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.

Atheist to Catholic–Two Brainy Women Get Religion

Outdoor portrait of Jennifer Fulwiler, author of "Something Other than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It"

Software programmer Jennifer Fulwiler resisted God–then went from atheist to Catholic

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

An atheist friend of mine once confessed that if he were to give up atheism and go over to God, he’d do the thing whole hog – he’d become some kind of born-again, true believing Christian.

Many people, including lots of atheists, want that kind of clarity and certitude. Me, I’m good with murky. [Read more...]


James Dobson: Bully Your Pet, Hit Your Kid, Make Them Obey You–And God

Recent photo of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson at a podium, talking.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson today

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

In Chapter One of his 1978 book, The Strong-Willed Child, James Dobson beats the crap out of his dog.

I was hoping to avoid that word crap. It’s a generational thing with me. But nothing else quite describes what transpired between the evangelical Christian psychologist and his pet dog one evening years ago as bedtime approached  in the Dobson household. [Read more...]


Where Author Richard Rodriguez Sees the Face of God

Richard Rodriguez, author of Darling, signs copies of the paperback at Sagrada bookstore, Oakland, CA/. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Richard Rodriguez signed copies of Darling at Sagrada. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

“Why do you believe in God?” Kaya Oakes wanted to know. The question was her opening salvo to fellow author Richard Rodriguez on a sunny September afternoon in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, California. [Read more...]


Dale Chihuly’s Glass: Fine Art? Kitsch? Or Both?

dale chihuly's singing sunflower glass scupture. photo by BF Newhall

Dale Chihuly’s enchanting singing sunflower glass scuptures at the entrance to the museum. Yes, these flowers  actually sing. Listen here. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I can’t make up my mind about Dale Chihuly. He’s a glassblower, which makes him a craftsman. But is he also an artist? He’s prolific and his work is popular; does that mean he’s pandering to a mass audience? Or does his mind-bogglingly ambitious glass stuff come from [Read more...]


Religion in Public Affairs — Americans Think Religious Influence Is Waning

Staffers at Pew Research Center presented finding of ther9-22-2014 poll on religion and politics at the annual Religion Newswriters Association conference.

Staffers at Pew Research Center presented findings of a poll on religion and politics at the Religion Newswriters Association conference in Decatur, Georgia. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

A report  on religion in public affairs from the Pew Research Center  reveals that many Americans believe religion is losing its influence in American life.

According to a Pew poll released today, 72 percent of [Read more...]