I have been listening to Krista Tippett on her radio program, Speaking of Faith, since back in 2003. Though it changed its name in 2010 to On Being, the program has the same focus and appeal.
Like many programs, movies and books that I admire, it often features people who I have never heard of, and who I would probably never have encountered – but I trust her choices enough to listen, and I am usually rewarded by insights from her and the guest.
She has written several books, but her new one is Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living.
“I’m a person who listens for a living. I listen for wisdom, and beauty, and for voices not shouting to be heard. This book chronicles some of what I’ve learned in what has become a conversation across time and generations, across disciplines and denominations,” says Krista.
In the early days, her show did have more of an outright focus on religions. But it has always had an interest in how scientists relate to religion, faith and being. Those programs have been amongst my favorites.
For example, my own fascination with Albert Einstein seems to be shared by Tippett who has done multiple programs about Einstein. She has also written Einstein’s God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit. Einstein is a good example of that strange Venn diagram that many of us have where religion, God, faith, belief, and spirituality overlap. Albert Einstein did not believe in a personal God. One of the many Einstein quotes you find online is “God does not play dice with the universe.” That seems to be a clear statement of belief, but it was about quantum physics, not the God of religion. But Albert certainly spent a significant amount of his life doing thought experiments about the relationship between science and religion. How could he not wonder? Any thinking person must wonder.
I believe all of us have the same interest as Einstein (although he may have taken it further than most of us) in trying to discover the order deeply hidden behind everything. Tippett notes Einstein’s self-described “cosmic religious sense” is very compatible with twenty-first-century sensibilities.
But On Being and her new book includes the ideas of theologians from many faiths, but also poets, activists and others.
I call this post “Becoming Wiser” (as opposed to Tippett’s book title Becoming Wise) because I know I am wiser for having listened to Krista’s programs and read her books, but they also remind me how much further I need to go to be Wise.
This is not a book review but a preview because I haven’t read this book yet, but I am confident that it will continue to help equip me “to meet the world where it really is, and then to make it better.”
Amazon is getting much better with its recommendations. When I pre-ordered Becoming Wise, Amazon suggested a group of books that do belong on the same shelf. There were four that I have already read, and the others are all books I would like to read. It included the obvious choices of her other books: Einstein’s God and her earlier Speaking of Faith: Why Religion Matters–and How to Talk About It. It also suggested Rising Strong by Brené Brown, Felicity: Poems by Mary Oliver, The Good Book: Writers Reflect on Favorite Bible Passages by Andrew Blauner, Gratitude by Oliver Sacks A Year with Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations from His Journals, and Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart by James R. Doty. there are others I would add to that list – for example, guests from her programs, such as Parker J. Palmer and Karen Armstrong.