Believer, Beware

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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2009-07-01
  • Publisher: Beacon Press
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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.

Author Biography

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.

Table of Contents

The Apocalypse Is Always Nowp. ix
Jew Like Mep. 1
The Temple Doorp. 4
Zen Mind, Alkie Mindp. 10
What's Past Jersey?p. 18
I Am a Seap. 22
My Holy Ghost Peoplep. 27
God Is Electric, Jesus Electrochemicalp. 32
Everybody Has a Mother, and They All Diep. 39
To Pardon All Our Fucking Iniquitiesp. 65
Bible Pornp. 70
The Mucusp. 79
Sects and the Cityp. 87
Agnostic Frontp. 92
Please Don't Feed the Prophetp. 98
You're Not in Oz Anymore Velvet, as told top. 103
Cowboy for Christp. 108
Jesus Gonna Strip You Nakedp. 118
The Joy of Dissent (Or, Why I Miss Fundamentalism)p. 122
The Cross and the Color Linep. 126
Another Man's Prayersp. 131
I Was a Prepubescent Messiahp. 136
Dreading the Buzzerp. 140
Raised by Jewsp. 149
The Only Truth That Matteredp. 157
Ooga Chaka Zenp. 161
Hunger Is God's Foodp. 171
Revelation Roadp. 178
Searching for Sufisp. 196
Barbershop Dharmap. 203
The Doctrine of Sugarp. 211
Jesus Is Just Alrightp. 216
The Lost Temple of the Pennytittiesp. 224
The Only Jew for Milesp. 228
Banana Slug Psalmp. 237
Seeing Thingsp. 242
Acknowledgmentsp. 255
Contributors' Notesp. 257
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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