A story about God and extraterrestrials, told by Elna Baker.
My Own Private U.F.O.
Patrick Wall was a special kind of monk. He was a fixer.
When Dave Hill was in his late 20s and still basically living at home, he hung out with his mom a lot. But once she used particularly sneaky tactics to get him to attend a church fundraiser.
Rebecca was 16 years old when her mother Elizabeth died of cancer. But before she died, she wrote letters to Rebecca, to be given to her on her birthday each year for thirteen years.
Two short ideas that didn't work out so well as full stories.
Ira talks with David Ellis Dickerson about some of the bait and switch techniques David used when he was an evangelical trying to bring converts to the Church. Then Ira talks with author and evangelical Jim Henderson, who argues that evangelicals should follow Jesus's example not through conversion, but by simply befriending non-believers.
Dan Savage points a finger at the Catholic Church for being the kind of criminal organization that drives him to atheism—despite the fact that he still wants to believe he'll see his mom in heaven someday. Dan writes the sex advice column Savage Love and is the author of several books including The Commitment.
This past Christmas a story swept the internet about a football coach at a Christian high school in Texas who inspired his team's fans to root for the opposition: A team from the local juvenile correctional facility. Among the thousands of emails that the coach received in response to his actions, one stood out to him.
Rany Jazayerli was thrilled when one of his closest friends, Mazen, was hired by the Obama campaign as the liaison to the Muslim community, in the months before the presidential election. It only took 3 weeks for a newspaper to attack his character, and for Mazen to resign from the job of a lifetime.
An accountant, Bruce Wisan, is hired by the state of Utah to clean up a very complicated mess in a complicated place: Short Creek, home to hundreds of members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—or FLDS, which practices polygamy. The community had been run by the notorious Warren Jeffs, now in prison for rape.
When Barack Obama chose Rick Warren of Saddleback Church to give a prayer at his inauguration, gay and lesbian groups cried foul, because of Warren's past remarks about homosexuality and gay marriage. But Rick Warren's constituents—Christian conservatives—also got angry.
Greg Warner was living in Pakistan, on the border of Afghanistan, when he met a man—a tough guy, former smuggler—who wanted to break his friend out of prison. He'd bought an expensive amulet, to keep his friend safe during the breakout.
A short story about an orthodox Jewish man who dies on the operating table and goes to heaven. Where he meets God.
One day at church camp, David Maxon challenged the devil to show himself. Just then, a huge thunderstorm started, and David felt sure the devil was behind it.
Host Ira Glass talks about the way most political apologies go, and chats with a man named Derek Jones about similar sorts of apologies among preteen girls and King David, in the Old Testament.
Producer Jane Feltes spends a day with two young Mormons, on mission to possibly the least receptive environment they could find...the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Sam Slaven is an Iraq War veteran who came home from the War plagued by feelings of hate and anger toward Muslims. TAL producer Lisa Pollak tells the story of the unusual action Sam took to change himself, and the Muslim students who helped him do it.
Some people battle inner demons, but contributor David Ellis Dickerson went one step further. David tells the story of the time he took on an actual demon in his college classroom.
Host Ira Glass reads from the Ten Commandments. Not the original Ten Commandments, but some of the newer, lesser-known ones.
As a boy in religious school, Shalom Auslander is informed that his name, Shalom, is one of the names of God; so he must be very careful not to take his own name in vain. Shalom Auslander is author of Beware of God: Stories and most recently Foreskin's Lament.
Six houses of worship in six different cities, each with its own way of honoring the Sabbath.
TAL producer Alex Blumberg talks to Lt. Col.
In the book of Matthew, Jesus says that looking lustfully at a woman is like committing adultery in your heart. Contributor David Ellis Dickerson was raised as an evangelical Christian, and for many years tried not to have a single lustful thought.