For today’s episode, we were honored to bring back the inimitable Terryl Givens. Terryl and his son Nathaniel have recently released a new book, called Into the Headwinds: Why Belief Has Always Been Hard — And Still Is.
This is a remarkable book and addresses some of life’s most profound questions, especially as they pertain to the modern world. Terryl and Nathaniel argue that though many of us see faith as “hard” in our scientific and rational age — but the reality is that for many years faith may have been too easy. People of faith, and Christians in particular, have long benefited from being a part of the in-crowd—since Rome adopted Christianity as its official religion, it’s been quite comfortable to call oneself a Christian. But Terryl and Nathaniel say that that may have produced a more fragile discipleship, and one that focused more on how we believe than on how we live.
So in this conversation, we dived into all of this with Terryl — including how he defines faith, the limits of agency, how reckoning with our own biases is key to our own spiritual life, and how we can look well outside our own tradition to find examples of true discipleship.
We’re sure that most of you know Terryl, but just in case: Terryl Givens is a Neal L. Maxwell Senior Fellow at Brigham Young University. He formerly held the University of Richmond’s Jabez A. Bostwick Chair of English, where he was professor of literature and religion. He is the author and coauthor of numerous books, including All Things New, The God Who Weeps, and The Crucible of Doubt.
Nathaniel Givens, Terryl’s co-author on this book, has been published in First Things, the Deseret News, and RealClearReligion on the topics of faith and politics. With graduate degrees in economics and systems engineering, Nathaniel works as a data analyst and entrepreneur.