Lisa Miller

Stories by Lisa Miller

  • Graham's Daughter: 'Religion Is an Impediment'

    Anne Graham Lotz, the second of Billy and Ruth Graham's five children, says it's all right: as long as you have a personal relationship with Jesus, church doesn't really matter. Neither does denomination. "Religion is an impediment to knowing God," says Lotz, who is promoting a new book, The Magnificent Obsession. "Procedures, rituals, creeds: how in the world can they help you connect with God? … If you're sprinkled when you're baptized or dunked when you're baptized, it doesn't matter as far as your salvation goes."Given her maiden name, you would think that Lotz, an evangelist who travels around the world urging people to come to Jesus, would embody old-fashioned, conservative evangelism. Her father has always strongly advised Christians to attend church; the Billy Graham Evangelistic Asso-ciation Web site tells new Christians to make church a regular part of their lives: "Whatever it meant to you in the past, going to church can now become a rich and rewarding experience."But...
  • Ted Kennedy and His Faith

    As little children, they went to mass each week, and every day in the summertime. "We always had a rosary on our beds; and then, of course, [Mother would] hear our bedtime prayers and do our catechism with us," said Patricia, the sixth of Joseph and Rose Kennedy's nine children, in her mother's memoir, Times to Remember. They thanked God for the food on their table, and at Sunday dinner they discussed the sermon they'd heard that morning. Priests and nuns were regular guests at meals—and house-guests, too—in Hyannis, as caught up in the sailing and tennis as the children themselves. The Kennedys were sons and daughters of privilege; their milestones—baptisms, weddings, too many funerals—were marked in church by America's highest bishops. Teddy, the baby, received his first holy communion from Pope Pius XII in Rome, telling reporters afterward, "He patted my head and told me I was a smart little fellow." Archbishop (soon to be Cardinal) Richard Cushing performed Jack's wedding. That...
  • U.S. Views on God and Life Are Turning Hindu

    America is not a Christian nation. We are, it is true, a nation founded by Christians, and according to a 2008 survey, 76 percent of us continue to identify as Christian (still, that's the lowest percentage in American history). Of course, we are not a Hindu—or Muslim, or Jewish, or Wiccan—nation, either. A million-plus Hindus live in the United States, a fraction of the billion who live on Earth. But recent poll data show that conceptually, at least, we are slowly becoming more like Hindus and less like traditional Christians in the ways we think about God, our selves, each other, and eternity.The Rig Veda, the most ancient Hindu scripture, says this: "Truth is One, but the sages speak of it by many names." A Hindu believes there are many paths to God. Jesus is one way, the Qur'an is another, yoga practice is a third. None is better than any other; all are equal. The most traditional, conservative Christians have not been taught to think like this. They learn in Sunday school that...
  • Beliefwatch: The Mayan 2012 Debate

    'Around … 2012, a large chapter of human history will be coming to an end, and a new phase of human growth will commence.'
  • The Third Annual Hottest Rabbis in America List

    Once is lucky. Twice is nice. Three times—well, anyone can tell you that's a tradition. It is a great pleasure, then, to unveil the third annual installment of what we at NEWSWEEK fondly call the "hot rabbis list." Created, maintained and revised by three Jewish media tycoons—Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman Michael Lynton, News Corp. executive vice president Gary Ginsberg and Jewish Television Network CEO Jay Sanderson—the list ranks the 50 most influential rabbis in America based on an unscientific algorithm. Proximity to powerful people and opinion leaders, visibility in national media, size of congregation and good works all count.Last year the tycoons tapped Marvin Hier, the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, as No. 1. This year the list is reshuffled to reflect the new president's priorities and the economic crisis. The top spot goes to David Saperstein, the social-justice advocate who sits on President Obama's Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The...
  • Why Investors are Hoarding Gold

    With prices setting new records, the worried wealthy are piling up ingots in home safes. NEWSWEEK goes shopping for precious metal.