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What Matters Most

Miroslav Volf suggests: "The most important political question of our time is the one we tend not to think is political at all. Who are we—you, I, and the nations to which we belong? What kind of human beings and what kind of nation should we aspire to become?"

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Episode Summary

Matt Croasmun suggests that if we—a society in crisis—want to live lives worthy of our humanity, we need to ask the deepest question possible and let it inform our thinking: What is truly worth wanting?

Episode Notes

Is what you want really worth wanting? We often settle for procedural and productivity thinking—life hacks, listicles, and tips and tricks that offer the life of your dreams. We max out our search in the shallow water of seeking answers to the questions “what do I want and how can I get it?” But Matt Croasmun (Director of the Life Worth Living Program at Yale College) suggests that if we—a society in crisis—want to live lives worthy of our humanity, we need to ask the deepest question possible and let it inform our thinking: What is truly worth wanting?

Show Notes

  • How can I live the life that I want?
  • Matt’s former dream of being a musician
  • “I was more interested in being famous than in being good”
  • Self-formation versus self-obsession
  • “Giving up my dream to be a composer is either the most courageous or the most cowardly thing I’ve ever done”
  • “The fundamental question is, do I have the right dreams?”
  • The worthiness of our dreams
  • What path is worthy of my humanity? My life’s devotion?
  • "We live answers to the deeper questions, even if we couldn't give you those answers if we were asked point blank.”
  • Autopilot versus intuition
  • “Whenever we aren't all that reflective about our actions, this is the infamous unexamined life”
  • Feeling stuck
  • Reflection can actually streamline our daily routines
  • Is effectiveness what we’re after?
  • “If your ends are bad, then more effective means are hardly the solution”
  • “The great lie of 21st century is that the effectiveness question is the most profound question we can ask. The truth is: It’s merely the most profound question we’re able to answer."
  • “Some of those means landed men on the moon. I mean, we’re pretty good at it”
  • We crave knowledge of the good life
  • Do we want a life of ecstatic joy or peaceful serenity?
  • Independence or interdependence?
  • “Self awareness is a lonely place”
  • “The answer sadly is not within; navel gazing is insufficient”
  • Accountability to something outside ourselves
  • Moana, Disney, and community versus individuality
  • “This can be deeply relieving when we've been on this sort of self-help merry-go-round”
  • The great wisdom traditions as as sources of knowledge and relevance
  • “Act courageously in the world, take risks with our actions, with our lives “
  • “It's easy to have so-called courage without any humility”
  • What we've learned with our minds needs to be inscribed in our bodies
  • Perhaps our practices are actually smarter than some of our best ideas
  • Orienting our everyday desires around what we know to be true
  • “There are many processes along the way of reforming the heart, reforming our strategies, reforming our habits”

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lines, dots, staircase, stairs

May 15, 2023

Tolerating Doubt & Ambiguity

Is your faith a house of cards? If you were wrong about one belief would the whole structure just collapse? If even one injury came to you, one instance of broken trust, would the whole castle fall? If one element was seemingly inconsistent or incompatible—would you burn down the house? This depiction of the psychology of faith is quite fragile. It falls over to even the lightest breath. But what would a flexible faith be? Resilient to even the heaviest gusts of life’s hurricanes. It would adapt and grow as a living, responsive faith. Psychologist Elizabeth Hall joins Evan Rosa to discuss the domains of psychology and theology and what it means for each to “stay in their lane”; she introduces a distinction between implicit and explicit knowledge, and identifies the social- and self-imposed pressure to know everything with certainty; we reflect on the recent trends toward deconversion from faith in light of these pressures; and she offers psychologically grounded guidance for approaching doubt and ambiguity in a secure relational context, seeking to make the unspoken or implicit doubts explicit. Rather than remaining perched upon our individualized, certainty-driven house-of-card faith; she lays out a way to inhabit a flexible, resilient, and relationally grounded faith, tolerant of ambiguity and adaptive and secure amidst all our winds of doubt. This episode was made possible in part by the generous support of Blueprint 1543. For more information, visit

Elizabeth Hall