The Sacred

The Sacred

A podcast about the things we hold sacred, and how to talk to people different from ourselves.

New series coming soon

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In this series we’ll be talking to Conservative MP Miriam Cates, journalist Sohrab Ahmari, ‘Science Mike’ Mike McHargue, writer Tim Stanley, theatre critic Arifa Akbar, loneliness expert Jillian Richardson and award-winning garden designer Sarah Eberle.

Tune in and join us for the next series of The Sacred. Episodes out weekly from Wednesday 4th August.

Sam Byers on the role of a novel, freedom and why we need both compassion and anger

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Sam is a novelist and author of ‘Idiopathy’, ‘Perfidious Albion’ and most recently ‘Come Join Our Disease’, which the Sunday Times has said confirms him as one of the most accomplished novelists of his generation.

In this episode he speaks about his sense that novels should tackle big ideas, his discomfort with the idea of freedom and our society’s diminishing sense of compassion.

Chris French on skepticism and the psychology of paranormal beliefs

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Chris is Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths University, a fellow at the British Psychological Society and a patron of Humanists UK.

In this episode he speaks about what being a sceptic means to him, the difficulty of living out a fully materialist worldview, why even scientists have to take some things on faith and much more.

Grace Olmstead on rootedness, conservatism and what a consistent life ethic looks like

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Grace is an American journalist. She has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the American Conservative among many others, and usually with a family or a farming focus. She has recently written a book called ‘Uprooted’ which explores the effects of the rural brain drain on farming communities, the huge ecological problems that global agri-business brings and questions in a very personal way whether our association of success with cosmopolitan mobility is problematic for our communities.

In this episode she speaks about her personal wrestle with leaving her rural community, having a consistent pro-life ethic, and why she no longer feels at home in conservatism.

Guvna B on toxic masculinity and not fitting into boxes

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Guvna B is a multi MOBO award-winning rapper, hip hop artist and author. He’s presented TV and radio documentaries for BBC, is a Sky Sports pundit and his most recent book is ‘Unspoken: Toxic Masculinity and How I Faced the Man Within the Man.’

In this episode he speaks about how his childhood as a first-generation immigrant on a council estate has shaped him, how he’s thought about his creativity and navigated different tribes with his music, how he needs space to process his emotions, the phrase ‘toxic masculinity’, and the conditions needed for young people to flourish.

Rachel Mann on the goodness of bodies, poetry and challenging assumptions about identity

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Rachel is a poet and a priest in the Church of England. She lectured in philosophy before being ordained and has a PhD in 19th century women’s poetry and the Bible. Her most recent books include full length poetry collection ‘A Kingdom of Love’, ‘Dazzling Darkness’ and ‘Fierce Imaginings’.

In this episode she speaks about her conversion in her 20s, how that connected with her identity as a trans woman, her calling to the priesthood and why she thinks poetry can really help us understand what’s sacred.

Dina Nayeri on the experience of refugees and the nature of storytelling

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Dina is a novelist and also the author of the non-fiction book ‘The Ungrateful Refugee’.

In this episode, she speaks about her childhood in war-torn Iran, refugee hostels in Rome and eventually in Oklahoma, why many refugees feel the need to show why they were a good investment, the nature of storytelling and more.

Omid Djalili on his Baha’i faith, racism and serving humanity through comedy

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Omid is a stand up comedian, actor, producer and writer. He grew up in Kensington with his Iranian Bahai family. He has appeared in Mamma Mia 2, Snatch, His Dark Materials and The Infidel among many other films, and he currently hosts the quiz show The Winning Combination on ITV2.

In this episode he speaks about the impact of the Iranian revolution on his teenage faith, seeing comedy as a vocation that brings joy, and his experiences of dealing with racism.

The Sacred re-launch announcement

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Our sabbatical has lasted a little longer than expected, but we are so excited to be back very soon with some brand new episodes for you.

We will be celebrating our return with an event to premiere our first-ever Sacred short 'My Dream, My Taste', a 3-minute animated film featuring a clip from episode 50 with Miroslav Volf. The event on 29th March will feature a screening of the film followed by a conversation about what it means to live a good life with Miroslav himself, Julian Baggini and Sarah Stein Lubrano. You can find out more and register for your free ticket here:

About this podcast

The Sacred is a podcast about our deepest values, the stories that shape us and how we can build empathy and understanding between people who are very different.

Each episode features a conversation with someone who has a public voice, from academics to journalists, playwrights and politicians. We ask them where they have come from, what they are trying to do and what might help heal our very divided public conversations.

The Sacred is hosted by Elizabeth Oldfield, director of Theos think tank.

For more information about the people and ideas behind the podcast, visit or follow us on Twitter @theosthinktank and @theoselizabeth.

by Theos think tank


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