Since childhood, I have been a big radio fan. Nowadays, a lot of my radio listening is done via podcasts that I listen to on an iPod or via Stitcher online “radio” – but it’s still radio. I started listening to Speaking of Faith in 2003 when it became a weekly radio program. I think some people may have been put off by the word “faith” thinking it’s a show about just religion. It’s not. Though many religious practices are topics, so is finding the spirituality and meaning in many other parts of our lives.
“Speaking of Faith” may have suggested religion to people, but the program always described itself as “religion, meaning, ethics and ideas” and the latter three probably made up more of the programs.
On Being might also be a name that points to a change in the way Americans think about faith – less connected with a religion and more connected to meaning, ethics and ideas. It is a more “hospitable” word than “faith” for non-Christian and non-religious listeners.
I also follow their blog.
The show’s producer and host is Krista Tippett. She has an interesting bio. She grew up in Oklahoma, the granddaughter of a Southern Baptist preacher; studied history at Brown University and went to West Germany in 1983 on a Fulbright Scholarship; stayed in divided Berlin as a correspondent and became a special assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to West Germany. She left in 1988. Krista got an M.Div. from Yale in 1994.
In 2007, Krista published her first book, Speaking of Faith about the issues that made up the programs. And she sees the show as one that can “draw out the intellectual and spiritual content of religion that should nourish our common life, but that is often obscured precisely when religion enters the news.”
Her book Einstein’s God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit is actually the one I read first because of my fascination with Einstein and the ways science connects and rejects religion.
You can listen to many of the programs online at http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org and subscribe (free) to the podcasts of the show with iTunes or other services.
Their website lists show topics from physics (“Uncovering the Codes for Reality”; “Mathematics, Purpose, and Truth”) to parenting (“What we Nurture”); from civil society (“The Inward Work of Democracy”; “Words that Shimmer”); to aging (“The Far Shore of Aging”; “Contemplating Mortality”); from yoga (“The Body’s Grace”; “Meditation in Action”) to neuroscience (“Creativity and the Everyday Brain”; “Investigating Healthy Minds”), from urban renewal (“Becoming Detroit”; “Evolving a City”) to farm to table food (“Driven by Flavor”); from “The Last Quiet Places” to ocean exploration; and from Desmond Tutu to Rosanne Cash and from the Dalai Lama to Rumi.
About the image: This NASA Hubble Space Telescope composite of photos from the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona shows a Helix Nebula. The Helix Nebula (also known as NGC 7293) is a planetary nebula about 700 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius. It is one of the closest planetary nebulae to Earth and was discovered by Karl Ludwig Harding before 1824. Since, 2003, it has appeared in many places on the Net and is often referred to as the “Eye of God.”