In some parts of the U.S., Mother’s Day is used as a marker for the last frost and then it’s safe to put plants in the ground outdoors, but gardening is much more than just putting a plant in the soil, both before and after the last frost date. On the lessons we learn from growing things.
Some have examined the life of Jesus and noticed the ways in which he offered belonging before belief. What does it mean to belong to something -- or not to belong? What institutions are doing belonging well?
Privacy has become more and more of a public conversation with the creeping influence of technology in our lives, but it has always been an issue that communities have had to negotiate. On how we approach privacy, from digital to analog.
The things we decline might indeed be illegal or bad for our health, as the War on Drugs has attempted to teach every child in the U.S. But sometimes, we need to say “no” to good things -- for the sake of health, for the sake of simplicity, for the necessity of making a choice. On learning to say no, and letting our minds wander a while down roads not taken.
The relationship between humans and animals takes a dizzying array of forms, provoking everything from impassioned principles to mystical tales. Some die for our food, while others sleep at the foot of our beds every night. This issue is a collection of stories, confessions and questions exploring our complex connections with animals.
Responding to our issue on the Enbridge oil pipeline, this issue asks whether we need to rethink progress. Today, we are confronted with accelerated movement toward cheaper, faster, newer, hipper, bigger. Progress is synonymous with production, and financial gain is understood as forward movement. But, if there is one thing that we learn from Christ's sacrifice and weakness, it is that progress is not always a forward, linear movement.
On March 30, 2013, the Hermitage Community, a contemplative retreat center in Three Rivers, Michigan, held a service of confession, lament and hope in preparation for the construction of a new Enbridge crude oil pipeline that will cut through the center on its way from Canada to a refinery in Indiana. Another service took place the same day on a section of the pipeline in Manitoba. This issue contains some of the material that was presented at the Hermitage service, as well as reflections inspired by it.
Wendell Berry talks about how the cost of soil erosion is not deducted from the profit on a packaged beefsteak, just as the loss of forest, topsoil and human homes on a Kentucky mountainside does not reduce the profit on a ton of coal. At a time when the definitions of health and wealth seem to be miscalculated, how do we reclaim life-giving measurements of healthy and wealthy lives?
Clothe yourself with humility, with kindness, with righteousness -- the Bible is chock full of good fashion advice for things you can't actually wear. Or can you? What do sweaters and jeans and scarves and hats have to do with our more abstract values?
Whether the term is used to put things in perspective or to ironically dismiss the luxuries of privilege, the notion of “first world problems” calls to attention the great economic and cultural differences that exist in our diverse, complex world. How should we approach the problems of our world, whether first, second, third or otherwise?