Spirituality in Eight Simple Steps

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 Sunday, April 25 at the MPA’s Independent Magazine Group conference in Washington, D.C. and post them online the following Monday. We’re crazy about these publications, and we’d love it for all of our readers to get to know them better, too. So, every weekday until the conference, we’ll be posting mini-introductions to our complete list of 2010 nominees.

Before I landed at Utne Reader, I had all but given up on magazines on the “spirituality” rack. I have seen the light! Here are eight of our favorites…

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. www.commonwealmagazine.org

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

From endemic farmer suicides in India to the “tyranny of trends,” Resurgence has made an art of pushing its writers to the uncomfortable edges of environmentalism and spirituality. Beautifully designed and richly sourced, this British magazine is unique and essential.

There are few university magazines that, like Portland, can be described as simply profound. At its core,the University of Portland’s beautiful publication is a Catholic endeavor, but faith isn’t so much the subject matter as the fuel for essays and reportage that challenge and inspire.

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

There’s no magazine quite like Lilith, whose tagline is “independent, Jewish, and frankly feminist.” Whether they’re tackling feminist funerals or domestic rituals, the editors are constantly betraying a passion that blends past and present, joy and grief, tradition and discovery.

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.

For 30 years, Shambhala Sun has been documenting Buddhism in America. That the magazine still inspires and feels fresh is testament to its commitment to its subject and its avoidance of the consumerism and gimmicks of the too often Westernized religion.

Want more? Meet our health and wellnessand science and techology nominees.

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