Joan of Arc: Heretic, Saint, Terrorist.

This column was published on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on January 29, 2007.  It headlined UPI’s mainpage that day as well.


In the foreword to his thought-provoking and very readable forthcoming biography of Joan of Arc, Joan: the Mysterious Life of the Heretic Who Became a Saint (due out from HarperSanFrancisco next month), Donald Spoto makes the following claim about the “Maid of Orleans”:

Joan fought and died to preserve the identity and particularity of a sovereign place; Continue reading

Forgiveness in the Mainline

This piece appeared on UPI’s Relgion and Spirituality Forum on January 21, 2007 
Mainline Protestantism has a problem.  I realize this is hardly news for anyone who has made even the most cursory of surveys into the landscape of American spirituality, but those of us who are part of the old guard of American Protestantism cannot seem to get along. Continue reading

The Nexus of Prejudice and Fear

This article appeared on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on January 15, 2007. It headlined the religion section of the UPI’s main page that day.

Today is the day set aside to celebrate the birth and to honor the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I’ve always felt this holiday to be a good day to take stock of how far we have come and how far we have yet to journey along the path toward building a society that honors and celebrates the beautiful diversity of the human family, but this year is different for me. Issues of race and society feel closer. Continue reading

Justin’s Bones

This column was published on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on January 8, 2007

“My God, is there any sin worse than indifference?”–from Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen

Last month, while hiking in the woods along Big River, near my hometown of Mendocino on California’s North Coast, my ten-year-old nephew Justin found the skeletal remains of a young man who had been missing for twenty seven years. Continue reading