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“You Can’t Reason with a Crazy Person”: The Un-politics of American political discourse

“You Can’t Reason with a Crazy Person”: The Un-politics of American political discourse

By James Dennis LoRusso, Religion Bulletin….
Were you to travel one segment of the Eisenhower Expressway in Illinois this morning, you might discover a curious billboard. The display features a mugshot of Ted Kaczynski, the self-confessed “Unabomber,” coupled with the question, “I still believe in Global Warming. Do You?” The new billboard campaign lining various commuter routes is the latest initiative of the Chicago-based conservative think tank, the Heartland Foundation, to call into question prevailing scientific consensus around climate change.

Why the Poor are Just Plain Lazy: Newt Gingrich and the Calvinist Roots of the American Work Ethic

Why the Poor are Just Plain Lazy: Newt Gingrich and the Calvinist Roots of the American Work Ethic

By James Dennis LoRusso, Emory University…..
Undoubtedly, most people in this country understand hard work to be a virtue, but in Newt’s statement resides a subtle assumption: Being poor is a sign of moral failure on the part of the individual and the poor community. The mass appeal of this belief, that poverty itself is a sign of moral deficiency, results from the particular way the so-called “Protestant work ethic” is situated in American culture. The root of this ethic comes out of the strict Calvinist tendencies of colonial New England. The Dissenting Puritans that settled Massachusetts in the seventeenth century held a view that hard work signified virtue. Earlier thinkers of the Reformation like Martin Luther and John Calvin turned Catholic notions of work as penance for sin on their head and painted every individual’s “vocation” or “calling” as a contribution to God’s creation.

Bringing Spirituality into the Workplace at the University of Arkansas: Saving Souls and the World through the Free Market

Bringing Spirituality into the Workplace at the University of Arkansas: Saving Souls and the World through the Free Market

James Dennis LoRusso, Emory University……
Self-proclaimed “corporate mystic,” Lynne Sedgemore, read the above passage by Khalil Gibran during her keynote address at the International Faith and Spirit at Work Conference recently held at the University of Arkansas. The conference, sponsored by the Tyson Center of Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace, itself a part of the University’s Sam Walton College of Business, gathered together an eclectic mixture of business leaders, academics, religious authorities, and spiritual teachers in hopes of generating momentum for an idea that has been gaining traction over the last few decades: that there is a place, indeed a vital need, in today’s global economy, for spirituality in one’s work.

A Personal Reflection of Sweat Lodges, Spiritual Economies, and Cultural Ownership

A Personal Reflection of Sweat Lodges, Spiritual Economies, and Cultural Ownership

By James Dennis LoRusso
Since the fall of 2009, I have followed closely the aftermath of the deaths of three participants in a so-called sweat lodge ceremony near Sedona, AZ. On October 9, 2009, James Arthur Ray, self-described spiritual leader known for his appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and in the film about the new age book, The Secret, led a sizeable group through the traditional Native American ceremony as part of a broader “Spiritual Warrior” retreat, for which each patron paid close to $10,000. During the procedure, three members of the group met their untimely demise as a result of the physical stresses of the sweat lodge. Immediately, of course, numerous voices from a number of interests spoke out against the various elements that made such a tragedy possible. The town of Sedona formally distanced itself from Ray and sought to reassure the public that while such events cannot be allowed to occur, spiritual retreats would nonetheless remain a vital and thriving part of the local economy.

Tea Parties, Totems, Taxation, and Tyrannies: Religion and the Tea Party, Part II

Tea Parties, Totems, Taxation, and Tyrannies: Religion and the Tea Party, Part II

Now, even though no “church” of the Tea Party exists, its participants arguably believe in the sacred nature of things, namely the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and the Founding Fathers of the nation. Further, these representations of the sacred seem to provide an anchor with which these adherents form a single moral community. Thus, Durkheim’s definition illustrates how the Tea Party movement resembles other social groups that we more readily recognize as religious.

The Religion of the Tea Party: A Cautionary Tale to Scholars

The Religion of the Tea Party: A Cautionary Tale to Scholars

By James Dennis LoRusso  In the last 18 months, the political landscape in the United States has undergone seismic shifts.  The ever-widening ideological chasm between progressive and conservative renders constructive dialogue problematic at best, and no phenomenon better symbolizes this dilemma for both sides of the political spectrum than the Tea Party.  On the right, […]