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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

What keeps seeping through (but what has not been openly acknowledged) is that "Faith" has been a signal to NPR affiliates that the program belongs in the Friday-Sunday ghetto hours of their program schedule. It is not that "faith" has been a term abandoned by the vast majority of Americans, but it has become sterotyped by media folk. SoF has been running counter to that trend, but now one must wonder.

I doubt the name change will attract hoardes of new listeners, although a change of day/time might help. It will be harder to promote "Being" within religious circles, as many of us have been trying to do over the years. So there are trade-offs.

The dropping of "Speaking of.." is also a loss, since it implied dialogue and the new title indicates monologue. Of course, "Speaking of Being" wouldn't initialize quite as well as SoF does. Many respondants on this string accept this change reluctantly or feel that it is a done deal to which we must reluctantly adjust. There might be a message there worth hearing.

I really don't want the word "faith" gone. It is so hard to find good conversation from faithful people these days. I can find myself and the common ground shared with all your guests, within this process of moving in faith in life. This is a movement of faith rather than belief. This is an active and intentional process. "Being" isn't, necessarily. I am seeing your conversations as a movement away from religious fanaticism and intolerance that can be within any religion, and toward the daily living within the mystery of life or faith or God or whatever one cares to call it. I want this conversation to continue to grow and open to new audiences, AND I want people to recognize that this is the process of faithing.

Perfect! I agree that this name chance is part of natural evolution for Speaking of Faith. The content of the show has appealed to many of my friends, regardless of spiritual background. I believe that the change will invite more people who may be examining what it means to be a human being. . .

Good luck to Krista Tippett and staff, whatever the show is called :)

Eric Tsai

The name change is fine.

How about an up-to-date picture of Krista on the new program page ?

Betsey,
Good idea. Thanks.

Kate Moos

Hmmm ... "Faith", as I've come to understand recently, is very different than "belief", though the two are often mixed together. "Faith" (going to the Greek in the New Testament and the pre-King James English - something of my history shows through here!) has the idea of "commitment", "loyalty", "a pledge of fidelity" to something or someone. In that sense even atheists have a "faith" (though they probably wouldn't use that word to describe themselves) ... "Faith", a commitment - values, ethics, a human drive (I postulate) to make sense, find meaning in the world we live in. And that encapsulates for me so much, Krista, of what you do so honestly, graciously, and with great integrity - help people tell their stories as to how they have made sense and continue to try to make sense and struggle with values and meaning. And that is the gift you have given all of us who have listened to your program.
I must confess the name you have been using captures the notions I briefly encapsulate above better for me, though I understand your rationale.

funny - for several months I was wondering (fearing) you would run out of steam doing all this incredible preparation/travel/conversation to bring us the experience of listening to amazing individuals discuss their lives, tragedies, recoveries, discoveries, passions and commitments. no need to worry - you were energetically looking forward - I'll wait to see if the title does what you hope. but I will continue to listen/download and share the programs that have such a huge impact on my life each week.

I love the new name and am looking forward to continued, excellent programming.

Okay the more I think about it. Brings resonances from modern theologians.

It really does, doesn't it, when you let it sink in?
Thank you Carolyn.
Kate Moos

To me it reflects the Eastern ideas, and the Dalai Lama. That is fine, but not necessarily more inclusive, just different. Faith is about what one believes, and that is about how one is, or "Being." And Being emerges from one's faith. (Faith leads to Being, and Being emerges from Faith.) I loved the old name, and the rhythm of it...change is tough. I feel sad at saying goodbye to SOF. The new name does not feel as expansive to me. However, feeling the limitation of "words" makes sense when speaking of things of spirit, belief, faith, meaning and being, which cannot be contained in words. Which is one reason the words SOF are so clever.... I will continue to listen.
I do wish that you and Krista and the producers will really consider what listeners have shared, and take it in, and possibly consider giving back "Classic Coke" as someone referenced. Thanks for wonderful inspiring and fascinating content and delivery!!

Krista caved.

Yes! I had adjusted to the original title, but for all of the reasons you mention it's time for the name to evolve so that listeners can continue to do so and have a title that expresses that well. Jan Kent

Krista,

Just skimmed your rationale for a name change, and perhaps somehow I missed your reflection which might include the following: Was there a consideration of the new title being "On Being, with Krista Tippett" so that when the time comes that you retire as host for whatever reason, it would be easier to remember, "On Being, with . . . (whomever your successor might be)? Thanks so much for all your past hosting and programming achievements. However the title change, the offerings are outstanding, Krista. Thank you so very much. Sean.

I look forward to the name change because "Being ness" is a more inclusive term-and it also refelects the speakers ( listener) diversity of beliefs. Also, this is the fitting public forum ( for discerning listeners) to present the notion of Being ness into the public consciousness. Besides, one can have infinite discourses On Being from multiple perspectives- a lifelong undertaking. Thank you.

Thank you for the show. Being versus Faith may address us at a more core level and that’s alright in my book BUT must we have the quasi-celebrity name attachment lead? It strikes this listener as grandiose.

Dear Krista - I love your program, have learned a lot and received a good deal of food for thought. "Krista Tippett on Being" is, however, lame. At first I thought it was an incomplete sentence! "Krista Tippett on Being a Person of Faith?" "Krista Tippett on Being Sleepy?" What is wrong with "faith"? I read what you wrote and your arguments not only do not convince me, they read like you are trying to convince yourself. Coca Cola gave us back "Classic Coke"; can't you give us back "Klassic Krisra"?

Count me among the SOF's long term listeners and supporters, but don't count me as enthusiastic about the name change, especially if it signals a retreat from discussion of religion as a social and political institution (as in Faiths) and increased emphasis on private experience. The kind of sensitive and informed discussion of the dynamics of religion has been the great strength of SOF. There is no equal public discussion of religion. Public Radio has many deep and valued leaders of the discussion of how individuals reconcile themselves with living--Diane Rehm, Terri Gross to name the best. SOF has claimed a special territory and I hope it won't retreat.

Dear Faye,
My assurance to you is that we are not retreating from a discussion of religion as you describe it--a force in the world, in public life, in community. We are not becoming a place for MERELY personal narratives of spiritual awakening or spiritual seeking as such. Although we offer a space for the "lived experience" of our guests, those experiences are always grounded in knowledge, tradition (religious and other tradition), history, and text. This why when we listen to the show, we have a sense of discovery. Or, I should say, I have a sense of discovery. Because there is real knowledge being offered, not just personal viewpoint or opinion.

I understand your concern, and I want to be clear that we remain committed to "religion, meaning, ethics, and ideas."
Thanks for writing, Faye.

Kate Moos

wow. Not sure I how feel about this. The show is about what it means to be human. I've never had a problem talking to people about the show or sharing things from it. I always considered the show a show about religion/spirituality that was thoroughly accessible to those who are not actively spiritual or religious. I'm not Christian, and the name has never bothered me.

I certainly won't stop listening because of a name change. The name of G!d(dess) I use in many of my prayers is Eyeh-Asher-Eyeh. I was taught to translate that as "I am becoming what I am becoming."

I wish you all well as you become what you will become, and look forward to seeing what it means to all of us.

I am very disappointed in the name change. I think the religious right now will have
a corner on "religion"through the radio waves. I always liked the fact that you had the guts to do this show--a show for intelligent listeners who may also have a faith or be interested in learning.

I think a name change is a poor idea. The show has a huge following. Why fix it if it isn't broken? We need rational discourse on religion in this country and the world.

I find intriguing the fact that I learned of the title change from an individual to whom I had introduced "Speaking of Faith". He has become a devoted listener. When I read that the title "Speaking of Faith" has carried the program "as far as it is able in public media as it could", I sense a coming change in the essence of the program. A new title will not send this listener searching, but a new program might, but, then again, it might not!

Krista - love your program. This conversation is so valuable. But I really liked the original name. Not that I don't understand your reasons for the new name - nor do I disagree with them. But I appreciate the fact that 1) you are redeeming the conversation around faith; and 2) The original name provides a better footstep for those who, I would argue, *most* need to hear this conversation.

Grace & Peace

As one who has, for a decade, shepherded a weekly column "From a Faith-Perspective" in our regional newspaper, I am obviously content with the word "Faith" in a title. It is refreshing to those who associate religions with narrowness and imperialism to find in this column writers from many different religious backgrounds who seek to build bridges, not erect walls. Similarly, for those used to NOT finding anything directly religious on PBS, it's refreshing to see the exception. Now you meld into its overwhelmingly secular program list. With Bill Moyers gone, who is to put in a good word for the faiths on PBS? You will still do that, but it will be harder for those searching for something redeeming about religion to locate you!

Al Krass Levittown PA

I completely agree with you and I am someone who would never think of myself as a person of faith--having a show with that name on PBS is what drew me in and I'm so glad it did--I wouldn't have paused for a second for a show with that title on commercial radio--Krista you need to have more faith in pubic radio listeners--

It seems to me, the spiritual weaving that Krista presents each week, is captured in the current title.

I'm one of those people who wouldn't have sought the program without having heard it on NPR. Now that my current station doesn't carry it, I listen to the podcast. What I liked about 'faith' was that the show kept expanding my feeling space about the word. It had been very contaminated for me by the reactionary Christian right. I don't think "being" does the same thing - boring philosophical discussion is what comes to mind.

Krista-

Why not name the show "Krista Tippett on Being.and Existence?"

This title would have FAR greater clarity for the current listening group and attract a new following, perhaps.

Eric B.

Krista-

Another alternate idea, would be titling the show "Speaking about Belief, Being and Living with Krista Tippett."

Best Regards,

Eric B.

..Being and Living narrated by Krista Tripltt.

We are hearing this a lot,enough to give me pause, Adriana, and you may have seen my replies to others. But let me repeat here. In most cases you will hear the title as "Being." Krista's name has always been in the title, and we wanted to assure people that she would remain central to the program during this transition.
Thanks for writing.

Kate Moos

If you want to assure people why is it necessary to put KT first? This is a great program the main reason being that it has presented the loaded word "faith" to the whole world, religious, secular, existential in an all encompassing, huge, glorious way. The program brought the true meaning of faith to the existential world in a clear enlightening way. Now you're saying, " sorry we offended you with this dirty little word, so we'll change it." Changing to "Being" is too general and too weak. It sounds like just another "new-age", feel good hour. I hope, Kate, this is not the program transition you speak of. What next? Are we to expect a series of books by Krista telling us the secret of getting all we want through "Being?" I know it's just a title but it seems to me you are abandoning a core value, what makes your program so compelling and I fear many listeners. Too-too bad.

To me "being" is too broad and passive, but if you deem a change necessary to better represent the breadth of your subject matter, at least make it "Speaking of Being with Krista Tibbett". I do love your program.

Whoa! We appreciate an alternative to the program title, but I'm not sure Krista is ready to sign on to a new surname. *grin

Reginaut,
We tried that, and found the double-entendre unfortunate. Krista's name is really meant to support this transition and let people know she reamains the host. You will probably most often hear "Being" as the title.
Thanks for writing, and for listening.

Kate Moos

Forgive me, that was meant to be "reginanugent."

In several drafts of this post I've tried to articulate and provide supporting material for why I think this is such a horrifically bad idea that is much farther reaching in its effect than a mere name change -- and thus that much more destructive.

But I am mindful that Krista has presented this as an accomplished fact with an already-underway implementation date in less than a month. So Krista and the little in-group who think they have discerned and have acted already aren't really interested in what I or anyone else thinks.

So here's my reaction.

I hate this change on many levels, most of them matters of substance.

I think it's stunningly egotistical to make it all about Krista and a fundamental betrayal of what made this show worth listening to -- Krista represented all of us in talking to people we could never access as individuals; people whose lives and thoughts and journeys of faith [in a multitude of disciplines] could inform and enrich our own.

I think Krista and this insular in-group have shifted to a post-modern framework that makes an authentic, intelligent conversation about faith--the life of faith, the demands and rewards of faith, the impact of faith on one's self and the world--impossible. All the babble about "Being" is just that--babble (as in Tower of Babel - divisive). Authentic faith, as so many of those interviewed have demonstrated, is incompatible with with a post-modern, scientific-proof-only ethos in which the self is served first, last, and ultimately.

It is evident to me, though clearly it is not evident to Krista and Co., that they have not discerned correctly. "Speaking of Faith has taken us as far in public media as it could." Not true.

I would assert that it is your understanding of faith and its role in what it is to be human that has gone as far as it could. What you should be changing is your understanding, your perspectives, your ways of measuring. Instead of talking yourselves into a group-think way of seeing you would do better, much better, to do what all people of faith must do at intervals: pursue and invite the assessments of those whose faith-lives you respect who can focus on the work you are doing instead of the way you feel about it, on the big picture and the values you committed to serve rather than "the buzz" [aka polls/public opinion (and which public might that be?)/"viral" word of mouth] and commercial/competitive agendas. If money is the real driving problem, better to be honest about that. In any case, faith is not, by definition, a numbers game.

As it is your show, you can proceed as you choose. But if you think your listeners have any value to what you are doing you will reconsider.

What you decide to do will determine whether SOF remains a spectacular success of substance or a pursuer of popularity.

Many -- in number and in kinds -- will be watching.

Rebekah,
I am so sorry you hate it so much. Krista's name is in the title where it is as something of a bridge, to assure people that she remains the host and editorial leader. Also, we tried on "Being with Krista Tippett" and found it just didn't work for many reasons--among them the unfortunate double-entendre.
The content of the program is not changing. We will remain the conversation about "religion, meaning, ethics, and ideas."
Rebekah, we are anxious for this program to have a large audience. As one of the people who produces it, I believe so strongly in the value of this content that I feel I can and should be a proponent for its growth. But we are committed to bringing you the conversation about "religion, meaning, ethics, and ideas" that you have come to know.
Thanks for writing.

Kate Moos

I truly enjoy SOF, because it covers faith, ethics, morality, philosophy, in broad & specific content. I'm a lapsed Episcopalian (church politics pushed me away). BUT, remain deeply spiritual; find God (Him or Her)in nature, animals, people & daily small miracles. SOF sparks my curiosity; I then dive for written expansion of topics. Don't think I like "Being" at all. Not comprehensive enough; not descriptive at all of SOF's raison d'etre. I'll still listen, but not if basic SOF conceptual themes change.

Krista, Thank you for doing what you do, whatever you call it! Most of my friends and I refer to your show as "Krista Tippet" anyway. "Did you catch Krista Tippet this week?" "Make sure you listen to Krista's program this week." Doean't matter what you call it, the content is valuable to my being and unlike anything else available in my area. Please, just keep doing what you are doing!

Thanks, Bookmarkt!
Kate Moos

As a member of a liberal faith community, I have enjoyed your broadcasts, and now podcasts for years. Your probing mind has resulted in conversations with some of the most exciting thinkers of our era. I understand that the current title may may be a little off putting for some. If a change in title will widen your community of listeners that is a good thing. The proposed title suggest that the opinions voiced on the programs will be Krista's alone. A title like "Being - with Krista Tippett" would more clearly suggest that the programs will continue to be conversations with other lively minds.

Mureil,
We tried on "Being with Krista Tippett" and it did not work for many reasons. Among them the unfortuante double-entendre that might hit some ears. I tend not to hear double-entendres, but many others do. And this was one of the reasons we put Krista's name in front. Also, please be aware, what you will hear, primarily, is the new title "Being." Krista's name is necessary as a transition, but we believe in a few months people will know it as "being."

Kate Moos

I realize that you will most likely hear negative comments about the name change -- it is human nature to be vociferous about things one does not like. And while I myself am also not thrilled with the new title, I do understand the reasoning behind it. "Faith" is what first brought me to this show. And while this show at its core is about faith as I see it, it too is so much more. So if a name change will let expose more people to the show, I am all for it. Afterall, I already know what a treasure it is -- by whatever name it is called.

Thanks, Fran!
Kate Moos

Being? Really? This is at once both vague and very presumptuous. It is a terrible new name but I will sigh and live with it. Don't think it will attract people in the same way, though. It does speak to the fear we have of using a word like "Faith." In its broader meaning "Faith" means whatever you believe in, and I have enjoyed hearing what thoughtful people believe.

If it will bring more people to your content on the airwaves and online, then it's a great idea. Change is usually uncomfortable at first. The goal is most important: share with a broader audience. I think it will work!

Faith becomes a dirty word... sigh. I guess this reflects some of the vagueness of many of the interviews, especially many of the rather disappointing ones in the book

Perhaps because I don't equate "faith" and "religion" (or "belief"), I find the current title more appealing than the proposed one. Anyway, what's in a name? It's the content that matters.

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