Naomi Shihab Nye 10-10-2014

Boys on a beach,
women with cookpots,
men bombing tender patches of mint.

There is no righteous position.
Only a place where brown feet
touch the earth.

Maybe you call it yours.
Maybe someone else runs it.
What do you prefer?

Angie Schmitt 07-07-2014

Once an abandoned structure, the Bell Building offers "housing first"—and hope—to Detroit's homeless.

Eric Barreto 05-12-2014
Courtesy Odyssey Networks

Heaven is a home. Courtesy Odyssey Networks

When I was a child, my vision of heaven was riddled with roller coasters and populated by Disney characters. Let me explain.

Growing up in Puerto Rico, the American “mainland” to our north was for me a dreamland of sorts. You could catch a glimpse of it on television show depicting Main Streets lined with impressive trees. And of course, there was Disney World. As a five-year old visiting Florida for the first time, I imagined that the rest of the country was just like that particular corner of Orlando that we tourists saw.

That was heaven on earth for the five-year-old version of me. Heaven was earthly and joyful and fun and sweet. But as we all know Disney is no paradise. I don’t expect long lines, lots of sweat, and expensive but mediocre food in heaven.

When I was five, Disney was my vision of heaven. As I grew up in the church, my vision turned upward. Heaven was an eternal destination deferred until the moment after you die. Heaven was a place of reward and eternity. Heaven was an ethereal experience, something so otherworldly that the best we could do was speak in metaphors and images about it. Heaven, in short, had very little to do with the world as we knew it.

Neither vision gets it quite right.

Caroline Langston 11-07-2012

Last Tuesday, after it became clear that Superstorm Sandy was going to bypass Washington, D.C., in favor of New York, I decided to stain the discolored grout in the bathroom.

It appeared that we had a few more hours to stay inside with our batteries and massive food stores—the rains were still torrential, the children were snuggled up under blankets watching a movie, my husband was practicing guitar—so I pulled out the blue painter’s tape and the bottle of Grout Refresh (No. 14: Biscuit/Bizcocho) I’d gotten at Lowe’s and kneeled down on the hard tile.

Painstakingly, and I am not one who usually takes pains—where do you think my son got his ADHD?—I cut strips of tape to edge either side of the lines of grout, a suggestion offered by a commenter on a home improvement forum. Otherwise, my gut would have been to trowel it on, freestyle, and hope for the best.

Once I managed to tape perhaps a three-foot-square section of the floor—I was too eager to invest the time for the whole space—I spread an old Snoopy toothbrush with the thick ecru paste, and dragged it slowly, evenly, down the lines, holding my breath.

I exhaled when I was done, and waited with expectation. Two hours later, after misting my handiwork with water and waiting another interval, I pulled up the strips of tape to see perfectly neat, unstained, biscuit-colored grout, like you might see in a new bathroom, in a new house somewhere.

Tripp Hudgins 03-19-2012
(Mandolin image by greggsphoto/ Shutterstock.com)

(Mandolin image by greggsphoto/ Shutterstock.com)

I'm on the flight home now.


It's a curious idea, really. Home.

As children we might make a game of it. You know, like when you play tag with your friends and you create a safe place where you can't be tagged. Even when we play games it's important to have a place to be safe...a "home."

When we played this game as children, however, we had another rule. You could not stay at home forever. You had to venture out. Sometimes the rule would be that you could stay home for 30 seconds and no more.


It's safe. You can't be tagged there.

But you can't stay forever, either.

Caroline Langston 11-17-2011
St. Xenia of St. Petersburg. Photo illustration by Cathleen Falsani with image B

St. Xenia of St. Petersburg. Photo illustration by Cathleen Falsani with image By Matti (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativeco

We crested the hill and there it was: a square little brick two-story that had been improved just a little, with a welcoming windowed front and a high, aerie-like upstairs. It was the cheapest house we’d seen, and because it was 2005 and things were crazy, we spent about twenty minutes deliberating and put in a contract with a modest escalation. When we found out later that the house was ours, we found out we'd beaten out another family. The house had been listed barely a day.

As we found out later, we’d put in the contract on the feast day of Saint Xenia of Petersburg, a nineteenth-century Russian “fool-for-Christ” who'd mourned her army colonel husband’s death by donning his uniform and living as a pauper in the city's streets, performing unasked acts of generous service.

It is said that at night she hauled bricks to hasten completion of a church’s construction, and on the internet you can find a copy of this wonderful icon, St. Xenia hoisting herself on a brick construction wall with her long grey hair swinging. One of the things for which St. Xenia is said to intercede is to help people in finding housing.

Cathleen Falsani 09-27-2011
September 18 was National Back to Church Sunday. It's OK. I missed it, too.
Carrie Adams 09-09-2011


For every American student, September starts a new year. September was a time to put away the suntan lotion and refocus on studies -- on more serious pursuits. Gone were the carefree days of summer, and in came the weather that lives perfectly in my memory -- those almost orange leaves, crisp blue skies, and the faint smell of autumn in upstate New York.

I remember it like this 10 years ago. Fourteen and gearing up for a Varsity volleyball season, I had it all. I had only one worry -- that my dad would forget to pick me up from practice, which he never did.

My class had just finished homeroom -- it was my friend's 15th birthday. I don't remember singing, but I'm sure we did. I moved into my world history class, I think we were on the Greeks. And then, it changed. My choir teacher rushed in and frantically told us to turn on the television. We saw the hallways fill with teachers.

Rose Marie Berger 08-01-2011

My "life plan" -- at age 23 -- was to own little and to move where the Spirit led.

Colin Mathewson 07-26-2011

There's something special about the bookends of our lifetimes. I became a first-time father seven months ago and a hospice chaplain just one month past. Growing up and growing old, especially the first and last months of our lives, can be surprisingly similar experiences.

I fed my daughter sweet potatoes for the first time last night. Introducing her to solid foods has been a treat. While we're trying our best to teach her the sign language words for "food", "more", and " all done", Robin still finds closed-mouth grumble-whines to be the best way to let us know she thinks sweet potatoes aren't all that hot. Another subtly nuanced whine might instead wonder, "You don't happen to have any more mashed banana or applesauce around, would you?" My attempt to turn the filled spoon into an acrobatic and roaring airplane met with scant success.

Tom Andrews 07-05-2011

We cannot allow the history of a brutal genocide to repeat itself in Sudan, nor denial and inaction to repeat itself in Washington, D.C., but both are happening at this very moment

Eugene Cho 06-09-2011

Have you heard the story of Sung-Bong Choi? I absolutely love these kinds of stories. And it's not that I just love these kinds of stories, I need these kinds of stories. Perhaps, we all need these kind of stories.

Jeannie Choi 04-15-2011

Weddings. T-Shirts. Taxes. Here's a little round up of links from around the Web you may have missed this week:

  • Looking into the past, from the present.
  • Do you believe in living more with less? Do you design T-shirts?
  • We continue to pray, fast, and act for the budget. Join us.
Noel Castellanos 03-10-2011
"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the [Lord], is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." (James 1:27)
Shane Claiborne 02-28-2011

Growing up in the Bible belt in east Tennessee, I can remember an entire campaign built around "What Would Jesus Do?" There were WWJD bracelets, stickers, and T-shirts everywhere.

Andrew Wainer 02-17-2011
Even before the 112th Congress convened in January, we knew that advancing progressive immigration policy would be challenging.
Julie Clawson 11-11-2010

It's hard to ignore the children. As voiceless as children are in our world, when we hear stories of injustice being inflicted on children, it is hard not to be moved.

Karen Lattea 09-10-2010

In 1979, then-President Jimmy Carter announced the installation of solar panels on the White House roof.

Diana Butler Bass 08-10-2010
As a working mother who lives in the Washington-metro area, I admit that I was dreading Bravo's new program The Real Housewives of D.C.
Tracey Bianchi 05-27-2010
"So what are you up to this summer?" seems to be the question du jour. With the calendar about to flip into June everyone seems antsy for a summer plan.