“A concern I have about my own side is, what the main activists in the pro-life or anti-abortion community want is an overturn of Roe vs. Wade. I am not at all convinced that if that were to actually happen that they would like the world that they would see on the other side.”—David Gushee, a Christian ethicist and professor at Mercer College, during his public dialogue with Frances Kissling, a long-time reproductive rights activist and former head of Catholics for Choice
“Abortion very late in pregnancy, abortion of disabled fetuses, these to me are very, very complicated questions. Even though I don’t think fetuses have an absolute right to life, I think fetuses have value. And I don’t think you can make the fetus invisible.”—Frances Kissling, long-time reproductive rights activist and former head of Catholics for Choice, during her public dialogue with Christian ethicist David Gushee
No issue in America is more intractable than abortion. Or is it? A conversation with long-time reproductive rights activist Frances Kissling and Christian ethicist David Gushee that doesn’t begin or end in the predictable places.
“In the genre of horror we are working out our deepest anxieties. Vampires, zombies, and the like are stand-ins for our other fears, the ones we can’t talk about. That means fear of death, of course — but even worse, of being a living corpse who drains those we love.”—~Jana Riess for the Religion News Service
"I think trauma really does confront you with the best and the worst. You see the horrendous things that people do to each other, but you also see resiliency, the power of love, the power of caring, the power of commitment, the power of commitment to oneself, the knowledge that there are things that are larger than our individual survival. And in some ways, I don’t think you can appreciate the glory of life unless you also know the dark side of life."
Bessel van der Kolk has come to see human memory as a sensory experience. The trauma researcher and psychiatrist shares what he and others are learning on this edge of humanity about the complexity of memory, our need for others, and how our brains take care of our bodies.
"When you live in a city like Detroit, it’s not just buildings that have become ruins. It’s that a way of life, a way of thinking has died and something else has been born — a new culture, a new spirit. And I think that’s what you get in Detroit if you are able to look past the ruins. What an opportunity. What a time to be alive."
Here’s a different story about Detroit. With the recent news coverage of its declaration of bankruptcy, we travel to a city of vigor where joyful, passionate people are reimagining work, food, and the very meaning of humanity. Grace Lee Boggs, a Chinese-American philosopher and civil rights legend, is the heart and soul of this largely hidden story, which holds lessons for us all.
If you’ve never heard this soundscape meditation with Gordon Hempton, I implore you to listen to this aural hike through the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park to One Square Inch of Silence — with the chirping twitter of the Western wren and the haunting call of the Roosevelt elk:
"Good things come from a quiet place: study, prayer, music, transformation, worship, communion. The words peace and quiet are all but synonymous, and are often spoken in the same breath. A quiet place is the think tank of the soul, the spawning ground of truth and beauty.
A quiet place outdoors has no physical borders or limits to perception. One can commonly hear for miles and listen even farther. A quiet place affords a sanctuary for the soul, where the difference between right and wrong becomes more readily apparent. It is a place to feel the love that connects all things, large and small, human and not; a place where the presence of a tree can be heard. A quiet place is a place to open up all your senses and come alive.
Sadly, though, as big as it is, our planet offers fewer and fewer quiet havens. …
In 1984, early in my recording career recording nature sounds, I identified 21 places in Washington state (an area of 71,302 square miles) with noise-free intervals of 15 minutes or longer. In 2007, only three of these places remain on my list. Two are protected only by their anonymity; the third lies deep within Olympic National Park: the Hoh Rain Forest in the far northwest corner of the continental United States. I moved near the Hoh in the mid-1990s just to be closer to its silences. In the Hoh River Valley, nature discovery occurs without words or even thoughts — it simply happens. Wondrously. But you have to listen.
And to do that, you first have to silence the mind.”
If you can, be sure to listen with a pair of headphones or earbuds. You’ll discover quieting sounds you might miss without them. I promise! Download the MP3 and share it with your friends.
Thanks pezzz! I’ve been a bit derelict in my Tumblr duties as I’ve been spearheading our transition as an independent, nonprofit organization. We’ll be up-to-speed in the coming months. In the interim, be prepared for a deluge of photos of the process of designing a new office space!
An enduring sense of lo ss for me revolves around the fact that On Being is no longer on the air in Chicago! What a shame! I can only imagine it must have had to do with commercial considerations, of which NPR I'd supposed took be free, yet toward which it inexorably seems to edge year after year. Any chance you'll be back in the Windy City soon?
Dear Windy City Listener—
Unfortunately, the good folks at WBEZ have given no inclination that On Being with Krista Tippett will return to their public radio frequency anytime soon. We’re working on it though. Hope springs eternal!
Perhaps you’d be interested to hear that our humble radio project is spreading its wings. We’ve always been an entrepreneurial endeavor, and now we’ve taken the next step in our evolution. We’ve received our charter as an independent, nonprofit organization. We like to think of our project as a social enterprise with a radio program at its heart. And now it’s time to figure this out. What do we do next?
More to come, but in the meantime please check out our website and podcast and keep listening. We need you!
“What does it mean that our society places such a premium on fantasy and imagination?”—A fascinating question from Stanford anthropologist T.M. Luhrmann in her NYT op-ed. She very much affirms the need in this “information-soaked age.” How about you?
For as far back as Joy Ladin can remember, her body didn’t match her soul. Gender defines us from the moment we’re born. But, how is that related to the lifelong work of being at home in ourselves? You’ve got to check out our show this week, "Gender and the Syntax of Being." Krista’s interview with her explores this question through Joy’s story of transition from male to female — as a poet, as a parent, and as a the first openly transgender woman teaching in an Orthodox Jewish world.
“Joseph Campbell. His writings on semiotics, comparative religion and mythology (in particular ‘The Power of Myth’ and ‘The Hero With a Thousand Faces’) helped inspire the framework on which I built my character Robert Langdon. The PBS interview series with Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers was hands down the most thought-provoking conversation I’ve ever witnessed. Campbell’s breadth of knowledge about the origins of religious belief enabled him to respond with clarity and logic to some very challenging questions about contradictions inherent in faith, religion, and scripture. I remember admiring Campbell’s matter-of-fact responses and wanting my own character Langdon to project that same respectful understanding when faced with complex spiritual issues.”—
"I like words, I love strange words, I love words that mean exactly what I need them to mean, and the word flux, when I found that word, I loved the way it was fluffy but it was sharp, it was just everything that I wanted and also, my life is just eternally in flux and just has been and probably always will be."
Sarah Kay says her job description is rediscovering wonder, and rediscovering how language and listening make impossible connections between people.
For me, the privilege of handling the files of executed Bahá’ís is that it enabled me to view these believers from another time and place as part of my own life story. And though we are left with only memories, these soul scraps are more precious to me than any physical remains.
They are traces of human beings who learned to drink the bitter with the sweet. Memories of weddings, a favorite poem, and the dreams a young girl who dove headfirst into the ocean, arms and legs flying.
Our recent interview with Sounds True founder Tami Simon, whom I guess you might label a “spiritual entrepreneur.” She’s built a successful multimedia publishing company with a mission to disseminate “spiritual wisdom” by diverse teachers and thinkers like Pema Chödrön and Eckhart Tolle, Daniel Goleman and Brené Brown. She offers compelling lessons on joining inner life with life in the workplace — and advice on spiritual practice with a mobile device.
“Real time is true;
redundancy that’s happening now.
Remember those swaths of time between high holy seasons:
Nothing dramatic is happening;
this is where we’re living.”—Our podcast listeners do not disappoint. Check out this reflection and “found poem” inspired by Annie Dillard. The muse? Our show with Marie Howe. Simply marvelous.