Pursuing Another Way to Talk, With Civility and Honesty

Saturday, October 20, 2012 - 6:35 pm

Pursuing Another Way to Talk, With Civility and Honesty

How about a national night of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction instead of another debate?

This thought from Krista (@kristatippett) caught the imagination of our followers on @Beingtweets. I think it’s no mere coincidence that these words found expression in the City of Brotherly Love:

In Philadelphia at the American Philosophical Society talking science and religion with oils of Ben Franklin and George Washington above.

This week, at the invitation of the Princeton Center for Theological Inquiry and the Templeton Foundation, Krista interviewed novelist Marilynne Robinson "Science and theology speaking together is a feast of exploring how mysterious, strange, dangerous, beautiful, and powerful we are." -Krista Tippett, photo by Chris Ratzlaffand astrophysicist Marcelo Gleiser on “the mystery we are”:

Science and theology speaking together is a feast of exploring how mysterious, strange, dangerous, beautiful, and powerful we are.

By all accounts, the conversation was a smashing success. Ms. Robinson offered this useful analogy for religion:

Think of denominations as prisms. None tells the whole truth, but each tells us something about the nature of light.

Thankfully, our production staff was thinking ahead and arranged for a split-track recording of the interview. This means we’ll be able to produce for our radio broadcast and podcast. Keep your eye out for this show in the coming weeks. Can’t wait!
And, in the following days, Krista attended a symposium with several dozen scientists and theologians, including Robert Bellah, Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, and the Scottish theologian David Fergusson. Thankfully, Krista shared some memorable gems from the attendees:

Conversation is a kind of prayer. -Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, quoting the Babylonian Talmud. (I love this, obviously.)

There is a dialectic between the holy and the secular. -Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

There are leaps of faith in science; and faith in any life evolves.

Meanwhile, last week’s interview with a musical and improvisational maestro was warmly received. Digital and marketing guru Seth Godin gave us a significant bump Bobby McFerrin Speaks with Krista Tippettin traffic when he cited Krista’s conversation as an example of how we can redefine productivity in terms of innovation rather than “a race to the bottom”:

“Take a listen to Krista Tippett’s fabulous interview with Bobby McFerrin: On Being. These conversations go to the heart of the sort of high-productivity work we create today, but would make no sense at all just a generation ago.”

And, Kerry Parke (@kelissa), a listener living and working in Madrid, Spain, offered this observation:

Bobby McFerrin is proof that the world is filled with lovely people. On Being interview w/ @kristatippett: onbeing.org/program/catchi…

Speaking of beautiful human beings, long-time friend and blog contributor Pádraig Ó Tuama Reads from His Book of PoetryPádraig Ó Tuama (@duanalla) has published a remarkable book of poetry titled Readings from the Book of Exile:

@duanalla I have been traveling with your poetry. Thank you for sending and for your long friendship from afar.

@kristatippett Krista – your work has nurtured the heart, mind & imagination for years. Honoured to have you travel with the book of exile.

"When the imitation of Christ does not mean to live a life like Christ, but to live as authentically as Christ lived, then there are many ways and forms in which a man can be a Christian." -Henri J. M. Nouwen, photo by I, TimmyWhich reminds me of another book of poems Krista has been toting about…

Speaking of good with words, savoring Mary Oliver’s gorgeous new collection, A Thousand Mornings.

…and sharing these lines from “I Go Down to the Shore” by Mary Oliver, whom the Irish poet calls “a sacrament in writing”:

…I say, oh, I am miserable / …and the sea says / in its lovely voice: Excuse me, I have work to do.

The Civil WarsI’ll end this letter on a musical note. It’s been some time since I’ve posted a Tuesday evening melody to our Tumblr, but this week we broke form and shared this magical song by The Civil Wars: “Barton Hollow,” live from the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Enjoy and have a splendid weekend!
~Trent (@TrentGilliss)

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is the cofounder of On Being and currently serves as chief content officer and executive editor. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent’s reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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