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What and Why with Max Roth
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What and Why with Max Roth

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What do we do and why do we do it?

To paraphrase Augustine, the questions are shallow enough for a child not to drown, but deep enough for an elephant to swim. (Augustine didn't have a podcast. He was talking about the Bible.)

The idea of What and Why with Max Roth is to spend some time with people who dive into deep waters and learn from them.

I'll be the child trying to swim with elephants.

Some of those elephants will be eminent scholars. Others will have life stories I want to hear.

Hopefully you'll want to hear them too, and they'll still be talking to me after seeing I've called them elephants.

22 Episodes
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Shane Claiborne co-founded the Simple Way, a Christian activist community in Philadelphia. He leads Red Letter Christians, a justice-oriented movement of Christians who believe modern Evangelicals need to pay more attention to the words of Jesus, sometimes printed in red letters in Bibles. I talked with him as he prepared for a revival in North Carolina before flying to Salt Lake City for an event protesting gun violence. That event was inspired in part by the book he co-wrote with Michael Martin called Beating Guns: Hope for People Who are Weary of Violence.
Jason Hanson was a CIA officer from 2003 to 2009. Now he runs a security firm and has written Agent of Influence: How to Use Spy Skills to Persuade Anyone, Sell Anything, and Build a Successful Business. We shoot the breeze about spy stuff and work our way to the advice offered in the book.
In this week's What and Why, a conversation about violence aimed at people because of their beliefs. This was a television discussion I hosted with a rabbi, an imam, a priest, and a pastor in the wake of attacks on churches, synagogues and mosques around the world, originally aired in the first week of May 2019.
"Snared: Lair of the Beast" is the second book in the "Snared" series by Adam Jay Epstein. These are books for middle readers, meaning they are officially intended for readers up to age 14 or so. Unofficially it means they are highly readable with a plot that moves and characters who you really like. Wily Snared is the name of a precocious kid who thinks he's a "hobgoblet" living in a dungeon as the "trapmaster." In truth he's a human with unusual and mysterious parents, something he learns gradually as he joins an adventurous group of dungeon raiders in book one, called "Snared: Escape to the Above." This is a fun father's day conversation and something you can share with kids who love adventure stories and wonder how an author goes about creating them.
One of Germany's greatest scholars risked his life and lost his job standing up for Jews as the Nazis took power, protected minorities as a German army officer in Russia, and then died and was erased from history by the Communists in East Germany. Ernst Lohmeyer was just a name on a page when James Edwards stumbled on him as a graduate student. It took four decades, including trips behind the iron curtain, for Edwards to track down this life story of a man who did his best to be good in the worst of times.
This is a funny book. There are quirky pictures, goofy lists, familiar scenarios, and odd observations all about anxiety. Jordan Reid is a blogger (see ramshackleglam.com), an actress, a mom, and a good sport as I rambled and laughed my way through the interview. This interview is different because the book is meant to be something you can keep close by and dive into for the occasional break, or to provide ideas for conversations with a good, honest friend. With most interviews I go in with notes from a careful reading of the subject material, but this is a book meant to make you smile and forget your worries, so that's what we did in the interview. Enjoy!
Does gratitude ever feel like a burden? It does to me. I think I should just naturally feel grateful, but I don't. In this weeks episode, bestselling author and historian Diana Butler Bass takes us on her journey to learn about gratitude at a time she didn't feel all that grateful herself. It's a worthwhile and fun journey. Her insight helped me and I hope it helps you too!
Computer stolen edition! :(

Computer stolen edition! :(

2019-05-1300:01:15

Ugh. Computer stolen, which I realized as I prepared to upload the episode on GRATITUDE. Hey, could be worse. I'm grateful that you listen and the audio's on the cloud. God bless you all, even the a$$&^*!$ who took my Powerbook.
WHY!!?? That's the question that comes to my mind when I hear about 100 mile runs. Any running race longer than a marathon (26.2 miles) is considered an ultra run or an ultra race. While it sounds downright insane to a lot of people, it's a genuine phenomenon with races through deserts, over mountains or just around and around the same track or city block. And if you're like me, maybe there's a corner of your mind where you're intrigued with the idea of learning how far you can really go. Adharanand Finn tried, and found out, and he shares his story.
Tequila has been through a lot of transformation...not so much the drink itself, whose distillers pride themselves on consistent quality through the years. The transformation has been in it's role in Mexican and world culture. Alternately appreciated as the refined beverage of the hacienda and derided as an elixir of iniquity with body-shot fueled spring breaks. Sociologist Marie Sarita Gaytan guides us through the history and meaning of Tequila as we sample some common varieties. She's the perfect person for the job because she wrote the book, Tequila, Distilling the Spirit of Mexico.
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