Friendly Friday: Getting Spiritual

October 2, 2009

Twitter has its #FollowFriday, so today I thought I would introduce you to two people whose work I admire.  First up, Cathleen Falsani, is someone I’ve been reading in the Chicago Sun-Times for several years.  While Falsani is that paper’s religion columnist, I believe her column really transcends any one denomination.  She explores a wide range of spiritual topics with a sense of curiosity that everyone can relate to.

Last year, she traveled to Africa where she met a 10 year-old boy named Vasco, an AIDS orphan with a hole in his heart.  She managed to set up a trip for Vasco to come to Chicago to get medical treatment for his heart.  She detailed that story in the paper and on her blog.

She has also written several books including The God Factor and Sin Boldly: A Field Guide to Grace.  If you are into books by Anne Lamott, I’d be willing to bet that you will enjoy those two books.  Falsani is described on the book jacket of The God Factor as someone who “has always been interested in discovering God in the places where people say God isn’t supposed to be.”

I’ve read The God Factor and found it interesting and very enjoyable as she interviews many notable public figures about their beliefs including then-Senator Barack Obama, Hugh Hefner, Anne Rice, former Cub (and current Cincinnati Red) manager Dusty Baker and many more.  But perhaps one of the most interesting figures she features is U2 singer Bono, whose father grew up Roman Catholic and mother grew up Protestant.

She recently released her third, and most anticipated book (by me): The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers.  To read the first chapter of the book, click here.

Dude Abides Cover

You can follow Cathleen Falsani on Twitter at @godgrrl and visit her blog here.

I am less familiar (but just as impressed) with Krista Trippett, who is the host of NPR’s Speaking of Faith (now called On Being). The program began as a feature in 2000 and a weekly program in 2003.  I always seem to be driving somewhere in my car when her show comes on and I’m always sucked into its stories and features.  The NPR website describes her show as a “program about religion, meaning, ethics and ideas.”  I would also describe it as a spiritual version of This American Life.

I was especially fascinated (and enlightened) with a recent program about yoga and meditation.  Other recent shows have explored Islam and the holiday of Ramadan, the ethics of African aid, and the spirituality of fishing.  You can listen to podcasts of her shows at On Being.

Like Falsani, Krista Tippett has a book out and it is titled (coincidentally) Speaking of Faith.  I have not read it, but Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl (professor of Law at UCLA) says this on its back cover, “Speaking of Faith is of monumental importance and a source of light in a day and age when the darkness of intolerance, ignorance and hate blinds humanity from itself.”

I invite you to visit Kathleen Falsani and Krista Tippett for some enlightening exploration of spirituality.  Have a great weekend!

1 lori October 2, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Hi Tim!
When I come here you never cease to disappoint. 🙂

I’m a huge fan of NPR and think I’d really love Trippett. I’ll have to check her out. Plus, the professor’s review was outstanding!

I know what you mean about casually listening to an NPR show, and then being sucked in. I can’t say how many times I was supposed to be somewhere or do something and got sidetracked with an intriguing NPR show.

Thanks for sharing these talented people here today.
Enjoy your weekend!

2 Tim October 2, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Hi Lori:

Thanks for stopping by…I’m glad you liked these suggestions. I guess you can say that I really enjoy great storytellers and when it comes to religion and spirituality…Krista and Cathleen are right up there for me. Have a great weekend, as well!

3 Nadia - Happy Lotus October 4, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Hi Tim,

I love Krista Tippett. I download all her shows and listen to them when I am at work. I always learn something new.

And thank you for introducing me to Kathleen Falsani. When I saw the cover image, I had to laugh because whenever I talk about God or Jesus, I jokingly refer to them as dudes. So I look forward to checking out the book.

Hope all is awesome with you! 🙂

4 Tim October 4, 2009 at 11:00 pm


Thanks for stopping by…I’m glad to have introduced you to Cathleen Falsani and think that she and Krista both do some great work. Those NPR podcasts are great, aren’t they? Have a great Sunday!

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