Are we at the leading edge of a resurgent interest in religion and spirituality in the academy? Quite possibly. And not just as a curiosity. This week, Faith Matters begins a series of conversations with prominent scholars from outside our faith. What are we learning about the nature of spiritual experience and the value of a religious life? In coming weeks, we’ll be traveling to some of America’s top universities—starting with Harvard, Yale and Princeton—to sit down with thinkers deeply engaged in this fascinating topic. We’ll start this week with Dr. Lisa Miller, a Professor in the Clinical Psychology Program at Columbia University, where she founded the Spirituality Mind Body Institute, the first Ivy League graduate program in spirituality and psychology. Dr. Miller will share insights from her recently published book The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life. In her words, Lisa “takes the lens of science and focuses it on the impact of spirituality in human life,” with some surprising results. She talks about the truly remarkable real-world benefits of a personal spirituality that leads to a lived relationship with the divine, and calls for a spiritual renaissance to help solve some of our society’s most troubling issues. Dr. Miller's research has been published in top-tier psychiatric journals, and she is the Editor of the Oxford Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality and the Founder of the American Psychological Association’s journal, Spirituality in Clinical Practice. After finishing her undergraduate work at Yale, she received her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. This conversation also introduces a new member of the Faith Matters team, Zachary Davis. We’re extremely excited to be joining forces with Zach, a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, where his work focused on intellectual history and philosophy of religion. Previously, Zach has been a producer at HarvardX where he built open online courses in the humanities. He’s also a highly experienced podcaster and host of shows like Ministry of Ideas and Writ Large.