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Within a month of joining Speaking of Faith, I was told the program I work for was going to be changing its name. Since then, it’s been a hectic journey of learning how to produce while supporting the name change tasks. But it has also been a crash course in the thoughtfulness of our listening community.

Ever since Krista first announced the change, I have been obsessed with reading your reflections. You have eloquently shared a range of feelings and opinions from loving the change to mourning the loss, to disliking Being. Here are some samples of what has been said:

Sad at the loss of “faith” in the name.
Many of our long-time listeners mourned the loss of the word “faith” in the title and wondered if it signaled a change in the editorial direction of the program. As we’ve pointed out, the content of our program will continue to be about “faith, meaning, ethics, and ideas.” Robbyn’s comment on our blog echoed many other listeners’ sentiments:

“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.”

Like a name change, but not to Being.
Some of you supported changing the name but felt Being was not the best choice. We received many comments similar to this one:

“As one at whom the name change was probably aimed, I appreciate the effort to avoid offending those who find the word ‘faith’ offensive. However, I’m afraid that I’d rather be a little intimidated by the concept of faith than bored by the concept of ‘being’, which strikes me as far too general a term to have any meaning.
—Renee, commenting on our blog

Like the name change.
Many supported the name change for a host of reasons, from the fact that Being resonates with their experiences of the show to being able to feel more comfortable telling their high school students about it. These comments came from a diverse group, including non-religious and religious people:

“Understanding Being is essential to (and intrinsic to) all spiritual journeys. When we are comfortable with being, we can allow others to also be comfortable with being and as beings. As long as we see and practice only doing, we will not appreciate our essential nature as humans being. Understanding being is critical to peace.”
—Peggy Beatty, via Facebook

“Anyone familiar with the work of modern Orthodox theologian John Zizioulas (Being as Communion, Eucharist, Bishop, Church, many others) will see the connection and appreciate the change. My suggestion would be to get Metropolitan John on your show to discuss Being from his theological viewpoint. Kate mentioned in one of her many replies that Being has deep theological meaning, and Metropolitan John has expanded this theological perspective greatly in the last 3 decades.”
—Jeffrey Abell, via e-mail

Dislike Krista’s name at the front.

Some people didn’t like Krista’s name at the front of the title. We included her name there to make it clear that she remains central to the show as host and editorial leader, but in most applications the new name will be heard as Being. The following comment included many of the reasons that people were upset at Krista’s name being in the title:

“People who have not yet found your pioneering show are not familiar with Krista, and as another noted, her guests contribute the canvass on which she paints her enlightened questions and reflective responses and serves as a representative listener on our behalf. Placing her name first gives me the impression that she has been set up to be some guru, savant-type host. And, God willing, even should her career/discernment path take her in another direction, the show could continue as Speaking of Being, with __________.”
—Patricia, commenting on our blog

Unfortunately, Being with Krista Tippett has an inappropriate connotation to it.

There were a handful of people that said they might stop listening to the program, while for many of you the name doesn’t matter since the content will remain the same:

“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.’ Doesn’t matter what you call it, the content is valuable to my being and unlike anything else available in my area.”
—Bookmarkt, commenting on our blog


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16 Comments

I find myself with those who feel that this name change implies that the show will have a more philosophical bent with less concern with the nature or concept of faith which is much more interesting. One thinks instead of large books by Sartre and Heidegger, among others, that one struggled with in college. Being is sterile and abstract; faith, whether you have it or not, is real and concrete.

I find much merit in this critique - :sterile and abstract". I am reminded of Bishop Spong's (Newark, N.J.) focus on Tillich's "Ground of Being". What have you people got against Whitehead, process theology and the notions of becoming/perishing as contrasted with being. Tillich's model of god is not a personal one. Whitehead's model has this attribute.

I'm not much of a fan of Being, it having been done, and done well, in modern philosophy--but only that, and not more. But mostly, i feel the surprising sense of loss of a program i quite enjoyed. I will try very hard to keep listening to Being, but without faith, i fear. it just doesn''t feel the same. yet? or nothingness?

"Faith -- the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". It is daring, robust, empowering and powerful. Faith requires mindfulness, engagement, reflection, commitment, risk. Are these not the strengths of the people "of faith" Krista has interviewed? But being is, what... passive, vague? And it requires...?
I read 100+ comments on the name-change in Trent Gillis' blog with an open mind. Now that the change is here, however, I feel a real sense of sadness and loss. Like this could be the beginning of the end for a program that has had a strong center of gravity, substance and challenge. I hope it is not so...

I'm not sure I like the name BEING for a program on faith. It seems to me that if you are going in that direction, BECOMING, is more spiritually orientated. After all, the use of" being" if it is used as a noun, can be talking about God or something akin to a God(Goddess). BECOMING is process and makes more sense in a spiritual journey. But in the long run, as long as the show remains an exploration in the faith oriented journey that we take when listening to Krista, who cares what it is called
K. Schulte

For the first time, I saw the program outline for this weekend's broadcast (I listen via podcast) and realized I had no interest in the topic of "being" and so won't be listening. My choice not to listen is not a vote of protest, simply a realization that words have meaning and power, and your choice to use the word "being" (with its meaning and power) has no resonance for me.

I'll keep watching for the content of upcoming shows but, despite your intent and despite what you say, this represents a significant shift in the lens through which I experience the program. It is a lens that does not interest me.

I like speaking of faith. I like dedicating a hour of my week to faith -- whatever faith you may be talking about. Whether it is science, healing, nature or religion, I feel free that it all can be considered part of someone's faith and I like listening to them teach me about their own interpretation of faith. I'm not terribly religious but I'm still sorry you will be walking away from such a peaceful and universal "brand name" for your program.

I will miss "Speaking of Faith". "Being" is too abstract, too "philosophical", and not what I am looking for in a program that has always been devoted to faith and meaning. In this world of increasingly conservative views, we need a forum that continues to lift Faith as a progressive, open and inclusive value.

I know that placing Krista's name prior to "Being" simply reflects our cultural obsession with celebrity, but I was really hoping that Speaking of Faith would remain a bit higher in its concept. Yes, I will miss "Speaking of Faith". For most of us, it is a much more meaningful concept that "Being".

I just re-found "Speaking of Faith"/Krista Tippett this morning when I chose to listen to my home-state Public Radio through ITunes. I was delighted ... and ... I think we spiritual people and others are getting too bogged down with old religious words that don't work for all of us as we become more and more enlightened to our own valid (we hope and sincere we hope) beliefs. Certain religions in our own country (through invalid leaders, in my mind) seem to be mostly concerned with their own gains from stirring the masses to actually hate anything different from what they choose to believe. Does that make any sense at all to anyone? It just doesn't to me. My mother was a special woman in many, many ways and i loved her/love her still. Half of her ashes after she died were given to me and the other half stayed in the state where she lived with my sister and family for many years. The ashes were planted in our own backyards. My husband and our part of our family and my sister and family eventually sold our homes to move far away. I realize that the thought that my mother stayed under the earth, in those yards, for any reason is ridiculous and she would not have wanted us to think otherwise. She is still with us but in a very personal real way with our own memories. Do I love her less? Never. Does she love me less? Never. I have no doubts on that. Religion changes with each edition of THE books. My beliefs are enriched each year by living and allowing myself to be open to new wonderful learnings. I follow no forced constrictions in religion given to me to follow by another person or book. I believe in myself and know that I believe in others. I try to see both sides of a story or happening and I have acted upon them in what I believe to be positive ways. Just what might it be like if we all could and would?

I love your progams. However I predict "Being" will become outdated as a title faster that "Speaking of Faith".

For me, "being" is too universal, too watered down. Sounds like something a committee came up with. Sorry. But, I'm sure the show will still be good.

Dear Krista,
Your show is absolutely uniquely precious-and essential!
I too am sad to lose the title, Speaking of Faith, because this is what we should be doing. Without some kind of faith one can't be cheerful about life and one cannot boot-strap their way up the spiritual path (Jacob's Ladder).

As another said who cares about the title, it's the content that matters. I agree. I can understand, but have no data, that the word faith may exclude some would-be listeners. This is not important.

The concept of being is certainly essential to spirituality. Unfortunately, it has two meanings: being in this physical world, or being in the spiritual world. The new title might bring in more listeners, but this shouldn't be the motive for changing the name - and anyway don't worry about more listeners. Those who feel touched by your guests and your gentle insightfullness will seek out the program as a dialogue that objectively airs underlying questions about spirituality without having a mission or a doctrine to preach. They won't care about the title.

My understanding is that we are all on a spiritual path, as a part of the human involution process, and consciously or unconsciously we all seek to know more about this process. This path has been described as similar to beating your way through a jungle alone with no obvious direction. Just stopping (or being) at any point can be helpful, but doesn't necessarily provide guidance. Having faith, and believing that there is a superior purpose to our life that will take us to a higher level of consciousness, is essential. The guidance is hidden inside our souls and we need to have enough faith to find it. With faith comes God's Grace - a gratuitous gift to help us along.

Krista, please excuse me. I couldn't find your reasoning, and just blurted out my opinion on this. I will listen always to your show - I believe that it is part of the spiritual awakening that is occurring in this epoch.

all my best,

tom

I think Being may actually be closer to the show's essence than Faith has been. I admit I'm not a faithful listener, but to me faith connotes a western theistic set of ideas whereas the show is much more expansive. I think an underlying cord which binds the flow is possibly more Eastern (pantheistic monism) in thought, thus the attempt at connectedness between all manner of being without any regard to whether they can be right or wrong.
This is not to take away from the way the show tries to bring out beauty and meaning from all manner of paradigms, and tries to gently encourage us to embrace other ways of being, but to emphasize the connectedness ". . . within us all" idea which feels quite Eastern. The Eastern way allows us freedom from reason and logic and even morality as it were, and helps us focus on being, one-ness, connected-ness, climbing the same mountain by different paths . . .
Myself being more convinced of Western paradigms which allow critical thinking, my idea of a show about "Being" would be an examination of "models" where evidence could allow us to falsify them or lend them support. "Models" of the universe (we all own one) should be "examined" as Socrates advised, they should have explanatory and predictive power. They should explain why things are as they are, and should predict new discoveries. But I suppose this has little value in a strict Eastern sense, and would be a quite different show from what SOF has ever has been.
I wish Krista the best in her quest.

i tuned in this morning, as i often do, but not every week, and at the end of the program heard it being called something else which got me a little confused & disoriented. then i realized that krista was saying there's a new name. why change speaking of faith which was perfectly fine to something else. the new name is not as nice as the old. and not as comforting. why? an old boss of mine always used to say, if it's not broken don't fix it. however, i understand that krista tippet and the content remains the same. only more reason why not to have changed the name. speaking of faith & the content went together nice. respectfully, rr

I participated in the request for comments when this name change was first proposed, when Krista asked listeners for comments. As I recall, most comments were against the name change and I do not recall Being as a suggestion by anyone (but it may have been).
Like many things I have learned about APR, NPR and my public radio station (WKSU), they ask for comments and then do what they want anyway. So, why involve the listeners?

My point is a name change usually indicates a change of direction (even though Krista says it will not) and I guess that's what I'm not comfortable with when it comes to Speaking of Faith. WHERE are we going if Speaking of Faith no longer says it? A name like Being is so general that it can mean anything and mostly nothing, and I don't want to go there. I did read Krista's comments on why the name was changed and why the name Being was selected. All pretty cerebral and certainly elitist in approach which, in my opinion, disconnects the new show name from anything I want to be associated with.

Krista is a dignified extremely well informed and eloquent host, I love her liveliness, her intensity with which listens, she is a superb listener, I love how "real" she is. Leo