My Interview with Ira Glass

Next to playing in band what I absolutely love to do most is interview people. I love being nosy about peoples personal, professional and most of all religious/spiritual lives. I love asking questions other interviewers skip – like the ones about God or faith or why people believe what they say they believe (or don’t) and what they’re doing about it. I love giving people permission to tell me what they actually believe rather than what they think they’re supposed to say. I love gaining people’s trust and becoming their friend. I love giving them a different way to think about Jesus and I love doing it without having to trick or game them.

I don’t usually feel “proud” of work that I create. I’m normally critiquing it while jn the act of presenting it. I never rest. But recently I’ve produced  what I hope will be the first of many interviews under the auspices of my new company Jim Henderson Presents and I am very proud of this work. It took many people and much much longer than expected but thanks to a partnership with Owen Kindig and Ztorytellers I’m happy to announce the release of my inaugural interview with Ira Glass. Ira is veritable rock star with the NPR crowd. He has over 2 million listeners to his weekly show This American Life. 

A while back he agreed to sit down with me and talk about anything and everything. Some of the questions are standard such as how did he get his start in radio and how did This American Life come into existence.But some will surprise you  such as how he became an Atheist and his affection for Christians. Ira is transparent, inspirational, educational, vulnerable and funny. He and I became friends as a result of these conversations. He even answers my emails now (at least once every 6 months 🙂

Download the app/interview and get to know Ira in a whole new light. After you watch it please go to the itunes store and rate it. That one act will do more to ensure that more and more people will be able to discover this interview. We have other similar interviews in the pipeline so stay tuned to Jim Henderson Presents.

Get the app here 

Are You Ready for Save Me?

We’ve Got Sex. We’ve Got Politics. Where’s Religion?

Our culture is swimming in talk about sex and politics. Tabloids plaster news of sex scandals and celebrity hook ups. Cable TV has conveniently separated us into red and blue political groups. What’s fascinating is that neither sex nor politics hold as much sway in people’s day-to-day lives as religion and spirituality. With 92% of the world population claiming some kind of religious affilliation you’d think we’d hear more about this topic. But we don’t.

 Get Ready For Religious Reality TV

The fact that straight-talking faith-based programming is missing altogether on prime time tv ought to puzzle us. For years, popular entertainers like Oprah have shaped the spiritual imaginations of millions of people. (Conservative) grandmothers from Kansas call Ellen de Generes (an openly gay woman) and ask for advice with their kids? Politicians race to religious organizations for support during each election period? No one seems to be openly discussing these paradigm shifts. That is, not until now!

Jim Henderson Presents thinks that spirituality and religion should be thoughtfully and playfully explored just like race, money, politics and sex. But someone needs to provoke and guide this public conversation. It is not currently taking place in any venue or vehicle that is taken seriously by a broader audience.

Let’s change this.

Let’s introduce Religious Reality TV.

Let’s start with Save Me! 

Watch our video below to learn more about Save Me! or simply begin the application process.

What Did You Think? How Would You Describe It?

Tonight  we launched Stories From The Shack. Over 2000 people made it to downtown Seattle on a Sunday night and on Mothers Day. We needed to do this first show so we hear from people. Here are our questions

1. How would you answer the main question people ask – What is it?

2. What did you LOVE

3. What would you change

Please post your answers while they’re fresh and post photos and videos too.

It was a blast – thanks for all the love and support you gave us. It didn’t go unnoticed

Elaine Is Looking For Some Eastside Outsiders

Jim and I (Elaine Hansen) have been friends for over 10 years. We work together. What do I do for Jim? Good question. Jim says I make him think. I like that ’cause I like people who make me think. My friend, Peter Block and Jim both do that for me. Peter says it is not the answer that is important.  It is the exploration of the question that helps us discover what we really think and believe.  And each time I think I have the answer, the next question, “why is that important to you?” takes me deeper.  Try it on your friends and family. Then watch their eyes as they look deeper inside for the answer. And, they are allowed to pass.

Why am I telling you that? To give you a context for why I’m showing up on Jim’s blog. I’m recruiting Outsiders for Jim’s new project.

On May 14, Jim will be in a church in Woodinville, WA.  He’ll be there to do one of the things he does so well, have a conversation with strangers.  These won’t be just any strangers.  These will be young people who are non-Christians, ex-Christians, kind’a Christians.

Why This Interview?

Christianity has developed a bad reputation in today’s culture.  Many Christians operate within a small circle of friends and family with shared values and beliefs.  Most Christians have few, if any, relationships with anyone who is not a Christian.  Many have so isolated themselves as to view everyone else as outsiders. Christians have their own language and have made many assumptions and attributions of those who are different from themselves and, also, leave no space for differences within their own Christian community. (I’m currently a church refugee because I have not found a church that has space for my differences.)

These Outsider Interviews are being conducted to raise Christian’s awareness to the possibility they are contributing to the reason others do not like or understand us. The hope is this will awaken in them a awareness of how we show up in the world matters. We are inviting those in attendance to explore the possibility that their actions and words are not consistent with the best of Christianity.

What the process looks like

We recruit, identify, and hire non-Christians, Ex Christians, and “ Kind of ” Christians to participate as Outsiders in a live talk show format about religion and spirituality

Our desire is to inspire conversation about how those in the audience might apply these practices in their relationships with people who have different viewpoints than themselves:

1)     Connect with Non Christians in authentic and transparent ways

2)     Practice being unusually interested in others and listening

3)     Observe and participate in a real conversation with those who do not practice Christianity.

What those participating need to know

You will be asked to arrive a little early to connect with Jim Henderson prior to the talk show. It gives everyone an opportunity to get to know each other and feel more comfortable with the process.  Our host, Jim Henderson will talk you through what the evening will look like.

You can watch this video to get a sense of what a typical conversation format looks and feels like.

Clarifications

1) We don’t work with mad people – Christians or non Christians

If you’ve been hurt by The Church or Christians and have not gotten over it (we empathize) but this job is not for you.

2) This is work

This is not a bait and switch to try and get you to church. If you are hired, it is to help this group see themselves through the eyes of an outsider by participating in this talk show format. You should plan about 2 hours. You will be paid $50 cash at the event.

3) Model Release

Sometimes we take pictures and videotape the conversations. You will need to sign a release giving the event producers permission to use the video or audio footage in other media formats.

The date of the interviews is May 14.

If you are still interested, the first step is to complete the form below and contact me elaine (at) jimhendersonpresent (dot) com as soon as possible.

Contact info

Name____________________________________________ Age ____

Email  _______________________________________  Zipcode  __________________

Cell  _________________________ (or best number to reach you for phone screening)

Skype ____________________________________

 

These next items are to help us have diversity in the Outsiders we select for each project.

Highest Level of Education:  _______________# years?_________________

(if you are currently a student note that)

 

Occupation:  _________________

(if you are not currently employed, list the type of work you would do or qualify for)

 

Marital Status (married, divorced, single, etc.)  _________________

 

Provide a brief description of your experience with Christianity and your interest in this assignment (250 words or less): (i.e. earliest memories or relationships with Christians or not)