I launched my ‘Living Our Beliefs’ podcast in January. Those intervening five months have taught me all manner of technical things. I have also learned to track a complex schedule and keep an eye on how each episode supports the broader mission. What has not changed is my joy in interviewing, the focus of this post.
The interview lies at the heart of podcasting. Conducting interviews suits me well and my pleasure in these conversations continues to grow. Besides my innate ability to find connection easily, I have honed my ability to listen actively and ask probing but careful questions. What has emerged repeatedly is a conversation about the guest’s religious identity and practice, shaped by dynamics between us. Whether I am speaking with a Christian, Muslim or a fellow Jew, the exchange broadens our religious knowledge, and points of similarities are found. Moreover, the guest’s personal account reveals real life complexity – Nathan retains their core Catholic beliefs despite being gender non-conforming, Susan holds both love for Jewish values and recognition that many interfaith families face difficult choices, Shabiha’s professionalism wins over new colleagues nervous about working with a hijab-wearing Muslim.
Hearing about a guest’s religious journey invariably prompts a memory of my own, which I share briefly. Adding a bit of my story injects a warm personal touch. I may note my non-observant interfaith upbringing, my Jewish life in Berlin Germany or other situations. Comparing beliefs, practice and experiences enriches our conversation.
Gratitude abounds for these opportunities to have a personal conversation in a non-judgmental space, and through that to build bridges. Talking about personal religious identity and expression in a public arena is challenging. I’m touched that so many have agreed to participate. I leave each conversation with a broader and more nuanced understanding of ways we live our beliefs. That result alone holds value for me and is a blessing. I hope my guests are enriched as well. May the learning and questioning continue.
The ‘Living Our Beliefs’ podcast is available on all major podcast platforms and through my Talking with God Project website. Comments and questions are encouraged and can be sent directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!