276 episodes

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.

Heart and Soul BBC World Service

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.6 • 5 Ratings

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.

    The Church's slave plantation: Part one

    The Church's slave plantation: Part one

    What are the consequences of the Church of England's historic slave plantations in Barbados today? Theologian Robert Beckford considers why and how the Church's missionary arm, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, got involved in the slavery business. He travels to Barbados to hear from a range of voices who tell the story of how in 1710, the Church turned the Codrington Plantation into a missionary experiment. The original mission failed but later generations did eventually adopt the Anglican faith. However, spurred by the country becoming a republic, some are now questioning the Church's historic role in slavery. For some, it has turned them away from Christianity; for others, there is a need to decolonise or Africanise Anglican Christianity in Barbados. They say the religion's only hope of survival on the island is to make it relevant to the black majority populace. Through the voices of Bajan Anglican worshipers, Robert interrogates what the future of the Church now looks like in terms of practice and governance in Barbados.
    Presenter: Robert Beckford
    Producer: Rajeev Gupta

    • 27 min
    Sikhism’s lost song

    Sikhism’s lost song

    In the heyday of the Sikh Empire, Kirtan - Sikh hymns - were performed using stringed instruments such as the sarangi, rabab and taus. The rich, complex tones these instruments create are said to evoke a deeper connection to Waheguru (God). But in the late 19th Century, these traditional instruments were replaced by European imports like the harmonium.
    Now a new generation of diaspora Sikhs is painstakingly rebuilding that musical heritage - restoring scores and gathering to teach and learn traditional instruments. In 2022, the Akal Takht, the highest temporal authority for Sikhs, signalled a revival of stringed instruments in the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine. But can they attract and train enough musicians to put strings back at the heart of Sikh worship?
    Monika Plaha meets one these musical pioneers, Harjinder Singh Lallie, and finds out how his beliefs fuel his work and how his music shapes his faith.
    Producer: Rachel Briggs and Ajai Singh
    Presenter: Monika Plaha
    Editor: Helen Grady
    Production co-ordinator: Mica Nepomuceno
    Come with us! Heart and Soul is moving and we would love it if you can join us. You can now find all our episodes on The Documentary, the home of original, global storytelling, from the BBC World Service. Search for The Documentary, wherever you found this podcast, and don’t forget to subscribe or follow.

    • 27 min
    Clergy in cartel land

    Clergy in cartel land

    Mexico has become the most dangerous country in the world to be a Catholic priest. In the past 15 years, 50 were killed in narco-related violence. And the young men who enter the priesthood in the region of western Mexico known as Tierra Caliente, meaning "hot land", are at particular risk. They will have to work in drug cartel-controlled communities, may have gang leaders or members in their congregations and will struggle with the ethical and theological dilemmas of publicly condemning these men’s actions at the risk of being murdered for speaking out. Even baptisms or delivering communion or receiving donations can prove extremely threatening: to refuse them any of the most sacred rituals of the Church is to defy the cartels. And few live to tell the tale having refused to bend to the cartels’ demands.
    The BBC’s Mexico Correspondent, Will Grant travels to Tierra Caliente to meet a group of seminarians. In recent years, their director was attacked and almost killed. Members of a drug cartel entered their seminary, dragged off one of their colleagues and murdered him in the surrounding countryside. And the grave to one of their instructors is nestled by the chapel. All reminders, if any were needed, that these young men are about to join the world’s most dangerous priesthood. How are they prepared? Do they appreciate just what they are letting themselves in for? And how will they tackle the thorny ethical and spiritual questions which lie ahead as priests?
    Come with us! Heart and Soul is moving and we would love it if you can join us. You can now find all our episodes on The Documentary, the home of original, global storytelling, from the BBC World Service. Search for The Documentary, wherever you found this podcast, and don’t forget to subscribe or follow.

    • 27 min
    Purity to nudity

    Purity to nudity

    Gwen was brought up as a strict evangelical Christian. She was taught that women needed to control the way they dressed and acted to control the behaviour of men. When she was sexually abused, she believed it was her fault. But when she first stepped into a nudist community, she felt free. She was naked, with other naked people, and her nakedness was not making other people molest her. She learnt that her body was not something she had to hide.

    The BBC’s Josie Le Vay visits Gwen at her home in a nudist community in Florida, USA, as she reconciles with the harm purity culture has caused herself, and those she taught it to.
    We meet Gwen’s neighbour, Michael, a retired chaplain and pastor, who runs nude bible reading sessions from his home and attends the nearby Garden of Eden church, which celebrates the ‘joy and innocence of Christian naturism’. And we hear how those who practise many of the evangelical teachings Gwen grew up with respond to her new nudist lifestyle; and her Christian friends who believe the Bible justifies their way of life.
    Producer: Michael Gallagher
    Presenter: Josie Le Vay
    Editor: Helen Grady
    Production co-ordinator: Mica Nepomuceno
    Come with us! Heart and Soul is moving and we would love it if you can join us. You can now find all our episodes on The Documentary, the home of original, global storytelling, from the BBC World Service. Search for The Documentary, wherever you found this podcast, and don’t forget to subscribe or follow.

    • 27 min
    My hijab or my sport

    My hijab or my sport

    It took Salimata Sylla three hours to get to the away fixture she was due to play with her basketball team mates from the Parisian suburb of Aubervilliers. But it was only a few minutes before the match started that she learned she was going to sit the game out on the bench.
    Despite playing for more than 10 years in the French Championship, the federation that controls her sport decided to apply the rule that forbids female basketball players from wearing the hijab.
    Her coach describes her as the backbone of the team and an ambassador for the sport. She has been a face of basketball for many big brands on social media. And the hijab she wears is sold by mainstream sportswear manufacturers.
    Salimata’s ban is the latest in country where the right to wear a hijab has long divided opinion. But in her case, it raises an interesting dilemma for France.
    While domestic sporting federations enforce their ban on the hijab, their international counterparts have no such ban in place. So what will happen, Salimata wonders, when the Olympics come to Paris next year?
    Reporter Claire Jones goes to Paris to meet Salimata to find out how she can resolve her wish to express her Muslim faith by wearing a hijab with her desire to play the sport she loves.
    Presenter: Claire Jones
    Location Producer: Léontine Gallois
    Producer: Helen Lee and Rob Cave
    Production co-ordinator: Mica Nepomuceno

    • 26 min
    An instrument speaking to the infinite

    An instrument speaking to the infinite

    The organ has always been a vehicle for truly cosmic ideas - for atheists and believers alike. Acclaimed Latvian organist Iveta Apkalna explores the idea that the instrument is simply a vehicle for Christian worship digging deeper into how the organ conveys ideas of the infinite and the microscopic, the existential and the personal, of celebration, grief and joy.
    Presenter: Iveta Apkalna
    Producer: Steven Rajam
    An Overcoat Media production for BBC World Service
    (Photo: Pipe organ by Nikolaus Moll in the Innsbruck Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of St. James in Innsbruck, Austria. Credit: Getty Images)

    • 27 min

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4.6 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

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