Sightings

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December 29, 2003
In three more days Kwanzaa will end. If you are not an African-American, it will mean little to you. Ron Karenga, the inventor in 1966 of this "family, community, and culture" event timed to overlap and compete with Christmas observance, devised it as a "whites'-hands-off" celebration. If you try to be wholly enclosed in African-American culture, you will be wholly for observing Kwanzaa.
December 22, 2003
All is well in America at Christmas. The Wall Street Journal (December 19) cheers the superabundance of Christmas lighting around American homes. "Energy Puritans may denounce the inessential use of electricity," but aesthetic pleasure and low costs, thanks to consumerist economics, should and do win out. Joy to the world!
December 18, 2003
Experts estimate that there are at least four million problem gamblers in the United States. As signs of gambling-related problems are not well known, nor understood, it is vital that faith communities be informed about the impact of gambling addiction on individuals and their families.
December 15, 2003
"Clergy As Political Activists" takes up most of the December 2003 Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (JSSR), a special issue edited by Corwin Smidt. Smidt lined up 30 social scientists to survey and report on clergy: Evangelicals, Mainline Protestants, African-Americans, "Willow Creekers," rabbis, Unitarian-Universalists, Catholics, and Latter-day Saints.
December 11, 2003
As a University of Chicago Divinity School alumnus and ordained PC (USA) minister, my views place me in a certain context in the range of thought present in such a diverse religious group as the US Navy and US Navy Chaplain Corps where I serve as chaplain.
December 8, 2003
Conservative evangelicals, one-fourth-plus of Americans, do not make up a solid, changeless bloc. Monitoring them, observing their fluidity, is an occasional task for Sightings. One of their voices, the weekly magazine World, offers two glimpses that signal some change and surprise within the camp.
December 4, 2003
In his State of the Union address, which is now being used in a campaign commercial, President Bush said, "It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known." Who among us has not had that fantasy recently, that Al Queda could hit at any moment; blow up a plane, take out a bridge, or rain poisonous gas down on one of

Author: James Wellman
December 1, 2003
"Liberals lay claim to Niebuhr's legacy" read a headline in The Christian Century (November 29) about Reinhold Niebuhr, the most notable U.S.-born public theologian of the century past (and brother of H. Richard, the most notable theologians' theologian of that place and time).
November 24, 2003
The Economist (November 6) brought new life to old debates about American exceptionalism by devoting a whole supplement to "A Nation Apart." Thesis: "Americans are becoming more religious, but notnecessarily more censorious" reads the headline for a section on "Therapy for the Masses." Face this "more religiou
November 19, 2003
The sci-fi thriller The Matrix reached its conclusion last week with the release of Matrix Revolutions, the third and final installment in the series. The basic story chronicles a futuristic battle between humans and computer-driven machines. Along with some unbelievable visual effects, the films also seek to engage some spiritual and philosophical concerns.

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