In November of 2018, 26 year old American explorer and missionary John Allen Chau was killed by the Sentinelese people, an isolated tribal group living on North Sentinel Islands off the coast of India. Chau went the island illegally in order to share with them about Christianity. The incident is controversial, sparking outrage, consternation, and even admiration.

Were Chau’s actions worth the cost of his life? And could his actions cost the Sentinelese people their lives as well? Jaye discusses the parties involved in the incident, Christian missionary work, and why history matters when unpacking the discomfort some have with the idea of missions.

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What if the religious extremism Americans should be most concerned about comes from Christianity? In this episode, Jaye explores the authoritarian, extremist elements of American evangelicalism and the overwhelming support of Donald Trump by white evangelical Christians. Jaye also discusses the Quiverfull movement, the increasing emphasis on authoritarianism and control within evangelical Christian colleges, dominionism, racial reconciliation, evangelical support for Donald Trump’s inhumane policies, and parallels between right-wing evangelicalism and ultra-conservative Islam.

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Political science researchers Benjamin Knoll and Cammie Jo Bolin join Jaye on this episode to share with listeners their knowledge and research on women clergy, and talk about their new book, She Preached the Word. The researchers discuss some of the book’s themes, including the barriers to ordination of women, the acceptance of women clergy in congregations, and the effects they have on their congregations. They also discuss their research methodology, including the new, original data collected and analyzed to arrive at their findings. How do women clergy affect the self-esteem and outlook of women and girls in their congregations, and how might women in religious leadership affect the prospects of women leadership in other areas of public life?

Order She Preached the Word on Amazon.com

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Several scandals involving sexual harassment and sexual abuse have been uncovered recently in a number of churches across the Christian landscape. Why is abuse within the church such a huge story, why does it occur, and what can churches do better to reduce abuse occurrences and respond to these incidents? Jaye discusses a few of these recent scandals – delving into authoritarianism, sexual repression, and purity culture, and how these mechanisms can enable perpetrators and silence victims.

CONTENT WARNING: This episode includes discussion of sexual activity, sexual assault and child abuse. Please be advised.

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When you hear the word “demagogue” – what comes to mind? Many of us think of demagogues as charismatic leaders who hold an extreme degree of power over their supporters, who will follow them no matter what the leader does. But why do people fall for demagogues?

In this episode, Jaye takes a deep dive into the subject of demagoguery – exploring the ways we debate political and social issues, and how that may lead to the rise of demagogues. What does a country run by demagoguery truly mean for democracy?

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With the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court by Donald Trump, many pro-life Americans are rejoicing at the pick. Their hope is that Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Court will signal the end of Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Jaye explores the question – what will happen if Roe is set aside by the US Supreme Court? Will this achieve the goal of ending abortion, or is that truly the goal? And – to Americans who are staunchly pro-life regarding abortion, is symbolism more important than the outcome of protecting life?

Also – Jaye shares her experiences attending the Families Belong Together Rally in Cincinnati, Ohio. This was one of many around the country protesting the Trump Administration’s immigration policies, including the policy of family separation at the US-Mexico Border. More here.

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In our multi-parter second installment of Riverside Chats, Jaye is joined by her husband Chuckles as they share just a little bit of their lively political conversations – as a couple with divergent political views. In Part 1, Jaye and Chuckles debate the Stormy Daniels controversy, revisit health care, and begin discussing the 2018 midterm elections. Should the Democratic Party attempt to court Trump voters, and if so, how can they do that without losing their base?

The Riverside Chats special format is brought to Potstirrer Podcast on occasion to include some diversity of thought to the show and to encourage learning and discussion outside of the “echo chambers” of the right and the left.

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*Note: For Riverside Chats, we experimented with a different sound setup. My apologies in advance for any sound issues. -Jaye