Category Archives: Faith

First-person stories light up Barbara Newhall’s ‘Wrestling with God’

By Rebecca Rosen Lum

More than 10 years and hundreds of hours of interviews after her idea took root, “Wrestling with God,” Barbara Falconer Newhall’s book about faith and doubt, has landed in bookstores and is garnering praise.

The book “takes readers on a wild and wonderful ride,” says Publishers Weekly in a starred review. “Any seeker of any faith will be blessed to read the words of this fine author and observer.”

In “Wrestling with God,” 16 people of divergent beliefs describe their spiritual journeys: A Catholic nun, a Buddhist monk, a Nobel laureate in physics who says “God has been very dependable in my life.” A Jewish Holocaust survivor. A former prisoner of war.

A Muslim woman founds a progressive mosque for women. The daughter of a mixed marriage plunges into the faith of her Miwok mother.  A man who, as a child, renounced religious faith when he demanded God show him immediate proof of His existence and received none. A Wiccan woman finds solace in her grief in the very inexplicability of the universe. A man practices his atheism with devotion.

Newhall, a veteran of the Oakland Tribune and the Contra Costa Times,  blogs for the Huffington Post and posts weekly essays at her website, www.wrestlingwithgodbook.com.

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Cathedral near Lake Merritt could stimulate urban uplift

Rebecca Rosen Lum

McCatchy-Tribune Business News [Washington]

Nov. 26–OAKLAND Light is the pivotal feature of the 110-foot high Cathedral of Christ the Light sanctuary. As the lakefront cathedral complex has taken shape, it has also generated plenty of heat.

The cathedral itself has been compared to a nuclear reactor, a basket wrapped in glass, an architectural symphony and by Bishop Allen Vigneron as “A great soaring vault.”

Architectural merits aside, Oakland’s business community says it is also helping to generate something the district needs: economic development.

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Filed under Faith, Land use/property

Is faith a wonder drug? Scientists say spirituality can influence healing, but how remains a mystery

by Rebecca Rosen Lum
Contra Costa Times
 
Carla Dodd was 43 and pregnant with her second child when two rapid-fire brain hemorrhages threatened to end her life. Her husband, John, is a medical malpractice attorney — logical, analytical. But Martinez resident John Dodd says he thinks prayer — by friends, fellow congregants and strangers as far away as Africa — had much to do with his wife’s long-shot recovery.
Whether intercess0ry prayer — that made on behalf of another — has any bearing on a desired outcome is a matter of debate, but scientists are taking a hard look at the value of faith as an instrument in healing the self.
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‘The Journey of Not Coming Back’

By Rebecca Rosen Lum
Contra Costa Times

Of the millions of Iraqi refugees seeking new homes, relatively few are making their way to the United States — and just a trickle reach the Bay Area.

They arrive exhausted and stunned, having seen their homes smashed to rubble, and relatives beaten or shot to death.

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Filed under Faith, Immigration, Social issues, War

Christian family abandons homeland amid strife

by Rebecca Rosen Lum
Contra Costa Times

Life in Fallujah was already dangerous before Samiya Bashir, her three daughters and son learned American and Iraqi forces would soon converge on their neighborhood.

Men with unfamiliar accents would stop them in their car and demand to know why the women didn’t cover their heads. One day, two men sideswiped them, forced them to stop and tried to pull one of the women from the car.

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Filed under Faith, Immigration, Social issues, War

Nagar Kirtan parade extols peace

by Rebecca Rosen Lum
Contra Costa Times

Jun. 18–Floats festooned with flowers rolled through the streets of El Sobrante on Sunday as 8,000 Sikhs from the Bay Area and beyond celebrated an annual holiday that extols interfaith harmony.

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Safety still a struggle for faithful

By Rebecca Rosen Lum

Contra Costa Times

Aug. 15–An arson fire that gutted an Antioch mosque Sunday has turned a spotlight on the conundrum facing religious institutions on the political fault line: how to repel intruders while welcoming worshippers.

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‘Faith on tap’: Episcopal bishop hits the pubs to chat up young adults

By Rebecca Rosen Lum
Contra Costa Times

WALNUT CREEK — Episcopal clerics, including the bishop, hit a downtown pub to talk faith with 20- and 30-somethings.

Churchgoers on a mission to sober up sinners?

Not at all. “Faith on Tap” is about bringing together young adults hungry for community, rousing discussion and a meaningful life. It’s spreading across the country faster than a moonshine delivery.

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U.S. religious affiliation in a state of flux, study shows

By Rebecca Rosen Lum
Oakland Tribune

The tectonic shifting of American culture has made for a dynamic religious landscape that promises to continue churning, a landmark survey shows.

Immigration, family choices and a search for religious relevance are spurring dramatic changes, according to a report by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

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Eco-palms do wonders for the wild

By Rebecca Rosen Lum
Contra Costa Times

Apr. 1–Each year on Palm Sunday, Christians jubilantly re-enact Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, waving a combined 300 million palm fronds in the United States. That makes for a green market in more ways than one.

But environmentalists say the traditional method of harvesting palms wastes more than it nets and damages valuable rain forest. And although sales may shoot through the roof, middlemen consume most of the profits.

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Filed under Environment, Faith