Vow's Bar Business Card Field Notes on Drinking at a Buddhist Bar Thursday, March 26, 2015 - By Jolyon Baraka Thomas We are pretty familiar with how Tokyo’s neighborhoods reward the adventurous, so when Three and I met up for drinks in Nakano on an autumn evening in 2012, we struck out for one of the small side streets near the station instead of walking down the larger shopping arcade directly across from the station exit. Read more...
Christian Atheism An Excerpt from “Atheism: What Everyone Needs to Know” Thursday, March 19, 2015 - By Michael Ruse Christianity set the scene for the next two thousand years. It inherited the God of the Old Testament. By now, one is firmly in the world where one has moved from the one-among-many tribal god Yahweh to a single all-powerful creative deity: “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them” (Acts 4: 24).  Read more...
Taylor Swift GMA The Altar of Taylor Swift Monday, March 9, 2015 - By Kelly J. Baker The patron saint of awkward, idealistic (white) girls lives in my home, a part of our soundscape. The kids and I dance to her music. I place the toddler on my hip and grab the six-year-old’s hand. We shake off our concerns and frustrations together. We laugh at our silly dance moves. We sing along. This is a moment, in which we let everything go and enjoy ourselves. Read more...
"My Fathers Funeral" Funereal Choices Thursday, February 26, 2015 - By Gary Laderman  “What do you want done with your body when you die?” This is a question I never fail to get from undergraduates in my college Death and Dying course. I’ve taught the class at Emory for roughly twenty years, and after a semester spent exploring attitudes toward death and mortuary practices over time and around the globe, students are most curious about this: the ultimate questions—not in theory, but in real life. My real life. Read more...
"Je Suis Charlie 13" Satire, Sacredness, and Questioning the Lasting Political Significance of the “Charlie Hebdo” Shootings Thursday, February 19, 2015 - By David Feltmate I keep asking myself this question as I read ever more commentary from media pundits and bloggers who are all condemning the killing of 12 people in Paris, France on January 7, 2015: You study religion and satire, can you make sense of this Charlie Hedbo…what do we call it now?  Read more...
"Tsipras, Syriza!" Modern Greece and the Politics of the Sacred Thursday, February 12, 2015 - By Louis A. Ruprecht Jr. Edmund Burke (1729-1797) referred famously to “the consecrated state.” G.W.F Hegel (1770-1831) spoke of the modern democratic state almost as if it were a “temple” dedicated to human freedom. Both men came to their startlingly spiritual views of modern politics and the modern state by reflecting critically on the French Revolution and its aftermath. Read more...
The Superhero Afterlife Superhero Afterlife (Abridged) Thursday, February 5, 2015 - A. David Lewis is a national lecturer in Comics Studies and an award-winning graphic novelist. He holds a PhD in Religion and Literature from Boston University and is a founding member of Sacred and Sequential. His book, American Comics, Literary Theory, and Religion: The Superhero Afterlife, is now available from Palgrave Macmillan. Read more...
"Dome on the Rock" Commerce, Commercialism, Commercialization: How Money Gets Spent and Talked About on Holy Land Tours Friday, January 30, 2015 - By Hillary Kaell Every year, a quarter-million Christians from the United States walk where Jesus walked, a trip they describe as a physical and imaginative return to the source of their faith... Read more...
Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 12.00.06 PM (2) “Looking” for Spirituality and Truth Wednesday, January 14, 2015 -
By Luís León The second season of HBO’s ground-breaking mini-series Looking aired this week, January 11, at 8:00 PM. The premiere on January 19 of last year marks a milestone for lgbt-themed television drama: a realistic and edgy depiction of young gay men set in San Francisco, with a multicultural cast (albeit still mostly focused on white men). Even while it’s a coup in the struggle to advance lgbt rights—depicting and thus familiarizing audiences with the interior lives of gays—creating empathy and affect— it is at once an advance in efforts to understand the human condition.  Read more...
Walden Pond American Gurus: Seven Questions for Arthur Versluis Monday, January 12, 2015 - 1. What sparked the idea for writing this book? Why write it now?  American Gurus was a long time in the making. I first had the ideas for some of the book when I was working on American Transcendentalism and Asian Religions (1993). In particular, I wanted to look at how Platonism influenced American Transcendentalism. Read more...
Logo Timothy Leary LSD and the Rabbis: Conclusion Monday, December 8, 2014 - By Shalom Goldman As a culturally and politically aware New York City teenager, I knew that there was a buzz among bohemians and literati about LSD use. That in the early 1960s artists, musicians and poets were using psychedelic drugs was not exactly news. And that some of these artists were Jews (in a city a quarter of whose population was Jewish) was not exactly news either. Read more...
"Tomb of Maurice of Saxe in Saint Thomas's church, Strasbourg, by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle"  by Rama via Wikimedia Commons Seven Questions for Suzanne Glover Lindsay Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 1. What sparked the idea for writing this book? Like many researchers, I smelled a story in the gaps and disparities within even the newest work on a great topic: nineteenth-century French sculpture. Some of its most famous examples were funerary monuments that were hailed as artistic masterpieces or as key players in France’s political history without any significant reference to their intended purpose as parts of tombs. Read more...