In The News: #LoveWins, #TakeItDown, #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches

A round-up of the week’s religion news. Continue Reading →

In the News: Pamela Gellar, Prophesy, PEN, and more!

A round-up of the week’s religion news. Continue Reading →

For Liberals: An Academic Candy Coating for theBitter Pill of God

Amy Levin:  Those who find religion scholars to be an insular grouping of armchair academics out of touch with the “real world” (a term said scholars enjoy deconstructing), might have been surprised to hear some of the panels at this year’s American Academy of Religion (AAR) Conference in San Francisco. Though the conference followed suit from previous years in its diversity of religions, ideas, and (inter)disciplines, many of the discussions trended towards a mix of religion, politics, the public sphere, democracy, grassroots organizing, peacebuilding, and secularism. You know, the “real stuff.”

Lisa Miller, an editor at Newsweek and keeper of the weekly Belief Watch column, taps into the academic space of public politics in this week’s column, “Is the black church the answer to liberal prayers?” She opens the conversation with the following: “As the American left continues to seek a coherent way to articulate its moral priorities in these days of political stalemates and widening income gaps, it might look to the most unlikely of places — the academy — for guidance and inspiration.” While I would hesitate to suggest that the “American left” and “the academy” have been in a long distance relationship up until now, Miller’s point is well taken. Continue Reading →

In Lieu of Hobbits

An interview with Jeff Sharlet about his new book of essays, Sweet Heaven When I Die: Faith, Faithless, and the Country In BetweenSharlet is the bestselling author of  The Family and C Street and a contributing editor to Harper’s and Rolling Stone. Mellon Assistant Professor of English at Dartmouth College, he taught literary nonfiction through New York University’s Center for Religion and Media from 2006-8 and created The Revealer for the Center in 2003.

by Ashley Baxstrom

The only reason I write this stuff is because I’m a nerd whose heart was broken when he discovered there are no hobbits.  ~ Jeff Sharlet, author of Sweet Heaven When I Die

Jeff Sharlet is best known for The Family and C Street, a pair of books about what he calls “the avant-garde of American fundamentalism,” a religious and political movement that fuses conservative evangelicalism with a laissez-faire, expansionist vision of American power. But really, Sharlet he has been writing about the people in whom belief lives, and the meaning that comes during – and out of – their experience of faith. Over several years, while writing those two books, Sharlet wrote the stories of those he met and their experiences with belief, with causes, with struggle and survival. In his latest book, Sweet Heaven When I Die, Sharlet gathers these stories together to explore an American landscape that is at once a whole country and yet a world apart. He writes about friends and about strangers who become less strange. Continue Reading →