The architecture around us inhabits the vernacular of our lives. Our executive editor with this week's letter from Loring Park welcoming our new columnist Sarah Smarsh, who joins a collective contemplation of where and how we navigate our lives in faith, family, and citizenship.
In this hyper-connected world, we lose a sense of the physical spaces crafted for ritual and coming together. Our new columnist Sarah Smarsh on the importance of built, sacred spaces in a secular world.
What do the Triune God and jazz music have in common? A South African musician explores jazz through three theological metaphors.
Christmas is an extrovert; Advent is an introvert’s season. A reflection on the expectant, hopeful, solemn season of waiting.
Fitness events and organizations are popping up and deepening community in powerful and unexpected ways, which many consider spiritual. A mother and Presbyterian minister tells the story of entering one of those muddy races and finding camaraderie in a manner she longs to experience in her own church.
Night five of our series. A poem inspired by a Harlem church experience by a secular Jew paired with a Septimus photo.
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.
How do we fulfill the dream that was bequeathed to us? By practicing the joyful art of doing life together across racial categories without fear.
Catholic Latinos are not only turning to evangelical and Pentecostal churches. Shweta Saraswat on those who are learning the spiritual practices of their indigenous ancestors such as the Aztecs, and those who are trying to do both.
Martin Marty on the public consequences of divorce when churches and families relegate it as a private matter.
Mitt Romney is threatening to disturb the American compromise with Mormonism.
Nineteenth-century observers were largely indifferent to the new religion Joseph Smith founded in 1830. Most dismissed his claims about angels and gold plates as just another example of American gullibility. “Had we not seen in our own days similar impostures practiced with success,” yawned one Illinois contemporary, “[Mormonism] would have excited our special wonder; as it is, nothing excites surprise.” But in Missouri and Illinois local tensions erupted in violence, and national concern intensified when Brigham Young — relatively safe in the refuge of Utah — announced a system of plural marriage in 1852.
In the lands between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, the first of three Christmas celebrations was on December 24, the Christmas of the English, or so we thought of it then in the years of my adolescence. My family — ethnic Armenians, Christians by subscription more than piety — had settled in Jordan, a largely Muslim country, where I grew into adulthood, pulled this way and that by the three Christmases of the Holy Land. Of course it was a misnomer to call it the Christmas of the English because December 24 was celebrated by Catholic and Protestant Arabs as well.
A Presbyterian minister's favorite spiritual music comes not from the sanctuary or Sunday morning choir, but from Saturday night taverns with Patty Griffin, Jennifer Knapp, and Over the Rhine.
Participants in the Royal School of Church Music Cathedral Course (RSCM) perform in Christ Church Cathedral Dublin. The RSCM promotes singing for people of ages by training choirs to sing church services to a high musical standard in cathedrals and churches throughout the United Kingdom. (photo: Richard Bloomfield/Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0)
I was brought up as a Roman Catholic. My parents endeavoured to give me every opportunity to be exposed to a vast range of music, strongly encouraging our explorations, be they rock or classical music. In school the main exposure to singing was musical drama in the form of Gilbert and Sullivan with a few hymns in unison at every church service. It is understandable, therefore, that when my first exposure to sacred choral music at last arrived at age nineteen in University College Dublin Chamber Choir, it was like being hit with a mallet on the head.
©Javier del Rio/Flickr
I spent a few weeks last summer in the Mexican town Tochimilco, a municipalidad in the state of Puebla. Set to a breathtaking scene with the majestic Popocatepetl Volcano in the backdrop, this charming town boasts a former Franciscan monastery built in the sixteenth century.
What does it say about us Americans when the only institution with "a notable gain in public confidence" is the U.S. military — not churches, not labor unions, not even the U.S. Supreme Court?
A fairly large portion of the Slovak public believes that an inordinately important concern of churches — especially the dominant Roman Catholic Church — is to pursue their economic interest and extend political influence. As a result, Slovak churches face a serious challenge: In the process of negotiations with the government concerning economic security, the decline of trust could turn into a full-blown crisis of confidence, with possibly irreversible consequences for churches.
Are churches culpable for contributing to suicides of gay and lesbian youth? A survey from Public Religion Research says most Americans think so, to some degree.
Producer Colleen Scheck reflects on the "brewing" of this show on our staff blog.
Editor’s note: Our parent organization, American Public Media (APM), is a large and diverse organization. Maria is the manager of software development for the company. She’s a fan of SOF who travels extensively and is planning an introspective journey to myriad spiritual sites around the world. We invited her to contribute to SOF Observed on occasion and reflect as she listens to Krista’s interviews and works with us on upcoming projects.