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 tod … [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 writi … [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 also infor … [Read more...]

Nostalgia is the enemy of history–except when it’s not

Mandela

There are those rare moments of confluence--when history, nostalgia and a child's curiosity all conspire to ensure that my digging into my 80s musical treasures will be for not.My daughter, a precocious 11-year old told me a few days ago she wants to know what the 80s were like? I ignore the obvious feeling that I am OLD, and gleefully prepare Spotify lists hoping she will listen. Making mixed-tapes, the prerogative of every angsty teen was a speciality of mine--I took to making my daughter … [Read more...]

Happy Thanksgiving! (Culture War) Is Over If You Want It

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Every major holiday I make a special plea--hoping to convince a few fellow travelers who are feeling generous during the holidays. What is this plea? To stop listening to the alarmist rhetoric that emanates from the most radical quarters of their respective movements and once and for all put an end to this manufactured thing called the "culture war." Please do not be surprised that these feigned outrages are not selective, manipulated for maximum effect, and, if you analyze closely--often … [Read more...]


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