Life & Faith

Life & Faith

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A weekly conversation from the Centre for Public Christianity about the beauty and complexity of belief in the 21st century.


Theology in Pornland
Oct 16 • 30 min
Porn has become a way of life for everyone—even for those who don’t view it. —- “I came to the realisation that what I was asking was not a sociological question, ‘what is pornography?’ It actually was a question of metaphysics, where reality lies.” What…
The Book of the People: Part II
Oct 9 • 33 min
How a not-neat Bible maps onto our not-neat lives. —- “A text without a context is a pretext for whatever you want it to mean. When you do the chicken nugget thing and excerpt a verse, or a half a verse, or two verses, or three verses from its original…
The Book of the People: Part 1
Oct 2 • 30 min
A series of voices on the many voices that make up the world’s best-selling book. —- “It’s the most read, most owned, best-selling book of all time.” The Bible has over the centuries seeped into our language, our stories, even what we value and imagine.…
Saging with a Hebrew school dropout
Sep 25 • 35 min
New York Rabbi Bob Kaplan on how to share a society with people you radically disagree with. —- “Being a rabbi, I always kid around that I am a Hebrew school dropout. The rabbi and I only agreed upon one thing in Hebrew school: he didn’t want me there and…
Fear is a useless thing
Sep 18 • 37 min
Valerie Browning on the choices that led to her life among the Afar nomads of the Ethiopian desert. —- “Why do you protect yourself? Life without risk is not life, it is simply not life.” Valerie Browning is a nurse and midwife who has spent the last 30…
A Lot with a Little: Part II
Sep 11 • 29 min
Tim Costello on what resources we have in the face of overwhelming human need. —- “So much of our experience is that there’s such goodness in people, and generosity. But when you see evil and look it in the eye, it’s overwhelming.” From arguing with…
A Lot with a Little: Part I
Sep 4 • 32 min
Tim Costello, Australia’s favourite social justice advocate, looks back on a storied, surprising life. —- “I don’t think you ever understand your faith until you’re out of your own culture and have to see it through other cultural lenses … The Italian…
He had a dream
Aug 28 • 29 min
The untold story of what drove Vincent Lingiari to lead the Wave Hill walk-off. —- “Those stories are as true and as real as someone having the audacity to say ‘I have a dream’ that racism will be changed in the United States of America. They’re the sorts…
9 to 5
Aug 21 • 25 min
Mark Greene on the frustrations, and the potential, of work in contemporary Western culture. —- “It’s not at all clear to me that the way the work is currently being structured in Western culture is good for the majority of the people in it.” Mark Greene…
The “Christian” Classroom
Aug 14 • 31 min
Why might someone who’s not religious want to send their kids to a faith-based school? —- “Teachers are one of the few groups of people in society who can tell other people what to do in their discretionary time and - by and large - they obey.” Education…
Rebroadcast: Just Women
Aug 7 • 31 min
Two conversations, two stories of lives committed to justice and the flourishing of others. —- “The rescue of one person matters infinitely - it matters to that person, and it matters to us - and at the same time, that one rescue can send a ripple effect…
Glorious Ruins
Jul 31 • 31 min
Philosopher Steven Garber on how we see our world, and ourselves. —- “Though we mostly don’t talk this way or see things this way, I think we are all profound religious people in that deepest sense - we are homo adorans, to use the Latin here. We will…
Zombies, Faith, and Politics
Jul 24 • 25 min
Film and TV critic Alissa Wilkinson on the end of the world - as pop culture imagines it. —- “Dystopia is like the more woke version of utopia. It’s where we’re working out our biggest anxieties as a culture. For instance, does the human race deserve to…
One Giant Leap
Jul 17 • 31 min
50 years on from the moon landing seems like a good time to ask a few existential questions. —- “He said he could stand on the moon, look up to earth, and with this gloved hand hold up his thumb and cover the entire planet. Under his thumb - every…
REBROADCAST: A White Man’s World
Jul 10 • 39 min
There’s sadness and hope on the long road towards Aboriginal recognition and reconciliation. —- “He said to me, ‘never forget you’re an Aboriginal, but do the best you can in a white man’s world’. So that’s what I’ve tried to do. With the help of the Lord…
Are we victims?
Jul 3 • 28 min
Michael Ramsden on how we respond to injustice: as nations, groups, and individuals. —- “There’s a very interesting phrase in the Old Testament where it says you’ve turned justice into bitterness. In a more poetical translation it says you’ve turned…
Are we commitment-phobes?
Jun 26 • 29 min
Michael Ramsden talks to everyone from politicians to terrorists about culture, faith, and Jesus. “I just thought if I became a Christian my life would become worse … I was 100% sure that I was sacrificing on the altar of truth my only chance for…
Rebroadcast: Extravagance
Jun 19 • 29 min
Life & Faith tackles a series of moral dilemmas around poverty and luxury, beauty and utility. —- How can we act ethically in a world that contains so much suffering? One of our Facebook followers articulated the moral dilemma involved in devoting money…
The Philosopher’s Faith
Jun 12 • 34 min
John Haldane on virtue, happiness, narcissism, and the possibility of God. —- “Philosophy from its origins has always had its focus on the idea that we investigate thought and the world and so on in order to answer the question: how ought I to live?” John…
Sister Act
Jun 5 • 34 min
Life & Faith hears from two young women who’ve made some very counter-cultural choices. —- “Sometimes we’ve been mistaken for many other things. We have a convent in New York City, and one night our Sisters were walking on the streets, back to one of our…
What we talk about when we talk about movies
May 29 • 24 min
A conversation with film critic CJ Johnson, for anyone who’s ever loved a film. —- CJ Johnson was an only child who grew up watching Bill Collins present the best of Hollywood every Friday and Saturday night on Channel 10, and who calls film his “first…
Missionary Doctor
May 22 • 0 min
What could make someone give up everything to serve some of the world’s poorest women? —- “As a junior doctor I went to Ethiopia to work with my aunt in the desert area, and we were just wandering around the desert with camels, treating people under trees…
This Side of the Wall
May 15 • 34 min
Checkpoints, borders, normalcy, and hope: a sketch of daily life in the West Bank. —- Areej Masoud lives in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. In terms of physical distance, it’s very close to Jerusalem. In terms of social reality, it’s a world away. “If…
Discomfort Zone: Os Guinness
May 8 • 32 min
Os Guinness talks freedom, human rights, and why the 1960s counterculture was the best moment to come of age. —- “In Europe, you could go to any crossroads - we lived in Switzerland then - and there’d be six hitchhikers. One would be reading Nietzsche,…
Homo Divinus
May 1 • 36 min
Denis Alexander on whether there’s purpose in biology - and in life. —- “You stand back and look at the narrative as a whole, that to me doesn’t look necessarily without purpose … it’s like a drama - it looks like it’s going somewhere.” Denis Alexander is…
A writer’s vocation
Apr 24 • 34 min
A conversation with British journalist Christina Patterson, in this cross-over with The Sacred Podcast. —- “I remember at university meeting someone who said to me, ‘Well, the point in life is to get on, isn’t it’. And I was thunderstruck - naively…
Lifting the lid on Easter
Apr 17 • 23 min
The CPX team talk through fresh angles on the old story as they write for the media this Easter. —- What place - beyond public holidays and Cadbury Creme Eggs - does Easter occupy in our cultural imagination? Doing “public Christianity” means joining up…
Setting the captives free
Apr 10 • 30 min
Hagar International puts names and faces to the hidden scourge of modern slavery. —- “You are the God who sees me.” Hagar International is named for one of the first slave women we know about in history. Hagar was a slave to Abraham and Sarah - her story…
Ethics of What We Eat
Apr 3 • 36 min
A philosopher and a butcher dig into what we should and shouldn’t eat, and why. —- “As society has shifted away from being in close proximity to farms and food production, people are increasingly concerned about where their food’s coming from - the…
The Desire for Dragons
Mar 27 • 32 min
Alison Milbank on why Tolkien and Middle-Earth exercise such a hold over us. —- “It does suggest that within the real world there are portals - thin places, if you like, where we can pass to other worlds and return. And I think that’s what the best…
A Bigger Story of Us
Mar 20 • 32 min
Why are we so polarised? Tim Dixon offers not just a diagnosis, but actual solutions. —- “It’s much easier to hold very hostile prejudicial views of other people if you actually don’t know them personally.” Tim Dixon is co-founder of More in Common, an…
Space for the Sacred
Mar 13 • 33 min
Philosopher and theologian John Milbank on left vs right, Harry Potter, and how none of us behave like we’re just atoms. —- If you’re wanting a crash course on “isms” like liberalism, secularism, and populism from anyone, it’s John Milbank. In this…
Hey, It’s Your Girl Adeola
Mar 6 • 30 min
A Nigerian YouTuber who’s made a name for herself asking hard questions of powerful people. —- “I’m trying to wake people up. Not just in Nigeria - I talk about [other] African countries as well so that they can know we have a lot in common, and so that…
REBROADCAST: O Holy Night
Dec 12, 2018 • 19 min
Simon, Natasha, and John share the stories behind their favourite Christmas carols. —- It’s not quite a Bridget Jones-style situation – sobbing into shiraz and lip-syncing to “All by myself” on Christmas eve – but this year, Justine Toh is all alone in…
Cure or care?
Dec 5, 2018 • 36 min
An exploration of the role of emotional, social, and especially spiritual care in modern medicine. —- “Physical and psychological disruption have obvious spiritual consequences, and spiritual disruption has physical consequences. One of the things we know…
Surprised by Peter Singer
Nov 28, 2018 • 33 min
It took a famous atheist philosopher to shake the foundations of Sarah Irving-Stonebraker’s atheism. —- “A few months into my time at Oxford, my friends and I heard that a very famous atheist philosopher known as Peter Singer was coming to give a series…
An Australian in China
Nov 21, 2018 • 29 min
Courage, blindness, unexpected romance, and a meeting of cultures: the story of missionary Amy Oxley Wilkinson. —- “In about 1944, when Amy was in the East End of London with her grandson, they went into a Chinese restaurant, and the whole restaurant…
REBROADCAST: The Story of Gender
Nov 14, 2018 • 16 min
Professor Sarah Williams on the importance of language and history when it comes to gender. — “We have lost the language for talking about any form of biological determinism. Gender has replaced the word sex, which is ironic given the fact that it was…
The Bullet in the Bible
Nov 7, 2018 • 29 min
We look back on the span of World War I through the prism of one man’s life – and death. —- The centenary of the end of World War I is not an easy one to know what to do with. The relief on the faces of those captured in photos from 11 November 1918,…
Divine Inspiration
Oct 31, 2018 • 28 min
Tremper Longman says the Old Testament remains fresh and exciting to him – even after 40 years studying it. —- Bloody battles, glorious poetry, Hollywood-level drama, even romance … the Old Testament has it all. But how many people have read it? A lot of…
Evolution Wars
Oct 24, 2018 • 36 min
Sociologist Tom Aechtner on why complexity is better than conflict, and how we change our minds. —- “Even from the very beginning, Christian resistance to evolutionary theory, or also Islamic resistance to evolutionary theory, wasn’t necessarily bound to…
REBROADCAST: An Empty Plate
Oct 16, 2018 • 22 min
The Corbetts arrived in Everton ready to fight losing battles – but they’re winning some too. — “Listen to me. You’re grown-ups. This is bad. You are being bad unless you do something about it.” The words of a seven-year-old kid living in Everton,…
A Busy Brain
Oct 10, 2018 • 36 min
YA novelist Claire Zorn on surviving high school, why she didn’t expect to be a writer, and mental illness. —- “I suppose I always had these preconceived ideas of the sort of person a writer was, and I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence in my ability…
An Examined Life
Oct 3, 2018 • 18 min
What is a life well lived? We consider the ripple effects of one man’s influence on generations of students. —- A British Prime Minister is once reported to have said, “I wish I had as much power as a school headmaster!” Every one of us has some influence…
Seeking Validation
Sep 26, 2018 • 26 min
When you’re a minority of a minority of a minority, the vital question to ask is where you belong. —- “To be a Tamil Christian in itself is a minority but then you take that and transplant that as a refugee community in Australia, and the Tamil Christian…
Banishing God
Sep 19, 2018 • 37 min
A journalist defies our squeamishness about religion to make the case that God is good for you. —- “I may get into trouble here with fellow Christians – obviously the New Testament is the centre of Christianity – but there is a sense in which the Old…
An Invisible Wound
Sep 12, 2018 • 25 min
It’s everywhere, and it can be crippling. But people can be freed from the grip of trauma. —- “Trauma is an overwhelming need which people really don’t see. It’s not a physical wound that people would identify and want to help you with, it’s a wound that…
In Vino Veritas
Sep 5, 2018 • 26 min
Caring for the drunk and the vulnerable in the party capital of Europe. —- “It was a square mile that had more pubs, clubs, and bars than anywhere in the European continent.” San Antonio, Ibiza. According to Brian Heasley, it’s the “playground of the rich…
You Are What You Wear
Aug 29, 2018 • 31 min
People are prepared to pay the price for ethical fashion – and the industry is taking notice. —- “We believe that we won’t need to use the word ethical in the next five years - because that is what the fashion industry will be.” Davyn de Bruyn has a bold…
Speak Up, Show Up
Aug 22, 2018 • 32 min
A conversation about death, loss, and what you can really say and do to help grieving people. —- “Hope was with us for 199 days and then she was gone.” Nancy Guthrie has had to live through what many dread as the worst of all experiences of death – the…