Remembering Begins Again
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
An unexpected package arrived in the post several weeks ago. A book. A gift to myself. Something I ordered over a year earlier. A memory of a memory. A truly moving account.
After a year of waiting, Phillip Toledano’s endeavor is finally published — and it’s gorgeous. I felt so utterly fortunate to experience his online chronicle the first time, and now I can hold this elegant book in my hands and share his story with my children. Find a reason to give Days with My Father to someone you care about.
Tonight! SOF Live from the New York Public Library
» chat while you watch on our SOF Live page
Wednesday, March 3, 2010 (7pm Eastern)
Celeste Bartos Forum of The New York Public Library
42nd Street at 5th Avenue
New York, NY
Starting at 6:45pm Eastern tonight, we’ll be streaming live video of a public event with Krista and and Andrew Solomon, a former guest on “The Soul in Depression,” at the New York Public Library on 42nd Street.
Solomon is one of the thinkers in Krista’s new book, Einstein’s God: Conversations about Science and the Human Spirit, which draws on her radio conversations to explore an emerging interface of inquiry between many fields of science, medicine, theology, and philosophy. They’ll be using Einstein’s self-described “cosmic religious sense” as the starting point for a discussion about its intriguing compatibility with 21st-century sensibilities. It should be a lively and fulfilling conversation.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about this conversation. Please add your comments here.
Checking your Amazon ranking every 7 minutes would qualify as what Buddhists call ‘attachment.’ And attachment is bad. (Oops: I just made a judgment about attachment.)
—Robert Wright, in "Self, Meditating" on his NYT blog.
We’re experiencing some of the same “attachment” now that Krista’s new book is out. Several minutes of this morning’s staff meeting was dedicated to some impromptu analysis of the Einstein’s God ranking on Amazon.
The short: the book seems to be doing well, but the ranking system is a mystery in itself.
Andy Dayton, associate web producer
The heart of Buddhist practice is to generate our own presence in such a way that we can touch deeply the life that is here and available at every moment.
"Heaven on Earth"
Andy Dayton, Associate Web Producer
The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC has just opened a new exhibition Heaven on Earth: Manuscript Illuminations from the National Gallery of Art. It includes documents from France, Germany, Austria, Bohemia, the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy — many of which are rare and haven’t been exhibited since 1975.
If you find this interesting, you might want to visit the site for our program “Preserving Words and Worlds,” which includes a slew of video and images from our production trip to the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library in Collegeville, Minnesota.
(image: Detail of Belbello da Pavia’s The Annunciation to the Virgin, from the National Gallery’s online archives)
Forming My Imagination about “Speaking of Faith”
Krista Tippett, Host
I’m personally thrilled to be doing this week’s show — which took a few of us up to one of my favorite places in the world, St. John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota. St. John’s is one of the largest Benedictine communities in the world and has always been a remarkable place. Its wide orbit has touched many lives and many leading institutions, globally.
In the 1960s, as St. John’s was founding HMML, it also helped found Minnesota Public Radio (our parent company) as well as an ecumenical institute that formed my imagination in the early years of what became this radio program. I came to think of St. John’s as a spiritual center of gravity and a kind of secret center of the world. It is certainly one of those “thin places” the ancient Celts spoke about — a place where, again and again and with astounding creativity, the temporal and eternal seem to touch.
If you’d like to read about the ways in which the Benedictines of St. John’s inspired and shaped Speaking of Faith, we’ve excerpted some of my writing about it in a PDF file for you.
Producing “Presence in the Wild”
by Colleen Scheck, producer
I love this week’s program with Kate Braestrup, chaplain to the game warden service in Maine. Simply, her practical theology just makes sense to me — a daily translation of spirituality into caring, useful, deliberate action. And I’m glad we were able to add a Unitarian Universalist voice to the many diverse religious perspectives we delve into, just in the way we like to, exploring that perspective through a person’s “lived theology” (Krista Tippett phrase).
This was one of our programs that came together randomly and quickly. Krista saw a reference to Braestrup’s memoir a few months back, and she was curious about her story and her journey to Unitarian Universalism. We got a copy of the book, and as I read it I was immediately absorbed by its reality and humor, and by Braestrup’s wisdom, searching, compassion, and gutsy movement between grief and hope.
We booked the interview, grateful that our guest was willing to drive almost two hours from her small coastal hometown to Portland, Maine, so we could record her conversation with Krista via ISDN (the best broadcast-quality audio connection possible). Right after the interview, we decided it would be a good balance to the other voices, viewpoints, and topics we’ve done in recent weeks, so we front-burnered it into production. You’ve perhaps read other producers’ accounts of how some shows take time to find the right voice or precise approach, brewing like sun tea to get the best flavor. Others are like good espresso — best when ground fresh and served immediately. To me, Kate Braestrup is like that fine espresso, giving me a jolt of optimism and inspiration. (Full disclosure: I don’t drink coffee, but I was a barista for a short time).
We edited, wrote, listened, edited again, tossed around titles, planned content for the Web site. Mitch took cues from the interview and laid in Cole Porter music, but he wouldn’t give in to the “Sweet Home Alabama” reference near the end. And we laughed questioningly at Kate Braestrup’s description of a t-shirt one cop wore in a D.C. bar crammed with law enforcement officers — words I’m sure have never before been uttered on a Speaking of Faith program. Not suitable for radio, so you’ll have to listen to the unedited interview to hear them.
I exit this program with a new appreciation for the work of law enforcement officers of all kinds who are theologians in their own way, as Braestrup describes:
"Law enforcement officers, like all human beings, are presented with grand questions about life’s meaning and purpose. They consider the problem of evil, the suffering of innocents, the relationships between justice and mercy, power and responsiblity, spirit and flesh. They ponder the impenetrable mystery of death. Cops, in short, think about the same theological issues seminary students research, discuss, argue, and write papers about, but a cop’s work lends immediacy and urgency to such questions. Apart from my familiarity with and affinity for police culture, I was sure working with cops would take me right up to where the theological rubber meets the road."