This Way to the Gas Chambers, Ladies and Gentlemen (Auschwitz 2003)

It occurred to me that one is always imagining how one could live in Auschwitz. But almost everyone died in Auschwitz.



In the home I grew up in, we consider all books sacred. When someone accidentally drops a book or grazes one with a foot, we place our hand on the cover and gently touch our closed eyelids.

Two costumed Israelites talk as the crowd gathers for the Hill Cumorah Pageant.

Hill Cumorah

Scenes from the annual pageant of Mormon origins.


Crocodile Prayers

A reptilian pilgrimage in Spain.

By Sam Kestenbaum

The Rebbe

Scenes from an annual pilgrimage.

Kristin Vukovic

Sikh And Ye Shall Find

A visit to Amritsar’s Golden Temple.

Alex Tzelnic

Baseball Mundi

Mircea Eliade goes to Wrigley Field.

Killing the Buddha

Walking and Witnessing

For several years, I treated this unhappy anniversary as though it were sacred, like a national or religious holiday, taking a personal day off from work to walk the city streets, across bridges, through parks, along rivers, looking east and west out over the water on bright blue sky days to remember what was lost,…


Army of Monk

The fighting, silent warrior-monk draws me closer.

Al Dayr (the monastery) at Petra awaits those pilgrims who climb 800 steps, either on foot or via donkey.

The Pilgrimage That Wasn’t

In reflecting on the images I captured during my two press trips to Jordan, one this fall, and one in 2007, a sharp contrast emerged. Five years ago, I traveled with a contingency of mostly Catholic and Anabaptist journalists to Jordan during the month of Ramadan.  Then in September 2012, I returned to the Holy…

Torii shrine gates, by Smaku, via flickr

Mother Earth, Father Time

I watched her go. I did not follow. My friends all said I should have, but I didn’t.

Killing the Buddha

Praying for Ice

Pilgrims in India long for the cold.

"shoot the bokeh (bokeh murder)"  by horizontal.integration via Flickr.


An exercise in recreational destruction.


Family Tree

All in the Coven

Posters of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.


An excerpt from Rag and Bone, in which a soccer-playing Syrian calls Bashar al-Assad a lizard.


An Eden Full of Dudes

The end is the beginning is the end (that’s a Smashing Pumpkins line), and all are in Eden. Today at Religion Dispatches, Brook Wilensky-Lanford and I talk about her brand new book, Paradise Lust, out this week. It tells the stories of some bold explorers from the past few centuries who have tried to figure…

Der Wachsblock

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, Rudolf

A truly magical mystery tour is about to leave Cologne, travel through Croatia, and end up in Vienna. It’s a train journey celebrating the 150th birthday of Rudolf Steiner, who is probably best known in this country as the founder of the Waldorf schools. Do you know any children who are not allowed to watch…

Sister Corita.

Marian Apparition Research Trip

Dear Buddha-Killers in Charge, I need a ticket to Wisconsin to investigate the first validated Marian apparitions in the United States, at Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, WI. Oddly enough, there’s an unofficial Marian shrine at the site of some discounted Marian sightings in Necedah, Wisconsin. There’s something here, but I don’t think…