For the past two years, each fall the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES) has sent each member school a publication designed to prompt discussion about our mission and ministry as Episcopal schools
This year, we have selected Speaking of Faith, Krista Tippett’s powerful memoir, the subtitle of which is: “Why Religion Matters—and How to Talk About It.”
The host of the highly acclaimed weekly radio program of the same name (now called On Being), Tippett has become a leading national voice on religion, spirituality, and society.
Speaking of Faith eloquently interweaves the story of Tippett’s own spiritual journey with lessons she has learned about “speaking of faith.” Why is talking about religion so difficult? Why is religion important and how can we support the human spiritual journey? How can we move past fear and misunderstanding to dialogue? And how can we honor and understand the sacred and the transcendent, the human quest for meaning and connection, and the soul’s work?
As she comments in the very first pages of the book:
“The spiritual energy of our time, as I’ve come to understand it, is not a rejection of the rational disciplines by which we’ve ordered our common life for many decades—law, politics, economics, science. It is, rather, a realization that these disciplines have a limited scope. They can’t ask ultimate questions of morality and meaning. We can construct factual account and systems from DNA, gross national product, legal code, but they don’t begin to tell us how to order our astonishments, what matters in a life, what matters in a death, how to love, how we can be of service to each other. These are the kinds of questions religion arose to address and religious traditions are keepers of the conversation across generations about them.” (p. 9)
As our students, faculty members, and families return to school after the summer’s hiatus, how can we be sure not to waste the precious opportunity—and responsibility—to nurture the inner life of each person in our school community? In the midst of the pressures of school life and the achievement-driven culture within which all of us live, how can we create space in the day, week, and year for reflection, celebration, and connection to the divine and to our very souls? And how can we each learn to talk together about religion, faith, and the quest for meaning?
Tippett’s eloquent volume offers potent reminders of the importance of this work. We hope you will seek out this small volume for a bit of “back to school” reading.
A copy of Speaking of Faith is included in each 2011-2012 NAES membership packet, mailed to the head of school.