Eugene Peterson reflects on the spiritual concept of “congruence” and the life-long endeavor of matching inner life to outer behavior.
Omid Safi explores the harmful good Sufi/bad Muslim construct in the way we talk about Islam — and calls for a greater understanding of the true breadth of the spectrum of Islamic thought.
From the dreary lyrics of “Eleanor Rigby” to Lennon’s infamous remarks on Christianity, The Beatles seemed to embody a godless skepticism about the world. But was their outlook really so bleak? Kenneth Womack on the deeper message at the heart of their music: a life-affirming, transcendent sense of communal good.
We crave the closure of explanations and answers, but what if we were enlivened by the questions themselves? On the evolution of his own faith — from a hunger for certainty to awe at the ineffable.
A lesson in expectations, disappointment, and living forward tradition from our Hamilton-obsessed columnist.
A young, gay Mormon’s testimony sparked a rift in her community — but, Erika Munson wonders, must we give in to the instinct to take sides? On lingering in the complex questions with a spirit of compassion that has room for our differences.
Can the occasional cathartic rant lead to healing? The virtue of letting our frustrations be heard — from Russian novels and the Book of Job to a Catholic women’s “pray and bitch” prayer group.
From remembering police captain and dharma teacher Cheri Maples to soliciting perspectives on solitude and being alone, our editor in chief’s list of the week’s most compelling commentaries on motherhood, solitude, eldering, male vulnerability, and exile.
Learning of the great ethnomusicologist’s death, our columnist offers an “ocean of remembrance” in return for the Turkish Sufi master who embodied the poetry of Islam in both his music and his being.
Be the first to try out our new On Being discovery tool for exploring hundreds of conversations in our archives! And, excellent writings on privilege, solitude, and productivity to accompany your listening.
Our Letter from Loring Park opens our application process for the inaugural On Being Gathering. And, articles on the complexities of family and love, giving up on the myth of perfection, grappling with inherited prejudice and being recognized for who we are, and on a revolution that starts within.
In a turning cultural tide, non-religious Millennials and the Christian church find themselves at odds. But do they have to be?
How can we nurture our identity and faith if we don’t feel recognized for who we are? A reflection on yearning for a community that truly sees us.
How our tech is distorting our attention; wisely examining places where we might grow, rather than scrutinizing our strengths; acknowledging each other’s full identities structurally and spiritually; and revisiting the visionary work of theologian and sociologist Peter Berger.
There are gems at the heart of all our faith traditions. Omid Safi on the challenge ahead to polish away the impurities of hatred and greed that keep the light from shining.
After a medical condition changed the way he observes Ramadan, Omid reflects on what he misses about the embodied experience of the fast — and the inner, spiritual fast he takes on now to live out the holy season.
Omid on recognizing that the path we’re on is the right one; Courtney with mental trickery to uncover our creative confidence; and Turkish-American poet Adnan Onart on finding the kinship of faith during Ramadan — in a Dunkin Donuts.
Challenging the notion of the “Muslim world,” what dedication to peace looks like, and the weight words — and actions — carry.
Witnessing the faint smile of her dying mother, the daughter of Haitian-Creole parents reflects on why she’s been writing about death and grief ever since — and the cathartic edge of the Book of Revelation and C.S. Lewis.
The companionship of Thomas Merton; an inspiring faith in our nation’s potential; and the spiritual work of environmental care.
Three wisdom keepers on the inner voice of compassion in the mystical and contemplative traditions
What does it take to do the messy work compassion through incredible obstacles? Rami Nashashibi, Naomi Tutu and Kevin Cosby on courage and living compassion.
Rather than slipping into warring modes, a master list of ways to enter into conversations with more openness and hospitality.
Interrogating our anger, honoring our elders, facing the truth of life’s fragility, and helpful new discussion guides for Becoming Wise — the best of what’s engaging our minds and spirits these days.
Beyonce and Chance the Rapper embody the deep, enduring presence of black faith in the world, both in its powerful solemnity and in its joyful boisterousness.
What if our relationship with God were more long, tender, even humorous?
In the light of a New Year’s sparkler, a metaphor for the illuminating capacity we hold within, despite our fleeting existence.
Paul Elie navigates the winding path of Advent, and finds quiet ways to start anew in the meeting of ritual and the rhythms of everyday life.
The twilight season of Advent reveals a quiet source of hope — in the rhythms of the earth and the instinctual embrace of darkness by our animal bodies.
A white Evangelical Christian, and a Trump supporter, offers a gentle challenge: to put our preconceived notions aside, and understand each other more deeply than what we put on our ballots.
In our pursuit of justice, we must cling to what illuminates the darkness and keep the pain and indignation that fuel us from hardening to hatred.
What if our disenchantment is an opportunity? This moment calls us not to fall backward into cynicism, but to face difficult truths, and to work together to create a new reality.
Often, the remedy to what ails us is simpler than we think. Omid Safi shares a comedic lesson on recognizing the blessings that are already within us.
As the days grow shorter and the air grows crisp, Parker Palmer invokes Rainer Maria Rilke on lessons from the season: on having faith when we fall, and trusting in the mysterious resilience of life.
Two celebrated astronomers from the Vatican Observatory on the joy of discovery and delighting in what we don’t know. Listen to this podcast from Becoming Wise.
From Becoming Wise, New Monastic Shane Claiborne speaks of bridging the gap between the structures we are raised in and the human needs around us.
A gift of verse as we reach the close of the season of Ramadan — testaments to the comfort of faith across a lifetime, from the safety of home to the surprising kinship of a stranger.
Rabbi and philosopher Jonathan Sacks speaks of difference as expansive and unifying, rather than a force for division.
“Let yourself be silently pulled by what you love.” Weaving poesy with mellifluous prose, an Egyptian poet celebrates the power of the lyrical art to bring us closer to the divine, and to ourselves.
Two poems for those who seek to infuse daily life with thoughtful prayer and attention.
The architecture around us inhabits the vernacular of our lives. Our executive editor with this week’s letter from Loring Park welcoming our new columnist Sarah Smarsh, who joins a collective contemplation of where and how we navigate our lives in faith, family, and citizenship.
Pope Francis had an extraordinary week issuing a seminal document on love and family, travelling to a refugee “hot zone,” and meeting Bernie Sanders in Rome. The common thread: the pope’s willingness to accompany people where they’re at and walk alongside humanity, whether it be a Syrian refugee or a U.S. presidential candidate.
We so often highlight acts of hostility and hate, but we have a tougher time amplifying the good. Omid Safi appeals to our collective power to undermine hatred by elevating the good and the beautiful.
A secular Jewish man takes umbrage when his close Christian friend says he believes he will go to hell. After he returns to his religious tradition, he says, he understands these inner and outer tensions as essential to faith — even if they disagree with his personal wishes.
Might we understand each other better if we dropped our assumptions and reframed the questions we ask? The contemplative season sparks ruminations on how we might be more generous in imagining our neighbors, and ourselves.
When we encounter the stranger, a deepening exchange takes place. Through the metaphor of marriage and her own personal vows, an Episcopal priest calls for a return to unity and the remembrance of the shared history and values that bind Christians and Muslims together.
The catharsis of living up to challenge, in all walks of life — essays on powering through the hardest miles in a marathon to facing a crowd of unfamiliar strangers, to reckoning with one’s best and worst selves while reflecting in the solitude of the woods.
The act of running reveals. An avid marathoner realizes that her physical training is also a spiritual exercise — a place to meditate on the move and find God in unexpected, sacred places.
Though she’s the example many turn to for guidance on mindfulness practice, Sharon Salzberg didn’t always find meditation so easy. She reflects on an early retreat in India, and what it can teach us about letting go of ideals, and having faith in what is.
When a young, Evangelical Christian is diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it’s the music legend David Bowie who provides him with salvation and a renewed hope in “the Church of Man.”