My most recent book Roger Williams’s Little Book of Virtues was published by Wipf & Stock in March 2020. This is a part-memoir, part historical account that speaks to those concerned about an ever present politicized form of US based Christianity that enforces its will via governmental intervention. In particular, what can contemporary seekers like me learn from my ancestor’s life and ministry as this pioneer of religious liberty left the institutionalized church but continued his quest for truth and justice for all?
Currently, I am working on two projects. War of the Game, my first work of fiction, unpacks my late grandfather's sports stories depicting the history of 20th century amateur athletics set against the backdrop of Covid-19. The second work is an exploration of spiritual narcissism and how this dynamic informs and infects institional church systems and the world of Christian media.
My other six books include Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church (Jossey Bass, PW starred review), as well as contributing essays to a dozen other books and co-editing a book for a small transgender press. Additional writing credits include work for American Atheist, Beverage Master, B*tch, Bud.com, Christian Retailing, Civilized, Epicure & Culture, Free Inquiry, Fresh Toast, Geez, The Grapevine Magazine, GrokNation, The Guardian belief section, The High Calling, The Humanist, Killing the Buddha, The Kind, The Living Church, Magnetic Magazine, Madelyn, Miss Grass, The New Humanist, Newlines, Northwest Travel & Life, Reflections (Yale Divinity School), Perceptive Travel, 52 Perfect Days, Religion News Services, The Revealer, Salon, Spirituality & Health, Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog, US Catholic, and Weed Aficionado.
In Roger Williams's Little Book of Virtues, religion writer Becky Garrison delves into the life of her eleventh/twelfth great-grandfather to uncover the untold story behind this forgotten pioneer of religious liberty. Employing a format reminiscent of How Proust Can Change Your Life and The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality, Garrison examines Roger Williams's work through the lens of the four classical virtues, which, as she observes, define values that have an almost universal consensus regardless of one's particular belief system. How can Roger Williams's life and ministry shed light on the role of the citizens in a global pluralized world? Garrison asks why this conversation focusing on the role of religion in public life got relegated to moralists like William J. Bennett, who crafted a fundamentalist rulebook that views these virtues through a very strict black-and-white lens. In this age of horizontal social media, what prevents people from standing up to these modern-day Goliaths and taking away their media megaphone? Here Garrison sees hope in the rise of the "nones" who, like Williams, follow their own spiritual path and create spaces that embrace women, POC, LGBT folks, and others marginalized by the institutional church.