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
Whether you're inwardly or outwardly lost, there's an alternative to panicking. Advice on how to find where you are with a David Wagoner poem.
A mix of unexpected joy from a prairie trombone and a Finnish folk band playing AC/DC paired with a sage Nobel Prize-winning Bengali, a nonagenarian from Boston, and columnists Parker and Courtney. Quite swath of things to think about and carry into the week.
As part of a conversation with the Church of Ireland about the question of human sexuality, our special contributor confesses his "gay agenda": to love the gospels; to love repentance; to love words and courage and my partner; and to show love to each other on our great endeavor.
In his interview with Krista Tippett, the Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho surprised us by recalling Krista's 2010 TED talk at the United Nations. It is in wrestling with ourselves and our contradictions, he says, that we uncover the breeding grounds of compassion.
Rather than merely expressing outrage at what happened in Ferguson, white Americans must show courage and own its part of the tragic story and the opportunity for transformation.
Thoughtful words on standing in solidarity with others suffering from depression and the healing experience of a poem.
In a society uncomfortable discussing death, a new museum in Brooklyn is taking up the charge. Barbara Becker offers her perspective on the exhibition, "The Art of Mourning."
A mix of fresh commentary on the burden and joy of being human, a meditation on the suffering of Job, a thought piece on the value of relatability, and an homage to Krista and the vast, unending terrain of mystery.
In a culture with too few rituals, what role does drink play in the contemporary rituals of our times? Courtney Martin on memory, communal moments, and the potential for a true suspension of self.
An artist of the Bharatanatyam classical dance tradition, Ranee Ramaswamy reflects on how she lives forward the art and imagination of Rabindranath Tagore into the 21st century.
Some good humor on forgetfulness and poignant verse from the poet Billy Collins to sweeten the swallow.
This unassuming video requires a bit of patience. At first, it appears that a lone cowboy is having some fun in a lawn chair in the middle of the prairie. But, stick with it. Music always delivers.
A joy-filled week of presidential honors, exciting previews of our new tablet app, and hay bale architecture that will stimulate the mind, the eye, and the ear.
Rather than being defined by what she's not, Courtney Martin offers a more complex perspective from a new generation of seekers. An introduction to our new weekly columnist who will offer fresh ways of looking at "the burden and joy of trying to understand how to be a good human."
Parker Palmer pays homage to Krista Tippett with some words of wisdom on "the savage and beautiful country that lies in between."
Watch President Obama award the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal to deserved recipients, including our very own Krista Tippett.
What if it turns out that faith is truly existential, not a leap of faith but a reality already there for us to notice and accept? A meditation and a poem on the suffering of Job.
A confluence of sources show kindred minds meet for the first time. How Thoreau's quote went viral. Millennials don't do and sage advice from Maya Angelou.
At our darkest hours, when light fails to find a home, a path of buttercups may lead us back. Parker Palmer offers up thoughts and a Willow Harth poem for many of us caught "underground."
Listen to this wide-ranging public discussion with Bill Antholis and Krista Tippett about the four ways that nations have tried to reconcile religion and religious pluralism in the modern era.
A worthy week filled with viral videos that will make you rethink your use of language and make you smile, and posts about a writer's prayer journal and a poem from Rumi that will inspire you.
Is the Slenderman phenomenon symptomatic of secular soul-searching in a culture robbed of religion, or a byproduct of bad religion? Or perhaps, as the author suggests, the Internet creation is one in a long line of legends filling our craving for a life imbued with mystery.
Parker Palmer reflects on "sharing our loves and doubts" as way into more generous conversations — all through the lens of a poem by Yehuda Amichai.
What do nuns playing basketball in 1965 and a renowned Indian poet have in common? Joy!
Flannery O'Connor's prayer journal offers a rare glimpse into the life of a brilliant writer, colored by doubt and uncertainty, preoccupied with both magnificent grace and the mundane absurdity of everyday life.