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
After hearing Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai on the radio, a middle-aged woman from the Midwest reflects on her own life and the courage to choose hope in the face of despair.
Lennon Flowers and Carla Fernandez are creating a national movement of dinner parties for 20-30 year olds that are humanizing grief and creating new communities after loss.
It’s not merely a sin-sick soul that is in need of profound redemption, writes our columnist, it is also our society and structural institutions that call out for being redeemed and transformed. A clear call to question, connect, and transform ourselves and our institutions.
Just when you think the holiday season couldn't get any merrier, a Star Trek captain remakes a Christmas classic.
For the introverts in us, winter can be a time of reflection to assess and remember our own inner truths. Includes a poem by David Whyte.
A letter from Einstein on the "Negro question" is rediscovered and essays on white privilege and the theology of Ferguson are complemented with ideas about opening up to hope and ourselves.
“Our genome sequence is the genetic blueprint of our biological self but how much does it, or will we let it, define who we are?” A journalist seeks to reconcile questions of mystery with questions of genetics.
In a culture of curated sharing, the intimacy of human touch can be daunting — even for a pastor. An essay on how the practice of laying on of hands is a quiet and necessary rite that ought to become part of our story again.
With the overwhelming angst of privilege, our columnist confesses to her own inclinations to participate in Twitter testimonies of white privilege. But, it's no substitute for the moral imagination required to acknowledge the emotional lives of others.
We build all sorts of enclosures to protect us and keep our loved ones safe from harm. But in column in poetical form, we are tasked with being vulnerable and opening those gates.
When we ask our deepest questions, the answers do not come immediately. And that, dear reader, is why we must choose them with care.
A black theologian talks with one of America's leading Old Testament scholars about Ferguson and the place of protest and prophecy in our faith, the place for our rage, the need for honest talk, the role of education in protest, and the transformative potential of radicality.
With the decisions about the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, powerful words from a Holocaust survivor and essays dealing with grief and loss, systemic solutions, and polls that polarize.
With the beginning of Advent, a theologian challenges Christians and the rest of us to wait and watch, and to walk alongside those whose hopes have been crushed — with poesy from Seamus Heaney speaking to that truth.
With the grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who killed Michael Brown, a school of children's uncommon silence in New Mexico leads the way to expressing grief and finding a role for our anger.
Ancient mystics such as Rumi and Rabia wrestled with the idea of heaven. A commentary that ponders heaven as a state of being rather than a place.
A powerful commentary from the mother of a black teenage son who says we need to stop talking around the edges of race and address the systemic problem itself: that we see black men as less than human.
For Thanksgiving, Parker Palmer asks us to find new ways to be filled with gratitude and praise. It's in the gratitude for the ground we stand on, the blessing of togetherness, and the kindness of strangers, that we remember our work is loving the world.
Interesting and curiosity for your week on moral injury, asking the right questions, the price of busyness, and gratitude for caregivers.
Is our so-called polarization a crafted perception? A truth-telling commentary on the problem with polls, the need for curiosity in public life, and a call for a new kind of conversation on what we believe — beyond either/or.
From a virtuosic performance to an audio selfie and poems on abundance, a feast of ideas and passages for you to take into your week.
For International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, a suicide survivor asks us open ourselves to loss and allow each other the space to mourn and grieve without shame. If we support the healing of the soul, she writes, we may begin to celebrate our inner resilience and the divine spark in us all.
Atul Gawande's new book on the aging and the dying process inspires this column on turning bearing witness to our own instincts and doing things a different way.
Three male Muslim leaders walk into an Amsterdam hotel to drop off their luggage, and they are presented with an unexpected question. How does one confront the the prejudice present in society today? Can it be confronted, or does it require face-to-face encounters?