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Forget the selfies and social media updates of everyone at their best, three-time New York Times best-selling author Nadia Bolz-Weber’s new podcast, The Confessional, invites guests to share stories about times they were at their worst. Guests talk honestly about what led to that moment, what they learned from it, and how they changed as a result. A former stand-up comic and a recovering alcoholic, Bolz-Weber is a Lutheran Pastor and the founder of House for All Sinners and Saints, in Denver, Colorado.
Everyone needs grace and healing, no matter your beliefs. Step into The Confessional with Nadia Bolz-Weber - a carwash for people’s shame and secrets.
Elizabeth Lesser, Co-Founder of Omega Institute
"And that was the moment ... where I was like, 'Girl, you can be a good mother and a happy, embodied woman, but you can't be a good mother and a liar.'"
|Apr 14, 2021|
Dr. Ray Christian, Storyteller and Fulbright Specialist
"I got the super squad, the dirty dozen. Nobody needs to know what's going on here; I'm handling everything."
Dr. Raymond Christian is a retired US Army paratrooper who grew up on the poverty-ridden streets of Richmond, VA. He has taught African American History and Storytelling at Appalachian State University and is a 12-time Moth Story Slam Champion and winner of the 2016 National Storytelling Festival Story Slam. Ray is a Fulbright Specialist Scholar as an expert in Education and Storytelling Narrative, and the host and producer of the podcast “What’s Ray Saying?”
|Apr 07, 2021|
Joshua Harris, Storyteller and Author of "I Kissed Dating Goodbye"
"If you can call people to a higher standard and tap into that fear, that ‘I'm not trying hard enough. I'm not really loving God enough. I'm not sacrificing enough,’ there is always going to be another person coming along with a book or a conference to sell that is going to tap into that and say, ‘You're right. You're not doing enough. Let me show you how you can do more.’”
|Mar 31, 2021|
Claire Bidwell Smith, Grief Therapist and Author
“I just remember the feeling of having his arms around me, and I just felt so sickened that I had chosen this instead of my mother.”
|Mar 24, 2021|
Sarah Edmondson, Actor and Former Member of NXIVM
“I essentially told her to override that very important internal compass called your gut instinct. And I told her that that wasn't accurate. She was just scared and that this is normal, that you hit up against fears that are going to stop you from your true potential … I told her to trust me, and I just, I wonder where she would be now if she’d just stayed in Vancouver and not done ESP.”
Sarah Edmondson is a Canadian actress who has starred in the CBS series Salvation and more than twelve films for the Hallmark Channel and Lifetime. In 2019, Sarah published Scarred: The True Story of How I Escaped NXIVM, the Cult that Bound My Life, with Kristine Gasbarre.
She and her husband Anthony “Nippy” Ames host the podcast A Little Bit Culty.
|Mar 17, 2021|
Maria Hinojosa, Journalist
“You know, it comes down to a human error, but one of massive proportions because you're dealing with humanity and people's lives.”
Maria is the host of Latino USA and one of the most respected journalists in the country. She also has a new memoir. It’s called Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America.
This episode marks the end of season two, and the show going on a brief hiatus. But I promise we’ll be back with a third season three in the not too distant future.
|Sep 22, 2020|
Amber J. Phillips, Storyteller and Reproductive Justice Activist
“My attachment to success prevented me from doing the one thing that I value the most in my life, which is showing up for other black women.”
Amber is a storyteller, creative content strategist, and reproductive justice activist whose work imagines a world where Black womanhood is an expansive overwhelming experience of safety, pleasure, and joy.
The book I mention in the intro to this episode is I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown.
When you’re done listening to this one, I recommend watching this video of Sonya Renee Taylor performing her poem “What Women Deserve.”
|Sep 15, 2020|
Jonathan Williams, Writer and Pastor
“So what I ended up doing was being an incredible dick to my father. That's what I ended up doing.”
Jonathan Williams is the Lead Pastor of Forefront Church in Brooklyn, New York. He co-wrote his first book She’s My Dad: A Father’s Transition and a Son’s Redemption with his father Paula Stone Williams.
|Sep 08, 2020|
Joel Leon, Storyteller
“But like being a father, I have to excel at that because a lot of people were expecting me not to.”
Joel was born and raised in the Bronx. He is the author of A Book About Things I Will Tell My Daughter and God Wears Durags Too. His recent TED talk on co-parenting is recommended viewing for everyone who listens to this episode.
|Sep 01, 2020|
Kasey Anderson, Singer/Songwriter
“I truly believed that we had gotten Bruce Springsteen to commit to this benefit compilation. And so when I went to present that to the group, I went back through my emails and there was no such communication.”
Kasey currently serves as a program coordinator for a recovery services nonprofit in Portland, Oregon. Between around 2004 and 2013, he was best known as a recording artist, releasing a string of three solo albums and two with his band Kasey Anderson and the Honkies.
|Aug 25, 2020|
Abby Wambach, Soccer Star
“I didn't feel like, oh, I need to call my lawyer or anything like that. I felt like I was totally with it. And then I did the breathalyzer and I can't remember exactly what number I blew, but it was like, I think, two times the legal limit. And I thought, this machine is broken.”
When Abby retired from professional soccer in 2015, she was a two-time Olympic gold medalist, World Cup champion, and the all-time leader in goal scoring for the U.S. Women’s National Team. Today, she is also known for her speaking, activism, and writing.
|Aug 18, 2020|
Darin Strauss, Writer
“And then all the emotions sort of flowed and I started crying in a way I don't think I have since or probably didn't before. I was just sort of heaving and then I thought, wow, this is going to ruin me. This is the end of my life. You know?”
|Aug 11, 2020|
Wilhelm Verwoerd, Researcher and Facilitator
“We would also be very conscious of preaching anti-communism because people were saying that the African National Congress, you know, former President Mandela's political party, they were really not liberation fighters, they were terrorists.”
|Aug 04, 2020|
Forgiveness and Reconciliation with Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg
“So it's not necessarily an overnight thing. And the only person, the only person or people who get to decide if a person should be forgiven, are the ones harmed.”
Season two of The Confessional is coming very, very soon. In the meantime, I invited my good friend Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg on the show to offer a different perspective on repentance and forgiveness.
Danya is the author of seven books including most recently Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder and Radical Amazement of Parenting.
|Jul 21, 2020|
Melissa Febos, Memoirist
“You know, it was like very hot - with that particular hotness of a terrible, terrible thing driven by desperation beyond the immediate situation.”
Melissa is a literary phenom who has won a gazillion awards for her incisive, honest, colorful writing. Her third book, Girlhood comes out in the Spring of 2021. I was her camp counselor for 3 years when she was in middle school.
|Jun 09, 2020|
Mishka Shubaly, Singer/Songwriter
“I held Nate's face as far away from me as I could so that he couldn't hit me. And then with my right hand I tried to destroy him”
Mishka has an MFA in writing, but prefers to live out of his van while touring as a musician. He is a storyteller, a songwriter, and a shipwreck survivor.
|Jun 02, 2020|
Amy Brenneman, Movie Star
“I just was super hungry sexually. I was super out there. I just didn't want to be the victim. You know, I wanted to run the show. And I did.”
|May 26, 2020|
R Eric Thomas, Columnist at Elle.com
"So I just googled, 'how to tell if your boyfriend is a Satan worshiper.'"
|May 19, 2020|
Theresa Thames, Dean of the Chapel at Princeton University
“On the playground, people would be singing this song, Yo Mama's on Crack Rock. … And I love that song because I love chanting it and everything. And I also loathe that song because it was my truth. I grew up in the height of crack cocaine in poverty, and my mother was on crack rock.”
Theresa lives in Princeton, NY with her beloved Kenny and their insane dog. Having a Doctorate, a Masters and a faculty position at Princeton is cool and everything, but Theresa believes there should be more curvy Black women leading yoga classes and as such, has just completed her Yoga teacher training.
|May 12, 2020|
Chris Schuhmacher, Software Developer
“I came into software development relatively late in life. You know, I'm in my mid 40s and my training actually started in 2014 inside the walls of San Quentin.”
Chris is the founder and developer of Fitness Monkey, an app that encourages the physical fitness of addicts in recovery.
|May 05, 2020|
Lenny Duncan, Lutheran Pastor
“I run into someone in Boulder, and they're like you want to do some speed? And I was like, ‘hell, yeah.’ And I do some speed, and I just fall off the map.... I didn't see my daughter for 13 years after that.”
Lenny now lives in Vancouver, Washington where he is doing the crazy thing of starting a new church. His book, Dear Church, a Love Letter From A Black Preacher to The Whitest Denomination in America, is alternately tender and scathing and non-stop truth-filled.
|Apr 28, 2020|
Megan Phelps-Roper, Former Member of Westboro Baptist Church
“We would see something terrible that happened, like if there was an earthquake or a fire or floods or hurricanes, or a celebrity died. Everybody around me, my family, the church members, we'd be celebrating and making plans to go and protest the funerals. And, you know, at the same time on Twitter, I'm seeing people mournful and grieving.”
Megan’s memoir of growing up in, and eventually leaving the Westboro Baptist Church, is beautifully written and absolutely captivating. She lives in South Dakota with her husband, Chad (who she met on Twitter) and her magical baby girl, Solvieg.
|Apr 21, 2020|
The Confessional Trailer
The first season of The Confessional with Nadia Bolz-Weber will drop weekly starting April 21.
Do you have something you’re not proud of that you’d like to confess? Leave a voicemail at 618-CONFESS, that’s 618-266-3377, and we may play it on an upcoming episode.
|Apr 14, 2020|