MattAndJojang's Blog

God. Life. Spirituality.

Speaking of Faith: Why Religion Matters – and How To Talk About It

with 4 comments

Speaking of Faith

For the most part yesterday I spent the day reading, because of a 10-hour brownout. I read Krista Tippett’s Speaking of Faith: Why Religion Matters – And How To Talk About It. Krista Tippett is the award-winning host of my favorite internet podcast On Being.

The book is full of gems of wisdom. These are some of the passages in the book that resonated with me:

We miss the essence of great religious figures…if we imagine them sitting, uttering a list of doctrines. And our theology… should be like poetry.

If we wait for clean heroes and clear choices and evidence on our side to act, we will wait forever, and my radio conversations teach me that people who bring light into the world wrench it out of darkness, and contend openly with darkness all of their days.

Healing, like faith, …is most effective when it incorporates what is broken rather than denying or curing it.

The way we deal with the losses of our lives, large and small, may be what most determines our capacity to be present to the whole of our lives.

Religious traditions give me language and ideas to hold on to ambiguity—the pleasure and pain of human experience that complicate and enliven each other.

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.

We speak because we have questions, not just answers, and our questions cleanse our answers and enliven our world.

The book is for people who want to make sense of what religion is all about and how to practice it in our modern, contemporary, 21st century society. It is also for those who have been wounded by the negative, unhealthy and life-denying aspects of religion. In the words of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love:

Her intelligence is like a salve for all thinking people who have felt wounded or marginalized by The God Wars.

Speaking of Faith is a book I will cherish and reread over and over again…

— Matt

Written by MattAndJojang

November 11, 2015 at 9:34 am

4 Responses

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  1. That distinction between spirituality and religion seems exactly right to me. I enjoyed all of the quotations. I haven’t read her — let’s be frank here, I barely remember hearing her name — but she clearly is worth some exploration. Thanks!


    November 11, 2015 at 10:26 am

  2. Glad you liked it, Linda.

    Although Krista Tippett is not as popular as the well-known, established authors of religion and spirituality, she’s becoming one of my favorite authors; she is more known for her podcast On Being. In fact, the book, which records the evolution of her intellectual and spiritual journey, is also partly a reflection of her dialogue with her conversation partners.

    What I find refreshing about her is her open, sensible, inclusive and intelligent approach to religion and spirituality. A rare feat in our age dominated by culture wars, and the rise of the strident and violent sectors in religion.

    Indeed, an author worth exploring…



    November 13, 2015 at 9:15 am

  3. I like her better already. I will take a look.


    November 13, 2015 at 9:17 am

  4. Great! 🙂


    November 13, 2015 at 9:43 am

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