50 episodes

The Centre for Public Christianity aims to promote the public understanding of the Christian faith. The Centre offers free comment, interviews, and other web based material. For more information go to publicchristianity.org.

Life & Faith Centre for Public Christianity

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.8 • 240 Ratings

The Centre for Public Christianity aims to promote the public understanding of the Christian faith. The Centre offers free comment, interviews, and other web based material. For more information go to publicchristianity.org.

    REBROADCAST: Space for the Sacred

    REBROADCAST: Space for the Sacred

    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 wide-ranging conversation with Simon Smart, the philosopher and theologian has a way of never saying quite what you expect him to. He questions the idea that left and right are really in opposition to each other, calls the final Harry Potter book “a profound theological meditation”, and is enthusiastic about people’s longing for paganism.

    What does he think Christianity might give people that’s surprising? “Pleasure,” he replies immediately. “It would make their lives far more interesting, exciting, and pleasurable - and physical, because they’re essentially alienated from their bodies if they think their bodies are just bits of matter.”

    Does he think a revival of religion is on the cards? “The reason I do think religion may revive is that it is on the side of common sense … all the time people behave as if they had minds, as if they had souls, as if the good, the true, and the beautiful, the right and wrong, were real - and yet the scientific discourses which we have, or rather their scientistic reductive modes, can’t really allow the reality of any of these things.”

    From politics to angels, Milbank turns his formidable intellect on some of the quirks and contradictions of our time.

    • 30 min
    Seen & Heard: The Third

    Seen & Heard: The Third

    Simon, Justine, and Natasha debrief on their fave reads/watches of 2022 thus far.


    The CPX team - no surprises here - love a good book or film, and also love a good gossip about them afterwards. 

    Join Simon Smart, Justine Toh, and Natasha Moore as they gush about what they’ve seen and heard of late. 

    Natasha repents of her snobbery about audiobooks, having been converted to the form by Trevor Noah’s remarkable memoir Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood. 

    Justine makes the case for her claim (less than halfway through the year) that the fantasy/sci-fi film Everything Everywhere All At Once is the best film of 2022. 

    And Simon is super impressed by Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel Crossroads - especially by his depiction of people of faith, in the context of a pastor’s family in 1970s Illinois. 

    Race, faith, family, the multiverse, and struggling through hard times: some themes emerge as the team consider their recent cultural consumption, and try to persuade you to watch or listen as well. 


    Listen to Trevor Noah’s memoir Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

    Watch the Everything Everywhere All at Once trailer

    Read Jonathan Franzen’s novel Crossroads

    Watch Trevor Noah’s monologue about Kim Kardashian and Kanye

    Listen to the Radio National interview with Jonathan Franzen

    • 29 min
    How chronic distrust became a way of life

    How chronic distrust became a way of life

    It’s been 50 years since the Watergate scandal. Our trust in institutions has never quite recovered.


    On June 17, 1972, police arrested a group of burglars at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. Evidence linked the attempted burglary to US President Nixon’s campaign for re-election – leading to a Senate investigation that ultimately led to Nixon’s resignation.

    Since then, the suffix ‘gate’ has been attached to any scandal (political or otherwise), story of mismanagement and abuse, or suggestion of a cover-up. The net effect has been to dissolve people’s trust that they’re being told the truth. 

    Half a century on, we live in societies of chronic distrust, as measured by annual polls like the Edelman Trust Barometer, and research conducted by organisations like More in Common, which studies polarisation and political division across the West.

    In this episode of Life & Faith, we revisit the main beats of the Watergate scandal and its reverberations in our culture – and popular culture. We also explore what it means for our societies when distrust has become a way of life, and the role of local communities - including, surprisingly, communities of faith - in nurturing trust between people. 



    Garrett M. Graff’s Watergate: A New History

    More in Common’s 2021 research report Two Stories of Distrust in America

    Edelman Trust Barometer 2022 

    • 34 min
    For the love of dog

    For the love of dog

    What our favourite companion animals can teach us about ourselves – and about God. 


    Are you a dog person or cat lover? You’re one or the other, apparently. 

    Wth 69% of Australian households now owning a pet, according to a 2021 survey by Animal Medicines Australia, this week Life & Faith is pleased to get controversial: we reveal that Australia’s “two-pet” system has a clear winner. Dogs.

    We speak to Barney Zwartz, long-time dog tragic, about the dogs in his life: the border collie-labrador cross Nessie, whom Barney dubs “Mary Poppins” because she is “practically perfect in every way”, and Lennie, a border collie-whippet who had a special connection with Barney’s late son Sam. 

    What explains the human-dog bond? Is it dogs’ “hypersociability”? Or “exaggerated gregariousness”? Professor Clive Wynne, the founder of the Canine Science Laboratory at Arizona State University, just calls it dogs’ capacity for “love”. 

    Barney draws on Professor Wynne’s Dog is Love: Why and how your dog loves you when discussing his own immensely popular columns in The Age reflecting on how heaven-sent dogs seem to be, given their loving, forgiving natures. But don’t worry, cat people: Justine demands Barney account for his outrageous quip in one of those columns that “cats, of course, are despatched from below”. 

    Meanwhile, we borrow a snippet from Nick Spencer’s interview with philosopher John Gray about his book Feline Philosophy: Cats and the meaning of life. In this extract from the podcast Reading Our Times, John Gray ponders what cats reveal about the problem of human consciousness: we worry endlessly, while they don’t really seem bothered by anything.

    So if you, a human animal, are weighed down by many cares, we hope this lighthearted look at what our pets can teach us about God, or what it means to be human, is as fun as a dog with a bone, or a cat toying with a mouse. Enjoy.



    Barney’s columns about Lennie and Sam and Nessie (pictures included!)

    Nick Spencer’s interview with John Gray about Feline Philosophy from the podcast Reading Our Times

    Clive Wynne’s book Dog is Love: Why and how your dog loves you

    John Gray’s book Feline Philosophy: Cats and the meaning of life

    Benjamin and Jenna Silber Storey’s book Why We Are Restless: On the modern quest for contentment 

    • 28 min
    Mid-Life Crisis: A Guidebook

    Mid-Life Crisis: A Guidebook

    For centuries, all kinds of people have testified that Dante and his epic poem changed their life. 


    Midway along the journey of our life
    I woke to find myself in a dark wood,
    for I had wandered off from the straight path.

    A 700-year-old epic poem may not be the first place you’d think to turn when life gets messy, painful, or confusing. But across times, cultures, and different walks of life, people say that reading The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri changed - or even saved! - their life. What is it that they find in this strange old book? 

    In this episode of Life & Faith, Simon and Natasha hear from a scholar and also a few recent - and enthusiastic - readers of Dante about what this story of one man’s imagined journey through the afterlife (hell, purgatory, paradise) has meant to them. 

    “Dante finds us in hard times,” says Professor Jane Kim from Biola University, who found herself returning to the poem during the peak of the pandemic. “I think for those of us who may be experiencing the proverbial midlife crisis or who may be feeling lost or stranded, Dante is reminding us that the midway point is the beginning of the epic, the middle is always the beginning of a new adventure.”


    Explore: One Hundred Days of Dante

    • 34 min
    Daniel Principe takes on Porn Culture

    Daniel Principe takes on Porn Culture

    Sexuality, consent and pornography might not be the first topic of conversation we’d raise at a dinner party. But perhaps we should! 


    Issues around consent, pornography and sexuality are a minefield to navigate for young people today and sometimes it’s hard to find helpful places to go to find help.

    Daniel Principe, Youth Advocate and Educator at Collective Shout, is one source of information and encouragement for young people and his work is hitting a nerve.

    What are ways to help young women and men flourish together when pornography and objectification are such powerfully warping influences and so hard to counteract. Daniel Principe is out in schools offering a different way to think and to be, and young people are lapping this message up. 

    Listen to Dan tell something of his story, his passion for the subject and why he thinks there are things that can be done to help people find healthy and life-giving relationships that will serve both individuals and the common good.   

    Despite the darkness of the subject matter, this is an uplifting and optimistic conversation.



    Last of the Romans: Reimagining Masculinity, restoring virtue 

    1800 Respect or 1800 737 732

    Men’s Referral Service or 1300 766 491

    Lifeline or 13 11 14

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
240 Ratings

240 Ratings

deutschmo ,

Quite brilliant

Always something engaging and thoughtful. Presenters are articulate and ask excellent questions. A wonderful engagement of life and faith. A must listen for any discerning Christian and great resource to pass on to those still thinking.

Andy the coffee guy ,


I’ve just started to listen in to these pod casts (late adopter ?!) and have found the variety of
issues tackled and the interviews excellent ! Well done and thanks to all involved.

SJ Alley ,

Wait for it every week!

I love the variety in this podcast and look forward to it landing in my podcasts each week.

Top Podcasts In Religion & Spirituality

Tara Brach
Ascension Catholic Faith Formation
Undeceptions Ltd
Tim Keller
Hay House

You Might Also Like

Undeceptions Ltd
John Anderson
Justin Brierley
The WADR Project
The Gospel Coalition