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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

A funny observation for a pretty progressive-minded person like myself:

It's been quite a while since, in a public debate, I have felt a deep philosophical solidarity with my conservative brothers and sisters :)

The position to change the name has a strong and logical argument. It makes sense. I just can't support it, though. And I just can't believe that there's not something more to the equation that I haven't seen addressed--namely, among other factors, the almighty dollar.

Nonetheless, I wish this show many, many blessings. For me, the question is less about what name I like and more what's truly in the best interest of the public.

Peace,

Paul

I mourn the name change. Being is about US. Faith is in something beyond us, outside of us, transcendent. We are, alas, NOT the center of the universe. Being is a small idea.

That's my two cents...

Bob

Is it likely, that Krista and her camp, has come to realize this and have opted to be humble rather than aim for the unreachable quest of transcendent?

When I read through a few dozen of these comments it's evident that there is no clear shared understanding of what is meant by the word "being". It is not unfair to say that everything that we humans experience is pertenet to and a part of our being wheather it is intelectual, existential, metaphysical, etc. Faith more specifically is an act of living as if somthing is so and hence a direction to be investigated. Will the guests be provided with a definition of what is meant by "being"? I love the show and Krista, but this new name sounds like a rudderless boat concerning a direction! "What is in a name?"- does anyone think it's a good idea to change the name of the "New York Yankees" to the "Big Apples" to attract a wider fan base- After all the content would remain the same. A title with such a broad possible definition is a blunt tool for the task before it!

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet..."

It's the substance of the program, not the title, that counts!

Cherie Rogers (and Shakespeare)

"Being"?! You've got to be kidding. I can't imagine a more pretentious and self-conscience title.

more liberal control
the boss at npr felt the heat, because the show was possibly considered conservatave. this lady is so liberal it isnt funny. embrace and celebrate with a little juxstaposition for fun

This just isn't true on all points.

I would prefer the name Being Human. To me, faith implies a human activity...being does not.

Kirsta:
I am puzzled and a bit disappointed in the choice of a new name for Speaking of Faith. First, I wonder about the inclusion of your name in the title. Although you bring an wonderful sensibility to the programming that is thoughtful, unique and compelling, I believe that all media content should be as independent from its presenters as possible. I'd also like to think the show could continue without you (only if necessary) because of what you've done to gather a creative team who have all helped to nurture the show to its maturity.
My other concern is the overly broad nature of the word 'being." "Being" seems to me to encompass an all-inclusive box. What could possibly be left outside it?
I agree with you that the original concept of "faith" as a central axis was likely too limiting. I have many difficulties with the word in general so I understand that problem. Perhaps the word you and others were looking for is "belief." Any discussion of ethics and meaning is impossible without its consideration. Belief and its myriad of attendant meanings would have helpful in describing the character of the program with a specificity better suited for its content.
Best of luck with all your journeys. Thanks for listening.

A devoted listener.

Your show is the highlight of my week. It is my "church," connecting with the best in myself. Thank you for your incredible work.

When I first heard the new name, I liked it because it implies choices and action in the real world, instead of just something ephemeral. But as I read the comments and thought about it, I wish the name would stay they same because "Speaking of Faith" is way more open and way more accessible to all. And I think that is what you probably really want to be?

on Being is a good new opening description for your program. Just listening to your program today with Mike Rose (which may have been a rebroadcast), inspired me to write a haiku poem about the topic.
One heart unites our
hands and mind in unity;
to share love with all. 8/29/10

Craig S. Jones

Someone here said that being is us faith is beyond us, therefore, they are sad that the name has changed. Well not everyone has faith and the word itself is very ambiguous. I don't mind the name change, but I am not the biggest fan of having Mrs. Tippett's name in it. I feel that the show is more about the guests than Mrs. Tippett. She is like a mediator in a debate, and a mediator's name is mentioned not promoted. But I am grateful that she interviews such guests and exposes them to the world. I am an atheist and I have been listening to the show for some time now. I don't use the word faith the way most people do nor do I perceive it as many people might, but the word did not deter me from listening to the station. The word Being is more relevant to me as a humanist and a spiritual person.... So to sum it up I don't really mind the name change as long as the content of the show does not dramatically change. The fans of this station who truly care about the content of the show will not mind the name change as much. I think this is a smart marketing strategy to obtain a greater audience. This is a wonderful radio station.

I am happy for the name change. As an atheist, I was initially tuned off by what I thought would be a program exclusively for religious people, reinforcing belief ... not thinking about it. But through listening to the show for a few episodes, I have learned that belief is not assumed on, ironically, speaking of faith.

The content is the most significant factor; I would hate to see it evolve into a show that incorporates so many topics that it loses its focus. I have so enjoyed, and even relished, being able to hear and learn about faith and spirituality from so many perspectives. I can see, however, that the name "Speaking of Faith" would unfortunately be unappealing to some; sadly, "faith" has been co-opted by certain sectors in a way that turns others off. I'd prefer to keep the focus on faith and spirituality, but I know marketing is important if we want the show to continue. Still, I'm not feeling great about the name change. While some of that may be resistance to change, I think there are two other considerations. I agree that Krista's name doesn't seem to fit in the title; it sounds as if she will be speaking every week for the entire hour. (I did see the comment farther down that generally Krista's name won't be used in the title but this could still be re-phrased for the transition). "On Being" sounds too general and vague. Will people who don't know this show be pulled in by that? I'm doubting it. Some of the suggestions below were quite good and more specific.

I think Being comes across as too internal and passive (even though we could say all activity is included in Being). The people you interview tend to speak more about how they are actually living/doing their faith or that which inspires them, which makes the show for me all the more nourishing. I might have chosen another word that encapsulates all of this or would add a word to Being. Being and ____ing.

I also have conserns about the inclusion of the name "Krista Tippet" formost in the title. It seems to imply the host commenting on being rather than examing the ideas of others. I would prefer the "with Krista Tippet" used at the end as is currently done or a similar construction putting the name at the end. It would not work as "Being with Krista Tippet", but "On Being with Krista Tippet" or something like this would work.
I also like the "Being Human" idea posted previously.

A major problem with the title "Being Human" is that it is already the tile of a really great fictional TV series from the BBC (shown on BBC America) featuring a vampire, werewolf and ghost.

I was surprised and delighted when public radio hosted a show that included "Faith" in the title. It was a bold statement that the category of religion and the questions that it asks - and the many ways it has answered them - was far from dead. I relished listening to the shows.

Of late, the show has had less and less to do with faith, and has lacked focus. THe new title, "Being" is so nebulous that just about anything will fit under it.

I'm sorry to see that the bold experiment, by succeeding in gaining an audience, was also over-run by the dominant discourse of our times, which is more willing to stop discussing the transcendent than to deal with the "barriers" of people who don't want to hear about it.

The name would matter little if it did not reflect the shift in what you want to do. "Speaking of Faith" set out to find a conversation among those who would speak; it found a large-enough audience and brought you significant recognition. A show on "Being" may find a potpourri of topics that will interest more people - but not with the depth and meaning of your original topic. Too bad it couldn't last.

We will continue to wrestle with topics distinctly wrestling with faith its most overt sense. But, to "discuss the transcendent" with individuals is broad and deep, and not strictly formalized. A title change will not dictate that pursuit but open it up to the many who may not classify themselves as faithful or spiritual, yet have a perspective or curiosity that shapes the meaning of their lives in a mystical way. We can all learn from those on the margins, non?

I'm sorry that the show's creator feels she has to make the vessel larger to contain these conversations, as though faith is the narrow, cramped, exclusionary thing that the show's fans know it is not. She is the genius and the visionary behind the show, but it is neither genius nor visionary to call the show after herself. The beauty of the show is that it's not about her or any one person, but about people and ideas she has the curiosity, courage and playfulness to invite. "Being" isn't a more profound word, it's just a trendy one that carries at least as much troubling baggage as "faith" ever will. The show had the power to help us redeem the word and the notion of faith. A pity that this no longer seems worthwhile to he marketing gurus.

I hope to be posting today or tomorrow about names we considered but decided against. It has not been an easy or automatic process! But I do want to just restate, for the record, the new program name is, in most applications, "Being." We felt it was very important at this transitional time to make sure Krista's name was prominently in the title, to assure people that the Krista conversation remained central to what we do. We understand the word faith can be large and spacious. But many many people find it narrow, and off-putting.

Finally, while we did work with some "marketing gurus" and were grateful for their work, the idea to change the name was not thrust upon us. For all the reasons cited in Krista's blog, it became clear a name change was becoming essential. Thanks for writing.
Kate Moos, Managing Producer

The show is about one person. It is a show about you. People and ideas are just abstracts.

Since free choice is a possibility,not a certainty.
Since we don't know for sure that we know anything.
Faith and Being could be synonymous. Either program name works for me.
It's blind faith in perceptional all the way.
What I'm interested in is less,and not more, pretense.
That is why I like your show.

That should be "blind faith in perception".

Actually, you have hit on a better title: "Faith and Being."

Just wanted to express support for the show, Krista, and the dialogue she has created. I liked the old name and will need to get used to the new one but I'm sure in time I will like it just as much! Keep up the good work.

I find the new name to be passive and indifferent, it is not being that is brings the world to the brink of war but faith.

It is humanity's ever-warped sense of "God given" entitlement and intolerance of others that creates war, not man's faith. I've been told, by my religion, I deserve something I am not getting, or that I perceive you to be threatening, therefore I respond with force, exclusion, or hatred. The irony is that "God" provides to all equally, regardless of faith. It's the human "beings" who are the fly in the ointment.

As a northerner now transplanted in the bible belt, I confronted an enormous amount of religiosity. Socially, people were localized in various camps with usually rigid viewpoints. When mentioning some of the wonderful topics of SOF, the usual reaction was retreat. I determined that the title did cause many to be uncomfortable by the possible intrusion on their personal religious domains. I welcome the openness that the new title embraces and perhaps some of my friends and acquaintances will too.

"Being" is so amorphous as to be meaningless. And including the host's name in the title appears self-serving. Thumbs down!

Reading the earlier comments I realized that "Faith and Being" would be a better name. There is an edge where faith and being meet, or a tension in the space between them the is worthy of investigation. But being alone, prompts the great debate proposed by our former president. It becomes an exploration of "what is is."

Excellent ... "faith" pushes many away ... it smacks of religiosity which really is not what the program is all about. You'll find your audience wider and more comfortable. Two thumbs up!

Is this move from a sense of fear and/or marketing intellectuality? Are you moving forward or backward, declaring or justifying? Please don't leave out the G word in your questioning Krista, please...

I think the title Being is too vague. I would suggest Being Human or Ethics and Ideas

" A rose by any other name" would be an appropriate quote. In the discussions that Krista has urged we all carry on, the name of the show, and enterprise is not as important as the content. SPEAKING OF FAITH or now BEING holds some of the finest dialog on some of the most meaningful matters we all deal with.. MOVE ON !!

I'm not sure my words adequately expresses "being" for me. But, it leads me experientially into a natural home coming, which at this time, I'm not able to sustain for long, but I long to return. I eagerly look forward to the shared journey on our Being program

Thank you. Ed

Dearest Krista: You could rename the show "Beer & Skittles," and I would remain a devoted (even devout) listener, as long as you continue having such searching and insightful conversation with so many deeply fascinating people. All the best to you....

I will remain a devoted listener of the show even if it is inartfully named. "Krista Tippett on Being" sounds like a lecture, not a conversation. This is unfortunate because the show is all about the exchange of ideas. I think "Belief and Being with Krista Tippett" would have been much better. But, the name change is obviously a done deal, folks. The show made the change and then has asked listeners to "grow into this new name." The show didn't ask listeners for input until after the fact. The process of choosing a name would have been enhanced with broader input. But, it did not happen. I'll just get used to it and continue to enjoy the show.

What does Being mean? I am disappointed in the new title. There are plenty of programs that de-emphasize faith and I liked the focus of this one. I just hope the new name doesn't change having the wonderful people of faith who have appeared in interviews

As a loyal listener, I have found a multitude of meanings of FAITH in my own life through your wide range of topics and guests. This is what a catholic (small c) understanding of faith truly requires. BEING on the other hand is so broad and politically correct as to mean nothing.
I find this a worrisome trend, especially in my Unitarian Universalist faith, where many are ceding words like "faith", "god" and religion" to the narrow-minded fundamentalist (small f) usage of the word. I would look especially to your show to redefine and reclaim rather than abandoning use of those loaded words, for fear of offending some. Growing faith often requires making folks uncomfortable from time to time and as my minister says "afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted".
So, no I do not like the new program title, but will continue to be a loyal listener, as I find your topics, guests, music production values and terrific terrific website an important resource in my spiritual growth. Keep up the excellent show!

P.S. I vote for "Belief and Being with Krista Tippett" over ""Beer & Skittles with Krista Tippett" :)

oops... should have read the explanation about 'Being' before I commented in the music section. However... just the fact that the title needs explaning is a problem.

I'm thinking that the reason for the change in title is that the word 'Faith' was presumed to have kept away some listeners... and that a word with less baggage would be potentially less off-putting.

I liked the old name, and I'll get used to the new one. The content is outstanding. I hope the new name helps Krista reach a wider audience. I will remain a devoted listener.

I would definitely agree that the name change really appeals to a much broader spectrum of Americans in today's society. I just think that anything labeled "religion" or "faith" might not be as enticing to some groups as the word "being". The word "being" really seems to include everyone, which is really quite agreeable.

I would definitely agree that the name change really appeals to a much broader spectrum of Americans in today's society. I just think that anything labeled "religion" or "faith" might not be as enticing to some groups as the word "being". The word "being" really seems to include everyone, which is really quite agreeable.

I would definitely agree that the name change really appeals to a much broader spectrum of Americans in today's society. I just think that anything labeled "religion" or "faith" might not be as enticing to some groups as the word "being". The word "being" really seems to include everyone, which is really quite agreeable.

I feel sad there is so much prejudice over the word faith. Those of us who have found strength, hope and the same answers that so many of your guests have found but in more traditional ways are asked to be welcoming, open, non judgemental and yet the same courtesey is not given. Yours (yes even if it was just a name) was a welcoming place for us on Public Radio. "Being" is a statement of a faith with a strong, possibly self focused, postmodern bias and a system of belief that leaves the traditional out. The name change is inevitable I guess but it marginalizes your loyal more traditional listeners even more. The name change will certainly not hurt our loalty however you still remain an incredibly insightful, spiritual, and compassionate interviewer and I will continue to look forward to each show what ever you call it.

I decided to log on to the web site after having heard you talk about the new title for several weeks. I had understood you to say that the new title was "From Faith to Being", which I thought was not good. Now I understand that the new title is "Being" -- but I have to say that I still don't like it. "Speaking of Faith" is distinct, easy to say, and easy to hear. The word "Being" is an indistinct word -- much less suited to radio (where one relies on the auditory) than is "Speaking of Faith". The name change will not affect my listening habits -- my husband and I tune in your show every Sunday and think it's great. I've never bothered to congratulate and thank you, so I do that now. I hope that the name changes works out well for you, despite my misgivings.

Extremely disappointed with the this Orwellian name change. So some listeners and programmers found it difficult to get past the word "Faith"? Is that a reason to make it easy for them by using a spiritually empty word like "Being." An amoeba has "being." Perhaps that is the demographic the NPR executives are going for with their intellectually dishonest hatchet job. Clearly this title was forced on you by some NPR programmer or executive since you admit you "didn't have an immediate enthusiastic reaction." Very, very sad.

My gut reaction to the name change was neutral, but as I read through the comments, I really wanted to come to its defense. Ultimately, though, I find myself wanting to change the name again. I like what some people suggested: "Being Human." It seems to take care of the "amorphous" complaint without introducing a concept that anyone could find objectionable.

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