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
Have our funeral rituals disengaged us from the embodied act of physically burying the dead? A grandson on the our discomfort about death — and we can reconnect with the lives we lost.
Tonight, all around the world, many Muslims celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad with festive decorations, devotional songs, and sweet candies. Omid Safi explains the annual ritual in more detail and the debate among Muslims about celebrating it.
As the siren song of productivity in the new year beckons, our weekly columnist Courtney Martin finds presence and peace of mind in the habits of a less productive but more awesome life.
On this New Year's Eve, our weekly columnist wrestles with the uncertainty of the year to come. Rather than making resolutions, he poses five questions to ask yourself to carry into the New Year.
Our executive editor looks into our most interesting worlds of curiosity and hope, including an elegy for light, the lessons of hardship, and a piece in praise of chosen family.
Hibernation restores us to our nourishing, grounding source and in so doing, frees us to become a force of reason, reflection, and kindness. A meditation for the gifts of winter and the blessings of solitude and rest.
Thomas Merton is one of those monastics who continues to inspire so many. Here, the Jesuit Jim Martin reads one of his favorite passages from his book, Thoughts in Solitude.
We don't choose our family, as the old saying goes, but we do choose our friends. An encouragement to discover people to surround ourselves with and scout friends who beget our culture.
The Buddhist concept of the "beginner's mind" may offer a way to understand the simple meanings of the Christmas story — and "how can we love one another in ways that midwife their incarnation."
Forgiveness is at the center of the connection between history and the future. For the final night of Hanukkah, poet Esther Cohen and photographer Matthew Septimus offer this postcard for your reflection.
Through learning about Advent’s ancient connection to the Winter Solstice, the author rediscovers the "silky silence" of December’s darkness and the "nascent light" inside each one of us.
Lighting the candle on the seventh night of Hanukkah, a postcard on the vocabulary of hope and the interconnectedness of two peoples.
Oftentimes it's the hardships in life that are considered a test. But, perhaps, some of the deepest lessons of hardship are learned through all the good fortunes and blessings of our lives too.
In a season filled with joy and angst, reflections on rethinking tradition, being a light for others, and wading through the giving conundrum. Plus, a map that will suck you in for hours, a reflection on the courage to hope in the face of despair, and a call to embrace others' truths over being right.
On night six of Hanukkah, poet Esther Cohen and photographer Matthew Septimus light a candle to the woman who lives fully and dances with the valleys.
Darkness draws out our deep-down depths. And, in the northern hemisphere, December’s darkness invites us inward. A lesson in wonder, an elegy for light, and a call to pay attention for the unbroken darkness of a December night.
Night five of our series. A poem inspired by a Harlem church experience by a secular Jew paired with a Septimus photo.
Krista Tippett on not playing the Christmas game of obligatory gift-giving and the redemptive human need for one another.
Our photo-poem for this Hanukkah evening, a reflection on the sacred ordinariness of holy people and holy places — even at a supermarket in upstate New York.
The end of year is fast approaching. And with that comes an influx of charitable giving. In this digital age when the basket is now an online form, how do we create a spiritual practice of tithing and discern the "right" way to give?
"People prefer winners and losers. Maccabees rising against Greeks." The third photo-poem in our series from Matthew Septimus and Esther Cohen on the stories of success we tell each other.
A prayer for the poet who doesn't pray. The second in an eight-part series from a photographer and a poet exploring the sacred in the mundane.
In a world of fomenting darkness, a poem calls us to be beacons of light in the shadow for others to be guided by.
The first of eight vignettes by photographer Matthew Septimus and poet Esther Cohen on holy people and holy places that transcend the ordinary.