An event for the ages: 'A Matter of Faith'

November 19, 2009

And A Whole Lotta People... Monday night.‚  Chicago.‚  Downtown.‚  In a church across the street from the Hancock. InterFaith Youth Core founder Eboo Patel interviewing APM's Speaking of Faith host Krista Tippett as the third event for Chicago Public Radio Presents... So far, the station has sold out on the first two events in the series.‚  We're all feeling pretty good.‚  But the Fourth Presbyterian Church is a BIG church.‚  To slam dunk the Evolving Faith: Meaning, Ethics, and Ideas conversation, we'd have to fill at least half the sanctuary to be able to even show our faces Tuesday morning and that's 400 bodies. Did we bite off more than we could chew? faith_crowdNope. The reception started a half hour early due to the windy conditions and the general eagerness of our audience.‚  Krista Franklin encouraged people coming in to participate in her original collage and we had roasted tomato soup and pumpkin tartlets‚  - a tartlet is like a tart but the size of a quarter - for the quick snack attacks of our guests. faith_eboo_krista And the people came.‚  And they kept coming.‚  By the time we began our live stream broadcast of the event, we were looking at a crowd of nearly 800 WBEZ and Tippett fans.‚  It was remarkable.‚  It was awesome. I was working behind the scenes, so I asked WBEZ Vice President of Institutional Advancement Jill Seltzer to jot down a few impressions of the actual discussion:
The goal was to turn the tables on the lady.‚  "You're used to interviewing other people.‚  But tonight I get to interview you." "You have often said the best way to understand someone's spirituality (spiritual life?) is to ask them about their childhood.‚  So, tell us about your childhood." She began by saying that her grandfather was a Baptist minister.‚  He challenged her intellectually while at the same time articulating the not-to-be-questioned tenets of the church.‚  It was confusing but in a thought-provoking way. She then went off to live in divided Germany during her 20's.‚  So, all of her focus was on political issues for an extended amount of time. She's a journalist first. She believes that the melding of all of her experiences has brought her to the topic she now pursues with such interest. Her favorite interview is the latest interview. I thought it was very interesting that a couple of times she reminded us that she is a journalist first. One other observation:‚  she thinks the younger generation is looking for authenticity, and that they are going to be much better at bringing us all together across our differences then we have been.
In the end, as Steve Edwards pointed out, "Looks like we're three for three." faith_tippet_sign Come check out the remaining seven events, get your passport stamped, and continue to inflate Executive Producer Breeze Richardson's street cred and my ego by making all of them as remarkably cool as the first three.‚  Why?‚  Because we're way cooler than public radio is supposed to be. Rock. -- Don Hall