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The On Being Project

Image By Joe Dator
Co-Pope? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself in 2015. Sacred Inefficiencies for Better Humans. Muhammad Nativity? Martin Does Merton. Hibernation’s Gift.

Co-Pope? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself in 2015. Sacred Inefficiencies for Better Humans. Muhammad Nativity? Martin Does Merton. Hibernation’s Gift.

To kick off the first issue of this new year, how about a bit of humor?
After Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Christmas day tweet celebrating… Isaac Newton, cartoonist Joe Dator has some fun with the physicist and Pope Francis, with what I think is an instant classic for The New Yorker:

“Hey Neil, I’ve got an idea—let’s really freak everyone out and tell them you’re quitting physics to become my new co-Pope.”


At sunset, each curtain reveals a show. (ArTeTeTrA / )

With 2015 now upon us, Parker Palmer wrestles with the uncertainty of the year to come. Rather than making resolutions, he poses five questions to ask yourself to carry into the New Year:

“We look with uncertainty to the year ahead. But if we wrap our lives around life-giving questions — and live our way into their answers a bit more every day — the better world we want and need is more likely to come into being.”


(Andrea )

As the siren song of productivity and efficiency in the new year beckon, our weekly columnist Courtney Martin finds presence and peace of mind in the habits of a less productive but more awesome life:

“The version of myself that does all of these things — that is better and healthier and more efficient, that is surrounded by systems that work perfectly and stuff that never breaks — that woman isn’t as invested in the sacred inefficiencies of the very human life.”


A Pakistani Muslim woman participates in celebrations marking Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi at a mosque in Peshawar. (A. Majeed / AFP/Getty Images.)

Omid Safi’s column this week is an excellent explainer about the Muslim festival of Mawlid. Confession here: before reading this article, I had never heard of it or the debate taking place within the community on whether to commemorate the Prophet Muhammad’s birth. The commenter Shimaila puts it best, “The writer bridges the divide between different interpretations of one desire.” Nevertheless I tried to do Omid’s words justice by selecting photos from around the world demonstrating this visually beautiful holiday.


Thomas Merton (Friedsam Library at St. Bonaventure University)

Thomas Merton is one of those monastics who continues to inspire so many people… including our recent podcast guest, the Jesuit Jim Martin. During a delightful moment, Krista asked him to recite one of his favorite passages from Merton, which Fr. Martin did with a charming gracefulness. It’s “a prayer,” he says, “that anyone can pray.”

A Chinese man sleeps against an ice-frosted window as he rides a bus after a heavy snowfall in Beijing on January 4, 2010. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

“Let me tell you, even the hope of wholeness is as fearsome as being unmoored in deep space.”

Hibernation restores us to our nourishing, grounding source and, in so doing, frees us to become a force of reason, reflection, and kindness. In “The Gifts of Hibernation,” Andréana Lefton waxes meditatively on the gifts of winter and the blessings of solitude and rest. A crowd favorite!

Andréana’s post was a guest contribution she submitted to me email. Share your best with us and add to this ongoing conversation. Write a commentary or share a photo essay. Submit your work via a web form or send your work to me directly. My email address is [email protected]. My Twitter handle: @trentgilliss.

May the wind be at your back in 2015.

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