Show Archive

December 2011

12.29

The XIV Dalai Lama seems to many to embody happiness — happiness against the odds, a virtue that is acquired and practiced. Before a live audience in Atlanta, Georgia, Krista had a rare opportunity to mull over the meaning of happiness in contemporary life with him and three global spiritual leaders: a Muslim scholar, a chief rabbi, and a presiding bishop. For this new year, an invigorating and unpredictable discussion exploring the themes of suffering, beauty, and the nature of the body.

12.22

The people we later recognize as prophets, says Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann, are also poets. They reframe what is at stake in chaotic times. Hear a very special voice in conversation to address our changing lives and the deepest meaning of hope this season.

12.15

Could a Yiddish text from the Middle Ages serve as a guide to living now? Book composer and typographer Scott-Martin Kosofsky revives unlikely sources of "customs" for leading a modern life and marking sacred time. For Hanukkah and all the seasons upon us.

12.08

Astrophysicist Mario Livio works with science the Hubble Space Telescope makes possible. He is not a religious person. But he's fascinated with the enduring mystery of the very language of science, mathematics.

12.01

Amoral zombies. Loving vampires. Righteous serial killers. And lots of God. That's all in the new TV season — a place where great writers and actors are telling the story of our time — playfully, violently, soulfully.

November 2011

11.24

How we see the world is how we value it, says Ellen Davis. And poetry is a way to rediscover the lost art of being creatures. An hour of learning and slowing down, with the "Mad Farmer" poems of Wendell Berry and a new way to take in the "poetry" of Genesis.

11.17

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush opens up a hidden but possibly re-emerging influence in the DNA of American Christianity, reaching back to the Social Gospel movement at the turn of the 20th century. And, the Huffington Post religion editor shares what he's learning about religion in this century's evolving realm of technology.

11.10

What happens when you bring together science and poetry on something like color or light? Arthur Zajonc is a physicist and contemplative. And he says we can all investigate life as vigorously from the inside as from the outside.

11.03

Learning to talk, acquiring language, is one of the most remarkable and ordinary things human beings do. A playful conversation with a legend in the field of psycholinguistics, who says it’s as thrilling a frontier as outer space or the deep sea.

October 2011

10.27

A renowned Tibetan Buddhist teacher shares his thoughts on the meaning of happiness, and how he understands spirituality as "contemplative science."

10.20

From The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to CNN, Joanna Brooks has become a go-to voice during our national inspection of Mormonism in this presidential campaign. As Mitt Romney makes history, we revisit our personal and revealing conversation with the Ask Mormon Girl blogger. She opens a window on Mormonism as an evolving and far from monolithic faith.

10.13

A profound stutter as a child left Alan Rabinowitz virtually unable to communicate and to prefer animals to people. Now a conservationist of tigers and jaguars, an explorer of the world's last wild places, he has extraordinary insight into both animals and the human condition.

10.06

What may one of the great literary teachers of Torah and midrash — the Jewish tradition of reading between the lines of the Bible to uncover hidden layers of meaning — teach us about our own human longings? Hear what happens when she takes on Noah and the Flood, and Adam and Eve in the garden.

September 2011

09.29

A remarkable Kenyan woman and environmentalist speaks from experience about the links between ecology, human flourishing, war and peace, and democracy. And she shares her thoughts on where God resides.

09.22

David Hartman died a year ago this week. The Orthodox rabbi was a charismatic and challenging figure in Israeli society, called a “public philosopher for the Jewish people” and a “champion of adaptive Judaism.” We remember his window into the unfolding of his tradition in the modern world — Judaism as a lens on the human condition.

09.15

We experience a vision of caution and hope planted in a long view of Arab and Palestinian history, culture, and time in Palestinian philosopher Sari Nusseibeh. His personal story is steeped in layers of identity and, as he says, living legend, which shape history in the making today.

09.08

In the days and months after 9/11, St. Paul's Chapel became the hub where thousands of volunteers and rescue workers received round-the-clock care. It was a moving setting to explore how 9/11 changed us as a people — and to ponder the inward work of living with enduring grief and unfolding understanding. From a live conversation at the edge of Ground Zero, The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg, journalist and novelist Pankaj Mishra, and theologian Serene Jones.

09.01

Each of us, in our everyday interactions, chooses between letting technology shape us and shaping it towards human purposes, even towards honoring what we hold dear. Sherry Turkle, director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, is full of usable ideas — from how to declare email bankruptcy to teaching our children the rewards of solitude.

August 2011

08.25

The civil rights leader wrote speeches for Martin Luther King Jr. and was one of his closest friends. Vincent Harding is teaching new generations about the lessons of that time — and how those lessons can repair divisions in America today. He finds hope in young people today and says they are his answer to the question that drives him: "Is America possible?"

08.18

Richard Mouw challenges his fellow conservative Christians to civility in public discourse. He offers historical as well as spiritual perspective on American Evangelicals' navigation of disagreement, fear, and truth.

08.11

Frances Kissling is known for her longtime activism on the abortion issue but has devoted her energy more in recent years to real relationship and new conversations across that bitter divide. She's learned, she's written, about the courage to be vulnerable in front of those with whom we passionately disagree.

08.04

How can unimaginable social change happen in a world of strangers? Kwame Anthony Appiah is a philosopher who studies ethics and his parents' marriage helped inspire the movie Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. In a tense moment in American life, he has refreshing advice on simply living with difference.

July 2011

07.28

Poetry is something many of us seem to be hungry for these days. We're hungry for fresh ways to tell hard truths and redemptive stories, for language that would elevate and embolden rather than demean and alienate. Elizabeth Alexander shares her sense of what poetry works in us — and in our children — and why it may become more relevant, not less so, in hard and complicated times.

07.21

Krista Tippett speaks with Jane Gross, creator of The New York Times’ New Old Age blog. As she learned by taking care of her mother during her final years, we’re living longer and dying more slowly. Gross shares her wisdom about the new relationship between children and parents, and the changing way we think about the far shore of aging.

07.14

One child in every 110 in the U.S. is now diagnosed to be somewhere on the spectrum of autism. We step back from public controversies over causes and cures and explore the mystery and meaning of autism in one family's life, and in history and society. Our guests say that life with their child with autism has deepened their understanding of human nature — of disability, and of creativity, intelligence, and accomplishment.

07.07

Did you know that the sacred city of Bethlehem lies within the West Bank? And, inside its borders, you'll find something unexpected — a close-knit neighborhood where generations of people have created a new life for themselves. Amahl Bishara and Nidal Al-Azraq show us something rare that we don't see in the news about refugee camps — the quiet cycles of everyday life.

June 2011

06.30

Krista Tippett speaks with philosopher Jacob Needleman. As new democracies are struggling around the world, it’s easy to forget that U.S. democracy was shaped by trial and error. A conversation about the “inward work” of democracy — the conscience that shaped the American experiment.

06.23

Neuroscientist Richard Davidson is revealing that the choices we make can actually “rewire” our brains. He’s studied the brains of meditating Buddhist monks, and now he’s using his research with children and adolescents to look at things like ADHD, autism, and kindness.

06.16

He is a genius of improvisation; a genre-bending vocal magician and conductor. And he sings the territory between music, mystery, and spirit. Who better to contemplate the human voice — its delights, its revelations, and its mystery — than Bobby McFerrin?

06.09

A look back at the closest thing the early 20th century may have had to Oprah Winfrey. The flamboyant Pentecostal preacher Aimee Semple McPherson was a multimedia sensation and a powerful female religious leader long before most of Christianity considered such a thing. The contradictions and passions of her life are a window into the world of global Pentecostalism that touches as many as half a billion lives today.

06.02

Parallel realities and the deep structure of space-time sound like science fiction. These are matters of real scientific inquiry. Lord Martin Rees is an astrophysicist and self-professed atheist who paints a fascinating picture of how we might be changed by what we do not yet know.

May 2011

05.26

Kate Braestrup is a chaplain to game wardens, often on search and rescue missions, in the wilds of Maine. She works, as she puts it, at hinges of human experience when lives alter unexpectedly — where loss, disaster, decency and beauty intertwine. Hear her wise and unusual take on life and death, lost and found.

05.19

Dan Barber is a celebrated young chef — but his passionate ethics and intellect have made him much more. He's out to restore food to its rightful place vis-à-vis our bodies, our ecologies and our economies. And he would do this by resurrecting our natural insistence on flavor.

05.12

A new show from Jerusalem with American-Israeli journalist Yossi Klein Halevi, who says Jerusalem is a place where the essential human story plays itself out with particular intensity.

05.05

The best way to nurture children's inner lives, Sylvia Boorstein says, is by taking care of our own inner selves for their sake. At a public event in suburban Detroit, Krista Tippett draws out the warmth and wisdom of the celebrated Jewish-Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist. And, in a light-hearted moment that is an audience pleaser, Boorstein shares what GPS might teach us about "recalculating" and our own inner equanimity.

April 2011

04.28

Mohammad Darawshe is Arab with an Israeli passport — a Muslim Palestinian citizen of the Jewish state. Like 20 percent of Israel's population, he is, as he puts it, a child of both identities. He brings an unexpected way of seeing inside the Middle Eastern present and future.

04.21

An understanding of Easter from inside the Armenian Orthodox tradition that is at once mystical and literally down to earth. Vigen Guroian is a theologian who experiences Easter as a call to our senses. He is passionate about the meaning of grand ideas like incarnation, death, and eternity as revealed in life and in his garden.

04.14

The biblical Exodus story has inspired believers and non-believers, Jews and Christians — and more than a few Hollywood movies. But this is no simple story of heroes and villains; it is a complex picture of the possibilities and ironies of human passion and human freedom. If you're not familiar with Exodus, you're in for a deeply sensual experience; and, even if you're well-versed in the text, you just might be surprised.

04.07

Each of us, in our everyday interactions, chooses between letting technology shape us and shaping it towards human purposes, even towards honoring what we hold dear. Sherry Turkle, director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, is full of usable ideas — from how to declare email bankruptcy to teaching our children the rewards of solitude.

March 2011

03.31

Katy Payne is an acoustic biologist with a Quaker sensibility. From the wild coast of Argentina to the rainforests of Africa, she discovered that humpback whales compose ever-changing songs and that elephants communicate across long distances by infrasound. Here, she reflects on life in this world through her experiences with two of the most exotic creatures.

03.24

How can unimaginable social change happen in a world of strangers? Kwame Anthony Appiah is a philosopher who studies ethics and his parents' marriage helped inspire the movie Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. In a tense moment in American life, he has refreshing advice on simply living with difference.

03.17

Joanna Macy is a philosopher of ecology, a Buddhist scholar, and an exquisite translator of the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. We take that poetry as a lens on her wisdom on spiritual life and its relevance for the political and ecological dramas of our time.

03.10

Four Jesuits in history have had asteroids named after them. Our guests are the two living astronomers with that distinction. Brother Guy Consolmagno and Father George Coyne study the composition of meteorites and the life and death of stars. They share their observations of life, faith, friendship, and the universe from their seats in the Vatican Observatory.

03.03

Yoga has infiltrated law schools and strip malls, churches and hospitals. This 5,000-year-old spiritual technology is converging with 21st-century medical science and with many religious and philosophical perspectives. Seane Corn is a renowned yoga teacher and the founder of "Off the Mat, Into the World." She takes us inside the practicalities and power of yoga — even as a source of social healing.

February 2011

02.24

The civil rights leader wrote speeches for Martin Luther King Jr. and was one of his closest friends. Vincent Harding is teaching new generations about the lessons of that time — and how those lessons can repair divisions in America today. He finds hope in young people today and says they are his answer to the question that drives him: "Is America possible?"

02.17

A remarkable Kenyan woman and environmentalist speaks from experience about the links between ecology, human flourishing, war and peace, and democracy. And she shares her thoughts on where God resides.

02.10

We make deeper sense of the human dynamics unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa. Anthropologist Scott Atran offers bracing context on the promise of this moment and the response it asks from the watching world.

02.03

Terry Tempest Williams is a naturalist and writer, a biologist by training with a literary mind, who comes from a long Mormon lineage in Utah. She draws political, spiritual, and creative inspiration from her experience of the interior American West. She offers stories of neighborly collaboration that turns into environmental protection, and the value that comes from vitriolic disagreement inside families.

January 2011

01.27

Jon Kabat-Zinn has learned, through science and experience, about mindfulness as a way of life. This is wisdom with immediate relevance to the ordinary and extreme stresses of our time — from economic peril, to parenting, to life in a digital age.

01.20

Frances Kissling is known for her longtime activism on the abortion issue but has devoted her energy more in recent years to real relationship and new conversations across that bitter divide. She's learned, she's written, about the courage to be vulnerable in front of those with whom we passionately disagree.

01.13

Science and religion are often pitted against one another; but how do they complement, rather than contradict, one another? We learn how one man applies the deepest insights of modern physics to think about how the world fundamentally works, and how the universe might make space for prayer.

01.06

Poetry is something many of us seem to be hungry for these days. We're hungry for fresh ways to tell hard truths and redemptive stories, for language that would elevate and embolden rather than demean and alienate. Elizabeth Alexander shares her sense of what poetry works in us — and in our children — and why it may become more relevant, not less so, in hard and complicated times.

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