Talking about life and what are the biggest questions: Dom Fay and Peter Catt talk God, the universe and everything
Peter Catt and Dom Fay are joined by Richard Fay who is CEO of The Centre for Men, Australia and also happens to be Dom’s Dad. Together they explore the way dualistic thinking traps us into defining our world in binary terms, and how seeking a unitive consciousness can avoid an “us and them” mentality and help us on the way to authentic love and freedom and to become who we are created to be.
Dom Fay leads the discussion with Peter Catt and Sue Wilton around issues of gender and spirituality. Does God have a gender? What are the issues for women when so much of our language for God is masculine and exclusive? What does scripture reveal about gender and what have we been missing in our tradition that is life-giving and empowering for women? The conversation centres around the alternate narrative that the gospel reveals and the liberating good news that challenges cultures of patriarchy and inequality.
Dave Andrews and Dr Nora Amath join Dom Fay and Sue Wilton to tell stories and share the urgency of the message of peace and understanding between religious communities and the power of friendship between individuals.
This conversation explores how the ‘prophet’ Jesus can unite rather than divide Muslims and Christians, giving examples of Muslims and Christians finding common ground, with thoughts on how we might all work together for common good.
Dom Fay and Peter Catt are joined by the Rev’d Dr Ceri Wynne to talk about the popular myth that science and religion are essentially in conflict and cover some fascinating ground exploring the dynamic interplay possible when science and faith interact.
Peter Catt, Sue Wilton and Dom Fay are joined by the Rev’d Dr Greg Jenks to discuss differing views about scripture and scriptural interpretation and what that means for how we understand faith and what it means to be a follower of the way of Jesus.
The Very Rev’d Professor Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford and Dean Peter Catt join Dom Fay for a discussion exploring what shape the Church might have in future as we come to terms with the role of complexity and the idea of incorporation.
Dom Fay, Sue Wilton and Brendan McKeague from Pace e Bene Australia talk peace in a rich and highly practical exploration of living with an ethic of nonviolence and following the way of Jesus.
James Alison, theologian and Roman Catholic priest, joins Peter Catt and Dom Fay to explore the meaning of the cross in the light of the work of René Girard. In this conversation, James explores how humans have a history of excluding others and the way Jesus changes all that by volunteering to be the person who was excluded. Shifting the story in this way changes not only how we see our faith, but also how we treat each other and understand relationships. The ideas explored in this conversation help us to understand ourselves and our own patterns of imitative desires and behaviour, even as it gives us insight into patterns of violence in our societies and throughout history.
2017 was not a good year for the public image of Christianity. Dom Fay, Peter Catt and Sue Wilton have a conversation to start the New Year about everything from marriage equality surveys to Donald Trump and polemical arguments that get in the way of communicating the compassionate, life-affirming and liberating message of Christian faith.
Jim Schirmer joins Peter Catt, Sue Wilton and Dom Fay to explore how Christianity speaks powerfully from the margins, challenging our comfortable theologies and transforming our faith and our lives.
The Rev’d Dr Steven Ogden joins Dom Fay, Peter Catt and Sue Wilton to explore the problem of the Church’s enmeshment with sovereign power and the issues that result around conformity and entitlement in such a narrative of obedience and privilege. Steven sketches an alternate vision of the Church, which cultivates practices of freedom for the sake of the other.
Richard Fay, Dom Fay and Sue Wilton talk over the two halves of life; finding faith in the midst of suffering and discovering the move from trying to allowing and from doing to being. There are some personal stories and some great poetry in this conversation which ultimately calls on the language of metaphor and the mystery of paradox to explore some of life’s biggest inner experiences.
Christianity teaches us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves, but that presupposes that we know how to love ourselves. Peter Catt and Dom Fay are joined by Dr George Trippe- psychotherapist, counsellor, spiritual director and artist- to explore how the practice of radical self-acceptance and self-compassion is key to entering into the radical mystery of an all-loving God, enabling us to truly love others and set us on the path to becoming most truly ourselves.
In a world that seems obsessed by models of heroic leaders and trusting in the ‘expert’ opinions of others to work things out, models that allow space and time for truly collaborative models of leadership and decision making can seem quite counter-cultural. Dom Fay, Peter Catt and Sue Wilton are joined by special guest, Michael Wood to talk emergence, and the liberating power of creating space that releases creativity, enables dialogue and nurtures a different way of being in community together.
Dom Fay and Peter Catt are joined by The Rev’d Dr Jo Inkpin and The Rev’d Chris Dowd, one of the authors of Transfaith: A Transgender Pastoral Resource. How does the transgender identity influence the life of faith and the search for meaning? What does this mean for both those who identify as transgender and those who hope to gain new understanding of gender and its role in the spiritual journey? A deeply compassionate and human conversation.
Do you dream of slowing your life down? Maybe you have explored slow reading, slow food, and even slow TV. What about slow church? The Right Rev’d Professor Stephen Pickard, Bishop and Executive Director for the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture joins us on the podcast to explore how the best things in life can be slow, the mysteries of life can’t be rushed and nothing can be loved at speed.
Wm. Paul Young, author of several books including “The Shack”, joins Dom and Sue to talk about shame and the way it can hold us back from a flourishing life; a life grounded in an awareness that we are loved and of great worth. What are the things we believe or have been told about God that would tell us the opposite? How do we instead travel the journey towards authenticity and freedom?
Dom Fay and Sue Wilton are joined by Professor Ellen Charry in a discussion about what it really means to be happy, what is the kind of happiness that lasts, and what goodness and blessing have to do with it all. Ellen is Professor of Systematic Theology Emerita of Princeton Theological Seminary, New Jersey, and author of many publications, including God and the Art of Happiness.
Professor William Franke and Professor Kevin Hart join Dom Fay and Sue Wilton to try to speak about the unspeakable: How can we talk about God when language fails us? Given that God is mystery and that cannot be conceived as an object among other objects in our cosmos, how do we deepen our understanding and grow in a relationship of love to the Divine? William Franke is Professor of Religious Studies and Comparative Literature at Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tennessee and Kevin Hart is Professor in Religious Studies at Virginia University whose poetry is also widely known and acclaimed in Australia and around the world.
Peter Catt and Dom Fay are joined by The Rev’d Chris Bedding to talk about the place of humour and the absurd in religion. Where does humour turn up in our understanding of faith and the Christian life? What do comedy and worship share in common and is there anything we can’t laugh at? Chris Bedding is a real live Anglican Priest who serves the Parish of Darlington-Bellevue. He is also a stand-up comedian, actor, director and musician, and one half of the duo responsible for Pirate Church; a loving satire about the wacky world of religion, and Christianity in particular.
Dom Fay and Sue Wilton are joined by The Very Rev’d Professor Andrew McGowan to explore some of the ancient history of religion and the way ideas about sacrifice pervade the religious imagination. What was the place of sacrifice within ancient religious tradition and what do Christians mean when they talk about Jesus as the sacrificial lamb? This conversation explores the misunderstandings around the nature and history of sacrifice and how a richer understanding can lead to a more compassionate and liberating experience of Christian faith and eucharistic worship. Andrew McGowan is the Dean of Berkeley Divinity School within Yale in New Haven, Connecticut.
Author Matt Haig joins Dom and Sue on the podcast to explore some of the ways our world can make us unwell. Social commentaries often reports that rates of stress and anxiety are rising. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. We are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index. Author Matt Haig joins the podcast to talk about the question of how to stay human in a technological and fast paced world. After years of anxiety, Matt began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him. In this conversation he discusses his latest book, Notes on a Nervous Planet and explores how to feel happy and human in the twenty-first century. Matt Haig is a UK author of several best-selling works of fiction and non-fiction, including How to Stop Time and Reasons to Stay Alive.
What is prayer, and how do we go about it? Joining the podcast for a conversation about the practice, meaning and purpose of prayer is The Rev’d Dr Sarah Bachelard, founder and leader of Benedictus Contemplative Church in Canberra and honorary fellow at the Australian Catholic University.
Ever wondered what your dreams might reveal? Dr George Trippe rejoins Dom, Peter and Sue in a conversation about how the symbols and images of our dreams and nightmares can be a language of rich spiritual insight, wisdom and self-knowledge.
Happy Christmas or Seasons Greetings? And what jokes and topics of conversation are okay to bring out these holidays at parties and family BBQs? In this episode Peter Catt, Dom Fay and Sue Wilton discuss the emotions around being “PC”, explore what is really felt to be at stake and how we can navigate this territory as people of faith.
Dom Fay, Peter Catt and Sue Wilton are joined by Dave Andrews to explore “Plan Be”- the ethical guidelines laid out by Jesus in The Beatitudes that can help us be the change we want to see in the world. This is about a way of being that helps us live into our deepest potential through inner transformation that in turn transforms our world with justice, integrity, compassion and peace. The conversation explores what it means to follow the way of Jesus through the framework of these 8 life-giving principles.
Does money really make the world go around? Is self-interest the only reliable predictor of human civil and social behaviour? The Rev’d Gillian Moses joins the podcast to talk about the assumptions we make about economics, and how challenging beliefs about competition and scarcity can open us to a new way of being together that heals the isolation and dehumanisation of consumer capitalism.
How do we move from faith as a fixed set of beliefs to a transformative event that transforms and renews our life? And how can living into the events of Holy Week and the new day of Easter together change us in ways that can be different every time we enter this old story? Dom Fay, Peter Catt and Sue Wilton explore the journey of Lent and the cruciform pattern that plays out in our lives in surprising and holy ways.
Meteorologist, Climate Scientist and Eco-theologian, Dr Mick Pope joins the podcast to talk climate change, the future of our planet and the response of communities of faith. Mick outlines the history of the science, the most pressing evidence which prompts us to action, and why the church and other religious traditions have a part to play in this most critical of conversations.
SBS recently aired a reality television experience called Christians Like Us, describing it as “10 Christians from around Australian, living together for one week. From conservative to progressive, Catholic to Anglican, charismatic to controversial – each confronting the issues that challenge their respective faiths.” The results are an interesting study in the challenges facing the church, but also the power of love to forge enduring friendships in an environment of raw vulnerability. Coming up in future podcast episodes are conversations with housemates, The Rev’d Tiffany Sparks, Chris Csabs and Steve Smith, but first here are three short, revealing interviews with Dom about their experience in the house.
Being gay and being Christian can be a hard journey in communities of faith. The stories of pain and exclusion told by many are a prompt to listen more closely to the experiences of the DiGS (Diverse in Gender and Sexuality) community and to pay attention to the damaging and dangerous implications of our theology and practice. Chris Csabs, recently seen in the SBS documentary Christians Like Usjoins Dom, Peter and Sue to tell his story and share in a conversation about radical, unconditional love and being the church for everyone. Content warning: This conversation includes references to suicide and so-called ‘gay conversion therapy’ . If anything in this conversation causes distress, support is available through the following providers.
Lifeline: Call 13 11 14 anytime for confidential telephone crisis support.
Beyond Blue:Call 1300 22 4636 https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-support
Open Doors Youth Service: support to young people with diverse genders, sex and sexualities. https://www.opendoors.net.au/
Equal Voices:supports, sustains and empowers LGBTIQ Christians to express their religious identity in community with others https://equalvoices.org.au/
The label of being a “progressive” can often be misunderstood. The Rev’d Tiffany Sparks joins the podcast to talk about culture, mainstream media, and sharing the Gospel in a way that releases it to be life-giving and liberating in the world today.
The Royal Commission investigating institutional responses to child sexual abuse uncovered failures of the Church to protect children and revealed stories of betrayal, violence and suffering leading to ongoing, long-term trauma for sexual abuse survivors. Secrecy, clericalism and an unwillingness to believe the stories of victims have all been factors in the failure of the church to prevent these abuses.
Hearing the stories is vital. Steve Smith, who recently appeared on the SBS documentary Christians Like Us, joins the podcast to share his story and reflect on faith and the church . From the age of 10 to 15, Steve was sexually abused by an Anglican priest, and spent the next three decades seeking justice.
Content warning: This conversation talks about child sexual abuse and trauma. If anything in this conversation causes distress, support is available through the providers listed below.
Child abuse is a crime. If you have been a victim of abuse, or are concerned about a child being abused, you should report your concerns to local police.
Finding help and support
The work of the Royal Commission, and particularly the stories of survivors, may bring up many strong feelings and questions. Be assured you are not alone, and that there are many services and support groups available to assist in dealing with these. Some options for advice and support are listed below:
1800 Respect – Call 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800respect.org.au24/7 telephone and online crisis support, information and immediate referral to specialist counselling for anyone in Australia who has experienced or been impacted by sexual assault, or domestic or family violence.
Lifeline – Call 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention
Contact details for additional National and State support services can be found here;
What do William Shakespeare and the Church have in common? Perhaps it is to do with the big questions explored and in the way, at their best, they both address the human condition, hold a prophetic role in society and speak truth in both direct and mythological forms. Dr Rob Pensalfini joins the podcast to talk with Dom, Peter and Sue about some of these biggest questions, tracking the ways theatre and the church have evolved and what this reveals about the passion and pathos of the human condition. Rob is Associate Professor of linguistics and drama at the University of Queensland and Artistic Director of the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble.
Music communicates in a language that is experienced more powerfully than the spoken word. John Bell joins Dom, Peter and Sue to explore the way music can powerfully shape and change not only our experience of worship, but also how we understand ourselves and God. What do the songs we sing tell us about what we really believe and how we think we should live? John is a hymn writer, composer, lecturer and broadcaster, and an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland and member of the Iona Community.
Sometimes the most important thing we can do is tell our story, in all its messiness and vulnerability. John Rolley’s story travels the deep terrain of identity, vocation and belonging and captures poignantly the struggle of a man seeking a life of integrity and wholeness in cultures where that seemed impossible. This story shows how the search for belonging is the same journey as that to your true self.
Content Warning: This podcast contains references to sexuality, depression and suicidality.
If anything in this conversation causes distress, support is available through the following providers.
Lifeline: Call 13 11 14 anytime for confidential telephone crisis support.
Beyond Blue: Call 1300 22 4636 https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-suppor
Equal Voices: supports, sustains and empowers LGBTIQ Christians to express their religious identity in community with others https://equalvoices.org.au/
Have you ever wondered how faith might affect your everyday decisions about what you eat? Our food has an impact on not just our own bodies, but on all living things on earth, the environment and how we are able to share justly the resources of life. Professor David Clough joins Sue and Dom to talk about the impact of eating animals and animal products, what we need to know about meat and dairy production, and the interrelated nature of all life on earth. David completed his PhD at Yale, lectures in systematic theology and ethics and is the author of the landmark two volume work “On Animals.”
How much of the way we practice our faith is imported? How much does our expression of faith reflect a church engaging with the land and embedded in indigenous culture? The Rev’d Glenn Loughrey, First Nations person and Wiradjuri man, joins Peter, Dom and Sue to explore how the church can break away from its colonial history and colonising structures and live into an expression of good news rooted firmly in the soil of this place and this time.
In the first of this series of recordings from the Byron Writers Festival, Jeff Sparrow joins Dom and Sue to talk about the ideologies of our times that are driving popular political, cultural and religious rhetoric, and how we can reclaim our voice in truthful conversations and liberating community action. Jeff is a writer, editor, broadcaster and author of a number of books including Trigger Warnings: Political Correctness and the Rise of the Right.
In the second of the series of recordings from the Byron Writers Festival, Jess Hill joins Sue and Dom to talk about domestic abuse and the systems that enable perpetrators. The conversation explores the frightening realities behind the statistics and how our communities can confront the fear and violence that is present in so many relationships. Jess Hill is an investigative journalist who has been writing about domestic violence since 2014. Prior to this, she was a producer for ABC Radio, a Middle East correspondent and is listed in Foreign Policy‘s top 100 women to follow. Her reporting on domestic violence has won two Walkley awards, an Amnesty International award and three Our Watch awards.
Content warning: This conversation covers topics of domestic abuse and family violence.
If you are affected by domestic abuse help is available. The following site provides further information on where to find support both for victims and those who use family violence and are seeking counselling.
Bruce Pascoe, author of Dark Emu, is popularly recognised as Australia’s most influential indigenous historian and responsible for challenging and revising established accounts of pre-colonial history that depicted Aboriginal people as ‘nothing more than spear-throwing nomads.’ Bruce joins the podcast at the Byron Writers Festival to talk about the ignored and suppressed history of Aborigines cultivating crops, building large villages and creating sophisticated dams and aquaculture systems. He explores with Dom and Sue the power and racism that has controlled the national story and how the Church can move from being part of the problem to part of the solution. This conversation covers some of the history of Aboriginal society as well as exploring the spirituality of truth-telling and the hard and vital work that needs to be done in decolonisation. Bruce Pascoe is an award-winning writer and a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man. He is a board member of First Languages Australia and Professor of Indigenous Knowledge at the University of Technology Sydney.