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.

A New Jersey native, Scott lives with his best friend and wife, Lindy, in the suburbs of Philadelphia with two rescue pit bulls that he swears are sensitive souls.

Give and Take on social media


  • Episode 170: Know-It-All Society: Truth and Arrogance in Political Culture, with Michael Patrick Lynch

    August 16th, 2019  |  1 hr 5 mins

    My guest is Michael Patrick Lynch. His newest book is "Know-It-All Society: Truth and Arrogance in Political Culture." Taking stock of our fragmented political landscape, Michael Patrick Lynch delivers a trenchant philosophical take on digital culture and its tendency to make us into dogmatic know-it-alls. The internet―where most shared news stories are not even read by the person posting them―has contributed to the rampant spread of “intellectual arrogance.” In this culture, we have come to think that we have nothing to learn from one another; we are rewarded for emotional outrage over reflective thought; and we glorify a defensive rejection of those different from us.

  • Episode 169: 100 Times: A Memoir of Sexism, with Chavisa Woods

    August 13th, 2019  |  55 mins 32 secs

    My guest is Chavisa Woods. Her newest book is "100 Times: A Memoir of Sexism." In it it this award winning author presents one hundred true stories of sexism, harassment, discrimination, and assault.

  • Episode 168: Reading Romans Backwards, with Scot McKnight

    August 6th, 2019  |  47 mins 36 secs

    My guest is Scot McKnight. His newest book is "Reading Romans Backwards: A Gospel of Peace in the Midst of Empire." In it he argues that to read Romans from beginning to end, from letter opening to final doxology, is to retrace the steps of Paul. To read Romans front to back was what Paul certainly intended. But to read Romans forward may have kept the full message of Romans from being perceived. Reading forward has led readers to classify Romans as abstract and systematic theology, as a letter unstained by real pastoral concerns.

  • Episode 167: The Year of Return, with Nathaniel Popkin

    August 3rd, 2019  |  1 hr 1 min

    Set against the backdrop of 1976 Philadelphia, his new novel "The Year of the Return" follows the path of two families, the Jewish Silks and African American Johnsons, as they are first united by marriage and then by grief, turmoil, and the difficult task of trying to live in an America failing to live up to its ideals.

  • Episode 166: Addiction Nation, with Timothy McMahan King

    July 31st, 2019  |  43 mins 39 secs

    My guest is Timothy McMahan King. His new book is "Addiction Nation: What the Opioid Crisis Reveals about Us." When a near-fatal illness led his doctors to prescribe narcotics, media consultant Timothy McMahan King ended up where millions of others have: addicted. Eventually King learned to manage pain without opioids—but not before he began asking profound questions about the spiritual and moral nature of addiction, the companies complicit in creating the opioid epidemic, and the paths toward healing and recovery.

  • Episode 165: The Meaning of Protestant Theology, with Phillip Cary

    July 29th, 2019  |  1 hr 20 mins

    My guest is Phillip Cary. His newest book is "The Meaning of Protestant Theology: Luther, Augustin, and the Gospel That Gives Us Christ." This book offers a creative and illuminating discussion of Protestant theology. Veteran teacher Phillip Cary explains how Luther's theology arose from the Christian tradition, particularly from the spirituality of Augustine.

  • Episode 164: In Search of there Common Good, with Jake Meador

    July 24th, 2019  |  43 mins 35 secs

    My guest is Jake Meador. His new book is "In Search of the Common Good: Christian Fidelity in a Fractured World." Common life in our society is in decline. Our communities are disintegrating, as the loss of meaningful work and the breakdown of the family leave us anxious and alone―indeed, half of all Americans report daily feelings of loneliness. Our public discourse is polarized and hateful. Ethnic minorities face systemic injustices and the ever-present fear of violence and deportation. Economic inequalities are widening. In this book, Jake Meador diagnoses our society's decline as the failure of a particular story we've told about ourselves: the story of modern liberalism. He shows us how that story has led to our collective loss of meaning, wonder, and good work, and then recovers each of these by grounding them in a different story―a story rooted in the deep tradition of the Christian faith.

  • Episode 163: How to Make a Plant Love You, with Summer Rayne Oakes

    July 8th, 2019  |  51 mins 5 secs

    My guest is Summer Rayne Oakes. Her new book is "How to Make a Plant Love You: Cultivate Green Space in Your Home and Heart." She's an urban houseplant expert and environmental scientist, is the icon of wellness-minded millennials who want to bring nature indoors, according to a New York Times profile. Summer has managed to grow 1,000 houseplants in her Brooklyn apartment (and they're thriving!) Her secret? She approaches her relationships with plants as intentionally as if they were people.

  • Episode 162: Elie Wiesel: An Extraordinary Life and Legacy, with Nadine Epstein

    June 26th, 2019  |  36 mins 39 secs

    Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) is best known as the author of Night, survivor of Auschwitz and a powerful, enduring voice of the Holocaust. A recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he was a hero of human rights, professor and author of more than 50 books. Among his accomplishments, Wiesel co-founded Moment Magazine with Leonard Fein in 1975 to be a place of conversation for America’s Jews. For editor-in-chief Nadine Epstein, he became a mentor and friend after she took over the magazine in 2004. In this striking volume, Epstein shares her memories of Wiesel and brings together 36 interviews with friends, colleagues and others who knew him.

  • Episode 161: Against French-ism, with David French

    June 25th, 2019  |  51 mins 2 secs

    My guest is National Review writer and NY Times best selling author David French. He was the subject of a recent piece in First Things by NY Post op-ed editor Sohrab Ahmari entitled "Against David French-ism." In it Ahmari decries French's commitment to classical liberalism and civility, which make one unable "to fight the culture war with the aim of defeating the enemy and enjoying the spoils in the form of a public square re-ordered to the common good and ultimately the Highest Good."

  • Episode 160: The Scientific Attitude: Defending Science from Denial, Fraud, and Pseudoscience, with Lee McIntyre

    May 3rd, 2019  |  56 mins 5 secs

    My guest is Lee McIntyre. His newest book is "The Scientific Attitude: Defending Science from Denial, Fraud, and Pseudoscience." Attacks on science have become commonplace. Claims that climate change isn't settled science, that evolution is “only a theory,” and that scientists are conspiring to keep the truth about vaccines from the public are staples of some politicians' rhetorical repertoire. Defenders of science often point to its discoveries (penicillin! relativity!) without explaining exactly why scientific claims are superior. In this book, Lee McIntyre argues that what distinguishes science from its rivals is what he calls “the scientific attitude”―caring about evidence and being willing to change theories on the basis of new evidence. The history of science is littered with theories that were scientific but turned out to be wrong; the scientific attitude reveals why even a failed theory can help us to understand what is special about science.

  • Episode 159: Divorcing Mom: A Memoir of Psychoanalysis, with Melissa Knox

    April 30th, 2019  |  41 mins 46 secs

    My guest is Melissa Knox. Her new memoir is "Divorcing Mom: A Memoir of Psychoanalysis." Psychoanalysis was her family's religion instead of wafers and wine, there were Seconals, Nembutals, and gin. Baptized into the faith at fourteen, Melissa Knox endured her analyst's praise of her childlike, victimized mother who leaned too close, ate off Melissa's plate, and thought pedophile meant silly person. Gaslighted with the notions that she'd seduced her father, failed to masturbate, and betrayed her mother, Melissa shouldered the blame.

  • Episode 158: The Perils of Partnership, with Jonathan H. Marks

    April 12th, 2019  |  42 mins 18 secs

    My guest is Jonathan H. Marks. His new book is "The Perils of Partnership: Industry Influence, Institutional Integrity, and Public Health." Countless public health agencies are trying to solve our most intractable public health problems -- among them, the obesity and opioid epidemics -- by partnering with corporations responsible for creating or exacerbating those problems. We are told industry must be part of the solution. But is it time to challenge the partnership paradigm and the popular narratives that sustain it?

  • Episode 157: The Risk Of Us, with Rachel Howard

    April 10th, 2019  |  43 mins 41 secs

    My guest is Rachel Howard. Her newest book is "The Risk Of Us." What is the cost of motherhood? When The Risk of Us opens, we meet a forty-something woman who deeply wants to become a mother. The path that opens up to her and her husband takes them through the foster care system, with the goal of adoption. And when seven-year-old Maresa—with inch-deep dimples and a voice that can beam to the moon—comes into their lives, their hearts fill with love. But her rages and troubles threaten to crack open their marriage. Over the course of a year, as Maresa approaches the age at which children become nearly impossible to place, the couple must decide if they can be the parents this child needs, and finalize the adoption—or, almost unthinkably, give her up.

  • Episode 156: To Be A Runner, with Martin Dugard

    April 9th, 2019  |  45 mins 48 secs

    My guest is Martin Dugard. He's the author of the critically acclaimed "To Be A Runner." Now with a new introduction and additional stories accumulated in the eight years since its original publication, To Be a Runner is a fresh and exciting update on a running classic. With an exuberant mix of passion, insight, instruction, and humor, bestselling author and lifelong runner Martin Dugard takes a journey through the world of running to illustrate how the sport helps us fulfill that universal desire to be the best possible version of ourselves each and every time we lace up our shoes.

  • Episode 155: Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What to Do about It, with David Zahl

    March 26th, 2019  |  1 hr 7 mins

    My guest is David Zahl. His newest book is "Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What to Do about It." At the heart of our current moment lies a universal yearning, writes David Zahl, not to be happy or respected so much as enough--what religions call "righteous." To fill the void left by religion, we look to all sorts of everyday activities--from eating and parenting to dating and voting--for the identity, purpose, and meaning once provided on Sunday morning.