The major religions of the world have outlasted empire, country, nation-state, and business. Cultures continually address them with new information and fresh worldviews. Religions are not static; they change constantly, though deliberately and, as a rule, very slowly.
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January 17, 2002
January 14, 2002
This Wednesday, January 16, is the 216th anniversary of the Virginia General Assembly's 1786 adoption of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. This weekend the Council for America's First Freedom held its annual celebration of the event. (I am writing this before leaving for Richmond.
January 10, 2002
Shortly after September 11, irony was pronounced dead. The "death of irony" discourse is said to have originated with Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter's prognostication shortly after the attacks, "There is going to be a seismic change.
January 7, 2002
"The profession of ministry is too important in our culture and society for it to go unmonitored by and uncontributed to by universities." That was the answer the late Edward H. Levi once gave me when I asked on what rationale he supported the inclusion of "ministerial studies" alongside "religious studies" at the University of Chicago.
January 3, 2002
Pietism is usually understood as a reform movement within German Lutheranism initiated by Philip Jakob Spener. Spener emphasized individual conversion, "living faith," and the fruits of faith. The name "Pietism" is derived from the "collegia pietatis," informal devotional meetings first organized around 1670 when Spener was pastor in Frankfurt.
December 31, 2001
At year’s end observers of American culture are busy trying to make sense of the religion they have been sighting as seldom before in 2001. For many, this means choosing the "Top Ten" religion stories of the year or, more appropriately, choosing the second to the ninth top stories, since number one is an obvious choice. For others, it means trying to assess trends.
December 24, 2001
Last week Sightings spotted a New York Times writer saying nice things about some Southern Baptists for their charity. This week, on Christmas Eve, we look back to another Times seasonal story, and find it saying things naughty -- not nice -- about Christians, for their uncharitable attitudes toward music.
December 20, 2001
Connections between religion and advertising are mutual and frequent in American public life. Yet the post-September television advertisements of two major automobile companies seem to have crossed a troubling threshold.
December 17, 2001
Every time the Southern Baptist Convention does something "in-your-face," the organs that its defenders call "the media" swoop in on them. Sometimes comprehendingly and sometimes uncomprehendingly, they criticize the assumptions and pronouncements of the largest Protestant church in the country.
December 10, 2001
Last Thursday the Pew Research Center and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released data on a sure-to-be-noticed-poll. It assesses American attitudes to matters religious after September eleventh. To the degree that one trusts such polls, one can walk away with much interesting data.
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