Episode 1 - Cosmic Theologian
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, which 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.
Photo caption: Valentine Montes and Richard Poethig in the Philippines
Poethig, Richard, “A Word to Guide Life” http://www.onthesidewalksofnewyork.com/blog/a-word-to-guide-life/
“The English Game,” Netflix Series https://www.netflix.com/title/80244928
Dawson, Jane, “A History of Vocation: Tracing a Keyword of Work, Meaning, and Moral Purpose,” Adult Education Quarterly (Volume 55 Issue 3, May 2005).
“Phase 2” by Xylo-Ziko (https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Xylo-Ziko/)
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.