Jason Shinder →
Kate Moos, Managing Producer The poet Jason Shinder died last week. I studied with him at Bennington in the late 90’s. This recent poem in The New Yorker about his mother’s illness has the authority of someone who knows first hand the ravages of sickness. He was also a really good dancer, and I was once informed by someone watching him do amazing things on the dance floor that he was...
Candidates for London Mayor Get Religion →
Shiraz Janjua, Associate Producer For anyone who thinks European society is utterly secularized, it’s interesting to read this article in The Guardian that, in the London mayoral race, religion is actually a prominent issue. Perhaps not in the way that we experience it in the US, but nevertheless. Hmm, I wonder if anyone reading in London might have some firsthand knowledge of this?
The Language of Money
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor
toddler: (holding up a penny) Uh-dakah!
father: (leaning in) Dollar?
toddler: (thrusting penny in the air) Uh-dakah!
father: No. That's a penny.
father: That's money. Can you say mun-eeeee?
toddler: Money! Dakah.
father: You buy things with it.
father: (looking quizzically at mother): What's he keep saying? I can't understand him.
mother: I don't know. (turning to toddler) Penny.
mother: (to father) Maybe it's the Hebrew -- from school.
father: I don't know the Hebrew word for money. Do you?
father: Google it.
father: I learned about this on the show. Isn't it zakat or something? No, wait. That applies to Muslims. Maybe zedekah... or something similar.
mother: Here it is. Tzedakah. Charity.
mother: Here he sees a penny and thinks of giving it away. And we see it and instantly thinking of buying things.
father: I guess we just learned something from a two year old about money.
mother: I think so.
father: Man. We better sign up for some Hebrew lessons...
Alda Balthrop-Lewis, Production Intern Catholics of all sorts have been responding to our call for their stories. They’ve been writing to tell us about their experiences in the Catholic Church — the beauty and the pain and the hope they feel belonging to this vast and ancient tradition. We have been amazed by the depth and feeling with which these people have told us their stories. In an...
Former Guest Under Threat →
Shiraz Janjua, Associate Producer Kind of sad and/or maddening news coming from Britain: our former guest Ed Husain has, through his think-tank, received death threats. Whether or not one agrees with the political stance of a co-religionist, the last thing anyone wants to see is more death and violence.
Asking the Questions, Developing the Answers
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor Pesach (Passover) is upon us. In a recent entry by Rachel Barenblat (a rabbinical student who writes the Velveteen Rabbi blog), she recounts a seder in which three questions were asked and were answered with prescribed responses. A Sephardic custom (according to Barenblat, Iraqi or Afghani in origin), the seder opens with a person circling the table of participants...
Who Am I
Shiraz Janjua, Associate Producer We’ve been asked to redo our staff bios on our About Staff page to make them more, well, human and quirky. Writing your own bio is a very odd experience. You refer to yourself in the third person, possibly like something Napoleon might do. We (and I do mean the royal “we”) hope to get those brushed up over the next few days and up online.
How Great Thou Art
Maria Montello, guest author Editor’s note: Our parent organization, American Public Media (APM), is a large and diverse organization. Maria is the manager of software development for the company. She’s a fan of SOF who travels extensively and is planning an introspective journey to myriad spiritual sites around the world. We invited her to contribute to SOF Observed on occasion and...
Looking to Be Literate
Alda Balthrop-Lewis, Production Intern Over the past week I have been travelling. I must make a choice about my education, and I have been visiting the schools I am considering attending, asking questions of their students, staff, and faculty. People who study religion are often full of questions. So at The Divinity School of the University of Chicago someone raised the following: “What...
Presidential Candidate Forum on Faith Issues
Colleen Scheck, Producer CNN is broadcasting a presidential candidate forum on faith issues this Sunday, April 13, at 8:00pm ET that includes both Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (as of this post, John McCain had not accepted the invitation to participate). I hate to admit it, but I think I’m not alone in acknowledging that my attention to this year’s presidential election ebbs...
Poetry Month →
Kate Moos, Managing Producer I subscribe to a daily poem from the Academy of American Poets. For me, it’s the pause that refreshes, like the videos that Trent likes to watch. This one bonked me on the head. Click on the header above to read this beautiful poem by Alan Shapiro. (text of poem removed from post in deference to author copyright).
A Peabody Award!
by Krista Tippett, host We’re all a little giddy around here today. This morning we learned that we won a 2008 Peabody Award, for our program on Rumi. This is broadcasting’s highest award, and for us it is a sign of arrival. Speaking of Faith launched almost five years ago as a weekly show. In the beginning, many simply didn’t believe that it would be possible to put a program...
Spirit of Language
Rob McGinley Myers, Associate Producer (photo: Lastexit/Flickr) As we prepare to do a show on endangered languages, I’ve been thinking a lot about the intersection of language and spirituality. This came up recently with my three-year-old daughter, who has been asking about death since we buried her fish in our back yard. We were driving across town the other day and she said out of...