A Charm Against the Language of Politics Say over and over the names of things, the clean nouns: weeping birch, bloodstone, tanager, Banshee damask rose. Read field guides, atlases, gravestones. At the store, bless each apple by kind: McIntosh, Winesap, Delicious, Jonathan. Enunciate the vegetables and herbs: okra, calendula. Go deeper into the terms of some small landscape: spiders, for example. Then, after a speech on compromising the environment for technology, recite the tough, silky structure of webs: tropical stick, ladder web, mesh web, filmy dome, funnel, trap door. When you have compared the candidates’ slippery platforms, chant the spiders: comb footed, round headed, garden cross, feather legged, ogre faced, black widow. Remember that most short verbs are ethical: hatch, grow, spin, trap, eat. Dig deep, pronounce clearly, pull the words in over your head. Hole up for the duration.
On the Blog
Politics can divide more often than unite. But, deep involvement in the civic sphere doesn't mean we have to sacrifice empathy and civility.
On the Blog
A young woman of Nigerian descent grew up thinking of Dr. King as "distant American hero." On this first day of Black History Month, she shares how she came to understand this American icon differently — and how his complex + contradictory human side creates an opening for all of us to be heroic, and not perfect.
Trying to confront the recent horror stories in the news, a Dutch theology student contemplates the origins of evil and our reckoning with good through the lens of the Harry Potter films. Our temptations, he writes, are rooted in deep-seated ills — and our strengths, in love.
Researchers are showing that doing it all at the same time is a “diabolical illusion.” If we know this, why does it continue to be so seductive, so alluring? In this technological, overambitious age, a commentary on striving to be focused and whole again.
An immigrant child from Iran who transitioned to several high schools, Omid Safi shares the story of a Chemistry teacher who saw the potential in him. A quest to find her and thank her for forever changing his life — and that of generations to come.
No matter what decade of your life you're in, your journey to find a fulfilling work life is one often clouded with worry and self-doubt. Parker Palmer writes this helpful story about finding the way — not by what opens in front of you but by what closes behind you.
Mary Oliver with some 140-character gems teams up with guidelines on designing ritual for the "Nones" and an essay on the distance to suffering. Also, sharing some quotations from our new iPad app and a humanizing speech from MLK.
How can we recover virtue and integrity in a world of insult and violence? And how do we respond? A commentary from a man searching for models of illumination and compassion who bring light into the world — and finding them in Dr. Du Bois and the Prophet Muhammad.
When one grows up without a faith tradition, where does one turn? An Argentinian children's book writer maps her journeys in faith, the lack of conviction, and the surprising path to devotion — all in her own backyard.
In a day where more and more wedding ceremonies are not presided over by an official religious figure, there's much to figure out when it comes to designing a ritual. Some practices to consider for modern nuptials.
Watch this interview between our columnist Omid Safi and MSNBC's Chris Hayes about the imbroglio over the call to prayer at Duke University.
Our conversation on the inner life rebellion inspires a 23-year-old singer-songwriter to write a song that embodies the rebellious energy she senses within herself and her generation. Take a listen; it's a treat.
The joys and sorrows of your life are sure to come and go. A commitment to learning at any age will sustain you and help you weather the peaks and troughs of life.
This past week has been one of extreme darkness and anxiety. But how do we, individually and collectively, think through and deal with these moments of our lives? A survey of writers on finding our way and building the beloved community we aspire to.
We rarely know the pain and suffering that envelops the people closest to us. In this loving tribute, the poetic structure of an Auden poem serves as a frame to remember a neighbor who loved dogs but couldn't hang onto life.
Making connections can be "life-giving" but they can also reinforce "damaging divides." Courtney Martin is reminded of the vitality of human bonds — and the chasms that remain in this hypernetworked world.
In response to Duke University's decision to not allow the Muslim call to prayer from the chapel, Omid Safi offers an open hand invitation to see a Duke (and an America) that has room for all of us.
What do Muslims do or say in response to the murders of a dozen people who were killed in the name of Islam? Omid Safi explores the catch 22 Muslims find themselves in, and how we must hold each other all accountable.
When we succumb to the distractions of this life and the will of others, we must hold onto something. But what? Some questions to turn over and explore to guide you.
In a somber week, Omid Safi offers a powerful reminder to remember the humanity at stake in world news, Reza Aslan provides needed context, Parker Palmer reflects on the illuminating power of Thomas Merton's words, a writer muses on our discomfort with death, and Courtney Martin pens a love letter to the shared silences that join us together.
Watch this cross-generational conversation at PopTech in which Courtney Martin and Parker Palmer contemplate the meaning of rebellion, and finding a balance between inner and outer lives and the simplicity that lies on the other side of complexity.
So often it's the quiet moments with someone that cements and deepens a relationship. An acknowledgement (and a bit of a love letter) to the silence that joins us together.
As streams of breaking news about the shootings in Paris surge into all our media, Omid Safi invites us to step forward and consider the broader context of what's at stake and how to process this horiffic news.
There are few more influential writers than the Trappist monk Thomas Merton. His writings continue to inspire, mentor, and impact new generations of readers. Our columnist Parker Palmer remembers when he first met Merton's words and how they continue to shape him today.
Our executive editor's weekly look into our most interesting worlds of curiosity and hope — including a bit of Papal/physicist humor, questions for the new year, praise for sacred inefficiencies, an introduction to the Muslim festival of Mawlid, and a meditation on the gifts of winter.