Kitchen Table Thoughts on a Windy City Event
» download (mp3, 90:47)
Colleen Scheck, Producer
Me again, with another update on the many adventures of Krista Tippett this month. Last week, Krista traveled to Chicago for a live event at Fourth Presbyterian Church. Here, the tables were turned as Interfaith Youth Core’s Eboo Patel asked Krista questions about the program and about
religious religion and ethics in our time. Our events coordinator and her daughter sat at their kitchen table in Minneapolis listening to the online stream provided by our station partner, WBEZ, and wrote the next day:
"Wow…My daughter and I were the listeners at the kitchen table Eboo described, and we loved every minute of it….This broadcast was good radio. Highlights: hearing a city’s sirens in the background during Adam’s intro, really feeling the audience’s attentiveness, Eboo mentioning Wilco, and quoting Tony Campolo, who is quoting Huck Finn about being right in the heart vs. right in the head, Krista’s senstive answer to the Fort Hood question, Krista’s explanation of verse plucking, spiritual technologies and the body, Eboo praising Speaking of Faith as creating a ‘community of discourse.’ Great interview, great Q&A….”
We’re pleased to bring you the audio of that event for your kitchen table (or podcast while you workout) listening. And, for those of you who prefer a Twitter recap, direct from our managing producer, who attended in person:
- Krista and Kate are in Chi-town for event—7PM, Monday, 4th Church, w/Eboo Patel. Come! Windy here. Oh yeah. The Windy City. KM
8:38 PM Nov 15th
- @Lthemick V. Funny. Spell check is dangerous.
9:06 PM Nov 15th in reply to Lthemick
- Krista w/Eboo, speaking with staff at Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago. Tonight’s event is at 7 at 4th Church. Come! http://yfrog.com/edt53j
10:47 AM Nov 16th
- 4th Presbyterian Church, Chicago. http://yfrog.com/4jt5rj
4:16 PM Nov 16th
- We’re told to plan on a potential crowd of 800 tonight in downtown Chicago. Can’t be here? Join us online. 7 PM CST: http:/bit.ly/2kUOAY
4:43 PM Nov 16th
- OK, try that link again. Trent has the B Team on location tonight, poor guy. 7PM Chicago time. Krista & Eboo. http://bit.ly/2kUOAY
4:48 PM Nov 16th
- @katemoos (my lovely boss) is still gettin’ the hang of this Internet thing-a-mabob. Here’s the link to the live audio: http://bit.ly/33oiUy
5:23 PM Nov 16th
- BTW, Krista’s live conversation in Chicago with Eboo Patel starts at 7 pm Central tonight: http://bit.ly/33oiUy
5:28 PM Nov 16th
- John Buchanan welcomes the assembled to 4th Church. http://yfrog.com/7hi6pj
6:04 PM Nov 16th
- For those listening to live stream, send in your questions and I’ll be glad to include some!
6:08 PM Nov 16th
- The church is packed. 700? Maybe 800! http://yfrog.com/bel85j
6:11 PM Nov 16th
- Krista says when she left home for school, there was no space for religion in her new context. She became involved in geopolitics. Berlin.
6:12 PM Nov 16th
- Breaking: Eboo & Krista were both born on the day the Berlin Wall fell. November 9. Wow.
6:14 PM Nov 16th
- KT: If I was going to be religious again I was going to have to be able to bring my mind to it. http://yfrog.com/5al2uej
6:17 PM Nov 16th
- KT cites Bonhoeffer: “Religionless Christianity.” The church had become so corrupted. People are rediscovering virtue and taking it back.
6:19 PM Nov 16th
- Eboo: who made a difference in the 20th century? People of faith. Gandhi. Dorothy Day. Martin Luther King.
6:20 PM Nov 16th
- I felt public radio was smart about everything else but religion was a black hole.—KT
6:23 PM Nov 16th
- Because it was so important and because journalism had gotten religion so wrong we had to work that much harder to get it right.-KT
6:25 PM Nov 16th
- Eboo: Talk about speaking of faith as an act if theology.
6:25 PM Nov 16th
- KT: No one can be a Niebuhr in our age. Speaking of Faith goes beyond religion. It may be scientists. Police. How do we hold the sacred.
6:28 PM Nov 16th
- Eboo cites Wilco: Theologians, they don’t know nothing ‘bout my soul.
6:29 PM Nov 16th
- Eboo: if there is a countercultural media figure it is you. SoF does’t do news stories.
6:34 PM Nov 16th
- Webers to let the initial outrage of the news work itself out. Then we circle back.
6:36 PM Nov 16th
- KT: we covered the issue of torture. But we had to find out how to get at it. Not the question, does it work? We found the voice.
6:38 PM Nov 16th
- KT: when monks in Burma marched, we found Ingrid Jordt. And ineeded to know what that meant. 6:39 PM Nov 16th
- Sorry for the slow down. Listener questions up next.
6:54 PM Nov 16th
- Eboo asked about Fort Hood. Krista says we can only approach that event with deep perspective. Be appalled at violence and grieve.
6:58 PM Nov 16th
- Eboo what is the sow doing for your grandpa’s mind?
7:00 PM Nov 16th
- Eboo: science And religion? Krista I have a book out in March, Einsteins God…
7:04 PM Nov 16th
- From theback of the church. http://yfrog.com/j7ac3ej
7:08 PM Nov 16th
- Does amateur theology water it down? KT says it can. But many great thinkers may be unaffiliated with tradition.
7:10 PM Nov 16th
- There is spiritual but not religious but for many it is fluid.
7:12 PM Nov 16th
- Why do we need a God? We turn to at only certain times? KT: this is true.But. We also rarely choose to stand in the presence of frailty.
7:14 PM Nov 16th
- KT: I look at it both ways. I’mfascinated by the vastly different vocabularies.
7:15 PM Nov 16th
- How do we not demonize the other in our own tradition?
7:15 PM Nov 16th
- KT: That’s hard. It’s harder to be compassionTe to your cousin who disagrees about abortion or gay marriage.
7:17 PM Nov 16th
- People make breakthroughs when they humanize their interaction.
7:18 PM Nov 16th
- Oh boy. That was unexpected.
7:21 PM Nov 16th
- Does this work lead you to hope or despair?
7:28 PM Nov 16th
- Kt: we are bombarded by images and violence. I want to shine a light on widom, voices that are nourishing. Ian looking for hope.
7:29 PM Nov 16th
- But it requires you to look.
7:30 PM Nov 16th
- Even with our resouces I have no idea that something is happening that might bring hope.
7:31 PM Nov 16th
- Eboo: you have created a club of “lookers for hope,” Thanyou!
7:32 PM Nov 16th
- Debrief. Yay! Thanks!
7:53 PM Nov 16th
- @evaottesmith We’d love to come. Someday!
10:26 PM Nov 16th in reply to evaottesmith
- @HeyToepfer Not sure yet. Chicago Public Radio was recording. I’ll (@trentgilliss) get the details + let everyonee when it’s ready.
5:48 AM Nov 17th in reply to HeyToepfer
- @akdennis Our managing producer was live-tweeting from Chicago in which Eboo Patel was interviewing Krista: http://bit.ly/33oiUy. Sorry.
9:51 AM Nov 17th
- Leaving Chicago. Krista reading Agatha Christie. Thank you every body!! http://yfrog.com/0zhf8wj
3:05 PM Nov 17th
Repossessing Virtue: Khalid Kamau on Gaining Time and Community in the Black Church
» download (mp3, 18:11)
Nancy Rosenbaum, Production Assistant
When I started working with Speaking of Faith in January, Trent, our online editor, asked me to read through a thick stack of listener e-mails that had flowed into our inbox after we broadcast "Repossessing Virtue: Parker Palmer on Economic Crisis, Morality, and Meaning".
SOF producers had already started reaching out to past guests of the show to engage them in conversation about the moral, ethical, and spiritual dimensions of the economic downturn. We wanted to get listeners into the mix of the conversation.
I spent a few quiet winter days in my cubicle with a highlighter pen, reading the 100+ responses we had received. People wrote in with all kinds of insights and reflections — from the deeply personal and specific to more theoretical interpretations of the economic collapse, its causes, and its implications.
When I read this essay by Khalid Kamau in New York City, I knew immediately that I wanted to talk to him. I wrote on the page “I like this one a lot” and gave it a little star.
You see the theme of community keeps coming up in the conversations we’ve been having with past guests of the show and others through our continuing Repossessing Virtue series. And while living more deeply and deliberately in community sounds good at first pass, it can be complicated and fraught. My own recent-ish experiences living with roommates is a reminder of this.
Khalid nails this complexity in a very personal story he wrote about baking a cake for his parents as a kid. I’m not going to give away the guts of the story; you should hear him tell it. But suffice to say that Khalid’s received some confusing messages growing up about what it means to ask a neighbor for help. To this day, he says he won’t knock on a neighbor’s door to borrow eggs or milk.
I’m excited to share Khalid’s story with you as well as the conversation we had about how he’s experiencing the economic downturn. Unlike others we’ve spoken to, Khalid was laid off from his job a few months ago. When he was working, Khalid says he was always busy, a frenetic New Yorker (I used to be one of those too). Now he’s using this new-found expanse of time to volunteer, pray, reflect, and simply do nothing.
This is the one of the first in a series of listener conversations we’ll be featuring online and in an upcoming radio program slated for broadcast in May. We’re approaching this as a creative experiment so please let us know what you think.
Producing “Presence in the Wild”
by Colleen Scheck, producer
I love this week’s program with Kate Braestrup, chaplain to the game warden service in Maine. Simply, her practical theology just makes sense to me — a daily translation of spirituality into caring, useful, deliberate action. And I’m glad we were able to add a Unitarian Universalist voice to the many diverse religious perspectives we delve into, just in the way we like to, exploring that perspective through a person’s “lived theology” (Krista Tippett phrase).
This was one of our programs that came together randomly and quickly. Krista saw a reference to Braestrup’s memoir a few months back, and she was curious about her story and her journey to Unitarian Universalism. We got a copy of the book, and as I read it I was immediately absorbed by its reality and humor, and by Braestrup’s wisdom, searching, compassion, and gutsy movement between grief and hope.
We booked the interview, grateful that our guest was willing to drive almost two hours from her small coastal hometown to Portland, Maine, so we could record her conversation with Krista via ISDN (the best broadcast-quality audio connection possible). Right after the interview, we decided it would be a good balance to the other voices, viewpoints, and topics we’ve done in recent weeks, so we front-burnered it into production. You’ve perhaps read other producers’ accounts of how some shows take time to find the right voice or precise approach, brewing like sun tea to get the best flavor. Others are like good espresso — best when ground fresh and served immediately. To me, Kate Braestrup is like that fine espresso, giving me a jolt of optimism and inspiration. (Full disclosure: I don’t drink coffee, but I was a barista for a short time).
We edited, wrote, listened, edited again, tossed around titles, planned content for the Web site. Mitch took cues from the interview and laid in Cole Porter music, but he wouldn’t give in to the “Sweet Home Alabama” reference near the end. And we laughed questioningly at Kate Braestrup’s description of a t-shirt one cop wore in a D.C. bar crammed with law enforcement officers — words I’m sure have never before been uttered on a Speaking of Faith program. Not suitable for radio, so you’ll have to listen to the unedited interview to hear them.
I exit this program with a new appreciation for the work of law enforcement officers of all kinds who are theologians in their own way, as Braestrup describes:
"Law enforcement officers, like all human beings, are presented with grand questions about life’s meaning and purpose. They consider the problem of evil, the suffering of innocents, the relationships between justice and mercy, power and responsiblity, spirit and flesh. They ponder the impenetrable mystery of death. Cops, in short, think about the same theological issues seminary students research, discuss, argue, and write papers about, but a cop’s work lends immediacy and urgency to such questions. Apart from my familiarity with and affinity for police culture, I was sure working with cops would take me right up to where the theological rubber meets the road."
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 reflect as she listens to Krista’s interviews and works with us on upcoming projects.
As SOF staff pore over hundreds of responses to the audience query about Catholic identity and we IT folks try to envision a way to capture that diversity in an online space, I thought about my own relationship with the Catholic Church. How would I answer that query? Has the archdiocese’s cracking down on my small community (The Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul recently issued letters to area parishes forbidding practices such as communal penance as a sacrament and allowing lay people to preach during Mass. My parish, St. Frances Cabrini Church, was among them.) tainted my relationship with the Church? Why do I still show up?
A few weeks ago I returned from gallivanting around that splendid place of my ancestry — Italy. My Italian companions and I toured through Tuscany and quickly came to understand the three essential components of a Tuscan village: hill, wall, church. Just as my pores exude of garlic after some crostini con pancetta, so too does Italy’s rich art, architecture, and traditions of the Catholic Church.
Despite my friends’ vitriolic commentaries about the Church as an institution, it was in the churches that we spent hours — our necks craned back to witness salvation history played out in frescoes dating from the fifteenth century.
In The Spirituality of Parenting, last week’s SOF guest, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, spoke of religion as a container for spiritual experience. What better place, for me, than a church — the physical manifestation of this container — to hearken back to that original experience in one of the best ways we know how: through art.
As we stood together marveling at the vaulted ceilings, Corinthian pillars and walls of light, I’d like to think we shared a similar sentiment: “I’m glad to have shown up.”
Travel Guide Omission
Mitch Hanley, Senior Producer
While on vacation here in Oaxaca I was paging through a Lonely Planet guide on Mexico, trying to see about religious services and what the opportunities are for travelers. I was specifically interested in attending a Pentecostal service as it is the fastest growing denomination in Latin America, and I wanted to see how a service might be different from one in the U.S.
Aside from some general stats in the front of the book, there was nothing more than a museum-style treatment of old cathedrals, e.g. here is where you go to see this colonial-era cathedral, etc. Interesting that the editors would not think that travelers would want information of religious services, though, somebody (probably Zondervan) has that info covered in another guide. If not, there’s an opportunity there, I think.
When I have more time later, I will tell you the story of how our server at dinner last night just so happen to be studying to be a Pentecostal pastor, and he is planning to take us to his church on Sunday. What luck!
Off to sample the chocolate district of Oaxaca.
Sunday Services at Wheeler’s Church in Bushy Fork
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor
Dorothea Lange’s primarily known for her iconic portrait of the “migrant mother.” But, some of her lesser-known work on behalf of the Farm Security Administration captures the nostalgic imagination of contemporary Americans. Here, this 1939 photo of a post-church service scene in North Carolina does just that.
'If any of these said persons come in love unto us, we cannot in conscience lay violent hands upon them, but give them free egress and regress unto our town. For we are bound by the law of God and man to do good unto all men and evil to no man.'
from the Flushing Remonstrance, signed on Dec. 27, 1657, and cited in Kenneth T. Jackson’s Op-Ed article "A Colony with a Conscience" in The New York Times
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor
Moving a 100-Year-Old Church
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor
After witnessing the time-consuming, breaking-a-bead deconstruction and reconstruction of a church in Alabama for “An Architecture of Decency,” I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the lighter, musical rendition of preserving a country church.
Welcome to Alabama
Mitch Hanley, Senior Producer
We arrived in Greensboro on Tuesday afternoon and headed straight up to Antioch Baptist Church (see image below) to see if there was any information on services during the week. We were hoping to gather sound of the church’s congregation, perhaps speaking to members who had seen the previous incarnation. Cruising down the 1.5 lane highway at a healthy speed, we eyed this tiny sign pointing down a gravel road (driveway) “Antioch Baptist Church.” The grass between the tire tracks was quite tall, giving me the impression that this church might not get used at all. As we walked up to the structure we knew immediately that this was a Rural Studio project, it was like no other church in the area (except for the other RS chapels).
Alongside the church is an elevated graveyard with headstones dating back to the early 1800’s. The juxtaposition of these old tombs looking upon the modern chapel below was striking, as was the fact that the only windows along the long walls of the church were the narrow strip which looked directly out at the graves.
As we walked along the grounds, which were surrounded by thick forests of pines, you could hear an old hound dog howling in the distance interspersed with long stretches of eerie silence. This combination seemed to say, Welcome to rural Alabama!
We left Antioch to head back to Greensboro and again, at highway speed this dog seemed to come out of nowhere. At least, it seemed like a dog, minus one ear. This German Shepherd was standing next to the side of the road waiting for us to pass, standing alert with its one good ear. Sorry, it was just too strange for us to want to get out and snap a photo.
Establishing Roots to the Past
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor
The foundation has been laid and now the heavy lifting begins for second-year students at the Rural Studio. They completely dismantled St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (circa 1854) last year and cataloged all its elements — from mortise & tenon beams to cut nails. Then, they loaded up the truck and relocated the structure near its original location in Cahawba, the first capital of Alabama.
The effort is painstaking, but history teaches lessons. And Jason Coomes, the instructor for this project, says it awakens the eyes of his young students and town citizens alike. The quality of craftsmanship and ingenuity of construction contributed to its longevity.
Beams used for floor joists weren’t nailed to the foundation. Taboo nowadays perhaps, but a feature that allowed the building to move enough so that it didn’t collapse under stress and strain. Now that they’re assembling the salvaged floor, they’ll date-stamp the contemporary substitutions to provide a legacy for the next generation trying to figure out how the church was built and rebuilt.
In so doing, they preserve our cultural legacy, teach the next generation of architects what it means to design buildings that last, salvage wood that most likely would have deteriorated or been scrapped, and sustain the geography of place that was once washed away by the floodplain of the Cahawba River. This seems like sensible sustainability, one that sates the curiosity of generations to come.