Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Krista Tippett and "Speaking of Faith"

Last week, I was able to go to Concord to hear Krista Tippett, who is the host and producer of the enlightening American Public Media show Speaking of Faith. Krista's show archives contains conversations with a diverse group of people, including Jaroslav Pelikan, Thich Nhat Hanh, Eboo Patel, Shane Claiborne, Jimmy Carter, Richard Cizik, and Barbara Kingsolver (just to name a few of the diverse perspectives.)

Krista's premise is that in the 1990s, religion was reduced to the sound bytes of Jerry Faldwell and Pat Robertson, and that journalists for the most part handed religion's role in the public sphere to them.

The problem with this is that religious voices and perspectives are especially bad in sound bytes. So Krista sought to change this with a show about faith and religion that gave human faces and voices to traditions and customs.

Kristra describes the process of selecting guests for show by asking "is this person wise?" Will they "dwell in the questions" instead of "dictating the indisputable answers?"

I wrote down notes pretty quickly that night, but these are some of the things that make sense to me when we are "speaking of faith":

---developing eyes to see and ears to hear

---exploring how to sift and how to sort

---knowing that discord is not the whole picture

---focusing on reflecting rather than debating

Krista Tippett then quoted Sister Helen Prejean: "Anger is a moral response, but what we then do with that anger matters!"

Krista developed this idea by explaining the "revenge impulse." She said that the human brain is hardwired for revenge. The threat of revenge has always had a place in societies, making people consider their actions because of the possibility for retaliation. The scale and potential for destruction in these times has dramatically increased.

The good news is that we (our brains) are ALSO hardwired to forgive! We can perceive that we have a stake in the other, and thus we can choose to care for the other.

Krista then quoted Shane Claiborne (for at least the second time), when he asked: "Who will we be for each other?"

I've written more than I intended to already, so I think I'll end here. Needless today, I was very inspired by Krista Tippett. Subscribe to her podcasts so you can hear the show (in many cities she airs Sunday mornings, making it hard for churchgoers.)

If you would like to hear her live, perhaps you'll consider a trip to Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland OH (where I moved from last December). An Evening With Krista Tippett is scheduled for April 29th at 7:30PM.

If you can't make it to hear Krista live, Trinity Cathedral podcasts its special events and forums. It was fun to see and reflect on how many of Krista's guests have spoken at Trinity.

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