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 197: Revolution of Values, with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

    November 12th, 2019  |  1 hr 9 mins

    My guest is Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. His newest book is "Revolution of Values: Reclaiming Public Faith for the Common Good." In it he argues that the religious Right taught America to misread the Bible. Christians have misused Scripture to consolidate power, stoke fears, and defend against enemies. But people who have been hurt by the attacks of Christian nationalism can help us rediscover God's vision for faith in public life. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove explores how religious culture wars have misrepresented Christianity at the expense of the poor, and how listening to marginalized communities can help us hear God's call to love and justice in the world.

  • Episode 196: Why We Need the Electoral College, with Tara Ross

    November 8th, 2019  |  50 mins 27 secs

    My guest is Tara Ross. She is the author of "Why We Need the Electoral College." Is the Electoral College anti-democratic? Some would say yes. After all, the presidential candidate with the most popular votes has nevertheless lost the election at least three times, including 2016. To some Americans, that’s a scandal. They believe the Electoral College is an intolerable flaw in the Constitution, a relic of a bygone era that ought to have been purged long ago. But that would be a terrible mistake, warns Tara Ross in this vigorous defense of “the indispensable Electoral College.” Far from an obstacle to enlightened democracy, Ross argues, the Electoral College is one of the guardrails ensuring the stability of the American Republic.

  • Episode 195: The Tutor, with Marilee Albert

    November 7th, 2019  |  39 mins 49 secs

    My guest is Marilee Albert. Her new novel is "The Tutor." In it recent Yale grad, Alice, wants to be close to her boyfriend in Paris, with enough space to sow a few oats. Rome fits, so off she goes. Her other goals? To make art and find a muse. Instead, she finds herself a muse to various men―including a TV-host dwarf, lonely banker, alcoholic playboy, aging prince, and the disillusioned Oscar-winning film director, Frank Colucci.

  • Episode 194: Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life--in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There), with Sarah Hurwitz

    November 1st, 2019  |  1 hr 4 mins

    My guest is Sarah Hurwitz. Her new book is "Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life--in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There)." After a decade as a political speechwriter—serving as head speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama, a senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama, and chief speechwriter for Hillary Clinton on her 2008 presidential campaign—Sarah Hurwitz decided to apply her skills as a communicator to writing a book . . . about Judaism. And no one is more surprised than she is.

  • Episode 193: How Charts Lie, with Alberto Cairo

    October 30th, 2019  |  45 mins

    My guest is Alberto Cairo. His new book is "How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information." In it this leading data visualization expert explores the negative―and positive―influences that charts have on our perception of truth. We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what if we don’t understand what we’re looking at? Social media has made charts, infographics, and diagrams ubiquitous―and easier to share than ever. We associate charts with science and reason; the flashy visuals are both appealing and persuasive. Pie charts, maps, bar and line graphs, and scatter plots (to name a few) can better inform us, revealing patterns and trends hidden behind the numbers we encounter in our lives. In short, good charts make us smarter―if we know how to read them.

  • Episode 192: The Fire Is Upon Us, with Nicholas Buccola

    October 29th, 2019  |  55 mins 48 secs

    My guest is Nicholas Buccola. His new book is "The Fire Is upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America." On February 18, 1965, an overflowing crowd packed the Cambridge Union in Cambridge, England, to witness a historic televised debate between James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and William F. Buckley Jr., a fierce critic of the movement and America's most influential conservative intellectual. The topic was "the American dream is at the expense of the American Negro," and no one who has seen the debate can soon forget it. Nicholas Buccola's The Fire Is upon Us is the first book to tell the full story of the event, the radically different paths that led Baldwin and Buckley to it, the controversies that followed, and how the debate and the decades-long clash between the men continues to illuminate America's racial divide today.

  • Episode 191: Only Americans Burn in Hell, with Jarett Kobek

    October 18th, 2019  |  1 hr 5 mins

    My guest is Jarret Kobek. His new book is "Only Americans Burn in Hell." If you still want to play the game of American life, then you had better learn to lie. Kneel before false gods. Pretend to care about the ruling class and their illusions. Keep your head down. Pray that no one sees you...Your world is one of endless interruption and constant despair. This is not the future you were promised.

  • Episode 190: The Church of Us vs. Them, with David Fitch

    October 18th, 2019  |  54 mins 9 secs

    My guest is David Fitch. His newest book is "The Church of Us vs. Them: Freedom from a Faith That Feeds on Making Enemies." We are living in angry times. No matter where we go, what we watch, or how we communicate, our culture is rife with conflict. Unfortunately, Christians appear to be caught up in the same animosity as the culture at large. We are perceived as angry, judgmental, and defensive, fighting among ourselves in various media while the world looks on. How have we failed to be a people of reconciliation and renewal in the face of such tumult?

  • Episode 189: Twelve Lies That Hold America Captive, with Jonathan Walton

    October 17th, 2019  |  58 mins 51 secs

    My guest is Jonathan Walton. His new book is "Twelve Lies That Hold America Captive: And the Truth That Sets Us Free." "America is a Christian nation." "All men are created equal." "We are the land of the free and the home of the brave." Except when we're not. These commonly held ideas break down in the light of hard realities, the study of Scripture, and faithful Christian witness. The president is not the Messiah, the Constitution is not the Bible, and the United States is not a city on a hill or the hope for the world. The proclaimed hope of America rings most hollow for Native peoples, people of color, the rural poor, and other communities pressed to the margins. Jonathan Walton exposes the cultural myths and misconceptions about America's identity.

  • Episode 188: How to Think about War: An Ancient Guide to Foreign Policy, with Johanna Hanink

    October 16th, 2019  |  39 mins 44 secs

    My guest is Johanna Hanink. Her newest book "How to Think about War: An Ancient Guide to Foreign Policy" is an accessible modern translation of essential speeches from Thucydides’s History that takes readers to the heart of his profound insights on diplomacy, foreign policy, and war.

  • Episode 187: Miller's Children: Why Giving Teenage Killers a Second Chance Matters for All of Us, with James Garbarino

    October 9th, 2019  |  41 mins 40 secs

    My guest is James Garbarino. His new book is "Miller's Children: Why Giving Teenage Killers a Second Chance Matters for All of Us." It is a passionate and comprehensive look at the human consequences of the US Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Miller v. Alabama, which outlaws mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juvenile murderers. The decision to apply the law retroactively to other cases has provided hope to those convicted of murders as teenagers and had been incarcerated with the expectation that they would never leave prison until their own death as incarcerated adults.

  • Episode 186: She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity, with Carl Zimmer

    October 4th, 2019  |  1 hr 1 min

    My guest is Carl Zimmer. His newest book is "She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity." In it he presents a profoundly original perspective on what we pass along from generation to generation. Charles Darwin played a crucial part in turning heredity into a scientific question, and yet he failed spectacularly to answer it. The birth of genetics in the early 1900s seemed to do precisely that. Gradually, people translated their old notions about heredity into a language of genes. As the technology for studying genes became cheaper, millions of people ordered genetic tests to link themselves to missing parents, to distant ancestors, to ethnic identities...

  • Episode 185: Exodus Preaching, with Kenyatta Gilbert

    October 1st, 2019  |  1 hr 7 mins

    My guest is Kenyatta Gilbert. His newest book is "Exodus Preaching: Crafting Sermons about Justice and Hope." Exodus Preaching is the first of its kind. It is an exploration of the African American prophetic rhetorical traditions in a manner that makes features of these traditions relevant to a broad audience beyond the African American traditions. It provides readers a composite picture of the nature, meaning, and relevance of prophetic preaching as spoken Word of justice and hope in a society of growing pluralism and the world-shaping phenomenon of racial, economic and cultural diversity.

  • Episode 184: What Does It Feel Like to Die?, with Jennie Dear

    September 30th, 2019  |  43 mins 44 secs

    My guest is Jennie Dear. Her new book is "What Does It Feel Like to Die?: Inspiring New Insights into the Experience of Dying." As a long-time hospice volunteer, Jennie Dear has helped countless patients, families, and caregivers cope with the many challenges of the dying process. Inspired by her own personal journey with her mother’s long-term illness, Dear demystifies the experience of dying for everyone whose lives it touches. She spoke to doctors, nurses, and caregivers, as well as families, friends, and the patients themselves. The result is a brilliantly researched, eye-opening account that combines the latest medical findings with sensitive human insights to offer real emotional support and answers to some of the questions that affect us all.

  • Episode 183: How Reason Can Lead to God, with Joshua Rasmussen

    September 28th, 2019  |  40 mins 16 secs

    My guest is Joshua Rasmussen. His newest book is "How Reason Can Lead to God: A Philosopher's Bridge to Faith." Do you seek the truth? Do you value reason, science, and independent thinking? Are you skeptical of beliefs that people maintain merely "on faith," yet you remain interested in the big questions of life? Do you hope there could be a greater purpose to the universe, if only that were realistic? If so, then philosopher Joshua Rasmussen can encourage you in your journey.

  • Episode 182: Why Church, with Scott Sunquist

    September 25th, 2019  |  47 mins 15 secs

    My guest is Scott Sunquist. His newest book is "Why Church: A Basic Introduction." Is a church just something we create to serve our purposes or to maintain old traditions? Or is it something more vital, more meaningful, and more powerful? This can be hard to believe when we look at what happens in any one congregation or denomination. Certainly not all churches act like Jesus in the world, and many individual churches in the West are dying. When it's so easy to be confused, frustrated, or simply apathetic about the church, how should we understand its purpose today?