520 episodes

Growing up as the son of a diamond smuggler. The leaps of faith required for scientific discovery. An actress who hated Christians, then became one. Join us as we discover the surprising ways Christian faith interrogates and illuminates the world we live in.

Life & Faith Centre for Public Christianity

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.6 • 12 Ratings

Growing up as the son of a diamond smuggler. The leaps of faith required for scientific discovery. An actress who hated Christians, then became one. Join us as we discover the surprising ways Christian faith interrogates and illuminates the world we live in.

    A full life found in the world’s trouble spots

    A full life found in the world’s trouble spots

    Asuntha Charles has lived in some toughest places in the world. And she’s loved it.  
     
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    As a young woman, Asuntha Charles stubbornly defied her culture to advocate for vulnerable women and girls. That determination never left her as she dedicated her life to voiceless people in not only her native India, but places like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sudan and Iraq.
    Here she tells Life & Faith about her extraordinary life of service and care for people who needed that care most. And we also get an insight into the early influences that shaped her life and contributed to her holding a faith that sustains her even in the face of risk, and heartbreaking losses.
    Try listening to this and not be challenged and inspired!
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    Sign up for the CPX newsletter here 

    • 33 min
    The Vanishing

    The Vanishing

    War correspondent Janine di Giovanni has covered the near-extinction of the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East.  
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    “They’ve survived plagues, they’ve survived pillages, they’ve survived raids, they’ve survived purges – and they most recently survived ISIS.”  
    The Christian communities of the Middle East – in places like Iraq and Syria, Egypt and Palestine – are ancient, and over recent decades have been facing various kinds of existential threat. Janine di Giovanni’s book The Vanishing: The Twilight of Christianity in the Middle East is a work of “pre-archaeology”, recording the stories and courage of these communities even as they disappear.  
    Di Giovanni is a war correspondent and human rights investigator who has covered 18 wars and 3 genocides across her career, bearing witness to the terrible things that happen in our world. In this episode, she talks about visiting churches in war zones, why people stay, and whether faith – including her own belief in God – is strong enough to survive war. She also shares a bit about her current work with The Reckoning Project, a war crimes unit working within Ukraine.  
    “It's been an honour to work for 35 years in all these war zones with these extraordinary people. I feel very privileged and lucky every day of my life that I do this work, because … I have a purposeful life.” 
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    EXPLORE: 
    The Vanishing: The Twilight of Christianity in the Middle East, by Janine di Giovanni 
    The Reckoning Project 
    Sign up for the CPX newsletter here 

    • 31 min
    How CPX Writes About Easter

    How CPX Writes About Easter

    CPX writers talk about how they’re hoping to breathe new life into a very old story.  
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    Get a glimpse into the CPX writers’ room as Simon, Natasha, Justine and Max talk about what they’re writing about Easter, or how they go about working out how to write about Easter.  
    Natasha talks about American novelist Marilynne Robinson’s new book Reading Genesis and how Robinson’s courteous and unapologetic way of doing “public Christianity” messes with how public conversations about God usually happen.  
    Max discusses how we may admire heroes for their greatness – like Homer’s Achilles, for example – but we really long for goodness, expressed by saviours who willingly sacrifice themselves for others. 
    Simon discusses how a quirk of the calendar can put Anzac Day and Easter in proximity to each other, bringing those two events and their focus on sacrifice into conversation.  
    Justine talks about death denial among the tech titans of Silicon Valley who hope to solve the problem of death. She argues that they express what life feels like if Easter Saturday – the day Jesus lay dead in the grave – is never followed by Easter Sunday – the day that changed everything, according to the Christian faith, because it is the day that Jesus rose to new life.  
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    Explore: 
    Natasha’s piece on Marilynne Robinson’s Reading Genesis 
    An article Simon wrote linking Anzac Day with Easter 
    Sign up for the CPX newsletter here 

    • 33 min
    Being a chaplain in the ICU ... and prison

    Being a chaplain in the ICU ... and prison

    We explore the spiritual needs of people in intensive care in hospital, or behind bars. 
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    “I went to see this lady and as soon as I walked in, she actually said, ‘f*** off, I don’t want to have anything to do with you people’.” 
    Chaplaincy in Australia is contested. If people have had a bad experience with the church or concerned that someone might be trying to manipulate them, a chaplain walking up to say hi might get that response. Not least because people can be very vulnerable if they’re dealing with a shocking medical episode in hospital or grappling with life in prison. 
    This Life & Faith episode takes you behind the scenes of two very different environments: the intensive care unit of a major Sydney hospital, and Kirkconnell Correctional Centre in regional NSW. Two chaplains from Jericho Road, a social service organisation linked with the Presbyterian Church in NSW, tell us about what it’s like to care spiritually for people during very difficult times in their lives.  
    Content warning: there are some challenging stories told in these interviews. This episode is not suitable for children. 
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    Explore: 
    Jericho Road’s Love Your Neighbour course on chaplaincy
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    • 34 min
    The Return of Religious Belief

    The Return of Religious Belief

    For decades now in the West, religion has been on the retreat. In places where, 50 years ago, going to church on a Sunday was just what you did, we’ve had generations now for whom that would be a very foreign concept.  
    Justin Brierley is an author and very popular podcaster. For 17 years he hosted a podcast called Unbelievable where he would bring together atheist and Christian thinkers for civil and robust discussion. He presided over conversations with some of the world’s great minds for these dialogues and modelled a brilliant way to disagree civilly.  
    Justin has just published a book called The Surprising Re-birth of Belief in God: Why New Atheism Grew Old and Secular Thinkers Are Considering Christianity Again. He detects a shift in the air and the possibility that the thoroughly secular vision of the world might not be cutting it for people today. Is that his imagination or might there be something to this? 
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    Explore: 
    Justin’s latest book: https://justinbrierley.com/the-surprising-rebirth-of-belief-in-god/ 
    And the podcast at: 
    The Surprising Rebirth podcast: https://justinbrierley.com/surprisingrebirth/ 
    Sign up for CPX's regular email newsletter to find out more about our work.

    • 35 min
    Rebroadcast: To Change the World

    Rebroadcast: To Change the World

    Sarah Williams explains how the mother of modern feminism fell off the pages of history.
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    After her death in 1906, Josephine Butler was described as one of the “few great people who have moulded the course of things”. (For the record, she was also described by peers as “the most beautiful woman in the world”.)
    Yet how many of us have heard of her? A bit too feminist for later Christians, a bit too Christian for later feminists, this pioneer of the movement against sex trafficking is only now being remembered.
    Sarah Williams is an historian at Regent College and a research associate at St Benet’s Hall, Oxford. And over the last few years, she has gotten to know Josephine Butler well – she would even go so far as to call her a friend.
    When Natasha Moore asked what she finds so remarkable about Butler, Sarah speaks first about her persistence – the sixteen years she spent working to overturn one law that unjustly discriminated against women.
    “I don’t think that we lack vision in our culture, but we definitely lack stamina … I think she did it by recognising that she couldn’t do it. Does that sound strange?”
    For International Women’s Day this year, meet the woman who’s been called the mother of modern feminism – and join an ongoing conversation our culture is having about power, justice, gender, and what it means to “change the world”.
    “We might imagine that the real centres of power are where powerful people change culture through influencing spheres of culture – media, politics, the law, and so on … And yet what’s extraordinary about somebody like Josephine Butler or Mahatma Gandhi or any other of the great social reformers that we can think of in history, is that they somehow manage to see that really the margins matter a lot. And that what goes on at the centre, if it fails to understand what’s going on at the margins, does so at its peril.”

    Pre-order Sarah Williams' biography of Josephine Butler, When Courage Calls.

    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

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