The Sacred

The Sacred

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

James Perry on interdependence and the purpose of business

Download it: MP3 | AAC | OGG | OPUS

James is co–chair and co–founder of COOK, the very fancy and very delicious frozen food company. He is also co–founder and board member of the B Corp, co–chairman of B Lab UK and a founding partner of Snowball, which is a multi–asset impact investment manager. He has also been deputy chairman of the social Stock Exchange. Wherever people have been thinking about how business and capital can be used for positive social purpose, you will find James.

He speaks about his three sacred values of original goodness, interdependence and autonomy, feeling politically homeless, and why he thinks it’s possible for business to do good in the world.

Jenn Ashworth on Mormonism, class and the universal experience of suffering

Download it: MP3 | AAC | OGG | OPUS

Jenn is an award-winning novelist, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Professor of writing at Lancaster University.

In this episode she speaks about her childhood Mormonism, class, the turbulence around identity and free speech on university campuses, and how society is thinking more about trauma and what that might mean.

Read the full transcript here: https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/comment/2022/04/20/jenn-ashworth-on-mormonism-class-and-the-universal-experience-of-suffering

Charlie Gilmour on fatherhood and the cost of writing a memoir

Download it: MP3 | AAC | OGG | OPUS

Charlie is a journalist and a critically acclaimed memoirist. His memoir, ‘Featherhood’ won all manner of awards. Charlie is the adopted son of David Gilmour of Pink Floyd and Polly Samson, who’s also a writer. Charlie was famously arrested and imprisoned after being photographed swinging from the Cenotaph during the student protests in 2010. His memoir covers his time in prison, his attempts to reconnect with his biological father and his strange and beautiful relationship with an adopted magpie.

In this episode, Charlie speaks about whether it is possible to have an ethical memoir, what we are doing when we consume true stories in society, and what that means for the ways we engage with each other across our differences.

Read the full transcript here: https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/comment/2022/04/13/charlie-gilmour-on-fatherhood-and-the-cost-of-writing-a-memoir

Vanessa Zoltan on radical hospitality, atheist chaplaincy and treating texts as sacred

Download it: MP3 | AAC | OGG | OPUS

Vanessa worked in education and nonprofits before attending Harvard Divinity School to become a non–denominational atheist chaplain. Whilst at Harvard she and Casper Ter Kuile who was also a guest on the podcast, launched a class and then a very successful podcast based around the idea of reading Harry Potter as a sacred text. She is now CEO and founder of Not Sorry Productions, which produces the podcasts ‘Harry Potter and the Sacred Text’, ‘Twilight in Quarantine’, and ‘Hot and Bothered’, which is about treating romance novels as sacred. Her first book is called ‘Praying with Jane Eyre.’

In this episode she speaks about her childhood raised in an atheist but practising Jewish home as the granddaughter of four Holocaust survivors, what she means by reading other texts as sacred and what we might all learn from it.

You can read a full transcript here: https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/comment/2022/01/26/vanessa-zoltan-on-radical-hospitality-atheist-chaplaincy-and-treating-texts-as-sacred

Rupert Read on nonviolence, the climate crisis and the power of emotions

Download it: MP3 | AAC | OGG | OPUS

Rupert is an associate professor of Philosophy at the University of East Anglia. He is author of over a dozen books on philosophy and the climate crisis, and he was previously a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion. As part of that movement, he took part in many mass protests, and he was arrested while protesting climate change denying think tanks.

He speaks about his sacred value of nonviolence, which has inspired many of those actions, the role of philosophy in public conversations, and how he navigates the emotional fallout of thinking a lot about the climate emergency.

You can read a full transcript here: https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/comment/2022/01/19/rupert-read-on-nonviolence-the-climate-crisis-and-the-power-of-emotions

Minna Salami on feminism, racism and ‘sensuous knowledge’

Download it: MP3 | AAC | OGG | OPUS

Minna is a social critic, feminist theorist and poet, and she’s founder of the blog, MsAfropolitan. She’s the author most recently of ‘Sensuous knowledge: a black feminist approach for everyone’.

She speaks about her childhood in Nigeria and Finland, her experiences with racism, her deep feminist identity, and what a more holistic approach to knowledge might look like.

You can read a full transcript here: https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/comment/2022/01/12/minna-salami-on-feminism-racism-and-sensuous-knowledge

Stuart Ritchie on scepticism, and the role and reliability of science

Download it: MP3 | AAC | OGG | OPUS

Stuart is a lecturer at the Social, Genetic, and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at King’s College London. He's been a researcher in human cognitive abilities, and his most recent book is 'Science Fictions', a popular science book that presents an insider's view on how fraud, bias, negligence and hype affect scientific research.

In this episode he talks about being an overconfident frontman in a band in his teenage years, having a similar rhetorical style to Boris Johnson, the role science plays in public, and how scientists could use a little bit more ethics training.

You can read a full transcript here: https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/comment/2022/01/05/stuart-ritchie-on-scepticism-and-the-role-and-reliability-of-science

Eli Pariser on curiosity, the value of democracy and why we need shared public digital spaces

Download it: MP3 | AAC | OGG | OPUS

Eli Pariser has had a long and distinguished career in tech entrepreneurship and is currently running the organisation New Public, which is trying to help thinkers, designers and technologists build the digital public spaces of the future. He helped set up MoveOn and Avaaz, which were pioneers in the digital organising space in the early days of the internet. He coined the term 'filter bubble', and wrote the New York Times best-selling book of the same name.

In this episode Eli speaks about some of the trends that have led to our current situation in terms of division, his sacred value of curiosity, his love for democracy, and why we need to build shared public digital spaces in the same way that we have public parks.
Read the full transcript here: https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/comment/2021/12/22/eli-pariser-on-curiosity-the-value-of-democracy-and-why-we-need-public-digital-spaces

We are taking a break next week for Christmas but our next episode will be released on Wednesday 5th January.

Louise Perry on motherhood, consent and the case against the sexual revolution

Download it: MP3 | AAC | OGG | OPUS

Louise is a writer and campaigner. She has a weekly column in the New Statesman and is press officer for the campaign group 'We can’t consent to this', which documents cases in which UK women have been killed and the defendants have claimed in court that they died as a result of consensual rough sex. She has a book out next year on the case against the sexual revolution.

In this episode Louise speaks about motherhood, sex, consent and the outworking of the sexual revolution. Please be aware that the conversation features criticism of the surrogacy industry and references to sexual violence.

Louise’s six-month-old was in a sling during the interview, so you might hear some very charming baby noises.

You can read a full transcript here: https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/comment/2021/12/15/louise-perry-on-motherhood-consent-and-the-sexual-revolution

David Brooks on his conversion, vulnerability and the challenges of talking about morality

Download it: MP3 | AAC | OGG | OPUS

David is an op ed columnist for the New York Times, a radio and television host, author of multiple bestselling books, and Chair of Weave the social fabric project at the Aspen Institute, among many other things.

He speaks about the distancing effects of fame, his midlife crisis and subsequent conversion to Christianity, and the challenges of talking about morality in public life at the immense difficulty of dying to ourselves.

You can find a full transcript here: https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/comment/2021/12/08/david-brooks-on-his-conversion-vulnerability-and-the-challenges-of-talking-about-morality

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, former director of Theos think tank.

For more information about the people and ideas behind the podcast, visit https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/about/who-we-are or follow us on Twitter @theosthinktank, @sacred_podcast and @ESOldfield.

by Theos think tank

Subscribe

Follow us