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Preview: Spirit of Things, The

The Spirit of Things - Program podcast

The Spirit of Things is an adventure into religion and spirituality. It explores contemporary values and beliefs as expressed through ritual, art, music, and sacred texts.

Copyright: Copyright 2018, Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Unexpected ANZAC connections

Sun, 22 Apr 2018 18:05:00 +1000

Did you know that every Australian soldier on parade wears a turban? This week, the ANZAC connections that are seldom known. We speak to author John Luttrell about our first native-born Australian Cardinal, Sir Norman Gilroy, who supported troops at Gallipoli. And, we hear about the Sikhs who fought alongside and with our ANZACS - and who also influenced the Australian army uniform.Cardinal Norman Gilroy (Photo: Getty/Bettmann)

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Women and faith

Sun, 15 Apr 2018 18:05:00 +1000

This week we’re talking the triumphs, trials and tribulations of women in religion. We speak to Professor Sophia Pandya from California State University, a specialist in religion, women and globalisation. And, we hear from Eugenia Flynn, an Aboriginal and Chinese-Malaysian Muslim woman, who shares and reclaims her identity through her writing.Professor Sophia Pandya (Photo: Supplied)

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Politics & the Good Samaritan

Sun, 08 Apr 2018 18:05:00 +1000

How have politicians battered and hijacked the Gospel story of the 'Good Samaritan'? We speak to British author Nick Spencer who has written a book on the topic. And, we take a trip to the National Gallery of Victoria, where a 16-metre long sculpture of the reclining Buddha lies, created by emerging Chinese artist Xu Zhen.Nick Spencer (Photo: Mariam Chehab)

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Easter special: Jesus and Mary Magdalene

Sun, 01 Apr 2018 18:05:00 +1000

We often see a White Jesus with blond hair and blue eyes. But how accurate is that? What did he really look like? We hear from author Joan E. Taylor, who reconstructs Christ's image in her new book. And, as a new film about Mary Magdalene is released, we look at the identity of this key Christian figure.Cathy Fisher’s portrayal of Jesus uses the results from Joan Taylor's research (Image: ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ (2017) by Cathy Fisher)

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Jewish Journeys

Sun, 25 Mar 2018 18:05:00 +1100

Heather Morris, author of ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’, tells the remarkable story of Lale Sokolov who was forced to work as chief tattooist at Auschwitz concentration camp during WWII. We pay a tribute to the late religion journalist Alan Gill, and hear a first-hand account of survival from Jewish Holocaust survivor Ruth Rack.Fay Sussman (Supplied)

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The Lives of Monks and Nuns

Sun, 18 Mar 2018 18:05:00 +1100

We explore the monastic life across the faith spectrum with Stephen J. Davis, author of ‘Monasticism: A Very Short Introduction’. And producer Mariam Chehab spends a day with Catholic nuns at the Poor Clares of Bethlehem Monastery in Sydney.Sister Peta, the abbes at the Poor Clares monastery (Photo: Mariam Chehab)

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Western Buddhism

Sun, 11 Mar 2018 18:05:00 +1100

This week, two perspectives on the rise of Buddhism in the West. We meet Bhante Sujato, a former rock musician who became an ordained monk, teacher and reformer in the Thai Forest tradition of Buddhism. We also hear from Tibetan Buddhist practitioner and teacher Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel, who spent six years in a solitary retreat.Photo: Siobhan Hegarty

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On A Mission

Sun, 04 Mar 2018 18:05:00 +1100

We hear about the life, work and legacy of the late Billy Graham from a man who met him - Professor Gary Bouma. And we meet Fr Warren Kinne, who spent 20 years working as a missionary priest in China.Billy Graham circa 1955 (Getty Images: Keystone/Stringer)

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The Third Wave

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 18:05:00 +1100

We meet feminist and writer Rebecca Walker, author of Black, White and Jewish, whose struggle with her mixed-race identity led her on a spiritual path towards Buddhism. We also hear from South Australia's first Aboriginal woman in Christian ministry, Rev'd Denise Champion, on the way she's dealt with race, gender and faith.  

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The Jains

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 18:05:00 +1100

One of the oldest religions in India, Jainism extols the virtue of non-violence (ahimsa), a concept popularised in the 20th century by Gandhi as a non-violent tool for mass action. We’ll meet a Jain couple, hear from historian William Dalrymple, and explore the crossover between Jainism and other faiths.Namita & Rahul Mehta at the 2018 Woodford Folk Festival (ABC RN/ Geoff Wood)

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Modest Fashion

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 18:00:00 +1100

The modest fashion market is reportedly worth tens of billions globally, but what exactly is ‘modest fashion’ and what role does religion play?Fashion designer Ilham Ismail (ABC RN/ Siobhan Hegarty)

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Music for the Soul

Sun, 04 Feb 2018 18:05:00 +1100

We explore the deep connection between music, spirituality and identity with Australian sacred composer and singer Brooke Shelley, and the late soul musician Amy Winehouse, the focus of an exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Australia in Melbourne.Amy Winehouse, festival passes (Supplied/ The Jewish Museum/The Winehouse family)

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Same-Sex Marriage

Sun, 28 Jan 2018 18:05:00 +1100

We meet aspiring marriage celebrant Alex Pittaway, a young Christian minister in training, and hear about Australia’s first Jewish religious same-sex marriage.Jackie Stricker-Phelps & Dr Kerryn Phelps at their wedding in Sydney 4 January, 2018. (Supplied)

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The story of Civil Celebrants

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 18:05:00 +1100

The loveless Registry Office was a gloomy beginning for a couple on their happiest day, until the Civil Celebrant movement was initiated by the Attorney General, Lionel Murphy, and the former Catholic priest, turned celebrant, Dally Messenger.Bride, Groom and Dog on Wedding Cake (cc)

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Priest, detective, lover

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 18:05:00 +1100

Canon Sidney Chambers is a young, committed priest, who is also a detective. But his love life is in turmoil. James Runcie's Grantchester Mysteries, now a popular TV series, addresses moral and social issues for a post-church society.The latest book in the series of Grantchester Mysteries

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Robe to Riches: a Chinese pilgrim route

Sun, 07 Jan 2018 18:05:00 +1100

Descendants of the Chinese who came to Australia in the 1850s, retrace their route from Robe, SA to the Victorian gold fields, and tell stories of hardship, survival and generosity.Shu Cheen Yu singing We Still Call Australia Home on the steps of the Victorian Parliament, Melbourne.

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Indigenous Christians celebrate the Bible

Sun, 31 Dec 2017 18:05:00 +1100

Indigenous Christian artists from across Australia celebrate the bicentenary of Bible Society Australia in a new publication, Our Mob, God's Story. Bible Society's CEO, Greg Clarke discusses the changes in communicating the Gospel with indigenous Christian minister and artist, Max Conlon. Includes the words of 14 contributing artists.Commissioned by Bible Society Australia for UBS Round Table Event 2017 (Supplied: Max Conlon)

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Christmas: Making fun, making history

Sun, 24 Dec 2017 18:05:00 +1100

A married Christian woman with health issues, Hannah Boland became a stand up comic when she realised laughter is the best medicine. Bishop Kay Goldsworthy is about to make Australian history as the first woman Archbishop in the Anglican Church of Australia.Bishop Kay Goldsworthy becomes Archbishop of Perth in Feb. 2018 (Anglican Gippsland Diocese)

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20/20 Series Part 5: Remember, Regret and Rejoice

Sun, 17 Dec 2017 18:05:00 +1100

Remembering anniversaries such as the Armenian Genocide, Bahai's origins and the Balfour Declaration, reflecting on living with profound regrets, and rejoicing in creative expressions of the faith, including 'Kosher Gospel' with Joshua Nelson and Aboriginal storytelling with Rev'd Denise Champion.Joshua Nelson sings Kosher Gospel (JN)

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Hugely Successful Religious Movements

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 18:05:00 +1100

From West to East, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim religious movements have grown into financial powerhouses, with massive followings and effective social penetration. Jonathan James explains the success of Hillsong, Ciji, BAPS and Fetullah Gulen.The largest Hindu Temple in the world, built by BAPS in Robbinsville, New Jersey. (BAPS)

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The Story of Mr Eternity

Sun, 03 Dec 2017 18:05:00 +1100

Known by all and seen by none, Arthur Stace inscribed "Eternity" on the streets of Sydney and elsewhere for 30 years before he was unmasked. Inspiring to artists, singers, and ordinary sinners, Arthur is a modern Evangelical saint according to his biographer, Roy Williams, who goes on a pilgrimage with Rachael.Arthur as a Cockatoo by David Lever

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Is the Sea of Faith Rising?

Sun, 26 Nov 2017 18:05:00 +1100

The Sea of Faith takes its name from the famous poem Dover Beach about the ebbing of faith, but today's SOF members entertain new developments including the New New Testament edited by Hal Taussig. Lloyd Geering founded the SOF and was charged with heresy in New Zealand as was Hal Taussig in America. Are they heretics or reformers?The Bible for the 21st Century? (Polebridge Press)

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Reporting Religion in Asia

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 18:05:00 +1100

At the International Association of Religion Journalists conference in Indonesia, Uday Basu, the Co-ordinating Editor of India's The Statesmen, Hermeine Y. Kleden, the Editor in Chief of Tempo English Weekly, and Jakarta Post columnist, and current affairs commentator Julia Suryakusuma, demonstrate robust investigative values, sensitivity and courage.Julia Suryakusuma, Jakarta Post columnist (RK)

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Luther's Jews and Poland's Jewish Festival

Sun, 12 Nov 2017 18:05:00 +1100

On the anniversary of Kristalnacht, Luther's call for for their synagogues to be burnt down in his day is one of the aspects of his relationship to the Jews which Thomas Kaufman considers in his book Luther's Jews.Professor Thomas Kaufman, author of Luther's Jews.

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20/20 Series Part 4: Music, Diaries, Couples and Sex

Sun, 05 Nov 2017 18:05:00 +1100

Artists, Martin Sharp and Bill Viola, musicians, Jeremy Begbie and Jane Rutter, and outstanding couples like Bess and Dave Price, join some brave spiritual diarists who reveal the inside story of their spiritual life. Australia's first saint, and sex dominates the stories on King James Bible and the Sistine Chapel on their anniversaries.Adam and Eve and the female serpent in Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling.

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The X Factor in the Reformation

Sun, 29 Oct 2017 18:05:00 +1100

What was the X Factor in the Protestant Reformation that caused a schism in the Roman Catholic Church which would have lasting effects up to the present day? Rachael is in conversation with Mark Worthing, Michael Jensen, Kristina Keneally and Carole Cusack at a public forum at the University of Sydney.The Reformers

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Martin Luther, Catholic dissident

Sun, 22 Oct 2017 18:05:00 +1100

The Pope called him 'a wild boar in the Lord's vineyard' but Martin Luther's challenge to the Roman Catholic Church would have sweeping effects across Germany and beyond where his writings inspired the Protestant Reformation.Martin Luther visits Dresden (CC 2006)

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Comparing Catholic and Hindu Faith

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 18:05:00 +1100

A Catholic scholar of Hinduism explains 'comparative theology' which he developed after spending time in Nepal as a young priest and as a scholar at Chicago, Oxford and Harvard. Francis Clooney SJ compares the spiritual poetry of the Biblical and Tamil traditions.Professor Frank Clooney, Harvard University (North Eastern Province)

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Identity: Who are you?

Sun, 08 Oct 2017 18:05:00 +1100

When the Rev'd Brian Rosner questioned his identity, he reassessed his relationship to God. Muslim Eritrean spoken-word poet, Manal, uses her art to overcome the sense of being 'the other' and celebrating what it means to be herself.Mask (da.Costa)

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Religious Tattoos Not Just Skin Deep

Sun, 01 Oct 2017 18:05:00 +1100

A Muslim boxer, a Hindu student, a gay Christian and a Samoan Uniting Church minister tell the stories of struggle and pain behind their religious tattoos to guest producer, Mariam Chehab.Hindu Goddess Kali tattoo (cc)

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20/20 Series Part 3: Turning Points, Epiphanies and Mysteries

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 18:05:00 +1000

Michael Palin meets the Dalai Lama, Diane Cilento turns her back on stardom, an aspiring nun gets thrown out of the Missionaries of Charity, and the Da Vinci Code up-ends Christian beliefs and the scholars come out fighting.Mona Lisa key to the Da Vinci Code

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Media with Heart

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 18:05:00 +1000

Judy Rodgers, a member of the Brahma Kumaris movement, developed IVOH Images and Voices of Hope to change the way the media covers the news.IVOH Retreat with Judy Rodgers (in white) at Peace Village, NY. (IVOH)

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Babi Yar: a survivor, a poem, a symphony

Sun, 10 Sep 2017 18:05:00 +1000

Yelena Gorodetsky tells her story of being a survivor of Babi Yar in Kiev where 33,771 Jews were massacred on Sept 29-30 1941. Yevgeny Yevtushenko's poem Babi Yar called attention to this unacknowedged crime, prompting Shostakovich's Babi Yar Symphony #13, to be performed in Melbourne's Hamer Hall.Yelena Gorodetsky, survivor of Babi Yar, Kiev, Ukraine, 1941. (Fiona Pepper ABC RN)

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The Story of Civil Celebrants

Sun, 03 Sep 2017 18:05:00 +1000

The loveless Registry Office was a gloomy beginning for a couple on their happiest day, until the Civil Celebrant movement was initiated by the Attorney General, Lionel Murphy, and the former Catholic priest, turned celebrant, Dally Messenger.Bride, Groom and Dog on Wedding Cake (cc)

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20/20 Series Part 2: 9/11 and the Future of Religion

Sun, 27 Aug 2017 18:05:00 +1000

9/11 prompts questions about Islam, religion and violence, and the future of religion. Trend setters include the Dalai Lama and Allain de Botton, and Nobel Prize winning VS Naipaul is controversial on multiculturalism. Award winning programs on Buddhism in China and Coffee Sex and Other Addictions are reprised.Sept 11 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre (Getty Images)

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On Being Krista Tippett

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 18:05:00 +1000

Krista Tippett created a hugely popular radio program and podcast called On Being which explores the mysteries of living a meaningful and good life, which is something she's been on a journey to personally discover, embody and celebrate.Krista Tippett at ABC RN (Siobhan Hegarty)

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Christian Minority Communities

Sun, 13 Aug 2017 18:05:00 +1000

Christians from China, Pakistan, Malaysia and Israel, share their experiences living as minority communities with unique challenges that call upon their faith, courage and hope for a better future.Mike Perreau, Director General of the United Bible Societies (BSA)

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Judaism welcomes LGBTI Jews

Sun, 06 Aug 2017 18:05:00 +1000

Two rabbis from the opposite sides of Judaism, Orthodox and Progressive, say Jews are no less loved in the eyes of God.Jewish Gay Pride (SGT Fun)

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20/20 Series Part 1 - Heading to the Millennium

Sun, 30 Jul 2017 18:05:00 +1000

Celebrating 20 years on the religious front line with a new monthly series called 20/20. We begin with the search for an authentic Australian spirituality, and the years heading into 2000 when people were running for cover, predicting the Apocalypse.The Y2K millennium bug was expected to cause computer meltdown (Getty)

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Fiona Horne Flying High

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 18:05:00 +1000

Def FX rock star, witch, author and TV personality, Fiona Horne promoted paganism as the vehicle of self empowerment, but it wasn't until she gave up alcohol and became a pilot that her life and her spirituality significantly improved.Fiona Horne Fire Eating

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Priest, Detective, Lover

Sun, 16 Jul 2017 18:05:00 +1000

Canon Sidney Chambers is a young, committed priest, who is also a detective. But his love life is in turmoil. James Runcie's Grantchester Mysteries, now a popular TV series, addresses moral and social issues for a post-church society.The latest book in the series of Grantchester Mysteries

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Tom E Lewis: Bridging the Divide

Sun, 09 Jul 2017 18:05:00 +1000

Born to a Welsh father and Aboriginal mother, Tom E Lewis builds bridges between cultures and peoples through theatre and music. He's on a quest for understanding and unity, which he believes are deeper than the things that divide us.Tom E Lewis on the beach, Numbulwar, Gulf of Carpenteria

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Greg Sheridan's Australia

Sun, 02 Jul 2017 18:05:00 +1000

Greg Sheridan, AO, has some advice for Christians -- still the majority faith in Australia -- start thinking and acting like a minority and you'll get a better hearing in the public square. The Australian journalist reflects on how much Australia has changed since his youth growing up Catholic, and how his own life and views have changed along with it.Greg Sheridan, AO (ABC Compass)

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What's Behind the Buddha's Smile?

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 18:05:00 +1000

The Buddha's Smile exhibition at the NGV of artworks from all over Asia points to the central beliefs of Buddhism, including No Self. Curator Wayne Crothers and Philosopher Monima Chadha take a journey into Buddhist belief, and suggest why Vincent Van Gogh loved Japanese woodblock prints.Our Gods, Laughing Buddha by Australian Chinese artist, Liu Xiaoxian, loan to NGV.

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Who cares for sex offenders?

Sun, 18 Jun 2017 18:05:00 +1000

Peter Powell, a Uniting Church minister and psychologist, has worked with sex offenders for more than 20 years. He's seen sex offenders change, and even be reconciled with their victims, but few psychologists are willing to work with them.Peter Powell counsels sex offenders (RK)

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Robe to Riches: a Chinese pilgrim route

Sun, 11 Jun 2017 18:05:00 +1000

Descendants of the Chinese who came to Australia in the 1850s, retrace their route from Robe, SA to the Victorian gold fields, and tell stories of hardship, survival and generosity.Shu Cheen Yu singing We Still Call Australia Home on the steps of the Victorian Parliament, Melbourne.

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The Shared Table Project

Sun, 04 Jun 2017 18:05:00 +1000

Newly arrived Christian refugees from Syria and Iraq make friends with Jewish women over plates of food they've prepared together.Shared Table banquet of 11 dishes at Emanuel Synagogue, Sydney.

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Ginn Fourie's Forgiveness

Sun, 28 May 2017 18:05:00 +1000

Ginn Fourie's daughter was killed by the Azanian People's Liberation Army, under the command of Letlapa Mphahlele. She decided to forgive the killers and Letlapa, with whom she founded the Lyndi Fourie Foundation which promotes conciliation in South Africa and abroad.Ginn Fourie addressing One Heart Many Voices, Catholic Mission Conference, Sydney, 2017 (CM)

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In sickness and in death...

Sun, 21 May 2017 18:05:00 +1000

How do people care for the aged, the sick and the dying? What makes them do it? A personal and professional exploration of medical, spiritual and practical carers displays a profound personal investment in the relationships between carer and cared for.The carer and the gentleman (Ulrichcarljoho, Flikr, CC)

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Fighting sexism in Islam

Sun, 14 May 2017 18:05:00 +1000

Fighting sexism is not new in Islam, but today the Muslim women who are at the forefront of change are determined to have a lasting impact, including Susan Carland with her new book Fighting Hislam.Dr Susan Carland is the author of Fighting Hislam

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