The On Being Project

Compassion in the Face of Sorrow

The recent history of Burma, as Ingrid Jordt describes it, is that of a people who have sought to “re-armor” their society from below — without and in spite of their political leaders.

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Compassion in the Face of Sorrow
Featured Commentary

On The Blog

Unfolding a New Conversation

Across the line of belief and unbelief — a line which, if we are honest, runs through each of us in the course of our lives — we want to navigate the vast, excruciating, thrilling questions of the twenty-first century together.

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Unfolding a New Conversation

The Path Between Grand Ideas and Messy Realities

In the mid-20th century, there was such a thing as “public theology” in American life, and Reinhold Niebuhr was its most trenchant voice.

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The Path Between Grand Ideas and Messy Realities

A Whirlwind in Purple

Joan Chittister is a committed member of a small Benedictine community in Erie, Pennsylvania and a global activist. She is an influential, sometimes uncomfortable voice in her beloved Roman Catholic Church — a hero to some, a heretic to others. She is guided in all of this, she says, by her vow of obedience.

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A Whirlwind in Purple

Understanding China’s Past Through New Ears

Anchee Min’s perspective is one of survival — of a human spirit that remains vigorous through the most dire and brutalizing experiences.

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Understanding China’s Past Through New Ears

On Building Mutual Loyalty Among Different Religious People

Eboo Patel is supremely articulate on the futility of imagining that religion will somehow disappear. On the contrary, he says it will continue to play a robust role in every aspect of human endeavor.

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On Building Mutual Loyalty Among Different Religious People

A Radio Pilgrimage to L’Arche

To say that the people of L’Arche are “happy” is too simple. Here is the truth I experienced: spending ordinary time with them is like spending time with family at its best. I’ve rarely been in a place where there was so much laughter and where the rhythm of life included such real joy in that deceptive phrase “the simple things of life.” Joy comes through palpably in this hour of radio.

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A Radio Pilgrimage to L’Arche

How Immigration Is Changing the Face of Religion

Several readers took exception last week to my assertion that “we” all threw litter out of our cars in recent history, a bad habit which Lady Bird Johnson helped us kick. As I am not proud to repeat, I really did. I grew up in Oklahoma, and there as in Johnson’s native Texas, an anti-littering […]

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How Immigration Is Changing the Face of Religion

Fresh Perspectives on Modern Marriage and Family Life

A conversation on marriage, divorce, and family that avoids extremes of moral pronouncement or moral permissiveness, and instead frankly explores the virtues and failings of intimate human relationship.

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Fresh Perspectives on Modern Marriage and Family Life

A Conversation about Terrorism, Love, and Survival

Mariane Pearl is a refreshing and bracing model for living the questions in the world we now inhabit. She is a survivor who has salvaged wisdom from the front lines of the war on terror.

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A Conversation about Terrorism, Love, and Survival

Discovering the Human Aspect of the Buddha

Buddha neither claimed to be divine nor, as Pankaj Mishra stresses, did he mean to create a religion. But his human identity became ethereal and abstracted.

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Discovering the Human Aspect of the Buddha