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The Better Samaritan Podcast

Religion & Spirituality Podcas

The Better Samaritan is a podcast with Kent Annan & Jamie Aten where we’re learning—along with you—how to more helpfully love our neighbors, from everyday acts of kindness to navigating complex humanitarian challenges facing the church and society. Join us as we interview experts with insight on learning to do good, better.

The Better Samaritan is a podcast with Kent Annan & Jamie Aten where we’re learning—along with you—how to more helpfully love our neighbors, from everyday acts of kindness to navigating complex humanitarian challenges facing the church and society. Join us as we interview experts with insight on learning to do good, better.


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The Better Samaritan is a podcast with Kent Annan & Jamie Aten where we’re learning—along with you—how to more helpfully love our neighbors, from everyday acts of kindness to navigating complex humanitarian challenges facing the church and society. Join us as we interview experts with insight on learning to do good, better.






How Do You Sustain Hope and Resist Disillusionment While Doing Good?

“Disillusionment is the loss of a lie that we have believed.” —Peter Greer, HOPE International Most people who work in humanitarian and helping professions end up in a familiar cycle: idealism leads to disillusionment which leads to either cynicism, or hope. Peter Greer and Chris Horst, both with HOPE International, have seen it again and again. For their new book, “The Gift of Disillusionment: Enduring Hope for Leaders After Idealism Fades,” they interviewed Christian leaders from around...


How Churches Should—and Shouldn't—Respond to Clergy Sexual Abuse

"This issue is not going away, and it’s not a one church issue. Has spanned the church world in all denominations. I think it’s something that God is exposing because he loves the church and wants to see her well." —Danielle Strickland Danielle Strickland spent 22 years as a Salvation Army officer in 3 countries, fighting exploitation and human trafficking, before becoming a church planter and teacher. At a Canadian megachurch where she was serving, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse came to...


One of the Best Routes to Wisdom: Sit with People Who Suffer

When Paul McLaughlin went to his advisor, Mark McMinn, to pitch a dissertation on wisdom psychology, Mark told him: “Paul, that sounds like a great topic, but psychologists do not really study wisdom.” Paul proved him wrong, and years later they’ve together crafted a book on it: As Christians, what can we learn from the science of wisdom? And how we can cultivate this virtue in our hectic, tragic modern world? In this episode, Kent and Jamie also query Paul and Mark on topics like: What’s...


The Immigration System Is Broken. But It Won’t Be Fixed in DC.

84 million people have been forcibly displaced around the world. Add to that a recent 5 million from Ukraine, and the world’s borders are under tremendous pressure. According to Ali Noorani, founder of the National Immigration Forum, that creates a deep sense of fear that our borders are out of control. To ‘do something’ used to mean to treat refugees & immigrants in the harshest way possible. But how do we, as a country, uphold our values of both freedom and fairness in this area? Ali has...


Seven Crucial Steps for Self-Care—So You Can Care for Others

As a helper, you want to help, serve and honor those you work with. That might be as a church leader, disaster relief worker, nurse or barista. But as an imperfect person, you may need to do some soul-searching in order to most effectively help those around you. Dr. Holly Oxhandler’s book, The Soul of the Helper: Seven Stages to Seeing the Sacred Within Yourself So You Can See It In Others, is an invitation for helpers to become curious about their inner landscape. What is happening within...


What Has Evangelicalism Gotten Right—and Wrong—about Issues of Justice?

How has militarism shaped our idea of the way a Christian ‘should’ be? Does it make sense to put theology at the center of what it means to be an evangelical—even if pastors would like it to be? Jamie and Kent sat down with Dr. Kristin Kobes Du Mez, author of “Jesus and John Wayne,” to ask her these questions and talk about her take on evangelicals’ relationship with the ‘outsider’—plus—the dangerous byproduct of attention to global persecution of Christians. RESOURCES: "On Being a Good...


Understanding the Evangelical Mind—with the Man Who Wrote the Book On It

In 1995, a book was published with a provocative opening: "The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind." (Christianity Today would go on to award this Book of the Year.) Today on the podcast, the author of that book—prominent evangelical historian Mark Noll—looks back on the last 30 years of the movement ahead of the book’s re-release. He talks with Jamie and Kent about the vast diversity in the movement, populism and the way it permeates Christian...


The EU Just Absorbed 2 Million Ukrainian Refugees... in 13 Days

In just 13 days, two million Ukrainians have so far been absorbed into other nations in the European Union—not in camps, but in homes, welcomed with open arms by 27 nations. How much more can Europe absorb? Roger Sandberg, VP of Field Operations for Medical Teams International, was asked by the government of Poland to operate a clinic on the border of Ukraine. He just arrived in the region, and joins us to update on the humanitarian response to the crisis. RESOURCES: Roger’s organization:...


A Well-Equipped Church is the Best Place to Start Healing from Trauma

Rev. Dr. Nicole Massie Martin is the founder and Executive Director of Soulfire International Ministry and Senior Vice President of Ministry Impact at the American Bible Society. Previously, she ran the Trauma Healing Institute at the American Bible Society. She spoke with Kent and Jamie about questions like: How do you define impact in ministry? What steps can local churches take to make sure they are helping victims of trauma—and not making things worse? What is normalized stress, and how...


Enneagram and Justice Work

Which Enneagram numbers are drawn to helping professions? Might trauma impact our Enneagram types? And how can we use the Enneagram to do good, better? Listen as Jamie (3) and Kent (number as yet unknown) interview Suzanne Stabile, often known as the ‘godmother’ of the enneagram, on these questions and more. Suzanne’s newest book, The Journey to Wholeness, explains what it means for certain numbers on the Enneagram to ‘move to’ other numbers in health—or in stress. RESOURCES: Suzanne’s...


Twenty Minutes of Soul Care & Free Writing with Bethany Hiser

Participants at last year's virtual Spiritual First Aid Summit were totally captivated by one particular workshop. It was a free-writing exercise with Bethany D. Hiser, who refers to herself as a "recovering social justice workaholic." Hiser authored the book, "From Burned Out to Beloved: Soul Care for Wounded Healers." We decided to bring Hiser's workshop to you, our podcast listeners, for you to use anytime. The wonderful music accompaniment is provided by Aaron Andries, of "Graveyards to...


A Pastor and a Psychologist Unpack Why Pastors Are Joining the Great Resignation

Pastors can't stop talking about this recent article by Melissa Florer-Bixler, Raleigh Mennonite Church and the chair of L'Arche North Carolina. Nearly half of pastors under 45 have considered leaving ministry in the past year, along with much of the rest of the workforce—a phenomenon which seems to be unique to the U.S., for various reasons. Since Jamie conducted research on pastors who stayed in their communities after Hurricane Katrina, Kent sat down with the two of them to ask: What is...


Racism Drove Many Asian-Americans from Local Churches in 2021. Not This One.

Michelle Reyes is a second generation Indian American author, speaker, and activist. She serves as the Co-Executive Director at Pax and as the Vice President of the Asian American Christian Collaborative, an organization born out of the anti-Asian racism growing due to the pandemic. Michelle’s first book, Becoming All Things: How Small Changes Lead to Lasting Changes Across Cultures, released earlier this year. Michelle and her husband, Aaron, co-planted Hope Community Church, a minority-led...


Ten Minute Embodied Prayer Meditation to Help Move You from Isolation to Connection

There are many reasons we might feel isolated these days. The ups and downs of the pandemic have forced us to socially distance and carefully plan our social gatherings, especially large group events. Political and cultural polarization makes us feel like we no longer know our neighbors and family members. And technology, while connecting us on a superficial level, can leave us feeling starved of deep, substantive relationships. To provide you with a moment of solitude and reflection at the...


Dallas Jenkins on His Funding Model and Ethical Storytelling in “The Chosen”

The hit show "The Chosen" raised $10 million through crowdfunding for its first season alone. And when tickets went on sale for its upcoming Christmas special—which is starting out in theatres–it topped the box office chart. As nonprofit leaders (and professors), Kent and HDI colleague Jamie Goodwin wanted to know: what drives Dallas’ marketing philosophy? Is it anything that other nonprofits could replicate? (And what themes does he plan to explore in season 3?) More highlights from this...


This FEMA Official Says the Government Wants to Help Your Church Ministry

As Howard University welcomed students impacted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Marcus watched with fascination the chapels provided for these students on his campus. That experience—plus serving on alternative spring breaks and witnessing the power of multifaith services at an even younger age—launched him into a career connecting churches and government entities. Now, he’s an administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Today on The Better Samaritan, Marcus answers...


Two Christian Reporters Talk About Reporting on the Afghan Refugee Crisis

Sophia Lee and Stefani McDade tell hosts Kent Annan and Jamie Aten about their personal experiences reporting on the Afghan refugee crisis—and ways they see the church responding. (As it turns out, the more you practice welcoming, the better you get at it.) Sophia describes a difference between people who have interacted with refugees and people who have only read about them.Stefani describes a blueprint for churches who are ready to welcome—what previous work needs to be done if you’re...


Why Disasters?: Kent and Jamie on the Hot Seat for the HDI Origins Story

As disasters increase each year across the globe, research shows that the vulnerable suffer disproportionately from them. Fortunately, the church is uniquely suited by its design to bring much-needed assistance to the vulnerable. That’s why in 2011, disaster psychologist Jamie Aten founded the Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) at Wheaton College. Its mission: to help the church prepare and care for a disaster-filled world. HDI uses research to create resources and events geared toward...


Welcoming the Stranger Isn't a Political Burden. It's a Gospel Invitation.

Shane Claiborne, of Red Letter Christians, just spent a few days participating in the “We the People Ride” along the southern border, a story-telling effort to meet the people who live, serve and work along the border. and those who have the best way forward for our immigration and border practices. He joins Kent and Jamie in this episode to describe what he realized there: that hope abounds, especially in places we might be inclined to think are the most hopeless. Listen for more on...


The Story Philip Yancey Waited 50 Years to Write Actually Explains A Lot

Philip Yancey grew up confused by the contradictions: “We heard about love and grace, but I didn’t experience much,” he says. Throughout his fifty year writing career, this is the book he has contemplated all along: “I truly believe this is the one book I was put on earth to write.” Today Philip joins the Better Samaritan podcast to discuss his new memoir, Where the Light Fell. He reveals what has happened between his mother & brother since writing his memoir, compares the response to the...