On Being Blog

Mariah Helgeson Friday, March 28, 2014 - 05:59

A revered writer and a sand artist remind us the greatest adventures happen when we let go of ourselves and proceed into the unknown.

Betty M. Bayer Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 05:34

Has the word grace fallen out of favor? Anna Deavere Smith’s Conversations on Grace offers a way for us to think of grace as a pluralistic universe and a guide for all of us on the art of dwelling here together, in the polis.

Parker J. Palmer Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 05:00

In our busy lives, a reminder from Parker Palmer that what matters most is not our ability to produce but our ability to love, and to just be. With a poem by Lynn Ungar.

Trent Gilliss Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 09:00

This week provided some sage words on writing from Parker Palmer, a photo essay on "thin places" that take our breath away, a marvelous TED talk from a Nigerian writer, and a picture of the cosmos that stirs our origins.

Mariah Helgeson Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 23:00

How can we learn to offer feedback with grace and compassion at work and at home? Brené Brown offers a rubric for offering guidance and sitting on the same side of the table.

Mariah Helgeson Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 10:34

We live-tweeted our interview with the founder of StoryCorps. The takeaway? Some real gems from a life spent listening to and recording others.

Parker J. Palmer Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 16:59

The Quaker elder offers this poetic reminder on trusting that the writing process itself will help you dig into your bafflement.

Sarah Blanton Monday, March 17, 2014 - 15:00

A photo essay contemplating the Celtic concept of thin places, spaces where the veil between visible and invisible worlds are lifted — all from a quiet lake nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee.

Trent Gilliss Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 06:29

On the first anniversary of Pope Francis' election, James Martin explains how the pope's ministry has been shaped by his Jesuit identity — including the three degrees of humility.

Trent Gilliss Friday, March 14, 2014 - 15:16

Author and poet Jennifer Michael Hecht on suicide, resilience, and community. She says, "We have secret web-like connections to each other. Sometimes when you can't see what's important about you other people can." Join the conversation here.

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Latest Interviews

April 10, 2014

With a master of midrash as our guide, we walk through the Exodus story at the heart of Passover. It's not the simple narrative you've watched at the movies or learned in Sunday school. Neither Moses or Pharaoh, nor the oppressed Israelites or even God, are as they seem. As Avivah Zornberg reveals, Exodus is a cargo of hidden stories — telling the messy, strange, redemptive truth of us as we are, and life as it is.

April 3, 2014

An astrophysicist who studies the shape of the universe, Janna Levin has also explored her science by writing a novel about two pivotal 20th-century mathematicians, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing. Both men pushed at boundaries where mathematics presses on grand questions of meaning and purpose. Such questions, she says, help create the technologies that are now changing our sense of what it means to be human.

March 27, 2014

"Your staying alive means so much more than you really know or that anyone is aware of at this moment."

Philosopher, historian, and poet Jennifer Michael Hecht has traced how Western civilization has at times demonized those who commit suicide, at times celebrated it as a moral freedom. She proposes a reframed cultural conversation, based not on morality or rights but on our essential need for each other.

March 20, 2014

"There's no question about the reality of evil, of injustice, of suffering, but at the center of this existence is a heart beating with love."

South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on how his understanding of God and humanity has unfolded through the history he's lived and shaped.

March 13, 2014

“Let's go back and look at our faith before it was reduced to a system, before it was reduced to a system of abstractions and beliefs. How can we rediscover our faith as a series of stories and as a series of encounters?”

Brian McLaren on the evolution of Christianity and the meaning of progressive Evangelicalism.

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