Belief

How a Sufi Shrine Outperforms Western Medicine

    Poor, tragic India, with 1.4 billion people and only a handful of psychiatrists. Here in the enlightened West, we need only go online, choose an appointment time, answer questions from a checklist, and leave the gleaming white facility with an amber plastic cylinder of hope. If someone suffers from hallucinations, paranoia, depression, or […]

Can Gratitude Save Us?

    Gratitude is an acceptance letter, a winning number, the free lunch you were told was impossible. In the language of spirit, gratitude conjures grace: a gift you did nothing to earn. Gratitude lets you feel like you will have what you need to make your journey. And it spills over into appreciation—of the […]

David Brooks Wants Us to Take Our Conversations Deeper

    “You know how emotional and warm Jewish families can be?” David Brooks asked the crowd that packed Washington University’s Graham Chapel. “I came from the other sort of Jewish family.” The sort whose private motto is “Think Jewish, act British.” Parental conditioning took hold early on: a grade-school teacher wrote, “David doesn’t really […]

I Wish I Had the Discipline to Fast

    “Cereal?” I ask, monosyllabic in the early morning. Andrew shakes his head. “Yom Kippur.” Oh. He is fasting. He goes about it so quietly that the Day of Atonement always sneaks up on me, the shiksa. I used to fast, I think a little defensively. I was so scrupulous, for a time there, […]

Poor People Go to Hell

        Much has been said and done in the past decade (also, to be fair, the past millennium) that turned Christianity upside down. But now it is doing backflips. When I read that the Most Rev. Paul Ssemogerere, archbishop of Kampala’s Catholics, had declared that God did not love the poor, I […]