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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.

Atheists Don’t Have No Songs

by Shubha Bala, associate producer

Watch Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers sing a special song, since they say atheists don’t have any.

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Watch Live Video of John Hodgman in Wits
(tonight, 8pm CT)
Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Wits with John HodgmanWhy am I featuring a live video stream of WITS featuring the humorist John Hodgman (from The Daily Show) with host John Moe (oh, and a call-in with author Neil Gaiman)?

Well, with all the video streaming of live SOF events over the past year, we’ve gotten pretty dang good at making things work and, more importantly, troubleshooting when things go wrong. So, when I can, I jump at the opportunity to share my experience and help our many colleagues.*

And, I’m not going to fib, it’s also a great opportunity to collaborate differently, figure out new ways of doing things, and see some phenomenal talent from behind the glass. And tonight’s show is one of them! Plus, we’ve always wanted to do comedy on our program. This is my roundabout way of making that happen!

So, if you’re looking for some no-cost entertainment, a few good laughs, and the ability to opt in to a vigorous Twitter conversation (hashtag is #wits), stop by around 8 pm Central tonight.

* Did you know that we are part of the same organization that produces hundreds of live events and programs like A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, Marketplace, The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Performance Today, the entire Minnesota Public Radio service, etc.?

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And, then, I later read ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle, and it tells you to find a shaft of sunlight and sit in it every day. So my boyfriend was, like, following Eckhart Tolle’s weird sunlight advice and finding it. And then he ended up using ‘The Power of Now’ to break up with me. So, like, it had turned against me.
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—Starlee Kine, from her story “Radical Honesty” (mp3, 19:59) on The Moth podcast.

We’ve received countless stories about the positive impact of Eckhart Tolle’s teachings on people’s lives. I had to smile when I heard this humorous story from a person who was on the receiving end of his guiding principles. If you work on SOF long enough, you hear the most surprising references to all types of material and people on the program!

Trent Gilliss, online editor

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Late Night with Tutu
Colleen Scheck, senior producer

This enjoyable segment with Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson won a Peabody Award today. Of this episode the selection committee said, “As this fascinating, often funny interview attests, the Scottish-born Ferguson has made late-night television safe again for ideas.”

I love how it highlights both Tutu’s moral passion and his delightful sense of humor. And, look for our show with Desmond Tutu in late April. Note: Ferguson’s interview is broken into three segments for YouTube. Watch the second and third parts below.

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Sometimes It Takes a Flood Trent Gilliss, online editor
We’ve used Tumblr as our blogging platform for several years now. Along the way, we’ve followed some fantastic Tumblrs and gained some new followers who post news, data visualizations, photos, and other enlightening material we would probably never have known about.
The comic above was posted by one of our new followers, Nick Mueller from New South Wales, one of 23 Australian Youth Delegates to the Copenhagen Climate Negotiations. He serves as an astute reminder that even as we stare down these serious challenges, we can face these issues with humor and a lighter heart “to support young people to make the change needed for our planet in a personally sustainable way.”
(via nickgoestocopenhagen)
Sometimes It Takes a Flood Trent Gilliss, online editor
We’ve used Tumblr as our blogging platform for several years now. Along the way, we’ve followed some fantastic Tumblrs and gained some new followers who post news, data visualizations, photos, and other enlightening material we would probably never have known about.
The comic above was posted by one of our new followers, Nick Mueller from New South Wales, one of 23 Australian Youth Delegates to the Copenhagen Climate Negotiations. He serves as an astute reminder that even as we stare down these serious challenges, we can face these issues with humor and a lighter heart “to support young people to make the change needed for our planet in a personally sustainable way.”
(via nickgoestocopenhagen)

Sometimes It Takes a Flood
Trent Gilliss, online editor

We’ve used Tumblr as our blogging platform for several years now. Along the way, we’ve followed some fantastic Tumblrs and gained some new followers who post news, data visualizations, photos, and other enlightening material we would probably never have known about.

The comic above was posted by one of our new followers, Nick Mueller from New South Wales, one of 23 Australian Youth Delegates to the Copenhagen Climate Negotiations. He serves as an astute reminder that even as we stare down these serious challenges, we can face these issues with humor and a lighter heart “to support young people to make the change needed for our planet in a personally sustainable way.”

(via nickgoestocopenhagen)

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Calvin and Hobbes: Math Is a Religion

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Calvin and Hobbes: Math Is a ReligionSome good clean humor to start the day, direct from one of my favorite comic strips via a tweetmeme.

For those who can’t easily read the word bubbles, a transcript:

First frame
Calvin: You know, I don’t think math is a science. I think it’s a religion.
Hobbes: A religion?

Second frame
Calvin: Yeah. All these equations are like miracles. You take two numbers and when you add them, they magically become one new number! No one can say how it happens. You either believe it or you don’t.

Third frame
Calvin: This whole book is full of things that have to be accepted on faith! It’s a religion!

Fourth frame
Hobbes: And in the public schools no less. Call a lawyer.
Calvin: As a math atheist, I should be excused from this.

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The Tao of Cow Trent Gilliss, online editor
Sometimes the most delightful surprises and promises of insight come in the form of a Facebook status update:

"So, Mom called. The cows broke out again. Two separate locations, and Dad had just repaired the fences. Hunters everywhere (makes them stampede). Hopefully they can get all the repairs done in time to make our family concert in Fergus Falls tomorrow… I know Hindus revere the cow, but Buddhists should as well, because they are really good at teaching impermanence and letting go."

The author? Andra Suchy-Pierzina, a friend and regular performer on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, who grew up on a farm outside of Mandan, North Dakota.

As I read this, I couldn’t help but feel lighter and be reminded of Matthieu Ricard’s story (next week’s program, “The Happiest Man in the World”) about two women navigating muddy Himalayan roads. One kvetched; the other smiled and embraced. Andra reminds me to be the latter.
(Photos: cows on the Suchy farm before jailbreak, courtesy of Andra Suchy-Pierzina)
The Tao of Cow Trent Gilliss, online editor
Sometimes the most delightful surprises and promises of insight come in the form of a Facebook status update:

"So, Mom called. The cows broke out again. Two separate locations, and Dad had just repaired the fences. Hunters everywhere (makes them stampede). Hopefully they can get all the repairs done in time to make our family concert in Fergus Falls tomorrow… I know Hindus revere the cow, but Buddhists should as well, because they are really good at teaching impermanence and letting go."

The author? Andra Suchy-Pierzina, a friend and regular performer on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, who grew up on a farm outside of Mandan, North Dakota.

As I read this, I couldn’t help but feel lighter and be reminded of Matthieu Ricard’s story (next week’s program, “The Happiest Man in the World”) about two women navigating muddy Himalayan roads. One kvetched; the other smiled and embraced. Andra reminds me to be the latter.
(Photos: cows on the Suchy farm before jailbreak, courtesy of Andra Suchy-Pierzina)

The Tao of Cow
Trent Gilliss, online editor

Sometimes the most delightful surprises and promises of insight come in the form of a Facebook status update:

"So, Mom called. The cows broke out again. Two separate locations, and Dad had just repaired the fences. Hunters everywhere (makes them stampede). Hopefully they can get all the repairs done in time to make our family concert in Fergus Falls tomorrow… I know Hindus revere the cow, but Buddhists should as well, because they are really good at teaching impermanence and letting go."

The author? Andra Suchy-Pierzina, a friend and regular performer on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, who grew up on a farm outside of Mandan, North Dakota.

A Field of Suchy Cows

As I read this, I couldn’t help but feel lighter and be reminded of Matthieu Ricard’s story (next week’s program, “The Happiest Man in the World”) about two women navigating muddy Himalayan roads. One kvetched; the other smiled and embraced. Andra reminds me to be the latter.

(Photos: cows on the Suchy farm before jailbreak, courtesy of Andra Suchy-Pierzina)

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Rossini’s “Meow!” by “The Little Singers of Paris”
Trent Gilliss, online editor

Ilona, our first Web intern, posted this video on my Facebook wall with the comment: “I know you’re all dog lovers at SoF but here is some cat love for ya.” For the first minute, I thought this was one person’s attempt at some humor-filled dubbing of a concert given in Seoul, Korea in 1996. But, when the boys and the pianist cracked smiles, doubt disappeared.

Les Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de Bois (also known as “The Little Singers of Paris”) is a century-old boarding school based in the outskirts of Paris. The Catholic institution admits boys from ages 9 to 15 and integrates traditional studies with arts and the humanities. A core component of the the school is social action in which they are “sensitive to people and populations in need” and “maintain the right to education, fight against discrimination and help the weak and the victims.”

Although similar in spirit to a previous video we posted of Les Freres de St Francis de la Sissies, this choir is a legit. The boys sing both sacred and popular music, often performing little-known French folk music. They tour throughout France and the world as part of their mission. I’d dig being able to hear them live.

I don’t read French, and the translations I pulled up about the school are pretty spotty. If you know more about the school’s efforts, please post a comment and share your knowledge.

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Animating the Word, with LEGOs
Mitch Hanley, Senior Producer

Back in February we produced a radio/web package on the manuscript preservation work of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at Saint John’s Abbey in central Minnesota. The Abbey is also responsible for commissioning The Saint John’s Bible, a new hand-written, hand-illuminated Bible using the tools of vellum, quills, pigments, gold leaf, and time-honored processes that declined after the advent of the printing press. The hope of the project’s champions is to illuminate “the Word of God for a new millennium.”

Another approach to that end is that of Reverend (he’s not really a preacher) Brendan Powell Smith — an actor, author, musician, and past theology student who has chosen a staggering collection of LEGOs, a hobby knife, permanent marker, and a camera to “animate” the Word and bring it to life in books and online. Smith’s Brick Testament has seen a lot of press worldwide and so you may have come across this before, but if not, I thought you might enjoy seeing just a handful of the highly imaginative and resourceful uses of LEGOs that Smith snaps together to retell Scripture.

You may notice that some of the dialogue in the images is black and some is grey. The black is actual Scripture and the grey, well, the grey might be called apocryphal or simply playful, or what Smith imagined what might have also been said at the time. His translation of choice is the New Jerusalem Bible, with some things updated in Smith’s wording to avoid copyright issues. Please note: some of the images and “playful” language of The Brick Testament may not be suitable for all audiences, but there is a content code to point out sections that some may find objectionable.

Illustrations courtesy of The Brick Testament.

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Friday Humor: Cover of The Onion Magazine Trent Gilliss, online editor
I missed this issue a couple weeks back, but found the cheeky take a welcome moment of lightness on an early Friday morning.
(thanks viz)
Friday Humor: Cover of The Onion Magazine Trent Gilliss, online editor
I missed this issue a couple weeks back, but found the cheeky take a welcome moment of lightness on an early Friday morning.
(thanks viz)

Friday Humor: Cover of The Onion Magazine
Trent Gilliss, online editor

I missed this issue a couple weeks back, but found the cheeky take a welcome moment of lightness on an early Friday morning.

(thanks viz)

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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.

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