I’m Barbara Falconer Newhall. Welcome to GodsBigBlog. It’s still under construction, so please be patient if things don’t look or work quite right.
Many of you have followed my GodsBigBlog posts over at BarbaraFalconerNewhall.com. But now the time has come to give my thoughts on religion and spirituality a home of their own on a brand new blog known as – GodsBigBlog.
GodsBigBlog is — the God Is Big Blog.
I’m a religion writer in the tradition of Huston Smith and the universalists. I’ve interviewed and observed hundreds of people with dozens of different, often conflicting, ideas, spiritual paths and experiences of Holy, and I have come to the conclusion that the Sacred, whatever It is, must be very large. If God is to encompass all those earnest people and all their – to me convincing – experiences of Holy, God must be very big, indeed.
Also, it seems to me that Whatever Is Going On Out There/In Here is way beyond human understanding, which takes me back to — God Is Big.
When I launched my blog, someone else was using the URL God Is Big, so I had to come up with an alternative. I named this blog GodsBigBlog, which is URL-speak for God Is Big – or God’s Big. There’s a pun there, and I like it. The God Is Big Blog can also mean this is God’s Big Blog.
God’s blog, not mine. I just live here and go where it takes me.
On GodsBigBlog, you’ll find book reviews, pithy news items and interviews with every sort or believer and non-believer, from my atheist friends to the polygamist family I met at a Religion Newswriters conference to the Orthodox Jewish women sitting happily at the back of the bus in New York.
Too, there will be my sometimes irreverent, often anguished, reflections on scripture – Wrestling with the Bible. They’re posted every Monday morning over at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific Facebook page.
(CDSP is an Episcopal seminary in Berkeley, California, and the Bible readings will follow the Revised Common Lectionary texts scheduled for the upcoming Sunday. Eventually, my posts will appear on the CDSP website.)
Meanwhile, I’m putting together a book – working title Finding Holy: True Stories of Religion and Spirituality in America as Told to a Faithful Skeptic – which is totally fun, but sitting here at my computer all the day long is just too danged solitary. I’m hoping that this blog will bring some living, breathing, chatting people – that means you – into my messy but cozy writing room here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
A Little About Me
I’ve been a journalist, columnist and religion reporter for quite a few years now. My first journalism job was in the steno pool at the old Look magazine on Madison Avenue in midtown Manhattan (and, yes, I had to learn to take dictation). In those days it was tough for a woman to be hired on as a writer at places like Look, Time or Newsweek. The women’s magazines were more welcoming, so when I was offered a spot as assistant editor at Good Housekeeping magazine, I grabbed it.
I spent four years in New York, then moved to San Francisco, where I joined the women’s movement and spent a few precarious years as a freelance writer. When I’d had enough of living hand to mouth, I went to work for a counterculture radio station news service called Zodiac. I later married my boss, Jon, who is another story.
After Zodiac, I worked on newspapers: The San Francisco Chronicle first, then the Oakland Tribune, where I wrote a weekly column about the hectic life of a woman with a job, a husband, two young children, a house, a conscience and a much-needed sense of humor. You can read some of those old columns – and some new ones in the same vein – on my other blog, BarbaraFalconerNewhall.com.
My last job in journalism was as the religion reporter at the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek, California, where I met some of the people you’ll hear from on GodsBigBlog. With any luck at all, some of these true, first-person stories will wind up being published as Finding Holy, which I think of as a kind of group portrait of American religion and spirituality at the outset of a new century.
I’ve reviewed books from time to time over the years, so I can’t resist putting in my two cents on the religion and spirituality books coming across my desk. You’ll see those posts in “Book Openers.” I’m also the veteran of several writing groups and conferences. You can read what I’ve learned from my writing friends in “The Writing Room.”
From time to time, you’ll see a photo posted — for no other reason than I’ve come across something beautiful or interesting and I can’t help sharing it.
Photos and text c 2012 Barbara Falconer Newhall