On Being Blog

Christy Shake Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 05:39

A daughter reflects on the quiet, unassuming ways of her father — and how being "rooted in the physical" helps her and her son connect without the use of words or a faith in something larger than what's in front of them.

Trent Gilliss Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 10:06

The best of the week — including an invitation to our studios, a lesson in the uniqueness of humans, sage words from Parker Palmer on paradox, and an arresting collection of images that captures everyday life in Africa.

Parker J. Palmer Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 04:30

Some thoughts on Leonard Cohen, our small and imperfect contributions to solving big problems, the "potluck supper approach to social change," and how the light gets in.

Mariah Helgeson Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 07:49

The writer's words from 1955 resonate even more profoundly today in an era of technological ubiquity. A meditation on the gifts of solitude, loneliness, and silence.

Gloria Jean Bubba Saturday, June 7, 2014 - 16:00

A daughter shares this meditation on the grief and the loss that comes slowly from losing her mother to Alzheimer's disease. Through the story of Gethsemane, she finds an uncomfortable solace and a quiet rebuke for falling asleep while waiting.

Parker J. Palmer Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - 05:30

To be human is to live with paradox and hold it in our hands. Parker Palmer offers some grounding advice on creating more spaces to do so gracefully — and a poem by May Sarton.

Trent Gilliss Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - 04:42

Our weekly roundup of all things curious and inspiring, including a night of communal singing with Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, a reflection on Barbara Ehrenreich's mysticism, a young preacher's remembrance of a legend, and a visualization of tikkun olam from artist Anselm Kiefer.

Martin E. Marty Monday, June 2, 2014 - 05:41

A new survey shows that Christians who take phone polls exaggerate their attendance more than those who take online polls. But, Martin Marty says, it's showing what we all have known for centuries.

Mariah Helgeson Sunday, June 1, 2014 - 06:44

Listen to this beautiful recitation of the Maasai creed from the late great scholar Jaroslav Pelikan. It's a treasure.

Trent Gilliss Thursday, May 29, 2014 - 16:31

Join us for communal singing as we learn from choral director and conductor Tesfa Wondemagegnehu as talks more about the unbeatable joy of singing together. Tesfa will also lead us in the art of communal music-making. If a gun-shy singer like me will attend, you have no reason to be scared.

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Latest Interviews

July 17, 2014

Sixteen Muslims, in their own words, speak about the delights and gravity of Islam's holiest month. Through vivid memories and light-hearted musings, they reveal the richness of Ramadan — as a period of intimacy, and of parties; of getting up when the world is quiet for breakfast and prayers with one's family; of breaking the fast every day after nightfall in celebration and prayers with friends and strangers.

July 10, 2014

One of the most extraordinary minds of American and global history, W.E.B. Du Bois penned the famous line that "the problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line." He is a formative voice for many of the people who gave us the Civil Rights Movement. But his passionate, poetic words speak to all of us navigating the ever-unfolding, unfinished business of civil rights. We bring Du Bois' life and ideas into relief for the 21st century — featuring one of the last interviews the great Maya Angelou gave before her death.

July 3, 2014

For the Fourth of July, a refreshing reality check about the long road of American democracy. We remember forgotten but fascinating, useful history as we contemplate how we might help young democracies on their own tumultuous paths now.

June 26, 2014

We tend to frame our cultural conversation about science and religion as a debate — two either/or ways of describing reality. With mathematician Jim Bradley and philosopher Michael Ruse, we trace a quieter evolution of science and religion in interplay — not a matter of competing answers, but of complementary questions with room for humanity, nuance, and humor.

June 19, 2014

Who knew that we learn empathy, trust, irony, and problem solving through play — something the dictionary defines as "pleasurable and apparently purposeless activity." Dr. Stuart Brown suggests that the rough-and-tumble play of children actually prevents violent behavior, and that play can grow human talents and character across a lifetime. Play, as he studies it, is an indispensable part of being human.