"Religion," Mark C. Taylor maintains, "is most interesting where it is least obvious." From global financial networks to the casinos of Las Vegas, from images flickering on computer terminals to steel sculpture, material culture bears unexpected traces of the divine. In a world where the economies of faith are obscure, yet pervasive, Taylor shows that approaching religion directly is less instructive than thinking about it.
Traveling from high culture to pop culture and back again, About Religion approaches cyberspace and Las Vegas through Hegel and Kant and reads Melville's The Confidence-Man through the film Wall Street. As astonishing juxtapositions and associations proliferate, formerly uncharted territories of virtual culture disclose theological vestiges, showing that faith in contemporary culture is as unavoidable as it is elusive.
The most accessible presentation of Taylor's revolutionary ideas to date, About Religion gives us a dazzling and disturbing vision of life at the end of the old and beginning of the new millennium.
Many contemporary discussions of religion take an absolute, intractable approach to belief and non-belief, which privileges faith and dogmatism while treating doubt as a threat to religious values. As Madhuri M. Yadlapati demonstrates, however, there is another way: a faith (or non-faith) that embraces doubt and its potential for exploring both the depths and heights of spiritual reflection and speculation. Through three distinct discussions of faith, doubt, and hope, Yadlapati explores what it means to live creatively and responsibly in the everyday world as limited, imaginative, and questioning creatures. She begins with a perceptive survey of diverse faith experiences in Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Protestant Christianity, then narrows her focus to Protestant Christianity and Hinduism to explore how the great thinkers of those faiths have embraced doubt in the service of spiritual transcendence. Defending the rich tapestry of faith and doubt against polarization, Against Dogmatism reveals a spiritual middle way, an approach native to the long-standing traditions in which faith and doubt are interwoven in constructive and dynamic ways.
A growing number of studies indicate that social ties that are formed by older people in the church have a significant positive impact on their physical and mental health. Aging in the Church: How Social Relationships Affect Health by Neal Krause constitutes the first attempt to provide a comprehensive assessment of the various types of relationships that stem from church involvement.
Among the many types of relationships Krause explores are closecompanion friendships, social-support structures (such as assistance provided by fellow church members during difficult times), and interactions that arise from Bible study and prayer groups. Through his thorough investigation of the underlying links between these relationships and the ways they relate to attributes like forgiveness, hope, gratitude, and altruism, the author hopes to explain why older adults who are involved in religious activities tend to enjoy better physical and mental health than those who are not involved in religious communities. Going well beyond merely reviewing the existing research on this subject, Aging in the Church provides a blueprint for taking research on church-based social relationships and health to the next level by identifying conceptual and methodological issues that investigators will have to confront as they delve more deeply into these connections.
Though these are complex issues, readers will find plain language throughout, along with literature drawn from a wide array of disciplines, including sociology, psychology, public health, medicine, psychiatry, nursing, social work, gerontology, and theology. Insights from these diverse fields are supplemented with ideas drawn from literature, poetry, philosophy, and ethics. As a result, Aging in the Church takes on a truly interdisciplinary focus that will appeal to a wide variety of scholars, researchers, and students.
David Hotchkiss Price, a specialist in Renaissance cultural and ecclesiastical history, has broken new ground with this comprehensive analysis of Renaissance humanism as the foundation for Dürer's religious art and, in particular, for Dürer's reception of the Reformation movements. Price also offers an innovative study of the relationships between text and image, and a pioneering assessment of the representation of Jews in Dürer's religious art.
David Price is Associate Professor of History and of Church History, Southern Methodist University.
In Almost Home, H. B. Cavalcanti, a Brazilian-born scholar who has spent three decades working and living in the United States, reflects on his life as an immigrant and places his story within the context of the larger history of immigration.
Due to both his family background and the prevalence of U.S. media in Latin America, Cavalcanti already felt immersed in U.S. culture before arriving in Kentucky in 1981 to complete graduate studies. At that time, opportunities for advancement in the United States exceeded those in Brazil, and in an era of military dictatorships throughout much of Latin America, Cavalcanti sought in the United States a nation of laws. In this memoir, he reflects on the dynamics of acculturation, immigrant parenting, interactions with native-born U.S. citizens, and the costs involved in rejecting his country of birth for an adopted nation. He also touches on many of the factors that contribute to migration in both the “sending” and “receiving” countries and explores the contemporary phenomenon of accelerated immigration.
With its blend of personal anecdotes and scholarly information, Almost Home addresses both individual and policy-related issues to provide a moving portrait of the impact of migration on those who, like Cavalcanti, confront both the wonder and the disorientation inherent in the immigrant experience.
Duncan Ryūken Williams reveals the little-known story of how, in the darkest hours of World War II when Japanese Americans were stripped of their homes and imprisoned in camps, a community of Buddhists launched one of the most inspiring defenses of religious freedom in our nation’s history, insisting that they could be both Buddhist and American.
Articles of Faith
Elizabeth Oness University of Iowa Press, 2000 Library of Congress PS3565.N56A89 2000 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
In her award-winning collection, Elizabeth Oness travels a vast emotional terrain, from the loss of innocence to sexual betrayal to the helplessness of parents before their children. In “Momentum, ” a woman carries the burden of a dead friend's secret for years until she finally decides to reveal it, only to discover that other, darker secrets still lie in wait. “Rufus” follows the quandary of a young man who is forced to choose between the affection of his girlfriend and his compassion for a homeless man who has taken up residence in his car.
Articles of Faith is a collection of stories about silence and the complications that arise when a silence is kept too long or suddenly broken. As one narrator relates, “I knew that life was full of these things which matter so enormously and make us what we are—but remain unsaid because to voice them does not make them go away, and instead shakes everything around us apart. ”
Avenues of Faith documents how religion flourished in southern cities after the turn of the century and how a cadre of clergy and laity created a notably progressive religious culture in Richmond, the bastion of the Old South. Famous as the former capital of the Confederacy, Richmond emerges as a dynamic and growing industrial city invigorated by the social activism of its Protestants.
By examining six mainline white denominations-Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Disciples of Christ, and Lutherans-Samuel C. Shepherd Jr. emphasizes the extent to which the city fostered religious diversity, even as "blind spots" remained in regard to Catholics, African Americans, Mormons, and Jews. Shepherd explores such topics as evangelism, interdenominational cooperation, the temperance campaign, the Sunday school movement, the international peace initiatives, and the expanding role of lay people of both sexes. He also notes the community's widespread rejection of fundamentalism, a religious phenomenon almost automatically associated with the South, and shows how it nurtured social reform to combat a host of urban problems associated with public health, education, housing, women's suffrage, prohibition, children, and prisons.
In lucid prose and with excellent use of primary sources, Shepherd delivers a fresh portrait of Richmond Protestants who embraced change and transformed their community, making it an active, progressive religious center of the New South.