The Sacred

The Sacred

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

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:

The Sacred is taking a sabbatical

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To everything there is a season and The Sacred needs a season change. The podcast is not ending but it is pausing so that we can reflect and refresh, and pop up again with new life and energy. We expect to be back in February 2021, please keep an eye on our social channels for updates (@sacred_podcast).

Meanwhile, we would love to hear from you. We have created a questionnaire that will take just a few minutes to fill in where you can give us feedback about the show and take part in our reflection process. We’d also love a smaller group of listeners to gather for a virtual focus group where we can really discuss how the podcast can be most fruitful in its second season. If you would be up for giving up an hour or so to sit down with the team, please indicate that on your questionnaire and we may well be in touch.

#79 Rachel Clarke

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Rachel is a doctor with a specialism in palliative care. Before going to medical school, she was a television journalist and documentary maker. She is the author of Sunday Times bestselling books ‘Your life in my hands’ and ‘Dear Life’, which is about her experiences working in a hospice. Her next book ‘Breathtaking’, about her experience on hospital COVID–19 wards, will be out next year.

In this episode she speaks about unsuccessful attempts to become a Christian, her deep faith in humanity, feeling like a fraud as a journalist, and why we should all have more conversations about death.

#78 Krithika Varagur

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Krithika is a columnist at the Wall Street Journal in New York and a former foreign correspondent based in Indonesia. She is a National Geographic Explorer and her first book ‘The Call: Inside the Global Saudi Religious Project’ was launched in April.

In this episode she speaks about growing up in a Hindu home, being humble and doing your research on covering religion, and why it’s vital that journalists take faith seriously.

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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