01: Religion in the News has staked out new territory as it takes a critical look at how the media covers religion.
The magazine, issued three times yearly, is published by the Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life, and examines a broad range of religion-and-society issues. The charter issue (June) includes critiques about how much of the media over-simplified stories on the pope’s trip to Cuba and the visit of Eastern Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew to the U.S., and almost entirely missed the implications of welfare reform. Editor Mark Silk provides an interesting article showing how the media — particularly the opinion columnists — showed more moral outrage about the Lewinsky affair than the nation’s clergy.
For more information on the magazine write: Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life, Trinity College, 300 Summit St., Hartford, CT 06106 or visit their web site: http://www.trincoll.edu/resources/csrpl
02: The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (July) is devoted to “Americans and Religions in the Twenty-First Century.”
The 224-page issue features a wide range of articles covering most segments of American religion, including: an examination of how exceptional American religion is; author N.J. Demerath finds growing commonalties between the U.S. and other nations; Mark Shibley’s article on the growing “worldliness” among evangelicals; Cheryl Townsend Gilkes article on the growth of black megachurches (she suggests that the growth of charismatic practices in these churches stems from the involvement of many young professionals with Pentecostal backgrounds) and the rise of the black men’s movement in the churches; and Michelle Dillon’s look at the paradox of American Catholics’ support of the pope even as they hold to their own interpretations of Catholic teachings.
The issue costs $19 and is available from : The Annals, Sage Publications, 2455 Teller Rd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91320.
03: New research in the ever-growing field of spirituality and health is gathered together and discussed in a recent issue of Science & Spirit magazine (Vol. 9, Issue 3).
The articles include an interview with C. Everett Koop, an overview of recent studies, and a listing of resources on medicine and spirituality on the Internet. A thought-provoking article by editor Kevin Sharpe and Rebecca Bryant on the unanswered questions of the religion-health connection, such as why spirituality doesn’t always carry beneficial effects, rounds out the issue.
The issue costs $6 and is available from: Science & Spirit, 171 Rumford St., Concord, NH 03301-4579.
04: The growth of social activism and political concern among the world’s Buddhists is demonstrated in a special issue of Turning Wheel (Summer), the magazine of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.
The issue, which marks the 20th anniversary of the organization, features articles tracing how Buddhists, under the influence of such leaders as Gary Snyder and Thich Tanh-Thien, moved from a politically passive role to one of liberal and radical activism, focusing on such issues as war and peace and the environment.
Writing about such “engaged Buddhism” in Thailand, Robert Aiken sees small Buddhist groups as similar to the basic Christian communities of Latin America (related to liberation theology), though the former is more likely to stress “self-sufficiency” and “independence” rather than economic and political equality.
To obtain this issue, send $4 to: Turning Wheel, P.O. Box 4650, Berkeley, CA 94704.
05: Gatherings in Diaspora (Temple University Press, $24.95), edited by R. Stephen Warner and Judith G. Wittner, takes a sustained look at the religious communities and congregations of new immigrants and how such faiths have adapted to their new surroundings.
The book is particularly interesting because it provides “from the ground” perspectives of these congregations based on interviews and participatory observation, often by scholars from within these communities. The groups covered include a Korean evangelical congregation dealing with its second generation members; Rastafarians as they adopt congregational structures; the growth and dynamics of small groups within Hinduism in California (also an American innovation); and the relation of Voudou with Catholicism among Haitians during a religious feast in New York City.