Posts By This Author

Uncertainty's Graces

by Amy Sullivan 02-11-2013
"Faith, Doubt, and Other Lines I've Crossed: Walking with the Unknown God"

JUST A FEW dozen pages into Faith, Doubt, and Other Lines I've Crossed, evangelical pastor Jay Bakker pens what may be the best explanation for the Christian emphasis on church community that I've ever encountered. Noting that doubt can be "hard and scary," Bakker writes: "That's why we have one another, why we have community. We can go through those days of doubt together. I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for the people who have been there with me as I question everything."

Many writers have grappled with the challenge that doubt poses for religious believers. But in this honest, searching, and ultimately uplifting book, Bakker pulls doubt out of the shadows where many believers wrestle with it on their own and instead presents it as a reality that Christian communities can and should address together.

Bakker's approach to the often-taboo topic of questioning—or, as he puts it, "the sense that faith is crap, life is meaningless, there is no God, the Bible is a fraud, Jesus was just a charismatic man turned mythological figure if he existed at all"—is shaped by his childhood in a Pentecostal environment that left no room for doubt. As Bakker ruefully notes in the book's introduction, "I will probably be 80 years old and still introduced as Jay Bakker, son of Jim and Tammy Faye." That unusual background only provides the impetus, however, and not the substance for this book, which reads mostly as the stream-of-consciousness meditation of a man pushing and pulling at his faith to see if it holds up.

Without A Prayer

by Amy Sullivan 03-01-2008

How the Democratic Party lost its faith in faith.

Amy Sullivan: Republicans Don't Own Evangelicals

by Amy Sullivan 03-28-2007

I still have another month on self-imposed blogging hiatus so that I can finish my book. But I couldn't let this pass without comment.

Rod Dreher quotes Stuart Rothenberg, who shoots [...]

Amy Sullivan: Republicans Don't Own Evangelicals

by Amy Sullivan 03-28-2007

I still have another month on self-imposed blogging hiatus so that I can finish my book. But I couldn't let this pass without comment.

Rod Dreher quotes Stuart Rothenberg, who shoots [...]

Amy Sullivan's Books of the Year

by Amy Sullivan 12-26-2006

I do enough heavy reading professionally - when I read for pleasure, I'm looking for a good novel, or very entertaining non-fiction. These five are guaranteed beach, holiday, or plane reading:

My Fundamentalist Education: A Memoir of a Divine Girlhood, [...]

Amy Sullivan's Books of the Year

by Amy Sullivan 12-26-2006

I do enough heavy reading professionally - when I read for pleasure, I'm looking for a good novel, or very entertaining non-fiction. These five are guaranteed beach, holiday, or plane reading:

My Fundamentalist Education: A Memoir of a Divine Girlhood, [...]

Democrats Talk Religion

by Amy Sullivan 12-01-2006
A new perspective on faith has emerged.

Amy Sullivan: And in Other News...

by Amy Sullivan 11-09-2006

Lost amid some of the understandably bigger headlines were a few stories that would have been remarkable in a normal election season. Up first, the country's first Muslim congressman has been elected in Minnesota. Keith Ellison, a lawyer and Muslim convert, won the seat held by longtime Democratic Congressman Martin Sabo. If [...]

Amy Sullivan: The Fallout from Ted Haggard

by Amy Sullivan 11-02-2006

It's somewhat surprising that it took so long for this story to get some attention today. True, the allegation that Ted Haggard, pastor of the New Life megachurch in Colorado Springs and president of the National Association of Evangelicals, had a homosexual affair is just that--an allegation. But the news that he has stepped down from his post as head minister and resigned from his position at [...]

Amy Sullivan: The Difference Between Negative and Dishonest Campaign Ads

by Amy Sullivan 11-01-2006

There's an election a week away, and consequently some of us are pretty busy with election reporting and commentary. But that shouldn't mean that the discussion here at God's Politics stalls. So here's an article I highly recommend by Slate's Jacob Weisberg on negative campaign ads.

As Weisberg points out, a "negative" ad used to just mean something that wasn't a positive portrayal of your own candidate, [...]

Amy Sullivan: Ha! That'll Be The Day! Erm...

by Amy Sullivan 10-30-2006

I promise to limit the number of times I link to my boyfriend (or myself) on this blog, but since he's a writer, a fellow journalist, and an astute political observer, it's going to happen from time to time. My apologies in advance.

With that over with, I'd like to direct your attention to this observation by Noam Scheiber, of The New Republic. A paragraph at the end of a New York [...]

Amy Sullivan: Has Bush Been Good for Religion?

by Amy Sullivan 10-25-2006

I just wanted to let our readers know that I'm involved in a week-long debate over at The New Republic with Joe Loconte, formerly of the Heritage Foundation and now with the Ethics and Public Policy Center. (Scroll down to read's Joe entry first, since he gets the debate started and I respond. We'll continue the discussion on Thursday and Friday.)

The debate [...]

Amy Sullivan: More Kuo Book Goodness

by Amy Sullivan 10-17-2006

My longer, point-by-point response to attacks made by critics of the Kuo book can be read here, at FaithfulDemocrats.com. It should give you a good sense of the best bits of the book. But I'd also encourage you to read the book yourself. The scandalous political bits have been picked up all over the news by now, but this is not just a "tell-all" book. It's also a thoughtful, moving, and brutally [...]

Amy Sullivan: I'm Shocked!

by Amy Sullivan 10-17-2006

To say there are few surprises in David Kuo's new book, Tempting Faith, is not to suggest that it is uninteresting or to be skipped. On the contrary, the book provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how political priorities get made and carried out in the Bush White House.

It's just that, as much [...]

Amy Sullivan: Federally-Funded Faith

by Amy Sullivan 10-11-2006

This four-part Boston Globe series on faith and foreign aid is required reading this week. And it's especially troubling for those of us who have tried to convince our friends on the progressive side not to freak [...]

Amy Sullivan: But Whose Religion?

by Amy Sullivan 10-02-2006

I was setting out to write a post about a little-noticed agreement reached by congressional Republican negotiators last week. The arrangement removed a harmful legislative provision that would [...]

Amy Sullivan: Upsetting the Apple Cart

by Amy Sullivan 09-27-2006

I heard a thought-provoking commentary on "All Things Considered" last night by a woman named Caroline Langston. She talked about the fact that over the past decade or so her political views have changed, but not her religious views--and [...]

Amy Sullivan: In Good Faith

by Amy Sullivan 09-27-2006

A few weeks ago, Jim Wallis pledged that we who write about the Religious Right--including those of us on this blog--would not treat them the way they have treated us. Which is to say, we will always keep in mind that, [...]

Abortion: A Way Forward

by Amy Sullivan 04-01-2006

The politics of abortion has been dominated by extreme views on either side, but now voters are looking for solutions, not slogans.

The Politics Of Piety

by Amy Sullivan 11-01-2004

When candidates claim God as their campaign manager, you can be sure they're trying to divert attention from the real question: Do they walk the talk?