Rocking out with the Psalms

The May 16 issue of USA Today ran an interesting piece, "Three were 'called' to reporting on religion" on three religion writers and their respective books, now out.

Though I haven't read the books, I'll probably have a look because they deal honestly with a particular question of mine.

Robert Abernethy, who hosts the PBS show Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, has published a collection of essays from the show in his new book, "The Life of Meaning: Reflections on Faith, Doubt, and Repairing the World."

Cathleen Falsani, whose book, "The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People," came out in paperback recently, interviews public personalities such as Bono about their spiritual lives. The article describes her as discovering "her calling at age 12 when she heard U2 frontman Bono rocking out with lyrics drawn from the Psalms."

I can relate.

Krista Tippett heard a similar call, returning to belief, to faith, when she found that it "could accommodate her questions and that 'belovedness' - the quality of loving and being loved - undergirds all that matters." Her new book, "Speaking of Faith," is drawn from the radio show of the same name.

Like, Abernethy and Falsani, she's known for her thoughtful treatment of religious faith, rejecting guests who simply declaim about religion in favor of people who honestly grapple with its fantastic claims. Anglican priest and physicist Sir John Polkinghorne is said to be one of her most memorable interviews. The exchange, which I called "Polkinghorne: beauty and belief" here, is one of my favorites as well, lodged semi-permanently on the front page along with other favorite posts.

Belief lives on a continuum of rationality, informing everything from the next steps - literally and figuratively - to devotion to religious claims that cannot be proven. But I also think that belief is a major component of disciplines ranging from behavioral economics, to game theory to theoretical physics. The very idea of possibility in many disciplines emerges from those mental "what if?" scenarios, those moments when possible futures are held in front of the imagination for inspection. One cannot prove what will come, only engage it. And yes, given my personal history, belief and its crazier cousin, religious belief, forms the subtext for (the many) questions I have on this blog, and in particular this one, which the three authors above surely touch on again and again in their books:

What does it mean to know?