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Featured Book: The God Beat: What Journalism Says about Faith and Why It Matters


A kind of new religion journalism is emerging. In it, the reporter includes his or her own personal, subjective experience: they “don’t shy away from personalizing thoughts,” Publishers Weekly observes in its review of The God Beat, which collects 26 high-quality examples. The writers’ “brash, innovative, daring, and stylistically sophisticated writing” is clear, the publisher notes, as is “their own interaction with faith, or their lack thereof.”

It makes for “an invigorating mix,” Foreword Reviews declares. But, as well, it points up that “these are dark times, and many writers…address topics like death, hatred, abuse, and decay,” Daniel Burke affirms in America, The Jesuit Review. He, a religion reporter for nearly 16 years, finds the best articles in the anthology to be “quietly reflective, deeply informed, subjective but not solipsistic. They combine an insider’s knowledge with an outsider’s practiced observation….”

In its pages, you’ll not only meet a hugging guru and a radical Quaker, but you’ll read about the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal, and, in a powerful meditation, the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting. “Throughout, a variety of emotions are conveyed: curiosity is surprised and sated,” Burke observes, “and hearts are made light and are broken in turn.”

The God Beat: What Journalism Says about Faith and Why It Matters
Costica Bradatan & Ed Simon, editors
Broadleaf Books, 2021