Star trails over the European Souther Observatory's 3.6-meter telescope, which hosts the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher, one of the world's foremost exoplanet hunters. (Source: A. Santerne/ESO)
Erick T. Styles (@etstyles), a former Jesuit scholastic now living in Minnesota, reached out to Krista on Twitter with the following request:
Please do a show on #BenedictXVI & theology and reality of papacy. Show is so well done. We need your contribution.
We want to add to the coverage, not contribute to the pollution. But how can we contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way in light of Pope Benedict XVI's departure and the upcoming election of a new pontiff? The scenario echoes a similar quandry we had in 2008, when Pope Benedict visited the U.S. for the first time. It's also a chance to revisit the show we produced as a result.
"What do you take solace in and find beautiful about this faith? What anchors and unsettles you in and beyond current headlines about the Church? What hopes, questions, and concerns are on your mind as you ponder the state of the Church and its future?"
Rather than dwelling on the problems of the Church, we asked these questions of our listeners and readers. The response was remarkable. And, we responded with a format-breaking production in which a rich array of people reflected on the force of this vast and ancient tradition in their lives. Some struggled with it while others were finding new sources of their love for it. Even to be a lapsed Catholic, we heard, was a complex state of being.
Well, we're having the same reaction now.
Is this a time of change for the Church? If you are (or were) Roman Catholic, I ask you, what are your hopes and dreams for the future of this 2,000-year-old tradition? Please, send me your thoughts — long or short — at firstname.lastname@example.org or even via Twitter (@TrentGilliss).
Carolyn Silveira (@carothecmonster) shared the video of our "truly civil conversation about abortion":
"This respectful and deeply intelligent conversation about abortion feels like a miracle. If you want to change the way we handle our differences in this country, watch even one minute of this video and share it now."
Check out her copious recommended highlights. They're good, and wonderfully instructive.
Did you see our latest sketchnote from Doug Neill? I think he did a wonderful job of picking up on Vincent Harding's ideas about the hard work of building the "beloved community" brick by brick, the sharing of stories of our elders, darkness as the milieu of light, and how a new majority is forming out of the many-splendored composition of our nation's minorities.
But, as Lori Hughes pointed out on our Facebook page, not everything is captured:
My favorite didn't make the sketch notes: "Love trumps doctrine every time."
Thanks for reminding us, Lori.
How about this joyful tweet from the great writer and filmmaker dream hampton (@dreamhampton):
Heeeyyyyy, I didn't know @kristatippett was on Twitter! Your interview with geophysicist Xavier Le Pichon changed my life! Thank you.
This is so much of what I love about working on this show — delighting in the fresh discovery of past interviews. Krista too:
@dreamhampton What a great one to be changed by. Love knowing this.
@kristatippett His idea of circling the most vulnerable in intentional communities...so beautiful. Thank you.
@dreamhampton Yes and that vulnerability is at the essence of vitality even in geophysical systems.
Each Friday night, the author and journalist Lisa Napoli (recognize her name from KCRW or Marketplace?) opens her door and throws a "party" in her LA abode. As Ms. Napoli says in this video:
"Even if you like living alone, that doesn't always mean you want to be alone."
Anybody can come and socialize. It's such a lovely idea and seems like a great way to build relationships and foster community in one's own way.
There are other ways to commune too. How about this lovely passage from naturalist John Muir, written more than a century ago? His words are more relevant than ever to our modern lives:
"The tendency nowadays to wander in wildernesses is delightful to see. Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."
Reminds me of Gordon Hempton's mantra that we need outer silence to have inner silence. Just love Krista's interview with him!
And how about this sterling advice from the great author and thinker W.E.B. Du Bois:
The main thing is the YOU beneath the clothes and skin — the ability to do, the will to conquer, the determination to understand and know this great, wonderful, curious world.
We've posted a fuller excerpt of his letter to his daughter Yolande, and a larger version of Matteo Mazzadri's photo on our Tumblr.
The most retweeted quotation from Krista's interview with fairytale scholar Maria Tatar?
"There is a storytelling instinct that from the get-go we need to communicate to tell things that makes sense of what happened."
"I remember sitting through sermons as utter torture, and maybe that's why I was attracted to fairytales."
Look for this show in mid-March. Can't wait to produce it!
This week's Tuesday evening melody is a fun one. The Daredevil Christopher Wright, a folk indie rock band from Wisconsin, draws from the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber's classic text, I & Thou, as inspiration:
"I love exploring my own doubt, and how people have wrestled with the idea of understanding human motivation, purpose."
Have a listen. It's quite good.
To close, we remember Rabbi David Hartman, who died this week. He was an exuberant, challenging thinker. He lived with passion. It was an honor to meet him and be with him, if only for a few hours. Krista interviewed him in Jerusalem in 2011. We ended the show with him reflecting on his own spiritual evolution and how his sense of who God is has changed over time:
"I don't know what God is, the being of God, but I know it's a shattering experience. It opens you to the world. It takes you out of your narcissistic ego trip and says, look, see the other. Show strength through compassion, through love, not through violence. And to be reminded each day of those achievements. Not simple, but I'm still hoping. I'm still hoping. It's not easy to be a religious man. It's hard to be an awakened human being."