Organizing for Better Cities

An interview with Peter Lagerwey

The Other Journal, February 2023

Kiese Laymon and Revision as a Way of Life

 “The most important part of writing, and really life,” Kiese Laymon’s mother tells him, “is revision.”

The Reformed Journal, September 2022

Survival Mode

Obscure video games, pandemic coping, and finding the difference between habits of numbness and habits of rest.

The Other Journal, June 2022

Music for Old Men

James McMurtry’s portraits of American men offer hints of how to be more fully alive, even in dark times.

The Reformed Journal, January 2022

Disrupting Nature

Elizabeth Kolbert’s Under a White Sky finds both violence and beauty in our responses to climate change. But the moral dilemmas will only grow.

The Reformed Journal, June 2021

Fatherly Rage

Grappling with anger as a parent amid the pandemic’s tedium and injustice.

The Other Journal, February 2021

Peter Spier’s Vigorous Praise

The children’s author and illustrator responded to atrocity with stunning warmhearted depictions of the world.

The Christian Century, September 2018

Unearthing Seattle’s Deeper Histories

Students expose layers hidden beneath the city’s staggering wealth, using “dark tourism” to find reasons for both protest and celebration .

Simpson Center for the Humanities, September 2018

Ethnography of a Surveillance State

Anthropologist Darren Byler chronicles artistic culture in Northwest China amid a massive security crackdown.

Simpson Center for the Humanities, June 2018

Learning to Inhabit Ruins in Postwar Liberia

Anthropologist Danny Hoffman photographs urban forms to show how our lives are shaped by the spaces we inhabit.

Simpson Center for the Humanities, May 2018

Waking Up with You

Notes to my second son.

The Other Journal, May 2018

Stopping Infectious Disease Requires ‘Staff, Space, Stuff, and Systems,’ Paul Farmer Argues

The Partners in Health founder draws on history, anthropology, and clinical field work in a series of conversations with UW scholars about global-health inequities.

Simpson Center for the Humanities, February 2018

Medical Crowdfunding Researchers Draw Widespread Media Attention

Journalists turn to Simpson Center research to understand the rise of crowdfunding campaigns for health care costs.

Simpson Center for the Humanities, February 2018

A Journey to the Center of the Anthropocene

Scholars track hidden stories at the birthplace of a geologic era.

Simpson Center for the Humanities, November 2017

The Hope of Sabbath Environmentalism

An interview with Norman Wirzba.

The Other Journal, October 2017

Why can’t literature deal with climate change?

Amitav Ghosh examines the outdated conventions of realistic fiction.

Seattle Review of Books, August 2017

A Ferocious Attention

The legacy of Brian Doyle.

The Christian Century, June 2017

The Moral Failure of Crowdfunding Health Care

The rise of crowdfunding on sites like GoFundMe reflects — and potentially worsens — inequities already at play in US health care.

Simpson Center for the Humanities, April 2017

Lobbying for the Humanities in Washington, DC

I spoke with Washington state’s Congressional offices about the life-changing power of humanities and language funding.

Simpson Center for the Humanities, March 2017

Steps Toward Better Citizenship

One of the few things clear to me after the election was that I need to change my role as a citizen. Here are the steps I’m committing to take.

Think Christian, December 2016

Help for Distracted Minds

Count how many notifications you get while reading this review.

Seattle Review of Books, October 2016

Escaping the Bully-God of American Evangelicalism: An Interview with Doug Frank

With a tangle of ragged white hair and a quick, sun-creased smile, Doug gave hundreds of students, including me, permission to approach spiritual questions with curiosity instead of fear.

The Other Journal, October 2016

Why We Don’t Have Wings

Historian Phillip Thurtle draws on genetics, comics, film, and a vast array of cultural mythology to probe a question that haunts our collective past.

Simpson Center for the Humanities, September 2016

Singing with Losers

On the athletic failings and musical triumphs of the Chicago Cubs.

The Other Journal, June 2016

Feed the Fire

Confusion over God, girls, feelings & other matters …

The Curator, April 2016

Bob: A Story About a Boss

He didn’t scold me before letting me off. He saw the terrified kid at his doorstep and knew what I didn’t know.

The Sun, April 2016

The Instagram Militia and the Limits of Empathy

Designer Tad Hirsch stitches together 80,000 assault-rifle selfies to examine America’s gun divide.

Simpson Center for the Humanities, March 2016

Preserving the Lessons of the Seattle-SeaTac $15 Wage Victories

A groundbreaking digital archive preserves the history of two hard-fought minimum-wage campaigns.

Simpson Center for the Humanities, January 2016

In Praise of the Welder-Philosopher: William D. Adams on the Humanities and the Common Good

The Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities argues for the practical value of the humanities for all citizens.

Simpson Center for the Humanities, December 2015

The Show Goes On: Examining Socially Engaged Art with a Banned Guest

Celebrated curator Kitagawa Fram was denied entry to the US, allegedly over military protests, but a robust examination of his work went on anyway.

Simpson Center for the Humanities, December 2015

Humanitarian Jihad and the Problem with Essentializing Islam 

Kashmiri militants tell UW anthropologist Cabeiri Robinson why they put down weapons and picked up shovels after a devastating earthquake.

Simpson Center for the Humanities, September 2015

Having Enough: Jacob, Esau, and the Great Books

It feels silly to say I studied the classics because of slick marketing copy, but that’s what happened. 

Image, July 2015

How the Age of Amazon Is Reshaping Literary History

Amazon’s dominance of the book-publishing industry and relentless focus on customer service may herald a new era in American fiction.

Simpson Center for the Humanities, June 2015

We Wandered As a Cloud

Collaborative poetry for a digital age.

Simpson Center for the Humanities, May 2015

Everything at Once

Notes to my son.

River Teeth, April 2015

Debating Palestine in the Public Sphere

Why is it so difficult to have civil public discussion about the Israel-Palestine conflict?

Simpson Center for the Humanities, March 2015

Digitizing the AIDS Quilt to Fight Cultural Amnesia

The AIDS Memorial Quilt forms an extraordinary mosaic of human grief and resolve, yet it risks fading into history.

Simpson Center for the Humanities, March 2015

The Pacific North Wet

Chasing after things that glow.

The Curator, January 2015

The Rage of Peter De Vries

A personal reckoning with a heartbroken humorist.

Image, January 2015 (full story now available!)

Planet of the Rats

Elizabeth Kolbert on extinction in progress.

Books and Culture, January 2015

Mad Men, Snickering and Sobbing

Peter De Vries on the white American male at mid-century.

The Curator, December 2014

Holden Village Journal

A mountain refuge, displaced bears, and the strange terrain of fatherhood.

The Other Journal, November 2014

Uncovering Ancient Medicine Along the Silk Road

An alumnus and a renowned Smithsonian scholar trace the path of medicinal myrrh across the ancient world.

Bastyr University, October 2014

These Bodies, This Table

I heard Edward speak only two times. The first time he wailed like a ghost.

How to Pack for Church Camp, September 2014

Children’s Book Channels Spirit of Natural Medicine

Naturopathic students launch creative projects to probe the philosophy of their medicine.

Bastyr University, July 2014

Amy Stewart Talks Drunken Botany and Wicked Plants

The author of offbeat botany books talks about the startling, scintillating world of plants.

Bastyr University, May 2014

Lego Ad Hero, Naturopathic Doctor: Meet Rachel Giordano

Alumna Rachel Giordano became an unlikely viral media star and a thoughtful commentator on gender and medicine.

Bastyr University, February 2014

The Brain on Acupuncture: New Imaging Yields Insight for Stroke Recovery

Researchers discover how to study acupuncture inside an MRI machine, enabling new studies on stroke recovery.

Bastyr University, January 2014

Who’s Radical?

Bill McKibben’s testimony.

Books and Culture, January 2014 (mostly paywalled)

Frontier Pundits

Visiting 1850s Indiana with three angry editors

Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, December 2013

An Inside Look at Cadaver Lab

Dr. Rebecca Love takes naturopathic students on a journey terrifying for some, exhilarating for others and deeply significant for nearly all.

Bastyr University, October 2013

Northwest Tribes Reclaim Food as Medicine

“Food sovereignty is about decolonizing our diets,” said Valerie Segrest, a Muckleshoot tribal leader who learned to see nutrition as a community-organizing tool.

Bastyr University, October 2013

Probiotics May Protect Against Drug-Resistant Superbug, Study Finds

Bastyr-led research leads hospitals to rethink policies for fighting dangerous bacteria.

Bastyr University, October 2013

Sustainable Shalom: The Hope of Bright Green Urbanism

Love for creation means not just abstaining from harmful acts but partaking in creative ones.

Comment Magazine, August 2013

Behold the Cedar

An ode to the Bastyr University forest.

Bastyr University, August 2013

The Fun of It

Stories nourish and sustain me, and trying to tell some of my own seems the only decent response. Yet it’s such an everloving drag so much of the time.

The Post Calvin, July 2013

Pamoja House

This is the story of a wealthy group of students who willingly gave up everything and the one vegan stew that kept them all together.

The Other Journal, June 2013

What’s Really the Deal with Seattle Weather?

You’ve heard about the soggy, sun-deprived Pacific Northwest. Here’s some real talk.

Bastyr University, June 2013

Slow Medicine

By braiding historical searches with her time at Laguna Honda Hospital, Victoria Sweet arrives at a compelling critique of modernized health care and a vision for transforming it.

Books and Culture, June 2013 (mostly paywalled)

Going Home

“This is our couch,” she whispered, walking about. “And this is our kitchen.”

The Sun, March 2013

What We Do with Babies

A newcomer reconsiders baptism.

The Mennonite, January 2013

FDA Approves Turkey Tail Trial for Cancer Patients

Researchers study how a traditional Chinese mushroom helps cancer patients strengthen their immune systems in a $5.4 million investigation.

Bastyr University, November 2012

Modernist Cuisine Meets Whole-Food Nutrition

Influential Modernist Cuisine author Maxime Bilet talks to students about laboratory-inspired cooking and honoring ingredients.

Bastyr University, June 2012

fMRI Imaging Peers Into Qigong Healer’s Brain

Bastyr brain researchers measure a little-understood healing tradition — and wonder what it can do for cancer.

Bastyr University, May 2012

Feeding the Spirit

Nutritionist Valerie Segrest helps Northwest tribes rediscover their traditional foods.

Bastyr University, February 2012

Thirst Quenchers

West Coast water tech heads overseas.

Sustainable Industries, July 2011 (print magazine cover story)

In the Lab: VitroBricks

Could bricks made of recycled glass revive the old-school building material?

Sustainable Industries, July 2011

Waiting for a Wave

Oregon’s bid to become the Silicon Valley of wave energy.

Sustainable Industries, May 2011 (print magazine feature)

Green Schools Building Boom

Schools are spending big on energy efficiency and solar power.

Sustainable Industries, March 2011 (print magazine feature)

Bright Greens

Creation care in the city is good business for these alumni.

Response magazine (Seattle Pacific University), February 2011

The UniverCity project: An experiment in suburban urbanism

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — For the green benefits of urbanism — walkability, transit, smaller dwellings, more efficient buildings — to become a truly helpful climate strategy, we’re going to need them in more than just cities.

Grist, October 2010

Flying over the tar sands

FORT MCMURRAY, ALBERTA — I should be transfixed and horrified by the landscape, but it mostly feels removed, like watching Tolkien’s Mordor from the comfort of a sofa.

Grist, October 2010

Exclusive: Obama admin unable to resolve shutdown of PACE clean-energy program

Obama administration officials have failed to resolve a dispute with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that has shut down a popular home-solar finance plan, according to an email obtained by Grist.

Grist, July 2010

When Fannie and Freddie Attack

Few new ideas brighten the faces of clean-energy advocates as much as this Berkeley-born financing tool that’s spreading quickly throughout the country.

Mother Jones, June 2010

Wales engineers a brighter post-coal future

CARDIFF, WALES — ‘Britain’s Appalachia’ was one of the first places to rise in the industrial revolution. Then it was one of the first to see its fossil fuel–based economy bottom out.

Grist, March 2010

Could transparency make up for a lack of a carbon cap?

The U.S. EPA is about to force major polluters to report their greenhouse-gas emissions. Big whoop, you say? Well, actually, it might be.

Grist, February 2010

‘There will be no decisions about us, without us’

COPENHAGEN — The anger in Juan Carlos Soriano’s voice was clear when he rose to a podium in the Bella Center Friday afternoon.

Grist, December 2009

Hamlet’s lessons for Copenhagen climate negotiators

COPENHAGEN — I’ve been threatening my editors with a post on what Shakespeare’s Hamlet can teach the diplomats gathering in Denmark to draft a new international climate treaty …

Grist, December 2009

America’s greenest mayor, laid off and looking on

It was a dark, dreary, drizzly November morning in Seattle when I visited Greg Nickels, the city’s lame-duck mayor and an influential national voice on the need for climate action over the last decade. 

Grist, December 2009

Globesity: How climate change and obesity draw from the same roots

You’ve heard all the reasons before: We drive too much. We eat too much meat and processed food. We spend too much time with computers, TVs, and air conditioners. But what problem are we talking about?

Grist, June 2009

Facebook, Twitter, MySpace become latest way for organizations to connect with potential donors and raise awareness

Nonprofits add social networking sites to toolboxes.

Puget Sound Business Journal, November 2008

Mars Hill vs. Mars Hill

A burgeoning church and an unrelated graduate school of the same name reveal very different strains of modern evangelicalism taking shape in Seattle.

Crosscut, October 2008

Obama’s green team

Meet the people who might fill top environmental jobs in a Barack Obama administration.

The Guardian, October 2008

Mountain music legend Ralph Stanley returns to Bean Blossom

Don’t be fooled by the 79-year-old’s mournful, old-fashioned mountain music. He is not a man of constant sorrow.

Brown County Democrat, October 2006

See also Grist archives.