Believer, Beware: First-person Dispatches from the Margins of Faith

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Jeff Sharlet, Peter Manseau
Beacon Press, 2009 - Religion - 263 pages
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For so many these days, the religious tradition we were raised in is no longer working for us. Either we choose to remain in the fold but on the margins, or we leave and feel somewhat adrift. Others have no tradition, yet we all search for a spiritual life that feels authentic to us. This book is for those seekers, whether not-quite-lapsed Catholics, believers fed up with right-wing dogma, Reconstructionist Jews, radical agnostics, modern pagans, converts, or apostates. The spirit of these essays is summed up in the tale of the Zen master who tells a young monk, "If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him," for his appearance is only the manifestation of one's longing for enlightenment, not the real thing. In this second collection to have sprung from religious commentators Sharlet and Manseau's popluar website, we enter a "temple of words" and hear a "cacophony choir" of voices searching for the real thing. Contributors include journalists, playwrights, novelists, rabbis, and ordinary people, telling true tales of striving to understand their relationship with the divine. The works are not categorized, but are preceded by a "Guide for the Perplexed," an index of themes, major religions, and stances.
 

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Believer, Beware: First-Person Dispatches from the Margins of Faith

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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 ... Read full review

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Contents

Jew Like Me
1
The Temple Door
4
Zen Mind Alkie Mind
10
Whats Past Jersey?
18
I Am a Sea
22
My Holy Ghost People
27
God Is Electric Jesus Electrochemical
32
Everybody Has a Mother and They All Die
39
Another Mans Prayers
131
I Was a Prepubescent Messiah
136
Dreading the Buzzer
140
Raised by Jews
149
The Only Truth That Mattered
157
Ooga Chaka Zen
161
Hunger Is Gods Food
171
Revelation Road
178

To Pardon All Our Fucking Iniquities
65
Bible Porn
70
The Mucus
79
Sects and the City
87
Agnostic Front
92
Please Dont Feed the Prophet
98
Youre Not in Oz Anymore
103
Cowboy for Christ
108
Jesus Gonna Strip You Naked
118
The Joy of Dissent Or Why I Miss Fundamentalism
122
The Cross and the Color Line
126
Searching for Sufis
196
Barbershop Dharma
203
The Doctrine of Sugar
211
Jesus Is Just Alright
216
The Lost Temple of the Pennytitties
224
The Only Jew for Miles
228
Banana Slug Psalm
237
Seeing Things
242
Acknowledgments
255
Contributors Notes
257
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Jeff Sharlet and Peter Manseau are cofounders of the online literary magazine Killing the Buddha , and coauthors of Killing the Buddha: A Heretic's Bible. Sharlet is also the author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, as well as a contributing editor to Harper's and Rolling Stone. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Manseau's other books include Vows: The Story of a Priest, a Nun, and Their Son and the novel Songs for the Butcher's Daughter. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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