Rather than look at religion as a church, synagogue, temple, masjid (mosque) based thing, she examines how people create rituals and practices in their own lives for healing and coping with the world. So, she looks at women in organized religions, but who participating in healing circles and spiritual growth activities not connected to church or synagogue.
Meanwhile, I'm also reading in the news about religion. There was the mosque controversy, then the Glen Beck gathering, a local Muslim 1-800 number to provide basic information, Thomas Green's article on common myths about mosques in America, Jewish High Holy days articles, and several listings for local Interfaith gatherings. Now the Pope is visiting England, and there are a slew of stories on that. There is so much on religion in the news that I couldn't list them all.
I don't think people put together individual practices with the news about Muslims, or Jews, or Church controversies. People seem to want simple answers about religion and life - what Jews do, or what Christians believe. Of course, there is no one answer because people live out their values in unique ways, depending on their traditions, relationships, and culture. For instance, Jews fast and pray on Yom Kipput, the day of at-one-ment (Atonement). But ...
- for some Jews, this is a solemn but happy day of community, and for others it is a day of mournful introspection.
- Some Jews gather and meditate together at a home
- others sing folk songs at a synagoge
- others attend formal services at a big public building.
- Some fast without food or water, some sip on juice or honey and water, and some simply can't fast because of health conditions.
- Some Jews do yoga - really.
- Some Jews don't do anything.
1. What are some individual religious practices you have for yourself, or you participate in? I mean anything that aids your spiritually - how you pray, or if Tae Kwan Doh does it for you, or you are in a healing circle. Do you do eastern meditation, though you are Catholic, or read scripture outside your own tradition?
2. Do the news reports on religion really match up with your own life? Is there too much of a blanket statement on religions made by the press? For instance, I found people much more informed, reflective, and supportive of the proposed Mosque in New York than the reports considered. Many included prayers for peaceful settlement in their community or private practice.
We as individuals will inevitably have our own variations on religious practice, but it is ultimately to strengthen our relationships with our communities. Otherwise, it isn't religion - a living out of our values, not a bolstring of our egos.
I look forward to receiving your responses in the comments section of the blog.