How do we come to faith; what happens when we lose it; is it an illusion or a greater path to wisdom? Jeff Sharlet has been examining Americans’ peculiar relationship to faith for much of his writing life. He’s written extensively about the Christian right in his books, The Family and C Street and talked about it before on this show. Now he’s come out with perhaps my favorite book so far, Sweet Heaven When I Die: Faith, Faithlessness, and the Country in Between.
It’s a collection of 13 essays exploring, as one reviewer said, how we gain, lose, maintain and blindly accept faith. Sharlet writes about some famous believers, like Cornel West and those less or unknown: a former left wing radical turned conservative politician, a Yiddish writer who survived the Holocaust, and a spiritual advisor to high end Manhattan real estate agencies–who tells Sharlet that “doubt is his calling”.
We aired a segment a few weeks ago about the chapter in his book about Brad Will, the anarchist video journalist who was shot down in Oaxaca, Mexico several years ago but whose spirit is alive and well at Occupy Wall Street.
Sharlet writes for Harpers and Rolling Stone. His article on Occupy Wall Street is published in the current issue. He’s also started the online group, OccupyWriters. We’ll be posting a web-only segment about that tomorrow right here. Stay tuned.
Liberals have come in for a lot of bashing from the right, ever since the Reagan revolution of the 1980’s. But even before that, leftwing radicals had their own critiques of liberals as the being good cops for the ruling class, keeping order by bringing just enough reforms to the system to keep it going.
Journalist and author Chris Hedges grew up in a proud liberal tradition. But his experience as a long-time war correspondent — among others — tore the pretty face off whatever liberal illusions he carried from his upbringing.
We last spoke to him in 2009 about his book Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. His latest book, Death of the Liberal Class was published in 2010 and is forthcoming in paperback from Nation books at the end of November 2011.
We spoke to him last Spring, before OWS, but if anything, the interview is even more relevant now. Hedges has joined the Occupy movement; he was arrested on November 3, outside the Goldman Sachs building in lower Manhattan during an Occupy Wall Street protest.