On Being

On Being

United States

On Being with Krista Tippett takes up the big questions of meaning with scientists and theologians, artists and teachers — some you know and others you'll love to meet. Updated every Thursday, a new discovery about the immensity of our lives.

Episodes

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn — Truth, Beauty, Banjo  

They are partners in music and in life — recovering something ancient and deeply American all at once, bringing both beauty and meaning to what they play and how they live. Béla Fleck is one of the greatest living banjo players in the world. He’s followed what many experience as this quintessential American roots instrument back to its roots in Africa and taken it where no banjo has gone before. Abigail Washburn is a celebrated banjo player and singer, both in English and Chinese. Nashville Public radio brought us together at the Belcourt Theater in their hometown.

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[Unedited] Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn with Krista Tippett  

Béla Fleck is one of the greatest living banjo players in the world. Abigail Washburn is a celebrated banjo player and singer, both in English and Chinese. Their first full album collaboration, "Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn," was awarded the 2016 Grammy for Best Folk Album. This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn — Truth, Beauty, Banjo." Find more at onbeing.org.

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Isabel Wilkerson — The Heart Is the Last Frontier  

Go to the doctor and they won't begin to treat you without taking your history — and not just yours, but that of your parents and grandparents before you. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson points this out as she reflects on her epic work of narrative non-fiction, The Warmth of Other Suns. She's immersed herself in the stories of the Great Migration, the diaspora of six million African Americans to the north of the U.S. in the 20th century. It's a carrier of untold histories and truths that help make sense of human and social challenges newly visible at the heart of our life together.

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[Unedited] Isabel Wilkerson with Krista Tippett  

Isabel Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of "The New York Times" and was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in 2016. Her book "The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration," won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Isabel Wilkerson — The Heart Is The Last Frontier" Find more at onbeing.org.

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Vincent Harding — Is America Possible?  

In an unsettled political moment, at the end of a divisive campaign, the late, great civil rights elder Vincent Harding is a voice of calm, wisdom, and perspective. He was wise about how the civil rights vision might speak to 21st-century realities. Just as importantly, he pursued this by way of patient yet passionate cross-cultural, cross-generational relationship. He reminded us that the Civil Rights Movement was spiritually as well as politically vigorous; it aspired to a "beloved community," not merely a tolerant integrated society. He posed and lived a question that is freshly in our midst: Is America possible?

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[Unedited] Vincent Harding with Krista Tippett  

The late civil rights elder Vincent Harding was chairperson of the Veterans of Hope project at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, where he was professor of Religion and Transformation. He posed and lived a question that is freshly in our midst: Is America possible? This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Vincent Harding — Is America Possible?" Find more at onbeing.org.

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Michael Longley — The Vitality of Ordinary Things  

To reassert the liveliness of ordinary things, precisely in the face of what is hardest and most broken in life and society — this has been Michael Longley’s gift to Northern Ireland as one of its foremost living poets. He is a voice for all of us now, wise and winsome about the force of words in a society that has moved away from sectarianism in living memory. Krista met him before an adoring crowd at the MAC theater in Belfast.

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[Unedited] Michael Longley with Krista Tippett  

Michael Longley has written more than 20 books of poetry including "Collected Poems," "Gorse Fires," and his most recent collection, "The Stairwell." This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Michael Longley — The Vitality of Ordinary Things." Find more at onbeing.org.

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Natasha Trethewey and Eboo Patel — How to Live Beyond This Election  

This political season has surfaced our need to reimagine and re-weave the very meaning of common life and common good. We take a long, nourishing view of the challenge and promise of this moment with former U.S. poet laureate, Natasha Trethewey, and interfaith visionary, Eboo Patel. This is the second of two public conversations convened by the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis on the eve of the 2016 presidential debate on that campus.

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[Unedited] Natasha Trethewey and Eboo Patel with Krista Tippett  

Natasha Trethewey was the 19th U.S. Poet Laureate. Her books include "Domestic Work," "Native Guard," and "Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast." Eboo Patel is the founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core. His books include "Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America" and "Interfaith Leadership: A Primer." This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Natasha Trethewey and Eboo Patel — How to Live Beyond This Election." Find more at onbeing.org.

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David Brooks and E.J. Dionne — Sinfulness, Hopefulness, and the Possibility of Politics  

This is a strange, tumultuous political moment. With columnists David Brooks and E.J. Dionne, we step back from the immediate political gamesmanship. We take public theology as a lens on the challenge and promise we will all be living as citizens, whoever our next president might be. This public conversation was convened by the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Graham Chapel at Washington University in St. Louis, the day before the second presidential debate on that campus.

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[Unedited] David Brooks and E.J. Dionne with Krista Tippett  

David Brooks is a columnist for The New York Times. His books include "The Social Animal" and "The Road to Character." E.J. Dionne is a columnist for The Washington Post. His books include "Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith in Politics after the Religious Right" and "Why The Right Went Wrong." This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Sinfulness, Hopefulness and the Possibility of Politics." Find more at onbeing.org.

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Mary Karr — Astonished by the Human Comedy  

“A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it.” Mary Karr is beloved for her salty memoirs in which she traces her harrowing childhood in southeast Texas with a mother who once tried to kill her with a butcher’s knife and her own adult struggles with alcoholism and breakdown. She has a captivating ability to give voice to what is funny and wild in life’s most heartbreaking moments. Mary Karr embodies this wryness and wildness in her lesser-known spiritual practice as a devout Catholic — an unexpected move she made in mid-life.

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[Unedited] Mary Karr with Krista Tippett  

Mary Karr is the Jesse Truesdell Peck Professor of English Literature at Syracuse University. Her books include “The Liars’ Club,” “Lit,” and “Now Go Out There: (and Get Curious.)” Her celebrated guide, “The Art of Memoir,” is now in paperback. This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Mary Karr — Astonished by the Human Comedy" Find more at onbeing.org.

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Leonard Mlodinow — Randomness and Choice  

Fundamental forces of physics somehow determine everything that happens, “from the birth of a child to the birth of a galaxy.” Yet physicist Leonard Mlodinow has an intriguing perspective on the gap between theory and reality — and the fascinating interplay between a life in science and life in the world. As the child of two Holocaust survivors, he asks questions about our capacity to create our lives, while reflecting on extreme human cruelty — and courage.

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[Unedited] Leonard Mlodinow with Krista Tippett  

Leonard Mlodinow is a physicist, and the author of several books including "The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives" and "Feynman’s Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life." He's also written for television, including "Star Trek: The Next Generation." This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Leonard Mlodinow — Randomness and Choice." Find more at onbeing.org.

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Alain de Botton — A School of Life for Atheists  

Alain de Botton is a philosopher who likes the best of religion, but doesn’t believe in God. He says that the most boring question you can ask of any religion is whether it is true. But how to live, how to die, what is good, and what is bad — these are questions religion has sophisticated ways of addressing. So he’s created The School of Life — where people young and old explore ritual, community, beauty, and wisdom. He explains why these ideas shouldn’t be reserved just for believers.

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[Unedited] Alain de Botton with Krista Tippett  

Alain de Botton is the founder and chairman of The School of Life. His books include “Religion for Atheists” and “How Proust Can Change Your Life.” His new book is a novel, “The Course of Love.” This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Alain de Botton — A School of Life for Atheists " Find more at onbeing.org.

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Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin — The Inner Life of Rebellion  

The history of rebellion is rife with excess and burnout. But new generations have a distinctive commitment to be reflective and activist at once, to be in service as much as in charge, and to learn from history while bringing very new realities into being. Quaker wise man Parker Palmer and journalist and entrepreneur Courtney Martin come together for a cross-generational conversation about the inner work of sustainable, resilient social change.

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[Unedited] Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin with Krista Tippett  

Parker Palmer is founder and Senior Partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal. He’s the author of bestselling books including “Let Your Life Speak,” “The Courage to Teach,” “A Hidden Wholeness,” and “Healing the Heart of Democracy.” Courtney Martin is the co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network and a strategist for the TED Prize. She’s the author of six books including “Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists” and most recently, “The New Better Off.” This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin — The Inner Life of Rebellion" Find more at onbeing.org.

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