Tonight's opening class covered a lot of ground, and I thought the discussion was good, full, enlightening, and rather engaging. I'm very hopeful it is a sign of good things to come.
I hope the religious literacy quiz was both enjoyable and informative. Perhaps you might give it to family members, friends, significant others, etc., and take the discussion from there. It would be interesting to hear the results on Thursday. In the meantime, here's the Daily Show clip we watched in class.
Here's a recap of the definitions of religion we discussed. We'll take this up with theoretical considerations on Thursday.
From Andrew Chesnut, formerly of UH and now at Virginia Commonwealth University: “System of beliefs and rituals relating to superhuman beings.” And from religious studies scholar Thomas Tweed: “Religions are confluences of organic-cultural flows that intensify joy and confront suffering by drawing on human and superhuman forces to make homes and cross boundaries.” And finally a meager offering (yes, that's a religious term!) from yours truly: human engagement with the superhuman through text, image, sound, ritual, or other intermediary in order to fashion individual identity, create meaning, and cultivate community.
You can find the Robert Orsi article we'll discuss Thursday here.
Finally, as you think about the religious staycation paper, I'd like to share my thoughts about where I'd go on a religious staycation. I'm one of the contributing editors to a collective blog that covers American religion, and I recently posted about religious staycations.