Reviews

Half/Life: Jew-Ish Tales

26 January 2006 Sharlet: Publishers Weekly reviews Revealer contributor Laurel Snyder‘s new edited volume, Half/Life: Jew-Ish Tales From Interfaith Homes.”‘Half’ is an interesting, incorrigible, perplexing and profound moniker in its own right, a label that somehow captures the existential angst that all people experience.” Mine, anyway; I’ve an essay in the book, which isforthcoming in April. Fellow contributor Katherine Weber’s essay, “Oy,...

Revising Night

26 January 2006 Elie Wiesel and the Hazards of Holocaust Theology By Peter Manseau  Editors’ note: This essay was first published on The Revealer‘s sister site, Killing the Buddha, in April, 2001, long before Oprah’s Book Club chose Wiesel’s Night as its latest selection. Yet, especially in light of doubts concerning the reliability of Oprah’s previous pick, James Frey’sA...

The Last Revival

31 October 2005 By Michael Rose Following in what seems like a trend of long profiles of charismatic or enigmatic Christian leaders, this week’sWashington Post Magazine features “Mysterious Ways,” an 8,000-word article about Mike Ferree, a Pentecostal tent revivalist. Ferree makes a meager wage compared to, say, Rick Warren, subject of Malcolm Gladwell’s recent profile in...

High Lonesome Gospel

17 August 2005 Raw-skinned and born again. By Jeff Sharlet Excerpted from Oxford American’s annual Southern music issue Let’s look at the facts about Al Green. Or rather, the fact, the biographical detail he does not discuss, the moment around which the whole story turns: around 4 a.m., October 17, 1974, when the last, great, sweet falsetto soul singer of...

Trust vs. Love: A Study of Faith-Based Initiatives

19 June 2005 Saving America? Faith-Based Services and the Future of Civil Society / By Robert Wuthnow reviewed by Scott Korb Robert Wuthnow, a sociologist at Princeton’s Center for Religious Studies, believes very strongly that, when it comes to faith-based services in this country, journalists and policy makers just don’t get it. His new book, Saving America? Faith-Based...

The Runaway Bestseller You’ll Never Read

11 June 2005 God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong, and the Left Doesn’t Get It / By Jim Wallis reviewed by Leora Bersohn We have no proof as to what the most unread book of the last twenty years may be, but we can certainly hazard a guess: A Brief History of Time has long been...

Generation Squared

25 January 2005 God on the Quad: How Religious Colleges and the Missionary Generation Are Changing America By Naomi Schaefer Riley 274 pp. St. Martin’s Press. Reviewed by Jeff Sharlet If you rely for your understanding of American academe on Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, or William Bennett, you may be inclined to think that today’s...

Emerge, Submerge, Repeat

23 January 2005 Sharlet: John Leland, author of Hip: The History, retreading the oft-told story of Jay Bakker, punk-rock-son-of-a-preacher-man? I was about to trash this piece of reporting-without-ideaswhen I recalled a young guy I met a little while ago, whom I’ll call Raf. Raf lives in seriously churched-up city, a gathering ground for divisions of moral values Christian...

The Capitalist Spirit

20 January 2005 The new New Age in the era of globalization. By Jeff Sharlet I first met Bhakti Sondra Shaye, née Shaivitz, B.A., M.A., J.D., guide, teacher, and adept member of the Great White Universal Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Light, ritual master in the High Council of Gor, universal Kabbalist, Reiki master, and metaphysician,...

Michael Murphy and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

17 January 2005 Can an excess of Christian entertainment trigger a fundamentalist crisis of faith? Tim LaHaye, The Secret of Ararat (Bantam Books, 2004) Reviewed by Jana Prikryl It was the religion that made them do it — that was the immediate liberal response to last November’s election. The country’s secular minority suddenly went into crisis mode,...

The Secular Experiment

The Secular Experiment 16 December 2004 What’s freethought got to do with it? Susan Jacoby, Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism (Metropolitan Books, 2004) Reviewed by Brendan Boyle “John Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending,” teased the Bush-camp after the first presidential debate. Kerry cried foul, but he should have known better. He wasn’t...

Cultists Are People, Too

02 December 2004 Why journalists push new religious movements to the edge. Sean McCloud, Making the American Religious Fringe: Exotics, Subversives, and Journalists, 1955-1993 (University of North Carolina Press, 2004) Reviewed by Gal Beckerman In 1976, The Saturday Evening Post ran an article sure to startle a group of readers who could probably do without something else to worry...