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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

Krista,
You should have asked for suggestions. Your choice "Being" is a poor one.
1) "Being" doesn't mean anything to ordinary English speakers, despite Paul Tillich's "The Ground of All Being" and stuffy, pompous "Dasein" in German.
2) SOB stands for sob or Son of a _itch.
3) Better to say Speaking of Ultimate Living= SOUL
Ron

Speaking of Faith is fine with me. I really don't like Being!!

I am one of those who stumbled on your program and found the discussion intriguing, but I was put off when I heard the title. But I returned, a bit reluctantly, and enjoyed it more and more each week. Soon the title didn't matter. I am now a regular listener and I will be in the future, regardless of what you call it. Thank you.

-- Carol

Had to comment, even though I'm also a "stumble-upon" kind of listener to your program over these past several years. I completely understood your motives and thinking behind the name change, and I'm one of those people who can now recommend specific programs to others because there's no "faith" referenced. Much appreciated, and all the very best to you in your future programming. I'll be subscribing by podcast now!

Great name - the poetry of Live and move and have our being.

I don't like the name change. I especially don't like Krista's name introducing the show's title. It seems too arrogant and not at all humble, which is what I felt Speaking Of Faith often brought to public radio. Pure, intuitive, intelligent, thoughtful humility and a truthful voice not heard on the airwaves.

I, too, love this program regardless of the title. Admittedly I also stumbled upon it but after hearing it only once was hooked and posted the link to my Facebook page as well as pointing out programs of very special interest to myself - to my friends as well.

I've noticed a trend for some time towards vagueness and perhaps political correctness in the naming of programming. "Speaking of Faith" is clear in its voice and intelectual direction. "Krista Tippett on Being" is a dense fogg and an ill concieved title not well thought out! Why move from a title of strength to one of weakness?

So disappointed. I am glad Ms. Tippett is growing. Good for her. I also have grown from listening to her guests. Am I alone when I say the magic of her show is the canvas that she created for her guests. The filled it with their “religion, meaning, ethics and ideas.” Krista Tippett on Being puts the emphasis on her insights, her ideas, etc. Speaking of Faith evokes the conversation. Is this a transition from being a journalist to a radio personality? If this is the case, I miss the conversation already.

Don't be the story Krista.

I would prefer "Being with Krista Tippett". "Krista Tippett on Being" sounds like you will be lecturing to us, which is never the case. You facilitate conversation, you bring us in, you are WITH us.

Thanks for the show; I love it.

Okay, I just read the point about the double entendre--so how about just calling it Being?
I'm thinking about Ira Glass--the iconic host of This American Life: his name doesn't appear in the title of the program--it doesn't need to. Speaking of Faith (or whatever it's called) wouldn't be the same without Krista; I want her to be the host forever, but I don't see why her name needs to be in the title.
Also, while I have felt some difficulty talking about this program with non-spiritual or anti-religion friends--having to surmount the wary look that comes over their faces when I say the name--I also think it's a good thing to challenge people WITH the name SoF. I know people who would be so interested in so many of the topics, who don't immediately see what the topics have to do with (any kind of ) faith, whose minds I would like to see broadened beyond their biases about faith. I like the existence of a program that declares it is about faith--but isn't about one cookie cutter version of faith. It feels a bit like a step back to not to call it SoF. And the subtitle works as a wonderful clarifier.

The recurring suggestion, "Being with Krista Tippett," means something completely different than "Krista Tippet on Being." The former sounds similar to "hanging out with Krista Tippett" rather than the deeper meaning of the later version. AND there's no reason Krista's name shouldn't be in the name of the show. It was in the original name after all.

huge fan of the show, not such a fan of the new title. maybe i'm not the target audience though, because i'm a person of faith who was drawn to the show because of the title, not in spite of it. It has been both a great challenge & encouragement to me at the same time. i probably wouldn't give the abstract, nebulous 'being' a try if I wasn't already familiar with the program. Please don't dilute the spiritual aspect of the conversations while casting the 'bigger net'...

Krista Tippett - Your challenging, thoughtful programming has given me so much pleasure over the years. Sweetheart, I think you should call your show whatever you wish. Many, many thanks.

It's infurating, well infuriating may be too strong, but definintely disturbing when someone, such as Sean, calls a women sweetheart. It is extremely insulting, demeaning and dismissive!! People (women do it too) are so ignorant. I never let anyone get away with it, I call them on it. People, stop calling women sweetheart, honey, etc. to make yourself feel more important, or whatever.

Fabulous, insightful show. The interview with Desmond Tutu is what locked me in as a listener. I agree that it was time for a name change, but I don't care at all what you call it.

I'd love to see the names that were rejected.

Those are definitely coming in a future post. You can count on it!

No, I don't really like the new name, it immediately makes me think of Being and Nothingness. I have loved the show although some of the more recent ones have been farther away from the "faith" concept. But the idea of trying to avoid making some people uncomfortable is an unhappy one to me - I am a Unitarian, and the show was a welcome dialogue on faith. My denomination has gone the way of trying to avoid making anyone unhappy so much that we are often a "whatever" denomination (and the subject of much humor on Prairie Home Companion). I might not have turned on "Krista Tippett on Being". But I first heard the show by accident - it was simply on NPR while I was listening to the radio on Sunday morning. Avoiding the use of the word "faith" is like what happened with the UU's - people with rigid notions of what we call "the G word" pushed for us not to use the word at all, instead of letting it be the mysterious undefined word it originally was for Unitarians. But you have a huge following now, and I'm sure no one will turn it off because of a name change. It's all about the show, after all, not the name! What's in a name?

I'm a UU, too, & in our church, many are trying to reclaim these faith words -- which makes me all the more skeptical of a plan to shed them in the show -- the words express something, which is why even some atheists can see a value to using them in specific contexts -- going more vague means you express less.

Hmmm. I like hearing intelligent people "Speaking of Faith" even when I disagree with what they may say.

Does the name change signify a change in direction, i.e. an attempt to "'Be' all things to all people?" I hope not. I pray that this often excellent program on diverse matters of faith and ethics does not become an innocuous, bland program that means little to anyone. Be something - even if it irritates some people on occasion.

it seems to take faith to move gracefully into being. a gentle and natural move.

Many of your current listeners are expressing dissatisfaction with the name, & much of the dissatisfaction focuses on the arrangement of the name (the shifting of the host's name in the title) as much as the nature of the title change. I suggest you step back a minute & look at why that particular part is so upsetting to so many people -- the most frequently stated reason -- that it seems egotistical on the part of the host -- may not be The Reason. I believe the poster who noted that that the original title had "Speaking" as the gerund may really hold the key -- the radio show was (& presumably will be) an presentation of someone speaking with Krista. Nobody can actually present "being" - whatever you think a vague word like "being" could possibly mean, it surely doesn't mean something that a single person can put on display for the rest of us. Therefore I think it's fair to say that the title doesn't work on a literal level. In literature, it's difficult to extract meaning from poetry that doesn't make sense first on a literal level.

I don't care for the name change myself because I think changing names is self-defeating. Nonetheless, my first reaction was not to object to where you put Tippett's name. Reading over these comments has made me think more about that issue, & I see the producer of the show & the editor of this blog seem to try to intervene in the blog to soothe people on that point most frequently. Some kind of nerve is being struck here.

You are using this new media (a blog) but for what end? Is this just "lightning to the children eased," -- just soothing the masses by giving us a way of feeling we've been heard while you really don't pay attention -- or is any of this feedback registering & causing any rethinking? Or is this one of those projects -- like a super fancy wedding -- in which you've invested so much upfront, you can't really go back on or rethink, even if you are growing more skeptical?

New name sounds diluted and generic and less of a container for meaning than "Speaking of Faith" ... sort of like "Presidents Day". How about "Speaking of People and Stuff"? Great show, anyway. Thanks.

I love it. Since Paul Tillich referred to God as "being itself" I think it is the perfect format for discussing the world's many diverse forms of faith. Krista's name as the host/facilitator is also quite appropriate. I hope to be more effective in enouraging my agnostic friends to engage in the conversation.

I do a lot of naming, and I'm appreciative of the thoughtful rationale Krista conveyed, and certainly of the word order chosen. Putting Krista's name after the title is more awkward in practice, because the comma in "Being, with Krista Tippet" or "On Being, with Krista Tippet" when spoken, is difficult to convey and/or hear - so if you're worried about ego, then you should have concerns about a whole show that centers on "Being with Krista Tippet." :-)

I sense SofF is moving into a fog. Faith gave the show some shape. The host's name should not be in the show unless it will end when Krista meets a special day in her life.

Speaking for myself obviously, I will grow into whatever name your show is named. I am a huge SOF, Krista Tippet fan and of course an NPR Public Radio fan for over 20 yrs. Sometimes less is more and Being can sum it ALL up. Let's open our minds and embrace Being! Ellen in Brooklyn

Krista, You've sold out. When you (or anyone you connect with or love) come across something really, really difficult in this world and in this life, see how far "being" gets you. I've sat through corporate board meetings when to mouth the newly-constructed word "ideation" was all the rage. I just saw a university's ad which boldly stated: "It's not computing,,,it's LIVING!" Your rationalization for the new name of your show is so unbelievably shallow. "Speaking of Faith" was a much more expansive idea--truly revolutionary, invigorating, courageous and all-encompassing. Some other words that have truly been overused and mean nothin-much anymore: "excitement" and "passion." Think about it.

I believe that "faith" is a "big enough container" to encompass all that SOF has presented. Being may be an existentialist delight, but I don't think it brings to mind any immediate image at all. It seems like you are playing to those who find "faith" an offensive word.

I think the name change is a wonderful one and I shall continue to listen to your wonderful shows. I agree that Being feels like a show that you can grow into.
All best always,
Liz in Baltimore

I love the show, but I feel that the new title is simply to vague. I suggest: "Becoming Human with Krista Tippett"

Actually, I like "From Faith to Being, with Krista Tippet." The phrase is from your own announcement. The comma, spoken with a pause and a slight downward inflection, is not difficult to hear. Any chance of rethinking this?

Carolweg,
Of all the new titles proposed, including Krista's, "On Being," yours is the best.
I hope that Krista et al reconsider.
Ron
My post is at 8/22

I am sad to see the old title go. I like "Speaking of Faith." I like the power of the words and the evocative or provocative effect the use of the word "faith" engendered in people. Why cater to some's fear of faith? It is a powerful word/concept and I think it dilutes the effect of the conversation to follow when it is about "being" (also a powerful word but not as transformational, I think, as faith -- whatever one's faith or lack of it).

Why do you presume it is "fear" of faith that some one might have? How about disagreement with the concept? I see the program as a focus on thinking about all these large concepts - faith, being, becoming, rather than on blind faith. More seeing and less blindness. The new title is fine.

I like the name-change to "BEING" much better than Working Assets changing the name of its wireless service to "CREDO." I shared with them how I felt about this, but they thought I was wrong to have it say to me "I believe." Your use of "faith" was not so limiting, but being is better.
One of the handicaps (I guess) of studying so many languages. Long ago I undertook to learn "all" the languages that sacred texts were written in. I got pretty far with It. Luckily UCLA has more languages than Harvard.
For the principal existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, by the way, being was far less desirable than becoming. Being was fixed, serialized, whereas becoming was full of unlimited potential. He was pretty closed-minded on the subject, which he treated in his _L'être et le néant_. (You probably want to think of it as having more potential.)

I don't care if you call it "Standing on your head" I'd listen anyway. As Mr. S. said, "A rose by any other name..." Love this show and am so grateful for the years of being able to listen.

As long as they keep asking the big questions, does it matter what they call it?

If your research indicates that the old name of the program was preventing it from reaching new listeners, we longtime fans will have to accept that. But those who find the word "faith" inhospitable, I want to say "get over it" already. As a society we have to deal more directly rather than less with distinctions between facts and beliefs in every domain. "Being" is a feel-good cop-out, meant to be inclusive but tasting like pablum. But I'll still listen to the show!

If "Being" grabs the spirits of those who are trying to live connected with being, but do not care of the label "faith" brings, SO BE IT.

I love your program. Thank you.

You are free to change the name to satisfy those who do not believe. As you can see from the e-mails below, believers have been happy with the name. I doubt that one person in one thousand will recognize "Being" as the biblical name for God. Maybe that is where the problem is coming from. Our God is too small.
If in changing the name, you change the course of this wonderful program, it will be a sorrowful change indeed.
Joan in Texas

This is one of the best discussions in media today, hands down. It was time for a name change. The show had long outgrown "SOF."

Keep up the good work and keep bringing insightful topics that inspire and intrigue us. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I encourage those who are concerned about the name change to just sit back and enjoy the content.

krista: i really appreciate your program. sure, i'll have to get used to the new name, but as long as your show continues to grow the way it has been i'm okay with it. also, thanks for your "full disclosure". after thinking about it, i agree that your name should be in the title. i'm aware of the teamwork it takes to produce the show, but i don't think you're being "egotistical"; you're the person who -- how do i say this? -- puts yourself out there as the host week after week, expressing your creativity and being willing to accept reviews of your broadcasts. i don't think i'd have that kind of courage. the new title works and we'll all move on, and i will continue to be a faithful listener. i'm just grateful for SOF, soon to be KTOB. (just please don't change the music at the beginning, i love it.)

I have listened to every available podcast of your shows, many of them several times, so I guess that makes me a heavy user. Even though I was initially drawn to the program by its name, I understand there are many people (current and potential listeners) out there who find the word "Faith" offensive. As far as I know, no one has suggested running a second program concurrently with the name "Speaking of Doubt with Krista Tippett," with identical content, but after reading this blog it almost seems like that is the only way to transcend the opposites here.

On a more pragmatic note, you need to be aware that the name "On Being" is already taken, so your new name is perilously close to infringement. Check out the Photo Section at WashingtonPost.com and you will find a video series titled "onBeing" by Jennifer Crandall.

I quote:

"onBeing was gone for a while, but we're back with many more stories to tell. For those coming here for the first time, onBeing is a video series based on the simple notion that we should get to know one another better. Each Wednesday, you'll find video portraits that take you into the musings, passions and quirks of all sorts of people. We hope the onBeing community will continue to grow, so feel free to add your thoughts to the comments section and to send an e-mail about someone you'd like me to interview. – Jenn Crandall"

I am a writer, formerly for a religious publishing house, now writing my first novel. In a conversation with a literary agent, I learned that my choice to make my lead character a clergywoman would automatically eliminate many readers. Since my target audience is readers of mainline and literary fiction, I swallowed hard and wondered, why would people have a problem with a lead character who works in the field of faith? This is a secular novel with deeply human themes that are also themes of faith -- love and loss, trust and redemption. My lead character just happens to have this job. Then I got real. Of course I knew the answer. We all know the answer. "Faith" has all kinds of bad vibes associated with it in the wider world. In the eyes of the wider world, cheesy TV preachers, wing-nut demagogues, and superstitious non-thinkers populate the world of faith. However, I long to dialogue with that wider world. Fewer and fewer people want to live here with me in the world of faith, and many are downright hostile to it. So how do we even approach the subject of faith with the wider world? We side-step the title of the subject entirely. We have to. I understand your decision. It makes perfect sense. I know that if I don't want to limit my readership, my novel probably shouldn't have a clergywoman in the lead role, but I am so sad about it. She's a great character. I love her. But I don't want only Christians to read about her, so she may become a supporting character. Change your title, Krista, but please don't make faith a supporting character.

I LOVE the new title because it's more expansive, poetic and inclusive than SOF. Being is like Breath and Breath is divine energy --it goes everywhere, touching all. Nature knows what Being is--it's not limited to only humans. It's yet another step towards the gateless gate.

Love your show and am so glad I found it. However, I found it through the word 'faith'. ,I like many I suppose, have been struggling to understand or come to grips with what 'faith' means and how to live with that concept. And it has been a terrific journey hearing of the variety of ways people think of and live out faith. I wouldn't have found your show if it had been called 'being'. I wasn't struggling with how to 'be' for I already 'am'. I guess I am not sure that 'being' really captures the concept of living a more than earthly/human life. I guess I found your show just in time--before the name change.

I love this show when I'm able to catch it, and I love the new name. But maybe that's because I'm graduating with a philosophy degree =). I love the succinctness and yet depth of the name, "On Being." It's reminiscent of the old Greek and Latin classical titles, such as Aristotle's "De Anima," ("On Spirit").

"Being" evokes for me lots. "To be" is the fundamental verb in language. "Being" evokes "ontology," the roots of all existence and meaning.

I love the show and have for years ( found it searching for John O'Donohue). I appreciate the motives for this name change, and I am sure that it will make it easier for me to share with friends and colleagues, most of whom are scientifically trained, and, rightly or wrongly, hear the word 'faith' with various attachments, histories, and implications.

This new name evokes an atmosphere of meaningful questions rather than the assumption of trite answers.

The conversations with your guests will be able to stand ( or fall) on their own merits....

Kudos for this improvement. It will prevent convoluted 'explanations' if one wishes to share a conversations from Scientists who explicitly disavows all religious implications ( like Janna Levin and Sherwin Nuland).

i am so sorry to hear of this retreat. i am not, nor do expect ever to be, ready to relinquish the concept of "faith" to those same people who have appropriated and all but destroyed "christian." faith is a much broader concept than that. what's next, charity? then, there will be hardly any hope left.

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