Refugia: a podcast about renewal
hosted by Debra Rienstra
Welcome to Season 3!
After a year’s hiatus (to finish my book Refugia Faith), I’m back for another season of interviews with fascinating people whose expertise and wisdom can help us understand how to be people of refugia. This season, we’re focusing on “refugia church,” looking for models and ideas for how refugia can thrive in faith communities.
Subscribe on your preferred podcast platform, and look for new episodes each week through November. We’ll conclude with a summary episode, in conversation with my sometime cohost, biologist Prof. David Koetje.
What are refugia??
Refugia are places of shelter where life endures in times of crisis. From out of these small sanctuaries, life re-emerges, and the world is renewed.
We’re exploring what it means for people of faith to be people of refugia. How can we create safe places of flourishing— “micro-countercultures” where we gain strength and spiritual capacity to face the challenges ahead?
Host Debra Rienstra interviews a different guest each week, exploring the evocative idea of refugia from a variety of perspectives, from biology to worship to politics.
This is a podcast, ultimately, about watching for places where God is working at renewal—of the earth, of the church, culture, and society. It’s about seeking how we might participate willingly and courageously in that divine work.
For grammar geeks: “Refugia” is plural. “Refugium” is singular. I try to keep this straight, but both I and my guests mess it up sometimes. Meanwhile, the phrase “people of refugia” seems to reconstrue the word as a singular quality or state of being. I like this term enough, obviously, to put up with the confusing linguistic issues involved!
The art of being human in a God-beloved world.
Like a lot of us, I’m trying to stay faithful and sane as the world continues to change all around us. As a writer and college professor, I combine perspectives from the past—especially the literary tradition—with reflection on contemporary thought. Most of all, I draw on the rich resources of a generous, intelligent, ecumenical, genuine Christianity to explore all aspects of culture.
My latest book, on faith and climate change, is called Refugia Faith: Seeking Hidden Shelters, Ordinary Wonders, and the Healing of the Earth (Fortress 2022). Much of my writing lately focuses on taking the climate crisis seriously and responding with the resources of faith, mercy, and justice.
If you like to learn new things while celebrating the beautiful, lamenting the tragic, and having fun wherever possible—then we’re on the same journey. With the help of good books and good people who are doing hopeful work, we can seek how best to offer our small lives for the greater blessing of the world God loves.
In the face of climate change and other ecological disturbances, you want to try to enhance biodiversity in your own yard. And as people do this, they can not only experiment to try to find combinations of biodiversity that can actually thrive under new climate…
Debra RienstraNovember 20, 2022
I preach, I teach, I write, and so on, for that purpose: to hope that through my puny efforts God can help to rouse the church community. That’s what I think the church needs the most, is to be roused related to our social issues.
Debra RienstraNovember 13, 2022
What we mean when we say “climate resilience” is not simply the ability to bounce back after climate impacts and disasters, but the ability to bounce forward. So seeing these moments we’re in of climate breakdown not simply as a time to rebuild what has…
Debra RienstraNovember 6, 2022
I can’t step back anymore. I’m committed. I’m going to go to the end with this. And I’m just going to let the results be in God’s hand.
Debra RienstraOctober 30, 2022
If we are to be faithful, we must address the emergent moral challenges. What could be more of an emergent moral challenge than climate change?
Debra RienstraOctober 16, 2022
A church of refugia will be one that is introspective enough to admit, to confess, to lament, to recognize that complicity; to seek then to open up to the work of the Spirit to convict of truth and to bring change, to change those hearts…
Debra RienstraOctober 9, 2022
We want to create a shared space and curriculum through which religious leaders from a wide, wide range of wisdoms will produce and share knowledge with one another and train to lead their communities. And this is all rooted in the conviction that we can,…
Debra RienstraOctober 2, 2022
So much of the social change we need to make to confront climate change requires community structures, requires people working together to make change. And you can create new structures, and a lot of people do, but there are also a lot of existing structures,…
Debra RienstraSeptember 25, 2022
People who are in power want to silence the prophetic voice and the prophetic function of churches. But that is actually one of the reasons the church came into existence in the first place——was to challenge the power structures that victimized and profited and oppressed…
Debra RienstraSeptember 18, 2022
Many thanks to the team of people who made this project possible.
- Thanks to all my guests, who were so generous with their time and wisdom. I’m proud to put your work on display whenever I can.
- Thanks to Kathleen Dean Moore, whose book Great Tide Rising inspired the idea for the podcast and who continues to inspire me with her prophetic voice, artistic skill, and personal integrity.
- Thanks to David Wunder along with the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship for providing support for Season 3 and to the several Centers and Institutes at Calvin University that provided funding to support an experimental pilot project during the summer of 2019.
- Thanks to my excellent assistants for Season 3, Ian Gilbert and Kathryn Gardner (audio editing) and Michal Rubingh (text editing).
- Thanks to my excellent assistants for Season 2, Josh Parks (text editing and publicity) and Philip Rienstra (audio editing). Could not have done another season without you.
- For Season 1, thanks to Calvin students Kayla Cooper and Garrett Strpko for doing so much of the recording and post-production, and to Jordan Van Eerden for batting cleanup. Thanks to Lauren Cole for much transcription editing and for developing the look of the podcast. Professors are not necessarily the most tech-savvy and we tend to be reclusive, but we can learn. Thanks for your patience with us.
- Thanks to Michaela Osborne and Stephanie Boer for vital logistical support during Season 1.
- Finally, huge thanks to John Hwang, whose passion and commitment fires us up and continues to make it all possible.