We are living through a difficult moment. Our forums for public dialogue are often dominated by the raging and self-righteous vocal minority, and choosing to speak from a public platform can be analogous to throwing yourself to the wolves.
The Sacred podcast, hosted by Director of Theos think tank Elizabeth Oldfield, exists to create a forum for richer and more meaningful conversations with those different from ourselves; and in so doing to promote understanding, empathy and a model for more constructive public dialogue.
For more information about the people and ideas behind the podcast, visit https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/about/who-we-are or follow us on Twitter @theosthinktank and @theoselizabeth.
#76 Jules Evans
Jules is a writer, speaker and practical philosopher. He’s a research fellow at the Centre for the History of Emotions, Queen Mary University of London. He’s also the founder of the London Philosophy Club and co-founder of the first Stoicon, festival of Stoicism. He’s also the author of ‘Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations’, ‘The Art of Losing Control’, ‘Holiday from the Self’ and most recently ‘Breaking Open: finding a way through spiritual emergency.’
In this episode he talks about his boarding school hedonism, near-death experiences, foray into charismatic Christianity and why he thinks our society needs more space for ecstatic experiences.
#75 Sophia Smith Galer
Sophia Smith Galer is currently working as the BBC World Services’ first ever visual journalist in faith and ethics. In this episode Sophia speaks about her experience as one of the first journalists in the UK to be experimenting with Tik Tok, why good religion reporting is so vital, and why journalism and opera singing have a surprising amount in common.
#74 Mark Vernon
Mark is a psychotherapist who writes, lectures and broadcasts on philosophy with a focus on insights that illuminate our inner lives. He was formerly a priest in the Church of England and has written books on friendship, agnosticism, consciousness and love. His most recent book is ‘A Secret History of Christianity’ which is based upon the ideas of Owen Barfield.
In this episode he speaks about why he left the Church of England, his time as ‘nearly an atheist’, and how he found his way back to experiencing the presence of the divine.
#73 Myriam Francois
Myriam Francois is a journalist, filmmaker and senior fellow at the Centre for Global Policy, an American think tank working on the intersection of American foreign policy and Muslim geopolitics. She has made radio and television documentaries for the BBC, Sky and others, and presented a range of programmes related to religion. She is currently running the website and podcast ‘We need to talk about whiteness’.
In this episode she speaks about the process which led to her embracing Islam after university, her experiences as a white woman in a headscarf, and why she will no longer take part in debates which she calls religious bear–baiting.
#72 Ed West
Ed is a journalist. He’s worked on Nuts Magazine, The Catholic Herald and as a columnist for The Telegraph and The Spectator. He’s currently deputy editor at Unherd and the author of a recent book called ‘Small Men on the Wrong Side of History: The Decline, Fall and Unlikely Return of Conservatism’.
In this episode he speaks about his diverse career in journalism, his Catholic upbringing, why he thinks we are on a trajectory to greater progressivism and what he would like people to understand about conservatism.
#71 Willie Jennings
Willie Jennings is a theologian and associate professor of systematic theology and Africana studies at Yale University. He’s an ordained Baptist minister and the author of ‘The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race’, ‘Acts: A Commentary’ and many other titles. His next book is entitled ‘After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging’ and is out later this year.
In this episode he speaks about his love for the seasons, growing up with a racially divided church, why anger can be a force for good and why and how to understand the concept of whiteness.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Always enlightening and humanising.
Grateful for this wee podcast with a big heart. Elizabeth is so interested in the people she interviews, and accomplished in setting aside her own agenda. We always find out something new about our shared and varied human experiences.
I only wish the interviews were longer.
I couldn’t recommend more
I’m always excited to dig into a new instalment of The Sacred. As a former Dawkins fan girl it’s hard to properly state the impact this podcast and Elizabeth’s compassionate, interested and gently prodding interviews have had on me. Unpretentious and emotionally intelligent conversations with people whose viewpoints on all and sundry vary wildly. Brilliant.
Really makes you think!
I discovered this at the start of lockdown and it is hands down my favourite. I love the space that is created to really try and understand someone in their own terms without feeling the need to argue them down or agree with them. When I’ve been tempted to skip an episode (because I really do disagree/object to the person featured) I’ve always been glad I persevered and chastened by the fact I’ve been challenged to think when listening to their ideas- which is the whole point.