In this first episode of Grotto’s new podcast, Good and Decent, we search for wonder in the world. Our hosts, Javi and Sara, discuss how awe can be an antidote to the mundane. Their conversation draws upon encounters with Harvard cosmologist, Mila Chadayammuri, and a priest on safari, Father Pat Reidy, CSC.
“In heightened moments of wonder and awe, you have this sense that creation is alive,” Sara says. “This is the universe alive and speaking to us, if we have the stillness and solitude to receive it.”
Click here to view this episode, read other articles on wonder and awe, and watch the mini-documentaries on Mila and Father Pat.
Have you ever met certain people and thought, “Geesh… what’s in their coffee? And how can I get some of what they have?” This week on Good and Decent, Sara and Javi muse on people who exude generosity in their daily lives, and what we can learn from them. Two such people are Charles “Bike Man” Jenkins, who fixes bikes for kids in his local community; and Annie, a barista at the Local Cup — a cafe that runs on the generosity of others.
Click here to view this episode, read other articles on generosity, and watch the mini-documentaries on Charles “Bike Man” Jenkins and Annie.
Have you ever changed your mind about something? This week’s episode of Good and Decent digs into two intriguing stories about experiencing a radical change of heart: tattoo artists who help people cover up racist tattoos, and a man who decided to “live off the grid.”
Randy Orak chose to sell his car and ride a modified bike everywhere. This decision wasn’t simply about living eco-friendly or enjoying biking to work — for Randy, it was something that felt in sync with his soul. Leaving his tech job propelled him into the world of gardening and agriculture.
Ben and Sara discuss how radical changes of heart can come all at once, or little by little. This episode of Good and Decent begs the question: are you feeling drawn to have a change of heart? If so, how? If not now, when?
Click here to view this episode, read other articles on change of heart, and watch the mini-documentaries on Randy and the tattoo artists.
This week on Good and Decent, producer Josh Long and Sara Thoms explore the theme of empathy, and there’s been no one who has told more stories for Grotto on that topic than filmmaker and producer Michael Burke. Josh and Sara decide to give him a call, and he shares a bit about his personal motivations to do social justice work through filmmaking.
He also speaks about the process of documentary filmmaking — the spontaneity and unpredictability of it. For Michael, the lack of empathy found in public policy and the infrastructure at the border inspired a passion in him to tell stories in that space. Josh and Michael discuss the ways their perspective shifted after documenting and witnessing the pilgrims and their work at the border, as well as the bravery of the migrants.
Click here to view this episode, read other articles on empathy, and watch the mini-documentaries on the El Paso Pilgrimage and saving migrants in the Arizona Desert.
“Friendship is a problem,” host and producer Josh Long says in this week’s episode of Good and Decent. Lately, Josh has been feeling like his friendships have suffered — and he’s not alone. Almost one third of young adults feel that they have no best friends. What keeps two people bonded together over the course of a life? Josh and co-host Sara Thoms turn to three Grotto stories for inspiration on the topic of friendship.
In the first, a video gamer, known as Bearded Blevins, with a large following shares his experience of friendship transcending the boundaries of space and time through his Twitch platform.
The second story is of Pilar Amado, a woman of color who started rock climbing with a desire to find community.
Josh introduces one more (bonus!) Grotto story about inter-generational friendship — a story of three wild turkey hunters in central Michigan.
In this episode, Josh and Sara invite us to take a deep dive into our own friendships: How are your friendships? What do your friends need from you, and you from them, in this season of life?
Click here to view this episode, read other articles on friendship, and watch the mini-documentaries on Bearded Blevins, Pilar Amado, and the three wild turkey hunters.
In the season 1 finale of Good and Decent, Javi pitches an idea to Josh and Sara: A group of air guitarists in Boston have something in common with a cloistered monk in Kentucky. Confused but intrigued by this contrasting pair, the three hit the road for their first post-pandemic road trip…and their first time working together as a trio in person! They set out to discover what it is that connects these seemingly disparate people.
Along the way, they discuss the meaning of life — is it always and only about what we produce in the world? Our work is important, surely, but isn’t there something more to life? Both our air guitar friends and Brother Paul Quenon seem to have a deep-down joy that doesn’t come from work.
When something is truly use-less, having no apparent “use,” it is done for the sake of itself. Br. Paul describes that there’s a freedom in that. Both playing air guitar and praying as a monk develop a kind of interior life. What in your life is use-less? Is there anything you do for the joy of it and nothing else? Can we truly find deeper meaning in simply being and not doing?
Click here to view this episode, read other articles on joy and simply being, and watch the mini-documentaries on the air guitarists and Brother Paul Quenon, O.C.S.O.