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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.

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A reframed, redemptive conversation about same-sex marriage with the subject before the Supreme Court. Coming to the gay marriage debate from two, predictable opposing directions, David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch both have an equal desire to strengthen the institution of marriage. They’re now showing all of us another way forward in grappling with the future of marriage.

This live event is part of On Being's continuing series, The Civil Conversations Project. Check it out. We are addressing all types of difficult topics, taking them head-on but from an angle.

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Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, Pro-Dialogue: A Civil Conversations Project Live Event with Frances Kissling and David Gushee (video)

when: Wed, Sep 26th, 2012 (3pm CST/4pm EST)
where:
 Humphrey School of Public Affairs, U of Minnesota

Discuss with others and ask your questions here:

Civil Conversations Pro-DialogueToday Krista Tippett hosts the second of four live public events of The Civil Conversations Project (CCP). Krista’s guests at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs are Frances Kissling and David Gushee.

They belong to a constellation of reproductive choice and rights activists who are exploring real relationship with their political opposites. These encounters are scarcely imaginable against the backdrop of the absolute poles that frame better-publicized confrontation. David Gushee, who opposes abortion, has written this:

"Our legal stalemate about abortion is like a football game, with the two rival teams pushing each other back and forth across the 50-yard line and neither team able to win — especially if winning is defined by either the total banning of abortion on the one side or its unhindered legalization and funding as a routine health care practice on the other. The pro-life and pro-choice establishments appear committed to the continuation of this game of smash-mouth abortion football until the end of time. It is quite a spectacle, but the legal struggle is actually a distraction from the unresolved cultural and moral issues that have created it."

This civil conversation will start there — with what is really at stake — and break out of the confines and categories of the usual debates.

Please be part of this. Submit questions to our guests, and participate in our live video stream.

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The Civil Conversations Project: In the Room with Gabe Lyons and Jim Daly (live video and interactive chat)

when: Wed, Sep 12th, 2012 (6pm CST/7pm EST)
where:
Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, U of Minnesota

CCP: The Next ChristiansWe kick off our second season of The Civil Conversations Project (CCP) with four live, public events. This Wednesday at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Krista speaks with Gabe Lyons, author of The Next Christians, and Jim Daly, Jim Dobson’s successor at Focus on the Family. They are bringing a new imagination and defy stereotypes of religious — specifically Christian, Evangelical – America that flourish in an election year. And they represent the way this significant swath of American religiosity continues to evolve. Please be part of this. Learn more on the CCP site, submit questions to our guests, and participate in our live video streams.

Discuss with others and ask your questions here:

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Internet Everywhere: The Future of History’s Most Disruptive Technology (live video)

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

In "Alive Enough?," the director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, Sherry Turkle, cautions that technology is not alienating in and of itself, but that we must mature as our ever-expanding relationship with technology grows. And, she says, we can and must lead examined lives with our digital objects — actively shaping technology to human purposes.

Well, at this year’s World Science Festival, some of the pioneers (including Vint Cerf) of these disruptive technologies examine “the Internet’s brief but explosive history and reveal nascent projects that will shortly reinvent how we interact with technology — and each other.” And they give us a view of what technologies and interactions are in our future.

The live webcast starts at 1pm Eastern. Our producer is there and will be live-tweeting this panel of dynamic thinkers from NYU’s Skirball Center. Watch the live video stream with us and let us know if there’s anybody you’d like us to interview for On Being.

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Quantum Biology and the Hidden Nature of Nature (live video)

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Put an astrobiologist and a mechanical engineer on the same stage and what do you get? One heck of an exciting conversation about how quantum physics realm holds sway and plays a pivotal role in our everyday experiences — in everything from bird navigation to our sense of smell.

We have a producer on the ground at the World Science Festival who will be live-tweeting the conversation with Paul Davies and Seth Lloyd from The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College. Watch the live video stream with us and share your takeaways from this panel, and if you’d like to hear one of them interviewed for On Being. The event starts at 8pm Eastern.

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Sylvia Boorstein Reads Neruda’s “Keeping Quiet”

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps the huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of frightening ourselves with death.

During our show this week, Krista Tippett asked Sylvia Boorstein to read the Pablo Neruda poem she always carries with her. Quite a few listeners have asked where they can hear "Keeping Quiet" again, so here she is reciting the poem in front of a live audience in suburban Detroit.

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Live Video: In the Room with Kevin Kling

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Live Video: In the Room with Kevin Kling and Krista TippettWHEN: Feb 9th, 2012 (1pm CT/2pm ET)

If you listen to NPR, there’s a good chance you’ve been regaled by the unparalleled storytelling of Kevin Kling. His popular commentaries and hilarious autobiographical tales have graced the public radio airwaves and his plays have been staged across the United States.

Born with a congenital birth defect, Kling’s left hand has no wrist or thumb, and that same arm is 75 percent the size of his right arm. And then, about five years ago, a motorcycle accident took away the use of his right arm when the brachial plexus nerves were pulled out of their sockets.

In a face-to-face conversation from the studios of American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio, Krista Tippett will talk to this American humorist and writer about confronting and embracing these physical challenges and his own mortality, and the will to create rather than despair. Through his work and his personal story, we’ll focus on his work as an artist, the importance of humor and craft in his spiritual life, and how he finds meaning in the world around him.

You’re welcome to watch it here, or join us on our events page where you can chat with other folks watching it.

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Rosanne Cash Is “In the Room” with Krista Tippett (Live Video!)

November 17th, 2011 ~ 4:30pm CT/5:30pm ET

Rosanne Cash live with Krista Tippett On BeingToday’s the day! We’re reclaiming Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis again (recall our one-on-one with Bobby McFerrin?), but this time with singing and songwriting legend Rosanne Cash!

She’s lived a life, as she describes it, “circumscribed by music” and has given voice to her experiences through the lyrics and rhythms of her compositions — and of her musical ancestors. In a one-one-one, free-flowing conversation for 90 minutes, we’ll talk to her about the way she thinks about music and literature, life and spirituality.

Pssst! For you bloggers and website editors out there, we’re offering you the ability to embed this video on your site. We’ve got promotional image tiles and code that makes it easy to do. Oh, and you can embed the chat module too! Check out the details at the On Being live video events page.

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Emerging from the “Dark Ages” of American Food Life

by Krista Tippett, host

Dan Barber

Dan Barber is one of those voices who stays with you and changes the way you move through ordinary time — the vast ordinary time, that is, that we all spend thinking about what we will eat, buying food, storing it, preparing it.

His knowledge is as infectious as his passion. He wants us to enjoy our food. And if we become “greedy” for flavor, he says, we will also reform our agricultural ecologies and economies.

This is an irresistible proposition, of course. And what is strange, he helps us realize, is how far-fetched it sounds.

As I told him when we began to speak, I grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, an era Dan Barber calls “the Dark Ages” of American food life. My grandparents grew their own vegetables, and we found that quaint but a bit puzzling. Buying supermarket food that emerged from boxes and cans was progress.

And yet, the transcendent food memory of my childhood remains the enormous, red, delicious tomatoes that were available at a ramshackle store on Main Street for a couple of months each summer. It needed nothing added to be the most gorgeous meal in itself. When I mentioned those tomatoes, an audible sigh went up in the audience. We all remember those tomatoes. Dan Barber — and others like Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver — would have us ask this: Why did we abandon that pleasure, and how can we reclaim it as part of our ordinary food lives?

That question becomes more urgent, relevant far beyond the matter of pleasure, as we learn what Dan Barber knows about the nutrition that comes with flavor, the potential that maximally flavorful, nutritious food is now being shown to have even in the fight against cancer. The processes and distribution systems that have leached the flavor out of seeds and produce — processes that also mean I can’t grow those transcendent tomatoes in my home garden even if I try — have made them inexpensive and available in all seasons. But in this generation or the next, the ecological costs of this will become unsupportable.

Amuse Bouche - Fresh Tomato BerriesAmuse Bouche — Fresh Tomato Berries at Stone Barns. (photo: ulterior epicure/Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0)

This is a good news story, though, for a change. Because this crisis, if Dan Barber is to be believed, will bring us home.

The “great social movement” of which he is part is forcing us to re-learn where our food comes from. It is helping us internalize the natural connection between what is ethically grown and healthful and what is delicious. It is helping us discover the particular flavors and bounty of where we come from. You will learn more about root vegetables — especially carrots — in this conversation than you ever realized could be fascinating. Who knew, for example, that sweetness that forms in root vegetables in the hard freezes of northern climates is the vegetable telling you, as Dan Barber tells us, that it does not want to die.

Dan Barber’s cooking is about storytelling too, and it is fascinating to take in his approach to cooking that points “the vectors” at the brilliance and art of farming rather than the flourishes of his cooking. Though the gestalt of his two restaurants is by all accounts extraordinary. Food & Wine has called Blue Hill at Stone Barns one of the world’s “top 10 life-changing restaurants.”

If there is a challenge to the rest of us in Dan Barber’s delightful mission to put pleasure back at the center of our food lives, it is that we will all have to take up our boning knives and cast iron skillets again and begin again to cook.

Some will be uncomfortable with his provocative and impassioned explanation of why he is not vegetarian. He is also not a purist in the local food movement. He confesses to loving citrus on his menus all through the year, and insists that we must make the same distribution systems that have alienated us from flavor begin to work for the regional agricultural economies we must create.

I have cooked more, and with more pleasure, since this conversation. I have had conversations with my children that Dan Barber gave me ideas and words to have. I continue to savor and tease out the unexpected link he offers between what is pleasurable, what is ethical, and what is life-giving, and it is a great gift that I am delighted to pass on to you.

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Live Video: In the Room with Walter Brueggemann

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Live Interview with Walter Brueggemann

May 18, 2011
(1pm CT/2pm ET) 
In the Room with Walter Brueggemann 
Minnesota Public Radio ~ Saint Paul, Minnesota

Krista Tippett will be speaking with Walter Brueggemann, a “provocative, interesting, challenging, and imaginative” voice in the Protestant mainline tradition who is best known for his book Prophetic Imagination.

The renowned Old Testament scholar and Professor Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary is credited with shaping generations of ministers and sermons with his prolific interpretations of Hebrew text and his poetic books of prayer. In this interview, Krista will draw out his passion for using ancient texts to guide our modern human experience.

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Lovingkindness (Metta) Meditation with Sylvia Boorstein

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Sylvia Boorstein speaks with Krista Tippet

In mid-February, we partnered with WDET to hold a live event in a quaint suburban village outside of Detroit. The topic: raising children in complex times.

Krista’s conversation with Sylvia Boorstein was rolling along quite nicely — stories were being told, approaches to child-rearing were being shared — when somewhat unexpectedly, Boorstein (a Jewish Buddhist teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in northern California) offered to lead a lovingkindness, or metta, meditation for a crowd of more than 300 folks.

With that size of a crowd who hadn’t necessarily attended for a mindfulness retreat, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What resulted was a magical experience in which the audience fully participated in this impromptu moment of reflection.

If you’re game, we’d like you to use this as a guided meditation. As a producer, one’s never certain if an impromptu experience like this works because it was part of a particular time or if it translates into a fruitful experience for others online. What do you think?

Photo by Trent Gilliss

Correction (June 11, 2011): This post mistakenly referred to Ms. Boorstein teaching at Split Rock Meditation Center, and has now been revised to Spirit Rock Meditation Center.

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The Unasked Questions for Sylvia Boorstein

by Nancy Rosenbaum, producer

My angry self

"How can I catch my angry self before it catches me!?"

This is one of many anonymous questions posed by the 300 people who came out to hear Krista interview Sylvia Boorstein at a live event in Birmingham, Michigan last month. The theme of their conversation: “Raising Children in Complex Times.” Now in her 70’s, Boorstein is best known as a Buddhist meditation teacher and author. She’s quick to define herself as both a mother and grandmother.

We came away from this event with a big stack of question cards, many of which didn’t get posed because of time. Here’s a sampler:

Toughening kids

"Sometimes my husband will say - we need to toughen these kids up; they have to live in a tough world.  How do we balance teaching them kindness/gentleness versus being tough."

Words of comfort

"What words of comfort can we say to our children (22 yrs) when faced with health issues. (Can be major or minor)."

Cultivating caring

"In a time of overbearing parenting and institutionalized narcisism [sic], how do we cultivate caring?"

Spiritual principles for 6-year old

"Spiritual principles for a 6 yr old.  My daughter is 6 — she asks many questions about ‘God.’  Other than modeling behavior do you have other suggestions on how to discuss spirituality when my spirituality is so abstract?"

Anxiety and parenting

"Growing up in an alcoholic family, and with anxiety as an adult, how does one manage anxiety with parenting?"

Looking at the anonymous cards, each one with its distinctive handwriting, I imagine a person on the other side with a longing for their question to be answered.

Which of these questions speak to you? And what responses would you offer?

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(video) His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on Happiness with Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Bishop Jefferts Schori, and Rabbi Sacks

by Trent Gilliss, senior producer

What happens when 4,000 people gather together to watch a stage seated with a Tibetan Buddhist master, the chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, and one of the world’s preeminent Muslim scholars — and the topic is understanding happiness? One enthralling discussion with plenty of great stories to take home to your friends and family.

Well, with gracious permission from Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion, you can see it for yourself with this front-row seat for a sold-out event in Atlanta on October 17. The conversation was electric and these prominent religious leaders were fully engaged as they contemplated the meaning of happiness.

And, what makes us producers really happy, we were able to turn the discussion into a radio show. Want to listen to only the audio of the video? Download the MP3 of the discussion.

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Understanding Happiness with the Dalai Lama, a British Rabbi, an Episcopal Bishop, a Muslim Scholar: A Twitterscript

by Shubha Bala, associate producer

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

On October 17 of this year, Krista led a lively conversation with four dynamic religious leaders: the His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, and Seyyed Hossein Nasr on “Understanding and Promoting Happiness in Today’s Society.”

Trent and I sat in the media section of the Woodruff Physical Education Center at Emory University and our live-tweeted some of the special gems from discussion. You can also listen to the event’s full audio.

  1. We’ll be live-tweeting Krista’s panel w/ @, @RabbiSacks, Rev. Schori, + Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Intros are beginning; discussion to start soon.
    17 Oct
  2. Krista and religious leaders have taken the stage, followed by the @DalaiLama. All are standing in silence with one pair of hands clapping. 
    17 Oct
  3. The topic of this session: understanding and promoting happiness in today’s society. Smiles everyone! 
    17 Oct
  4. "The reason different religious traditions developed is not for misery but for deep satisfaction (happiness). That’s very clear."-@DalaiLama 
    17 Oct
  5. The @DalaiLama finally put on his classic deep red visor. He said to Krista - “Now I can see you clearer. There is a bright light in here.” 
    17 Oct
  6. "If we could learn 1 thing from you - how to laugh the way you do - it would increase the happiness in the world." @rabbisacks to @dalailama 
    17 Oct
  7. "Simha tells us that happiness is part of the tenure and texture of relationships." @rabbisacks on Jewish definition of a shared happiness 
    17 Oct
      
  8. "Consumerism making us feel bad for what we lack is the most efficient system for the manufacturing+distribution of unhappiness" @rabbisacks 
    17 Oct
  9. "The paradox of the world is that to listen to a lecture on #happiness people have to stand in line unhappily for 2 hours to get in.” -Nasr 
    17 Oct
  10. #Happiness comes from this right relationship - from knowing you are not God and therefore not putting yourself in the center.” -Rev Schori 
    17 Oct
  11. Some people have the idea that just following the truth is enough. #Islambelieves what’s important is to attain #happiness.”-Seyyed H. Nasr 
    17 Oct
  12. "The environmental crisis is due to this substitution - believing #happiness is to have, want more and more.” - Seyyed Hossein Nasr 
    17 Oct
  13. "Once it was asked to a great #Sufi master ‘What do you want?’ He said ‘I want not to want?’ That’s the epitome of #happiness.” -Seyyed Nasr 
    17 Oct
  14. "Happiness is a permanent state of the soul, and we are here to attain it." -Seyyed H. Nasr to the @DalaiLama 
    17 Oct
  15. "That’s why all the pain can lead to #happiness when you say to the bad times: I will not let you go until you bless me.” - @rabbisacks 
    17 Oct
  16. "Happiness is not finding joy in death. It’s taking what is, and insisting that great happiness for all is possible." - Rev. Schori 
    17 Oct
  17. RT @EmoryUniversity ”Say to the bad times, I will not let you go until you bless me.”—-Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks 
    17 Oct
  18. "In Arabic, beauty and virtue — and the word goodness — are all the same word." -Seyyed H. Nasr 
    17 Oct
  19. "The #Arabic word for beauty, virtue, and goodness is the same. Beauty drives us to the divine…Beauty makes the soul happy.” - Seyyed Nasr 
    17 Oct
  20. "Just by existing, we’re responsible towards other creatures, humans, nature, and God himself." -Seyyed Hossein Nasr 
    17 Oct
  21. "Buddhism is in some ways atheist, but some say atheism means anti-God. In that sense, #Buddhism has respect for all traditions.” @DalaiLama 
    17 Oct
  22. "Sometimes we don’t have to pursue happiness, we have to pause and let it catch up to us." - @rabbisacks 
    17 Oct
  23. "There is a religious challenge in things that don’t look beautiful." -@RabbiSacks 
    17 Oct
  24. "Happiness is a right. The purpose of our life is happiness. It may be simple but it’s what I think!" @DalaiLama 
    17 Oct
  25. "When a person lives with hopelessness, they commit suicide. So our life depends on hope for happiness." @DalaiLama 
    17 Oct
  26. A nice segue by Krista from @RabbiSacks' fabulous point about slowing down for happiness to the @DalaiLama's teachings on meditation. 
    17 Oct
  27. "I almost drowned on my honeymoon, so when I wake up, I know what it means to pray: Thank you #God for giving me back my life.” @RabbiSacks 
    17 Oct
  28. "We can face the future of fear if we know we do not face it alone." @RabbiSackson praying to #God and knowing God is with you 
    17 Oct
  29. Just realized there’s a person signing this wonderful discussion at Emory. Her just to hear + translate must be incredibly difficult. Kudos. 
    17 Oct
  30. "Our modern culture makes it very hard to fail." -@RabbiSacks at The Interfaith Summit on Happiness 
    17 Oct
  31. "Train the body so the mind, the self, and the soul can do it’s job more effectively." - Rev. Schori on #running as body meditation 
    17 Oct
     
  32. #Judaism has a whole approach on the physical dimension of the spiritual life - it’s called food.” @RabbiSacks on #happiness and the body 
    17 Oct
  33. "If you want a summary of all the #Jewish holidays it can be done in 3 sentences: they tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat” @RabbiSacks 
    17 Oct
  34. "Someone elses’ material needs, are my spiritual duty" @RabbiSacks on the responsibility to help others who are lacking 
    17 Oct
  35. @DalaiLama is asked: Where does body fit into happiness? HHDL: Without a body, there’s no longer a brain. Then it’s difficult to think. 
    17 Oct
  36. "You have to let go of hate if you want to be free" - @RabbiSacks 
    17 Oct
  37. "A #Muslim friend said ‘jihad’ is combating the negative forces within yourself. So then, the whole Buddhist philosophy is Jihad” @DalaiLama 
    17 Oct
  38. "After Buddhism there is no religion that speaks more of compassion than #Islamdoes.” - Seyyed Hossein Nasr 
    17 Oct
  39. "I’m out of my medium. I’m used to being in a recording studio where people aren’t applauding after comments" - Krista Tippett 
    17 Oct
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