Hegemonic Half-Truths: Why 9/11 Did Not Necessarily Strengthen the Religious Right in the Long Run

(This post is cross-published here on Narrative Paths Journal) Last week I fielded a query from the University of Tennessee campus newspaper about legacies of 9/11/2001. Its reporter asked: “How did 9/11 strengthen or weaken the religious faith of Americans? How did it change the way people think about mortality, evil, and hope? In what … Continue reading Hegemonic Half-Truths: Why 9/11 Did Not Necessarily Strengthen the Religious Right in the Long Run

Thoughts from a Culture War Turning Into a Shooting War

I went to my local farmer’s market here in the north woods of Wisconsin, feeling happy for the beautiful day and the chance to be a good local citizen—but the first words I heard were a guy saying “maybe they shouldn’t have shot seven times, but other than that I can't see that he didn’t … Continue reading Thoughts from a Culture War Turning Into a Shooting War

Experts Agree—”Spiritual But Not Religious” Is Extremely Important—Too Bad They Can’t Define It

Since I spend my summers near Minneapolis, I have become a part of a working group at my alma mater, the University of Minnesota, that is called the Religion and the Public University Collaborative (RPUC).  Tomorrow we will discuss research by sociologist Nancy Ammerman that led to her important book, Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes. Although … Continue reading Experts Agree—”Spiritual But Not Religious” Is Extremely Important—Too Bad They Can’t Define It

Injecting Bleach or Ingesting Beach—Inquiring Minds Want to Know

I’m writing this note after reading a New York Times piece and reader’s thread about Trump’s suggestion to combat coronavirus by “injecting” a form of bleach as a sort of "cleansing” (which he has now walked back to supposedly being “sarcastic,” although that seems worse than sincerity). I noticed on cable TV as the story … Continue reading Injecting Bleach or Ingesting Beach—Inquiring Minds Want to Know

The Death of My Old Hometown: Sucking Out the Wealth, Filling the Gap with Fecal Pollution

Last summer, on a road trip between Minneapolis to Kansas City, I passed through a small town in Iowa where I lived from age two to five.  Here is a picture I took. I have few personal memories of my early years, and almost all of them are filtered through home movies that I watched … Continue reading The Death of My Old Hometown: Sucking Out the Wealth, Filling the Gap with Fecal Pollution