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Speaking of Faith Hardcover – March 1, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tippett, host of the weekly NPR radio show Speaking of Faith, offers a challenging book that is part intellectual autobiography, part rumination on the issues of the day. It begins with a fairly detailed discussion of the death of "secularization theory" as outlined by Harvey Cox and others—not a typical opening salvo for a spiritual memoir—and then reveals Tippett's own intellectual and spiritual formation. She discusses at length how her views were shaped not only by her Southern Baptist grandfather in Oklahoma, or by her adolescent rejection of his rigidity, but by the time she spent in East and West Germany in her 20s, first as a journalist and then as a diplomat. She followed this period with marriage and a stint in England before taking the plunge and enrolling in divinity school in the early 1990s. More than a personal chronicle, however, this is a rigorously brainy piece of work, as informed by the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Reinhold Niebuhr, Charles Darwin and Annie Dillard as it is by Tippett's fascinating interviews with figures like Elie Wiesel and Karen Armstrong. As Tippett takes on issues from the science-and-religion debates to the future of progressive Islam, she shows herself to possess the same "imaginative intellectual approach" that she admires in some of her interview subjects. (Mar.)
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Speaking of Faith is of monumental importance and a source of light in a day and age when the darkness of intolerance, ignorance and hate blinds humanity from itself. -- Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, professor of law, UCLA; author, The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists

As creator and host of public radio's Speaking of Faith program, Krista Tippett has spent countless hours doing just that. Her conversations with religious authorities, scholars and others are borne of a treasure trove of intellect and interest, including her own. Overflowing with gems of wisdom, Speaking of Faith, the book, offers thoughts on matters related to faith, religion and spirituality worth not just reading but pondering as deeply as one's imagination allows. -- Diane Raabe, Gather.com

I inhaled (this book) in one great life-affirming breath. (Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather's Blessings -- Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather's Blessings

In a day where religion -- or, rather arguments over religion -- divide us into ever more entrenched and frustrated camps, Krista Tippett is exactly the measured, balanced commentator we need. Her intelligence is like a salve for all thinking people who have felt wounded or marginalized by The God Wars. This is a book not only about the universal need for prayer, but also about the ever-more-rare human virtue of thought. -- Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

Krista Tippett is a master of nuance for whom the great questions of belief transcend the simple answers that modern religion too often supplies. This is a vision of faith as a grand and unifying struggle with the very nature of being, and it is both deeply thought and deeply felt. It is a reminder, in a time when too much that is evil happens in the name of creed, that the search for God can be transcendent and exquisite. Tippett's prose is lyrical and elegant, and her formulations are wise and profound; her arguments should move the secularist and the dogmatist alike to a new vision of peace. -- Andrew Solomon, journalist and National Book Award winning author, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

There is no more trustworthy guide to the challenges of faith in a dangerous world than Krista Tippett. Her wonderful new book, Speaking of Faith, confronts the most crucial issue facing humanity today: the role of religion in creating conflict and in healing conflict. Like the radio program of the same name that she hosts, this book challenges the reader with unconventional wisdom and inspires with unsentimental hope. Speaking of Faith proves it possible to be passionate about one's own faith commitment while attentive to the passionate commitments of others. Krista Tippett has created an original and authentic place in the great debate of our time. -- Yossi Klein Halevi, journalist and author, At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land

This book is a marvel. Krista Tippett is in the front rank of fluent writers of English. Her love of the language suffuses every page. I suspect that Speaking of Faith will soon join the constellation of Dakota and Traveling Mercies as a provoker and reassurer. Krista Tippett's contribution to the understanding of Islam can be of unique importance. But it's not just head-understanding that she makes possible. It's ubuntu - a concept she describes from her interviews with Africans, a sense of our common and interdependent humanity. -- Patrick Henry, former Executive Director, the Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research; author of The Ironic Christian's Companion; Editor, Benedict's Dharma: Buddhists Reflect on the Rule of St. Benedict

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; 1st edition (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670038350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670038350
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #871,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By P. Wung VINE VOICE on May 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You get the feeling that Krista Tippett was overwhelmed by what she was trying to accomplish. One gets the sense that she is 1) Trying to pull together all ideas that she has discussed in the years that she has had the privilege of talking spirituality with some of the most lucid, intelligent, and articulate people in religion and 2) Do some cathartic spiritual mind cleansing and 3) Try to weave the two threads together.

The enormity of her enterprise is evidenced by the confusion in the structure of the book and the poorly executed organization. This is true of course, only if you are reading the book as a book. I didn't really understand the key until I was well into the book. The key is that one need to read the book as an extended conversation, or better yet, as an extended essay and rumination on theology, and peripherally, the impact that theology has had on her life.

The theological discussion was extremely successful. It opened up deep wounds and it presented wonderful ideas and complex viewpoints clearly and succinctly, much like the radio show. The only drawback with this aspect of the book is that the book is not a comprehensive book, so she was not able to delve into the intricacies of the thoughts as much as she did with the radio program. So a basic understanding of the people of whom she speaks of is almost a necessity.

Yet it was also substantial reading. It calls for all of your attention. The breadth of the book, the coverage of the religious landscape, the depth of the potential side trips, are all so very tempting and intellectually stimulating. I found myself thinking about the discourse and I also found myself laying the book down to take notes and to sit and think aloud, trying to digest all the implication brought up.
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Format: Hardcover
Speaking of Faith was my first introduction to Krista Tippett. I have since gone to the website from her American Public Media radio program and you are able to listen to all of her programs and the site is very well organized. If you enjoyed this book, I'd highly recommend the website if you have not yet visited it.

It is so refreshing to have a voice for faith like Tippett's. On page 140 of her book she writes, "We have had few models in our public life for religious speech that does not proselytize, exclude, anger or offend." Exactly. It is time to welcome people back to a Christianity that is hopeful, loving, forgiving, understanding, peaceful, and compassionate.

I love that Tippett invites us to have questions about our faith. Through these questions, I personally have had many spiritual experiences with the presence of God. It also occurs to me that when there is too much "religion" and not enough "spirituality" people lose their connection with God. My husband has no interest in faith anymore and when asked why he says he remembers a childhood of repeating things that soon lost their meaning. I asked him if he ever thought about what he was saying and he said "no." Perhaps someday he will go back to think because there is so much to ponder. I loved Tippett's discussion on the difference between religion and spirituality, here is a quote from her book: " A rabbi, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, gave me the best illustration I know of the difference between spirituality and religion. On Mount Sinai, she says, something extraordinary happened to Moses. He had a direct encounter with God. This was a spiritual experience. The Ten Commandments were the container for that experience. They are religion.
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Format: Hardcover
Krista Tippett in Speaking of Faith, the public radio program she created and hosts on a weekly basis, has lifted the ban on public discourse of meaning, ethics, and values. She dares to draw the lines connecting politics and religion - connecting people.

"The human condition is the reality around which political life revolves - and upon which it falters.... This fact is made more complex, not more transparent, in our era where religious passions and identities overtly fuel political conflict," she observes, in the book that echoes the program's name and theme.

Tippett's interview strategy is simple: to invite her guests, men and women of spiritual depth, practical achievement, and passionate conviction to speak in the first person, letting their own stories guide and illuminate the conversation. Her approach, however, is far from simple, combining the incisiveness and nuance of a fine mind, broadly and deeply informed, and a heart overflowing with compassion for the world in its urgent complexity.

Speaking of Faith is densely populated with Tippett's conversation partners: these "others" speak. However, in the book, her own voice surfaces as well, welcoming us to ponder her religious upbringing, her early careers in diplomacy and journalism, and the sometimes thorny path that eventually led her to a mature spirituality that persists in asking the hardest questions.

In a way, Krista Tippett asks those questions on behalf of us all: How do faith and science, religion and politics intersect? Where is God when people suffer? Why do we cause others to suffer in the name of our gods? What is virtue, where is it found, how can we cultivate it? How can we speak unreservedly of the ideals we hold most dear in ways that honor and respect difference?
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