Barbara O’Brien grew up in the Ozark Mountain section of the Bible Belt, also called the Land of Perpetual Holy Spirit Gospel Tabernacle Revivals. Doubts pulled her away from Christianity, however, and after much stumbling around in many traditions she became a formal student of Zen Buddhism in the late 1980s. As a journalist she has written extensively about religion in America and how it impacts politics and culture. Since 2008 she has been the resident expert on Buddhism for About.com, and she blogs about whatever is on her mind at her personal blog, The Mahablog (mahablog.com). She is currently a member of the Empty Hand Zen Center in New Rochelle, NY.