Happy Good Friday!

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It is that time of the semester when I will be doing very little blogging, in fact for the next few weeks, I think I will focus on poetry, because there is not enough poetry in our lives...today's sample is from Mary Oliver, one of my favorites.... and it reminds me of today, Good Friday--when altars are traditionally dressed in black...and I understand, like the line below, that this was a present. “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that … [Read more...]

Sanctifying Music, Sex & Death: Remembering Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye

April 2 1984, if I remember correctly, was a cool, crisp Spring morning. waiting for school to begin, students regularly waited in the quad area and just outside the athletic fields on benches waiting for the bell to ring for school to start. This morning was different though, the night before, Marvin Gaye was killed by his father in Los Angeles, the news made its way through school, and a pall was cast over James A. Garfield Sr. High School in East LA.  Marvin, you see, was one of our musical … [Read more...]

Hunting For Heresy at Regent University…& Hobby Lobby & World Vision (Pt 3)

Keep Calm and Decolonize

About a month ago I gave a plenary address at Regent. The conference was well planned, the discussions were stimulating and I left with a renewed sense of my work as an academic.  The conference, on Latin American and U.S. Latino/a Pentecostalism, was a first of its kind. As someone who has spent a couple of decades studying the latter, it was heartening that such a conference finally occurred. That it occurred at Regent, I will be honest, was a bit of a surprise, since evangelical colleges are … [Read more...]

Hunting Heresy at Regent University–Part II (Dress Codes)

Camisole

When I finished my presentation on Dress Codes and Pentecostal Purity Culture in a class at Regent a few weeks ago, I was genuinely worried because my talk was meant to be subversive.  It went well, the class was receptive, and since it was mostly women, the fact that there are few, if any, regulations aimed towards men, they got it. Dress codes, historically and today are rooted in gendered notions of women’s sexual power over men being so overwhelming, that it is almost unfair to subject … [Read more...]

Hunting Heresy at Regent University

Heresy

A few weeks ago, I attended the Renewal Across Americas conference at Regent University. I have been bogged down by grading so this is the first time I have had to write about the many things I learned about life at Regent--The House that Pat Robertson Built. I have learned much about my chosen profession from watching and talking to many colleagues about their experiences. If I can generalize, the academic life of many in my cohort--is one where roots are rarely planted in one institution … [Read more...]

Snake-Handling, Vaccines & Science Denial

Coots

Yes, so social media was aglow and more than a little snarky and even downright cruel over the death of Rev. Jaime Coots, a snake-handling pastor from Kentucky. After refusing treatment for yet another snake bite, Coots died last week, but media folks and outsiders to this particular subculture are wrong to think that this event will do anything to deter this small Pentecostal subculture from continuing to practice snake handling and drink poison as a sign of their faith. So what is going on … [Read more...]

Pilgrimage for Ricardo works…for now

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On Monday January 13th, there was a peregrinación for Ricardo Ramos in Cleveland, Ohio.  This pilgrimage ended at St. Casimir church where the pilgrims were going to pray to Our Lady of Czestochowa (the Polish Madonna) to intervene on Ricardo's behalf.   Combining Our Lady of Guadalupe with the Polish Madonna is part of what occurs in these ethnic parishes that have been in the process of changing hands from the European immigration of the last century, to the immigration of the global South … [Read more...]

The Seeker King by Gary Tillery–A Review

ElvisDorsey2

Gary Tillery’s The Seeker King: A Spiritual Biography of Elvis Presley, published by Quest Books (an imprint of the Theosophical Society), presents the King as a life-long seeker, making a case that Elvis was more involved in seeking mystical wisdom from sources as diverse as the Self Realization Fellowship (already a well-known part of Elvis’s religious seeking, see Peter Guaralick’s exhaustive 2-volume biography of Elvis.) To Elvis lore, Tillery adds that Elvis also sought solace in the … [Read more...]

The Death of the Religious Right?

Protesting Anti Immigrant Laws

Back after a long holiday break.... Beginning a  several-part series on why all of the proclamations about the death of the Religious Right are mostly wishful thinking.... Not that I don't wish it was true--the Religious Right's contributions to Christianity start and end at fear... But that is not the issue, the issue is the earnest desire of many progressives for that movement to go away since its followers and the politicians it supports are despised in some of my circles (academia … [Read more...]

Libros Libros Libros

Yemoja

I don’t have a lot of time to read during the school year, and when I do read or buy books, I try to focus on things that will be professionally helpful as well as enlightening—so this list is heavy on academic books---next time I’ll post on films, popular books, and t.v. that I think was worth watching this year. Broadly speaking, my field is Latino/a Religious history—to do this well, I read lots of works in the field of Latino/a studies—not only because it informs my work, but it … [Read more...]