The last few classes consisted of us reading articles and giving a crash course on what the main points of each article was, as well as highlighting the main point the author was making throughout. While I read several articles over the last week and a half, the one that struck out to me the most was Meredith McGuire’s Everyday Religion as Lived. The article focused on religious authority and how it had grown less significant to many people in the United States, yet religion in itself had not faltered over that period of time. She went as far back as the 1960’s, and as recent as the 90’s, to investigate what individuals felt was the most important about what they practice religiously, spiritually, or any affiliation, or lack thereof, of any congregation. Four individuals were the focus of the particular article, each four having different circumstances and believing in their actions defining their religious/spiritual association, not the church or other institution they may have attended.
This had me think the most, mainly because I was allowed the opportunity to think of religion differently: an individual may find their religious position to be very important to them, yet the authority of religion in itself may not be as significant. For example, someone who strongly identifies as a Roman Catholic may not necessarily practice their religion in the way that it’s fundamentally taught. They may practice their religion by other means that fits their lifestyle, like gardening in their backyard or collecting items to store in their homes. I never quite thought of religion authority and how it differs from actual religion until the article brought the concept up, helping me understand the behaviors and attitudes of people and how religion plays a role in it. The other articles I read were interesting too, but in a religious standpoint, Everyday Religion as Lived has the lasting impact.
Timothy Keller, founder of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan (1989), will receive the 2017 Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness on April 6th. An announcing the award, the seminary stated Keller “is widely known as an innovative theologian and church leader, well-published author, and catalyst for urban mission in major cities around the world.” Many critics aimed at how the ordinance of women and LGBTQIA promoted domestic abuse and discrimination, and the “censorship”, Barnes argued, was antithetical to the seminary’s mission: “…o be a serious academic institution that will sometimes bring controversial speakers to campus because we refuse to exclude voices within the church.” Conservatives defended Keller, stating that he “is not known as a culture warrior.”
The terminology of the immigration ban has been up for discussion, as Donald Trump stated on Wednesday morning, “Everybody is arguing whether or not it is a BAN. Call it what you want, it is about keeping bad people (with bad intentions) out of country!” Yet on a Tweet on Monday, he called it a “ban” when referring to it. “If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the “bad” would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad “dudes” out there!”
That takes away from the focus of what the executive order actually did and what it means. The more actively religious individuals in the US tends to be more politically and socially conservative than non-active religious individuals (Chaves, pg. 94), yet some of many critics of the ban came from Christian leaders, stating in a letter with eight Christian leaders’ signatures, “Their lives matter to God, and they matter to us.”
While I believe Chaves’ observation has truth behind it, I’m curious as to wonder how much that will change over the next 4 years.
After reading chapter 1, I was under the impression that it was trying to define what a religion was, and from there, understand situations where religion plays a big role. In this case, it talked about San Antonio and how religion played a role in the lives of people living there. After reading it, I still didn’t quite understand what it is about religion that makes an impact, just that it does.
Reading through Chapter 2, it became more clear just how religion plays a role. As stated by Geertz (1966:40), religion serves as a template to serve meaning. It not only interprets meaning, but it also shapes it. It’s meant to make experiences fit with it, and it’s done to make sense out of them, shaping the meaning and experiences of the individual based on what framework fits and makes sense to them. (pg. 27). That would explain why there are so many religions in the first place: it’s subjective based on the experiences of the individual, and it also explains why people can shift their religious affiliations as they get older and reflect on their own experiences. This can be applied to social settings; particularly if people within a single group share similar experiences and use the same framework to make sense out of them.
Chapter 3 expands from it. It focused more on the individual, and what I got out of it is that a lot of the shaping of one’s religion falls within their self-identity, “each person’s biographical arrangement of meanings and interpretations that form a somewhat coherent sense of ‘who am I?’.” (pg. 52) I found that interesting because I initially put self-identity first, then religion. After reading, I started thinking about religion first, then self-identity.