RSSAll Entries in the "Contributors" Category

Soasig Chamaillard: Re-imagining the Virgin Mary Through Pop Culture

Soasig Chamaillard: Re-imagining the Virgin Mary Through Pop Culture

By Lauren Cooper…..Across the world, the image of the Virgin Mary is an iconic one, easily recognizable regardless of one’s religious affiliation. It goes without saying that many Christians view the likeness of Virgin Mary as sacred, and yet it is not unreasonable to suggest that this reverence for the virgin mother’s image extends beyond Christianity. It is an image universally held in high esteem because of its association with the sacred, regardless of whether or not there are beliefs attached to this association.

Reading: It's Not Just for ‘Readers’ Anymore!

Reading: It’s Not Just for ‘Readers’ Anymore!

Kate Daley-Bailey…..“I’m not really a reader.” I have heard this student claim before and again I let out a sigh of frustration. Telling your college professor you are ‘not a reader’ is like telling your boss you are not ‘really a worker.’ Nope… sorry boss, I’m just not the ‘working’ type. Now before I dump this excuse into the dung heap with the rest of the excrement which gets pedaled to teachers on a daily basis, I would like to briefly reflect on this statement and its implications.

Religion, Lately: Hell House Outreach, Tough Times for Russian Anti-Gay Pastafarians, Autumnal Equinox

Religion, Lately: Hell House Outreach, Tough Times for Russian Anti-Gay Pastafarians, Autumnal Equinox

By Kenny Smith…..As the 2013 Halloween season approaches, churches all across the U.S. are preparing “Hell Houses,” “Judgment Houses,” and Rapture Walks.” In need of a Hell House starter kit? There likewise seems to be a forthcoming film taking up basic Hell House theme: all the stuff young people like to do is demonic. While it’s hardly surprising that 77% of evangelicals are said to believe that “we are currently living in the end-times,” some 41% of American adults are also said to express this opinion.

How We Think About Shared Religious Spaces: Collective or Ambiguous?

How We Think About Shared Religious Spaces: Collective or Ambiguous?

By Summar Shoaib…..In a blog entry re-posted here (insert link here) on Religion Nerd, Amina Wadud discusses issues of accessibility to sacred spaces in India, expressing her surprise and disappointment at the apparent lack of encouragement or interest from members of different religious groups in visiting the sacred spaces of others. Wadud emphasizes that they are often even prohibited from doing so. However, as a student specifically focused on, to borrow from Joyce Flueckiger’sIn Amma’s Healing Room, South Asian “vernacular Islam,” Wadud’s posting recalls to mindsacred spaces in India such as saints’ shrines which encourage visitation and use from varying religious groups.

Religion Lately: Rain-god license plate disputes, Happy Yom Kippur and Ganesh Chaturthi, & the Flying Spaghetti Monster Comes the NFL

Religion Lately: Rain-god license plate disputes, Happy Yom Kippur and Ganesh Chaturthi, & the Flying Spaghetti Monster Comes the NFL

By Kenny Smith…..An Methodist minister is suing the state of Oklahoma on the grounds that “Native American imagery on license plates forces him to become a ‘mobile billboard’ for pagan religion.” OK plates apparently depict a Native American ritual in which a deity associated with rain is invoked, which apparently OK could really use right now. Growing number of Africa American spiritual seekers, despite being raised as Southern Baptists, Pentecostals, or Jehovah’s Witness, are said to be turning to indigenous African religious cultures such as Yoruba for religious and spiritual resources.

Syrian Apocalypse, Measles Outbreaks, and the Inevitability of Mythmaking

Syrian Apocalypse, Measles Outbreaks, and the Inevitability of Mythmaking

By Kenny Smith…..With the possibility of an American military assault upon Syria, a number of conservative Syrian apocalypse Christian voices have begun to read such events not simply through a biblical lens (which was likely the case already), but through passages that seem especially relevant. Isaiah 17, for example, speaks of a Syria laid in ruins, the wrath of an angry deity, and human beings looking with awe and respect upon the divine. Some, then, see the looming military strike as presaging not only the ruin of Syria, but the Second Coming of Jesus and the biblically ordained end-times.

The Clergy Project - A Community for Clergy Without Faith

The Clergy Project – A Community for Clergy Without Faith

By Lauren Cooper…..For most clergy members, guiding the non-believers and doubters back into the fold is part of the job description. But where do the clergy turn when they have lost their own faith? In the age of the internet, one can find an on-line forum for any conceivable topic, where individuals who share similar views can come together to discuss, debate, and offer support to one another. Such is the case with The Clergy Project, an on-line organization where clergy members, both current and former, can discuss their transition from believers to non-believers.

Religion, Lately: Hug an Atheist trailer, evangelical sea-change in the making, and a spell for keeping Syria safe from American bombs

Religion, Lately: Hug an Atheist trailer, evangelical sea-change in the making, and a spell for keeping Syria safe from American bombs

By Kenny Smith…..While the great state of Massachusetts considers atheist challenges to the 1954 Hug an atheist dayinclusion of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, a forthcoming documentary tells sympathetically of the daily lives (some might say, “lived religion”) of American atheists. Check out the trailer forHug an Atheist as well as an interview with the film maker. In the millionth round of religion v. atheism, famed sociologist of religion, Rodney Stark, weighs in on the side of religion, though of course the reality is more complex.

Loki's Playground: The Hijacking of Religion Nerd

Loki’s Playground: The Hijacking of Religion Nerd

By Heather Abraham…..Religion Nerd had been hijacked. I reacted to the news with indignation but I could not help but wonder—Who and Why? I quickly dismissed monetary gain as a motive as there are no financial transactions associated with the site. Was it possible that Religion Nerd was pilfered in an act of revenge for a post found theologically offensive?
I found the anonymity of my “enemy” disconcerting. The who became more important than the why. I needed to assign an identity to the anonymous miscreant. After all, how can one fight an enemy who remains unknown?

Idol Worship

Idol Worship

By Kate Daley-Bailey…..My Religion and Media class is currently weeding its way through the thicket of religion definitions which have overgrown the field of religious studies in the last three hundred years. Some of the definitions we are investigating are not blatantly presented by their creators as definitions per se (these ‘definitions’ may be more accurately labeled as descriptions of what that thinker considers ‘religious’).

DIY Christian Bar Mitzvahs

DIY Christian Bar Mitzvahs

By Brandon Logan……..According to Craig Hill, “there is something on the inside of every person that longs for blessing from parents” and a failure to fulfill this need has led to many of the ills plaguing modern Western society (1). Hill combines this sentiment with a belief that the West is tragically deficient in rite of passage ceremonies. The result is a populace left rudderless, constantly seeking the affirmation that should have been provided to them as they transitioned into adulthood. These individuals fail to develop a sufficient amount of emotional maturity, since for those who fail to receive a “proper release into manhood or womanhood” there remains “in the heart a lingering feeling of childhood.”

Jesus’ Remains: Teaching Multiple Jesi

Jesus’ Remains: Teaching Multiple Jesi

By Kate Daley-Bailey, Religion Bulletin…..Amid all these Jesi (my highly technical term for multiple Jesuses), my hope is to drive home to my students that Jesus, much like the concepts ‘religion’ or ‘the sacred’ or even ‘human’, has become somewhat of an empty signifier, meaning so many things to so many people that invoking his name becomes a rhetorical move to claim ownership over a powerful signifier which, ironically, is no longer grounded in any particular content.

Burning Jesus, Mary, and the Prophets

Burning Jesus, Mary, and the Prophets

A “Muslim Gospel,” Khalidi points out, even overflows the pages of the Qur’an: for nearly a thousand years (from the 8th-18th centuries CE), stories and sayings attributed to Isa continued to emerge in Islamic written and oral traditions. While this Jesus is Islamic in tone, a clear Biblical voice is evident. In one of the earliest of these, “Jesus said to his people,”…

Religion Lately: Dress Codes, Betting on the Next Pope, Demon Sweaters, and Palestinian-Only Bus Lines

Religion Lately: Dress Codes, Betting on the Next Pope, Demon Sweaters, and Palestinian-Only Bus Lines

By Heather Abraham…..A heads up to all thrift store shoppers—you may need to find a dry cleaner who can remove demons from slightly used clothing. According to Pat Robertson, there is a slight chance that a great find at a thrift store may be home to demonic entities. I wonder? If demons can attach themselves to clothing trough human touch, do we have to worry about demons at the manufacturing level? If so, demon removal may be a great business venture.