Blog

What is pastoral care and why does it matter?

At Vennly, one thing we talk a lot about is the importance of pastoral care. Definitions of what pastoral care covers can vary, but to us it means counsel, support, and guidance provided by spiritual and community leaders related to life topics. For many of our contributors, providing pastoral care is among their most important responsibilities. Read more

Vennly Leader Spotlight: Q&A with Rev. Dr. Erin Raffety

Rev. Dr. Erin Raffety is a Lecturer in Youth, Church, and Culture in the area of Education Formation in the Department of Practical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. She earned her MDiv from Princeton Seminary and her PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Princeton University. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church USA. Her interests include culture, family, disability studies, ethnography, and theology.

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Vennly Leader Spotlight: Q&A with Rabbi Avram Mlotek

Rabbi Avram Mlotek is a Base Hillel co-founder and the Rabbi of Base MNHTN. In May 2015, Avram was listed as one of America’s “Most Inspiring Rabbis” by The Jewish Daily Forward. In 2012, The New York Jewish Week selected him as a “leading innovator in Jewish life today,” as part of their “36 Under 36” section. Prior to joining Base, Avram served as a rabbi in training at The Carlebach Shul, The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, The Educational Alliance and Hunter College Hillel.  Avram’s writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Forward, Tablet, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, The Jewish Week, The Huffington Post, and Kveller, among other blogs. Read more

Vennly Leader Spotlight: Q&A with Dr. Murali Balaji

Murali Balaji, Ph.D., is a journalist, author, academic, and spiritual leader with nearly 20 years of experience in diversity leadership. Balaji has served as the education director for the Hindu American Foundation, where he was recognized as a national leader in cultural competency and religious literacy. He co-founded The Voice of Philadelphia, a non-profit geared to help high school dropouts (or pushouts) develop media literacy and citizen journalism skills. He has also been a professor at Temple University and Lincoln University, where he chaired the mass communication department and engaged in multi-method research. He is a certified anti-bias trainer through the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and serves on the national advisory board of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute. Read more

We’re Thankful for Those that Believe in Us

A short message of gratitude to our spiritual leaders

We’ve been working on Vennly full time for a little more than a year, and the journey to this point has exposed us to ideas, beliefs, and realities that we had never considered before. Read more

Finding Spirituality on the Sidewalk: Creating Moments of Ritual and Spiritual Practice in your Daily Routine

Finding spirituality during daily routine

It’s not an easy exercise to define spirituality, or what it means to be spiritual. As shared in a previous post, in our research we asked people to define spirituality in their own words and the dominant theme we saw is that spirituality is personal and flexible. This provided some general guardrails, but we wanted to know more. Read more

Does Religiously Unaffiliated Also Mean Spiritually Unsupported?

As part of the Vennly team’s search to better understand how people express their spirituality, we found ourselves facing some interesting questions. We started to wonder about the impacts of feeling spiritually engaged, but not expressing it by identifying with organized religion. Personally, I started to think more about what it meant to identify as spiritual but not religious (SBNR). Read more

What does it mean to be spiritual?

One of the most interesting questions we’ve tried to answer since starting Vennly is how to clearly and succinctly define “spirituality”. Formal definitions of “spiritual” tend to be connected to sacred, ecclesiastical, and religious matters, yet in contemporary culture, the word is being used quite differently (you’ve seen those “Spiritual Gangster” shirts, right?). Read more

Do I Look Like a “None” to You? Seeking spirituality in the age of the religiously unaffiliated

What does spirituality mean to you? It’s a question we’ve been thinking a lot about since we began our work on Vennly, an audio-focused spiritual health app that aims to create a safe space for users to seek inspiration and guidance from spiritual and community leaders on a variety of life topics. Read more