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I am excited, and a little nervous, to share some big news. We are giving this adventure in conversation a new name. Starting September 16th, Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett is becoming Krista Tippett on Being.

This doesn’t signal a change in the nature or ethos of what we will continue to produce week after week. It is, rather, a more spacious container for what the program has become. Being makes room for the ways in which we have in fact opened up the concept of “speaking of faith.” It points at questions of “religion, meaning, ethics and ideas” at the heart of human life — not confined to Sunday mornings or Friday evenings, not on the sidelines of real life, but at the essence of who we are and how we live, individually and collectively.

We believe that Being is also a title with room to grow into, while Speaking of Faith has taken us as far in public media as it could. As much as we filled it with new meaning, the program’s title remained an obstacle for many programmers and listeners. The story we have heard again and again is that people have had to get over the title, or find themselves listening to the show by accident, before they were ready to give themselves over to our content. We have heard that, for religious and non-religious people alike, the title Speaking of Faith makes it hard to talk about the program with friends and family — to spread the word “virally,” as word spreads in our time.

This process of discernment that we might want and need to change the name of the program has been one of the most surprising learnings of the past year, which has been a period both of solidifying the program’s strengths and of continuing to experiment. The energy and possibilities it opens fill me with a new excitement for the next stage of this project and my passion for it.

Full disclosure: I did not have an immediate enthusiastic reaction to Being. But I have come to love the title. As I have settled into it, slept on it, practiced saying it in front of the vast array of shows we do, and realized all of its connotations, it feels like home. “Being” is an elemental, essential word. It was a catchword of the existentialism of the 20th century, and existentialism is making room for spiritual life in the 21st. It is more hospitable than the word “faith” for our non-Christian and non-religious listeners. It is, at the same time, an evocation of the primary biblical name of God. “I am who I am” can be better translated, I recall my teacher of Hebrew pointing out, as “I will be who I will be.”

As we were in the thick of this discernment, a mother wrote to us of how her teenage daughter has recently been drawn to our program. She commented on our blog, “It has been rewarding to watch her discover that unlike her subjects in school, religion cannot fit into a neat box. I’m sure she will tune in again as she continues to shape her own way of BEING in this world. This is certainly my hope.” The capitalization was hers. We take on our appeal to her, indeed our responsibility to her, as a great and edifying adventure — our next frontier of listening, learning, and public service.

Now I want to invite you, our listeners, to grow into this new name, this evolving identity, with us. Let us know how it sits with you, how you are hearing it, and what it means. And please come along on the next phase of this journey.


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430 Comments

Sounds great to me the show has been such an inspiration, it has grown and deepened and matured as we have. New title seems appropriate.

I was proud of the title "Speaking of Faith" because honest and real faith (in all faiths) absolutely points at what Krista has always pointed at ... in her own words: "It points at questions of 'religion, meaning, ethics and ideas' at the heart of human life — not confined to Sunday mornings or Friday evenings, not on the sidelines of real life, but at the essence of who we are and how we live, individually and collectively." She continually showed that FAITH was not confined to Sunday mornings or Friday evenings nor to the sidelines of life. Every week she was expanding our culture's shallow misconstrual of honest faith, and I was proud of that and happy for that.

However, I need to be aware of what others hear in the title, and if it has been a turn-off to potential listeners, then what I am proud of and happy for isn't happening to those who will not or cannot listen. We need to be open to research and find ways to be welcoming.

"Being," however, can be a very shallow word or a deep word. It would not attract me on the iTunes podcast list. I sense the richness that Krista sees in the word, but without that prior bias it would simply strike me as either too smooshy or too philosophical. I will need to grow into it.

Because it is vague, adding Krista's name is necessary to give it balance and some referential meaning. However, it does detract from the person being interviewed. Each show is really her/him on being and not so much Krista Tippett on being. But again, I will try to grow into it.

I rarely enter into online discussions but I am compelled to here, because I think it matters --and our response has been requested.

In the language of the original title "with" is an important word: "with Krista Tippett" puts the emphasis on the exchange, the multiple voices of the conversation. "With" opens. By extension, I as listener felt actively, authentically invited to participate.

KT on Being is, linguistically, a solo act. I don't expect the wonderful character of the discussions to change, but I will miss the outreach, the generosity of the old title.

OK, but I'd prefer: Exploring Being with Krista Tippet.

I must admit I'm a little sad about this. There are so very few shows/journals/magazines/cultural artifacts out there that 1) hold onto their overtly religious personality AND b) are not objectionably fundamentalist. I do understand your reasoning, Krista, I'm just sad.

I like the show but my issue with it has always had more to do with when it airs rather than its name. It used to only be on early Saturday mornings and lately I have heard it in the evenings. But some NPR shows seem to get at least three airings per weekend in prime times. I suppose I should get with the 21st century and start to podcast.

Although I suspect the reason behind the name change is secularistic (to appeal to nonbelievers), I'm wondering how many of those nonbelievers actually were ingtrigued enough by the title "Speaking of Faith" that they gave the program a listen, discovered, to their surprise and delight, its highly intellectual and cultural nonsectarian context. I was one "convert,'' who largely because of the word FAITH it the title, became a regular listener. For me "Speaking of Faith" worked wonders, and I'll be sad to see that title go--because I doubt the "Being" (whatever THAT is) will attract former nonbelieving sectarians like me. And even though I think Krista is one of the best interviewers I've ever heard, I don't think spotlighting her name is a good idea. Anyone who's heard even one SOF --what will the new abbreviations be--B (for "Being")?--will, forever, remember her name. Under the new name, will continue to listen to and enjoy the program, but I don't think the name is descriptive enough ("Being") to capture new listeners as was the old SOF.

I got over the obstacles inherent in the original name once I saw the true nature of the content and realized you included much more than what might be linked to "faith" in the popular sense. I applaud the change in name for the reasons you mentioned: much more inclusive of the great variety of world views. I've come to understand that everyone has a "world view" of some sort, and they have faith in the world view they've carefully and thoughtfully come to , so in that sense, there are no "atheists"

Nonbelievers are seduced by the word Faith, unamused by the word Being.

Sorry, but I think it is a mistake. Speaking of Faith gives me some sense of what the program is about. Being? It just doesn't do it for me and I wonder if the reality is that the program will become as empty as the name.

Sorry, Krista. I don't like the new name. Though you are certainly the heart and soul of the program, the new name focuses on you too much.. It fails to gather into account all the marvelous contributors to your program, without whom there would be no Krista Tippett.

I also don't like "Being." It reminds me of sitting through a college Philosophy class.

I think you and your advisers can do much better.

I have enjoyed the show but side with some of the critics of the new name. First I think it's terribly egotistical. Geez, as if Plato, Aristotle, and every philosopher since, has not wrestled with a definition of that--now Krista is going to take a hand at telling us about Being? That's what the new name implies to me. It's also about as vague a topic for a program as I can think of;.Being? As opposed to...Nothingness?

drdon,
I'm sorry you don't like "Being," but your post does make me wonder if you've looked at Krista's post. 'Being" is a word with deep theological roots and intent. But even if you just don't like it, I want to respond to your thought that Krista's name in the title is egotistical.
Really, it is not. The idea was to assure the audience through this transition that Krista remains the host and central to the show and the vision. In most cases, what you will hear is "Being."
--Kate

According to Marshall McCluhan; the receiver determines the message. And linguistics shape our perceptions. I believe most of us who have been listening will continue to do so because "a rose by any other name. . .". still has the substance and grist for our collective mills. Nomentclature notwithstanding. Thank you for all you provide! Mary Coleman

I trust your instincts, and I'm not sure I have strong feelings about the name as long as you continue to challenge me--including our faith.

It does sound like a Krista Tippett show having KT on Being - I agree that the word "with" has that sense of sharing that this new title misses. I loved Speaking of Faith although understand the complexities of the word and the importance of having people listen to you before turning away. If nothing else, can't it be Being with Krista Tippett?

Sherry, You and others express this concern. Please know that in most applications what you will hear is the title "Being." Or, you will see in a banner "Krista Tippett" in small font, next to the large font" Being." We felt it was important to assure all of our listeners that Krista remains central to the show, and we know that her name is core to the public recognition. In general use, people will say 'Being."

As others have pointed out, I'm sad that the word "faith" might be a stumbling block for some folks, though I agree that this is true. A few years ago, when I was an atheist, it would have been a stumbling block for me. But when I found it, "faith" was the very word that drew me in. I understand the attraction to the word "Being". As other folks have pointed out, "Krista Tippett on Being" makes it sound didactic, like it's just all about Krista. But in fact, I think this is what Krista does so very brilliantly -- she creates dialogue. Public dialogue. And so I think other avenues need to be explored, such as "Speaking on Being with Krista Tippett" or one of the many other good suggestions below.

But I love the show, recommend it all the time to friends, fellow church goers, on my own blog, etc. I'm not going to stop listening just because I don't like the name.

The new name is fine with me, since I have always felt a sense of being while listening to the program---being challenged, being connected, being reaffirmed. It saddens me that the word, Faith, has become so polarizing, but I guess that's the nature of our times. Kudos to the staff and all who came up with not only the new name, but also the great topics and guests week after week.

As I've been listening this spring and summer I noticed the program content was so much broader than 'faith" so I'm not at all surprised at this decision. I'm sure we'll all adapt and adopt the new name quickly. I love this program and will tune in whatever it's called!

How is it possible to have exhausted the content of "faith"? I very much appreciated SofF as a title because I was so often stretched in my understanding of the meaning of faith, not the faith, or a faith, but the depth and breadth and mystery of living a faithful and faith-filled life. "Being" does not cmmunicate the same rich content.

I will come along for the ride because love you. And I most definitely understand our society's boogey-man response to the word "Faith". But it seems to me that maybe the "faith" & "being" words might have been used together. We need to challenge ourselves & each other to face the uncomfortable; to examine it, question it & decide our positions not on a visceral like or dislike of a word.
I don't want "faith" to be an "F-word".

Amen.

The new name doesn't have the "warm" feeling to me that SOF has had. If the word BEING is used, why not something more like: BEING: Conversations about ethics, ideas, meaning and religion with Krista Tippett. The word "conversations" feels to me as though we're all part of the BEING listening community.

Nancy,
We played with various formulas and constructions as you can imagine. The program will remain committed to interaction with our audience, and we are taking in the feedback about how Krista's name is positioned. It is really meant simply to assure people that Krista remains central as host and editorial leader of the program. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Kate Moos

My first tendency is to say "Anything Krista Tippett does is OK with me." But when I'm honest with myself I really don't like the new name AT ALL! "Speaking of Faith" with its subtitle stretches the meaning of the word "faith" for religious and non-religious people alike. It is precisely because so many of us have too narrow a definition of the word "faith" that I would like to see it stay in the title. By using that title and then having people on the show who have something important to say to us, even though they may not be interested in religion says something important to believer and non-believer alike about what it means to be faith-full. Krista, I tune in to Speaking of Faith for two reasons: First, because you always have somebody on who has something important and insightful to say, and second, because you have an incredible skill at drawing out that person, probing meanings beneath the surface and underlining the insights. You frequently contribute some important insights yourself and I'm grateful for those. But what draws me to your show is not "Krista Tippett... on anything; it's Bill McKibben on, or Allan Rabinowitz on ... or Shane Claiborne on ... or Sandy Sasso on ... or a hundred other people of whom I would never hear if it weren't for Krista Tippett. I am deeply indebted to you for these introductions and for stretching my own faith in a multitude of directions. But I hope it never becomes "The Krista Tippett Show".

I wonder, wonder...have ratings dropped? Is this change a grasping at a fix?

I encourage you to look at your roots, at what the original vision was...I think you've lost something in the past year or so.

I love Krista's gift, but am not thrilled with her being the show...

Will continue to listen when a show grabs my attention, summons my heart. Many do, thank you!

Jodi,
Krista's name has always been in the title, though perhaps less prominently. Now, it is really being used transitionally to assure people who love the show that she remains host and central to the editorial vision. You will primarily hear the title as: "Being."
Thanks for writing.

Kate Moos

I know I'm not alone in saying this, so I'll say this: we trust you and we'll follow. Thank you for taking us on the journey.

Jon,
This feels risky and scary for us too, and we are really trying to do what's right. So your words mean so much.
Thanks.
Kate

I like the change, except that I think you should call it Being with Krista Tippett -- giving it a double meaning: your guests are "being" with you, discussing "Being." I think that change would better reflect the collegiality of your show. Thanks for all you do. -- Sharon Martin

to give some historical context, what's in a name? a rose.......I am grateful for your beathe of peace and hope in a sometimes otherwise shallow world

Whatever you call it, the program is always the most thought-provoking talk by beings about beings to be heard anywhere. I am amazed that there is always yet another really terrific human being with an hour+ worth of conversation worth listening to. It restores my faith in humanity on a weekly basis.
Thank you.

Michele,
Thank you!
Kate Moos

It sounds a bit esoteric to me. I( have a feeling of sadness in your relinquishing speaking of "faith". I find it disappointing. I truly hope you will not change what you have been doing and discussing.

It is fascinating to me to read the strong responses so many people are having with the name change of your program. Labels can be a useful tool to point one in a direction, however, a label only defines something to the degree that each individual allows. I tend to regard labels loosely and look beyond to the find the essence of whatever it is a label is attempting to define. I prefer limitles to limited, especially if it is a conclusion which I have not come to on my own. The reason I listen to your show is not due to the name but the content, the fact that you are a brilliant and compassionate interviewer, and I always learn something from every one of your shows. Thank you for BEING. I couldn't resist! Siobhán McSeveney Dunn

with this new title, maybe you will invite in your studio ken wilber, whom i am sure you know, the ultimate writer about "the simple feeling of being",
ruxandra

I will listen to the show no matter what it is called because I love the content.

However, is Krista enough of a "name" among non-listeners to attract a new audience? I say that with all respect. But the new name makes Krista sound like the fount of knowledge instead of a fellow seeker.

"On Being, with Krista Tippett" places the emphasis back on the conversation.

Gpfdavid,
Krista's name is in front--especially during this transitional period--to assure the audience she remains the host, and central to the show. And indeed her name means a good deal. But in most uses, what you will hear is "Being."
Thanks for writing, and for listening.
Kate Moos

I have loved the show since the beginning, and I'm sure I will continue to. But the name change makes me sad. Speaking of Faith sounds lively, active, dialogical, and the word "faith" implies real breadth -- exploring the diversity of what humans place faith in is part of the thrill of your show. I *have* given Krista tons of free viral advertising because I am so thankful for the respectful and incisive way she interviews. Existential, inclusive, progressive Christian faith propels me, and I love the way Krista's guests inform and challenge all of us.

"Being," however, sounds to me static, philosophical, categorical, and it reminds me of Heidegger. I'm afraid that now I'll have to do *more* explaining to people about what the show comprises. I do get the Yahweh reference, though, which is lovely.

Despite my disappointment with the name change, you have my ongoing gratitude for so many fantastic radio interviews. Peace to you all as you navigate this new marketing campaign. I hope you are right that more people may listen.

Dear Krista,

While I can appreciate the need and sometimes the merit of new titles, I am disappointed with the name change. My concern is the connotation of both words: "being" and "faith." I sense that "being" is something intrinsic while "faith," at least for me, suggests commitment. I'm somewhat skeptical about our collective or individual efforts at true commitment and for the necessary actions that our world desperately needs.

Furthermore, faith implies something of "rootedness." As a Christian, my faith gives me both grounding and wings.

IAgain, I'm disappointed. I think something has been compromised by migrating to a term as generic as "being."

Thank you.

Mark de Roo

One has only to think in the Krista Tippett idiom, to appreciate the depth, richness, and succinctness evoked in the new name. I like it, it's the right name for a program exploring the confluence of spirit, psychology, and biology!

In my opinion this is just another way of taking Faith (Religion) out of our politically correct vocabulary. Why do the non-religious seem to always win these types of battles?

Greetings Christa,
Congratulations on the new name; I wish you great success with the change. I really like the current name but that is a function of coming upon the show accidentally and really liking it. Due to the connotations the word "faith" has taken on in light of religious extremism and fundamentalism, the name "Speaking of Faith" would not have drawn me to the show. "On Being" certainly would have. My best wishes to you going forward.

My reality is exactly the opposite. "On Being" would never have drawn me in. "Speaking of Faith" did it in less than 60 seconds.

Please consider changing being to a more dynamic term: Krista Tippets on Becoming. Remember what your Hebrew teacher taught: 'I will be who I will be.' This future denotation is best interpreted 'I become who I become.' God of becoming vs. God of being. 'Being' gives the edge to the idea that your program seeks to express what really IS; but your wonderful program always seems to prompt us to think about what we can and should become. Ah, there is no innocent name, Krista, so I am writing to persuade you to own activism and side with the dynamic divine.

Warm wishes, Randall Paul, President, Foundation for InterReligious Diplomacy

I had no problem with the original title, but then I don't feel I have to apologize of defend having faith. If you're going to make the change (which apparently you are) I totally agree with Randall, "own activism". Faith is not a passive thing, "Being" is so passive, it just doesn't sound like any fun!

"Being" is OK, as long as you remember that two entities title themselves as "I am what I am". First was God, second was Popeye the Sailor Man. Be sure you cover him as well.

I have total faith in Krista Tippett on Being. Best wishes.

I think it is a good change. I found this program by accident and now I listen by streaming and podcast whenever I can. Unfortunately, "faith" in our time has connotations that tend to turn away some spiritual seekers rather than inviting them in, and the new name is more expansive, inviting and embracing. I love this program and am looking forward to its continuation under its new name.

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