» download the recording (mp3, 4:34)

Last month, on a sub-zero Minnesota winter night, I drove to Minneapolis to record a live event in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s birthday. My spirit was a bit depleted with the raw, dry cold and a feeling of looming uncertainty about the future. I convinced myself that getting out and being around people (not to mention making a little extra cash) would do me some good.

I wasn’t wrong. That evening, the Minneapolis-based musical troupe Sounds of Blackness was booked to perform. I hadn’t ever heard them before, and boy was I in for a treat. I sat at the back of The Basilica of Saint Mary with my headphones on and let their sweet gospel melodies pour into my ears. One song in particular shook me out of my worried, wired monkey brain. I think the song is called “Everything Will Be Alright.” What you’re listening to here is a really great recording of that live performance.

Recently Trent blogged about the music that helped him get through a hard time after being laid off from his dot com job when he was living in England. And Mitch conducted a lively phone interview with author Mary Doria Russell where we learn about the 1980s big hair bands that inspire her. What songs are inspiring or consoling you these days?


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11Reflections

Reflections

There is so much religious conflict in the world today, and more than enough right here at home in the U.S. Why is it that everytime I tune into this show, it seems to have some topic or focus that is so high concept, or so divorced from what's going on in the world.

In the streets of LA there were people protesting in front of the mormon temple about that church's involvement in the effort to repeal the rights of gay people to marry in California. Where was this show when that real, tangible conflict was taking place? There was a debacle over the Catholic church's effort to rehabilitate a bishop who is a Holocaust denier, which once again opened up the issue of the church's responses to that event. Where was this show in the midst of that real, tangible conflict?

Why on earth can't Krista Tippett cover religious issues that are truly relevant today? I'm going to stop listening to this show, because it seems to be way too timid and fluffy.

James,

This is a show that is meant to open your mind and heart to your own spiritual growth not report or debate religious conflict. I just discovered this show by way of the Apps store in iTunes. I am listening to shows from 2006 and they are very enlightening. I drive an hour to work each day and I look forward to what I will learn everyday. This week I listened to the episode about the book Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh and ended up purchasing several of his books. In this episode there was a woman who used to be on the Madison, WI police force and she talked about the violence they are exposed to everyday and how this man's teaching softened her heart. Well I work in Madison in an emergency room and I had been thinking about how all the years of violence and death had affected me and this is just what I needed to hear. It was almost as if God had planned for me to hear this episode at just this point in my life.

Myra,

Respectfully, I disagree with you. In an era where religious faith is such a divisive issue in our society, what good does a program about religion do when it doesn't address the conflict? I see religious conflict as being the defining struggle in our world today, and at points this program has addressed different aspects of that conflict - from the debate over gay marriage, to efforts to bridge the gap between the religious right and the religious left. However, I get pretty frustrated that this program doesn't do more to explore and vent these issues.

Please don't get me wrong - I welcome and celebrate your experience in finding wisdom and inspiration in this program, especially because it's led you to a buddhist tradition that I fully respect and admire. But my experience is a little different. Go to any bookstore where I live, in the Los Angeles area, and you get clobbered by books about spiritual growth and development. In my local Borders bookstore there seems to be a whole shelf devoted to works by Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalai Lama, Pema Chodron, and other buddhist writers. Books and radio programs about personal growth is not what's needed to address the more relevant and consequential religious issues in our time - issues which have the power to marginalize entire groups in our society, and which inspire many people to unbelievable acts of violence.

In any event, I'm glad you felt moved to respond to my posting. Hospital emergency room work is so critically important, and from what I understand, incredibly draining emotionally and spiritually. I hope that all is well with you in Madison

-James

-James

This isn't a news show. It's not the MacNeil-Lehrer news hour. It's not to report current events; it's for examining meaning and ideas. If you want a hard-hitting examination of both sides of the conflicts you mentioned, you should maybe be watching 20/20 or 60 minutes.

Personally, I find the examination of meaning and ethics interesting. If I want to watch news, I have many opportunities, but there are few shows doing what "Speaking of Faith" does. It gets a person to think.

This is amazing. Thanks for posting it! (FYI, I think the spelling is "all right.")

Songs from the Sacred Harp console me. "I have but one more river to cross/ And then I'll be at rest."

This is amazing! Thanks for posting it. (FYI, I think the spelling is "all right.")

Songs from the Sacred Harp console me. "I have but one more river to cross/ And then I'll be at rest."

I was early this morning and in a lot of physical pain. Something inside told me to come to this website. I clicked on this recording and I felt a new hope surge throughout my body. Although I am still in pain, my heart is lifted and I am going to pray just a little while longer, as the hymn suggests. Thank you. I so needed to be in this healing community. Suzy

What a beautiful rendition of a beautiful song. I listened to it a few times. Each hearing bringing other nuances to both to still worries and excite hopeful feelings.

Truly a beautiful and moving piece - I am thankful for having stumbled upon it. I am now more centered. Maybe I can pass that along today!

This is so beautiful

I find it so interesting that encouragement can come your way before you even realize something may be wrong, and the moment you do realize that trouble, you remember the encouragement, and your soul begins to rest easy.... God is truly Good : )