MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Krista Tippett, the host of On Being podcast and radio show will be the speaker at Dauphin Way UMC’s annual Dill Lecture Series on September 22nd at 5:30 pm. Rev. Michael Precht with Dauphin Way UMC joined us to talk about it. Here’s a look at our conversation:
Guest: This year we have Krista Tippett, the host of On Being podcast and radio show. She’s a Fulbright Scholar with a Master’s of Divinity from Yale; she’s a New York Times best selling author and winner of the National Humanities Award. She’s coming on September 22 at 5:30PM to talk about “the Adventure of Civility,” and how churches can listen and speak in ways that overcome individual differences to bring about real transformation.
Anchor: Her show emphasizes what does it mean to be human and mindfulness–how do you approach those topics?
Guest: I think of “mindfulness” as a less mysterious word for meditation or contemplation. In my Methodist tradition, we teach that God exercises power chiefly by giving gifts called grace. Our humanity is grace – we didn’t do anything to deserve existence; it’s a gift. We don’t accomplish our own forgiveness or our own goodness – all these things are gifts. There’s a long Christian history of prayers and contemplation that help us accept God’s gifts. So “mindfulness” is paying attention to the smallest gifts present in any moment.
Anchor: What are “best practices” of mindfulness?
Guest: Many teachers and even apps out there will say “start with your breath.” If I close my eyes and feel my breath, I can accept it as a gift. Then, maybe, I can pay attention to my neighbors and accept them as gifts.
There’s a particular practice I use in conversations that leave me bored or even angry. I remember that this person is one whom God made, whom God loves, whom God was willing to die for in Jesus Christ. Then I try to figure out… “why”? It may be small in my eyes, but something in this person carries the image of God. I go looking for it.
Anchor: How does one slow down the mind?
Guest: Go small. I focus on one place I feel the breath, one aspect of this person – maybe their voice – or one simple task, and try to give that my full attention.
Anchor: What do you hope people get out of this year’s lecture series?
Guest: Krista Tippett is masterful at giving deep attention to her guests, and so she’s one of the most graceful “question askers” I’ve ever heard. If we can learn to treat our neighbors, family, and even enemies with that same attention, I think that would be the kind of gift that changes lives.