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Episode Summary

Evan Mawarire is a Pentecostal minister and democratic activist in Zimbabwe. He is founder of #ThisFlag Citizen's Movement and has been instrumental in standing up to corruption, injustice, and poverty in Zimbabwe. Miroslav Volf interviews Pastor Evan about his story of faith that leads to activism; the transformation he experience while being unjustly arrested, detained, and tortured in maximum security prison; and what it means to live a life worthy of our humanity.

Evan Mawarire is a Zimbabwean clergyman who founded #ThisFlag Citizen’s Movement to challenge corruption, injustice, and poverty in Zimbabwe. The movement empowers citizens to hold government to account. Through viral videos, the movement has organized multiple successful non-violent protests in response to unjust government policy. Evan was imprisoned in 2016, 2017, and 2019 for charges of treason, facing 80 years in prison. His message of inspiring positive social change and national pride has resonated with diverse groups of citizens and attracted international attention.

Evan has addressed audiences around the world, and Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the 100 global thinkers of 2016. The Daily Maverick Newspaper of South Africa named him 2016 African person of the year. Evan is a 2018 Stanford University Fellow of the Centre for Democracy Development and the Rule of Law. He is a nominee of the 2017 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression awards and the 2018 Swedish government’s Per Anger Prize for democracy actors.

Show Notes

  • Introduction and clip from #ThisFlag viral video
  • How Evan Mawarire became a Pentecostal minister
  • #ThisFlag movement - united around the symbolism of the Zimbabwe flag
  • Compassion, mercy, and other biblical values that can be practiced across all levels
  • “If we don’t stand up, our children will hold us to account one day, and say ‘Why did you do nothing?’"
  • "I was asking people to shut down the government in 48 hrs."
  • The other side of fear is possibility
  • The atrocities of Robert Mugabe: abduction, silencing, torture, murder, citizen fear-based self-policing
  • #ThisFlag Campaign Slogan: “If we cannot cause the politician to change, then we must inspire the citizen to be bold."
  • Pentecostalism and Political Activism: Apostolic Faith Movement, Reinhard Bonnke
  • Pastor Evan’s detention and torture in maximum security prison
  • How encounters with prison inmates transformed Pastor Evan
  • “Look at the walls that are holding you back, and understand that there is a bigger prison that holds you back: the prison of your mind… Ignore these walls, behave as if they do not exist."
  • What is a life worth living?

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May 15, 2023

Tolerating Doubt & Ambiguity

Is your faith a house of cards? If you were wrong about one belief would the whole structure just collapse? If even one injury came to you, one instance of broken trust, would the whole castle fall? If one element was seemingly inconsistent or incompatible—would you burn down the house? This depiction of the psychology of faith is quite fragile. It falls over to even the lightest breath. But what would a flexible faith be? Resilient to even the heaviest gusts of life’s hurricanes. It would adapt and grow as a living, responsive faith. Psychologist Elizabeth Hall joins Evan Rosa to discuss the domains of psychology and theology and what it means for each to “stay in their lane”; she introduces a distinction between implicit and explicit knowledge, and identifies the social- and self-imposed pressure to know everything with certainty; we reflect on the recent trends toward deconversion from faith in light of these pressures; and she offers psychologically grounded guidance for approaching doubt and ambiguity in a secure relational context, seeking to make the unspoken or implicit doubts explicit. Rather than remaining perched upon our individualized, certainty-driven house-of-card faith; she lays out a way to inhabit a flexible, resilient, and relationally grounded faith, tolerant of ambiguity and adaptive and secure amidst all our winds of doubt. This episode was made possible in part by the generous support of Blueprint 1543. For more information, visit

Elizabeth Hall