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.
A video of men reading #MoreThanMean tweets to female sports journalists is difficult, but important to watch. 119 science haiku form a poetic periodic table. Ali Schultz on reclaiming what’s in shadow for the better. And more ideas worth pondering from Parker Palmer, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Omid Safi, and Ministry of Ideas, curated by Trent Gilliss.
Hip-hop’s spiritual lineage stretches back to long before the Golden Era of BDP and De La Soul. On bearing fearless witness to the black struggle, black courage, and black being — in Chance the Rapper’s era, and in Job’s.
Guns. American identity. Trap yoga. Rami Nashashibi winning the MacArthur “genius” grant. Highlighted writing on the fruitful chaos of living together from David Brooks, Anita Little, Carolina González, Omid Safi, and Courtney Martin.
Black women are blazing a new trail for yoga — one that shatters the barriers of race, culture, and class that previously excluded them. How women of color are embracing the strength of their bodies and spirits through vinyasa flows set to Future and Gucci Mane.
A lesson in expectations, disappointment, and living forward tradition from our Hamilton-obsessed columnist.
What’s your three feet of influence? Rumi’s renewed appeal thanks to Bey & Jay. Breaking open one’s heart. Happiness as human flourishing and more ideas from our editor-in-chief.
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.
Our editor in chief turns to other sources for understanding and pondering: brain science on why our brains are wired for hate, African-American spirituals as a monument to our nation’s history and resilience, and focusing our attention on what really matters.
A young man becomes a listening nomad; a missing violin brings a musician closer to herself; a community of Detroiters meditates with Sylvia Boorstein; Courtney Martin mourns the freedoms of childlessness. Reflections on the unexpected places where we find deep truth in ourselves and each other.
How your personality changes over a lifetime; a tribute to the unbreakable spirit of a legendary poet; the virtue of not getting exactly what you want; and hiring not just minds, but hearts, too.
When a listener asks a question, a new conversation emerges. And other ideas on the harm of literalism in family life, the virtue of truth-telling, transforming anger, praise for an unappreciated generation; and others.
Rather than slipping into warring modes, a master list of ways to enter into conversations with more openness and hospitality.
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 we thought of hip-hop lyrics as sacred texts? Toki Wright speaks about the power of language and the spiritual responsibility of hip-hop for young people.
From the heart of New Delhi, a singer-songwriter explores the love and loss we all experience at one time or another. Listen and enjoy!
Dave Chappelle as an imperfect spiritual mentor; the importance of life’s valleys alongside its peaks; reconnecting to lost family histories, and finding new ways to uplift each other through thick and thin.
A return to the gritty heart of the Christmas season, and a vision for a holiday celebration that does real and practical good for those around us.
A look at icons in our popular culture reveals the crucial work of healing at the heart of the Muslim faith.
From celebrations of Leonard and Leon to the good and the bad in the Electoral College — reflections to challenge our relationships with technology, with busyness, with history, and with each other.
Leonard Cohen’s timeless lyrics are a beacon of hope for even the most broken among us. An expression of gratitude to our latest lost legend.
Is it Pollyannaish to love your country at its most divided? Sara Bareilles and Leslie Odom Jr. create a song to make sense of the world before us — and imagine a country yet to be.
Meaning and learning present themselves to us in unexpected ways. Commentaries on keeping ourselves open to surprising lenses on life, and to how they can enrich our relationships, our work, and our play.
The search for fulfillment feels endless, but what if the answer dwells around and among us? Contemplations on the joyful wisdom embedded in work and in life.
The violence of our culture can trap us in a spiral of fear and paralysis. Parker Palmer on the importance of centering our minds and hearts in sacred spaces of our own, wherever we may find them.
Our days have been marked by pain and gaps in understanding. The enduring presence of kindness, mercy, poise, and the beauty of music provide guidance in harrowing times.
When the weight of the world is heavy, music can be a balm. A musical offering for this uncertain moment, for mercy and the courage to walk together toward the beloved community.
The Sufi tradition is infused with the beauty of art and song. Honoring singer Amjad Sabri, Omid Safi celebrates and gives thanks for the spiritual gift of the qawwali devotional.
How do we cut through distraction to nurture our best selves forward? Our executive editor shares reflections on rediscovering the glory around and within us, from the journey of an olympic runner, to the lyrical labyrinth of rap, to healing the void of loss with art and memory.
After a teacher stays on in Poland after a five-day bearing witness retreat at Auschwitz-Birkenau, she offers a peripatetic meditation on beauty, suffering, and our capacity to comprehend what is incomprehensible.
Our cultural treasures of music, art, and literature can bind us together. But in an era of interconnectedness, our art can also be woven together with our statecraft. Mohammed Fairouz cautions against cultural appropriation by charting the story of our universal cultural heritage, from the court of ancients to the modern day.
We lost a beloved cultural icon last week, and his life of work has inspired an outpouring of love in music and story. Celebrations of Prince’s life accompany praise for standing up together, in support of our strengths and growth from moments of weakness.
Generations have worshipped him as the King of Folk, but Dylan’s discomfort with the limelight reveals more than mere humility. An examination of the service-oriented theology in the lyrics of a lover of song.
For those of us who adore our daily forms of labor, work doesn’t stop when the office closes. Mohammed Fairouz makes the case for obsession, and work as prayer and mystery and play.
On this Easter morning, a memory and a story of finding God not in the four walls of a church but by reclaiming awe in the woods of rural Minnesota. Listen to this audio short by Craig Minowa of the orchestral indie rock collective Cloud Cult and his reverence for the ritual of Easter morning.
As Christians enter Holy Week, a reflection on the drama of the Easter story through poetry, music, and history. Theatrical, disturbing, cathartic, and deeply necessary, the Christian encounter with the crucifixion is a reckoning with the violence of our era. And yet in resurrection there is hope and embrace.
From an eloquent and soul-touching tune, to testaments of moving forward from complex suffering, our executive editor shares demonstrations of the boundless and surprising bravery of which we are all capable.
A musician from the shores of Lake Superior sings a haunting melody that speaks to the spaces between your cells.
Wise voices remind us that there are realities we can embrace. Writings on the uncomfortable but rewarding work of taking a positive orientation to the speed bumps of life, from the ennui of advanced age to communicating the most difficult truths.
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.
What do the Triune God and jazz music have in common? A South African musician explores jazz through three theological metaphors.
In the height of winter, perhaps what we need to chase away the cold and gray is a bit of the January blues. Music legend Buddy Guy provides some heartening perspective about life being more than flesh and bone.
How do we reckon with different parts of our lives seemingly in opposition? Neighborliness and fear, togetherness and silence, embracing uncomfortable truths — examinations of finding growth and hope in life’s tensions.
What happens when we open ourselves to the gift of vulnerability? Profound voices on public displays of emotion in politics, the making of identity, the inspiration of wilderness, and advice from a classical pianist on pursuing what moves you and being glad in others’ good fortunes.
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.”
Adele’s journey of questioning and growth, and her resonance with listeners of all walks of life, reveals the power of her music to navigate us through our own paths of self-discovery.
A gracious and unexpected gift from the band Radiohead for the new year and a medley of guiding essays on revolutions and resolutions, ending arrogance, love of wide open spaces, embracing family and more. Our executive editor’s Letter from Loring Park to kick off 2016.
The superband’s submission for Bond immortality was rejected. But it’s their response that seems like the right thing to carry into 2016.
As these days of anticipation of Christmas draw closer, a creative reimagining of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” by Bipolar Explorer for your listening pleasure.
Paradox runs through the season of Advent weaving together transcendence in imminence, power in vulnerability, kairos in chronos, the ultimate in the intimate. A set of homespun songs for this mysterious season of waiting.