Befriending Reality: Engaging Otherness with Hospitality, Artfulness, and Particularity at Depth / Krista Tippett & Miroslav Volf
Play • 42 min

“For me, the spiritual task is to befriend reality in all its mess and complexity—to do that with grace." Krista Tippett joins Miroslav Volf for a conversation on the importance of engaging otherness on the grounds of our common humanity; her personal faith journey from small town Baptists in Oklahoma, to a secular humanism in a divided Cold-War Berlin, and then back to her spiritual homeland and mother tongue of Christianity in an expansive and engaging new way; the art of conversation, deep listening, cultivating hospitality; the spiritual task of befriending reality; and the challenge of being alone and being together as we seek to live a life worthy of our humanity.

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Show Notes

  • Julian of Norwich today: "All shall be well." Read the Revelations of Divine Love
  • Krista Tippett and On Being
  • The art of being human and speaking of faith in the twenty-first century
  • The animating questions behind the human enterprise
  • Creating a space for a conversations we couldn’t (but needed to) hear
  • Certainties and beliefs
  • What it means to be human, how we want to live, and what we want to be to each other
  • Hospitality—intellectual virtue, social art, sophisticated technology for inviting the best of other people into the room
  • How to invite someone into a good conversation, inviting them in their fullness
  • The discipline and public service of holding back your own opinions for the sake of listening
  • Balancing listening and speaking in a good conversation
  • What binds and unites various voices within the diversity of On Being?
  • "My primary intention is not to find similarities, but to be fascinated by particularity and go deep into that."
  • Abraham Joshua Heschel’s “Depth Theology”
  • Drawing opposites and counterintuitives even within the same person
  • Similar themes emerging from very different mouths—struggle for justice, struggle for wholeness, aspiring to both praise and lament
  • The complexity and fine textures of the melodies of humanity
  • Confounding ourselves
  • "There are no storybook heroes in the Hebrew Bible … it shows all the mess."
  • Befriending reality, which has a lot about it we wouldn’t choose, like, or expect—and then make a life of meaning with that and from that.
  • “For me, the spiritual task is to befriend reality in all its mess and complexity—to do that with grace."
  • Christian faith as a “mother tongue”—spiritual complexity and Krista’s conservative Baptist upbringing: “I got a lot of lived theology."
  • "There is an order—there is a love that infuses all of this."
  • “I’m not defined by what I reject, and I’m very slow to judge anyone else’s deep beliefs."
  • How Krista came back to Christianity while living in divided Cold War Berlin
  • Moral exhaustion 
  • “I didn’t immediately head back to Christianity. First I got quiet, then I got intentionally quiet, and then I started wandered into praying ... and an imagination, and then that brought me back to my spiritual homeland."
  • Julian of Norwich and “All shall be well”—the cosmic sense of those words
  • “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well…”
  • "It’s a mystical statement. It doesn’t add up with what we can see and hear and touch. … At some cosmic level, which I can’t be articulate about, it makes sense for me."
  • What kind of life is worthy of our humanity? 
  • We’re living in a time when we are open to hearing the truth about ourselves
  • We alone, and we’re together
  • Revisiting and grappling with binaries
  • Privileging the cultivation of knowing ourselves and spiritual technologies 
  • “It’s hard to be inextricable from other human beings.”
  • We’re just as shaped by how we treat our enemies as how we treat our friends
  • Nurturing the interior life as we’re tempted to focus on external appearances
  • Invest in ourselves in order to be present to the world

About Krista Tippett

Krista Tippett is a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster, a National Humanities Medalist, and a New York Times bestselling author. She grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, attended Brown University, and became a journalist and diplomat in Cold War Berlin. She then lived in Spain and England before seeking a Master of Divinity at Yale University in the mid-1990s.

Emerging from that, she saw a black hole where intelligent public conversation about the religious, spiritual, and moral aspects of human life might be. She pitched and piloted her idea for several years before launching Speaking of Faith — later On Being — as a weekly national public radio show in 2003. In 2014, the year after she took On Being into independent production, President Obama awarded Krista the National Humanities Medal at the White House for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence. On the air and in print, Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of every background to join her conversation about faith, ethics, and moral wisdom.”

Krista has published three books at the intersection of spiritual inquiry, social healing, science, and culture: Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living; Einstein’s God, drawn from her interviews at the intersection of science, medicine, and spiritual inquiry; and Speaking of Faith, a memoir of religion in our time. In recent honors, she is a recipient of a Four Freedoms Medal of the Roosevelt Institute. She also received an honorary degree from Middlebury College, and was the Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor at Stanford University.

Krista has two grown children. She is currently at work on a new book about moral imagination and the human challenges and promise of this young century.

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