religion

religion

October 18, 2011

Maureen Dowd wrote an almost innocuous column in The New York Times in which she noted, or argued, that “American bishops have been inconsistent in preaching their values.” Any reader who is up on the teachings of the company of bishops should not be surprised that they are inconsistent or that Ms. Dowd caught them in action. Such a reader who is up on the parties in play can also expect that the columnist is zeroing in on a zone of teachings about sex, which are of a different nature than are the rest of the social teachings. Someone had to notice her generalization.

October 15, 2011

Desmond Tutu has become a somewhat controversial figure in the global religious landscape by insisting that sexual orientation, like racial equality, is a basic human right.

October 12, 2011

Our Lady of Aparecida DayA man makes an offering to Our Lady of Aparecida during the patron saint’s feast day on October 12, 2004. (photo: Mauricio Lima/AFP/Getty Images)

Approximately 100 miles north of São Paulo in Brazil lies the town of Aparecida, home to the Basílica do Santuário Nacional de Nossa Senhora Aparecida, the second largest basilica in the world. Only Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is larger.

And today on October 12th, a national holiday in Brazil, thousands of devotees are traveling to the Brazilian town to pay homage to Our Lady of Aparecida (“Our Lady Who Appeared”), the country’s patron saint.

October 09, 2011

How often is the substance of a report informed or clouded or steered by the headlines that precede it?

Today’s Washington Post may be a fine illustration of this question. Take a look at the four headlines written for a single article by Philip Rucker. A reader can get a very different sense of Mitt Romney and the presidential candidate’s response last night to recent comments about his Mormon faith made by an Evangelical Christian pastor of a megachurch in Dallas.

So, a bit of context with a compare and contrast of each headline in its context. The lede for Sunday’s print edition:

“Romney Pushes Aside Mormonism Question”

Washington Post Sunday


And on this morning’s home page of WaPo’s website:

October 04, 2011

Sam Childers with SPLA SoldiersReverend Sam Childers poses with SPLA soldiers. (photo courtesy of Machine Gun Preacher)

Preachers, pastors, priests, rabbis, and imams number in the hundreds of thousands in the United States. They minister at the borders between what get tabbed “sacred” and “secular” realms, and as such cannot go unnoticed in public media.

September 30, 2011

a cross to barephoto: Helen Sotiriadis/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“Where did you read the Bible?” she asked. My friend Karin used to teach religion in a Swedish public elementary school, which is why her question made so much sense to her but so little sense to me.

“In Europe,” she explained, “we see the clips of your news commentators, we see your President getting sworn in on a Bible, we know America is intensely Christian. But where do you  learn it? Is it taught in the public schools, or do you just have really active Sunday schools, or what?” I quickly reassured her that in America, we keep religion out of the schools, since we are a secular nation.

September 23, 2011

Love“Love” by Christopher Brown (Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Wednesday night at 11:08, the state of Georgia executed Troy Davis, a man widely believed to be innocent. A last-minute delay went to the Supreme Court, where a stay of execution was denied.

Meanwhile in Texas, another man was executed. There was no widespread outcry for the life of Lawrence Brewer. His horrific crime was one of which he boasted, one in which there was no doubt of his guilt. He “deserved” to die.

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September 17, 2011

For one woman with MS, a tree reminds her to make t'shuva — to turn inward, to return to goodness and godliness in preparation for the High Holy Days. A guest reflection for all to ponder.

September 16, 2011

Obama and Bush Pray at 9/11 CeremonyU.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama and former U.S. President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush observe a moment of silence at the time the first hijacked airliner crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center during the tenth anniversary commemoration of the September 11, 2001 attacks at the lower Manhattan site of the World Trade Center in New York. (photo: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

Last weekend, as the nation marked the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, our collective media gaze focused on lower Manhattan, where the memorial service and dedication led by Mayor Michael Bloomberg had already provoked controversy. Though the focal point of these events was undoubtedly — and rightfully — on remembering those lost, that controversy was a revealing glimpse of contemporary American religion.

September 15, 2011

Callejon de Hamel

In Cuban Santeria (also known as La Regla Ocha and La Regla Lucumi), orishas are revered deities who rule over different earthly elements. They are called through dance and drum rituals to interact with humans.

Oshun, for example, is an orisha associated with fresh water. She represents female sensuality and beauty. Oshun’s movement is fluid and coquettish, which is what you’d expect from a goddess of beauty. Her signature color is yellow and she typically carries a fan with her, which she sometimes wields as a weapon. When Oshun laughs, she’s preparing to punish someone. It’s only when she cries that she’s truly happy.

September 14, 2011

During the month before the High Holy Days, it's Jewish tradition to read Psalm 27, writes our guest contributor. She reflects on turning inward and the struggle of preparing for quiet reflection.

September 09, 2011

Day 23: the self doubt is crippling“The self doubt is crippling.” (photo: Meredith Farmer/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Pushcart-nominated poet Yahia Lababidi wrote us this lovely note: “I’m a big admirer of your noble mandate and the fine work that you do. Kindly find two poems below from my new collection: Fever Dreams.”

Here’s the first of those two poems from the Egyptian writer, “Learning to Pray” — a lovely meditation on living life charitably and with intention:

September 08, 2011

Sukkot celebration with Spider ManSpider-Man and Superman perform during a parade in celebration of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the Feast of the Tabernacles. (photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

What’s the religion of your favorite superhero? Don’t know? Adherents.com is compiling an index of the religious affiliations of hundreds of comic book heroes and their archnemeses.

September 01, 2011

Archbishop Vincent Nichols ordains five priests for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in Westminster Cathedral on Friday, June 10, 2011. (photo: ©Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

Hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, famines, tsunamis, floods, volcanic eruptions, and many other natural disasters — supernatural disasters and signals to Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson — are prime global and local topics. They inspire prayer and practical responses, but they also provide metaphoric language for religion. Try this, from National Catholic Reporter: “NO EARTHQUAKE FROM OVERTURE TO ANGLICANS,” a story by John L. Allen, Jr. This week he could have communicated as well by writing “No Hurricane after overture to Anglicans.” “Earthquake” works better, so let it stand.

August 23, 2011

Rep. Michele Bachmann and other Christian Reconstructionists bring a clear spiritual perspective to deficits, budget battles, and taxes says Rev. Sharp. But, he writes, there is another clear spiritual approach that also needs to be heard.

August 14, 2011

Joan Watts' One Series (2008)On a gloriously sunny Memorial Day in 2008, I arrived at the Santa Fe studio of painter Joan Watts. I was there to interview her for a review in a local newspaper. She led me into her impressive studio where her newest paintings, in cool gradations of blue, purple, and gray, lined the warm, white walls. As we talked, a friendship based on our mutual experiences in the studio and on the meditation cushion began.

August 07, 2011

Familiar with Jesus Malverde or Santa Muerte? The popularity of the original narco-saint and "saint of death" are on the rise, and are being worshipped by drug traffickers, gang members, and locals in Mexico and the U.S., are saints growing in popularity. One hitch: they are not approved by the Roman Catholic Church.

August 05, 2011

“One day the santos malandros help a desperate mother keep her child off drugs; the next day they help you score some cocaine. It’s the duality of life, but that’s the way real life functions. I also believe in the Virgin Mary and my other saints — it’s just that these saints understand the street better.” ~Judith Escalona

July 30, 2011

Harry Potter holds Dumbledore's Elder WandStill frame from “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”

In addition to providing me with a least a decade’s worth of entertainment, J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series has also given me a fresh and hopefully meaningful way to explain my not-always-easy-to explain religion to others. And given that practically half the world has either read or seen the last installment of this epic series, I feel comfortable doing so without fear of spoiling the ending.

But first a little background…

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