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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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Unearthing a Cherokee-Slave Narrative at a Plantation Home

by David McGuire, guest contributor

Chief Vann House MuseumAn exhibit detailing the construction of the historic house mentioned. (Photo courtesy of Chief Vann House Museum)

Some stories in our families, and in our culture, get passed down. Some lay hidden, or are actively forgotten. Public historian Tiya Miles has worked on the latter — unearthing the painful histories of African slave ownership by Cherokees in the 19th century.

In this short excerpt from our upcoming show, “Toward Living Memory,” Miles explains how one fragment of an archival document led to a meaningful change at the plantation home of Cherokee Chief Vann.

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Robert Coles on the Spiritual Intuition of Children
» download (mp3, 5:38)
Shiraz Janjua, Associate Producer

As promised, here’s preview audio for our upcoming program with Robert Coles, a child psychiatrist who often deals with the spiritual lives of children. Originally, he was a prominent voice in an older Speaking of Faith program, Children and God. I believe that was just the second episode of SOF I ever listened to, and I remember loving it, yet apparently the program was beginning to show its age. The program also featured three voices. Back then, they said a radio program with just one long interview for one entire hour was a crazy idea. It’ll never work!

Kate and Rob listened to Robert Coles’ full interview with Krista again, and were convinced we had to bring this back to air as a one-voice show, taking it completely back to the drawing board and producing a new show from it. Here’s a rough tidbit from the new program we’re producing. Enjoy! The full program is scheduled for the first week of January.

Editor’s Note: You can now listen to the entire program on the Web site for “Robert Coles and the Inner Lives of Children.

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Amy Sullivan on Moral Leadership
Shiraz Janjua, Associate Producer

Having grown up in Canada, I look at the presidential campaign with a bit of befuddlement. The issues in Canadian politics are different, and the parliamentary system lessens the impact of a leader’s biography and charisma. No campaigning politician ever feels the need to explain his or her religious convictions (or lack thereof).

But in this segment of Krista’s interview with TIME Magazine editor Amy Sullivan, I finally heard a compelling historical explanation for this fascination with the personality and religion of the President of the United States. In October, this will be the first part of a two-part look at religion in the current election. More on that second part in a few days.

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Michael McCullough on Revenge and Forgiveness
Shiraz Janjua, Associate Producer

A show we’re working on features psychologist Michael McCullough. He wrote a book about the evolutionary psychology behind the behaviors of forgiveness and revenge, and how that affects everyone from primates to politicians (huge gap, I know). He says we need to understand those origins in order to better serve our moral institutions today. Above is a clip from the rough cut of the show that makes the animal kingdom sound like The Godfather.

McCullough is a Ph.D. at the University of Miami in the departments of Psychology and Religious Studies. His many scientific papers focus on forgiveness and revenge, gratitude, and religious development in people’s lives. Some introductory ones:

He recently wrote something for The Huffington Post on the virtue of forgiveness — timely wisdom for the future president of the U.S., whoever that may end up being. “The ability to control revenge and broker forgiveness among groups in conflict is a crucial, though underappreciated, element of statecraft.”

The show should be online and on the air in two weeks.

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Quoting Eckhart Tolle
Kate Moos, Managing Producer

This morning we’ll do the “final” listen to our program with Eckhart Tolle, which goes out to stations around the country and live on our web site next week on August 14th. It’s not final really, but it’s the last listen to the program in draft form, and it’s where a lot of fine tuning and fussy tweaking occurs.

At this stage in the process, we’ve been neck deep in the work for a little while, and we begin to use a sort of lingua franca based on the material — words and phrases from the guest or their writing populate our speech, to serious and comic effect.

With the Niebuhr show, one of our favorites was, “I am my own most vexing problem,” intoned with overdone gravitas. It’s a twist on Niebuhr’s famous dictum: “Man is his own most vexing problem.”

This week, we are making casual diagnoses of our pain bodies, and sharing earnest stories about how focusing on the now in normally stressful situations really works!

There are some great moments in this program with Eckhart Tolle, and this sample of the interview will give you a feel for it.

What are the catch phrases or terms you find yourself quoting most from Tolle’s work? Has his work or his books had an impact on your stress level?

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The Eight Is Magical
Shiraz Janjua, Associate Producer

Here’s a little 55-second taste of next week’s show. Krista interviewed anthropologist and filmmaker Mayfair Yang about religion in China. This came toward the end of the interview after the “serious” questions.

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