Listening In preview: Alan Crippen

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: A preview of this week’s Listening In.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Alan Crippen is with the American Bible Society. The 202-year-old organization moved to Philadelphia from New York City three years ago. It’s now in the middle of a $60 million project that will highlight faith’s role in America’s founding.

In this excerpt from his conversation with Alan Crippen, our Warren Smith asks about the purpose behind the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center.

WARREN SMITH: I could imagine that Christians would come here and be encouraged and edified. But as you say, this is going to be a place where folks who don’t know Scripture can be led into a deeper understanding. Is that the goal? Are both of those goals? Is it a, is there an overarching goal that I’m missing?

ALAN CRIPPEN: Well, I think the goal is to tell the story. That’s the, the institutional mission, as I cited. To what end is, I think we want Americans to have a deeper appreciation and respect for the Bible’s role in the American narrative. We, American Bible Society, want a higher degree of Biblical literacy. And you know, for our 203 year history, we’ve been about the Bible, right? We want Americans, and people around the world, engaged in the Scripture. And in the early days, right, Americans didn’t have Bibles, which is why the Bible Society came into being. It came into existence to ensure that every American home had a Bible. Well, I guess if that was the mission, we succeeded, right? Because the average American home has three Bibles, four Bibles, five Bibles? It makes a great flower press, it looks handsome on a shelf, particularly a leather-bound edition, and it functions often as a doorstop, right? But who’s engaging it, you know, who’s reading it? So we have lots of Bibles, but we also have the highest degree of Biblical illiteracy in our, in our country. And what’s at stake at that? Well, we could talk about the spiritual price of that, of that Biblical illiteracy. And it’s significant. But in terms of American civics, there’s also a cultural price, right? I would posit you can’t understand the American civilizational story without some basic operating knowledge about the Bible.

BASHAM: That’s Alan Crippen speaking to Warren Smith. To hear the rest of their conversation, be sure to check out Listening In. The new edition goes live tomorrow, and it’s available on your favorite podcast platform.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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