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The Sacred Now

The Sacred Now

By The Sacred Now
A podcast about religion, philosophy, and ethics found across pop culture, geekdom, and current events. We talk about all things sacred, secular, and salacious!
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2.26 — Spooky Superstition: The Cultural and Clinical Implications of Compulsive Behavior
Can prayer, making the sign of the cross, and other superstitious rites be considered cultural rights - or indicative of compulsive behaviors? JAY JACKSON consults clinical psychologist DR. CANDICE HOKE KENNEDY and historical anthropologist CURT SMITH to find answers.
October 04, 2021
2.25 — The Power of the Tongue: Talking About Talk
Special guest SETH WILSON of "Let's Talk Talk" reconnects with JAY JACKSON to talk about the idea of language itself, how grammar rules are used as weapons by the ruling class, and how a common understanding can transcend language barriers.
September 28, 2021
2.24 — Logic and Emotion in "Star Trek"
Special guest CHRISTOPHER POUNDERS joins JAY JACKSON for a fascinating discussion on the conflict between logic and emotion in "Star Trek" — and how it factors into social relationships, neurodiversity and autism, and our progress as a society. :: See the amazing, custom works from O'Faolain Leather Goods!
September 20, 2021
2.23 — Dealing with the Devil: "Madoka Magica" and the Faustian Bargain
If you could have your wish for anything in the world to come true, what price would you be willing to pay? Would you trade your soul? SAMMY RAYNOR and JAY JACKSON talk about "Puella Magi Madoka Magica" and discuss whether it's worth it to make a deal with the devil.
September 13, 2021
2.22 — Seven Reasons Why Your Anti-Vaccine Excuses are Bull$#!+
In this episode, JAY JACKSON uses data, expert opinion, faith, compassion and humor to lay out a point-by-point rebuttal for the most common excuses people give not to get vaccinated against #COVID. :: VIEW HERE for David Vega's testimony (courtesy Indiana University School of Medicine) :: SUBSCRIBE to Dr. Mike Hansen's YouTube Channel :: READ the CDC's Statement on Vaccine Effectiveness :: VIEW HERE Breakthrough Case Rates by State (courtesy
September 08, 2021
2.21 — Borderline: Nationalism, Neopolitical Evolution, and You
Developments in Afghanistan, Palestine, Guatemala, and elsewhere, have made it clear that, in spite of our shrunken world, the arbitrary lines we’ve drawn only serve to oppress and exclude. IAN REDFORD and CHAD SMITH of "This Course" explore the geopolitical landscape with JAY JACKSON, and talk about what that means for us as Americans.
August 31, 2021
2.20 — The Dark Side of #BlackExcellence
Simone Biles Olympic episode reminds us that #BlackExcellence is rooted in a hustle-oriented culture that tells us you’re only as good as your grind. There is a very high price to pay, if you want to perform. JAY JACKSON talks with NESI EWING and RAVEN ROSE about whether that price is worth it. :: VIEW HERE for NAMI Resources for Black Mental Health 
August 16, 2021
2.19 — Storytelling: Building Worlds with Words
In the beginning was the word; and when that word was shared, it sparked an idea. And when that idea was put into action, that word was fulfilled and became a story. So, what’s in a story, then? What is it that keeps us coming back to age-old tales time and again? Jay, Tanner, Brian, and David (a.k.a. THE RENEGADES) talk about how a good narrative can have an impact we carry with us for life.
August 02, 2021
2.18 — Our Secret Obsessions: Sex in the South
Particularly in the American South, there is a culture of shame around sex, sexuality, and sensuality. But where did that shame even come from? Why do we feel the need to keep our desires secret? Journalist and author SUZI PARKER joins JAY JACKSON to expose the seedy underbelly of Southern culture and lay our hypocrisy bare.
July 26, 2021
2.17 — Your Digital Destiny: Video Games, Morality Systems, and Choice
Back in the day, video games storylines were fairly straightforward. But over the years, games became more sophisticated — so much so now that a well-written plot element is just as important, if not more so, than the gameplay. Writer and educator JEFFREY R. VILLINES, PH.D., joins JAY JACKSON to talk through how video games have evolved over time, and what the choices we make during gameplay say about us as players and as people.
July 19, 2021
2.16 — Sweet Dreams: The Science and Spirituality of Sleep
There's lots of mythology around dreams, but what are they, really? There’s so much we don’t actually understand about what happens when we dream, which is why, throughout history, humankind has sought an explanation for what they mean. Sleep specialist MICHAEL VARNELL, RPSGT, explains the process of sleep and why we need to dream; and artist and occultist RANDI SPARKS unpacks why these visions hold so much importance to us.
July 12, 2021
2.15 — Corporate Media & White Supremacy
Corporate media organizations like to claim they are "objective" or "fair and balanced," but the reality is many of these companies overlook, enable, and sometimes even endorse white supremacy. LATOYA CHERISE, KRISH MOHAN, and JAY JACKSON discuss how big-name newspapers and networks actually profit from pushing a racist agenda. :: The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center :: Diversely Geek :: The Arkansas Times — "Walter Hussman Ignites New Chapter in 1619 Project Controversy"
July 01, 2021
2.14 — Saving Throws: TTRPGs and Mental Health
Studies indicate several therapeutic benefits to playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. JAY JACKSON and DAVID WILLIAMS talk with professional counselor MAUREEN SKINNER to get insight on not just their relationship to their characters, but how the act of role-play itself can be instrumental to the healing process. **Content Warning - Discussion of Trauma, Abuse**
June 21, 2021
2.13 — The Rainbow Boys: Gay, Black, and Proud
It's #PrideMonth, and we're marking the occasion with a panel discussion on racism in queer culture, homophobia in the African American community, dating, media, comedy, and more. DWAYNE DUKE, TOPHER KOGEN, and BRAXTON O. JOHNSON help JAY JACKSON unpack what it means to be a Gay Black Man in America. **CONTENT WARNING: Explicit Language**
June 14, 2021
2.12.5 — Midseason Break
The Sacred Now returns with all new episodes on June 14th. We're talking superstition, storytelling, sex, and much more! Here's what to expect for the rest of this season.
June 07, 2021
2.12 — The Propaganda Games: May the Marketing Be Ever in Your Favor
Americans tend to think of propaganda as something other people are susceptible to. But the reality is, you are being misinformed in ways you’re not even aware of. That very concept is one of the primary themes of "The Hunger Games." KRISH MOHAN returns to explain nature of propaganda, why it’s so effective, and how to break its stranglehold on our culture.
May 24, 2021
2.11 — The Rent is Due: COVID and the Housing Crisis
What kind of landlord would put a tenant out on the street in the middle of a global health crisis? What are land owners supposed to do when their tenants can’t pay because of corona-related complications? Is the best thing to do, necessarily the right thing to do? JAY JACKSON talks with the best real estate and property management expert he knows — and that expert just so happens to be his father. 
May 17, 2021
2.10 — The Simpsons: Spiritually Irreverent, or Socially Irrelevant?
Most fans agree that "The Simpsons" best years are behind them, especially given the racial controversies, stale material, and lack of modern relatability. But does that mean it has nothing more to teach us? Is there anything left in these characters and their various relationships with spirituality that can serve as a lesson for ours? JAY JACKSON asks podcaster, professor, and fellow comedian CATHERINE SUNDT to weigh in. :: LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MOSIAC TEMPLARS CULTURAL CENTER "GREEN BOOK" EXHIBIT :: DONATE TO SUPPORT TRANS RIGHTS IN ARKANSAS!
May 10, 2021
2.09 — Captain America vs. Toxic Masculinity
In a culture where empathy, compassion, and sensitivity are seen as weaknesses, how does Captain America, a.k.a. Steve Rogers, use those traits to bring out the best in us? What does it mean to "be a man"? TANNER TREADWAY returns to talk with JAY JACKSON about how Cap breaks our society's misguided notions of manhood and masculinity. :: DONATE HERE TO SUPPORT TRANS RIGHTS!
May 03, 2021
2.08 — Walking the Thin Blue Line: Police Dramas in the Era of #BLM
On TV, police officers are dedicated, if sometimes flawed, heroes; always staunchly on the side of justice. But in a world where Black and Brown people are murdered by cops with impunity, there is a disconnect with how cops are portrayed and the reality of how they interact with the community. JAY JACKSON asks "OFFICER SAM" for an inside perspective on law enforcement, and how events both real and fictional have made it difficult to trust police. :: DONATE HERE to Support Trans Rights in Arkansas!
April 26, 2021
2.07 — The Symbolic Significance of Spider-Man
Spider-Man’s true power doesn’t lie in his ability to stick to walls or shoot webs from his wrists, but in his courage to stand in the face of overwhelming odds and still have the fortitude to do the right thing. JAY JACKSON invites ROBERT SHEPHERD and BRIAN KEEN to discuss what drives Spidey to make the hard choice time and again — and what we stand to learn from that. [Link: Support Trans Rights in Arkansas!]
April 19, 2021
2.06 — Unsung Heroes: How Black Women are (Still) Saving America
Black Women built this country, and, in many ways, have been the driving force behind every progressive movement since its founding. And yet, data shows they are subject to lower wages, lower healthcare, higher incarceration rates, and higher poverty rates than their white or male counterparts. Today MS. EMILY KEARNS, REP. DENISE ENNET, and DR. ANIKA WHITFIELD talk with JAY JACKSON about what it’s like being a Black Woman in politics, what inspires them, and most importantly, why you need to be more involved.
April 12, 2021
2.05 — A Sad Spell: Grief, Loss, and WandaVision
For those of us who've lost loved ones in the era of COVID, dealing with death can be particularly difficult. Marvel's miniseries WandaVision, which centers on the Scarlet Witch, provides a case study in grieving through isolation. Guests LESLIE RAWLINGS and OLYMPIA ATKINSON share how they're processing their pain during a pandemic, while JORDAN HORNER joins JAY JACKSON to discuss how Wanda's struggles reflect our own. Georgia Dow: WandaVision - Real Therapist Reacts (Stages of Grief)
March 29, 2021
2.04 — Six Reasons Why Your Calls for Unity are Bull$#!+
Ever notice how, in times of social turmoil and civil unrest, well-meaning folks start calling for "unity" and for "both sides to come together?" Well, JAY JACKSON has had quite enough of it — and, in the first solo episode of this podcast, lays out a six-point case outlining why these appeals to "go high" actually do more harm than good.
March 22, 2021
2.03 — How "Calvin & Hobbes" Shaped the Conscience of a Generation
Calvin & Hobbes, the immensely popular comic strip by Bill Watterson, has impacted the philosophical and moral perspectives of its fans ever since its debut more than 35 years ago. BEN UTTER, Ph.D. joins host JAY JACKSON to talk about the lessons we're still learning from this strip, and how its influence can be felt in our national consciousness even now.
March 15, 2021
2.02 — Marginalized in the Mainstream: Representation in Media
There was a time when representations of BIPOC and LGBTQ people in media wasn't the greatest. But things have improved... haven't they? Writer LATISHA JONES of "Interspectional" returns to talk with JAY JACKSON about how far we've come... and how far we've yet to go.
March 08, 2021
2.01 — COVID and the Black Community: What You Need to know about the Coronavirus Vaccine
African Americans make up nearly 60% percent of COVID-19 cases, but only 18% of Black people say they trust the vaccine to be effective. Why is that? In the season two premiere, host JAY JACKSON invites DR. JAMES MONTGOMERY and historian BRIAN ROGERS to shed light on the dark history of medicine, how vaccines work, and why building trust between the Black community and the medical field is an issue of life-and-death.
March 01, 2021
2.00 — Season Two Announcement
It's almost time! Season Two of The Sacred Now kicks off Monday, March 1 with new subjects to explore. We're talking about sex, superstition, Spider-Man, and storytelling; cops, Captain America, COVID-19, and Calvin and Hobbes. You won’t want to miss an episode - and now it’s easier than ever to listen and enjoy from our brand new website,!
February 22, 2021
1.20 — Religion & Politics: Campaigns and Cults
What do political parties have in common with cults? More than you might think. This super-size episode features a slew of interviews and takes on the history of how politics has intertwined with religion and pop culture, and how it's affecting our national discourse. Content warning: themes of abuse and exploitation.
October 19, 2020
1.19 - Sisters of Sci-Fi
Although Black Women have been present in front of the camera, on the page, and behind the scenes of sci-fi, fantasy, and speculative fiction for years, how is it they are still done a disservice when it comes to mainstream media depictions of Black Women in the genre? Today's discussion features guests Cam Apparently (@yourblerdgirl), Leticia Jones (@leticia_creates), and special guest host LaToya Cherice (@IncitefulA) as moderator.
October 13, 2020
1.18 — Separating the Art from the @$$Hole
Is it possible to still take life lessons, internalize valued themes, and enjoy a work of art story, knowing that its creator is a human piece of garbage? Does the art become less valid if the artist is an asshole? Artist Randi Curtis and auteur Christi Seatts sit with Jay Jackson to discuss.
September 22, 2020
1.17 — Lore and Legends of Zelda
Thrilled to have Trace from Side Eye Gaming on the podcast to talk about the incredibly vast lore of The Legend of Zelda! What makes Link's journey as a hero so compelling? Why did the Golden Goddess leave the Hyleans to their own devices? And WTF is going on with that timeline?! Let's talk about it!
September 15, 2020
1.16 — Militant Evangelicalism: American Christianity and the US Military
Ever think about why the image of war is so prevalent in American Christianity? When did we militarize the Gospel? It turns out that history goes deeper than you think. Activist Amie White and army veteran Leslie Battle sit with Jay and delve into America's militant evangelical history.
August 31, 2020
1.15 — Final Fantasy Myths and Monsters
If you’ve played any Final Fantasy game, you know one major theme is the idea of Man vs God. What can the series' iconoclastic protagonists teach us about divine faith and discipline of the spirit? Jay calls in Willow Pate ( and Tanner Treadway (@tanner_juicebox) to discuss.
August 24, 2020
1.14 — The Great Bat Debate
The audio recording of our first LIVE event! Katrina Coleman (@youlooklikecomedy) and Robert Jenkins (@robjcomedy) go head-to-head in a debate about Batman's methods, goals, and effectiveness as a crimefighter. Supporters get access to exclusive content: find out more by subscribing and becoming a patron at
August 17, 2020
1.13 — UnEntangling the Ethics of Black Relationships in Media
What does Will and Jada's "entanglement" with August Alsina have to teach us about representations of Black Relationships in pop culture? Quite a bit, as it turns out. Jay Jackson and LaToya Cherise (@incitefulA) discuss.
August 04, 2020
1.12 — Demystifying the Myths about Masks
Even with mask mandates in effect all over the country, and data indicating that masks slow the spread of COVID-19, a number of people refuse to wear them. This week, Jay invites Scott, a microbiologist, to debunk the myths about masks, and discuss the ethics of why the government should make wearing them mandatory.
July 27, 2020
1.11.5 - Midseason Break
There's no show today, but there are several announcements to make, including our upcoming LIVE SHOW EVENTS and what cool stuff to expect for the rest of the season!
July 13, 2020
1.11 — The Messiah and the Man of Steel (Superman)
Jay is joined by Robert Shepherd (@ElThrob) to discuss how the Last Son of Krypton stacks up to the Son of God, and whether or not mankind needs a messiah — heat vision or not.
July 06, 2020
1.10 — The Role of Religion in the Revolution
The church played an integral part in the Civil Rights Era; but in the modern #BLM movement, not so much. Will Spottedbear (WillSpottedbear), Mo Alexander (@MoAlexander), and Krish Mohan (@KrishMohanHaHa) talk with Jay about whether faith has a part to play in the new revolution.
June 29, 2020
1.09 — Rainbows and Religion (LGBTQ Culture and the Church)
It's #Pride Month, and Jay moderates a panel of LGBTQIA+ folks to talk about the complicated relationship between queer culture and the church. Featuring artist Evie Page (aka "Eden Alive"), comedian Amanda G ("Near and Queer to My Heart"), and educator Karr ("You Look Like: Little Rock").
June 22, 2020
1.08 — Alignment, Ethics, and Good vs Evil (Dungeons and Dragons)
Host Jay Jackson and guest Tanner Treadway (@tanner_juicebox) discuss the concepts of law, chaos, good and evil as presented in Dungeons And Dragons. What, exactly, do the words “good” and “evil” mean? And how does the way the game defines those terms apply to the real world? 
June 15, 2020
1.07 — Faith in a Fallen World (The Walking Dead)
When the world is crumbling all around you, how do you cope? What kind of strain does the trauma and grief of the universe place on your personal faith? For this completely, totally hypothetical and not-at-all-related-to-real-life question, Jay brings special guest Leroy Mathis in for some table talk on, chicken, traditionalism, and "The Walking Dead."
June 08, 2020
1.06 — Black Lives Matter
We break our normal schedule to bring you a special episode in light of the resurgent deaths of unarmed Black people at the hands of police. Jay invites several friends to share their thoughts and feelings on current events... and they responded. **CONTENT WARNING: themes of violence, references to sexual assault, strong language**
June 01, 2020
1.05 — Spells and Spiritualism (Harry Potter)
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is rife with allegory, symbolism, and thematic elements. In this episode, Ruth Houston (@the_lost_blog) and Chad Kusturin (@chaders99) help Jay unpack the religious implications thereof, and touch on some of the controversial elements surrounding the Boy Who Lived.
May 25, 2020
1.04 — Faith in the Time of Corona
Jay invites actor and producer Amie White, comedian Will Wininger, veteran and comedian Leslie Battle, and veteran and gamer Austin Zlomke to discuss how COVID-19, quarantine, and social distancing have affected our cultural landscape — and our faith.
May 25, 2020
1.03 — Prayers of the Panther (Black Panther)
This episode, Jay is joined by LaToya Cherise (@IncitefulA) of the Inciteful Alien podcast to talk about the instances of African spiritualism in Black Panther — and how it relates to the Black American experience of today.
May 25, 2020
1.02 — Captains of the Cosmos (Star Trek)
Our two-part episode continues with Jay, Krish, and Lucas traveling at warp speed through the Star Trek universe looking for God, and finding time-bending Prophets, omnipotent aliens, and lots of laughs along the way. Download Transcript
May 25, 2020
1.01 — Gods of the Galaxy (Star Trek)
Our first episode is a two-parter, featuring comedians Krish Mohan (@KrishMohanHaha) and Lucas Smith as they discuss the way the Star Trek universe has handled the concept of God over its 55+ year history. Download Transcript
May 25, 2020
1.00 - Introduction
In this Episode Zero introduction, host Jay Jackson takes a moment to talk about the format of the show, what listeners can expect, his personal faith background, what "The Sacred Now" is all about. Download Transcript
May 25, 2020