Pema Chödrön: Quieting the Mind


Teaching Buddhism? The first five minutes of this 2006 Bill Moyers interview with Pema Chödrön provides a good introduction to Buddhism as its practiced today. And we learn about an extraordinary "Bodhisattva warrior."According to the Moyers PBS site "Ani Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun and author whose teachings and writings on meditation have helped make Buddhism accessible to a broad Western audience. She currently directs the Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, Canada, the first Tibetan … [Read more...]

Norton’s New Anthology of World Religion


If you think the Common Core is controversial, then Norton's new anthology of World Religion is likely to be cause for war. According to the New York Times, it has 4200 pages of text and spans 3500 years. The two-volume set, weighing in at over eight pounds and boxed in a slipcase decorated with a suggestively numinous but culturally nonspecific swirl of colors, seems intended to become the go-to holiday gift book for the ecumenically minded. Like any anthology, the problem is not just what it … [Read more...]

The Poppy Hijab: Patronizing or Patriotic?

poppy hijab

Does a British hijab designed with poppies as a way to remember Muslim sacrifice in World War I demonstrate pride in Islam and Britain or does it patronize Muslims by singling them out and questioning their allegiance to Britain?The so-called "poppy campaign" has angered some Muslims. For example, Dilly Hussain, the deputy editor of the 5Pillarz publication, argues "the poppy hijab is a counterproductive and patronizing campaign, which singles out Muslims as being a suspect community whose … [Read more...]

Native American Spirituality

native am

If you are studying Native American religion, you might want to consider some of Kent Nerburn's books, specifically "Neither Wolf nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder."Nerburn is not a native American but has written widely about Native American religion and has won the respect of Native Americans.He believes that Native Americans are an occupied people "who were marked for  extermination by relocation , starvation, military slaughter, and finally by reeducation to rip t … [Read more...]

Is Buddhism Making a Comeback in China?

buddhist temple

Is Buddhism making a comeback in China? The evidence, according to this interesting story from PBS Religions and Ethics Newsweekly,  is that it is making a comeback, that Buddhist temples once condemned by the government, are thriving. That's because  of the negative energy produced by environmental problems like polluted air,  polluted rivers and the slaughter of wild animals. Many Chinese find a source of strength in Buddhism. Fred de Sam Lazaro, the PBS News reporter, notes that … [Read more...]

Mormon Underwear: Not so Magical


Is Mormon underwear magical?Not according to the video above and to this excellent article from The Atlantic  called Mormon Underwear: Revealed.The Atlantic notes that public fascination with Mormon underwear has more do do with the fact that so little is known about it  "in  large part because the Church has intentionally kept information about the garments private."But that changed  recently when the Church of Latter Day Saints released the video above  explaining the "ritual purpos … [Read more...]

Using Face to Faith to Connect Students with Civil Rights


Today my U.S. high school students discussed civil rights with their peers in Venezuela.It was fascinating to hear the perspective from the Venezuelan students.  Their country is undergoing a tremendous amount of internal turmoil, and the students spoke with passion about the government's role in suppressing their freedoms.  They also earnestly described how they yearned for  freedom of expression, a freedom that my students knew well and understood. The lesson was terrific and we can't w … [Read more...]