Our executive editor's weekly missive, including a smart testimony on the value of work, a Mary Oliver poem on suffering and joy, a call for headlines that reflect the fullness of the world, and a stunning body of paintings from Rabindranath Tagore.
How does one have a more supple heart that's read to hold life's suffering and joy? Finding a way in through a Mary Oliver poem and some guiding words.
A vexing question receives a profound answer. And Parker Palmer asks: "What task is calling you — at home, at work, in the larger world — that you need to embrace even though it's impossible?"
When we live behind a mask, how do we connect and establish trust with one another? Parker Palmer on reclaiming our identity and integrity.
This week, excellent insights from Howard Thurman and the growing edge of the beginner's mind, a meditation on suffering, advice from Bertrand Russell, and a beautiful photoquote from Yiddish poet Celia Dropkin.
Bedridden with an incurable illness, writer Paul Martin on navigating paths of pain and difficulty, and the depth and mystery of joy.
The film Life of Pi is not just a "parable of the postmodern quest for 'spiritual fulfillment'" but a meditation on beauty and our own finitude.
An illustration of Xavier Le Pichon’s analogies between the “rigidity” and what he calls “ductility” of the earth, and human communities he's witnessed from India to France.
“The trade of chemist (fortified, in my case, by the experience of Auschwitz), teaches you to overcome, indeed to ignore, certain revulsions that are neither necessary nor congenital: matter is matter, neither noble nor vile, infinitely transformable, and its proximate origin is of no importance whatsoever. Nitrogen is nitrogen, it passes miraculously from the air into plants, from these into animals, and from animals into us; when its function in our body is exhausted, we eliminate it, but it still remains nitrogen, aseptic, innocent.”
—Primo Levi, The Periodic Table
The Holocaust represented a contradiction in perception: ordered, regimented evil and unrestrained, billowing pain. For decades, artists have sought to capture the ineffable destruction that befell the Jewish people.
An image of the Buddha is carved into a banyan tree at Wat Mahathat in Thailand. (photo: McKay Savage/Flickr, cc by 2.0)
The name Buddha means “awakened one.” This is the story of how a young man became the Buddha. As with all ancient tales, we can’t know what is to be taken literally and what is to be taken metaphorically. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m inspired by his story either way.
Photo by Aftab Uzzaman/Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0
September 11, 2001 was a Tuesday. Most of us remember that day and what we were doing around nine o’clock that morning. (I was at the veterinarian’s office; we had just gotten a puppy the Saturday before).
September 11, 2011 is a Sunday. For those of us who will be in church that morning — in the pulpit or the pew — there’s an expectation that something important must be said; that appropriate ritual solemnity must be observed; that meaning, in some form or fashion, must be made.
On October 17, 2010, Krista led a lively conversation with four dynamic religious leaders: the His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, and Seyyed Hossein Nasr on "Understanding and Promoting Happiness in Today's Society."
This video is a compassion meditation of sorts, featuring the words and voice of one of our most enduring guests, Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.
Audio contemplating the suffering saint who is famous for the line: All shall be well, and all will be well."
A reflection on the different interpretations of a single poem and how one man's experience of suffering affects his reading of "Le Vase Brisé" ("The Broken Vase").
A Buddhist teacher provides methods for coping with uncertainty, and our senior editor finds community and respite in music.
It’s hard not to see life as utterly random and meaningless in the face of disasters like the recent cyclone in Myanmar or the earthquake in China. And this is an issue that comes up again and again in theological circles, referred to as as the theodicy question: How could a just god let innocent people suffer and die?