Five-Foot, Fifty-Dollar Green Beauty

The sight of your friends’ faces illuminated by hot light, standing in a circle as flames leap into the air, as needles crackle and burst, as sparks fly, this image will stay with you. This moment feels holy.


For Christ Was Born in a Refugee Camp

An icon must be thought of as a divine portal in its own right, charged with the transcendent. That makes it all the more powerful when an icon explicitly condemns a contemporary injustice.


When Wax Softens, Light Shines Through

Purchasing the little nativity scene convinced me that I had unfinished business with the religion of my youth.

A pair of doves born in our courtyard recently unearthed documents that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt...

The Untold Story of Our Savior

Spoiler alert: He’s not an only child.


Epiphany’s Choice

To honor in reverence, or destroy in fear?

Killing the Buddha

Homeless for the Holidays

A palsied mouth, stammering to say these words matter.


Homeless for the Holidays

A palsied mouth, stammering to say these words matter.


Christmas in Cambodia

Advent is not just about chocolate calendars.

Twee logo-nostalgia

Happy Holidays From the Shack

Apparently the American Family Association has issued a “Scrooge Alert” calling for a “limited one-month” boycott of Radio Shack this Christmas. I think I speak for a lot of Americans when I say “There’s still a Radio Shack?” and furthermore “People still shop there?” and “What on earth do they buy there?” Crowdsourcing revealed nothing…

candy cane

Jesus! Murder! High-five!

Last Saturday, my daughter and I and our mother-daughter friends Rachel and Ruby enjoyed a lovely tour of the White House, which I have dubbed Crafting Versailles. Everything is perfect there, from the life-size Bo made of pompoms to Jackie’s portrait.  Fires blaze in the fireplaces, cleanly. We didn’t want to leave: we lingered, listening…


Happy Hopkins Eve

This being Baltimore, we’re celebrating Christmas Eve morning by gathering around the grave of Johns Hopkins. He’s buried in the expansive Greenmount Cemetery, which is now located in the so-called “Station North Arts District.” Doctors tell tales of great men and women and their muscle, bravado and intellect. We hear about Mary Elizabeth Garrett, whose…

Killing the Buddha

This Post Means Nothing

Readers may have been surprised to find that Killing the Buddha did not feature a blog post about the nativity scene fracas in Santa Monica, wherein atheists acquired and used most of the traditional display spots to advertise their philosophy. This story was relevant to our area of coverage and to our audience. We could…

From Scott Clark, via Flickr.

I Laughed When I Saw Him, in Spite of Myself

Learning to lie to your kids.

Atheist's Guide to Christmas

Have Yourself a Godless Little Christmas

When I penned a piece on the latest round of anti-God campaigns for Washington Post’s On Faith column, I observed how the tenor among atheists seems to have softened this year. Instead of trying to de-convert people of faith, most atheists and humanist groups simply want to create a space for themselves to celebrate the holiday…

xmas tree

The Christmas Tree Conundrum

I heard a radio commercial recently singing the praises of locally-farmed Christmas trees. Eco-friendly, ’cause a bunch of trees are planted for each farmed tree. Natural, not full of plastic. Supporting local farmers. Smells good and all that. Sure. But, to me,  it’s still a dead tree which gets dolled up like a corpse, laid…

Killing the Buddha

Christmas Poem

there is a man on a street corner with a sign that reads “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” my wife suggests we take up the opposite corner holding a diagram of a tilted earth

Text painting by David Kramer. Click to enlarge and read.

Santa by Faith Alone

She knows. My much-loved, hyper-aware six-year old daughter—a little cable-starved urchin (her parents will only spring for basic) whose television hero and role model is the obsessive-compulsive detective, Monk—has discovered there is no Santa Claus. Given her gumshoe mind I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. One of the joys of parenthood is finding…

Santa Claus

The Irrelevance of Proof to the Holiday Spirit

I’ve got a zany new essay at Religion Dispatches today about a lecture earlier this week in Brooklyn, “A Philosophical Proof of Santa Claus.” Jamie Hook, the evening’s presenter, did a masterful job of miming some of the issues at play in debates about God—though in the guise of a fellow whose existence, this season…