He has contributed chapters or sections to nearly a dozen books as well as several pamphlets for the UUA. He has written for the Unitarian Universalist magazine, the UU World, including for several years as an online columnist, in addition to articles at the Huffington Post, as well as the Buddhist magazines Tricycle, Buddhadharma, and Lion’s Roar.
He blogs as Monkey Mind. The blog's motto is "easily distracted." It mostly addresses the Zen life in the West, but also explores the currents of liberal and progressive religion, politics, and culture. Hosted by the religious portal Patheos, the blog is now more than fifteen years old - and counting.
James is the author of four books and co-editor of one more.
This Very Moment: A Brief Introduction to Buddhism and Zen for Unitarian Universalists, his first book, was published by Skinner House Books. It was lightly edited and reissued as In This Very Moment: A Simple Guide to Zen Buddhism. It's now out of print.
His second book was a study of Zen teachers and communities in North America, “Zen Master Who? A Guide to the People and Stories of Zen.” He calls his third a "sort of memoir,"If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break: Field Notes from a Zen Life. He is the co-editor of The Book of Mu: Essential Writings on Zen’s Most Important Koan.His fifth book is Introduction to the Zen Koan: Learning the Language of Dragons. He wishes it was a bit more accurately title "An Introduction to Zen Meditation and Koans," thinking it more accurate and might have sold a bit better...
These were all published by Wisdom Publications.
James' sixth book, the Intimate Way of Zen: Effort, Surrender, and Awakening on the Spiritual Journey, is an exploration of the arc of a spiritual life, and is due from Shambhala Publications in July, 2024.
His seventh book tentatively titled Zen at the End of Religion: An Introduction to an Ancient Path for the Spiritual but not Religious will be published by Monkfish Books in the Fall of 2025.