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Examined Life
Further Materials
Slush Pile


Every issue has one section dedicated to a particular question. Collecting responses from a range of perspectives, these symposia prompt us to think about the values and ideas that shape our most urgent cultural and personal decisions.


Winter 2018


True Story

When I was a little girl, I hid in church.


A Serious House

In Philip Larkin’s poem “Church Going,” the narrator peeks into a church, apparently at random, while on a bicycle ride.


Above Morality

A church cannot define itself as moral agency because its message is not a primarily moral one and because it offers itself to no one…


Charitable Living

When Augustine of Hippo, the venerable philosopher and bishop, first used religio Christiana in his legendary opus The City of God, he was unhappy with…


Touched by the Sacred

1998. A man in black walks along a dark street on the outskirts of a metropolis. The spotlight follows him. He stops and recites a…


Can There Be an Atheist Church?

Why do people who have this urge for the transcendent also tend to participate in social rituals and practices? Why should this impulse, these attitudes,…


Three Funerals, No Wedding

I’m not much of a Quaker.


Survey: What is church for?

We invited priests and pastors from across the country to participate in a short survey about the joys, challenges and day-to-day work of leading a…


Accounting for Tradition

Philip Gorski is a professor of sociology at Yale University, where he is the co-director of the Center for Comparative Research and the Religion and…