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.
His second and third books were a study of Zen teachers and communities in North America, “Zen Master Who? A Guide to the People and Stories of Zen,” and the 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.
These were all published by Wisdom Publications.
James' sixth book, the Intimate Way, an exploration of the arc of a spiritual life, is due from Shambhala Publications in 2023.