For the past month or so, partly out of fear about a coming war, partly because I've wanted to find some silence, and partly because my sabbatical research project is a book on violence and religion in America, I've been attending Sunday meetings of the Society of Friends around Philadelphia.
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March 6, 2003
March 3, 2003
When a liberal arts college adapts a new behavior code, other local colleges and the press yawn. But when Wheaton College in Illinois, the flagship of evangelical colleges, issued their "New Community Covenant" recently, the "allowing dancing" clause made its way to metro newspapers' front pages.
February 27, 2003
Even a cursory reading of the day's news will turn up frequent references to wounds. Whether they occur in military combat, in nightclub disasters, or on city streets, wounds are sites of heightened interest, and too often the visible reminders of unwilled and incomprehensible misfortune.
February 24, 2003
"Is There Any Non-Religious News Anymore?" Provocative, hyperbolic, ironic? Yes. But also my assigned topic at the Journalism School at the University of Nebraska some months ago. Both university professors and journalists, as well as other media professionals, get paid to be alert to cultural change.
February 20, 2003
In the aftermath of the recent Columbia disaster, the nation mourned together. The grief of the families and friends of the Columbia astronauts was deeply personal; the loss of seven lives in such unexpected and dramatic fashion was painful for them in ways that we, despite our best intentions of empathy, cannot know.
February 17, 2003
Columnist Cathleen Falsani (Chicago Sun-Times, February 14) summed up what reporters almost nationwide have concluded: "For once, religious leaders of virtually all persuasions are speaking with one voice. Or pretty close to it. They are begging for more civil, milder, spiritual minds to prevail and avert this war.
February 13, 2003
One spark of religion getting press these days is the popularity of the Jewish mystical tradition Kabbalah among celebrities.
February 10, 2003
Andrew Greeley's new Religion in Europe at the End of the Second Millennium (Transaction) finds that 86 percent of people in Ireland and only 21 percent in "East Germany" believe in heaven. Here in the States, we tend to believe more like the Irish. American military and political leaders, especially in times of crisis or mourning, assume that 100 percent of us do.
February 6, 2003
First, a declaration: I am an evangelical and I am against the death penalty. Many people, within evangelicalism and without, seem to view such a declaration as a contradiction in terms. Aren't all evangelicals in favor of the death penalty? Indeed, since the Bible commands capital punishment (somewhere, somewhen) and we evangelicals are "Bible people," isn't that the end of the matter?
February 3, 2003
Religious, theological, and spiritual justifications for starting or opposing an invasion of Iraq dominate current coverage. Most Europeans are bemused and many Americans are non-plussed by the dominance of "Evangelical" pro-war talk. Reporting on the questioning by just-war-minded Catholics, Episcopalians, United Methodists, Presbyterians, and "peace churches" is slight.
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