Tonight’s guest, Eric Teitelman, grew up in a Jewish family in the 1960s and 70s. His parents were hippies who lived in places like Berkeley, California and Bat Yam, Israel, and they were no strangers to communes, nudist colonies, and kibbutzes. He also watched his parents struggle through issues like mental illness, unfaithfulness, and abandonment. Through all of the craziness, though, Eric had a vision of God as a loving father, and that knowledge made him determined to live a different kind of life than his parents. Thirty-plus years later, Eric is a happily married family man who works as an Engineering Chief in the Fairfax County Department of Transportation. He also volunteers his time with various local ministries including OneHeartDC, a group working to tear down the barriers that separate DC Metro area churches. He joins us to talk about his experiences growing up, how he was able to avoid the mistakes his parents made, and OneHeartDC’s upcoming Washington Prayer Gathering on the National Mall on Saturday, September 22nd.
Between 2009 and 2016, nearly 600 park rangers were killed in the line of duty in Africa by men poaching elephant tusks and rhino horns. In Namibia, where poaching was seen as the only way some families could stay fed, the government instituted a program in the 1980s where they began to convert poachers into “game guards.” It was a novel idea, and as the program matured the government began forming community conservancies where communities were given the rights to the animals on their land in exchange for agreeing to look after them. Today the program is seen as a huge success with the populations of cheetahs, black rhinos, and elephants all increasing dramatically.
This is the sort of project that today’s guest, crime-fighting conservationist Jessica Graham, works on. Jessica spent the past ten years working first at the US State Department where she created an environmental crime program; and most recently at INTERPOL, the world’s largest international police organization. Jessica recently returned to the U.S. from France to start a consulting business focused on environmental and international security issues. She joins us to talk about the intersection of conservation and law enforcement work, and to share insights she has gained traveling to over 40 countries.
All of us have our fair share of challenges at work, including working with people we don’t get along with and perhaps don’t like. What would you do if you found out that one of your coworkers was actively trying to get you fired? Would you mount a counter campaign and maybe even try to get them fired? Or would you take the high road and ignore them, letting your work speak for itself? Is there another option? What would you say to the idea of actively trying to make that person’s day better every day without regard to how they react – perhaps even working to get them promoted? Does this sound ridiculous?
Today we’re joined by John McGowan, the Lead Pastor at Restoration City Church in Arlington – a four-year-old church that meets in Gunston Middle School. John joins us to talk about the prevalence of un-grace, the importance of countering it, and what grace looks like in its most powerful form.
The U.S. prison system is broken and badly in need of reform. One case in point is the recidivism rate – the percentage of prisoners who return to the prison population after their release. Despite the fact that one of the primary goals of the system is rehabilitation, one study showed that over half of the people released from prison returned within one year; two-thirds returned after three years; and three-quarters returned within five years.
Today we’re talking to Rickey Brown, the Founder and CEO of Transitional Associates, a non-profit he established in 2014 to provide services to men, women and juveniles entering and exiting the prison system. Rickey joins us to talk about his passion for prison reform, what he has learned working both inside and outside of the system, and his perspective on why things are broken – and how he’s working to improve them.
One in three women worldwide (and one in four men) will be the victim of intimate partner violence in their lifetime. In America, someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. Arlington County residents are not immune to these issues. Today we’re hosting Samantha Clarke and Christina Cole from Doorways for Women and Families, an Arlington-based non-profit that has provided a pathway out of violence and homelessness to thousands of our neighbors over the past 40 years. Sam and Christy join us to talk about the services Doorways provide on behalf of Arlington County, and the impact the program has had on both its clients and volunteers.
Everybody lies. Dishonesty is major problem that effects every area of our lives including our families, workplaces, communities, and world. Today’s guest is an authority on honesty who has helped numerous businesses dramatically improve performance through open, honest communications. Steven Gaffney joins us to talk about the most significant form of dishonesty, the path to improving communications, and how to sustain a change for the better.
Chef Johnny Scott loves to teach young people the importance of developing workforce skills, an entrepreneurial spirit, and overcoming the shame of their past. Johnny honed his cooking skills working by his mother’s side in the kitchen; preparing food for fellow inmates in jail; and while touring the globe with his Air Force wife. In addition to running his Mission Kitchen catering business, Johnny can be found helping at-risk youth at the DC Juvenile Detention Center, The DC Dream Center, and The Boys Probation House in Fairfax County, as well as teaching healthy cooking classes at the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir. Join us as Johnny shares highlights and lessons learned from a life serving delicious food to others.
About two years ago, I [Ed] experienced a major flood in my condo after a contractor triggered a sprinkler head. As I feverishly worked to stem the flow of water and save my belongings, I was struck by the fact that only two people dove in uninvited to help – a couple from Costa Rica. I was initially upset by this. Then I realized I hardly knew my neighbors and, even worse, I hadn’t made the effort to get to know them. I asked myself, would I have immediately dived in and helped one of them if they were going through the same thing? The unfortunate answer is, probably not.
Tonight’s guests are working to address this issue. Mike and Michele Husfelt are part of a ministry called Apartment Life that works to develop deep relationships and a sense of community and service among neighbors in apartment complexes. Mike is doing this in addition to his work as an Air Force Chaplain, including assignments in Afghanistan and at Arlington Cemetery. Michele is doing it after raising five children and volunteering on military bases around the world, and while currently working at Northstar Church Network. They join us to talk about the importance and joy of knowing and helping our neighbors.
We’ve been hearing a lot about the Dreamers lately. These are people who were brought into the United States illegally as children and are eligible for DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – a program that temporarily shields some young immigrants from deportation, and allows them to work legally. President Trump ordered an end to DACA back in September, putting 800,000 Dreamers in limbo. In the midst of all the political posturing concerning Dreamers, it’s tough to remember that the vast majority of them are simply people who have spent most of their lives in our country and love it dearly. Today we’re joined by two of them. Lizzette Arias is the Executive Director of the Dream Project, an Arlington-based non-profit that provides scholarships, mentoring, and advocacy for Dreamers; and Selena Caceres, a Yorktown High School student and Dream Project mentee. They join us to share their personal Dreamer stories, and their reactions to events on Capitol Hill.
Tonight we’re talking about forgiveness – more specifically, self-forgiveness. We’re joined by Reverend Dr. Michael Barry, the former Director of Pastoral Care at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Philadelphia, and the author of four books including The Forgiveness Project. Michael joins us to talk about what he learned at CTCA, and in other work and research he’s done; the relationship between self-forgiveness and narcissism; and the book he’s currently co-authoring entitled Forgiveness of Self.
Tonight we feature a love story. But it’s not your typical Valentine’s Day tale. It’s a story of marriage, alcoholism, separation, jail, restoration, and terminal cancer – across the span of 30 years. We’re joined by Lee Self, a former high tech executive who now facilitates CEO peer learning groups. Lee joins us to talk about the effect of her husband’s alcoholism on her family, and the fundamental lessons she and her loved ones learned from it.
On the morning of September 16, 2013, tonight’s guest encountered the Washington Navy Yard shooter in a stairwell and was shot at close range. Just before Aaron Alexis pulled the trigger, Jennifer Bennett felt a sense of peace and love as she stared into Aaron’s eyes. Twelve people were killed by the shooter that day, and he himself died in an exchange of gunfire with police. Somehow Jennifer survived. She joins us to talk about her experiences that day, how they transformed her life, and the profound insights she has gained into the importance of really “seeing” others and of boldly honoring our God-given purpose.
Today’s guest, Will Herron, grew up in Northern Ireland and was an early member of the experimental Irish folk rock band known as the Rend Collective, which toured with folks like Chris Tomlin and Kari Jobe, and last year performed at Madison Square Garden and Red Rocks. He left the group five years ago to become the worship leader at Holy Trinity Church in McLean VA. Will’s story isn’t sensational like some of the “prodigal sons” we have featured on our program. It’s more a story of the prodigal son’s brother who, while he stayed home, had a heart that was just as far from his Father as his brother’s. Will joins us to talk about his life journey and the centrality of music and community to his faith and higher purpose.
Tonight we’re talking about hope in the face of cancer. According to the latest statistics from the American Cancer Society, the risk of developing cancer in women is over 37%, and in men it’s over 42%. Cancer has been called one of the most significant challenges in human history and will affect every one of us at one time or another. The good news is that we’re on a path towards more rational treatments, including a better understanding of the importance of a more holistic approach that acknowledges the role of spirituality, hope, and forgiveness in healing. Today, we’re joined by Reverend Dr. Michael Barry, the former Director of Pastoral Care at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia; and the author of four books, including A Reason for Hope and The Forgiveness Project, all of which attempt to address the spiritual needs of cancer patients at a time when their faith is both challenged and critically important. Michael joins us to talk about his experiences and what’s truly important at such a difficult time in someone’s life.
About 20 years ago, I (Ed) was adrift in my Christian faith. I had stopped attending the legalistic church I had been part of for many years, I was chasing the big payday in the high-tech startup world, and I had recently become a father. All the while, though, something kept gnawing at me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. As I wandered through Barnes and Noble, as I often did in those days, I kept passing a book entitled What’s So Amazing About Grace? At first I thought, that’s a catchy title. Then I started to think more and more deeply about the question until I finally said to myself, “What is so amazing about grace?!” So I purchased the book and read it, and it changed my life. Today, we’re joined by Philip Yancey, the author of that book and 20 others (four written with Dr. Paul Brand), many of them award winning. Philip’s most recent book is entitled Vanishing Grace, Whatever Happened to the Good News? In it, he revisits the topic of grace noting that his original question has only grown more urgent in recent years.
Tonight we return to the topic of racial reconciliation. Our guest is Daryl Davis, a local musician, author, and black man who is on a mission to tear down some of the most extreme barriers between whites and blacks in our country. For the past 30 years, Daryl has been seeking out and befriending members of the KKK, and watching them radically transform when they came to know him. Some of these transformations have been so remarkable that a number of Klan members have rescinded their beliefs and given their hoods and robes to Daryl for a museum he plans to create. Daryl joins us to talk about the power of crossing the divide, truly listening to people who are radically different from us, and building relationships. He’ll also talk about what he learned performing with people like Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Bo Diddley.
According to tonight’s guest, in today’s information-saturated world we have five-to-ten seconds to persuade someone that what we have to say is worthy of their time and attention. After that, a filter kicks in and people tune us out. So how does this affect how we share the gospel; and what exactly is the gospel? Daniel Rice is the author of #GOSPEL, and the founder of the Hashtag Gospel organization that works to present the gospel in a way that syncs with today’s culture and uniqueness. Daniel joins us to talk about what led him to start this movement, how it’s affected others, and to share some “updated” takes on the gospel.
Rick Pina was the first US-born member of his Dominican Republic family. He grew up in Brooklyn in the 1970s, a place characterized by poverty, drugs and violence; and he joined the Army partly to escape this environment. In August of 1995, he heard the gospel in a military chapel in Kuwait and asked God to reveal His truth to him and save him – and his life changed forever. Rick taught his first Bible study just five months after giving his life to Christ, preached his first sermon before the end of his Kuwait deployment, and has been preaching ever since including thousands of Web devotionals. Rick’s identity as a man of God never wavered as he rose to become the Army’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Rick joins us to talk about how he unabashedly walked by faith throughout his 25-year military career and his post-retirement ministry with his wife, Isabella.
Gene and Jeanie Cross have been getting up at 4:00 a.m. every Friday for the past 10 years to prepare hot meals and provide other services for the homeless population in Ballston, VA. They join us to talk about how they were drawn to this type of volunteer work; and the benefits of doing so for them, the people they serve, and the folks they work alongside. They also share stories about the people they have helped, and challenge us to step outside the walls of our homes and churches and get our hands dirty serving others.
Bonnie Carroll is a 2015 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She’s a former White House West Wing staffer and Air Force Reserve Major whose life was forever changed when her husband, Brigadier General Tom Carroll, was killed in an Army C-12 plane crash in November 1992. As Bonnie searched for support, she realized there was no organization dedicated to providing help to military families grieving the death of a loved one. In 1994, she founded TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors – a national support program that has offered hope and healing to 70,000 military family members, casualty officers, and caregivers. Bonnie joins us to talk about the experience of losing her husband, her vision for TAPS, and some of the people they’ve been able to serve.