Krista grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, attended Brown University, and became a journalist and diplomat in Cold War Berlin. She lived in Spain and England before seeking a Masters of Divinity at Yale University in the mid-1990s. Emerging from that, she saw a black hole where intelligent conversation about the religious, spiritual, and moral aspects of human life might be. She pitched and piloted her idea for a show for several years before launching Speaking of Faith — later On Being — as a weekly national public radio show in 2003.

In 2014, President Obama awarded Krista the National Humanities Medal at the White House for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence. On the air and in print, Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of ​every background to join her conversation about faith, ethics, and moral wisdom.” Krista is now at work on her next book, Letters to a Young Citizen. Her first book Speaking of Faith, published in 2007, is a memoir of religion in our time, including her move from geopolitical engagement to theology. In 2010, she published Einstein’s God, drawn from her interviews at the intersection of science, medicine, and spiritual inquiry. Krista’s 2016 New York Times best-selling Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living opens into the questions and challenges of this century.

 3 words to describe Nature?

Extravagant. Intelligent. Fierce.

3 things Nature taught you?

To get quiet inside

To marvel

To know myself a creature among other creatures

3 most treasured Nature spots?

The highlands and islands of Scotland 

Byron Bay, Australia.

In my hammock under the White Pines in my Minnesota backyard

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Liberated from any illusion of significance – pensive, joyous, and free

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Like clambering around in the branches

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?


When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Liberated from the Newtonian straitjacket of clocks and calendars while utterly present to time as rhythm and pattern and passage and mystery.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Happy to have no option but to hunker down indoors (if I can)

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Giddily spooked

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean, also Valley

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10, though I am not always faithful to that truth

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I grew up in central Oklahoma, where we kept the natural world at bay. I was never taught the names of the trees or flowers that grew on our semi-desert, oil-rich land. We were drilled only to watch out for the things that bite and blister, and they were legion: poison oak and poison ivy, black widow spiders and scorpions, water moccasins, rattlesnakes. We were forbidden to explore the wilderness that was rapidly being consigned to memory all around our manicured housing estate.

And yet, if you ask me about the happiest days of my childhood, my mind goes to expeditions through as yet unconquered woody areas nearby. It goes to tadpoles and turtles discovered with furtive awe. I can still see those tadpoles, feel them swimming in cold creek water through my splayed fingers. A rapt attention settles all the way through my body in their presence. I know how memory works, that I am reconstructing all these sensations from fragments scattered across my brain. But I feel my breathing slow before the mystery of minute creaturely life observable. Amazed.

Wrapped up in these memories, too, is a dawning tension between their smallness and my relative giant size; their fragility and my power – to scoop them up, starve or orphan them, literally kill them with my amazement. And the power instead to forego dominance, and take care with my delight.

We turned up home at the end of long summer days sunburned and freckled and festooned with pink rashes from the poison ivy we wandered into and tangled with after all. We’re covered with feasting blood ticks, fat and purple with our blood, and all manner of worms. Other worms were gifted from our dogs, who ran leash-less and half wild in those days and were officially what we were allowed to befriend from the wild.

They would occasionally disappear for days at a time. We would wash and pick them clean when they returned mangy and exhilarated. We would vicariously absorb their effusive abandon.