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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.
"The Church Trap" at the 2013 Burning Man Festival. An old church-shaped structure is poised to catch people sitting in its pews or playing its organ.
A perfect image to lead Martin Marty’s piece on how Christians exaggerate their attendance at church when talking to surveyors on the phone rather than when taking an online poll.
Photo by Mack Reed

"The Church Trap" at the 2013 Burning Man Festival. An old church-shaped structure is poised to catch people sitting in its pews or playing its organ.

A perfect image to lead Martin Marty’s piece on how Christians exaggerate their attendance at church when talking to surveyors on the phone rather than when taking an online poll.

Photo by Mack Reed

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Our associate producer Mariah Helgeson delivers the five-word speech for this year’s Webby Award. It’s only fitting it was suggested by one of our listeners.

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Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true, or beautiful, or good, makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, could be accomplished alone; therefore, we must be saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our own standpoint; therefore, we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.
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Reinhold Niebuhr, from The Irony of American History

If you’ve never heard about this major American public figure, you should listen to this: "Moral Man and Immoral Society".

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A meeting of the minds at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Larry Jacobs, Bill Antholis, and Krista Tippett have a vibrant discussion about our pluralistic life in America, and abroad. What Bill is concerned about embracing in our public life? “The sacredness of the mind.”

A meeting of the minds at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Larry Jacobs, Bill Antholis, and Krista Tippett have a vibrant discussion about our pluralistic life in America, and abroad. What Bill is concerned about embracing in our public life? “The sacredness of the mind.”

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"For the atheist, winning the evolution-creationism debate means exposing the logical fallacies and bad science of creationism’s meaning-conferring stories. But the victory rings a hollow note, since disabling the “How did we come into being?” question leaves no possibility of asking the more important question “Why are we here?”
The skeptic’s life is always an option, but not everyone who holds fast to AiG’s creation narratives is foolish. Most people prefer a life with meaning, however implausible the meaning-conferring story. Some will themselves to believe the unbelievable because doing so is conducive to a meaningful life.
Could it be that Mr. Ham knows that what he professes to believe is ridiculous and that his Creation Museum is a mockery of intelligent life in 2014? Perhaps. But in the end, is he worse off than the resolute evolutionist who accepts a short existence in a universe with no creator, no purpose?” —Peter Han
Read more of his commentary, "Science Versus The Bible: Reasons Why This Debate Will Never Be Settled."

"For the atheist, winning the evolution-creationism debate means exposing the logical fallacies and bad science of creationism’s meaning-conferring stories. But the victory rings a hollow note, since disabling the “How did we come into being?” question leaves no possibility of asking the more important question “Why are we here?”

The skeptic’s life is always an option, but not everyone who holds fast to AiG’s creation narratives is foolish. Most people prefer a life with meaning, however implausible the meaning-conferring story. Some will themselves to believe the unbelievable because doing so is conducive to a meaningful life.

Could it be that Mr. Ham knows that what he professes to believe is ridiculous and that his Creation Museum is a mockery of intelligent life in 2014? Perhaps. But in the end, is he worse off than the resolute evolutionist who accepts a short existence in a universe with no creator, no purpose?” Peter Han

Read more of his commentary, "Science Versus The Bible: Reasons Why This Debate Will Never Be Settled."

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"The religious freedom laws are a fragile bulwark against a cultural change that most likely cannot be reversed. They carve out an exception to the principle of non-discrimination by sexual orientation that does not apply to race or sex. Even if few business owners take advantage of them, they could prevent future generations from remembering those who turned away gay and lesbian customers as part of the same class of people who put up ‘whites only’ signs in their shop windows."
—From "Why ‘religious freedom’ laws are doomed" by Adam Serwer

"The religious freedom laws are a fragile bulwark against a cultural change that most likely cannot be reversed. They carve out an exception to the principle of non-discrimination by sexual orientation that does not apply to race or sex. Even if few business owners take advantage of them, they could prevent future generations from remembering those who turned away gay and lesbian customers as part of the same class of people who put up ‘whites only’ signs in their shop windows."

—From "Why ‘religious freedom’ laws are doomed" by Adam Serwer

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Dr. Sherwin Nuland died this week at the age of 83. He became well-known for his first book, How We Die, which won the National Book Award in 1994. For him, pondering death was a way of wondering at life — and the infinite variety of processes that maintain human life moment to moment. He reflects on the meaning of life by way of scrupulous and elegant detail about human physiology:

“Wonder is something I share with people of deep faith. They wonder at the universe that God has created, and I wonder at the universe that nature has created. This is a sense of awe that motivates the faithful, motivates me. And when I say motivates, it provides an energy for seeking. Just as the faithful will always say, ‘We are seeking,’ I am seeking.”

We remixed this interview and present it in his honor.

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Check out the girl on the left. Fun photo and great project, Postcards from America:

Alessandra Sanguinetti
Black River Falls, Wisconsin.

Check out the girl on the left. Fun photo and great project, Postcards from America:

Alessandra Sanguinetti

Black River Falls, Wisconsin.

Tagged: #church #religion
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The last phrase of this charming memory from hallywoods is absolutely pure, “learned to appreciate the beauty and serenity of working a cultivated environment.” I suspect this applies to a world much greater than the fertile earth beneath him:

Been reminded lately about family and folks I’ve cared about who are now gone. It’s good to remember, I think.Lillie married José at sixteen. The oldest of a large family, she was a pastor’s wife, had ten kids, lost two in infancy. The last kid she had was born when Lillie was forty. Shortly thereafter she went back to school to become a nurse, a career she then gave herself to for twenty years. Lillie had her share of shortcomings, could talk her way into (and out of) just about anything. I’m pretty sure she loved her daughter the best she knew how. Sometimes, that’s the best we can expect.José was born in Mexico and was a talented guitar player and singer. Like most religious leaders in the charismatic Pentecostal movement, he was equal parts showman and shaman, mystic and holy man, counselor and friend. A man of passionate words behind the pulpit and few words in front of it, he had an open mind and an open heart, and willingly shared his gardening duties with me, from which I learned to appreciate the beauty and serenity of working a cultivated environment.

The last phrase of this charming memory from hallywoods is absolutely pure, “learned to appreciate the beauty and serenity of working a cultivated environment.” I suspect this applies to a world much greater than the fertile earth beneath him:

Been reminded lately about family and folks I’ve cared about who are now gone. It’s good to remember, I think.

Lillie married José at sixteen. The oldest of a large family, she was a pastor’s wife, had ten kids, lost two in infancy. The last kid she had was born when Lillie was forty. Shortly thereafter she went back to school to become a nurse, a career she then gave herself to for twenty years. Lillie had her share of shortcomings, could talk her way into (and out of) just about anything. I’m pretty sure she loved her daughter the best she knew how. Sometimes, that’s the best we can expect.

José was born in Mexico and was a talented guitar player and singer. Like most religious leaders in the charismatic Pentecostal movement, he was equal parts showman and shaman, mystic and holy man, counselor and friend. A man of passionate words behind the pulpit and few words in front of it, he had an open mind and an open heart, and willingly shared his gardening duties with me, from which I learned to appreciate the beauty and serenity of working a cultivated environment.

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The religious experience as I have known it seems to swing wide the door not merely into life but into lives. I am confident that my own call to the religious vocation cannot be separated from the slowly emerging disclosure that my religious experience makes it possible for me to experience myself as a human being and thus keep a very real psychological distance between myself and the hostilities of my environment. Through the years it has driven me more and more to seek to make it as a normal part of my relations with men, the experiencing of them as human beings. When this happens, love has essential materials with which to work. And, contrary to the general religious teaching, men would not need to stretch themselves out of shape in order to love. On the contrary, a man comes into possession of himself more completely when he’s free to love another.
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Howard Thurman from The Luminous Darkness

Krista Tippett quoted this during her interview with Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons and Rev. Lucas Johnson. It didn’t make the final cut for the hour of radio, but it’s too good not to share.

~Trent Gilliss, head of content

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What the church does with its creeds and its doctrinal tradition, it flattens out all the images and metaphors to make it fit into a nice little formulation and then it’s deathly. So we have to communicate to people, if you want a God that is healthier than that, you’re going to have to take time to sit with these images and relish them and let them become a part of your prayer life and your vocabulary and your conceptual frame. Which, again, is why the poetry is so important because the poetry just keeps opening and opening and opening whereas the doctrinal practice of the church is always to close and close and close until you’re left with nothing that has any transformative power.
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~Walter Brueggeman,

His entire conversation with Krista Tippett is riveting. "The Prophetic Imagination," a good episode to listen to this time of year.

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As more media outlets produce stories about me, a few points of clarification:

* I did a LOT of drugs, but I am not a drug addict. I’m an alcoholic. Booze was my undoing.
* I swear a lot, but have never dropped an F bomb in a sermon
* I did not live in a commune…I just had a lot of roommates.
* I have never said “God doesn’t have any answers” I said that we go to God for answers, but sometimes what we get is God’s presence.
* Yes, a couple times this year I have competed in Olympic-Style Weightlifting. But calling me a “competitive weightlifter” seems a stretch.

All of this has made me wonder how many times I drew conclusions or made judgements about someone I read about in the media based solely on exaggerated statements by the media outlet.

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Nadia Bolz-Weber

If you haven’t heard this countercultural, tatted up Lutheran pastor talk about God, faith, and life, then you really ought to listen to this On Being episode, "Seeing the Underside and Seeing God."

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Hatred and non-hatred. Transforming our relationships with our own selves and those we’re at odds with. Most everybody thinks about these things during the day. But how do we do it? How do we work with our outer and inner enemies?

A few months back I picked up a book. The title, Love Our Enemies. It’s quite remarkable because of the friendship of the two authors, Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman. They ground each other in usefulness and big-picture thinking. 

So I pitched them for the podcast. But only as a pairing. It worked. Brilliantly. Listen in and I guarantee they’ll bring you joy and some solutions to breaking the cycle of hurt, anger, and revenge.

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Have to admit, I was a bit surprised to see the similarity in numbers between the Millennials and Gen X’ers and how they self-report on daily prayer while in their 20s: two out of five pray daily.

Have to admit, I was a bit surprised to see the similarity in numbers between the Millennials and Gen X’ers and how they self-report on daily prayer while in their 20s: two out of five pray daily.

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