Tapestry with Mary Hynes

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The pastor's a wizard, and some worshippers look like cats: This is church in virtual reality

When the COVID-19 pandemic turned indoor gatherings into possible superspreader events, some people who are part of a religious community have had surprising success by breaking bread in virtual reality.

Why is it so hard to say goodbye?

Researcher Adam Mastroianni has found that conversations tend to last a length of time that makes no one happy. He says it’s ok to say to goodbye when you want a conversation to end — but why does that feel so difficult to admit?

City-wide playtime should be a post-pandemic goal says design critic

Post-pandemic, design critic Alexandra Lange wants to see city-wide, street-based events given priority. Children need the freedom to play safely this summer — and beyond.

The joy of getting back out there

Post-pandemic, design critic Alexandra Lange says we would all benefit from city-wide, street-based events. And it might be worth asking what the kids would want. Meanwhile researcher Adam Mastroianni has found that conversations tend to last a length of time that makes no one happy.
Q&A

The Dawn Chorus blends birdsong with human voice in 'musical wake-up call'

Assistant professor of religion Alexander Hampton and opera singer Nicole Percifield teamed up at the University of Toronto to launch the Dawn Chorus project — incorporating birdsong recorded by students into a composition sung by Percifield, to celebrate and raise awareness of the wildlife existing within urban centres.
Audio

The Dawn Chorus: tuning in to nature

Assistant professor of religion Alexander Hampton and opera singer Nicole Percifield teamed up at the University of Toronto to launch the Dawn Chorus project — incorporating birdsong recorded by students into a composition sung by Percifield, to celebrate and raise awareness of the wildlife existing within urban centres.

The 'Religions Geek' on how COVID has impacted religious awareness

Brian Carwana calls himself The Religions Geek. He’s the Executive Director of Encounter World Religions. And he says despite Canada’s rich religious diversity, much of the population remains “religiously illiterate” — a condition the pandemic has simultaneously exacerbated and alleviated.

How COVID rewired religion

For churchgoers, COVID brought some big adjustments. Lockdowns and social distancing meant that many believers stayed at home — either sleeping in, or watching the service over Zoom. But a few pastors responded to the moment by seizing it. They built new churches in virtual reality. Plus: how the pandemic has shaped religious practices — for the worse, but also for the better.

A faith to call her own: writer Bunmi Laditan's search for connection with God

Bunmi Laditan is a writer and poet best known for her satirical Twitter account @HonestToddler. She retraces her spiritual path from her family’s Yoruba Christian faith to her conversion to Judaism and beyond, and shares heartfelt selections from her book, "Help Me God, I'm a Parent: Honest Prayers for Hectic Days and Endless Nights".

Russian missiles struck his seminary in Kyiv. That only strengthened this priest's faith

Weeks into the war, Russian missiles struck the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary in Kyiv, where Reverend Ivan Rusyn is president. He says that while his faith in God has only gotten stronger, he has a different perspective on pacifism than he did before the war.

Where is God in a time of war?

Reverend Ivan Rusyn is the president of the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary in Kyiv. Russian missiles struck the seminary in early March, causing extensive damage. That only strengthened Rev. Rusyn's faith in God — but the war has shaken his perspective on pacifism.

The Big Dipper and the Dene traveller legend — how Indigenous teachings can change views of the night sky

Mi'kmaw astronomer Hilding Neilson and Dene Chief Fred Sangris have brought their Indigenous perspectives to the study of astronomy. Neilson says applying these different lenses when looking at the stars can help create a better and more inclusive field of study.

Why this author believes finding happiness is an aggressive act

In her book, Aggressively Happy: A Realist's Guide to Believing in the Goodness of Life, author Joy Clarkson reveals how she came up with the title by embracing a teasing insult on Twitter.

Happiness and humour for hectic times

Is your ‘emotional weather forecast’ sad with a chance of passing happiness, or joy, with only a scattered bit of melancholy? Authors Joy Clarkson, Jennifer Grant and Bunmi Laditan offer tips and tools for finding warmth and sunlight in life's often harsh conditions.

Toronto Raptors chaplain explains why he doesn't pray for wins

Toronto Raptors and Argos chaplain Herbie Kuhn believes he has an immense duty to the players he supports. And sometimes that means he can’t ask God to intervene – even in the diciest games.

Sports, exercise and the spirit within

Toronto Raptors and Argos chaplain Herbie Kuhn believes he has an immense duty to the players he supports. And Carine Abouseif had to reassess her relationship to exercise over the pandemic.

'Why are we here?' and other questions for an astrophysicist-folklorist

With a double-major from Harvard in astrophysics and folklore, Moiya McTier bills herself as the 'folklorist to the stars' and the 'astrophysicist for the folks'. And she believes being an expert in both disciplines serves the perfect one-two punch for her job as a science communicator.

Stories and the stars: Part two

With a double-major from Harvard in astrophysics and folklore, Moiya McTier bills herself as the 'folklorist to the stars' and the 'astrophysicist for the folks'. Later, Chief Fred Sangris, an elder of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, reflects on traditional Dene wayfinding – navigating by way of the stars.

How this astronomer learned to 'embrace the void' through cosmic horror

When thinking about the universe or delving into dark fantasy, astronomer Leo Alcorn believes the prime directive should be to “embrace the void” and “love what you don’t understand.”

Stories and the stars: Part one

Leo Alcorn approaches her work as astronomer in the same way she tackles the cosmic horror of HP Lovecraft. Hilding Neilson likes to say that every star tells a story. 
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Inshallah, good things are coming

Abdullah Shihipar discusses the implicit balance between faith and agency in the Arabic word “inshallah.” And we hear from those celebrating Ramadan this year about words that matter most to them.
EPISODE

Finding the line between faith and agency

Abdullah Shihipar discusses the implicit balance between faith and agency in the Arabic word “inshallah.” The word means “god willing” and he’s encouraging everyone — including non-Muslims — to use it. Also, biochemist Beronda Montgomery thinks we have a lot to learn from the natural world about slowing down.

A 'good enough' life can be better than striving for the impossible, says author

Kate Bowler is an author and Duke University professor, who after a sudden crisis had to reassess what it means to live a good life.

Christianity may not have all the answers, but it may offer meaning, says professor

In his latest book, Can I Believe?: Christianity for the Hesitant, John G. Stackhouse admits his faith offers plenty of fuel for skeptics. But he also argues there’s something to Christianity worth considering.

Finding faith in creative acts

Reverend Paula Hollingsworth outlines the evolution of faith in Jane Austen’s novels and her personal life. And writer Amy Shearn, is on a quest to better understand why we take on long-term projects and what keeps us going through the process.

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