Articles by Mary Beth Crain

December 23, 2008
Christmas Gifts of Long Ago
What would it be like if today's techno-spoiled kids were forced to have a good old-fashioned Victorian Christmas?

November 25, 2008
Giving Thanks in Thankless Times
In times of fear and despair, gratitude is sometimes all we've got left.

October 29, 2008
Ghost Writer
Our senior editor talks about her new book, "Haunted U.S. Battelfields," the perfect read for a creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky, altogether ooky All Hallows Eve.

October 11, 2008
Palin Watch V: Troopergate, Poopergate!
Confronted with a scathing indictment of abuse of power, Governor Palin thumbs her nose at the "Troopergate" report.

October 4, 2008
Palin Watch IV: Post-Debate Musings
This hockey mom belongs in the penalty box.

October 4, 2008
Palin Watch IV: Post-Debate Musings
This hockey mom belongs in the penalty box.

September 25, 2008
Palin Watch III: Dumb and Getting Dumber
As she faced the formidable Katie Couric in her second big time interview, Sarah Palin was palin'.

September 25, 2008
Palin Watch III: Dumb and Getting Dumber
As she faced the formidable Katie Couric in her second big time interview, Sarah Palin was palin'.

September 20, 2008
Palin Watch, II: Secrets and Lies
In the Sarah Palin Archives of Deception, "Troopergate" is front and center.

September 14, 2008
Palin Watch, I
Have we really turned the country over to C students?

September 5, 2008
Backward, Christian Soldiers
The Republicans are touting Sarah Palin as the new symbol of change. They're right--she's busy changing the clock back, way back.

September 5, 2008
Backward, Christian Soldiers
The Republicans are touting Sarah Palin as the new symbol of change. They're right--she's busy changing the clock back, way back.

April 28, 2008
The Rev. Wright Stuff
Today's prophets aren't any more popular than they were in the time of another Jeremiah.

April 18, 2008
Why I Want to Be Pope
The Holy Father has a private jet, a cadre of valets, and a pipeline to God. Wouldn't you want to be him?

March 13, 2008
High School Reunion Blues
Wondering whether or not to go to your reunion? Take a tip from the Buddha--and stay home.

January 18, 2008
Oh Beautiful for Specious Highs...
And ambushed waves of brain? With the candidates in flux, the pundits making too much of too little, and the b.s. meter on overdose, the '08 race wheezes on.

January 15, 2008
New Year's Irresolutions?
Struggling with your New Year's resolutions? The key is to stop dreaming and start doing.

December 24, 2007
My Taxicab Confession
Reflections on a checkered birth.

December 19, 2007
From Humbug to Humble: "A Christmas Carol" Lives On
Dickens' classic tale endures as a parable of the most important of Christmas gifts--forgiveness.

December 7, 2007
You Call That a Latke?
Chanukah is here, and so are latkes. But when people start fiddling with this sacred dish, watch out!

December 4, 2007
Kitchen "Kinks" and Evil Urges: A Domestic History, Part II
From the Victorian age through the 1930s, medicine and moralizing went hand in hand, as doctors often doubled as preachers.

September 20, 2007
Preacher Beecher and the Molding of the American Christian Mind
A review of Debby Applegate's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography.

August 22, 2007
Cleanliness Is Next to Craziness: A Domestic History, Part I
One hundred years ago, the Lord's Day was often the only escape in the week from the thankless drudgery of keeping clean.

August 1, 2007
Goodbye, My Friend
SoMA contributor Roger Cox passed away on June 30. Mary Beth Crain remembers our good friend.

July 23, 2007
A Jewish Tale of Woe
To some, paradise is a place where cherubim cavort and heavenly choruses rejoice. To others, it's a hot kosher corned beef sandwich on Jewish rye.

June 25, 2007
Mr. Wizard: In Memoriam
Don Herbert, TV legend "Mr. Wizard," died June 12, just weeks before his 90th birthday. Our senior editor recalls her childhood hero.

June 12, 2007
So Long, Tony Phony Baloney
"The Sopranos"' finale could have been a brilliant synthesis of character study and spiritual questioning. Instead, it was one big fat cop-out.

May 11, 2007
Dead Reckoning
Want to know the exact day the Grim Reaper's going to come knocking at your door?

April 26, 2007
Flash! Limbo No Longer in Limbo!
For centuries, the Catholic Church has debated the existence of limbo. Now, Pope Benedict has finally put an end to the confusion.

April 5, 2007
The Secret of My Success
Our senior editor tried the techniques in Rhonda Byrne's "The Secret"--and her dreams came true. A coincidence? Or The Secret at work?

March 31, 2007
I Don't Care If It Rains or Freezes, Long as I Have My Chocolate Jesus
They've got chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs at Easter. So why not a chocolate Jesus? Trouble is, he's a work of art, and he's nekkid.

March 22, 2007
For the Birds
When peacocks, pheasants, roosters, and bats take up residence in your living room, it's no time to look a gift bird in the mouth.

February 28, 2007
A Tisket, a Tasket, Is That End Table...A Casket?
If you've always dreamed of that funeral parlor look for your home--or hearse--it's just a website away.

February 10, 2007
Trash and Tragedy: The Anna Nicole Saga
Anna Nicole Smith is dead. So what?

January 23, 2007
Roger and Me
This city gal knew she'd be mixing with hunters when she moved to rural Michigan. But chowing on squirrel stew with them?

January 8, 2007
Food and God: Cooking as a Spiritual Calling
With the holiday feeding frenzy behind us, our senior editor reflects upon the power of food to lift the human spirit and bring joy to the world.

December 13, 2006
House of Tiny Brains
Nitwit parents and horrible toddlers collide in "House of Tiny Terrors," The Learning Channel's newest addition to the reality TV cesspool.

November 29, 2006
Oh Gee, O.J.
We thought you couldn't sink any lower, but we were wrong. We thought the American public couldn't rise any higher, but we were wrong there, too.

November 6, 2006
Saddam in Heaven
For those who think that a quick death is too good for the bastard, fret not. Because in the next life, he's got a big surprise coming.

October 30, 2006
Night of the Laughing Dead
This Halloween, our senior editor goes all out to make friends with the Grim Reaper.

September 24, 2006
No Prosthesis for Jesus
By John Sparks and Mary Beth Crain
To avoid hell, a Christian chose death over the amputation of a gangrenous limb. Gotta love that old-time, fear-based religion!

September 18, 2006
In the Soup: Pope Benedict Gets a Lesson in Irrationality
SoMA’s official Vatican Watchdog championed the pope’s right to wear Prada shoes some months ago. Now she sides with him again, defending his right to free speech.

September 5, 2006
Death, Where Is Thy Stingray?
Crocodile hunter and daredevil conservationist Steve Irwin died doing what he loved. Maybe his death wasn't a tragedy but a lesson in how to live.

August 31, 2006
Tranquility: The Many Facets of the Diamond
To find true inner peace, we must be able to embrace life’s inherent paradoxes. Part III of SoMA’s “Summer Soul Series."

August 16, 2006
A Fine Mess
Are you a dysfunctional loser living in a pigsty? Then call “Clean House,” the reality show that rewards gross deviance with a quick fix.

July 29, 2006
Tranquility: The Storm Before the Calm
How finding peace in life can be as easy (or as hard) as breathing. Part II of SoMA’s "Summer Soul Series."

July 15, 2006
Tranquility: Mystical State or Practical Tool?
To find peace of mind, you just might have to lose yourself. Part I of SoMA’s "Summer Soul Series."

June 2, 2006
"The Sopranos"' Mob Catholicism
To the characters on this HBO hit, killing, lying, stealing and cheating on your wife aren’t sins. But going gay sure is.

April 26, 2006
"God or the Girl": A Final Assessment
Our strong-stomached critic endures the rest of the series, resisting a temptation to flip over to the Food Network.

April 21, 2006
An Easter Parade for the Dogs
Our contributing editor fulfills a lifelong dream—to judge a dog show.

April 17, 2006
Showboating for the Lord
A&E’s new reality series “God or the Girl” examines the sacrifices of aspiring priests. (Read: four men in the throes of arrested development air their spiritual laundry on TV.)

February 27, 2006
An Accident of Mirth
My mother, 85-year-old Hazel Gersten, the world’s best Jew, takes communion by mistake—and thinks it’s funny!

February 14, 2006
My Furry Valentines
God bless all creatures great and small—especially small!

January 19, 2006
Nothing for Something
Beware the siren call of spam.

January 9, 2006
That's Funny, You Don’t Sound Jewish
What’s in a name? Lots more than you think.

December 31, 2005
Santa Cohen Is Comin' to Town
For all the poor Jews who never got a Santa, this is my Grandma Annie's gift to you.

December 13, 2005
Saddam Meets God
Don’t worry too much about Saddam getting away with murder, because in the next life, he’s got a big surprise coming.

November 23, 2005
Red Hot Papa
Popes have long concealed plain red shoes under their cassocks. But Benedict XVI has raised his hemlines to reveal stylin' lipstick-red Prada loafers.

November 16, 2005
Confessions of a Madonna/Whore
My enlightening experience as a priest's backstreet girl.

October 7, 2005
As the "Day of Atonement” approaches, reflections on a holiday spent with God, sin, and an empty stomach.

September 11, 2005
No Brownie Points for This "Brownie"
If Mike Brown really was a Girl Scout in training, FEMA would have been prepared.

September 1, 2005
Raising a Spiritual Chihuahua
It's tougher than you think.

July 15, 2005
Dem Bones, Dem Bones
Or, what would you do with a chip off the old saint’s vertebra? (Part III of "The Deborah Trilogy.")

July 8, 2005
King of the Hill
Jesus reigns in spectacolor at Hill Cumorah’s annual Mormon Pageant.

June 2, 2005
Agape: Far More Than a Smile
Divine love is such a complex and demanding ideal that it can’t be reduced to an easy-listening sound bite.

May 24, 2005
DeLay-ed Reaction
As accusations of ethics violations mount, Tom DeLay, the darling of the Christian Right, responds by invoking God and ducking the truth.

May 4, 2005
A Tale of Religious Masochism
Or, there's room for two on that cross. (Part II of "The Deborah Trilogy.")

November 1, 2004
Beware the Scruples
An overindulgence in religious guilt can make fools of us all—even those with PhDs. (Part I of "The Deborah Trilogy.")

Mark Ames
Peter Anderson
Gordon Atkinson
Margaret Atwood
Angela Balcita
Dan Barker
Timothy Beal
Teresa Blythe
Will Braun
Jason Byassee
John Tyler Connoley
Robert Cornwall
Roger Cox
Mary Beth Crain
David Dark
Denali Dasgupta
Gawain de Leeuw
Pam DiBona
Patton Dodd
Cathleen Falsani
John Fea
Robert Flynn
Franklin Foer
Billy Frolick
Ondine Galsworth
Becky Garrison
Eva Geertz
Stanley Hauerwas
Stephen Healey
Jennifer Michael Hecht
Adrian Hein
Tony Hendra
R. Joseph Hoffmann
Stephanie Hunt
Ranya Idliby
Robert Ingersoll
Tamara Jaffe-Notier
Simon Jones
Kathryn Joyce
John Mark Karr
Patricia Klindienst
Kenneth E. Kovacs
Scott La Counte
Michael Lerner
Amy-Jill Levine
Jemima Lewis
Rev. Barry W. Lynn
Bill Maher
Gordon Marino
Bill McGarvey
Matthew J. Milliner
Matthew Moran
David Nantais
Father David Nuss
Paul O'Donnell
Suzanne Oliver
Rich Pablum
Orhan Pamuk
Katha Pollitt
Puck Purnell
Uta Ranke-Heinemann
Mary Roach
Kristina Robb-Dover
Greg Ruehlmann
Dr. Robert Schwarz
Laura Sheahen
Dayne Sherman
Benjamin Shobert
J. Matthew Sleeth, M.D.
Laurel Snyder
John D. Spalding
John Sparks
John Shelby Spong
Phyllis Stine
Astrid Storm
Matthew Streib
Lincoln Swain
Bill Talen, a.k.a. Reverend Billy
Timothy Taylor
Chris Thron
Krista Tippett
Manya Treece
Mark Twain
Ian Urbina
Miroslav Volf
Steven Waldman
Jim Wallis
Priscilla Warner
Daniel J. Webster
Ben Westhoff
William Whitehead
Katherine E. Willis Pershey
Everett L. Worthington, Jr.
Karen Spears Zacharias
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