We’ve been told that the On Being archives can be overwhelming for new and old listeners alike. We aim to change that! So we’ve designed and built a dynamic, new discovery tool, and we need some of our most loyal listeners to help give it a test run.
Using a “relationship algorithm” and human curation, we’ve tailored an experience that goes beyond topics. You can now explore new conversation threads and save crafted playlists tailored to your curiosities.
As you play with our discovery tool, you’ll notice that the interviews with the strongest relationships appear at the top of the list of conversation threads. And, each time you click on one of these kindred threads, a new series of conversation threads is revealed!
You can also navigate by one of four themes: Arts, Sciences, Spiritual Inquiry, and Social Good. Or, if you prefer, browse our archives chronologically by clicking the extremely cool Explore All search field. Our hope? To make it easier for you to discover new conversations that enrich your understanding of the world. Then, save them as playlists and share them with others so you can discuss.
This is an early preview exclusive to our blog readers and newsletter subscribers. It’s free, but we’d love to get your feedback. Let me know what you like and what needs more shaping so we can improve it in real-time. You can reach me at [email protected] or via Twitter at @trentgilliss.
Featured Essay from Our Guest Writer
Jennifer Stitt | Before You Can Be With Others, First Learn to Be Alone
We can communicate with almost anybody at any moment and all the time. But are we losing our capacity to be alone, and therefore our ability to think anew? Rediscovering this ability just may be pivotal to the health of democracy and the struggle against nonconformity:
“Solitude is not only a state of mind essential to the development of an individual’s consciousness — and conscience — but also a practice that prepares one for participation in social and political life. Before we can keep company with others, we must learn to keep company with ourselves.”
Public Theology Reimagined
Christena Cleveland | So Much of the Privileged Life Is About Transcendence
This commentary is a provocative one. Rather than focusing on what’s beyond the limits of ordinary experience, Christena says, we might be better served focusing on what’s within:
“What would it look like for privileged Westerners to intentionally turn toward the very pain that we so often avoid, intentionally seeking out evidence that God is present, active, and bringing hope?”
Her post generated a vibrant discussion in the comments section, and it’d be wonderful to see how you respond too.
Elizabeth Welliver | How the Wisdom of Millennial Nones Can Revitalize the Christian Church
I deeply appreciate hearing from a young woman who “adopts a denominational label.” Her straightforward analysis is timely and a perspective we don’t hear from that much in the larger media:
“While my peers and I flock to protests, book clubs, and yoga classes, we are forging new paths of spiritual engagement. At the same time, I sense that many of us yearn for tradition: a household of inherited practices and beliefs to inhabit as our full selves.”
Things from Beyond Our Realm
The Washington Post | The 14th Amendment Solved One Citizenship Crisis, But It Created a New One
The historian Martha S. Jones offers this brilliant analysis about how the 14th Amendment “becomes a generational scythe” for unauthorized immigrants.
Academy of American Poets | Elizabeth Bishop: “The Fish”
I try to read at least one poem every morning. Bishop paints images that are so precise and right for these summer months.
The New York Times | The Daily
The second segment on FARC members re-entering Colombian society as civilians is an excellent primer on what’s at stake — and how sticky the reconciliation process can be.
A Word from Our Columnists
Parker Palmer | We Are Owned by the Wilderness
From the high desert mountains of New Mexico, our beloved columnist Parker reflects on ownership and arrogance — punctuated with a poem by Margaret Atwood:
“We never belonged to you. / You never found us. / It was always the other way round.”
Courtney Martin | What Am I For?
Courtney opens with these bracing lines from Wendell Berry:
“The shoddy work of despair, the pointless work of pride, equally betray Creation. They are wastes of life.”
Where does she take this? Well, to places that pick at false measures of productivity and purpose. Read on.
May the wind always be at your back,