The Revealer Family, Published

It’s been a great week for readers, thanks to a suite of articles by members of The Revealer‘s family of writers.  Covering issues from reality-based food to women’s travel, from the health care crisis to Zionist activism to religious compounds in Missouri, we’re proud to have such talented and diverse writers’ names to drop!

Former Revealer managing editor Kathryn Joyce has an important article, “Escape from Missouri,” in the July/August issue of Mother Jones.  Read more about it here.  Buy it on newsstands today.

Our books editor Scott Korb has a new piece in the special food issue of Lapham’s Quarterly, “It’s What’s for Dinner.”  You can read the article here.  Read Nathan Schneider’s comments on the article here.

Former managing editor Meera Subramanian has contributed to a new book, The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2011.  Get your copy here.

Kiera Feldman–and we admit it’s a stretch to claim her as one of our own, but we will–has an article at The Nation this week, “The Romance of Birthright Israel.”  Read it here; read Jeff Sharlet’s comments on it here.

Your editor truly has a piece at The Nation this week on the Catholic Church’s renewed focus on aid in dying and the implications for health care in the US.  Read it here. Continue Reading →

Oil Apocalypse

It’s been six weeks since the Deep Water Horizon sank to the bottom of the Gulf waters. The Revealer‘s collected a number of articles and essays that examine what the spill means for the future of environmental activism, faith leaders, free-market supporters, and the animal and human inhabitants of a now-polluted region:

An op-ed by Killing the Buddha senior editor, Meera Subramanian, from USAToday.

Photos of bird drenched in oil

Religion News Service calls it the “oil spill apocalypse” and links to more articles.

60 Minutes segment, with interviews with a survivor from the rig, Mike Williams, on the weeks before the explosion.

Since the spill, governor Rick Perry (R-TX) and representative Tom Cole (R-OK) have both called it an “act of God.” Ted Turner’s wondered if the spill is a sign from God that we shouldn’t be drilling off the coast.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew tells us that it’s time to atone for our sins against nature and God.

Leonard Pitts says that free-market religion is lost on the coast. “As there are no atheists in foxholes, it turns out there are no small-government disciples in massive oil spills.”

Mother Jones rounds up the conspiracy theories surrounding the spill.

Hopi Indian prophecy of the ocean turning black.

The Washington Post‘s “On Faith Blog” has convened more than a dozen commentators, including Herb Silverman, Janet Edwards, and David Wolpe, to write about the oil disaster in the Gulf.
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Adapting Ritual.

Meera Subramanian, senior editor at our sister site Killing the Buddha, has an article in today’s Wall Street Journal on the crisis Parsis now face with the extinction of vultures; since the time of Herodotus, they have relied on these birds to dispose of their dead. Subramanian writes:

In the earthly realm of humans, Parsis also believe in the ritual purity of fire, soil and water, elements that shouldn’t be sullied by pollution from a defiling corpse. So while virtually all other cultures dispose of their dead by burial or cremation, Parsis have followed a more unusual method. Yet after millennia, that method now has been called into question, forcing a crisis of faith whose only answer is adaptation.

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What Happened to The Revealer?

The Revealer has become awfully opaque of late, a static page of rarely renewed writing. That’s because I’ve turned my energies back toward my first internet love, I hope Revealer readers will join me there. It’s like The Revealer-plus, and then some.

I’ll continue to occasionally blog about religion and media, along with KtBlogger Nathan Schneider, but the main attractions are feature essays and stories, published every Monday and Thursday (and sometimes Saturday), by writers, artists, and photographers covering the religious, political, and aesthetic spectrums. Michael Muhammad Knight writes on the man he calls Allah; Nina Burleigh investigates the unholy world of the Israeli antiquities trade; Meera Subramanian reports on the “100 Unspoken Rules” of a Hindu mangili pondu ceremony; Nathan Schneider compares Al Qaeda recruitment imagery with Donald Rumsfeld’s “Full Armor of God”; Revealer editor Kathryn Joyce accepts the 2009 “Vulgaria Child Catcher of the Year Award”; novelist Ilana Stanger-Ross investigates the “Perfect Breasts” of orthodox Brooklyn; and I chip in with “Naked and Guilty,” on the eros of evangelicalism and a hell house in Texas.

There’ll be more news on the future of The Revealer soon. In the meantime, why don’t you read a book, for chrissakes.

Hey, here’s an affordable one: my NYT bestseller, The Family, out in paperback this week! So is its lovely review in the Journal of American History, which breaks from academic form to declare that The Family “does for fundamentalism what Greil Marcus’ Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century did for punk.”

And here’s an even better book: erstwhile Revealer editor Peter Manseau’s Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter, also out in paperback this week! It’s a beautiful novel about pogroms, poetry, and the death of print — literally — but what makes it really unique is that it won the National Jewish Book Award for fiction.. Peter is the first goy to take the prize in half a century.

Back in 2004, Peter and made a book together called Killing the Buddha: A Heretic’s Bible. Amazon apparently loved it so much that lately they’ve been attributing all sorts of books to the Manseau & Sharlet team. Our latest collaboration is a book we traveled back in time to write, Calvin and the Reformation, published in 1962 by “Peter and Sharlet, Jeff Manseau.” But that’s really kind of a specialized work. For the general reader, we recommend our other latest collaboration. Here’s the premise: An elven witch, a bar mitzvah cheater, and a Bible camp saboteur walk into a bar… and nine years later they walk out with a book: Believer, Beware: First-Person Dispatches from the Margins of Faith, an anthology of coming from Beacon Press on July 1.

Believer, Beware

The advance reviews are in:


STARRED REVIEW Believer, Beware: First-Person Dispatches from the Margins of Faith. Beacon, dist. by Houghton. Jul. 2009. 263p. ed. by Jeff Sharlet & others. ISBN 978-0-8070-7739-9. $16.

From Beacon comes a book that, if not a beacon, is certainly a message from the vanguard of popular spirituality. This extremely diverse set of essays is the second to come from Killing the Buddha, an online religion magazine “for people made anxious by churches” and the ideal home for the “spiritual but not religious” and all the other great unchurched believers in America. Here you’ll find a Jewish adolescent who hopes she is the promised Messiah, an elven witch, a Zen A.A. memoir, and much more. Shocking, exhilarating, and never dull, these essays sometimes give off the self-conscious, twee air of modern memoirs Continue Reading →