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The Sun Magazine

The Sun Interview

As We Lay Dying

Stephen Jenkinson On How We Deny Our Mortality

At every deathbed and hospital room, I didn’t see sane dying. I saw sedated dying, depressed dying, isolated dying, utterly disembodied dying. Sane dying would require a childhood steeped in death’s presence, an adulthood employed in its service, and an elderhood testifying to its necessity. Sane dying is a village-making event: lots of people with plenty to do, the whole production endorsing life.

The Mystic And The Warrior

Radical Priest Matthew Fox On Loving And Defending Our World

The mystic in us is the lover. The mystic says yes. But the prophet in us is the warrior, and the warrior says, “No, this is unjust. No, this is suffering that we can work to relieve.” That’s the rhythm of the mystic and the prophet, the lover and the warrior. It’s not enough to be one or the other.

Criminal Injustice

Maya Schenwar On The Failure Of Mass Incarceration

Prison deepened my sister’s addiction, crushed her self-esteem, narrowed her options for jobs and education, and diminished her hope for a good life. She was in a much worse situation each time she came out.

Beyond Their Years

Linda Kreger Silverman On Understanding Gifted Children

We say children are gifted when their intellectual ability is advanced beyond their age. A four-year-old girl who can pass all the items on an IQ test that an eight-year-old is expected to be able to do would obtain an IQ score in the 200 range. Children who are developmentally advanced are out of sync with their peers, and also out of sync with the expectations of teachers and parents, which leads to vulnerability. They need individualized education and counselors who understand how to work with these children.

The Molotov Cocktail Of The Imagination

David Mason On The Power Of Poetry

But getting back to your question about poetry and prose: Poetry, by moving from line to line, can create shades of meaning that prose can’t. So, whatever else it’s worth, poetry is valuable because it gives us a different experience of language. It gives us an experience that we cannot have by other means. And without that, we live a more impoverished life. I’ve been as moved by novels as I have been by poems, but I’ve been moved by poems in a different way. I’ve been brought to laughter and tears by a different route.

Too Much Of A Good Thing

Daniel E. Lieberman On How Civilization Makes Us Sick

There’s growing attention to the importance of nutrition and physical activity, which is a cause for hope, but my concern is that these trends are very much class driven. Wealthy people tend to be able to afford to be physically active and to eat healthy foods and to reduce stress and to get enough sleep and to stop smoking. There have always been disparities in health between classes, but I worry they are going to widen. Just as we have income inequality, we’re heading toward a world in which we see an increased burden of noninfectious chronic diseases in the lower classes.

The Hand We’re Dealt

Dalton Conley Asks Why Some People Get Ahead And Others Fall Behind

Only two measurable socioeconomic aspects of the parents really matter in predicting who succeeds: the parents’ education, which is the most important, and the family’s wealth, which is the second most important. By “wealth” I don’t mean how much the parents make a year. I mean net worth, including savings, property, and other financial resources.

The Egret Lifting From The River

David Hinton On The Wisdom Of Ancient Chinese Poets

There’s a Wang Wei poem in which an egret standing at the edge of a stream flutters up and then settles back down. That’s it. In the West we think there’s something missing, that there should be more to the poem. But if you remember that heart and mind are the same, then you realize that this perception, this experience of empty mind perceiving with mirror-like clarity, is also an emotional experience. It’s both the observation of the scene and the feeling evoked by the scene at the same time, the two together filling us completely.

Living Medicine

Stephen Harrod Buhner On Plant Intelligence, Natural Healing, And The Trouble With Pharmaceuticals

When you use a living medicine and get well, you feel that the world is alive and aware and wants to help you. People often talk about saving the Earth, but how many times have you experienced the Earth saving you?

Dangerous Love

Reverend Lynice Pinkard On The Revolutionary Act Of Living The Gospels

For me, churches exist only to serve people and planet. The church is not an empire, a way for leaders to build monuments to themselves, for congregants to take pride in the curb appeal that a lovely edifice affords. The church is not a building. The church is an extension of Christ — literally Christ’s body — and an alternative to the militaristic, consumerist, alienated way of life that has become the norm.