“On air and in print, Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of every background to join her conversation about faith, ethics and moral wisdom.”
—From the White House’s National Humanities Medal citation
In 2014, broadcaster Krista Tippett received the National Humanities Medal at the White House for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence.”
The Peabody Award-winning Tippett grew up in Oklahoma, attended Brown University, and spent most of the 1980s in divided Germany. She was The New York Times stringer in Berlin, where she also reported for Newsweek, The International Herald Tribune, the BBC, and Die Zeit. Later she served as a special political assistant and chief Berlin aide to the US Ambassador to West Germany.
“It’s always been very important to me to enlarge imaginations about how this part of life we call religious and spiritual actually works in real, far-flung, 21st-century lives.”
She wrote her first book, Speaking of Faith, in part to answer the question she is often asked—how she went from that mode of geopolitical engagement to becoming a religious person and a student of theology. When she emerged from Yale with a Master of Divinity in 1994, she saw a black hole where intelligent journalistic coverage of religion should be. As she conducted a far-flung oral history project for the Benedictines of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, Tippett began to imagine radio conversations about the spiritual and intellectual content of faith that would enliven imaginations and open public discussion.
The show she created, initially called Speaking of Faith and later renamed On Being, is now heard on over 360 public radio stations and averages over 20 million downloads a year as a podcast. From physics to parenting, from civil society to aging, from yoga to neuroscience, and from the environment to the economy, Krista and her guests trace the ancient, animating questions of human existence: What does it mean to be human? What matters in a life? What matters in a death? How to love? How to be of service to each other and to the world? They explore these questions in all the richness and complexity with which they are finding expression in 21st-century lives. Her new book, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, continues the conversation of her award-winning radio programs of what it means to be human. Publishers Weekly gave this “deftly woven collection of interviews” a starred review.
“We aspire to create hours of radio that are beautiful, intelligent, nourishing, edifying, trustworthy, quiet, and hospitable. They are also challenging, but not in a way that puts people on the defensive or invites posturing. We invite listeners—and give them tools—to open their minds, to see differently, and to start new conversations within themselves.”
Tippett’s second book was the New York Times bestselling Einstein’s God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit, drawn from her interviews with scientists. Her latest initiative, the Civil Conversations Project, is an emergent series of conversations, public events, and resources that offer ideas and tools for healing our fractured civic spaces. In 2013, Tippett created an independent nonprofit production company, Krista Tippett Public Productions, to be more responsive to the public impact of On Being and the Civil Conversations Project.
For more information on Krista Tippett, please visit www.onbeing.org.