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Groundbreaking Peabody Award-winning conversation about the big questions of meaning — spiritual inquiry, science, social healing, and the arts. Each week a new discovery about the immensity of our lives. Hosted by Krista Tippett, new every Thursday.
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Serene Jones — On Grace

Serene Jones — On Grace

2019-12-0500:51:35

Serene Jones describes theology as the place and story you think of when you ask yourself about the meaning of your life, the world, and the possibility of God. For her, that place is a “dusty piece of land” on the plains of Oklahoma where she grew up. “I go there to find my story — my theology. I go there to be born again; to be made whole; to unite with what I was, what I am, and what I will become.” In her work as a public theologian, Jones explores theology as clarifying lens on the present — from grace to repentance to the importance of moving from grieving to mourning.Serene Jones is a minister ordained in the Disciples of Christ and the United Church of Christ. She currently serves as the 16th president — and the first female president — of Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Her books include Trauma and Grace: Theology in a Ruptured World, Feminist Theory and Christian Theology: Cartographies of Grace, and, most recently, Call It Grace: Finding Meaning in a Fractured World.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
Serene Jones describes theology as the place and story you think of when you ask yourself about the meaning of your life, the world, and the possibility of God. For her, that place is a “dusty piece of land” on the plains of Oklahoma where she grew up. “I go there to find my story — my theology. I go there to be born again; to be made whole; to unite with what I was, what I am, and what I will become.” In her work as a public theologian, Jones explores theology as clarifying lens on the present — from grace to repentance to the importance of moving from grieving to mourning.Serene Jones is a minister ordained in the Disciples of Christ and the United Church of Christ. She currently serves as the 16th president — and the first female president — of Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Her books include Trauma and Grace: Theology in a Ruptured World, Feminist Theory and Christian Theology: Cartographies of Grace, and, most recently, Call It Grace: Finding Meaning in a Fractured World.This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Serene Jones — On Grace" Find more at onbeing.org.
As a longtime civil engineer by day and a poet by night, Cuban American writer Richard Blanco has straddled the many ways a sense of place merges with human emotion to form the meaning of home and belonging. In 2013, he became the fifth poet to read at a presidential inauguration (he was also the youngest and the first immigrant). The thoughtfulness, elegance, and humor of Blanco’s poetry and his person captivated the crowd for this live conversation at the Chautauqua Institution. Richard Blanco practiced civil engineering for more than 20 years. He is now an associate professor of creative writing at his alma mater, Florida International University. His books of non-fiction and poetry include “Looking for the Gulf Motel” and, most recently, “How to Love a Country.”Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
Richard Blanco reads parts IV and V from his poem “América”. Excerpted from the On Being episode “Richard Blanco – How to Love a Country”.
As a longtime civil engineer by day and a poet by night, Cuban American writer Richard Blanco has straddled the many ways a sense of place merges with human emotion to form the meaning of home and belonging. In 2013, he became the fifth poet to read at a presidential inauguration (he was also the youngest and the first immigrant). The thoughtfulness, elegance, and humor of Blanco’s poetry and his person captivated the crowd for this live conversation at the Chautauqua Institution. Richard Blanco practiced civil engineering for more than 20 years. He is now an associate professor of creative writing at his alma mater, Florida International University. His books of non-fiction and poetry include “Looking for the Gulf Motel” and, most recently, “How to Love a Country.”Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org. This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Richard Blanco — How to Love a Country." Find more at onbeing.org.
Novelist Marilynne Robinson and physicist Marcelo Gleiser are both passionate about the majesty of science, and they share a caution about what they call our modern “piety” toward science. They connect thrilling dots among the current discoveries about the cosmos and the new territory of understanding our own minds. We brought them together for a joyous, heady discussion of the mystery we are.Marcelo Gleiser is Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College. He’s the author of The Dancing Universe, A Tear at the Edge of Creation, and, most recently, The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected: A Natural Philosopher’s Quest for Trout and the Meaning of Everything. He was awarded the 2019 Templeton Prize.Marilynne Robinson is a professor emeritus of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She’s the author of several novels, including Housekeeping, Home, and Gilead, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Her works of nonfiction include Absence of Mind and, most recently, What Are We Doing Here?Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org. This show originally aired in January 2012.
Novelist Marilynne Robinson and physicist Marcelo Gleiser are both passionate about the majesty of science, and they share a caution about what they call our modern “piety” toward science. They connect thrilling dots among the current discoveries about the cosmos and the new territory of understanding our own minds. We brought them together for a joyous, heady discussion of the mystery we are.Marcelo Gleiser is Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College. He’s the author of The Dancing Universe, A Tear at the Edge of Creation, and, most recently, The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected: A Natural Philosopher’s Quest for Trout and the Meaning of Everything. He was awarded the 2019 Templeton Prize.Marilynne Robinson is a professor emeritus of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She’s the author of several novels, including Housekeeping, Home, and Gilead, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Her works of nonfiction include Absence of Mind and, most recently, What Are We Doing Here?This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Marilynne Robinson and Marcelo Gleiser — The Mystery We Are." Find more at onbeing.org. This show originally aired in January 2012.
Robert Macfarlane is an explorer and linguist of landscape. His newest book, “Underland: A Deep Time Journey,” is an odyssey that’s full of surprises — from caves and catacombs under land, under cities, and under forests to the meltwater of Greenland. “Since before we were Homo sapiens,” he writes, “humans have been seeking out spaces of darkness in which to find and make meaning.” Darkness in the natural world and in human life, he suggests, is a medium of vision and descent, a movement toward revelation.Robert Macfarlane is a reader in literature and the geohumanities at the University of Cambridge. His books include “Mountains of the Mind,” “The Old Ways,” “Landmarks,” “The Lost Words,” and, most recently, “Underland: A Deep Time Journey.”Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
Robert Macfarlane is an explorer and linguist of landscape. His newest book, “Underland: A Deep Time Journey,” is an odyssey that’s full of surprises — from caves and catacombs under land, under cities, and under forests to the meltwater of Greenland. “Since before we were Homo sapiens,” he writes, “humans have been seeking out spaces of darkness in which to find and make meaning.” Darkness in the natural world and in human life, he suggests, is a medium of vision and descent, a movement toward revelation.Robert Macfarlane is a reader in literature and the geohumanities at the University of Cambridge. His books include “Mountains of the Mind,” “The Old Ways,” “Landmarks,” “The Lost Words,” and, most recently, “Underland: A Deep Time Journey.”This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Robert Macfarlane — The Hidden Human Depths of the Underland." Find more at onbeing.org.
For as far back as Joy Ladin can remember, her body didn’t match her soul. In her mid-40s, Ladin transitioned from male to female identity and later became the first openly transgender professor at an Orthodox Jewish institution. She admits the pain this caused for people and institutions she loved. And she knows what it is to move through the world with the assumed authority of a man and the assumed vulnerability of a woman. We take in what she’s learned about gender and the very syntax of being.Joy Ladin is the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in English at the Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University in New York. Her memoir is called “Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders.” She’s also the author of nine collections of poetry and most recently published the book “The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective.”Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org. This interview originally aired in June 2013.
For as far back as Joy Ladin can remember, her body didn’t match her soul. In her mid-40s, Ladin transitioned from male to female identity and later became the first openly transgender professor at an Orthodox Jewish institution. She admits the pain this caused for people and institutions she loved. And she knows what it is to move through the world with the assumed authority of a man and the assumed vulnerability of a woman. We take in what she’s learned about gender and the very syntax of being.Joy Ladin is the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in English at the Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University in New York. Her memoir is called “Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders.” She’s also the author of nine collections of poetry and most recently published the book “The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective.”This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Joy Ladin — Finding a Home in Yourself." Find more at onbeing.org. This interview originally aired in June 2013.
angel Kyodo williams is one of our wisest voices on social evolution and the spiritual aspect of social healing. She is an esteemed Zen priest and the second black woman recognized as a teacher in the Japanese Zen lineage. For those of us who are not monastics, she says, the world is our field of practice. To sink into conversation with her is to imagine and nourish the transformative potential of this moment toward human wholeness.Reverend angel Kyodo williams is the founder of the national social justice organization Transformative Change. She’s the author of “Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace” and “Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation.”Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org. This interview originally aired in April 2018.
angel Kyodo williams is one of our wisest voices on social evolution and the spiritual aspect of social healing. She is an esteemed Zen priest and the second black woman recognized as a teacher in the Japanese Zen lineage. For those of us who are not monastics, she says, the world is our field of practice. To sink into conversation with her is to imagine and nourish the transformative potential of this moment toward human wholeness.Reverend angel Kyodo williams is the founder of the national social justice organization Transformative Change. She’s the author of “Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace” and “Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation.”This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "angel Kyodo williams — The World Is Our Field of Practice.” Find more at onbeing.org. This interview originally aired in April 2018.
“Our discomfort and our grappling is not a sign of failure,” America Ferrera says, “it’s a sign that we’re living at the edge of our imaginations.” She is a culture-shifting actor and artist. John Paul Lederach is one of our greatest living architects of social transformation. From the inaugural On Being Gathering, a revelatory, joyous exploration of the ingredients of social courage and how change really happens in generational time.John Paul Lederach is a senior fellow at Humanity United and professor emeritus of international peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame. He is also the co-founder and first director of the Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. In 2019 he won the Niwano Peace Foundation Peace Prize.America Ferrera is an Emmy Award-winning actor and producer. She’s known for the movies Real Women Have Curves and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and for the TV series Ugly Betty. She also stars in and co-produces the current NBC series Superstore. She’s the co-founder of Harness, a grassroots organization for social healing.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org. This interview originally aired in June 2018.
“Our discomfort and our grappling is not a sign of failure,” America Ferrera says, “it’s a sign that we’re living at the edge of our imaginations.” She is a culture-shifting actor and artist. John Paul Lederach is one of our greatest living architects of social transformation. From the inaugural On Being Gathering, a revelatory, joyous exploration of the ingredients of social courage and how change really happens in generational time.John Paul Lederach is a senior fellow at Humanity United and professor emeritus of international peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame. He is also the co-founder and first director of the Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. In 2019 he won the Niwano Peace Foundation Peace Prize.America Ferrera is an Emmy Award-winning actor and producer. She’s known for the movies Real Women Have Curves and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and for the TV series Ugly Betty. She also stars in and co-produces the current NBC series Superstore. She’s the co-founder of Harness, a grassroots organization for social healing.This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "America Ferrera and John Paul Lederach — The Ingredients of Social Courage." Find more at onbeing.org. This interview originally aired in June 2018.
Lennon Flowers and Rev. Jennifer Bailey embody a particular wisdom of millennials around grief, loss, and faith. Together they created The People’s Supper, which uses shared meals to build trust and connection among people of different identities and perspectives. Since 2017, they have hosted more than 1,500 meals. In the words they use, the practices they cultivate (some of which we’ve collected on onbeing.org), and the way they think, Flowers and Bailey issue an invitation not to safe space, but to brave space.Rev. Jennifer Bailey is co-founder of The People’s Supper and the founder and executive director of Faith Matters Network. She is also an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and her writing appears regularly in publications including Sojourners and The Huffington Post.Lennon Flowers is co-founder of The People’s Supper and the co-founder and executive director of The Dinner Party. She is also an Ashoka Fellow and an Aspen Ideas Scholar. She has written for CNN,YES!, Forbes, Open Democracy, EdWeek, and Fast Company.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
Lennon Flowers and Rev. Jennifer Bailey embody a particular wisdom of millennials around grief, loss, and faith. Together they created The People’s Supper, which uses shared meals to build trust and connection among people of different identities and perspectives. Since 2017, they have hosted more than 1,500 meals. In the words they use, the practices they cultivate (some of which we’ve collected on onbeing.org), and the way they think, Flowers and Bailey issue an invitation not to safe space, but to brave space.Rev. Jennifer Bailey is co-founder of The People’s Supper and the founder and executive director of Faith Matters Network. She is also an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and her writing appears regularly in publications including Sojourners and The Huffington Post.Lennon Flowers is co-founder of The People’s Supper and the co-founder and executive director of The Dinner Party. She is also an Ashoka Fellow and an Aspen Ideas Scholar. She has written for CNN,YES!, Forbes, Open Democracy, EdWeek, and Fast Company.This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Jennifer Bailey and Lennon Flowers — An Invitation to Brave Space." Find more at onbeing.org.
Writer David Treuer’s work tells a story that is richer and more multi-dimensional than the American history most of us learned in school. Treuer grew up on the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. At the time of our conversation with him in 2008, he was part of an ongoing project to document the grammar and usage of the Ojibwe language. He says the recovery of tribal languages and names is part of a fuller recovery of our national story — and the human story. And it holds unexpected observations altogether about language and meaning that most of us express unselfconsciously in our mother tongues.David Treuer divides his time between the Leech Lake Reservation and Los Angeles, where he teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California. His books include “Native American Fiction: A User’s Manual,” “The Translation of Dr. Apelle,” and most recently, “The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present.” His writing has also appeared in the “New York Times,” the “Los Angeles Times,” and “The Washington Post.”Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org. This interview originally aired in June 2008.
Writer David Treuer’s work tells a story that is richer and more multi-dimensional than the American history most of us learned in school. Treuer grew up on the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. At the time of our conversation with him in 2008, he was part of an ongoing project to document the grammar and usage of the Ojibwe language. He says the recovery of tribal languages and names is part of a fuller recovery of our national story — and the human story. And it holds unexpected observations altogether about language and meaning that most of us express unselfconsciously in our mother tongues.David Treuer divides his time between the Leech Lake Reservation and Los Angeles, where he teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California. His books include “Native American Fiction: A User’s Manual,” “The Translation of Dr. Apelle,” and most recently, “The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present.” His writing has also appeared in the “New York Times,” the “Los Angeles Times,” and “The Washington Post.”This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "David Treuer — Language Carries More Than Words." Find more at onbeing.org. This interview originally aired in June 2008.
We’d heard Derek Black, the former white-power heir apparent, interviewed before about his past, but never about the college friendships that changed him. After Derek’s ideology was outed at the New College of Florida, Matthew Stevenson (one of the only Orthodox Jews on campus) invited him to Shabbat dinner. What happened next is a roadmap for navigating some of the hardest and most important territory of our time.Matthew Stevenson was born and raised in South Florida. He graduated from the New College of Florida, the state's honors college, with degrees in mathematics and economics. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and currently works as an investment analyst at T. Rowe Price.Derek Black is a PhD student in history at the University of Chicago, where he’s examining how the legacy of the medieval European worldview influenced the development of ideas about race in the early-modern Atlantic. He is the subject of the recent book “Rising Out of Hatred” by Eli Saslow.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org. This interview originally aired in May 2018.
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Comments (1)

Em

So "Hello!" would be meaningful. Exactly!

Sep 29th
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