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Listening to the wilderness

1001 ‘New Way’ podcast explores the Lenten season and takes listeners through Easter

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

the Rev. Karen Rohrer

LOUISVILLE — In the first episode of season seven of the 1001 “New Way” podcast, host the Rev. Sara Hayden and guest the Rev. Karen Rohrer anticipate their own journeys through Lent, which begins next week on Ash Wednesday.

During the conversation, Hayden and Rohrer, the director of the Church Planting Initiative at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, spend time examining the myth of the “American Dream” and how it can seduce people into believing they can be anything they want to be.

“But Ash Wednesday pulls us away from that myth into something much more about community and solidarity,” Hayden said, “instead of our own individual achievement and failures.”

For Rohrer, the liturgy of Ash Wednesday, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return,” reminds her not only of human mortality but also of the temptation Adam and Eve faced in Genesis 2-3 after being told not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

During the episode, which drops on Feb. 10, Rohrer described the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as “this big gaslighting experience” where “we could sort of pretend all kinds of lies about ourselves: I can do this. I know this. I can control this. I can do whatever I want,” she said. “But the truth is harder and lighter: No, we can’t do everything. We are not all-knowing and all-wise and all-productive. And it turns out, it’s not fun to be.”

the Rev. Sara Hayden

As always, Hayden said there will be a little bit of everything in this podcast that focuses on people, their communities and the ways context shapes faith. There is laughter, a little sarcasm and sincerity, as she pulls in the wisdom of the human experience from Scripture as well as from her guests.

“These ancient wilderness stories are not so far away from our current modern human experience,” Hayden said. “There are so many passages and motifs to draw and gain wisdom from.”

Each person Hayden talks with is invited to discuss not only their expertise — which includes everything from community organizing to church planting and biblical theology — but also how their context, relationships and daily life enrich and contribute to that wisdom.

“My hope is that this podcast plays a role as a devotional in people’s lives,” she said, “something you can come to for clarity or to explore questions and meaning — not only as a Christian, but as a human.”

1001 LogoThis season of the “New Way” podcast features weekly episodes throughout Lent and into Easter. It will also include a special “Holy Week Retreat” to guide you with questions and contemplation for Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Resurrection Sunday.


So join 8,000 others by subscribing now for weekly episodes that continue into the Easter season, via Spotify, GooglePlay, Stitcher and Apple Podcasts, so that you don’t miss an episode.

Or listen to the episodes here.

The New Way podcast is produced by Atlanta-based artist and pastor the Rev. Marthame Sanders, who also hosts the weekly podcast Aijcast, which is part of the 1001 New Worshiping Communities movement.

 In 2012, the 220th General Assembly of the PC(USA) declared a commitment to this churchwide movement that would result in the creation of 1001 worshiping communities over 10 years. At a grassroots level, nearly 600 diverse new worshiping communities have formed across the nation. 

Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

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