Episodes Archive

Our Latest Show December 25, 2014

Silence is an endangered species, says Gordon Hempton. He defines real quiet as presence — not an absence of sound, but an absence of noise. The Earth, as he knows it, is a "solar-powered jukebox." Quiet is a "think tank of the soul." We take in the world through his ears.

Episode Archive

December 2006

December 28, 2006

Americans are religious and non-religious, devout and irreverent. But in astonishing numbers, across that spectrum, most of us say that we pray. We explore the subject of prayer, how it sounds, and what it means in three different traditions and lives.

 

 

December 21, 2006

A remarkable Kenyan woman and environmentalist speaks from experience about the links between ecology, human flourishing, war and peace, and democracy. And she shares her thoughts on where God resides.

December 14, 2006

Robi Damelin lost her son David to a Palestinian sniper. Ali Abu Awwad lost his older brother Yousef to an Israeli soldier. But, instead of clinging to traditional ideologies and turning their pain into more violence, they've decided to understand the other side — Israeli and Palestinian — by sharing their pain and their humanity. They tell of a gathering network of survivors who share their grief, their stories of loved ones, and their ideas for lasting peace. They don't want to be right; they want to be honest.

December 07, 2006

Is there such a thing as the Muslim world? Is the "veil" a sign of submission or courage? Is our Western concern about women in Islam really a concern for the well-being of women? Our guest, Egyptian-American Leila Ahmed, challenges current thought on these and other questions.

November 2006

November 30, 2006

The sales are starting, the stores are open late, and many of us are gearing up to spend more money than we actually have in a holiday season with deep roots in religion. We explore the turmoil many of us experience with money in our day-to-day lives — and how we might work towards a moral and practical balance for ourselves and the next generation.

November 23, 2006

More and more people in our time are disconnected from religious institutions, at least for part of their lives. Others are religious and find themselves creating a family with a spouse from another tradition or no tradition at all. And the experience of parenting tends to raise spiritual questions anew. We sense that there is a spiritual aspect to our children's natures and wonder how to support and nurture that. The spiritual life, our guest says, begins not in abstractions, but in concrete everyday experiences. And children need our questions as much as our answers.

November 16, 2006

One in ten Americans, and even more dramatically, about one in four women, will experience clinical depression at some point in their lives. We take an intimate look at the spiritual dimensions of this illness and its aftermath.

 

 

November 09, 2006

U.S. culture's clash between religion and science is almost exclusively driven by Christian instincts and arguments. Hindu physicist V.V. Raman offers another view of religion, the universe, and the complementarity of the questions of science and faith.

November 02, 2006

A great public theologian and historian, Martin Marty offers personal and historical perspective on religion in modern life — including the nature of fundamentalism, and the decline of America's mainline Protestant majority as Evangelical Christianity gains in influence.

October 2006

October 26, 2006

Krista Tippett speaks with philosopher Jacob Needleman. As new democracies are struggling around the world, it’s easy to forget that U.S. democracy was shaped by trial and error. A conversation about the “inward work” of democracy — the conscience that shaped the American experiment.

October 19, 2006

In this close-up look at the human dynamics of the war on terror, our guest speaks about her husband, journalist Daniel Pearl, who was murdered in Pakistan shortly after 9/11. She talks about Buddhism, her ethic of spiritual defiance, and her hopes for the future.

October 12, 2006

Experts once predicted that as the world grew more modern, religion would decline. Precisely the opposite has proven true; religious movements are surging and driving "alternative globalizations" across the world. Two leading thinkers offer a penetrating view of how and why religion of all kinds is shaping the global economy and political order.

October 05, 2006

An unusual take on the mind-body connection with author and yoga teacher Matthew Sanford. He's been a paraplegic since the age of 13. He shares his wisdom for us all on knowing the strength and grace of our bodies even in the face of illness, aging, and death.

September 2006

September 28, 2006

The writers Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy, social activist Dorothy Day, and the Trappist monk Thomas Merton — all four shared a complex Catholic faith. Paul Elie takes us on a kind of literary pilgrimage through a Catholic imagination that still resonates in our time.

September 21, 2006

Rachel Naomi Remen's lifelong struggle with chronic illness has shaped her philosophy and practice of medicine. She speaks about the art of listening to patients and other physicians, the difference between curing and healing, and how our losses help us to live.

September 14, 2006

Politics driven by a religious agenda, Danforth says, is true neither to his understanding of Christian faith nor to the traditional values of the Republican party. This veteran politician speaks about the values that have helped him navigate the line between private faith and public life and his current concerns about religion in his own party and in the world.

September 07, 2006

Dramatic headlines convey a predominantly violent picture of global Islam. But, during the past five years, Muslim guests on SOF have conveyed a thoughtful, questing, diverse, and compelling faith. Step back with us and hear these voices from the traditional and evolving center of Islam. And, Krista speaks with Seyyed Hossein Nasr, an esteemed Muslim scholar who brings a broad religious and historical perspective to hard questions about Islam and the West that have lingered uncomfortably in American life since 9/11.

August 2006

August 31, 2006

A 30-year-old, Indian-American Muslim and former Rhodes Scholar is setting out to change the way young people relate to their own religious traditions and those of others. Al-Quaeda is the most effective youth program in the world, he says, and we neglect this work at our peril.

August 24, 2006

Hurricane Katrina brought urban poverty in America into all of our living rooms. In this program, David Hilfiker tells the story of how poverty and racial isolation came to be in cities across America. He lives creatively and realistically with questions many of us began to ask in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

August 17, 2006

Karen Armstrong speaks about her progression from a disillusioned and damaged young nun into, in her words, a "freelance monotheist." She's a formidable thinker and scholar, but as a theologian she calls herself an amateur — noting that the Latin root of the word "amateur" means a love of one's subject. Seven years in a strict religious order nearly snuffed out her ability to think about faith at all. Here, we hear the story behind Armstrong's developing ideas about God.

August 10, 2006

Author Anchee Min has won acclaim for her memoir of growing up in China under Mao Zedong. She's also written several works of fiction in which she explores the human hunger to survive against extreme social brutality. In this conversation, Anchee Min tells us what she learned about the human spirit in the forced labor camp in which she spent her teenage years, and how she's found healing in America.

August 03, 2006

Our culture's acrimonious debate on the morality of gay marriage has been framed in religious — largely conservative Christian — terms. We go behind the rhetoric to explore the human confusion, hopes, and fears this subject arouses. We'll name hard questions that these religious people on both sides of the issue are asking themselves, and that they would like to ask of others.

July 2006

July 27, 2006

Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson once said that the program he helped create is, "utter simplicity which encases a complete mystery." Our guests reflect on the Twelve Steps and how they resonate in their personal stories and in Buddhist and Christian teachings.

July 20, 2006

We'll take a fresh and thought-provoking look at Darwin's life and ideas. He did not argue against God but against a simple understanding of the world — its beauty, its brutality, and its unfolding creation.

July 13, 2006

A survivor of the Holocaust, in which he lost most of his family, Wiesel is a seminal chronicler of that event and its meaning. Wiesel shares some of his thoughts on modern-day Israel and Germany, his understanding of God, and his practice of prayer after the Holocaust.

July 06, 2006

Born in slavery, the Negro spiritual conveys a generous understanding of the nature of God and of human life. A celebration in word and song — through its hidden meanings, as well as its beauty, lament, and hope.

June 2006

June 29, 2006

In over 50 years as a Benedictine nun, Sister Joan Chittister has emerged as a powerful and uncomfortable voice in Roman Catholicism and in global politics. If women were ordained in the Catholic Church in our lifetime, some say, Joan Chittister would be the first female bishop.

June 22, 2006

The word "healing" means "to make whole." But historically, Western medicine has taken a divided view of human health. It has stressed medical treatments of biological ailments. That may be changing. Mehmet Oz, a cardiovascular surgeon, is part of a new generation of doctors who are taking medicine to new technological and spiritual frontiers.

June 15, 2006

More and more people in our time are disconnected from religious institutions, at least for part of their lives. Others are religious and find themselves creating a family with a spouse from another tradition or no tradition at all. And the experience of parenting tends to raise spiritual questions anew. We sense that there is a spiritual aspect to our children's natures and wonder how to support and nurture that. The spiritual life, our guest says, begins not in abstractions, but in concrete everyday experiences. And children need our questions as much as our answers.

June 08, 2006

Poet and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht says that as a scholar she always noticed the "shadow history" of doubt out of the corner of her eye. She shows how non-belief, skepticism, and doubt have paralleled and at times shaped the world's great religious and secular belief systems. She suggests that only in modern time has doubt been narrowly equated with a complete rejection of faith, or a broader sense of mystery.

June 01, 2006

The wildly popular novel turned movie reimagines the New Testament, in part, as a cover-up. What really happened in the fluid early years of Christianity? What is the truth about Mary Magdalene? We separate fact from fiction in the story's plot with two New Testament scholars who say that the story is simpler and much more interesting than conspiracy theories suggest.

May 2006

May 25, 2006

With Iraq veteran and chaplain Major John Morris, we explore how war challenges the human spirit and the core tenets of a life of faith. The War on Terror, he says, presents its own spiritual challenges. He is working to support the reintegration of National Guard and Reserve personnel, who are being mobilized for active duty at record levels in Afghanistan and Iraq.

May 18, 2006

The idea of reciting an unchanging creed sounds suspicious to modern ears. But the late, great historian Jaroslav Pelikan illuminated ancient tradition in order to enliven faith in the present and the future. He insisted that strong statements of belief will be necessary if pluralism in the 21st century is to thrive. We take in his moving, provocative perspective on our enduring need for creeds.

May 11, 2006

Last month, conservative Christian leaders demanded that Richard Cizik be silenced or removed from his post. They charged that his concerns about climate change and torture have shifted attention away from moral issues such as gay marriage and abortion. But for Cizik, poverty, war, and the environment are moral issues too. We revisit Krista's 2006 conversation with Cizik that took many listeners by surprise.

May 04, 2006

Joel Hanson has schizophrenia and believes he is God. His parents reflect on living with their son and how they have learned to see mental illness, normalcy, and religion differently. Is there room in our culture to consider a schizophrenic personality as another form of human difference and diversity?

April 2006

April 27, 2006

The birth of the Pentecostal movement began 100 years ago on Azusa Street in Los Angeles. We'll be taking our show on the road to cover this global gathering and revival that is reshaping Christianity, culture, and politics worldwide.

 

April 20, 2006

Science and religion are often pitted against one another; but how do they complement, rather than contradict, one another? We learn how one man applies the deepest insights of modern physics to think about how the world fundamentally works, and how the universe might make space for prayer.

April 13, 2006

The biblical Exodus story has inspired believers and non-believers, Jews and Christians — and more than a few Hollywood movies. But this is no simple story of heroes and villains; it is a complex picture of the possibilities and ironies of human passion and human freedom. If you're not familiar with Exodus, you're in for a deeply sensual experience; and, even if you're well-versed in the text, you just might be surprised.

April 06, 2006

A remarkable Kenyan woman and environmentalist speaks from experience about the links between ecology, human flourishing, war and peace, and democracy. And she shares her thoughts on where God resides.

March 2006

March 30, 2006

An environmentalist who pursued the ecological impulse of Paganism, from its ancient roots to its modern revival in Europe and North America, discusses his observations about the spirit of Paganism and its influence on everyday Western culture — and even on old-time religion.

March 23, 2006

Americans are religious and non-religious, devout and irreverent. But in astonishing numbers, across that spectrum, most of us say that we pray. We explore the subject of prayer, how it sounds, and what it means in three different traditions and lives.

 

 

March 16, 2006

As Israel prepares for a critical election and Hamas forms a Palestinian cabinet, we explore the difficulty of reaching resolution in a land that its inhabitants, on both sides of the conflict, consider holy. Our guests in this two-part series, Israeli and Palestinian, identify deeply with the story and suffering of their own people. They are also individuals who from across tumultuous recent history have reached out to the other side. They find themselves embittered at the failure of the Oslo peace process, reeling from recent events, and uncertain about the future. We explore their unresolved questions and despair, and probe the deep longing for peace that remains within each of them and how they are imagining a future within new political realities.

March 09, 2006

As Israel prepares for a critical election and Hamas forms a Palestinian cabinet, we explore the difficulty of reaching resolution in a land that its inhabitants, on both sides of the conflict, consider holy. Our guests in this two-part series, Israeli and Palestinian, identify deeply with the story and suffering of their own people. They are also individuals who from across tumultuous recent history have reached out to the other side. They find themselves embittered at the failure of the Oslo peace process, reeling from recent events, and uncertain about the future. We explore their unresolved questions and despair, and probe the deep longing for peace that remains within each of them and how they are imagining a future within new political realities.

March 02, 2006

Zen master and poet Thich Nhat Hanh was forcibly exiled from his native country of Vietnam more than 40 years ago. We visited the Buddhist monk at a Christian conference center in a lakeside setting of rural Wisconsin. Here, Thich Nhat Hanh offers stark, gentle wisdom for living in a world of anger and violence. He discusses the concepts of "engaged Buddhism," "being peace," and "mindfulness."

February 2006

February 23, 2006

In an age of Enron and WorldCom, how can we imagine a place for business ethics, much less religious virtue, in the global economy? We speak with a Hindu international business analyst who offers learned, fascinating observations about how the world's myriad religions have shaped global business norms and practices.

 

 

February 16, 2006

Our guest, an American Muslim and religious scholar, helps untangle the knot of violent and bewildered reactions to cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

February 09, 2006

Isabel Mukonyora has followed and studied a religious movement of her Shona people, the Masowe Apostles, that embraces Christian tradition while addressing the drama of African life and history. The founder of this movement, Johane Masowe, emphasized an ancient Jewish and Christian pull to the wilderness. Through her stories we explore modern African spirituality, diaspora, and finding meaning, as Mukonyora says, "in the margins."

February 02, 2006

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose life spanned the rise and fall of Hitler's Germany, offers us a model of personal morality and conscience in the most troubled and immoral of times. His resistance of Nazi ideology, while much of the German church succumbed, is a testament to his moral vision and faith. Krista speaks with producer Martin Doblmeier, whose 2003 documentary chronicled Bonhoeffer's life and thought, about the legacy of this unusual theologian.

January 2006

January 26, 2006

A few years ago, journalist Pankaj Mishra pursued the social relevance of the Buddha's thought across India and Europe, Afghanistan and America. He emerged with a startling critique of Western political economy that is even more resonant today as he pursued the social relevance of the Buddha's core questions: Do desiring and acquiring make us happy? Does large-scale political change really address human suffering?

January 19, 2006

Vásquez believes that in the global age, religious dynamics may have a boomerang effect across the Americas with dramatic consequences. We explore how religion will shape the increasing Hispanic population and how religion itself might be changed.

January 12, 2006

The American experience of stress has spawned a multi-billion dollar self-help industry. Wary of this, Esther Sternberg says that, until recently, modern science did not have the tools or the inclination to take emotional stress seriously. She shares fascinating new scientific insight into the molecular level of the mind-body connection.

 

 

January 05, 2006

Born in slavery, the Negro spiritual conveys a generous understanding of the nature of God and of human life. A celebration in word and song — through its hidden meanings, as well as its beauty, lament, and hope.