personal narratives

"When I finally recognize his costume, I smile, shake my head, and say, 'Look at you!'"

Prime Directive

This Halloween, how about wearing a truly monstrous costume? A haunting excerpt from A Good War is Hard to Find

"I mopped thin stripes along the floor, careful to let one dry before beginning another."

The Word Made Strange

How does the son of fallen clergy rebel? He tries to become a monk. An excerpt from Vows: The Story of a Priest, a Nun, and their Son, now available in paperback.

"They don't preach, they just play
the hell out of their set..."

God and Guitars

Christian rock might not have all the answers, but for one fan and one band, it’s the questions that matter.

"The songs seem to come from somewhere ancient and strange."

Four Tables

A Passover story of family and wine from Half/Life: Jew-ish Tales from Interfaith Homes.

"I don't know tongues, but I know how Holy Ghost people talk to the Lord."

My Holy Ghost People

When a family speaks in tongues, can an unbelieving daughter find her voice?

"Yeah, but don't you want to look good?"

How Do I Look?

As the old saying goes: If you’re not a slobby activist when you’re twenty, you don’t have a heart. If you’re not a fashion plate by thirty, it’s time to go shopping.

"Christ and Buddha" by Ruth Jones

The Temptation of Belief

What happens when you envy those whose faith you fear?


The Cross and the Color Line

They killed King Jesus and Dr. King. Can anything ever be all right again?

"Burma is a dangerous place! I know, I saw Beyond Rangoon!"

Motherly Love

Thus spoke Buddha’s mother: Fine, fine, be enlightened. But would it kill you to call now and then?

"It is enough that there is a world, after all."

Running on Faith

Where is God? Chasing an answer when you can’t see the road ahead.

"Are we Jewish?" I asked my father. "Only when they come around for the camps next time," he said.

The Conditional Jew

A child of hippies wonders when she is what she is, and why.

"It isn't about the absence of germs."

Getting Clean

What is the sound of one hand washing again and again and again?

"Faith is not a style."

A Slut for Faith

Leaving God at the altar, and other tips for marital bliss.

"A poverty that would keep us free."

It Makes Great Press

A group of New England Buddhists finds Zen in the art of panhandling–but at what cost?

The Marrakech Express

Night Train to Marrakech

The clash of monotheisms as seen from the cramped quarters of a sleeper car.

"If Buddha had played a trick like that on me, I would've torn his goddamn head off."

White Ashes

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but the loss of a loved one will haunt you forever.

The Ten Plagues, detail


A Passover reading from Killing the Buddha: A Heretic’s Bible.

Pope John Paul II

The Last Papal Picture Show

The life, death, and ever-changing image of an icon.