In The Middle
Exploring a cave, losing a sibling, seeking a lover
Featuring Rabbi Michael Lerner, Barbara Kingsolver, Sister Helen Prejean, Sy Safransky, and more.
The Gettysburg Address
Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
True prophets sometimes, false prophets always, have fanatical adherents.
Leaving The Faith
Ali A. Rizvi On Being An Atheist Muslim
“You can’t have freedom of religion without free speech. You have to protect all of it: the Bible and the Quran and my right to say, ‘These books are full of fairy tales.’ ”
On (Not) Reading Anne Frank
The first time someone told me I looked like Anne Frank was also the first conversation I had about pubic hair. Now, of course it’s possible the two topics weren’t actually discussed back to back and my subconscious simply saw an opening one night while I was asleep and stitched the two memories together.
The Wrong Imam
If we could have been inside his heart, if we could have been offered transportation from our Jerusalem to his heaven, this is what we might have absorbed: Abkar was not leading us in prayer. He was talking to God while we happened to be behind him, squeezed in so tightly we could hardly ﬁnd places for our foreheads on ﬂawless plush carpet.
Mining The Lost Years
Even at the peak of my methamphetamine days, I would have had trouble talking for seven hours. I aim to please, however. A longing to please is both my weakness and my strength. It’s why I cook, why I write, why I take five years to get a sentence right, why I’m so goofily polite, why I reply to fan letters from prisoners.
Now he’s here, and there had better be something holy in this darkness. So he puts his hands up and opens his eyes as wide as he can and says he has a message from God. Slowly everyone turns. They see a skinny kid who is not quite a man speaking words that are hard to unravel because of his accent.
— from “To My Husband At The Beginning Of The Holy Month Of Ramadan” | Even though you no longer believe, you wake with me / before dawn. You prepare my breakfast: porridge, sliced banana, / a cup of tea, a glass of water.
Now I believe in everything. / Aromatherapy: peppermint and sandalwood / and lavender and especially frankincense, / because, you know, the Three Wise Men. / Mindful breathing, I believe in that, too.