A Christmas tree stands a month after Christmas last year. Ashley, who had recently overcame thyroid cancer, kisses her son Trey, who was undergoing treatment for tuberculosis.
(photo: Fred Erlenbusch/Flickr)
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We can begin to understand each other by asking the right questions — and listening to the stories we receive in turn. Lori Lakin Hutchinson sheds frank and essential light on the reality of racism in America.
On the Blog
“Waiting for a Train” in Régua, Portugal (photo: Rosino/Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)
I nearly stood up my very first client on the first day of my first job in social work. Graduate school had not prepared me for the intricacies of the scheduling system at the community health center where I was working. By the time I figured things out, I was nearly half an hour late for the appointment.
photo: Stuart Pilbrow
It’s become customary this time of year to hear concerns expressed about the loss of Christmas spirit. Sometimes these fears are more about one’s cultural identity — and the sense that one’s group is losing power and influence — than they are about the actual meaning of Christmas. At other times, one hears something that sounds less reactionary and more like a thoughtful: Have our Christmas rituals lost some of their meaning? Have they become old and tired or do they pale in comparison to more novel inventions?
A statuette of the Virgin Mary in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. (photo: Michael O’Donnell/Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)
This Advent I am reminded of the meeting Mary had with Elizabeth to announce she was with child. Though this could have been a time of anxiety for Mary, with Elizabeth it became a time of celebration. I playfully call the following account of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth the first baby shower:
A guest contributor uses poetry as a vehicle for processing his faith, doubts and depression during the Advent season.
Our aggregated tweets from our interview.
The first time I prayed the Islamic prayer, or salat, I stood in my living room in the silvery morning just moments before dawn. I was self-conscious and unsure of what to do. I had prepared flash cards to help me through the complicated process of standing, sitting, and bowing while reciting verses in Arabic. I stood facing Mecca and folded my right hand across my chest. My left hand clutched a flash card that read:
Bismillah ah Rahman ah Raheem
In the name of God, the most gracious, most merciful
Alhamdu lil-ahi rab-bil alamin
All praise be to the Lord, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds
Ah rahman-ah rahim
The most merciful, most gracious
Master of the day of judgment
by Peg Aloi, guest contributor
When I was little, and like many kids before me, Christmas was special for many reasons that had very little to do with the birthday of baby Jesus. I loved the twinkling lights, decorating cookies, eating the savory dishes my Italian grandparents served on Christmas Eve, cutting down our tree in the forest, and singing Christmas carols accompanied by Mom on her Hammond organ. I was raised Catholic, but my parents weren’t terribly strict, and so for me Christmas was always a fairly secular experience.
“Buddha Moon - Buddha Stones” (photo: H. Kopp-Delaney/Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)
Winter Solstice. The longest night of the year. The other day I was wondering what it must have been like to be one of the early humans, before there was a body of cultural and scientific knowledge built up to assure us that the light would, indeed, return as we turned the corner on this day and headed once again toward spring. It must have been terrifying to see the sun drop lower and lower in the sky each day and the night grow longer and longer without really knowing if that trajectory would reverse.
So this is a dark time — not only astronomically but also the world feels dark right now.
Of all the lessons my children take from our family’s winter solstice celebration, this is the one I hope they remember most: even in the midst of the darkness, within you is the luminous glow that will, in perfect timing, spark the return of your joy. Nurture and honor it, always.
I’d like to give a shout out to Danny from Tennessee who emailed the show about our podcast levels. He noticed that our show was significantly quieter than some of his other favorites. Turns out that he was right, and we’re going to do something about it.
There are a surprising amount of steps involved in creating the final podcast you get on your mobile device, all of which occur after the final audio is produced for the broadcast version of the show. Believe me, I wish we could produce the show like we would for a CD, giving the listener the best possible experience. Unfortunately, in the world of the podcast, file size and download speeds as well as the myriad of playback devices are limiting factors with which we wrestle while trying to preserve audio quality.
by Jessica Kramer, guest contributor
“Mom’s birthday breakfast” (photo: Jessica Kramer/Flickr)
Christmas is almost upon us. In seeking God during this time, I have sought renewal in the darkness of winter, in the stillness in which to hear God. This fourth week of Advent brings promise of harmony, that the (often disjointed) pieces of our lives, hearts, and emotions might be joined into a single, but rich and layered, sound of joy.
Will Allen, CEO and founder of Growing Power. (photo: Growing Power/Flickr)
A movement starting with elites. Conflating the lower Hudson Valley and New England. Vegetarians have “blood on their hands.” Our show with chef Dan Barber clearly touched some nerves judging from listeners’ passionate responses, especially about Barber’s unapologetic answer to an audience question about the local food movement’s elitist underpinnings:
After hearing chef Dan Barber describe his dishes as “unconstructed,” we wanted to experience the beauty that he and so many other people describe. Unfortunately, we’re based in Minnesota and we’re a public radio gig, which means we don’t quite have the funds to fly to the Pocantico Hills for a gourmet meal. Fortunately, we found a set of wonderful photos documenting the ulterior epicure’s nine-course meal in the early autumn of 2007, along with his review. His set up and conclusion are reason enough for reading why Dan Barber matters in this food-to-table movement. Bon appetit!
The filmmaker David Lynch has been a vocal advocate of transcendental meditation for some time now. But I’m quite intrigued with the work that his foundation is doing with returning veterans.