Tara Isabella Burton

Burton, who received a doctorate in theology from Oxford University, is at work on a book about the rise of the religiously unaffiliated in America, to be published in November 2020 by Public Affairs. Her novel, “Social Creature,” was published in June 2018.

All Stories by Tara Isabella Burton

Fleshly sacraments in a viral, virtual world

April 7, 2020

(RNS) — Marrying in Central Park in the middle of a quarantine, we inadvertently found ourselves something of an attraction for all of New York City.

Location, location, location? How coronavirus is reshaping our sense of place

March 24, 2020

(RNS) — The rise of the ‘social distancing social life’ makes it clearer than ever that the places that shape us are no longer the hometowns, houses of worship and other communities we take as a given.

As the Chick-fil-A flap shows, the brands we buy are increasingly a values proposition

November 22, 2019

(RNS) — Chick-Fil-A may have capitulated to market forces by ending its support of conservative groups. But its about-face says less about “cancel culture” than about the American spiritual marketplace.

The next stage of witch resistance is here

November 15, 2019

(RNS) — If all realities are equally plausible in the Internet age, then there is no reason that magic should be less plausible, indeed less powerful, than any other form of reality-creation.

Behind Weird Christian Twitter, millennials bent on rebelliously orthodox belief

November 8, 2019

(RNS) — Weird Christianity may still be a fringe identity, but it gets at a much bigger question about the future of Christianity in an increasingly fragmented, irreligious age.

Witch season provides a deep look into the millennial mindset

October 10, 2019

(RNS) — The witch trend says something about the current generation’s dependence on technology to fashion selves we can identify with and love.

Caroline Calloway and the cost of creating the ‘best self’

September 11, 2019

(RNS) — The second that your ‘best self’ becomes too obviously an illusion, its moral authority collapses. It’s simply, well, a lie.

Glamour and unattainability is out. Spiritual refreshment is in

August 23, 2019

(RNS) — Today’s advertisements are designed to evoke different and more numinous emotions: spiritual well-being, an inward journey, a moral sensibility. We’re buying the very things that organized religion used to provide us for free.

I’ll cry if I want to: Positive thinking, prosperity gospel and the vulnerability of faith

August 16, 2019

(RNS) — To be vulnerable, to be too much, feels like a failure in today’s wellness culture. But we cannot positive-think our way out of the human condition.

Millennials, moral relativism and Iris Murdoch

July 19, 2019

(RNS) — The celebrated British novelist Iris Murdoch, who would have turned 100 this week, anticipated young Americans’ attempt to find goodness without God.

In Brooklyn, ‘tradpunk’ Christianity meets millennial counterculture

July 12, 2019

(RNS) — For many religious people, faith has become a countercultural rejection of elements of secular culture. It’s traditionalism as transgression. You might even call it tradpunk.

Democratic candidates are hiring faith outreach directors — but outreach for whom?

July 1, 2019

(RNS) — Ultimately, the best work of campaign faith engagement strategists might not be in changing minds but in getting out the existing Democratic vote.

How a Catholic bishop and Jordan Peterson became fellow travelers

June 21, 2019

(RNS) — Peterson and his ‘new atavists’ share with their Catholic brethren a disillusionment with what they see as the feminization of contemporary, post-feminist, post-sexual-revolution America.

There’s more to wellness than looking pretty

June 14, 2019

(RNS) — Wellness culture is about more than beauty. It’s about something even more complicated: purity.

Can witches and consumer culture coexist?

June 4, 2019

(RNS) — As long as millennials adapt rituals and spells as a force for change, companies will hawk those rituals and spells to preserve the status quo.

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