Happy New Year, Lovers!! Welcome you to the fifty first episode of Love in a Dangerous Time. Somehow the fiftieth got past me so, by golly, let’s celebrate the fifty first. I’ve been doing this podcast since September 8, 2014, so it hasn’t exactly been an episode per week. But it’s still a lot of episodes. I’ve met some great people, if by telephone, whos book’s I’ve gotten a lot from. I’ve been able to give a platform to friends who have important things to say, heard about some really interesting things that people are doing to re-vitalize the Church, or move to the next form of Christian community. I’ve had some amazing conversations with wise people whose experience and reflection come to bare on the important issues before us. So it’s very auspicious to have fifty episodes under my belt, with who knows how many ahead.
It’s also auspicious that we’re beginning a new year. The tenor of our times seems to be very pessimistic. We seem to be sliding toward bigger and bigger wars, with more and more seemingly unsolvable conflicts among people being fanned into murderous flames of hatred. The great powers are more and more engaging with each other. It looks bad. But we also must remember that it is out of these conflicts that opportunity for real change often arises. For us Lovers, we look to our faith to help us see opportunity.
There is another auspicious thing about this immediate period. It is the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of The Fellowship of Reconciliation. The international organization was formed one hundred and one years ago, in a Europe that was just jumping off the cliff of World War I – a gloomy time, like today. A year later, in November of 1915, the organization was formed in the United States.
This is the focus of our program today. Rev. Kristin Stoneking, the current executive director of FORUSA, is my guest. We’ll talk about the history of this incredible organization, which began with a famous handshake on a Cologne train platform, a few days into World War I, between two Christian leaders, from warring countries, who declared that “We are one in Christ and can never be at war.” We’ll look at its century of anti-war work, nonviolence advocacy, civil rights work, and international justice work. We’ll even peer into the future and see where hope lies for us.
Here is Kristen’s bio, from the FOR website:
In August 2013 Kristin joined FOR as the organization’s 24th executive leader and its first to be based outside of New York State. Deeply rooted in Northern California, Kristin lives and works in Davis, California, where she previously served for 14 years as executive director of the Cal Aggie Christian Association at the University of California, Davis. During her tenure at “CA House,” the historic organization gained renown for launching a Multifaith Living Community, clarified and focused its mission, and grew multifold in staff and budget. Kristin’s diverse gifts in strategic planning and moving organizations through change, as well as her deep experience in working side-by-side with youth and young adults, will be critical assets as FOR approaches our centennial celebration (2014-2015).
A vocal advocate for the Occupy/Decolonize movement, Kristin achieved national attention in November 2011 for her role in a situation with violent overtones. Police officers pepper-sprayed activists who had joined a large Occupy Davis protest. Kristin successfully mediated between the parties and, when video footage of the dramatic incident “went viral” via social media, promoted the disciplined, principled use of nonviolent action.
Kristin is an ordained United Methodist minister and coordinates a social justice network in the California-Nevada Conference of her denomination. Her previous service includes pastoral work on gang and gun violence, and research and advocacy for immigrant rights. Kristin is also nearing completion of a Ph.D. in interreligious studies and nonviolence education at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She and her spouse, Elizabeth Campi, have two children. Find Kristin on Twitter@KStoneking.
FOR-USA website – www.forusa.org
Kirstin on Twitter – @KStoneking
FOR on Twitter – @FORpeace