The Real Winner

Steelers/Ravens Playoff Religion Update

This weekend’s Steelers/Ravens playoff game in Pittsburgh will feature more than the two teams, bitter rivals, representing formerly glorious postindustrial American cities. We will also witness the athletic feats of two serious religious practitioners. For the Steelers: safety Troy Polamalu, a devotee of the Greek Orthodox monk Elder Ephraim, with whom he has met in…

Killing the Buddha

You’re Being Way Too Patriarchal

At Hampshire College, in a Critical Approaches to European History class, one of my fellow women—we were not girls—raised her hand and complained that the class was too Eurocentric. Was she there when the Ecumenical Patriarch of Orthodox Christianity gave an address on his patriarchal anniversary speaking of their patriarchal mission of human rights, religious…

Killing the Buddha

Muhammad and Mary, Up from Common Ground

Today, as Muslims begin fasting for the month of Ramadan, Coptic (Egyptian) Orthodox Christians are breaking a fifteen-day fast for the Virgin Mary. This morning was a rare coincidence of lunar and solar calendars, of moon and sun passing in the almost light—the first pre-dawn meal prepared to get believers through a long August day…

Russian nun

Hands Across the Water

A Russian nun and her impossible song, in an excerpt from Rag and Bone: A Journey Among the World’s Holy Dead.

Icon of Saint Simeon the One-Eyed Tanner

Wayward Sheep

More schooled than churched, she wanted to try dying to the self, to grope for the Spirit under the water, and come up in grace. It was more awkward than that.