What If We Acknowledged Our Vulnerability?

Saturday, December 10, 2016 - 5:30 am

What If We Acknowledged Our Vulnerability?

I’ve never been more thankful for all the people who have contributed to our media endeavor than during these past few weeks. In particular, I’ve found Pauline Boss’ interview to be a friend indeed. Perhaps you will too:

“There is no such thing as closure. We have to live with loss, clear or ambiguous. And it’s OK to see people who are hurting and just to say something simple. ‘I’m so sorry.’ You really don’t have to say more than that.”

(Esmi / Flickr / Some Rights Reserved)

Parker Palmer | Start Close In

With the aid of a poem by David Whyte, Parker is focusing on the crucial work of embodying justice in his own circles:

“In honor of Thanksgiving, I’m going cold turkey on my rant-and-rave addiction in favor of something that’s already proving a whole lot more life-giving for me. I’m looking for personal and practical ways to protect and support the people who’ve been left wounded, fearful, and vulnerable by the outcome of this election.”

(Drew Angerer / Getty Images / © All Rights Reserved)

Courtney Martin | We Need a New American Story

And Courtney’s finding new understanding of American identity — with the help of a friend:

“What might we create in this country if we acknowledged that we are all vulnerable people — flesh and blood encasing bodies and minds and hearts that break, not infrequently?”

(Jason Redmond / Getty Images / © All Rights Reserved)

Omid Safi | The Means of Justice Must Match Its Ends

Parker leans on a poet. Courtney looks to a friend. And Omid… well, he turns to Star Wars:

“The Dark Side is not stronger. It is, as Yoda taught us, ‘Quicker, easier, more seductive.’ I still believe that love will have the victory. Let us make sure that our means, our way, our method, is as refined as the beloved community goal we espouse.”

What Else We’re Watching and Reading

(Yana Paskova / The New York Times / © All Rights Reserved)

New York Times | What It Takes to Open a Bookstore

This is heartening. Independent bookstores are on the rise. Some tips on how to raise the funds and curate smartly. The printed page lives on!

(Delphine Blast / National Geographic / © All Rights Reserved)

National Geographic | Portraits of Bolivia’s Cholitas

A great article that will help you appreciate the majesty of cholita fashion in Bolivia and its youth in reclaiming their heritage.

The Verge | Margaret Hamilton Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

You probably saw all the press around basketball star Michael Jordan and comedian Ellen DeGeneres receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. But it’s Apollo software engineer Margaret Hamilton, one of the unsung women of U.S. history, that is the headline and not just an anecdote.

From The Civil Conversations Project

(Spencer Platt / Getty Images / © All Rights Reserved)

When a White Evangelical Is Called a Racist Because of Who He Voted For

Yolanda Pierce’s commentary elicited a model thread of comments from readers last week. One, in particular, grabbed our attention. Jim Howey — a self-described middle-aged, white guy and Evangelical Christian — shared a gentle, generous, and thoughtful response:

“I truly want to understand our present-day culture better. Things I have been blind to in the past (racism), I want to be able to see, recognize, and respond to. I have a track record of caring and loving people — all people — that was passed down to me by my dad, who was a senior-level executive at a big company, yet who always road public transportation. He regularly brought home people different from us and showed genuine love and care for everyone he came in contact with on the buses. It seems that most people on this page would pigeonhole me just because of who I voted for, without even asking questions or trying to have an intelligent conversation.”

From Our Tumblr


A Poem for the Day: “Two Countries”

Naomi Shihab Nye graces us with her verse and her voice:

“Love means you breathe in two countries. / And skin remembers–silk, spiny grass, / deep in the pocket that is skin’s secret own.”

It’s a privilege to be able to compose this Letter from Loring Park for you each week. If you have any critical feedback or words of praise, I’d welcome your note. The best way to reach me is at mail@onbeing.org.

May the wind always be at your back!

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is the cofounder of On Being and currently serves as publisher & editor-in-chief. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent’s reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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