23 episodes

Conversations between a dad and his children capture the sheer joy of talking, singing, and laughing with Richard, a man of simple pleasures, expansive intelligence, historical perspective, and progressive politics. In Season 1, Richard is living under lockdown in his senior living residence during the coronavirus pandemic. It tells the story of Richard’s resilience and of the family’s efforts to ease the psychic impact of his isolation. In Season 2, Margaret asks Richard why he talked so much about vocation when she was growing up. Richard offers the wide arc of his theological understanding—from the need to care for working people to the cosmic Spirit that holds the universe together. They decided to devote an entire podcast season to vocation.

Keeping Dad Alive Margaret Poethig

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 22 Ratings

Conversations between a dad and his children capture the sheer joy of talking, singing, and laughing with Richard, a man of simple pleasures, expansive intelligence, historical perspective, and progressive politics. In Season 1, Richard is living under lockdown in his senior living residence during the coronavirus pandemic. It tells the story of Richard’s resilience and of the family’s efforts to ease the psychic impact of his isolation. In Season 2, Margaret asks Richard why he talked so much about vocation when she was growing up. Richard offers the wide arc of his theological understanding—from the need to care for working people to the cosmic Spirit that holds the universe together. They decided to devote an entire podcast season to vocation.

    Cosmic Theologian

    Cosmic Theologian

    At the start of Season 2, Margaret asks "why do you talk so much about vocation?” Richard’s surprising answer spans time and space—from Luther’s understanding of Beruf that launched the Protestant Reformation to Richard’s current theological ideas about what holds the universe together.



    For Richard, vocation asks, “What you can see that you gave your life to?” He reflects on his life’s calling to bring justice to working people, in the context of the history of the Presbyterian Church’s Social Gospel movement and his own working class roots. He offers a midrash on the theme of class conflict. And he gives us the wide arc of his theology—from the human spirit to a cosmic Spirit that envelopes us in love.



    Music Credit: “Phase 2” by Xylo-Ziko https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Xylo-Ziko/

    • 18 min
    Good Will

    Good Will

    People popped up in Richard’s life along the way and gave him direction. Call this vocation, good will, or “breaking the spell”—it altered the course of his life. When Mrs. Masek, a neighbor in the tenement building where Richard lived, recommended Good Will Sunday School, little did Richard or his mother Henrietta know it would open up the world to him.



    Music Credit: “Savanna” by Xylo-Ziko https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Xylo-Ziko/

    • 12 min
    Henny and Ernest

    Henny and Ernest

    Richard, the son of a working class father and a mother with higher aspirations, found a way to honor them both through his vocation. Richard’s sister Erna helps memorialize their resilient lives.



    Music Credits: “Phase 3” by Xylo-Ziko https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Xylo-Ziko/ and "The Fred Waring Show," September 23, 1947.

    • 14 min
    Hellish Jobs

    Hellish Jobs

    What does vocation mean to someone in a hellish job? The Ministers in-Industry-Program put seminarians to work in steel mills to teach them what the industrial system does to people. Richard applies what he knows about Calvin and labor organizing to the circumstances workers find themselves in today.

    Music Credits: “Last Light” by Xylo-Ziko https://nultielrecords.blogspot.com/

    • 21 min
    Bold Move to a New World

    Bold Move to a New World

    Richard is about to embark on his final journey. He recounts an earlier voyage by train, boat, and plane with his young family to their new home in the Philippines. On a stopover in Japan, Richard attends a conference about his new vocation: the urban-industrial mission of the church.

    • 33 min
    Mr. Richard

    Mr. Richard

    Richard is in hospice and needs caregivers 24-hours-a-day. He marvels at all the attention. For his caregivers, it’s a vocation in the deepest sense of the word. Richard makes a case for more public support for caregiving.

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
22 Ratings

22 Ratings

littlemenarehot ,

Grace in 20 episodes

If the stories weren’t so unpretentious –and told with the most infectious laugh – this podcast could be called “The Meaning of Life: People, Relationships, Vocation, and Family (and fruit and birds and the cosmos).” The only thing more inspirational than Richard Poethig’s telling of his one wild life is Margaret’s narration and production of the podcast itself. Brilliant.

Jenn in DC ,

A balm and silver lining for an otherwise awful 2020

Keeping Dad Alive is an antidote to these tough times. The episodes share how a resilient man and his amazing children bridge the physical distance between themselves and ensure that the most important thing in life - the love of a family - remains strong.

Episode 6 pays tribute to the incredibly important work of home care for our elderly - and hospice care - in particular. These women’s stories need to be shared and understood. Such important work!

Highly recommend the whole series!

APFineday ,

What an amazing family!

These short bursts of information about this family are so interesting. Each of the family members is so intelligent, creative, insightful. So much fun to listen to them all and how they interact with their dad.

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