cover image The God Beat: What Journalism Says About Faith and Why It Matters

The God Beat: What Journalism Says About Faith and Why It Matters

Edited by Costica Bradatan and Ed Simon. Broadleaf, $26.99 (225p) ISBN 978-1-5064-6577-7

Bradatan, religion editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Simon, a staff writer for The Millions, collect 26 superior recent essays representative of “a New Religion Journalism emerging to cover issues of faith with the same literary panache as a Didion or a Talese.” The featured writers don’t shy away from personalizing thoughts, asking questions about faith and meaning in the context of current events, or displaying “the full ambiguity and ambivalence of belief.” In “Why I Love Mormonism,” philosopher Simon Critchley explores the persistence of anti-Mormon prejudice among those who decry intolerance of followers of other religions. Emma Green’s powerful “Will Anyone Remember Eleven Dead Jews?” explains why preserving artifacts from tragedies such as the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue massacre matters. Other standouts are Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen’s probing essay on the legacy of Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and a piece by Joel Looper on the problematic opining of political commentators who assert which contemporary political positions a deceased theologian might support. The high quality of the selections suggests that an annual volume would be welcome. (June)