Engage - Claremont Lincoln University

Unraveling Privilege (with Gregory Stevens) [Podcast]

In this episode, Pastor Gregory Stevens explores issue of privilege, systematic oppressions, capitalism and the global economy, how to listen in solidarity, and the really radical teachings of Jesus.

Ways to listen to this episode:

In this episode, we discuss:

  • What it means to have privilege
  • Why Christianity can’t come from the top down
  • How those in power can step aside and become allies
  • How all justice issues—the environment, workers’ rights, gender, poverty, race, and religion—are intertwined

Top 3 takeaways from this week’s episode:

1. “A lot of people who are like me are comfortable being in charge. We think we know what’s best and I think that’s a huge sin.”

People in power like to keep their power. Even if we think we’re being welcoming and kind, as long as we are in charge of events and the forms of dialogue and protest, we are continuing patterns of oppression. How do we balance using our expertise with working in solidarity?

'A lot of people who are like me are comfortable being in charge. We think we know what’s best and I think that’s a huge sin.' Listen now: Click To Tweet

2. “When everything is clear cut and defined, you pretty quickly build walls.”

Scholars, religious and ethical leaders, and heads of organizations work to create rules, expectations, and clear patterns of behavior and practice. This can make living together easier, but as soon as we say, “This is the right way to do this,” we start building pockets of exclusion and closing our minds to other ways of being.

'When everything is clear cut and defined, you pretty quickly build walls.' Listen now: Click To Tweet

3. “Why are we only listening to social change from the top?”

Sometimes calling your senator is one great tool. But the economic systems in which our leaders participate doesn’t work for most of the world. So why do we keep going to those with power (professors, religious leaders, political leaders, celebrities) to seek change? Instead, we should be building relationships and listening to those at “the bottom”—those who are living and working in marginalized spaces.

'Why are we only listening to social change from the top?' Listen now: Click To Tweet

Mentioned on the episode:

Racial Justice

Uhuru Solidarity Movement

Queer Theory

Modern Introductions to Leftist Politics

Pastor Gregory Stevens’s Current Project

How to connect with Gregory and with us:

You can find Gregory on Twitter @HelloGregory and on Facebook here.

You can connect with me on Twitter here: @SVarnonHughes. And you can always connect with us at CLU on our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts linked here.

Like the show? Help us spread the word by giving us a rating and review on iTunes!

About the Podcast

In Times Like These explores the difficult spaces we humans navigate in culture and religion, in dialogue and doubt. We talk to voices from the field, in law, activism, civil rights, and from places of struggle and places of deep learning. In Times Like These, we unpack the most troubling issues of politics and faith we face, together.

In Times Like These is hosted by Dr. Stephanie Varnon-Hughes and is a CLU Live production by Claremont Lincoln University.

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes, Ph.D., is the Director of Cross-Cultural & Interfaith Programs at Claremont Lincoln University, and an award winning teacher and interfaith leader whose research interests include the history, theories, and practices of inter-religious education, mindfulness and compassion practices (with particular emphasis on practices from the Dharmic traditions, especially Jainism), public policy (especially regarding inequities in public education), and how digital and online resources can make education accessible and learner-focused. Her doctoral dissertation, in inter-religious education, focused on disequilibrium, resilience, and reflective practice as key ingredients for learning. She was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Inter-Religious Studies, a peer reviewed journal, and its sister publication, State of Formation, an online forum for emerging religious and ethical leaders. She holds a Ph.D. from Claremont Lincoln University, an M.A. and S.T.M. from Union Theological Seminary and her undergraduate degrees are in English and Education, from Webster University.

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Claremont Lincoln University

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Stephanie Varnon-Hughes

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes, Ph.D., is the Director of Cross-Cultural & Interfaith Programs at Claremont Lincoln University, and an award winning teacher and interfaith leader whose research interests include the history, theories, and practices of inter-religious education, mindfulness and compassion practices (with particular emphasis on practices from the Dharmic traditions, especially Jainism), public policy (especially regarding inequities in public education), and how digital and online resources can make education accessible and learner-focused. Her doctoral dissertation, in inter-religious education, focused on disequilibrium, resilience, and reflective practice as key ingredients for learning. She was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Inter-Religious Studies, a peer reviewed journal, and its sister publication, State of Formation, an online forum for emerging religious and ethical leaders. She holds a Ph.D. from Claremont Lincoln University, an M.A. and S.T.M. from Union Theological Seminary and her undergraduate degrees are in English and Education, from Webster University.