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.

What you need to understand is this — just because something’s impossible doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it!

I’m still trying to live into words I heard 50 years ago. Please take a moment to reflect on those words and ask yourself the two questions I ask myself: Where we would be if the Kassie Temples of this world hadn’t taken on the impossible time and time again? What task is calling to you — at home, at work, in the larger world — that you need to embrace even though it’s impossible?

From this thought-provoking post by Parker Palmer.

(Photo by  John Moore/Getty Images)

What you need to understand is this — just because something’s impossible doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it!

I’m still trying to live into words I heard 50 years ago. Please take a moment to reflect on those words and ask yourself the two questions I ask myself: Where we would be if the Kassie Temples of this world hadn’t taken on the impossible time and time again? What task is calling to you — at home, at work, in the larger world — that you need to embrace even though it’s impossible?

From this thought-provoking post by Parker Palmer.

(Photo by  John Moore/Getty Images)

What you need to understand is this — just because something’s impossible doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it!

I’m still trying to live into words I heard 50 years ago. Please take a moment to reflect on those words and ask yourself the two questions I ask myself: Where we would be if the Kassie Temples of this world hadn’t taken on the impossible time and time again? What task is calling to you — at home, at work, in the larger world — that you need to embrace even though it’s impossible?

From this thought-provoking post by Parker Palmer.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Comments

Krista’s essay on why she doesn’t do Christmas prompted reader Jeff Jackson to share this video on the Advent Conspiracy. It’s well done.

Comments
What could be better than to hold your hand out to people less fortunate than you are.
-

— Paul Newman, from a 2007 interview broadcast on today’s PBS Newshour.

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Comments
Warren Buffett Without God Too
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
Picking up on Shubha’s post about the current marketing campaigns being put out by atheist and humanist organizations, our Tumblr friend Jiorjia over at The Ianez Compendium forwarded this ad featuring Warren Buffett and the comment, “I’m good without God. Are you?”
The point and power of the ad — that you don’t have to be a religious believer to be a good, moral, ethical humanitarian — is an argument that comes up a lot in my reading. I just wish this wasn’t the starting point for all parties involved.
Warren Buffett Without God Too
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
Picking up on Shubha’s post about the current marketing campaigns being put out by atheist and humanist organizations, our Tumblr friend Jiorjia over at The Ianez Compendium forwarded this ad featuring Warren Buffett and the comment, “I’m good without God. Are you?”
The point and power of the ad — that you don’t have to be a religious believer to be a good, moral, ethical humanitarian — is an argument that comes up a lot in my reading. I just wish this wasn’t the starting point for all parties involved.

Warren Buffett Without God Too

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Picking up on Shubha’s post about the current marketing campaigns being put out by atheist and humanist organizations, our Tumblr friend Jiorjia over at The Ianez Compendium forwarded this ad featuring Warren Buffett and the comment, “I’m good without God. Are you?”

The point and power of the ad — that you don’t have to be a religious believer to be a good, moral, ethical humanitarian — is an argument that comes up a lot in my reading. I just wish this wasn’t the starting point for all parties involved.

Comments

The Ethics of Aid

Trent Gilliss, Online Editor

Every six weeks, we convene as a staff and talk about ideas for shows for the next two to three months. We’re never lacking in ideas, but finding knowledgeable voices that can carry an hour conversation takes some effort. One of the subjects near the top of our list is the ethics of global aid, particularly with Zimbabwe’s recent crackdown on CARE, a multi-national, non-profit organization fighting global poverty.

For me, the subject came to the forefront while reading Paul Theroux’s challenging, insightful travel account in Dark Star Safari. After serving in the Peace Corps in the 1960s, he revisits Africa and sees a starkly different and yet an eerily similar continent. He’s pretty hard on charitable aid organizations and missionaries, to be sure, and wonders — well, actually posits — whether good intentions have led to an industry that needs to sustain itself in order to carry on its business model:

"…this was the era of charity in Africa, where the business of philanthropy was paramount, studied as closely as the coffee harvest or a hydroelectric power project. Now a complex infrastructure was devoted to what had become ineradicable miseries: famine, displacement, poverty, illiteracy, AIDS, the ravages of war. Name an African problem and an agency or a charity existed to deal with it. But that did not mean a solution was produced. Charities and aid programs seemed to turn African problems into permanent conditions that were bigger and messier."

Theroux’s idea that aid and missionary organizations might actually undercut the stability and long-term efforts of people they are trying to help is challenging. The spot of “tough love” seems to be drenched in the hard-nosed, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps mentality that I often experienced growing up in North Dakota. I cringed initially. But, some germ made sense. Although I’m not in Africa, I face these tests while walking to work in downtown St. Paul when the same destitute man regularly asks me for five bucks. When do I become that microcosmic institution?

Where is that line and when do good intentions steal a struggling people’s identity, raid an individual’s sense of resourcefulness and pride? When do others who prosper have an obligation to intervene and help those who can’t help themselves because of forces beyond there control — political regimes, long-lasting droughts, diseases, etc.? Who are some of the wise voices you’re reading and hearing about that are immersed in this struggle that can speak personally about these situations?

Comments

Google.org: “Don’t Be Evil”

Trent Gilliss, Online Editor

I’m confused. An immense amount of media coverage has been dedicated this past year to philanthropic organizations associated with high-power people and companies doing charitable work in a different way. Bill Clinton has argued that pharmaceutical companies can even make a fair margin off of cheap drugs to developing countries in Africa.

Does corporate social responsibility lead to greater profitability for a company’s shareholders? An article in The Harvard Business Review debunks the idea and determines that there is “a very small correlation between corporate behavior and good financial results.”

And now Larry Brilliant of the internet juggernaut’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, has announced its targeted strategy — focusing on climate change, economic development, and early-warning systems for major disasters. Sergey Brin and Larry Page will be committing “1% of Google’s equity and profits in some form, as well as employee time.” Do Google’s founders and shareholders expect to profit from their well-intentioned philanthropy, or is it a matter of morality in the face of so much success?

Comments