Behind the Scenes in Our Studios; The Joys of Oman; Your Audio Selfie in NYC; Cartesian Anxiety; Receptivity and Gratitude in a Time of Angst

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 7:43 am

Behind the Scenes in Our Studios; The Joys of Oman; Your Audio Selfie in NYC; Cartesian Anxiety; Receptivity and Gratitude in a Time of Angst

Each week I write a weekly column trying to capture and replay a tiny bit of the incredible conversations and efforts taking place behind the scenes at On Being. Sometimes it’s a listener’s response on our Facebook page or a gorgeous photo on Instagram, but it’s often intriguing. If you’d like to receive my column in your email inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

(Fabiana Zonca / flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). / )

“Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.”

Dan Collison summoned these words of the renowned theologian Paul Tillich in his guest submission to our blog this week. It’s the prompting, thoughtful nature of Dan’s essay that’s vital to our public discourse — and to the betterment of our personal lives. Bonus: he introduces us to the phrase “Cartesian anxiety” (which I had never encountered); read on to learn what this means.

“What we need is here.”

Our Quaker elder-in-residence Parker Palmer got many of us over the hump on Wednesday by drawing on the words of two poets, Wendell Berry and William Stafford. They remind us that we must embrace receptivity and gratitude in order to live a full life.

Last week we kicked off the Your Audio Selfie project at Northern Spark. Our senior producer also took this on the road. In New York she interviewed Nathan Manske, founder of I’m From Driftwood, an oral history project collecting written and video stories from the LGBTQ community in all 50 states. Listen in as he tells a story about an experience in a small town in Oklahoma.

Last week I featured Maria Kochetkova’s Instagram. This week, I present Ms. Stephanie Dahle. A former Fulbright fellow, she now works at the Brookings Institution as a publication coordinator. Currently traveling in Oman, her photos deliver us into a world most of us will never know or see — like the one above of a grocery store in Muscat:

“I don’t even eat Pop Tarts, but I’m always grossed out that they’re in the pork section.”

Frankincense ice cream? Yep. It exists. And apparently it’s pretty tasty.

On the eve of Ramadan, workers at Lulu, a major grocery store chain, are on strike:

“On the few lanes that are open, lines stretch down the aisles. I wisely chose the freezer section.”

As she visits the Grand Mosque in Muscat, she offers this perspective:

“Ancient cathedrals were made with magnificent arches and detailed mosaics on their ceilings, drawing eyes upwards, connecting beauty with their creator. I find the same principles here. This masjid is awe-inspiring from the outside, and takes my breath away whenever I step foot inside. Ramadan Kareem, friends. I wish you all fasts that draw you closer to God, family, and communities.”

But, in the end, I’m a bit of a romantic. Sharing in her newlywed bliss, how can I not totally dig seeing her British husband wearing a Minnesota Twins cap!

Last but not least, I leave you with this. Turning a camera on Krista and the staff, our former intern Josh Rae captures a small piece of the radio production process for a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to produce On Being.

A warm thanks to all of you who write with your suggestions and your encouragements. I’m deeply grateful for the feedback. Reach out to me by email at or via Twitter at @trentgilliss. And, as always, advice, criticism, pitches, leads. I’m open to all of your feedback.
May the wind always be at your back. (Or, as my Irish friend puts it, Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl.)

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is the cofounder of On Being and currently serves as publisher & editor-in-chief. 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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