacred Art Of Wrestling

On the show today I do a short reflection on the importance of wrestling with the divine, and how I’ve learned from my own experience that being honest with God, voicing your doubts, questions, frustrations and anger towards God is actually the sign of a healthy relationship with Him.

I also talk about how sacred wrestling is something which deepens our faith, not weakens it – and finally about Jesus’ voice of grace which says to us in those moments “Friend, do what you came here to do”.

Poema 018 | Identity & Moral Injury with Dr Kate Hendricks Thomas & Dr Karl Hamner

Today I’m joined by by returning guest Dr Kate Hendricks Thomas, and new guest Dr Karl Hamner, to discuss the issues of identity and moral injury. We discuss how to handle transitional periods of our lives, big shifts away from something familiar, which might have defined us, into a new season of life – and potentially a new identity.

Karl and Kate share how these concepts work in practice, in their own work and research in the military, transitioning former soldiers out of military service into civilian life, and the challenges and conflicts this brings for them – and what that might look like for the rest of us.

This is a fascinating examination of identity, where we ground ourselves, and how we confront those necessary and inevitable transitional periods of our lives. It’s about the grief of leaving one season behind and how we move forward into a new one.

Poema 017 | Putting Ego In The Back Seat

On today’s episode I share some reflections on the most reason season of my life, a book launch, confronting difficult truths – and why I’m taking a short sabbath from writing. I talk about how ego can be a good thing but how when we let it dictate our lives, when we let our ego define our value, then we can come to an unhealthy place.

I reflect on why, sometimes, the best thing we can do for our vocation, passion and calling is to lay it down for a season, why practicing sabbath, and good self-care is so important. Then, finally, why it’s important to remember how who we are is more valuable than what we do.

Poema 016 | Sarah Heath on Seeing Your Story Through God’s Eyes

Today my friend Rev Sarah Heath returns to the podcast, to discuss her new book ‘Whats Your Story – Seeing Your Life Through God’s Eyes’, a book about seeing our lives through the concept of story, using the Biblical story of Joseph as a lens to examine our own stories.

Sarah talks about how she discovered the power of story in her own life and how it’s impacted her story, and we discuss together how conflict and suffering are realities whichever path we take, but how God can use them to shape our lives for the better. Sarah shares how through scripture, and in our own lives, we can see that darkness and death isn’t the end of the story, and there is hope and resurrection.

Finally we talk about examples of the power of story in scripture, including both Joseph and Jesus, and how we can see our own stories in the lens of Christ, and how that can lead us to a deeper, more intimate relationship with the divine.

Sarah is always such fun to talk to and has such wisdom and insight – her book, and her thoughts on the concept of story and scripture, had a profound impact on my life, I’m sure it will do for you. Take a listen!

Poema 015 | Wendy H Jones on the Spirituality of Crime Writing & Marketing With Integrity

Today on the podcast I’m joined by my friend Wendy H Jones. Wendy is a hugely successful crime writer, and international speaker. She’s authored the Shona Mackenzie adult crime series which has sold tens of thousands of copies internationally, ‘Power Packed Book Marketing’, a book on how to successfully market your books with integrity, and is on the committee of the Association of Christian Writers.

Wendy shares her story, and the background to how she got into writing adult crime fiction and how her Christian faith has influenced those books. And we talk about engaging with our dark sides, and where creative inspiration truly comes from.

Finally we discuss the realities of book marketing in the age of social media, and again how Christians in particular can market our work with integrity and keeping to the values of our faith.

Wendy is smart, fun, inspiring and has a lot of wisdom to share, this is well worth a listen!

Poema 014 | Alexander Shaia & The Good Friday Resurrection

Alexander Shaia returns to Poema today to share about the Quadratos journey through the Easter story. Alexander takes us back to an understanding of the story older, and wider than the traditional ‘Holy Week’ we all know and takes us into the story of the Christ and how we can identify with Jesus as He walks His passion.

Together we examine in brief the difference between the gospel interpretations of the story, and what these different interpretations mean for our own journey, and take a deeper look into Gethsemane. There we find a Jesus who names the betrayer, but then calls him friend, and a Jesus whose struggles with obedience mirror our own.

Finally we focus on Jesus’ cry ‘My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?’, and discuss how this is not a moment of despair, but a victory cry, not a moment of doubt, but supreme faith. And we see why every day of the Easter Story, from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, is a story of resurrection.

This will blow your mind and expand and deepen your understanding of the Easter story, and the scriptures, and bring the passion of Christ alive in a fresh way, as it has done for me.

I’d encourage you to listen to this and engage with it over the Easter season, I certainly will be – and I believe it will make our Easters richer, deeper, more honest and more joyful. Have a happy and blessed Easter everyone.

How Being Vulnerable With Your Art Can Be A Path To Freedom

Dear Fellow Writer,

I know you’re afraid.

I know you’re wondering whether its worth even beginning.

Maybe you’re thinking others have written this before and better.

You could be confident you’re going to get rejected.

It might be you believe your story sucks and no one will be interested.

Or you’re wondering if you can really do justice to the message desperately want to share.

Are you a writer and ever experienced one or more of these, or something similar? I’m guessing so. And how do I know this? Because I’ve been there. Many times. read more…