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The Public Listener: A Conversation with Radio Host Krista Tippett
Photo by Jonathan Chapman Photography

There are few media (besides this magazine, perhaps) in which you could find former Fuller Seminary president Richard Mouw, social activist Shane Claiborne, and the late Orthodox theologian Jaroslav Pelikan discussing the mysteries of Christian faith back to back. But the radio dial between K-LOVE and the oldies station is a good place to start. There, on more than 200 National Public Radio stations every week, broadcast journalist Krista Tippett hosts On Being (formerly Speaking of Faith), a show dedicated to "tracing the intersection between theology and real life." While many guests are outside the Christian tradition, the show has arguably helped demolish the misinformed stereotypes about evangelical Christians sloppily dispersed by other media.

Tippett recently spoke with CT managing editor Katelyn Beaty about how her faith informs her work—what she calls "a ministry of listening rather than of preaching"—and why the best Christians today doing the most loving, faithful work in Jesus' name are the ones we'll never read about.

On Being went to a weekly national format in 2003. In the past decade, how have you seen the public discourse about religion in America change?

I'd go back a little bit. I had been a journalist in Europe and then went to divinity school in the early 1990s, and came out as somebody who had the perspective of a journalist and was now also theologically educated.

At that point, you had Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson speaking not just for evangelical Christianity or Christianity; they were the voices of religion in America. They made for great sound bites; they were exciting in that way.

That was a big piece of the motivation for me: This [religious] part of life is so much bigger and more ...

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