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June 21, 2011

Muslim Women Stroll Down the Champs ElyseesMuslim men and women stroll down the Champs-Élysées in Paris. (photo: Archibald Ballantine/Flickr, cc by 2.0)

“Of course, I’m at home (laughter). Who else’s (country) am I in? I feel at home. I have my family here, we live, we eat, we cry, we laugh, we suffer, we don’t suffer. Some people are pleasant, some insult us. But truthfully, the day the law will be (implemented), I’ll no longer feel at home.”
—Camile, Paris

June 08, 2011

"But of course when is politics not a display of the follies of men?" ~Debra Dean Murphy on Abe Lincoln, recent sex scandals, and our loneliness.

June 02, 2011

bratislava-church_towerA 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.

May 24, 2011

Martin Marty highlights "one of the best short criticisms yet of the old/new or new/old atheism" by Jackson Lears, "whose critics describe him as a 'man of the left' in a 'magazine of the left.'"

May 23, 2011

Autumn is here(photo: Leandro Pérez/Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0)

I never used to go anywhere without my cell phone. It was not only a means of communication, but my sole timepiece, and not knowing the time made me crazy.

That all changed one afternoon when my oldest son was two years old. After four years of living in the Southwest and its two seasons of hot and hotter, we moved to the upper Midwest. I couldn’t wait to experience the change in seasons, so one crisp October day I packed up my son and a picnic lunch and headed to a nearby state park to see some fall colors.

When we arrived, I unfastened the buckles of his car seat, retrieved our lunch, and instinctively reached for my cell phone. Then I paused.

May 16, 2011

WellfleetSand dunes at Wellfleet. (photo: Joshua Bousel/Flickr, cc by-nc-sa 2.0)

“If you don’t teach your children to be alone, they’ll only always know how to be lonely.”
Sherry Turkle, from “Alive Enough? Reflections on Our Technology”

The founder of MIT’s Initiative on Technology and Self made this remark in the context of describing the awe she feels when she walks among the magnificent dunes near Provincetown, Massachusetts. I know well those sand dunes and the extensive tidal mudflats that mark the tip of the Cape.

May 16, 2011

When a controversial Florida pastor burned the Islamic holy book, others responded with kind gestures of solidarity towards Muslims.

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May 12, 2011

A powerful commentary from Melody Moezzi on Iranian leaders perverting religion and the true soul of its people.

May 11, 2011

Chipping away at stereotypes through shared interests.

May 10, 2011

Experiencing the "other" online. The first of a three-part series, Life Together, in which Christin Davis of the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism profiles the coexistence efforts among Palestinians and Israelis who are trying to create new ways of living with each other in the Holy Land.

May 09, 2011

QuiltRose triangle bead quilt (photo: Carson Too)

If there is one tangible object that represents my mother, it would be a quilt. She spent my childhood making beautiful patterns: lone stars, flying geese, double wedding rings. Each stitch was exactly even and the corners of the fabric joined together just right.

She was a perfectionist, my mother, and at times was a little too hard on us. I tried to be the daughter she thought I should be. And I never smiled right in pictures. But to my mother, if things were perfect, she could love.

I now know this fear was a sign of deeper hurt and that she longed for love in ways her own mother couldn’t provide. But I have these quilts, these beautiful transitional objects, and they remind me of her.

May 06, 2011

I Think I'm Ready To Fly Away“I Think I’m Ready to Fly Away” (photo: DiaTM/Flickr, by-nc-nd 2.0)

“However much we try to distinguish between morally good and morally evils ways of killing, our attempts are beset with contradictions, and these contradictions remain a fragile part of our modern subjectivity.”
Talal Asad, On Suicide Bombing

May 05, 2011

Praying Handsphoto: C. Jill Reed/Flickr, cc by-sa 2.0

In honor of the 60th National Day of Prayer today, I thought it fitting to share a bit about what prayer means to me.

Most recently I’ve been thinking of prayer as an unmistakable reminder from God that I’m not helpless and alone in this world. These reminders come not just during moments of peaceful reflection but during even the busiest of days as I find myself appreciating qualities of God I see expressed by others — qualities such as patience, compassion, grace, wisdom, order, intelligence, and joy.

May 05, 2011

Club NurOn the dance floor at Club Nur in Los Angeles. (photo: Andrew Khouri)

“The hookah breaks the ice,” said the man behind the bar.

A collection of old, silver-painted water pipes styled as light fixtures hang above his head, bathing in gold a crowd of men as they puff away on flavored tobacco below. The pulsating beat of Arabic music wafts onto the outdoor patio from inside the bar, where throngs of gay men dance together, and scantily clad male go-go dancers gyrate on stages.

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May 02, 2011

A powerful essay reminding Americans to respect Islam, and not just rejoice in Bin Laden's death — and to use this time as a moment of opportunity to reexamine our motives and ideas in war and peacekeeping.

May 01, 2011

By acknowledging our shared humanity, we can begin to build bridges, friendships, and relationships — and heal past memories and create new ones.

April 29, 2011

Prince William Exchange Rings with Kate Middleton with Rowan Williams PresidingArchbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, presides over the wedding ceremony of Prince William and Kate Middleton as he gives her a ring. (photo: Dominic Lipinsk/Getty Images)

I didn’t get up at 4 a.m. today, but I do hope to catch a good bit of the wedding of William Windsor and Kate Middleton. I doubt I’ll have much trouble finding it replayed (and replayed and replayed) across the spectrum of cable and broadcast networks in the days and weeks to come.

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April 28, 2011

For one sculptor, rebuilding his 400-year-old home from Ramle's rubble and ruins just may be his masterpiece. A story of perseverance and hope from USC's Janine Rayford.

April 27, 2011

Woman in Voodoo CeremonyIn Souvenance, Haiti, a woman immerses herself in a stream during a Vodou ceremony that’s celebrated in conjunction with Easter. (photo: Thony Belizaire/AFP/Getty Images)

April 25, 2011

Easter is overThe end of Easter in Prague, Czech Republic. (photo: Leonardo Sagnotti/Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0)

In the Czech Republic, a tradition of spanking or whipping women is carried out on Easter Monday. On Easter Monday morning, it is customary for girls and women to stay at home while the boys and men, usually dressed in nicer clothing and sometimes even in kroj — traditional costume — go door to door of female relatives and/or friends, bringing greetings, singing Easter carols, demanding the right to spank the women with a special handmade whip called a pomlázka and/or splash them with cold water or perfume for good luck and fertility, and demanding “treats” (eggs, chocolate, liquor, or a peck on the cheek) as their reward.

April 24, 2011

Boys in silenceA sign hangs on the wall of a Taizé community in Burgundy, France. (photo: forteller/Flickr, cc by-nc-sa 2.0)

It is Easter week. This week, we remember the events from Thursday’s meal to Friday’s torture to Saturday’s silence and Sunday’s mystery.

Years ago, 13 years ago in fact, I fell apart. I was 22 and I had already been sick for a year. It had started with a bad flu that had never gone away. After 12 months, I was bewildered and dizzy and achy, confused with a fatigue and an illness that would take a further five years to diagnose and a total of nine years to recover from.

April 24, 2011

In the beginning was poetry. The book of Genesis starts with a liturgical poem.

The creation of the cosmos can only be communicated, the ancients knew, through language that speaks to the imagination — that unity of intellect and emotion, which was for the biblical writers the restless human heart. Images and metaphors are primary speech, conveyers of truth — durable yet pliable, precise yet ever expansive in the vision of the world (and ourselves) they set before us.

April 23, 2011

Byron Herbert Reece - His Poems and Their Setting in North GeorgiaThe farm and now heritage center of Byron Herbert Reece, who lived and wrote in the Choestoe area of Union County, Georgia. (photo: UGArdener/Flickr, CC by-NC 2.0).

It’s about as simple as poems come:

Easter is on the field:
Flowers declare
With bloom their tomb unsealed
To April air.

Little lambs
New as the dew shake cold,
Beside their anxious dams:
Easter is on the fold.

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