Sunday, February 19, 2006

Religion & Violence

To answer someone's question, these are the sources for my class in Religion & Violence:
Charles Selengut. Sacred Fury:Understanding Religious Violence.
Karen Armstrong. The Battle for God.
Karen Armstrong. A History of God.
Richard Fletcher. The Cross and the Crescent.
Mahatma Gandhi Homer A. Jack, (Editor). The Gandhi Reader: A Sourcebook of His Life and Writings.
Rene Girard. Violence and the Sacred.
Sam Harris. The End of Faith: religion, terror, and the future of reason.
Mark Juergensmayer. Terror in the Mind of God: the global rise of religious violence.
Jon Krakauer. Under the Banner of Heaven: a story of violent faith.
Walter Wink. Engaging the Powers: discernment and resistance in a world of domination.

The Passion of the Christ
Dead Man Walking
The Kingdom of Heaven

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Valentine's Day

Yesterday, I went to class in the morning, then drove to Caruthersville. It has probably been a month since I was last in Cville, so I had to take care of some business. Mostly, I had to collect my money for the van I sold back in December. Then, I had to do my best to take care of some paper work I was behind on down there.
At six-thirty our babysitter showed up. (Lauren, you rock, and you're super-Orthodox!) We had decided to go for dinner at a Japanese steakhouse. In my mind, this restaurant couldn't be as busy as all the elegant, romantic, chick-ish restaurants with the flowers and candles. I mean, fire and big knives are surely manly. Anyways, apparently, everyone else thought they were avoiding the crowd, too. There were so many people there! We didn't wait long to be seated. For some reason, they honored our reservations. We got the least experienced and least English-proficient chef in the place. It was a hoot. Our food came all out of order. We were eating our salads while we were supposed to be being entertained by our chef. The food, however, was awesome. We actually ended up getting our appetizer after our food and ate it for dessert. What the lick.
Anyways, I had to drop a class today. I hadn't checked on my online class in a week, and when I checked this time I realized I had missed an exam, two assignments, and a lab. Oops! I guess I need to take that one on campus this summer. The online thingy didn't work. Not for that class, anyway. It just kept being at the very bottom of my list of priorities, since I have four other classes which I'm actually attending which demand my attention, on top of all the other stuff going on in my life.
I've been listening to lots of Our Life in Christ in the car while I deliver pizzas. I downloaded about thirty of their shows to my palm pilot to listen at my convenience. It's a lot more relaxing than listening to the radio. It helps me to have a better night at the pizza place. I'm less flustered, more peaceful.
Tonight, I'm finishing my lesson series on spiritual disciplines at YL Leadership. It has been an interesting time. Tonight we're going to spend some time talking about the Jesus Prayer and Fixed Hour Prayers.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

On Greek Food

Today when I stopped at the Greek place to get some mousaka, gyros, and baklava, I asked the woman, on a hunch, if she could tell where the closest Orthodox Church was. She looks at me and says, "What- are you Greek?"
"Um, no, but my family and I are sorta converting to the Orthodox Church."
"Oh, we go up to St. Louis, to St. Nicholas or Assumption."
"We've been going up to an OCA church in the St. Louis area, too. I have a friend who is trying to start an Orthodox Christian Fellowship on campus at SEMO, and so I wanted to see if there were other Orthodox people around."
"Well, there's a lot around here. There's Greeks, Bulgarians, Albanians... We always wished there was at least some sort of chapel here, but where do you get the priest from?"
"If you get one started, let me know."
"Oh, you start it."

That was my interesting conversation with the Greek Orthodox woman who cooked my lunch. The gyro was good, by the way.
I guess it'll be interesting to see if I can get her to connect with the other Orthodox in town.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Religion & Violence

So, my class on Religion & Violence is pretty tough. The workload isn't that hard. We just have to read a chapter from one of an assortment of religion books, then come to class prepared to discuss it in class. No quizzes. No exams.
But, it is hard to face up to the violence perpetrated by devout religious people, many times in the name of their religion. And this isn't limited to "those crazy islamists". Throughout the history of the three great monotheistic religions violence has existed amongst the faithful of all three groups. Religion violence doesn't stop with the the Theists. Non-theistic religions like buddhism still result in plenty of interreligious violence.
Yesterday we talked for a while about the roots of Christian anti-semitism. Nothing I've never heard, but still, who wants to talk about the failings of their co-religionists? Since it isn't limited to any one religion, the problem is clearly not the fault of a specific religion. But is it related to religion in general? Who knows. And one might attribute it to so-called "fundamentalists" of whatever religion. Of course, such a word in heavy in connotation, but lacking in substance.
Sometimes when the semester gets going it's hard to think about much outside of class. My brain is consumed learning advanced logic, reading and commenting on chapters on religious violence, reviewing my spanish grammar and listening skills.
Pray for me.