"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.

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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I Decided to Stop Bad-Mouthing Donald Trump. But Will I?

I'm going to stop bad-mouthing Donald Trump. Even though my world feels like this crashed car awaiting body work at a shop in San Francisco. Photo by Barbara Newhall

I’m going to stop bad-mouthing Donald Trump. Even though right now my world feels like this wreck of a car, which I spotted in San Francisco on election day. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Last Tuesday night, as poll results poured in and it became clearer and clearer who was going to be the next president of the United States, I made a decision. I decided to stop bad-mouthing Donald Trump. I would give him a chance. I’d keep an open mind.

I decided to do the same for his supporters. Millions of Americans have let the world know, loud and clear, that they think both Democrats and Republicans [Read more…]

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Should Authors Read Reviews of Their Books? I Did

Should authors read reviews of their books? I did. Wrestling with God book on sale at Great Good Place for Books bookstore in Oakland, CA. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Should authors read reviews of their books? Some say, no way. Here, “Wrestling with God” is on sale at A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland, California. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Many a writer insists that no good can come of it when authors read reviews of their books. Some writers don’t want to risk getting their feelings hurt. Others take the high road and insist that they write for themselves, not for the critics, and maybe not even for their readers.

What’s more, whenever authors read reviews of their books — they often make a point of never, ever commenting publicly on a review.

Bad idea or not, I read my reviews, and now I’m going to risk [Read more…]

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