Give and Take

Conversations at the Heart of the Matter

About the show

Someone once observed that if Howard Stern and Krista Tippett had a love child, it would be Scott Jones. Scott liked that.

At "Give and Take,” Scott Jones talks with artists, authors, theologians, and political pundits about the lens through which they experience life. With empathy, humor, and a deep knowledge of religion, current events, and pop culture, Scott engages his guests in a free-flowing conversation that's entertaining, unexpected, occasionally bizarre, and oftentimes enlightening. He likes people, and it shows.

Past interviewees include Mark Oppenheimer, Melissa Febos, David French, Miroslav Volf, Dan Savage, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Rob Bell, and (yes) Krista Tippett.

Scott is the former host and producer of the popular Mockingcast podcast ( and an in-demand consultant on all things “pod.” He’s also the co-host, with Bill Borror, of New Persuasive Words ( Scott is also a prolific writer, a frequent conference speaker, a PhD candidate in Theology, and an ordained minister.

Give and Take on social media


  • Episode 246: 6 Spiritual Truths that Won’t Change with the Election, with Frederick Schmidt

    October 31st, 2020  |  52 mins 2 secs

    My guest if Frederick Schmidt. He holds the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL. He's also an Episcopal Priest. He recently wrote a piece entitled "6 Spiritual Truths that Won’t Change with the Election." It's a timely piece for reflection and discussion.

  • Episode 245: Presidential Playbook 2020: 16 Nonpartisan Solutions to Save America, with John Burke

    October 13th, 2020  |  45 mins 51 secs

    My guest is John Burke. His newest book is "Presidential Playbook 2020: 16 Nonpartisan Solutions to Save America." “And sometime, at some point, do something for your country.” That quote from Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough resonated so deeply with Trek Bicycle President John Burke that he set out to write a book laying out his vision for the country, an America that can once again be a shining city on a hill.

  • Episode 244: Healing Politics: A Doctor’s Journey into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic, Abdul El-Sayed

    September 26th, 2020  |  37 mins 32 secs

    My guest is Abdul El-Sayed. His new book is "Healing Politics: A Doctor’s Journey into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic." From a rising voice in progressive politics, a combination of memoir, science, and public policy, diagnosing the challenges facing America and laying out a way forward
    A child of immigrants, Abdul El-Sayed grew up feeling a responsibility to help others. He threw himself into the study of medicine and excelled—winning a Rhodes Scholarship, earning two advanced degrees, and landing a tenure-track position at Columbia University. At 30, he became the youngest city health official in America, tasked with rebuilding Detroit's health department after years of austerity policies.

  • Episode 243: Breaking Bread With The Dead, with Alan Jacobs

    September 23rd, 2020  |  50 mins 49 secs

    My guest is Alan Jacobs. His newest book is "Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader's Guide to a More Tranquil Mind." W. H. Auden once wrote that "art is our chief means of breaking bread with the dead." In his brilliant and compulsively readable new treatise, Breaking Bread with the Dead, Alan Jacobs shows us that engaging with the strange and wonderful writings of the past might help us live less anxiously in the present--and increase what Thomas Pynchon once called our "personal density."

  • Episode 242: Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man and the Gospel of Jesus's Wife, with Ariel Sabar

    September 22nd, 2020  |  44 mins 10 secs

    My guest is Ariel Sabar. His newest book is "Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man and the Gospel of Jesus's Wife." In 2012, Dr. Karen King, a star professor at Harvard Divinity School, announced a blockbuster discovery at a scholarly conference just steps from the Vatican: She had found an ancient fragment of papyrus in which Jesus calls Mary Magdalene "my wife." The tattered manuscript made international headlines. If early Christians believed Jesus was married, it would upend the 2,000-year history of the world's predominant faith, threatening not just the celibate, all-male priesthood but sacred teachings on marriage, sex and women's leadership. Biblical scholars were in an uproar, but King had impeccable credentials as a world-renowned authority on female figures in the lost Christian texts from Egypt known as the Gnostic gospels. "The Gospel of Jesus's Wife"--as she provocatively titled her discovery--was both a crowning career achievement and powerful proof for her arguments that Christianity from its start embraced alternative, and far more inclusive, voices.

  • Episode 241: Spiritual Directions and Spiritual Direction, with David Norling

    September 22nd, 2020  |  36 mins 30 secs

    My guest is David Norling. He is a California native, an evangelical refugee, and has a deep interest in spirituality, spiritual direction, and human flourishing. We spend time talking about his own spiritual biography and journey. We also talk narrative therapy and spiritual direction.

  • Episode 240: You're a Miracle (and a Pain in the Ass), with Mike McHargue

    September 2nd, 2020  |  1 hr 3 mins

    My guest is Mike McHargue. His newest book is "You're a Miracle (and a Pain in the Ass)." Why is there such a gap between what you want to do and what you actually do? The host of Ask Science Mike explains why our desires and our real lives are so wildly different—and what you can do to close the gap, in this his newest book.

  • Episode 239: The Campaign of Miner Bo, with Todd Drezner

    September 2nd, 2020  |  33 mins 42 secs

    My guest is Todd Drezner. His newest film is "The Campaign of Miner Bo." It’s probably safe to say that Bo Copley never expected to run for U.S. Senate. A lifelong resident of Mingo County, West Virginia, Copley worked in the coal industry for 11 years until he was laid off on September 18, 2015...In May of 2016, Copley was invited to join a roundtable discussion with Hillary Clinton, who was campaigning in West Virginia before the state’s presidential primary. Copley, his voice breaking, showed Clinton a picture of his three children and challenged her assertion that she was a friend to coal miners. Copley’s raw emotion broke through the usual campaign chatter, and throughout the campaign, he was a regular on cable news...Copley tried to take advantage of his surprise political celebrity by running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2018. But without money, experience, or a traditional campaign infrastructure, he quickly discovered that being a politician is harder than it looks.

  • Episode 238: Break It Up, with Richard Kreitner

    August 27th, 2020  |  1 hr 8 mins

    My guest is Richard Kreitner. His new book is "Break It Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America's Imperfect Union." The novel and fiery thesis of Break It Up is simple: The United States has never lived up to its name—and never will. The disunionist impulse may have found its greatest expression in the Civil War, but as Break It Up shows, the seduction of secession wasn’t limited to the South or the nineteenth century. It was there at our founding and has never gone away.

  • Episode 237: Nobody Hates Trump More Than Trump Revisited, with David Shields

    August 6th, 2020  |  1 hr 34 mins

    My guest is David Shields. He's the author of numerous books including "Nobody Hates Trump More Than Trump: An Intervention." It can be read in a variety of ways: as a psychological investigation of Trump, as a philosophical meditation on the relationship between language and power, as a satirical compilation of the “collected wit and wisdom of Donald Trump,” and above all as a dagger into the rhetoric of American political discourse—a dissection of the politesse that gave rise to and sustains Trump. The book’s central thesis is that we have met the enemy and he is us. Who else but David Shields would make such an argument, let alone pull it off with such intelligence, brio, and wit, not to mention leaked off-air transcripts from Fox News?

  • Episode 236: Leave It As It Is, with David Gessner

    August 2nd, 2020  |  44 mins 2 secs

    My guest is David Gessner. His newest book is "Leave It As It Is: A Journey Through Theodore Roosevelt's American Wilderness." “Leave it as it is,” Theodore Roosevelt announced while viewing the Grand Canyon for the first time. “The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.” Roosevelt’s rallying cry signaled the beginning of an environmental fight that still wages today. To reconnect with the American wilderness and with the president who courageously protected it, acclaimed nature writer and New York Times bestselling author David Gessner embarks on a great American road trip guided by Roosevelt’s crusading environmental legacy.

  • Episode 235: How to Watch Porn, with Alice Vaughn

    July 21st, 2020  |  59 mins 24 secs

    My guest is Alice Vaughn. She's the co-host of "Two Girls One Mic: The Porncast." They review the holes and plot holes of your favorite porn. She also founded Offensive Crayons, a wildly successful company... We talk porn, politics, psychology and the pandemic's effect on the porn industry and the wider culture.

  • Episode 234: The Character Gap, with Christian Miller

    July 16th, 2020  |  44 mins 16 secs

    My guest is Christian Miller. Have you ever wondered if you're a good person? Have you asked how you good be a better one? Do your moral failings bug you? Christian Miller has spent his whole life studying these questions. He's a moral philosopher and the author of "The Character Gap." If you are thinking about what it means to live the good life than this is the episode for you.

  • Episode 233: Life At The End Of Us Vs Them, with Marcus Rempel

    July 8th, 2020  |  47 mins

    My guest is Marcus Rempel. He's the author of "Life At The End Of Us Vs Them." critics of both Christianity and culture. The end of us versus them can deteriorate into the chaos of each against each or it can open outward into freely chosen communion. It is an expectant - and apocalyptic - time. How does one live in this strange, endtime world? As a wanderer in the odd, cross-culture country Girard and Illich have mapped, the author arrives at a surprising new place in relation to those who are his other: women, queer folk, refugees, Muslims, atheists, and Indigenous people. In this collection of essays, he blinks, looks around, and makes some field notes.

  • Episode 232: Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk, with Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke

    July 3rd, 2020  |  49 mins 36 secs

    My guests are Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke. Their new book is "Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk." We are all guilty of it. We call people terrible names in conversation or online. We vilify those with whom we disagree, and make bolder claims than we could defend. We want to be seen as taking the moral high ground not just to make a point, or move a debate forward, but to look a certain way--incensed, or compassionate, or committed to a cause. We exaggerate. In other words, we grandstand.

  • Episode 231: In Good Faith: Questioning Religion and Atheism, with Scott Shay

    June 24th, 2020  |  50 mins 10 secs

    My guest is Scott Shay. Scott's second book, "In Good Faith: Questioning Religion and Atheism," has been recognized as one of the best books of 2018 by Mosaic Authors and earned a finalist award from National Jewish Books. Scott gives talks around the country and is interviewed on TV, radio, and podcasts many times throughout the year.