"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.

Visions of the Baby Jesus Light Up Centuries of Art


Madona and child painting. The Cologne cathedral. churches. mary. madonna. Housed in the Lady Chapel, this is the Dombild by Stefan Lochner, a local painter early 15th century. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Of all the paintings of Mary and the Baby Jesus I’ve spotted on recent travels, this is the most elegant. It’s the Dombild, on view in the Lady Chapel of the Cologne Cathedral, Germany. It was painted in the early 15th century by a local, Stefan Lochner. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

The Baby Jesus. Far away and long ago a baby was born, one who has inspired centuries of artists — and lights up the dark days of winter. [Read more…]


Isaiah and the Of-Courseness of God

Isaiah. Lake michigan sunset. The of-courseness of God. Barbara Falconer Newhall travels up and down Michigan's lower peninsula, visiting friends and family and putting on book events for "Wrestling with God."

Isaiah: He stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain. And (yet another Lake Michigan) photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

For most of my adult life I haven’t been so sure about God. That such a thing could exist seems far-fetched, too good to be true.

But now that I’m firmly located in the second half of my life – okay, okay, the third third of my life (And no, I’m not calling it the last third of my life; I’m not ready to go there – yet) . . . now that I’ve moved along in my life, past the time when I have to make my mark on the world, produce those babies, get them raised to adulthood, achieve some success and glory as a writer, stash away some money for retirement . . . now that the gotta-do part of my life is behind me – I seems to me (on a good day) that God’s existence is right there for all to see, plain as day.

You can’t miss it. Something is going on out there. Of course it is. It’s common sense. How else could things be?

The eighth-century BCE Hebrew prophet Isaiah appears to share my sense of the of-courseness of God. This exuberant Bible passage is attributed to him:

Have ye not known? Have ye not heard?

Hath it not been told you from the beginning?

Have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?

It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth,

And the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers;

That stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain,

And spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in . . . .

– Isaiah 40:21-22, King James Version

If you enjoyed this post (and even if it was too Bible-y for you) you’ll probably like my book, “Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith.” Also “For Lent, Trying Giving Up That Old, Outworn Story About Yourself.”  And “What Happens When You Drop Your Cell Phone Into the Sacred Buddhist Sand Painting?”


The First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, Michigan — Last Stop on My One-Woman Road Trip

Facade of the First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, Michigan. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

It had been a wonderful tour around Michigan’s lower peninsula. Just me, a full tank of gas, and my trusty point-and-shoot. And now it was over.

Grosse Pointe. Pentwater. Ludington. Traverse City. Howell. And finally, [Read more…]


Which Way America? Compassion With Francis? Or Vitriol With Trump?

The cover of Donald Trump book, "Think Big and Kick Ass."

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Pope Francis has arrived on our shores just in the nick of time. In time maybe to put to shame folks like the spitwad-throwing, invective-spewing Donald Trump . . . and usher them quietly from the public eye.

Cover of Pope Francis' book, "Open Mind, Faithful Heart." With a picture of the pope.

The two men couldn’t be more different. And I’m not talking about their politics or their theology. I’m talking about the way they respect (Francis) or disrespect (Donald) their fellow human beings.

Some examples:

Donald on Lindsey Graham: “A total lightweight. Here’s a guy — in the private sector he couldn’t get a job. Believe me. Couldn’t get a job.”

Francis: “Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs, or anything else—God is in this person’s life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life.”

Donald on Sen. John McCain: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who [Read more…]


I Love Pope Francis — Or Do I?

The papal keys in bas relief over the tomb of John Paul II, Vatican. Photo by Barbara Newhall

The papal keys — symbol of the pope’s authority over the church and its people. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

My honeymoon with Catholicism’s newest pope is over.

I’m done with getting all hopeful and goosebumpy about Pope Francis and the breath-of-fresh-air tone he’s setting for one of the world’s largest and most powerful international institutions.

Yeah, yeah. Pope Francis says nice things like, “Who am I to judge?” He [Read more…]