Over a decade ago, pastor Lia Claire Scholl began a ministry among women who work in the sex industry. Her experiences with these women challenge our society's expectations about care, morality, and the Gospel. In part one of our interview, we learn about her work as a "harm reduction activist," and the vulnerable edge of caring for those who have passed beyond the range of social acceptance.
Also on the show, Katy Scrogin reviews The Experience of God by David Bentley Hart
Lia Claire Scholl's blog on Patheos is found under the handle, "Rogue Reverend," and indeed, Reverend Scholl is not one to mince her words. She is the pastor of the Richmond Mennonite Fellowship in Richmond, Virginia, and considers herself to be an ally of those who choose to engage in selling sex. She has provided support to individuals in the sex industry for over 12 years.
Lia Scholl practices radical acceptance for those who the church has vilified and shamed. It's not just something she preaches, but something that she really tries to reflect in her life. Borrowing a term from addiction counseling, she refers to herself as a "harm reduction activist." Harm reduction is a philosophy of service that meets people where they are, respecting their individual decisions, and providing options for healthier choices.
Scholl serves on the Board of the Red Umbrella Project, which amplifies the voices of people who have done transactional sex, through media, storytelling, and advocacy trainings, at our monthly storytelling series in New York City, and with support for advocacy projects and campaigns that promote the human rights of people who trade sex for something they need.
Scholl writes about these experiences, and the religious ideas that fuel her sense of calling, in her recent book, I Heart Sex Workers: A Christian Response to People in the Sex Trade, published by Chalice Press.
Also on the Show
Katy Scrogin reviews The Experience of God by David Bentley Hart.
From the publisher's description:
"Despite the recent ferocious public debate about belief, the concept most central to the discussion—God—frequently remains vaguely and obscurely described. Are those engaged in these arguments even talking about the same thing? In a wide-ranging response to this confusion, esteemed scholar David Bentley Hart pursues a clarification of how the word “God” functions in the world’s great theistic faiths.
Ranging broadly across Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Vedantic and Bhaktic Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, Hart explores how these great intellectual traditions treat humanity’s knowledge of the divine mysteries. Constructing his argument around three principal metaphysical “moments”—being, consciousness, and bliss—the author demonstrates an essential continuity between our fundamental experience of reality and the ultimate reality to which that experience inevitably points.
Thoroughly dismissing such blatant misconceptions as the deists' concept of God, as well as the fundamentalist view of the Bible as an objective historical record, Hart provides a welcome antidote to simplistic manifestos. In doing so, he plumbs the depths of humanity’s experience of the world as powerful evidence for the reality of God and captures the beauty and poetry of traditional reflection upon the divine."