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A nun on the radical possibilities of Christianity

A conversation about love and suffering in Christianity.

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A chapel on Santorini Volcano Island in Greece.
A chapel on Santorini Volcano Island in the Aegean Sea in Greece on July 6, 2020.
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

“One who lives in God lives in others because it is in the other that God is found.”

That’s how Ilia Delio, a Franciscan nun and Catholic theologian, sums up her vision of Christianity. For Delio, much of what passes for Christianity today has become unmoored from the example of Christ. The result, she says, is an “abstract Christianity” that can’t really speak to the pain and loss we’re experiencing in this moment.

I recently spoke with Delio as part of Future Perfect’s new limited-series podcast, The Way Through, which is all about exploring the world’s great philosophical and spiritual traditions for guidance during these difficult times.

At the core of our conversation is the question of suffering and how we should respond to it. There’s a version of Christianity that is mostly about dogma and institutional power — that’s the Christianity I felt alienated from as a child. But there’s another version, a “Christianity of deed” in Delio’s words, that’s all about sacrifice and love — and that’s a Christianity I wanted to explore.

We dig into what this kind of living faith might look like in the world, and what it would take to get us there.

Subscribe to Future Perfect: The Way Through on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts.