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Into the Garden
under the ivy
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Alas, this space is likely to become even more neglected than it already is, as I've been invited to join the stable of bloggers at the newly revamped http://blog.burningman.com. As much of my general religion geekery tends to revolve around the topics introduced in my first post there anyhow, I'm seeing it as a new forum in which to explore a lot of the ideas I used to write about here--only with a bigger audience & more regularity.

Please check it out & leave pithy comments!

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From an interview with Asra Nomani on Reconciling faith, feminism, and Islam

Now that you're on your own, do you expect that you will go back to a mosque at some point? And can you really be a Muslim without joining a mosque, without a having a community?

I have a community. It's virtual, and it stretches from Malaysia to Atlanta. That's the beauty of Facebook and Listserves and all of that online stuff. There are women and men I've met who are basically the thorns in the sides of their local communities, and I find real kinship in them. We communicate every day in some form, and we meet at different events. So yeah, I do think religion is about community, but I don't feel lonely or like "woe is me." There are so many cool, awesome people in the world. I don't feel like I've got to find community anymore inside four walls.

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A friend alerts me to this: Scandinavian Nonbelievers, Which Is Not to Say Atheists

Two comments:

Well documented though they may be, these two sets of facts run up against the assumption of many Americans that a society where religion is minimal would be, in Mr. Zuckerman's words, "rampant with immorality, full of evil and teeming with depravity."

Which is why he insists at some length that what he and his wife and children experienced was quite the opposite: "a society — a markedly irreligious society — that was, above all, moral, stable, humane and deeply good."


I have to wonder if this particular framing speaks not so much to the actual assumptions that Zuckerman thinks most of his readers hold, but rather the assumptions he assumes his readers hold about about what others must naturally assume. If that makes any sense.

And:

The interviewees affirmed a Christianity that seems to have everything to do with "holidays, songs, stories and food" but little to do with God or Creed, everything to do with rituals marking important passages in life but little to do with the religious meaning of those rituals.

This is, honestly, not too far off from the Christianity I find that most of my American students hold. I do sometimes hear their concerns about the moral implications of their faith, but I sometimes wonder if this is simply because being in a Religious Studies class has them self-consciously confronting the fact that they don't really think about those questions with any regularity.

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Data:

"My church is Twitter. ... When I find myself in a moral quandary, I'll analyze the problem on my blog and discuss it on Twitter. My peer group's role in resolving moral quandaries didn't change when I swapped the church pews for ergonomic Aeron chairs and the songbook for a MacBook."

And a teaching tool: The Church of the Latter-Day Dude

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Current Mood: procrastinating

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Also this:

cat
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Religion Dispatches compares Bonaroo to Burning Man:

Like revivals and camp meetings from the nineteenth century forward, the festivals allow participants to suspend their everyday lives to engage in something that is both theatrical and ecstatic. Events like Burning Man, an eight-day annual event in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, have attracted particular scholarly attention for the way that they allow participants to create impromptu communities, to be arbiters of their own rules, and to create thick meaning for themselves through social interaction.

While I'm happy to see this included in the breadth of RD's subject matter, the Bonaroo pieces are disappointingly simplistic. 'Golly, contemporary festivals have many ritualistic elements and spiritual entailments.' Then again, that's more or less the premise of my own work, though I would hope that the length & depth of my examination renders it a bit more nuanced. Maybe one of these days I'll pitch an article bearing my own (ahem) "particular scholarly attention" to Religion Dispatches.

For their part, Burning Man organizers tried to bring a bit of the playa spirit to Bonnaroo this year.

In other news, Pastafarians celebrated summer solstice by processing an icon of their believed deity through the streets of Seattle.

A couple folks have recently blogged a bit about a new 'ethnography' on Second Life. (maybe I don’t actually have to ‘play’ the damn thing-- I can be an armchair anthropologist in the virtual wilderness.)

And Dan Terdiman isn't going to Graceland.

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Someone I met at the Media, Spiritualities, and Social Change conference a few weeks ago has blogged a bit about the paper I gave there: http://www.marketingreligion.net/?p=156

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Current Music: partitas for the unaccompanied violin, js bach

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Someday, when I actually have two hands for a sustained bit of typing (for more than a stolen 1/2 hour here and there), I am planning some changes for the way I utilize this space. Stay tuned.

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I wanted to post this months ago, but was snowed under at the time. But today, as I poke about for various bits & pieces I might want to use in my upcoming job-talk, I dug it up again:

Walter Brueggemann on Rev. Billy

"Rev. Billy is a faithful prophetic figure who stands in direct continuity with ancient prophets in Israel and in continuity with the great prophetic figures of U.S. history who have incessantly called our society back to its core human passions of justice and compassion."

(Registration is required to read the article, but it's free & well worth it if you're at all interested in such things.)

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This is really old news by now, but given today's latest headline, I am reminded that I had wanted to post this a couple months ago:

Erik Davis' on the "early" burn. Insightful & articulate, as usual. Worth a read if you're interested in all things burning man, or ritual, or narrative.

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Current Music: snoozing baby

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