"Wrestling with God" book with Barbara Falconer Newhall

Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith

"Any seeker of any faith will be blessed to read the words of this fine author and observer."

Publishers Weekly, starred review

Click to learn more about "Wrestling with God"

My Rocky Spiritual Journey

You don't have to be a big believer to find something interesting to read here . . . You'll find excerpts from the spiritual journeys of people I've met on the religion beat as well as reports of my own fraught encounters with religion and spirituality . . . as well as updates on my book, "Wrestling with God," to be published early 2015 by Patheos Press.

Matthias Church — Budapest’s Splashy, Gorgeous, Over-the-Top Church of Kings

The patterned roof tiles of Budapest's Matthias Church were added in the late nineteenth century by architect Frigyes Schulek. Photo by Barbara Newhall

The patterned roof tiles of Budapest’s Matthias Church were added in the late nineteenth century by architect Frigyes Schulek. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I’ve got lots of favorite churches. Most of them you’ve heard of —  St. Peter’s, of course. But also Chartres, Westminster Abbey, Notre Dame.

But there’s one more holy spot sitting at the top of my list. It’s the wild and wooly, no-holds-barred Matthias Church, in Budapest’s Buda Castle District. The church’s origins go back a millennium. But its best stuff wasn’t created until [Read more…]

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Autumn in the Garden, When Sensible Plants Pack It In for the Winter . . . And a Healing Ankle

Autumn in the garden where, like it or not, the seasons impose their wills on every living thing. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Autumn in the garden where, like it or not, the seasons impose their wills on every living thing. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I took these photos of my favorite up-north garden last October. It’s a genuine four-season garden in the upper Midwest, complete with winter snow, spring promise, and unsurpassed summer glory. It’s also got autumn, with all the grim stuff that happens as winter sets in — death, rot, shrivel and retreat.

But during a late afternoon visit last October there were still some signs of stubborn life — opulent red berries and a succulent with in-your-face magenta blossoms.

A Dying Garden and a Healing Ankle

I’m just now getting around to posting these autumn in the garden photos because the project fell by the wayside last November when Jon broke his [Read more…]

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Huston Smith Dies at 97: A Mentor to Me . . . and Millions

Huston Smith signed copies of his book, "And Live Rejoicing," at Sagrada bookstore, Oakland, CA. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Huston Smith at a book signing at Sagrada bookstore, Oakland, California. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Sad but inevitable news: religion scholar Huston Smith died at the age of 97 on December 30. I’m just one of the millions of fans, friends, seekers and skeptics who admired — loved — this wise and compassionate man. Here’s a piece I wrote about my affection for Huston Smith back in September, 2009. 

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Huston Smith doesn’t know it, but he’s been my mentor for the past decade and a half — ever since I took a job as religion reporter at a local [Read more…]

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Christmas Is Big. Bigger Than Christianity — And Donald Trump

A cheery Santa Claus painted by Art Thou on a store window in Oakland, CA, 2016. Christmas is bigger than Christianity. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Christmas is big. And so is this cheery Santa Claus painted by a local artist on a holiday store window in our neighborhood. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Christmas is big — bigger than Christianity. And it’s getting bigger.

Our decades-old World Book Encyclopedia devotes four dutiful pages to Christianity — and nine luscious full-color spreads to Christmas. Copyrighted 1994, our family’s set of books sits on a shelf within reach of our dining room table. There, it was a handy reference in our pre-cell phone days whenever a dinner  [Read more…]

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Oakland’s Ghost Ship — A Vigil

A memorial banner by schoolchildren at the site of the Oakland Ghost Ship fire that killed 36 mostly young people, artists, musicians, LGBTQ folks. Photo by Barbara Newhall

A memorial banner, painted by schoolchildren, at the site of the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire that killed 36. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I keep thinking, if only. If only those young people hadn’t decided to party. If only the makeshift stairways of the Ghost Ship had been closer to the exits. If only there had been fire escapes. If only Oakland’s building department had been  [Read more…]

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