Monthly Archives: November 2011

Women’s Dignity in the Workplace

Published on November, 16, 2011, on the Black, White and Gray blog, my thoughts on what Edith Stein insights offer to women in the professions.

“Although she points out that women’s temperament will likely lead them in greater proportion to certain professions like art, history, and the humanities, Stein insisted that some women will also shine in physics, medicine, politics, and diplomacy. Stein is right on when she says “there is no profession which cannot be practiced by a woman” (Woman, p. 47).

But beyond saying that women can shine in every profession, Stein calls women to exercise their professions as women: “The participation of women in the most diverse professional disciplines could be a blessing for the entire society, private or public, precisely if the specifically feminine ethos would be preserved” (Woman, p. 49). What does this mean?”

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Civil Religion in America then and Now

Published November 9, 2011, on the Black White and Gray blog.

“Yesterday, I discussed with my class Robert Bellah’s famous 1967 essay entitled ‘Civil Religion in America.’ In a time when news commentators and some scholars express concern that there is too much religion in American politics, Bellah’s essay reminds us that religion has always been part of American politics and national discourse.

Referring to John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Presidential Inaugural speech, Bellah remarked that President Kennedy referred to God three times in that famous speech. Bellah then asks, ‘Considering the separation of church and state, how is a president justified in using the word ‘God’ at all? The answer is that the separation of church and state has not denied the political realm a religious dimension. Although matters of personal religious belief, worship, and association are considered to be strictly private affairs, there are, at the same time, certain common elements of religious orientation that the great majority of Americans share. These have played a crucial role in the development of American institutions and still provide a religious dimension for the whole fabric of American life, including the political sphere. This public religious dimension is expressed in a set of beliefs, symbols, and rituals that I am calling American civil religion.'”

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Best Selling Books in Sociology of Religion, SSSR 2011

Posted on the Black, White and Gray blog on November 6, 2011, my thoughts on recent bestsellers in sociology of religion this year.

“Last weekend at the meetings of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, I perused the book sale, wondering “What are other people buying? What should I be reading?”

On the last day of the conference, I asked Theo, the religion editor for Oxford University Press, to tell me which of Oxford’s books were selling a lot. He pointed at Christian Smith’s Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood, and gave me a knowing look. Oh, yes, I said, all Smith’s books from the National Study of Youth and Religion sell well. Yes, indeed, he replied. If you pick up this book, get ready for a rather depressing read about the dominant culture of some (though clearly not all) youth: hedonism.

Two more books on youth and religion are also selling well, Lisa Pearce and Melinda Denton’s A Faith of Their Own and Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker’s Premarital Sex in America. Both are very popular among my undergrad students, so much so that I have had to put multiple copies on reserve at the library because so many students want to write their research papers using them. Neither should be read if you think your children or youth group attendees are angels; but if you want a sense of what youth culture is really like, pick them up.”

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