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Inner Compass SEASON 12 (2011-2012 West Michigan)

Inner Compass is an interview show that explores how people follow their conscience about ethical, religious, and social justice issues. Guests include authors, activists, religious leaders, and engaging thinkers from around the world. A smaller selection of Inner Compass episodes air on approximately 60 public television stations across the U.S.

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#1220 Dieting & Exercise: How Much is Too Much?


Some people always seem to be on a diet. They count every calorie and can’t stop talking about food. Others exercise with a diligence that seems beyond normal. Are these signs of an eating disorder, or just disordered eating? Is it any of our business? Trina Weber from the Comprehensive Treatment for Eating Disorders clinic in Grand Rapids, Michigan, offers the perspective of a registered dietician. Karen Saupe hosts.



#1219 The New Monasticism


A new kind of contemplative life is gaining traction among Christians who want to live simply and carefully. Sometimes called the New Monasticism, this lifestyle looks for ways to expand community into neighborhood streets & homes. Shane Claiborne, co-founder of The Simple Way community in Philadelphia, and author of The Irresistible Revolution:  Living as an Ordinary Radical, describes this mindset and how it works. Karen Saupe hosts.


#1218 The Soul of Hip Hop 


Many thought hip hop music would be a short-lived fad, but it has lasted decades and is even growing in popularity. Clearly this type of music connects with many people. Daniel White Hodge, author of two books about the messages of hip hop, looks past the commercialized material to the complex themes of a music that turns to God surprisingly often. Shirley Hoogstra hosts.


#1217 Burma Bound: Story of an Activist    


January Series guest

When Edith Mirante traveled to Thailand to study art, she found herself distracted by stories of atrocity in Burma. She became deeply involved in raising awareness about the plight of the people she met, traversing jungles and camping with soldiers to collect eyewitness accounts. Her tales come from the two travelogues she wrote about her adventures. Shirley Hoogstra hosts.

Package: “How Things Are in Burma” animation by Scott Bateman


#1216 Arab Spring: Revolution or Reformation?  


January Series guest

Three quarters of Muslims in the Middle East are young (18-35 years old), and today's communication technologies allow them to form a new kind of community that bridges ethnic, national, and sectarian borders. As these Muslims actively pursue democracy, the resulting changes--according to writer and religion scholar Reza Aslan, author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam--will be as monumental as the Protestant Reformation was for Christianity. Karen Saupe hosts.


#1215 Bolstering Business in Haiti


January Series guest

Running a business in Haiti was a challenge even before the 2010 earthquake. Now afterwards, with all the aid and free products flowing into the country, the few surviving businesses have been crippled. Business mentor Ralph Edmond, owner of the Haitian pharmaceutical company Laboratoires Farmatrix, shows how supporting and strengthening businesses can make all the difference for Haiti. Shirley Hoogstra hosts.

Package: Haiti footage by Partners Worldwide, music by BelO

#1214 Rethinking Life After Death


January Series guest

Anglican bishop N. T. Wright, who has written over 50 books on understanding New Testament Scriptures and who Newsweek calls "the world's leading New Testament scholar," discusses his conclusions about what the Bible says about heaven, hell, and what he calls "life after life after death." Karen Saupe hosts.



#1213 Faith-Inspired Activism


January Series guest

Considering the highly organized, successful marches and protests of the civil rights era, why don't we see similar action today? Aimless park campouts or overseas service projects seem to be the preferred responses to injustice now. Adam Taylor, author of Mobilizing Hope: Faith-Inspired Activism for a Post Civil Rights Generation, explores successes and failures of activism through the decades. He illustrates how activism can be a way of life. Shirley Hoogstra hosts.


#1212 Creative Farming


January Series guest

“Organic is just the beginning: why stop there?” asks Joel Salatin, entrepreneur and owner of Polyface Farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, known for its unique approach to sustainable farming. His home-made inventions rely on creative problem-solving and hi-tech materials to gain the most wholesome use of his land and livestock. Featured in Food, Inc. and Omnivore’s Dilemma, Salatin sums it up with his latest book title--Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World. Karen Saupe hosts.

Package: footage from FRESH the movie

#1211 New Improved Christians


January Series guest

In a society where the term Christian is too often associated only with hypocrisy, judgmentalism, and anti-homosexuality, many young people of the faith are distancing themselves from religious labels. They say their focus is fighting FOR the world and its restoration—not fighting OFF the world. Gabe Lyons is founder of Q, a learning community that mobilizes Christians to advance the common good. He discusses his research for his book The Next Christians: the Good News About the End of Christian America.


#1210 A Bolder Approach to Education


January Series guest

Stories of failing schools are all too common--schools that look and feel like prisons, with teachers who fear losing their jobs if they don’t stay focused on test scores. But there are also many public schools that have learned how to help any student succeed, no matter how poor or disadvantaged. New York University urban sociologist Pedro Noguera, co-chair of the public policy group Broader Bolder Approach to Education, shares what we can learn from schools that have excelled in dire circumstances.


#1209 Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy


January Series guest

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a remarkable young theologian and pastor in World War II Germany who joined the Resistance in several plots to assassinate Hitler. His devotional books are still best sellers today. That’s because, according to Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer was also a prophet. Metaxas, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller Bonhoeffer:  Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, explains that term and what it means for all of us. Shirley Hoogstra hosts.

Package: historical photos and videos

#1208 Ready for Robots?


January Series guest

As people have fewer phone conversations, choosing instead to use texts and on-line social networking, anthropologist Sherry Turkle has noticed something. Director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and the Self, she researches how people interact with experimental sociable robots. People are growing more receptive to robots taking the place of some human relationships as we become more accustomed to our narrowing human interactions. Hear this and other observations from her book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Karen Saupe hosts.

Package: footage of NAO and Paro robots

#1207 School & Housing “Choice” Programs


The new wave of government voucher programs aims to correct segregation that happens all too often; the privileged move away from under-resourced public schooling or housing, leaving the rest wondering what their options are. Mary Pattillo, professor of sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University, describes what hundreds of interviews in Chicago reveal about what works and what doesn’t with these programs. Shirley Hoogstra hosts.


#1206 Life as the Dutch Prime Minister


What would it be like to live in a Prime Minister’s mansion built by your own ancestors, meet with the queen once a week, and work out your decisions with the help of a cabinet made of three different political parties? Jan Peter Balkenende talks about the challenges and successes he experienced as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 2002 to 2010. Karen Saupe hosts.


#1205 Does Sexual Orientation Equal Identity?


The practice of labeling people by sexual orientation—homosexual, heterosexual, etc.—started only a century ago. At times labels can help make sense of our world, but at other times labeling individuals can be dehumanizing and can even be a form of injustice. Our sexuality need not define us, argues Jenell Williams Paris, anthropology professor at Messiah College and author of The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex is Too Important to Define Who We Are. Shirley Hoogstra hosts.


#1204 Moral Injuries in War


We know that soldiers can be injured physically, or suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. But there’s a third kind of injury that results when soldiers engage in actions that violate their own moral principles; it’s known as “moral injury.” Herman Keizer, chaplain for the U.S. Army for over 40 years, tells about a movement seeking to change how the military regards and addresses injuries to the conscience. Karen Saupe hosts.

Package: "Soldiers of Conscience: Camilo Mejia" from

#1203 Healthier Healthcare Environments


When we think of the need for an improved healthcare system, often the focus is on the patients’ experience. But there can be no strength of care if the caregivers themselves are discouraged to the point of exhaustion. Bonnie Wesorick, founder of the Clinical Practice Model Resource Center in Grand Rapids, MI, describes how a healthy work culture should feel. Shirley Hoogstra hosts.


#1202 What's So Funny? Exploring Humor


Someone walking onto a stage trips and falls. Half the audience laughs, half doesn’t—and they’re even angry at the first half for laughing! Why do people respond so differently to humor, puns, and jokes? Calvin College psychology professor Paul Moes explains what happens in our brains—and our relationships—when we share a laugh. Karen Saupe hosts.


#1201 Christian, Evolutionist, or Both?


Some scientific theories seem to matter a lot more to people than others. The theory of evolution has always gotten plenty of attention, especially from those who treasure the scriptural book of Genesis. Alvin Plantinga, emeriti professor from the Notre Dame philosophy department, describes some of the main controversies between of evolution, intelligent design, and creationism and whether Christians can reconcile some of these differences. Shirley Hoogstra hosts.