On Being Tumblr

On Being Tumblr

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.
I’m living with my parents on their farm over the summer, and helping them paint fences. I recently discovered the On Being podcast; it’s the perfect painting companion! Thanks for helping me pass the hours with such a thought provoking program.
-

Warren Ray

It’s hard not to smile when we read a comment like this posted on the wall of our program’s Facebook page. I’ve painted some fences and houses in my day but only had the whispering wind and the silent sun to keep me company. Praise the digital devices age!

~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Comments
When I listened to the show on the Palestinian camps and found out people could move out, but many do not for several reasons, I started to think of my relatives who choose to remain on the reservation in spite of the poverty. They do not want to leave the cultural and traditional ties they now have.
-

Louise Thundercloud added this intriguing comment on our Facebook page to this week’s show, "Pleasure More Than Hope: Inside Aida Camp."

~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Comments

Fasting on Facebook with My Beloved Baha’i Community

by Candace Hill, guest contributor

Baha'i Faith Facebook Page
Screen capture of the Baha’i Faith Facebook page.

Day two of fasting this year, and the egg salad on the sesame bagel was especially delicious this morning. This is the dichotomy of the Nineteen Day Fast — that while we don’t eat or drink from sunrise to sunset, the early morning meals feel more special and dinners more festive.

The Baha’i Faith has its own calendar of 19 months made up of 19 days. As in Islam, one of these months is set aside for fasting, just during the daylight hours. And much like the Islamic month of Ramadan, when it comes time for the sun to set, the evening meal feels like a party, a celebration, a time for truly giving thanks for our nourishment, be it a feast or bread and water.

This is all fine and well if you live in a community, neighborhood, or family where everyone is fasting. Although certainly not the children, the elderly, the sick, the traveler, or the pregnant or nursing mother, fasting is for the healthy, mature adults in the community, if you have a community.

In America, the Baha’i Faith is small in numbers. It is more likely that a college student will be the only one in her dorm who is fasting. The editor at his desk will kindly refuse offers of lunch outings. A coffee break with friends seems strange if you are the only one who is not drinking coffee.

But then there’s Facebook. If you are a Baha’i on Facebook, then you have the bounty of an in-gathering of friends from around the world. Baha’is tend to love conferences, summer schools, study circles, and potlucks. It’s not difficult to amass a list of Facebook friends of all ages and ethnicities, living in an exciting number of time zones.

On Facebook you can worship together, with friends posting excerpts from beloved prayers and meditations. On Facebook you can learn together, with friends posting photographs from Baha’i history. On Facebook you can laugh together, with inside jokes and stories that don’t have to be explained. On Facebook you can sing along, to songs from breaking artists like Andy Grammar to beloved standards by Seals and Crofts. On Facebook you can cook together, sharing recipes and shopping tips. On Facebook you can fast together, encouraging each other to make it through the 3 p.m. nap at the desk, and by cheerfully counting down the days.

Facebook allows the beloved community to chat with each other while working, on a mobile phone riding the bus to work, when the baby is napping, and even late at night when we should have all been in bed hours ago.

Fasting is a religious experience where we practice patience and restraint. It is also a community experience where we support and encourage each other. As enlightenment dawns through prayer and meditation, we reflect that light upon each other. It is lovely to be able to do that face to face. But, I also enjoy that same process on Facebook. The reaching out and sharing feels the same across the miles, now that we have the immediacy of the Internet.

Now, what to make for dinner tonight? My Facebook friends will have some ideas.


Candace Moore HillCandace Moore Hill lives in Evanston, Illinois and has recently published a photographic history of the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette. She is currently a volunteer community ambassador with One Chicago One Nation, affiliated with Interfaith Youth Core and blogs at Baha’i History in Postcards.

We welcome your original reflections, essays, videos, or news items for possible publication on the Being Blog. Submit your entry through our First Person Outreach page.

Comments

As Pocket God Enters Social Gaming on Facebook, What Will It Reveal about Our Moral Character?

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Screenshot of Pocket God on Facebook
Screenshot courtesy of Mashable

The popular iPhone gaming app Pocket God, which has sold more than two million units, is making its way to Facebook. What character will this take in a social gaming atmosphere, I can only imagine. But I’m sure my newsfeed pipe will feel the constriction of arterial plaque.

If you’re unfamiliar with the game, Ben Parr of Mashable gives a good summary:

"The game focuses on giving the user god-like powers over islanders known as Pygmies. Since they obey the user’s every whim, players can be benevolent and give the Pygmies food and fire or be vengeful and summon thunderstorms, hurricanes and T-Rexes."

I’ll admit that I’ve played this game once for a very short time. I’ll be curious to see how the player’s social circle of friends on Facebook join in, rebuke, or challenge that said friend when they see him or her be particularly vindictive or “immoral” within the confines of the game. It could be an interesting avenue for conversation about how the player exercises power. Any thoughts from more experienced social gamers?

Comments

FB Friends Connect a Line from "The Novelist as God," an Islamic Mystic, and Norse Mythology

Raymond Sigrist: ...At one point Ms. Mary Doria Russell quotes a character in her book as saying, “I don't need hell to scare me into behaving decently or heaven to bribe me.” ...I suspect this insight must be part of the wisdom which has been written into the collective subconcious mind of all of us. It is remarkably close to the words of the Islamic mystic Rabia: “O Lord if I worship you out of fear of hell, burn me in hell. If I worship you in the hope of paradise, forbid it to me.” Rabia (from Early Islamic Mysticism, Michael Sells, page 163)
Eilan Loveridge: In Norse mythology there is Ragnarok, Destruction of the Gods, where the ruling powers cannot prevent the triumph of evil. Knowing this, they defy the forces of destruction."Victory or defeat have nothing to do with right and wrong, and that even if the universe is controlled beyond redemption by hostile and evil forces, that is not enough to make a hero change sides. In a sense this Northern mythology asks more of people than Christianity does, for it offers them no heaven, no salvation, no reward for virtue except the sombre satisfaction of having done right" ~JRR Tolkien
Comments

Connecting Chicken Coops and Benedictine Prayer Illustrations

Earlier this week, I posted a quote on our Facebook page from Eulalia Cobb. She’s a listener from West Pawlet, Vermont who wrote a lovely reflection in response to last week’s show on her practice of mindfulness while spring cleaning a chicken coop:

"In years past, I rushed impatiently through this coop cleaning. After all, there was a garden to be planted…"

What I find so delightful about posting wonderful words like Eulalia’s outside the bounds of speakingoffaith.org is the broad knowledge base and interesting insights we may not have learned otherwise. Many times this wisdom serves as a fresh starting point for fans who may not have happened across these quirky, endearing stories. And that’s why I absolutely dug Denise Klitsie's comment in response:

"I am working on illustrations for a book on the hours of prayer—the Benedictines started this idea of recognizing transitions throughout the day that pressed up against one in work and life and began to name the hours, none, sext, vespers etc.—this essay on cleaning the chicken coup is inspiring me for imagery because imaging these "hours" is every challenging so I thought this picture of repetitious mundane yucky work might fit the hour of sext where the noonday devil is present tempting one to give up, throw in the towel, give up the fight because it is just too hard or too messy. Thanks SOF."

These are the types of connections that sustain my work. I’ll keep trying to do more. I’d love your advice on better or more inventive ways of making these connections possible.

Comments

God Has a Sense of Humor, Too

Krista Tippett, Host

In our interview for next week’s show, the very thoughtful scientist/author Jon Kabat-Zinn has intriguing and provocative things to say about the pressures and possibilities of aligning our “Stone Age minds” with 21st-century digital realities. But he also says: “This is far too serious to take too seriously.”

The most godly people I know have a sense of humor even about the most important things, and I’m convinced God does too. And that is my far too serious justification for posting two very funny Facebook takes on Passover and Easter, the holiest of holidays being observed simultaneously this week. Be blessed — and enjoy.

Comments
A Pipeline to Nowhere Trent Gilliss, Online Editor
More than a year ago Krista, Mitch, and I drove to rural Maryland for an interview with Jean Vanier. When we arrived I assumed we would be setting up in a retreat center with modern amenities. Nope. We were directed to a small, old farmhouse that had been converted for group meetings. It wasn’t much, but most of the power outlets worked, and it had a weak wireless signal.
'Why not experiment and stream the interview live?' I thought. Krista was game and Mitch was cool with it too (although you can hear an occasional squawk in the audio from me tip-toeing between the two cameras). We hadn't promoted it and there probably wouldn't be much of an audience, if any.
As many of you know, weak wireless often means a drop in signal at times and uploading anything crawls. I was sure our test balloon was going to fail. It didn’t; we piped the full 90 minutes through a free third-party service without a glitch. And, we did the same for Krista’s interview with Columba Stewart in the heart of Marcel Breuer’s concrete walls with another weak WiFi signal.
You know where this is leading. Me making excuses. That’s right.
When I found out Krista would be interviewing David Brooks and E.J. Dionne in a well-equipped auditorium on the campus of a major university, I was convinced this was an opportunity to give our audience a front-row seat for a high-profile event. I promoted the live discussion in our e-mail newsletter; I created an event on Facebook and invited all our SOF group members to attend in person or online; I tweeted about it (@trentgilliss). People showed a healthy amount of interest.
The auditorium was lovely, and, as luck would have it, I was able to get a wired Ethernet cable for a dedicated connection for streaming. Then I lost one of my cameras (the downside of sharing equipment), but I thought, ‘well, at least we’re doing a live stream.’ For five hours before the event, I tested the connection. Success. Uninterrupted video streaming. Then the doors opened.
For five minutes, we were piping high-quality video of the conversation while the crowd filed in and took there seats. Then it dropped. I’m receiving tweets from colleagues; viewers start asking what happened on the blog; my wife phones me. I’m frantic trying to switch to the wireless connection, which was also at a dead halt. Georgetown’s Internet connection was so slow that loading the front page of The New York Times took nearly 10 minutes — without the images loading.
In the end, I failed. I let down our audience and I hate doing that. All I can do is apologize and say we’ll do better next time.
I needed a back-up plan, but I’m still not certain what that is without spending some cash. Cash that we don’t have. If you have any suggestions, I’m game on hearing how others work or ways of making this happen. Post your comments here. And, if you want to let me have it, post your comments here too.
(photo: Marc Zielinski for Speaking of Faith)

A Pipeline to Nowhere
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor

More than a year ago Krista, Mitch, and I drove to rural Maryland for an interview with Jean Vanier. When we arrived I assumed we would be setting up in a retreat center with modern amenities. Nope. We were directed to a small, old farmhouse that had been converted for group meetings. It wasn’t much, but most of the power outlets worked, and it had a weak wireless signal.

'Why not experiment and stream the interview live?' I thought. Krista was game and Mitch was cool with it too (although you can hear an occasional squawk in the audio from me tip-toeing between the two cameras). We hadn't promoted it and there probably wouldn't be much of an audience, if any.

As many of you know, weak wireless often means a drop in signal at times and uploading anything crawls. I was sure our test balloon was going to fail. It didn’t; we piped the full 90 minutes through a free third-party service without a glitch. And, we did the same for Krista’s interview with Columba Stewart in the heart of Marcel Breuer’s concrete walls with another weak WiFi signal.

You know where this is leading. Me making excuses. That’s right.

When I found out Krista would be interviewing David Brooks and E.J. Dionne in a well-equipped auditorium on the campus of a major university, I was convinced this was an opportunity to give our audience a front-row seat for a high-profile event. I promoted the live discussion in our e-mail newsletter; I created an event on Facebook and invited all our SOF group members to attend in person or online; I tweeted about it (@trentgilliss). People showed a healthy amount of interest.

The auditorium was lovely, and, as luck would have it, I was able to get a wired Ethernet cable for a dedicated connection for streaming. Then I lost one of my cameras (the downside of sharing equipment), but I thought, ‘well, at least we’re doing a live stream.’ For five hours before the event, I tested the connection. Success. Uninterrupted video streaming. Then the doors opened.

For five minutes, we were piping high-quality video of the conversation while the crowd filed in and took there seats. Then it dropped. I’m receiving tweets from colleagues; viewers start asking what happened on the blog; my wife phones me. I’m frantic trying to switch to the wireless connection, which was also at a dead halt. Georgetown’s Internet connection was so slow that loading the front page of The New York Times took nearly 10 minutes — without the images loading.

In the end, I failed. I let down our audience and I hate doing that. All I can do is apologize and say we’ll do better next time.

I needed a back-up plan, but I’m still not certain what that is without spending some cash. Cash that we don’t have. If you have any suggestions, I’m game on hearing how others work or ways of making this happen. Post your comments here. And, if you want to let me have it, post your comments here too.

(photo: Marc Zielinski for Speaking of Faith)

Comments

SOF Facebook Group Reaches 1,000 Members

Trent Gilliss, Online Editor

The SOF Facebook group has hit its first milestone of 1,000 members. I’ll admit that we haven’t devoted as much time as we’d like to nurturing and gleaning content ideas from participants in this space. And yet, it grows.

In the coming new year, I’d like to dedicate more time to this bunch of fans. For now, it’s a great opportunity to invite all of you who are members to Krista’s events and inform you of other things on the radar.
But, there’s so much more we could do to engage this audience. One of the immediate questions that comes to mind is whether we should migrate to a fan page set-up. We wouldn’t delete the SOF group, but let it live on in ways yet undetermined.

I’m sure you have suggestions. Feed me, Seymour (yes, LSOH lives on). How do you live on Facebook? What would you find helpful?

Comments