On the Blog

June 16, 2008

Katherine Marshall, who has spent three decades in international development, sounds like a really interesting voice. Later this week, she’ll be co-moderating a panel in Washington with Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals. It’s a meeting of American Evangelicals and Moroccan Muslims who are both concerned about global warming. I introduced myself and she says she’s got tons of stories. I’d love to hear more about this Moroccan thing. Anyway, out to lunch now.


June 16, 2008

Spending the day here at the first day of the PUSH Conference in Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center. I’m actually on the beat for our show idea on the ethics of international aid and development. PUSH, in the words of organizer Cecily Sommers, is about looking at the polarizing forces in our world, and what the space in between those poles offers (sounds familiar). PUSH is an ideas conference that brings together interesting thinkers who have inspiring ideas. Some of our past guests can be found here, like Eboo Patel and Anthea Butler. I think I saw Nathan Dungan in conversation with someone.

The space between those poles is what they’re calling The Fertile Delta, which is the theme of this year’s conference. This morning’s “pole” is economics. Some pretty inspiring stuff so far, and I hope to have some more thoughts later on in the day.


June 12, 2008

These are just some ideas we’ll be researching this summer:

  • The ethics of international aid, the moral impulse behind it, and the relationship between wealthy and poor countries as a matter of policy
  • Music… The “music show” idea just won’t die, but we just can’t seem to find a way to pin down such a broad topic
  • The spiritual scene in China right now as its economy soars and it hosts the Olympics
  • Gay marriage, as Kate posted earlier
  • The relationship between humans and animals, the bonds that exist there
  • The ups and downs of the faith angle in the U.S. presidential campaign/marathon/extended director’s cut of Lord of the Rings

We’re digging up some great names and speakers, but don’t be shy about suggesting someone.


June 12, 2008

Our consulting editor experiences Monk's "spiritual propulsion" at her live performance.

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June 10, 2008

What are your thoughts about how to cover this issue? We could use your suggestions.

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June 04, 2008

Will the transcendent possibilities of "the singularity" invade our spiritual domains too?

June 04, 2008

Finding the line between doing good and crippling those one's trying to help — at home and abroad.

June 03, 2008

What do you get when you search the term "heschel" — a surprising image and a moment of insight.

May 28, 2008


“An Ojibwe Language Society Calendar” (photo: Hanson Dates/flickr)

Working on an upcoming SOF show about endangered languages, I called a professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University to get recordings of Ojibwe speakers for the radio program and website. His answering machine message was delivered first in Ojibwe and then in English. Then this week I called someone who works at an Ojibwe immersion school in Wisconsin, and his answering machine message was Ojibwe only.

It was a little disorienting but also inspiring to hear the language in this modern context, especially considering that Ojibwe is one of only a handful of Native American languages now spoken in the United States and Canada that is expected to survive beyond 2050.


May 27, 2008

What is it about Bible stories? For me they can be like catchy music; I’ll get one stuck in my head and then, while I wait for the bus or cut up vegetables or fold laundry, the story will run on repeat, offering its melodies, harmonies, dissonances. These ancient stories — so full of existential drama — can become obsessions.

I’ve been thinking constantly for the past year or so about the Book of Ruth.  (Read the whole book yourself here.) Naomi, her husband and sons all dead, is in mourning. She’s planning to move home to Bethlehem. She tells her newly widowed daughters-in-law to go back to their families; they can remarry in their native towns. But Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, insists on moving with Naomi back to Judah. We don’t know exactly why.

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May 23, 2008

A gripping photo from the 2008 earthquake.

May 22, 2008

We use a third-party service, Disqus, for our commenting engine on our blog. Due to some changes from our blog service (Tumblr), older comments submitted before today are not showing up on our site. We haven’t lost them though; they just aren’t reconciling with the permalink for each blog post.

So please keep the comments coming — and your suggestions for the Webby five-word acceptance speech. The new ones will display and the older comments will show up as soon as the issue’s resolved.

[UPDATE] It looks like everything is back to normal now. Please let us know if you’re experiencing any difficulty or noticed one of your comments is missing in action. Cheers. 


May 21, 2008

The classic Eames Office video about the Powers of Ten is likened to a "a low budget 70s era educational filmstrip."

May 13, 2008

It’s hard not to see life as utterly random and meaningless in the face of disasters like the recent cyclone in Myanmar or the earthquake in China. And this is an issue that comes up again and again in theological circles, referred to as as the theodicy question: How could a just god let innocent people suffer and die?

May 12, 2008

Our senior editor traces the atypical path of developing and producing this program and its Web elements.

May 09, 2008

What do you do when an interview on AJH is too good to be cut? Be merciless.

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May 07, 2008

Preparing for this program was like putting lighting in a bottle. Armstrong travels the world, writes voluminously, and continually develops her ideas. Video of her TED Talk helped us mind the gap.

May 01, 2008

Kate posted a poem a while back that, she said, bonked her on the head. Robinson Jeffers, nature poet of the Central Coast in California, wrote this one that never fails to make me gasp. As the snows linger on in Minnesota, it also makes me a little homesick for the grandeur of the Pacific.

Editorial Note June 12, 2008: “The Great Explosion” is reprinted on many sites on the internet. In deference to copyright, the text has been removed from this post and a link to the text provided above. (Kate Moos, Managing Editor)

April 24, 2008
April 23, 2008

Catholics of all sorts have been responding to our call for their stories. They’ve been writing to tell us about their experiences in the Catholic Church — the beauty and the pain and the hope they feel belonging to this vast and ancient tradition. We have been amazed by the depth and feeling with which these people have told us their stories. In an upcoming show in May, you’ll hear for yourself the fruit of these insightful voices.

April 20, 2008

A stirring set of questions from the Sephardic seder tradition creates a new space for a father's reflection on Passover.

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