The Story of your Life

Memoir, biography, and even confession: when we tell our stories, just who do we hope is listening?

“We feel this impulsion to tell our story, to share our story, to bear witness to the mystery that is us, and to give it away. And that itself is a deeply risky venture, because it makes us so vulnerable.”

What are we doing when we tell the stories of our lives? 

In this Life & Faith, Simon Smart and Justine Toh explore memoir, biography, and the desire to explain ourselves to others. 

Simon also talks to James K. A. Smith, Professor of Philosophy at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the author of On the road with St Augustine: A real world spirituality for restless hearts.

Yes, Augustine. According to Smith, regardless of what you think about God, you tread in the footsteps of the fourth-century bishop whenever you tell the story of your life. Augustine’s Confessions – part spiritual autobiography, part memoir, part prayer to God – looms over the genre of memoir today.


James K. A. Smith’s On the road with St Augustine: A real world spirituality for restless hearts 

Anna McGahan’s Metanoia: A memoir of a body, born again

Lisa Taddeo’s Three women and Justine Toh’s article on ABC Religion & Ethics

C.S. Lewis’ Till we have faces

Brian Rosner’s Known by God: A biblical theology of personal identity, and revisit our Life & Faith interview about the book


The Good Place on Netflix, or sample the episode we discuss in this episode here