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The Best of Body and Spirit

4/29/2011 10:31:09 AM

Tags: 2011 Unte Independent Press Awards, 2011 UIPA, UIPA, Body/Spirit Coverage, spirituality, The Christian Century, Commonweal, Geez, Resurgence, Sojourners, Tikkun, Tricycle, YES! Magazine


Our library contains 1,300 publications—a feast of magazines, journals, alt-weeklies, newsletters, and zines—and every year, we honor the stars in our Utne Independent Press Awards. We’ll announce this year’s winners on Wednesday, May 18, at the MPA’s Independent Magazine Group conference in San Francisco. From now until then, we’ll post the nominees in all of the categories on our blogs. Below you’ll find the nominees for the best body/spirit coverage, with a short introduction to each. These magazines are literally what Utne Reader is made of. Though we celebrate the alternative press every day and with each issue, once a year we praise those who have done an exceptional job.  

First published in 1884 as the Christian Oracle, The Christian Century epitomizes what it means to think critically and live faithfully, asking readers to turn a thoughtful eye toward world hunger, immigration, AIDS work, health-care reform, and other issues of great import to all of us—whatever our faith.


Progressive Christianity has come to and gone from American life in the 86 years Commonweal has been giving voice to it. From its pacifist declarations during World War II to the battles over sexual orientation in our time, Commonweal has been a beacon.


“Holy mischief in an age of fast faith” is the mission of the radical, left-leaning Christian journal Geez. In every issue, its creators offer up a collage of irreverent stories on everything from awkwardness to “experiments with truth.” 


Resurgence has made an art of pushing its writers to the uncomfortable edges of environmentalism and spirituality, covering stories on issues ranging from “the tyranny of trends” to farmer suicides in India. Beautifully designed and richly sourced, this British magazine is as unique as it is essential. 


Faith and politics are often deranged bedfellows. In the pages of Sojourners, the relationship is treated as a sacred one. In this institution of progressive Christianity, the left’s orthodoxies are rarely questioned—but rather are infused with the searching qualities of a living, breathing faith. 


Illuminated by the Jewish faith but accessible to all, Tikkun aims to “mend, repair and transform the world,” and that dream may just start with its readers. We are inspired by its measured, heavy-hitting features, which feature everything from queer spirituality to godless environmentalism to mental health, celebrity culture, and corporate greed. 


Magazines that celebrate Buddhism sometimes feel redundant. Too few gurus cycle through too frequently. Tricycle searches out obscure and marginalized voices to reach beyond the mainstream, finding wisdom that turns faith into a lifelong journey. 


YES! Magazine, a magazine of “powerful ideas, practical actions” published by the nonprofit Positive Futures Network, gives us information and tools to build a more sustainable, just tomorrow. Readers cannot help but be inspired by the quarterly’s celebration of human potential and community well-being.

See our complete list of 2011 nominees. 

Image by quinn.anya, licensed under Creative Commons 

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Samantha Casey
5/11/2011 5:36:06 PM
In light of Sojourners recent refusal of Believe Out Louds Welcome ad (, I ask that you rescind their nomination. No organization that talks about including marginalized groups, yet deems welcoming gay families into their congregations as too controversial to 'take sides on' can be deemed progressive. And no publication which supports them can really be considered forward thinking.

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