The Metaphysics of the Internet; or Can Lydia Maria Child’s Ghost Read My Comment?

I'm in the midst of the metaphysical chunk of my dissertation. In these two chapters I examine how American writers in the middle of the nineteenth century looked to India for sources to build religious alternatives to orthodox Protestantism. Thoreau, Emerson, Blavatzky, all the usual suspects are there. Today I'm working on the writings of … Continue reading The Metaphysics of the Internet; or Can Lydia Maria Child’s Ghost Read My Comment?

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On the Anniversary of Thoreau’s ‘Walden’ and Its Place in American Religious History

Today marks the 158th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau's Walden. It couldn't have come at a better time. Right now I am knee deep in Transcendentalists, Thoreau included, as I wade through my chapter on Transcendentalist representations of Hinduism. The combination of today's anniversary and my current writing work got me thinking about how Henry … Continue reading On the Anniversary of Thoreau’s ‘Walden’ and Its Place in American Religious History

Frequencies and the Aesthetics of Spirituality

  Theologians. They don't know nothing. About my soul -Wilco Frequencies, the collaborative genealogy of spirituality curated by Katherine Lofton and John Modern, has become quite a brand across the religion blogosphere. The folks at the Immanent Frame have been posting a series of reflections on the project and its 100 entries ranging from chicken … Continue reading Frequencies and the Aesthetics of Spirituality

Food and Spirituality in the South: Chick-fil-A and Bessinger Bros. BBQ

A couple delicious articles crossed my plate just before the Christmas weekend and I didn't want the connections between them to sneak by. Over at the wonderfully put together museum of religion and spirituality with a hipster aftertaste, Frequencies, Darren "DEG" Grem has written a piece that dives into the spirituality of the Chick-fil-A sandwich. … Continue reading Food and Spirituality in the South: Chick-fil-A and Bessinger Bros. BBQ

Thinking About Ralph Waldo Emerson on His Birthday

Today is Ralph Waldo Emerson's 208th birthday. The Concord sage is one of the great figures of American history and one of my favorite New England religious thinkers. I always think of Emerson as the man who was willing to push that little bit further. Where Arminians and Unitarians stopped, Emerson jumped off the cliff … Continue reading Thinking About Ralph Waldo Emerson on His Birthday

Review: American Veda by Philip Goldberg

While I was traveling over the last few days, Religion Dispatches published a review I wrote of Philp Goldberg's American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West. Here's a bit of it: A Methodist church near my house advertises for “Gentle Yoga Classes” on one of those … Continue reading Review: American Veda by Philip Goldberg

Things Sacred & Profane: AA Spirituality, GWB Drunk with Rev. Graham, and Einstein on God

- Alcoholics Anonymous as a spiritual experience. - So apparently former President Bush was sloshed the first time he met Billy Graham. He had had "about four beers and five wines." Well done, sir. - It's always remarkable to me how much interest surrounds Albert Einstein's thoughts about God. It's the modern equivalent to the … Continue reading Things Sacred & Profane: AA Spirituality, GWB Drunk with Rev. Graham, and Einstein on God

Peter Berger, “Easternizing Spirituality,” and the Colonial Difference

In case you haven't stumbled upon it yet, sociologist Peter Berger has a new blog, Religion Other Curiosities, at the American Interest Online. It's a great blog and worth checking out on a regular basis. Berger has keen insights into Religion and culture and it's great that he's decided to jump into the blogosphere. (EDIT- … Continue reading Peter Berger, “Easternizing Spirituality,” and the Colonial Difference

Burning Man, Green Acre, and Ritual in U.S. Religious History (Cross-Post))

This is a cross-post from the Religion in American History Blog. This morning I came across an interview with Lee Gilmore at Religion Dispatches where she discusses her new bookTheater in a Crowded Fire: Ritual and Spirituality at Burning Man (UC Press).  The full interview deserves a read, especially the story of how she came upon … Continue reading Burning Man, Green Acre, and Ritual in U.S. Religious History (Cross-Post))