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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

I'm glad I fully read you're reasons for the change. At first I was not enthusiastic about it but took it as just another piece of Christianity molding itself to fit with what society thinks it should be. But I know, as the word itself implies, that being is the moment in which one truly can understand and grasp what it is meant to be for them. A precise point in the psyche in which we get the meaning of our existence and why we were ever placed upon the ground in which we walk. Being is the Relationship.
I have truly enjoyed your program and its insight. The subjects have opened my thought processes to see many new things from many new perspectives. My intrigue in the program was brought on by the name, however as the program unfolded the content is what kept me engaged. Perhaps now the reach can be much broader and its mission much more profound.

The thing I liked about the old name was the "Speaking of" part...it meant dialogue to me, conversation. The new name makes it sound like Krista (who I love, don't get me wrong) is the authority, the one who is speaking on a specific topic. When you have someone "on" something, it means that they are conveying what they know about it. This show is about others, about discussion, about opening something to explore. "Speaking of Being" might have been a better idea.

A fair point, and one that we talked about extensively. What is the "connective tissue," as one friend of the program called it, of the transition from Speaking of Faith to Being. After much deliberation, one thing remains constant: Krista Tippett. So we decided that using her name would be the best connective tissue as we grow into a new name. Does this reasoning make sense?

The trouble lies in the syntax. I'm not troubled by the word "being," or by a change in the name for all the reasons listed. What's troubling is that the new name says that the program will be restricted to Krista's views on being, and I don't think that will be true--I hope not. One of the best things about the program are the amazing guests and Krista's amazing interviewing skills. Several have suggested a title like, "On being, with Krista Tippett." If you are into broadening the scope, don't at the same time narrow it, simply because of a grammatical error. -Christina

The new name definitely loses the sense of dialog and emphasizes Krista Tippett... While I appreciate Krista as the designer of this program, I don't listen because of her; I listen because of the guest or the topic.

I think you have underestimated your core audience---we will find the program even without Krista's name, and now it definitely sounds like one person's point of view on being, which is the exact opposite of the show's intent. The switch to "with Krista Tippet" would still serve as "connective tissue" and better describe the program.

Thank you for being open to feedback from listeners.

I agree that "Speaking of" is the strongest connection I have with the name of the program. I connect with the dialogue. Even "Being with Krista Tippett" would reflect her role as a guide more accurately. Krista's gift is developing the conversation and helping to reveal the ideas of her subjects. The order of words is critical.

"Faith" is NOT some elitist privileged right of Christianity. In fact, as I see it, the problem is that that's exactly how people view faith--completely linked to religion. And that is too simple to be true...

Chris, a big part of this name change centers around your very last sentence. We truly want to welcome more people into the conversation — and, perhaps, be heard at different times on public radio stations. *crossing fingers*

i'm fairly new to this web site, having found it through facebook, so maybe my first thought about the name change should be heard with that understanding. i have no problem with BEING, especially after reading of the reasons for both the need to change and how you came to this name. however, i'm not sure i would have gotten enough from the new name to move me to read the first time. also, to be honest, my first reaction was that here was another example of someone needing their name to be the focus, or at least get equal billing/recognition with the site. i thought there was some narcissism involved. i'm sure krista puts a lot of work and a lot of herself into this, maybe i'm being too critical. i'm just so discouraged by all the narcissism our society encourages, almost demands. a far cry from the humility my faith extols.

Believe me, this isn't about narcissism or self-love or celebrity. Far from it. We decided, after much deliberation and anxiety, that using Krista's name is the "connective tissue," as one friend of the program called it, of the transition from Speaking of Faith to Being. As we shift from name to the other, one thing remains constant: Krista Tippett. So we decided that using her name would be the best connective tissue as we grow into a new name.

Krista has many attributes. I agree that narcissism is not among them. However, 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 __________."

I'm not thrilled with the name change at all.

It makes no sense to me.

Thanks for the feedback. I hope we can help in the understanding of this transition as we move forward.

Well, ok. I like it. Yeah, I think it covers a broader context and unifies at the same time...good choice. When you asked us a few months back about the name change I emphatically said "no!" But the system wouldn't take my response. I liked Speaking of Faith. But I am working myself toward educating others on the concept of being and it's commonality across religions and life walks. Our ability to be, to simply be - in the now - has been largely ignored and, unfortunately associated more with eastern than western religion or as a moment perspective on the human condition. So I am glad to know this will be the new cornerstone of SOF. "Faith" has become misused. People use it to define their religion rather than the deep trust in mystery. So let's move away from that one, and toward something we all do - we are all being - beings - human beings - humans being human! Maybe a focus on being will help to unify us over the condition we all have in common. Love your show! Thank you! Peggy

Well said, Peggy. Thank you for commenting here. It's a relief to read some kind words as we appeal to the many who loved the name. We don't want to alienate anybody, but reach out to more people.

It's sad to see you recognize that being a person of faith in our society is so unacceptable that the word "faith" cannot be mentioned. In the world within which I move, my non-believing friends have such contempt for the idea of faith. Speaking of Faith was one place I could point to where there was intelligent conversation about faith, where the idea of faith was acceptable. And now, faith is no longer acceptable there either.

We will continue to speak about faith and religion in deeply fulfilling ways. We promise. We also want people who haven't listened to know that we want them to knock on the door too. We'll answer.

It is a shame, but the negative associations with the word "faith" are due to the belligerent nature of the narrow-minded segments that have misappropriated the word. It is a case of basic Operant conditioning, that a symbol will acquire the aversive properties of the stimulus it is paired with. In other words, our sensitivity, and sometimes repulsion to the word "faith" did not come out of thin air! It has a basis.

I listen every Sunday and I love the show and will continue to listen to it. As a progressive non-exclusive Christian pastor my initial reaction, like Krista's, is not positive. It just seems like another way in which our culture buys into the stereotype that there is something bad about faith and about being a person of faith. Faith, I guess, no longer sells so we need kinder, gentler words to convey our message. Oh for a faith that encompassed being, open minds and kindness.

Thank you for the comment. It is much appreciated.

The word "faith" does sell; it sells a lot. But that's not the point. The change is about invitation and inclusiveness. It's about extending ourselves and reaching out, not just waiting for others to come to us. When we open ourselves like this, we risk pain and loss and disappointment, but we also make new friends and discover new worlds — and try to bring them to all the other listeners and readers who enjoy these conversations.

Can't say I'm digging the new name....

Well, we can respect that.

I will accept "Being" but with resistance and hesitance. What I attracted me to your program was the word "Faith" and the manner in which your program created space to talk about faith with full dimension and essence. Being is ok but I think it dilutes the journey and meaning of faith. Faith informs, shapes, creates our being, whether it be deliberate or randomly. I will continue to listen and trust you instinct. Blessings.

A fair point. We will not abuse your trust. Thank you.

It just shows how much "faith" is associated with "religion". Having faith has nothing to do with organized religion in my mind. The latter has everything to do with brainwashing and controlling the masses and endless bigotry; whilst the former is recognizing who we really are deep down at our core when all the veils of our delusions are lifted (yes, it sounds very simplistic, but soooo true), and about love and compassion and joy. It's ok to have faith and not be religious. It's ok to know and acknowledge that we don't know everything. When you get quiet enough in your heart to listen.... that's when you realize what 'faith' is all about.

I don't care what you change the title into, just keep the fantastic work that you do, and keep the show going! I listen and re-listen to the podcasts, amazing stories, and I am deeply grateful for being able to get to them.

Namaste.

"The latter has everything to do with brainwashing and controlling the masses and endless bigotry."

Oh yeah...because folks like Shane Claiborne, St. Francis of Assisi, David Norris, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Helen Keller, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr were/are all a bunch of brainwashed bigots, right?

While it is true that some have used religion to excuse their crimes (for very human reasons), many, many more allow their religion to inspire them to do great and beautiful things for their fellow man and the world, to connect with the divine, to connect more deeply with the needs of their neighbors and to grant them the strength to achieve the incredible.

Remember this rhyme: Broad assumptions and generalizations, make fools of even the wisest nations.

You, along with many others as I've learned over these past seven years here at SOF, live out this truth of being faithful and not necessarily religious. And we want to speak to this with our name change, but I've also learned that deeply religious, faithful people are not so easy to pigeonhole. We remain open to those stories too.

Thank you for your kind words about the show and your trust in our work. Best.

I think the name change is wise and responsive to a real conflict many people have with words like "faith" and its misappropriation in public discourse. I hope the change helps the show find an even broader audience - we need to engage in these conversations.

Well put. Thank you.

I love the program…I love change…I love being.

Nice!

Well done!
The new name describes so much better what the programme/blog is about than the rather limiting 'Speaking of Faith'. Even though I have no problem with the word 'faith' nowadays there can be so many negative associations with it...
So, thank you for answering my silent wishes.

It's funny you cite the blog because I think this is a demonstrated example of how our lens represents the growing openness and focus of the program. And, it feels good to respond to those "silent wishes."

I have always loved the show, and agree that the change is wise. When I share the links I am always qualifying the source to the folks I know will discount the content because of the name. So thank you for the struggle it must have been, and for having it evolve, thoughtfully, prayerfully and in its own time.

Yes, even among my friends or our colleagues at Minnesota Public Radio, I often have to explain what the program is about or hear the staff referred to as "The God Squad." Of course, these yuk-yuks are tongue-in-cheek but after while I have to question if there isn't some dissonance. Perhaps this name change will help us, and me, in this communication.

(sigh)...my inner-child hates change :) ... Personally, I would prefer: "Speaking of Being"... because it's not just Krista Tippet (altho I adore her) on 'Being'...it's many voices on 'Being'.

Just my two cents.

Well, Ellen, we do have to change the name of our blog. Hmmmm...

I agree with Ellen. If in fact this will remain an interview show, Krista isn't saying anything on Being, the guests are.

Consider Speaking of Being with Krista Tippett. Speaking of Being is a better short title.

I'm sad that "faith" is interpreted so negatively by so many. Like other "posters" I was originally drawn to the show because of the word "faith" and "speaking" and have been fed and refreshed by the open conversations about many issues surrounding faith. "Being" is awfully broad - all encompassing, in fact -- and wouldn't have drawn me in Already love the show. I'm not going anywhere. I might not have found it after the name change.

Ann, those are excellent points. How can we work with this knowledge as we move forward so that we can appeal to people like you who are attracted to the word "faith" in a title?

At least put 'faith' back into the tag-line, if not back into the title. If we're willing to have 'religion' in the tag-line it seems 'faith' has even less negative connotation than 'religion'

I love that you've responded to the need you see in our culture... I mean, I agee with other commenters that it's unfortunate that the word "faith" is a roadblock to so many; on the other hand, simply continuing to use the word with hopes that SOF's intelligent conversations about it will change perceptions strikes me as naive. After all, those who misperceive the word are never the ones listening. :) So - Kudos on having the discernment and bravery to be a little reborn. :)

I confess I'm not sold on "KT on Being," mostly because the word "being" is so broad... And while what you do IS deliciously broad (I'm one of your biggest fans), "being" encompasses so much *more* than religion/meaning/ethics/ideas that if I were to hear the title w/ no background, I'm not sure it'd tell me enough about ya'll are about to get me to listen that 1st time.

But - You've begun the journey and off it will go. Over time the new title will come to represent who you all are and what you do, and we will love it as always. And you're right - As broad as it is, it IS more shareable, without the disclaimers I've found myself attaching to the sharing before now. :)

Take care, and keep doing what you do!

Thank you, and I like the word "shareable" — especially when we're talking about online connections with FB and Twitter. It is important.

My new Facebook status:
If you have ever listened to "Speaking of Faith" on NPR, which I have from time to time, you will appreciate the nature and process of the change in the program name. "Being", after all, is something we all share within our spirit, regardless of our labeled faith or religion. They also have a podcast ... listen when you can.

I am sorry that you have joined the bandwagon and decided that "faith" is anathema and uncommunicative. In choosing the name change, you have cut out half the equation of faith and cut our the heart of the matter.

While I am a Christian and a member of a main-line denomination, I agree with all the writers who commented upstream who say that "faith" has nothing to do with religion, organized or not.

Faith has to do with how one understands their place in the universe, their hope, their fears. Faith to a person's sense of purpose and place. As such, faith lives where "being" and "doing" meet. That meeting can look like collision or feel like tension. When "being" and "doing" meet faith happens and it is dynamic.

To be a person of "faith" is to be a person of hope and this is not an easy thing. A person of any faith, must contend with the things that snuff out faith: fear, cynicism, greed, ignorance, to name a few. The things that work against faith may be found in both religious and secular settings because they too are part of what it means to be human. To be a person of faith is to contend with what is worst in us so that we may free and nourish what is best in us.

That means that faith is much more that what we believe or think. It is much more that how we are. Faith is also what we do.

Much of the critique against traditional religions in all their forms is that so often our behavior is contrary to our words and stated beliefs. This is a fair criticism. It is also an obvious one.

Spirituality that does not act, that is neither ethical nor compassionate, is a poor faith indeed. To avoid speaking of faith because we are afraid of the mistakes we might make--that we might be confused with the many who have made mistake and done harm in the name of their faith--is to retreat from the risk of acting for the better. Sooner or later a mature faith requires us to change, which in itself is an act of faith.

Spirituality becomes faith when beliefs and longings become action. When what we sense, or hope for, or pray is translated into change that cause us to act, then we are living our faith. Acting on the change is in itself an act of faith because we never know where it will lead us. Choosing to rise out of privatized belief, choosing to see faith as a gift instead of personal possession, is to move into a life of faith. And it will be public because it will affect our relationships, our work, our creativity. Having faith is by definition risky business.

When prayer, meditation and a sense of inner well-being translate into actions that care for people, cherish our planet and work for justice and integrity, then we are living a life of faith. Where our being affects our doing. Faith made real in such ways is a demonstration of love.

So my disappointment is that choosing to say in "being" sounds beautiful but it is also safe. By reducing faith to an idea we avoid the constant prompting and the disturbing challenge to rise up out of ourselves and step out into this troubled, imperfect and beautiful world in faith.

Beautifully said. I think "Speaking of Faith" has the opportunity to encourage others to expand their concept of faith. I believe that changing the name is safer, and less of a challenge to the listeners to translate their beliefs into action to be a part of creating the world we want to live in.

I agree entirely. I am a Unitarian Universalist & many people join us with a sense that they have been damaged by the religious beliefs in which they grew up. I am an agnostic (raised Methodist), and I never had that sense of being damaged by my parents' religion -- in fact, I grew up in a Methodist church that emphasized education about Christianity, so I feel that I learned a lot. Nonetheless, I have also learned from the UU attempt to restore the words associated with religion (e.g., "prayer," "faith," etc.), and give them additional non-dogmatic meanings, and I appreciate that. If you attempt to be too neutral, you risk capturing nothing strong or resonant.

I am very saddened by the change of name, and by the new direction it signals. The name change explains to me what I've been wondering about as I've listened to many of the shows in the last months: "What does this interview have to do with religion?" Yes, I have understood that they all have something to do with issues of deeper "meaning in life," which is the fundamental ground of religion, but I have missed having programs that deal more directly with religion, and with specific religious traditions. Rather than branching out more widely, I would have preferred to see the show circle back in to its original content, even if it would mean a smaller audience. The show was a unique beacon of light on explicitly religious matters. Now where are we to go for that?

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. What comes to my mind, when I hear that word, is, "It depends on what "is" is."

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