A podcast by Margaret Poethig with Richard Poethig

This series of conversations between Richard and his children capture the sheer joy of talking, singing, and laughing with Richard, a man of simple pleasures, expansive intelligence, historical perspective, and progressive politics. In Season 1, Margaret’s 95-year-old dad Richard is living under lockdown in his senior living residence during the coronavirus pandemic. It tells the story of Richard’s resilience and of the family’s efforts to ease the psychic impact of his isolation. In Season 2, Margaret asks Richard why he talked so much about vocation when she was growing up. For Richard, vocation asks, “What you can see that you gave your life to?” He reflects on his life’s calling to bring justice to working people, in the context of the history of the Presbyterian Church’s Social Gospel movement and his own working class roots, and shares his present understanding of the cosmic Spirit that holds the universe together.

Featured Episodes

Season 1

Sam pushing Richard in a wheelchair in the Morris Arboretum
Keeping Dad Alive
Keeping Dad Alive

Conversations between a dad and his children capture the sheer joy of talking, singing, and laughing with Richard, a man of simple pleasures, expansive intelligence, historical perspective, and progressive politics. In Season 1, Richard is living under lockdown in his senior living residence during the coronavirus pandemic. It tells the story of Richard’s resilience and of the family’s efforts to ease the psychic impact of his isolation. In Season 2, Margaret asks Richard why he talked so much about vocation when she was growing up. Richard offers the wide arc of his theological understanding—from the need to care for working people to the cosmic Spirit that holds the universe together. They decided to devote an entire podcast season to vocation.

Episode 3 – Keep on rollin’
byMargaret Poethig

Richard and his grandson Sam sing old favorites together and daughter Erika explores her father’s influence on Sam.

Season 2

Photo of a galaxy superimposed on the forehead of Richard
Keeping Dad Alive
Keeping Dad Alive

Conversations between a dad and his children capture the sheer joy of talking, singing, and laughing with Richard, a man of simple pleasures, expansive intelligence, historical perspective, and progressive politics. In Season 1, Richard is living under lockdown in his senior living residence during the coronavirus pandemic. It tells the story of Richard’s resilience and of the family’s efforts to ease the psychic impact of his isolation. In Season 2, Margaret asks Richard why he talked so much about vocation when she was growing up. Richard offers the wide arc of his theological understanding—from the need to care for working people to the cosmic Spirit that holds the universe together. They decided to devote an entire podcast season to vocation.

Episode 1 – Cosmic Theologian
byMargaret Poethig

At the start of Season 2, Margaret asks “why do you talk so much about vocation?” Richard’s surprising answer spans time and space—from Luther’s understanding of Beruf that launched the Protestant Reformation to Richard’s current theological ideas about what holds the universe together.

For Richard, vocation asks, “What you can see that you gave your life to?” He reflects on his life’s calling to bring justice to working people, in the context of the history of the Presbyterian Church’s Social Gospel movement and his own working class roots. He offers a midrash on the theme of class conflict. And he gives us the wide arc of his theology—from the human spirit to a cosmic Spirit that envelopes us in love.

Music Credit: “Phase 2” by Xylo-Ziko https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Xylo-Ziko/

All Episodes

Keeping Dad Alive
Keeping Dad Alive

Conversations between a dad and his children capture the sheer joy of talking, singing, and laughing with Richard, a man of simple pleasures, expansive intelligence, historical perspective, and progressive politics. In Season 1, Richard is living under lockdown in his senior living residence during the coronavirus pandemic. It tells the story of Richard’s resilience and of the family’s efforts to ease the psychic impact of his isolation. In Season 2, Margaret asks Richard why he talked so much about vocation when she was growing up. Richard offers the wide arc of his theological understanding—from the need to care for working people to the cosmic Spirit that holds the universe together. They decided to devote an entire podcast season to vocation.

Requiem for Impossible Matter

Richard imagines life after death on an undiscovered planet in a far-flung galaxy where he can recreate his life with his beloved wife Eunice. Margaret has a message for listeners.