Parabola Volume 40 No. 1, Spring 2015: Sin


Parabola Volume 40 No. 1, Spring 2015: Sin

The Spring 2015 issue of Parabola, explores the ancient root meaning of “sin”—“missing the mark.” And, as Jesus says in The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, “Sin as such does not exist. You only bring it into manifestation when you act in ways that are adulterous in nature.” We’ve come to see that it is our “tendency,” to act in those errant ways, to deviate from our spiritual aims and to succumb to passing thoughts, feelings, and desires, thus missing the mark time and again. In these pages, through encounters with the “mad monk” Rasputin and the pacifist saint Martin of Tours, through three new poems by Mary Oliver and comments, new to print, from spiritual sage John G. Bennett, through an array of art and essays and reviews, we explore the mystery of sin and expiation and forgiveness, of the journey from darkness into light. May this issue of Parabola serve you well.

Cover Description: Detail, The Seven Deadly Sins and the Last Four Things, Hieronymous Bosch, ca. 1500–1525. The sins are, clockwise from the 12:00 position: Gluttony, Sloth, Lust, Pride, Anger, Envy, Avarice

Purchase this issue 

Table of Contents


Grigorievna de Stjernvall, Meeting Rasputin: She was young and married; he was the “mad monk,” advisor to the Tsar

Tracy Cochran, Saturday in New York with Gitanjali: Walking with the founder of a refuge for brothel workers and their children

Lillian Firestone, Course Correction: One accident is worth ten thousand meditations

Joshua Boettiger, Doing Damage: From the Jewish tradition, a wise plea to take sin seriously

Cynthia Bourgeault, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene: Was she “first among the apostles” of Jesus Christ?

Richard Whittaker, All Life Is Sacred: A conversation with educator and spiritual leader John Malloy

James Opie, Secret Deals: The lies we tell ourselves

Thanissara, The Delusion of Desire: A Buddhist nun faces sexual energies

Joan Chittister, OSB, Martin of Tours: Holy Disobedience: Sometimes breaking the rules is the right thing to do

Laura Marjorie Miller, A Prayer for James Foley: A funeral mass for a young American

John G. Bennett, Conscience: What part does conscience play in spiritual work?

Richard Smoley, The Path of Forgiveness: To err is human; to forgive, divine

The Editors, Engines of Our Nature: A conversation with G.I. Gurdjieff’s student Pauline de Dampierre

Oscar Wilde, The Fate of Dorian Gray: His features masked a terrible secret


Three New Poems by Mary Oliver:
I Am Pleased to Tell You
Complaint and Reply


Forgive My Sins


David Ulrich, Making Presence Visible: Considering the work and life of photographer Minor White

Martin Rowe, The Apes Have It: Two popular films ask what it means to be human, and non-human


Gary Lachman, The Caretakers of the Cosmos | reviewed by David Fideler

Dana Sawyer, Huston Smith: Wisdomkeeper | reviewed by Donald H. Whitfield