cover image Speaking of Faith

Speaking of Faith

Krista Tippett, Author . Viking $23.95 (238p) ISBN 978-0-670-03835-0

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.)