Life & Faith

REBROADCAST: Exceptional

June 29, 2017

This episode was first broadcast on 2 June 2016.

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Marilynne Robinson on the beauty, ingenuity and tragedy of being an exceptional human.

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The human brain is the most complex object known to exist in the universe.

This is the thought that Marilynne Robinson begins many of her classes with. The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and acclaimed essayist is a Professor at the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop.

"I want to encourage my young writers to value their characters sufficiently to make them complex enough to be credible and also to value themselves in a way that makes them push toward real authenticity, real originality," she says.

Human exceptionalism is something that comes across not only in the characters she writes about, but in the way she treats her readers.

Robinson’s latest offering, The Givenness of Things, builds bridges across science and religion, theology and humanism, to provide a gracious, respectful, and ultimately hopeful contribution to public culture and conversation about life and what it means to be human.

"We know that given any possibility, human beings blossom into beauty and ingenuity and tragedy and all the rest of it that could not be anticipated and that the world would be utterly cruel without," she says.

This conversation comes from Simon Smart's interview with Marilynne Robinson for CPX's documentary, For the Love of God: How the church is better and worse than you ever imagined.

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