Oh My God, Oh Your Gods!

Page 1

Issue 52, 53, November December 2012


Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

Cover Art: “Goddess” by Sujata Tibrewala

Table of Contents

A Feminist & Social Justice Magazine

A feminist is a person who answers “yes” to the question, “Are women human?” Feminism is not about whether women are better than, worse than or identical with men. And it’s certainly not about trading personal liberty--abortion, divorce, sexual self-expression-for social protection as wives and mothers, as pro-life feminists propose. It’s about justice, fairness, and access to the


range of human experience. It’s about women consulting their own well-being and being judged as individuals rather than as members of a class with one personality, one social function, one road to happiness. It’s about women having intrinsic value as persons rather than contingent value as a means to an end for others: fetuses, children, the “family,” men. ~ Katha Pollitt

broad | brÔd | adjective 1 having an ample distance from side to side; wide 2 covering a large number and wide scope of subjects or areas: a broad range of experience 3 having or incorporating a wide range of meanings 4 including or coming from many people of many kinds 5 general without detail 6 (of a regional accent) very noticeable and strong 7 full, complete, clear, bright; she was attacked in broad daylight noun (informal) a woman.

broad | brÔd |

slang a promiscuous woman

phrases broad in the beam: with wide hips or large buttocks in broad daylight: during the day, when it is light, and surprising for this reason have broad shoulders: ability to cope with unpleasant responsibilities or to accept criticism City of broad shoulders: Chicago synonyms see: wide, extensive, ample, vast, liberal, open, all-embracing antonyms see: narrow, constricted, limited, subtle, slight, closed see also broadside (n.) historical: a common form of printed material, especially for poetry

Broad’s mission is connectartists, the WSGS program Our witheditorial communities of students, communities ofto scholars, and activists. mission is to provoke faculty, and staff at Loyola and beyond, continuing and extending the program’s thought and debate in an open forum characterized by respect and civility. mission. We provide space and support for a variety of voices while bridging communities of scholars, artists, and activists. Our editorial mission is to provoke thought and debate in an open forum characterized by respect and civility.

WSGS Mission: Founded in 1979, Loyola’s Women’s Studies Program is the first women’s studies program at a Mission: Jesuit institution and has served as a model for women’s studies WSGS programs at other Jesuit and Catholic universities. Our mission is to introduce

Founded in to 1979, Loyola’s Women’sacross Studies is the studies students feminist scholarship theProgram disciplines andfirst thewomen’s professional schools; program at a Jesuit institution and has served as a model for women’s studies to provide innovative, challenging, and thoughtful approaches to learning; and to programs atsocial other justice. Jesuit and Catholic universities. Our mission is to introduce promote students to feminist scholarship across the disciplines and the professional schools; to provide innovative, challenging, and thoughtful approaches to learning; and to promote social justice.

Activism and Academia: This special themed issue on Activism & Academia explores: how activism and Yit means to academia are related, whether or notyour they are compatible, what Oh my God! Oh Gods! be a part of the academy, what types of education are lacking from academic

This issue explores thetothemes of religion, faith, & spirituality, oracademia intentional disciplines, access education and rights to education, how relates to lack thereof. Topics include: multi-faith dialogue, freedom of religion, atheism/ the real world, if there is a disconnect between universities and society at large, agnosticism, religion and politics, notions of gender andfor and how we can make what wehow learnreligion matter.shapes Look for the [A&A] symbol sexuality, and what meanss to your contributors. Look for the [OMG] symbol contributions on faith our theme! for contributions on our theme!

BROAD People: BROAD People: Karolyne Carloss

Abi Wilberding



Table of Contents


BROAD Mission: Broad’s mission is to connect the WSGS program with communities of students, faculty, and staff Mission: at Loyola and beyond, continuing and extending the program’s BROAD mission. We provide space and support for a variety of voices while bridging

Jenn Miller Editor in Chief

Brandie Madrid Consulting Editor

Julia DeLuca

WSGS/WLA/Gannon Coordinator

Natalie Beck

Archives & Website Coordinator

J. Curtis Main Consulting Editor

CONTENTS FROM YOUR EDITOR VISITING EDITORS Christina Ferrari and Karolyne Carloss [OMG] Finding Faith by Christina Ferrari

SUBTLE SEXISMS A New Wave of Intolerance

by Karolyne Carloss


The Devotee

by Sujata Tibrewala

[OMG] New Discourses on the Mikveh in Jewish Women’s Lives by Nina Berman

[OMG] My Magdalenes: New and Old by Katie Ann-Marie Bugyis

QUOTE CORNER His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV CAREER CALL Brittany Isaac Associate Pastor

[OMG] In Other Words: Talking about Faith, Spirituality, and Religion in an

Interfaith World by Evan Young

EDUCATED GUESS Potholes, Agnostics as Hipsters, and Why it’s Important to Talk About Religion

by Abi Wilberding


by Tania Hossain

[OMG] The Same Instructions

by Allison Pilatsky

BOOKMARK HERE The Poisonwood Bible

by Barbara Kingsolver

[OMG] Ibuprofen and Mortal Error by Richard Ray

WORDS ARE USELESS Telephone Wires and Wires

by Kristen Black

WLA RE-ANIMATED Presidents OFF THE SHELF A Few Words on Atheism by Anna Gentry


Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s


by Mary Daly

[OMG] Mary Daly: God-dess Emeritus by Caelyn Randall


Keeping Faith series

[OMG] Radical Compassion by Anonymous


Studying Smarter

QUEER THOUGHTS Finding Stability in Instability by Emma Steiber

[OMG] Finishing the Page

by Rev. Jonathan D. Lawrence, Ph.D.


by Abi Wilberding


PEOPLE TELLING STORIES Kaeli by Bryce Parsons-Twesten

[OMG] Why Baha’i CAREER CALL Joyce Litoff Communications Assistant

[OMG] Love: The Connection to God by Ariana Lewis

CON/SCIENCE Science and Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners? by Brandon Haydon

Table of Contents

by Joyce Litoff

CONTENTScontinued WORDS ARE USELESS Buddha by Sujata Tibrewala

MADADS Preaching Atheism [OMG] Who’s Your Higher Power? by Jillian Anderson

[OMG] Peace: Give Faith a Change, Maybe?

by Hiba Zakai

WORDS ARE USELESS Battered Madonnas series by Teresa J. Parker

EMBRACING CHAOS American Tapestries

by Jason Lemberg

FEMINIST FIRES Elizabeth A. Johson, C.S.J. [OMG]

A Reflection on My Jihad by Saleha Jabeen

MADADS Advertising Ignorance/GLADADS Countering Islamaphobia [OMG] The Misadventures of a Triassic Deity by Richard Ray

[OMG] A Call to Prayer: My Synagogue in the Streets by Rivkah Raven Wood

ALUM ALERT Rachel Tamer [OMG] Community

by Robert Carfang


by Gayle Carloss

INSIDE R OUT? Her “Dirty” Forehead, Our Sharing, and My Faiths By Curtis Main


By Sujata Tibrewala

QUOTE CORNER Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas

[OMG] Running the Race Towards God’s Will by Ashley Purvis

[OMG] Interfaith is Everywhere by Amanda Mackey

Table of Contents


From Your Editor

Dear Readers, As the saying goes, I am a person who wears many hats. And although not one of them is related to affiliation with a particular religious institution or faith, in each of my multiple identities, I have seen how religion, faith, and spirituality can positively transform lives.

As an intern at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, I have witnessed how faithbased communities and religious leaders can take a stand and use their influence to promote the rights and well-being of fellow humans, especially those most vulnerable and oppressed.

As a social work student, I have learned how one’s experience of faith and belief in the divine can be a vital source of strength when working to overcome life’s obstacles.

And as the Editor in Chief of Broad Magazine, I have seen how important multi-faith dialogue and acceptance of other’s beliefs is to our contributors and to our feminist mission.

As a Graduate Assistant in the Office of Sustainability at Loyola, I have seen how faith can renew one’s sense of connection to the earth and its natural resources, and motivate humans to protect what might be considered these divine creations.

Namaste, Jenn

As a research assistant, I have seen how religious or spiritual belief can uplift and strengthen even those in the most destitute of situations imaginable. As a yoga enthusiast, I have seen how spirituality can be a part of one’s daily life, instilling oneself with a sense of peace, connection, self-awareness, attunement, openness to experience, and the wonder of bodily integrity.

P.S. As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to study photography abroad in Scotland (see? many hats!) My incredibly talented portrait photography instructor, Luke Watson, not only taught me a great deal about how to take a fine portrait, but exposed me to his incredible series “Keeping Faith,” which awakened in me a renewed sense of appreciation for the trappings, iconography, and symbols of religion of all kinds. I am happy to be able to share a portion of this series with you all in this issue of Broad - please take a look at Luke’s impressive photographs and enjoy!

BROAD A Feminist & Social Justice Magazine

What’s your

LGBTIQ? Send your artwork, poetry, and reflections to

broad.luc@gmail.com by January 12.

Table of Contents

Seeking contributions on the topics of sexual orientation, sexual preference, gender identity, gender expression, discrimination, identity politics, the queer community, and the intersection of sexuality with race, class, gender, ethnicity, and spirituality

Visiting Editor

Christina Ferrari

About Christina: Christina Ferrari is a first year graduate student at Loyola University Chicago pursuing her M.Ed in Higher Education. Her interest in interfaith relationships began her junior year at DePaul University where she facilitated dialogues and led interfaith programs such as field trips to places of worship and immersive retreats. Throughout her undergraduate career,Christina developed a deeper relationship with her Catholic roots while simultaneously feeding her curiosity about other belief systems. She has had the privilege of traveling to a number of faith communities including thee cumenical Taize community in Taize, France, the Interfaith Leadership Institute hosted by the Interfaith Youth Core, and participating in World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain. Christina believes that learning from and engaging with people of different religions and philosophies not only contributes to personal growth and faith development, but also enhances one’s social responsibility and commitment to a just world. As a future student affairs professional, Christina hopes to assist college students’ identity development and to build a diverse,pluralistic community across college campuses. She aims to empower students to build bridges across lines of division in society and to be agents of change on campus, in the community, and throughout the world. When she isn’t inspiring students, Christina likes to swing dance, sing, and act. She’s been in a bunch of local community theater productions, most recently an original sketch comedy show at DePaul’s campus. If you or someone you know would like to be a Visiting Editor, please email broad.luc@gmail.com

Visiting Editor

Karolyne Carloss

I want to be a Woman Priest. At least that’s what I told my fifth grade class when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. You can imagine my frustration when several classmates responded with, “You can’t be a priest. You’re a girl!” Even though I was only 10 years old at the time, I understood that being a girl came with a unique set of challenges; challenges that I was determined to meet and hopefully beat. Growing up in a household of four ambitious sisters and one exceptionally strong single mother, I was surrounded by women who gave me the tools to meet those challenges: a passion for learning, a resilient spirit, and a deep commitment to the bond of sisterhood that unites us. That early commitment to women and girls motivated me to pursue a dual degree in Women Studies and International Studies at Loyola University Chicago and eventually join the incredible staff of BROAD. I am so fortunate to have this opportunity and we are so fortunate to have wonderful readers like you. Enjoy the issue! Karolyne is an editor for Broad, but took the lead on this issue as a Visiting Editor. If you or someone you know would like to be a Visiting Editor, please email broad.luc@gmail.com

Table of Contents

From Karolyne:

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

Finding Faith By Christina Ferrari

My head was swimming with thoughts of what to write about when the editing staff approached me and asked that I serve as their visiting editor for this issue of BROAD: “Oh My God, Oh Your Gods!” In the last issue on love, I wrote about my involvement with interfaith work both at Loyola University Chicago and at my alma mater, DePaul University. Something I have been wrestling with recently is why I feel called to be involved with the interfaith movement and how, as a future student affairs practitioner and Catholic woman, I can justify for myself and others the importance of religious pluralism, and the importance of spiritual growth in general.

In a recent conversation I had with a mentor from IFYC (Interfaith Youth Core), I told her how much I valued relationships. Like all of us, I have a deep desire to feel connected and I long to support others as they support me on this journey through life. Faith, spirituality, religion, beliefs, values— call it what you will, but I understand these terms as being the core parts of our soul, in these concepts one can understand why I say the things I say and what propels me to do the things I do in the world. With this in mind, if genuine, invested relationships are what help me to thrive and are so valuable to me, than I have an obligation to get to know the deepest parts of others and try to understand what makes them tick.


Table of Contents

To put another way, if I want to really understand a you barely understand yourself. However, I think person I need to understand what they believe and that is what life is about. We evolve; if we are truly why. I’m not saying I need to agree with them, but working on ourselves, our beliefs and values will if I can understand why people see the world the inevitably change over time as we change. One way they do, then I feel I can know them more fully. of the reasons I am pursuing a career in higher For example, I currently live with two beautiful education is because I want to be a part of this Christian women that read the their Bibles daily, developmental process for young adults— I want listen to contemporary Christian music as they to support and challenge my students to never stop make dinner or do their homework, and have questioning and engaging with the world around long conversations with them as well as within me about how God is themselves. So much of who Religious or atheist, secular working in their lives. We we are is what we believe have bonded over faith humanist or Sikh, Buddhist and how we act; this is why this year and I’ve come to I do interfaith work and why or Hindu, Christian or Jew, appreciate that you can’t I am an educator. I want to separate their religious we each have in our hearts learn and truly understand convictions from who others, and I want to a driving force and desire they are or what makes facilitate opportunities for them well, them! It’s students to do the same. to understand and connect wonderful and truly Religious or atheist, secular moving, and I am grateful - community is a human humanist or Sikh, Buddhist that God has placed them need. And in this pluralistic, or Hindu, Christian or Jew, in my life. we each have in our hearts global, and ever-shrinking a driving force and desire to Similarly, understanding understand and connect— society, we must learn to others helps me community is a human live together. understand myself. For need. And in this pluralistic, example, in college I global, and ever-shrinking was amazed by how my society we must learn to live Muslim and Jewish friends lived out their religion together. each and every day. Their culture and their religious beliefs were intertwined and influenced I recognize that I will never, 100% fully understand how they dressed, what they ate, when they my roommates and that, despite being three prayed, where they prayed, and a million other Christian women, there are issues we just won’t things. Guiltily, I found that in my own life I agree on; after all we are different individuals each siloed off the faith stuff to an hour on Sunday at with different interpretations and lived experiences. church, and some weeks decided it was just wasn’t But, the reality is our life paths have crossed. We convenient or compelling enough to go to mass at share space together and time together, therefore all. My peers’ deep investment to their religious it seems we have two choices: we can let our traditions coupled with a rich knowledge of their differences divide us and debate about right and doctrines, teachings, and traditions inspired me to wrong, and truth with a capital T, or we can learn want to make my faith more of a priority. I used from one another, challenge each other, and the last of my electives senior year to learn about create community with an understanding that Catholic Social Teaching and met twice a month each brings her own, budding perspective and with a spiritual director to reflect on how God was lived experience. Diversity is a fact of life, when speaking to me in my daily life. you are confronted with difference, what choice do you make? My faith life has ebbed and flowed, I am still uncovering and understanding what I believe. It’s Christina Ferrari is one of our Visiting Editors for difficult to try to understand others when sometimes this issue.

by Karolyne Carloss

Subtle Sexisms Challenging the isms and schisms of politics and culture

A New Wave of Intolerance The United States of America has been revered worldwide for its pluralism, tolerance, and religious freedom. Many Americans bask comfortably as they look back in pride at the suffragist, Civil Rights, feminist, and gay rights movements thinking that we have eliminated all forms of prejudice. They hold up a copy of the Bill of Rights, highlighting the establishment and free exercise clauses, as evidence of the safeguards that the Constitution has in place to protect American’s right to religion.

Some dogmatists even cite legislation, namely the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and the Intolerance Religious Freedom Act, to display how the mighty United States has conquered all forms of discrimination on the basis of religion. Yet despite all of this grand posturing, there remains a tremendous difference between religious tolerance on paper and in practice. That difference is often amplified in the wake of a traumatic national crisis, namely, the September 11th attacks.

Table of Contents

The United States has a One of the most potentially glorious past of accepting Religious texts were destructive examples of alternative religions and Islamophobia is the fierce mistranslated or taken unconventional schools of opposition to the erection thought, yet it also has a out of context to suit of the Cordoba House. similarly inglorious past of Spearheaded by the likes the arguments of bigots intolerance and persecution. of Pamela Geller, the antiThis bigotry was famously and rally an extremist jihadist movement opposes directed towards Catholics, the establishment of the following. To be sure, Jehovah’s Witnesses, fifteen-floor Islamic museum, Jews, and Mormons. cultural center, and prayer religious discrimination Discrimination of these space located two blocks was often founded on groups spread based primarily from Ground Zero. Geller on misinformation. Religious the desire to stereotype views the close proximity texts were mistranslated or and magnitude of the an ecclesial community taken out of context to suit the mosque as a “shrine to the arguments of bigots and rally very ideologies that inspired based on the acts of a an extremist following. To be the attacks”(Geller, Mosque single denomination or sure, religious discrimination at Ground Zero). She was often founded on the condemns the prayer center sect of that religion. desire to stereotype an as an institution that seeks ecclesial community based to advance radical Islamic on the acts of a single denomination or sect of that practices that are indistinguishable from the practices religion. Such toxic rhetoric has the potential to of the militant Al- Qaeda, the terrorist organization perpetuate popular memory and effectively re-write responsible for the September 11th attacks. In fact, history, all at the expense of silencing those closest Geller attributes the Cordoba House’s lack of full to the event. Countless examples of these unjust financial disclosure to the conspiracy theory that this stereotypes can be found in every chapter of a history mosque is part of a highly orchestrated plan led by book; yet, America presently finds itself allowing radical Muslims to “eliminate and destroy western for the same type of bigotry, simply replacing the civilization from within” (Geller, Radical Islam: oppressed religious group. Sadly, today it is the The Real Enemy). Geller believes that this type of Islamic community that lays victim to the capricious coordination is found explicitly in the Qur’an, and nature of religious intolerance. that to live under Islamic law is to affirm and advance the intolerance of Christians and Jews Instances of Islamophobia flood the newspapers and media week after week. Just last year, “Juan In effect, Geller is proclaiming that Islam seeks to Williams said he gets scared when people in ‘Muslim indoctrinate its believers in a hateful and violent garb’ board a plane he’s on, and he promptly got (a) theology. She views the establishment of a mosque fired by NPR and (b) rewarded by Fox News with that encourages a violent theology so close to the a big contract” (Wright). In effect, Fox, along with Ground Zero Memorial as “offensive and humiliating its millions of followers are celebrating this kind of to the 3,000 innocent victims” that lost their lives on narrow-mindedness. By publicizing and endorsing that fateful day. (Geller, Mayor Bloomberg Backs Williams’ slanderous remark, Fox has blinded viewers 911 Mega Mosque). Ironically, what Geller fails to to the fact that, “over the past nine years, about 90 realize is that her opposition could be construed million flights have taken off from American airports, as just as offensive and humiliating to groups and not one has been brought down by a Muslim like the September Eleventh Families for Peaceful terrorist. Even in 2001, no flights were brought down Tomorrows, a coalition of the families of September by people in ‘Muslim garb’”. It is uneducated and 11th victims, who support the Cordoba House and malicious remarks like these that have both ignited believe that a “center which is intended to promote and sustained Islamophobic ideals. interfaith tolerance and respect, is consistent with the

fundamental American values of freedom and justice for all”. Greater still, is the potential implications that Geller’s dissent has with respect to the hundreds of Muslims who perished that devastating day, as well as the many Muslim American soldiers, sailors and airmen who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation and now rest in the graves of our national cemeteries.

where all people – Muslims, Jews, Christians and those of every faith can gather in the spirit of honor, respect, and peaceful coexistence” (Imam Abdul Raul, Response of The Imama).

This mission statement is a quintessential example of how a noble undertaking can be maliciously distorted when taken out of context. The Cordoba The Cordoba House aims Many moderate Muslims and House aims to bridge the anti-extremists have come differences of religion, to bridge differences of out against Geller in an effort providing an indispensable religion, providing an to defend their beliefs and opportunity for the United provide a voice for those indispensable opportunity States to become the many Muslim September religiously tolerant country for the United States to 11th victims who have been of our future. If we want to silenced. Moderate Muslims become the religiously progress society, we must believe Geller’s convictions take responsibility for our tolerant country of our are based on “erroneous disinformation and begin to translations” of both the future. take action to provide for a Qur’an and Islamic teachings. more informed public. Once They maintain that there is we take those steps, we will a great distinction between Al- Qaeda and Islamic realize that the biggest threat to the community is not followers. Critics believe that Geller’s representation a religious sect, but rather the cycle of misgivings, of the Qur’an as a violent text worshiped by a violent misconceptions and irrational fear that exists people completely contradicts the Qur’an’s specific between religions. In the words of Toni Morrison, text, as well as Islamic people’s daily interactions. “Oppressive language does more than represent To be sure, it is important for Americas to note violence. It is violence. It does more than represent that Islamic people greet others with “as-salamu the limits of knowledge. It limits knowledge. It must `alaykum”, meaning, “peace be unto you” and the be rejected, altered and exposed. Sexist language, Qur’an proclaims that “to kill one person is to kill racist language, theistic language --all are typical of all people” and (Qur’an, Ch. 5 verse 32). In fact, the policing languages of mastery, and cannot, do moderate Muslims even accuse Geller of “spreading not permit new knowledge or encourage the mutual erroneous misinterpretations that terrorist groups exchange of ideas”. like Al-Qaeda want to spread about Islam and simultaneously feeding the same propaganda that We, as individuals, choose between the acceptance Al-Qaeda uses to recruit, which claims that America and exclusion of others every day. Each decision is “anti-Muslim”. Not only do Islamic followers marks the difference between an America that feel perversely misrepresented by Geller, but the represents anger, superiority, and intolerance and designers of the mosque also believe that she is an America that represents peace, empathy, and distorting the mission of the Cordoba House. In a unity. Once we realize the vision of an America that response to Geller’s assertions about the function is a secure and pluralistic nation, we will realize a of the mosque, the Imam of the cultural center has society that does not just accept diversity, but one come out insisting, “We cannot think of a better which is strengthened by it. expression to promote the peaceful values of faith than the Cordoba House, where American Muslims can stand together with fellow citizens to condemn extremism and terror. It is a project to honor those people who were harmed on September 11th. The Cordoba House seeks to create a community center

Words Are Useless Featured Cover Artist: Sujata Tibrewala

The Devotee

Biography: Sujata Tibrewala is a self-taught artist whose work has been exhibited internationally. Trained as a postrgraduate electrical engineer, Sujata gave up her enginnering career for her first love, art, in 2008. Sujata is originally from Jaipur Rajasthan, the Pink City of India, and now lives in the Chicago area. She exhibits her artwork in numerous galleries and condcuts Pratibimba workshops. Of this piece, Sujata writes: You were supposed to be my eternal lover. But you betrayed me, why did you make the “weaker,” the “fairer,” the “other” side of the coin. Or was it not you, but your devotees who used you did that. I do not know, I still worship you for you will be nothing without my love. Website: http://pratibimba.in/home.html

Table of Contents

20”x24”, acrylic on canvas, 2008

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

New Discourses on the Mikveh in Jewish Women’s Lives by Nina Berman

A deep problem for practicing Jewish women is the patriarchal and arguably misogynistic traditions and texts of Judaism. Women; their experience, ability, spirituality, and intellect, have been systematically devalued in Judaism for hundreds

of years. Women have been denied access to the yeshiva, the space of Jewish education and though. [1] They have been cordoned off in the synagogue, separated from the men and denied the ability to speak prayers from the bimah to the congregation.

Table of Contents

For many, this history of exclusion and devaluing by restricting contact between married couples has been painful and something to be reckoned during menstruation, as well as a short time before with. But rather than scrap the whole Jewish and after.[4] For some women, this means no project, many contemporary sexual contact but for others Jewish women, Orthodox, it means no physical contact ...women are engaged Reform, and everywhere at all. Observant women are in between, are invested in obliged to go to the mikveh in (re)creating the actively engaging with their and submerge themselves mikveh to be a space spiritual texts and traditions, fully in the water before they forcing them to mold to of female community, can go back home to their the present day and to the husbands and renew (sexual) spirituality, and agency. practitioner’s needs and contact. A woman goes to values. the mivkah, washes herself Modern Jewish women thoroughly after removing all are disentangling the As part of this effort to think makeup, nail polish, jewelry, about gender in Judaism mikveh from its historic dirt, loose hair, etc. The idea critically and to redefine is that a woman ought to be functions as a marker of and reinterpret traditions, totally naked as she enters the women are becoming more the end of the menstrual mikveh itself. An attendant, interested in thinking about another woman, then cycle or as a function of the tradition of the mikveh, accompanies the woman the ritual bath. Grounded into the room with the water married life. in notions of particularly itself and watches as she female spiritual impurity submerges several times, as connected to menstruation, the mikveh most reflects, and says a prayer. The attendant looks to assuredly has its roots in ideas that rankle a check if the women has completely surrounded good feminist theologian. And yet, many Jewish herself with water, completely dunked and with feminist women believe strongly in engaging her feet lifted up from the bottom. A woman is with the mikveh, reclaiming it as a positive then considered clean again and can return home experience of Jewish spirituality. Mikveh practices to her husband to resume sexual contact and begin have their roots in ideas of niddah, which refers the cycle of niddah anew. to the biblical commandments aimed at women concerning purity and gender separation. [2] We see here that the mikveh is a place that has These rules concern when men as well as women been fraught with ideas of sexual purity, the were spiritually pure or impure. These laws of inherent spiritual impurity of women’s bodies, and niddah have come under fire for misogynist the risk of contamination of males by females in the assumptions.[3] The burden of spiritual impurity realm of the sexual. And yet women are engaged falls disproportionately on women and on in (re)creating the mikveh to be a space of female women’s natural body processes. For example, community, spirituality, and agency. Modern women’s menstrual blood is spiritually impure Jewish women are disentangling the mikveh from whereas men’s blood is symbolic of the covenant its historic function as a marker of the end of a between the Jewish people and God (as we have menstrual cycle or as a function of married life. already seen, the covenant was expressly created Women now go to the mikveh for other kinds of between God and the men of Israel). In the life cycle milestones. At a mikveh in Lakeview Holiness Code, women’s bodies are fraught with in Chicago, women come to bathe to mark spiritual impurities and must be policed through menopause, a divorce, a new job, a hysterectomy, practices of ritual cleansing. or the end of an abusive relationship.[5] In this expansion of reasons to go to the mikveh, we see The laws of niddah negotiate women’s menstrual it become something that women can do purely cycle and manage the risk of spiritual contamination for themselves and not to fulfill any kind of marital

requirement or prerequisite to sexual contact. The mikveh becomes a place of reflection and personal time rather than a space necessitated by female impurity and preempted by heterosexual marriage. Our culture

be in one’s own thoughts, to take time away from being a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, to just be. Beverly Siegel, a modern Jewish woman who enjoys the mikveh practice and tradition, referred to the teaches mikveh as a luxury.[7] It is that women’s bodies For a religion that has a luxury to her because she systematically denied knew that she had time away are bizarre and strange women access to spiritual from her husband and her six places, full of hormones authority and education, children to relax and recharge the mikveh has become and blood, and that herself spiritually through recognized as a space of reflection and through being these bodies are total woman-centered spirituality. in community with other Orthodox women are women. The bulk of nurturing mysteries to men. obliged to cover their heads work falls on women, even at synagogue and listen to defines women. The time and the service physically separated from the men, the space apart from family gives women like Beverly rabbi, the Torah, and all the “action” of the service. Siegel a chance to think of themselves apart from At a mikveh, however, the women participate in family, as a spiritual being in and of themselves. a spiritual tradition free of any kind of covering. The female form uncovered becomes a point of Even though niddah stems from a discomfort with connection with the Divine. The mikveh functions the processes of the female body, the observance as a space of female spiritual authority as well as of niddah and the practice of going to the mikveh community. The mikveh attendant is endowed empowers women and their husbands to become with spiritual power as the authority of the space more familiar with the rhythms of the woman’s and judge of “kosher” religious practices such as particular body. Our culture teaches that women’s whether or not the woman submerges completely. bodies are bizarre and strange places, full of In an ethnographic study conducted by Naomi hormones and blood, and that these bodies are Marmon, a woman identified only as Mrs. R. total mysteries to men. Popular culture trots out remarked on this phenomenon. the trope that men do not believe that women or girls have bodily functions, that somehow normal The miqveh provides a place for ‘womanhood’ body processes are not feminine. The structure among frum (religious) women, and allows us and timing of niddah forces a husband to know to share experiences not understood by men. how his wife’s body works, to become in sync Feminine things and sensibilities can be expressed with it. The restrictions on sexual contact between together, across the lines of exactly what one observant men and women forces, for many observes or believes religiously.[6] couples, increased communication about their sex life.[8] For many Orthodox women, the timeframe Mrs. R. evokes not only a space of female community of niddah and the practice of the mikveh keep and socializing, but of spiritual discussion from a the sexual dynamic between married couples particularly feminine standpoint. For frum women fresh and exciting. Another woman interviewed who are not allowed a great deal of participation in Marmon’s ethnography, Mrs. I., remarked that in the theological philosophical world of Jewish after forty years of marriage, “it’s like being on a thought, the mikveh provides a space for spiritual honeymoon each month…taharat hamischpacha reflection free of patriarchal domination or female [menstrual laws maintaining family purity] keeps exclusion. the romance alive.”[9] For women, especially the women on whom the brunt of the burden of household duties and childcare falls, the mikveh is a precious time to

And yet not all modern Jewish women are on board with the feminist reclamation of the mikveh as a positive, woman-friendly spiritual tradition.

Many Orthodox women find it inconvenient. They Women get a voice here in how to interpret purity find the sexual restrictions frustrating.[10] They laws, how to observe them, and what they mean find the necessary bodily checks invasive and for their self-understandings as Jewish women. annoying. Some believe that niddah law makes By claiming this right to discourse, women are it more difficult for them to become pregnant. claiming their rights to be fully active participants Some women find that the in Jewish life; intellectual, history of the mikveh is too ritual, and spiritual. problematic to be reclaimed. Even though Jewish Niddah is often accused women are not united [1] Tova Hartman. Feminism of enshrining men’s fears Encounters Traditional Judaism: of the female body and the on the value of the Resistance and Accomodation rabbinical presentation of mikveh, or even what is ( Hanover: Brandeis University women as only sex objects. Press, 2007), 33. has to say about what [2] Rahel Wasserfall, “Menstrual [10] The mikveh, then, is Blood into Jewish Blood,” in only a ritual to ensure that it means to be a Jewish Women and Water: Menstruation men are not contaminated in Jewish Life and Law, ed. Rahel by the fundamental spiritual woman, there is a vibrant Wasserfall. (Hanover, Brandeis filth of women’s bodies. intellectual and spiritual University Press, 1999), 4. [3] Wasserfall, “Menstrual Blood To engage in the tradition into Jewish Blood,” 10. discussion around the of the mikveh is, for some [4] Naomi Marmon, “Reflections women, a constant reminder tradition of the practice. on Contemporary Miqveh that their religion, culture, Practices,” in Women and Water: and tradition does not hold Menstruation in Jewish Life and Law, ed. Rahel Wasserfall. (Hanover, Brandeis University Press, 1999), 243. them as equals with men. For many women, the [5] Manya Brachear, “Jewish Ritual Bath remnants of the Holiness Code are too present Integrates Religion into Private Life,” Chicago and painful. They remind them of the persistent Tribune, July 29, 2008, accessed November 2, patriarchal exclusion and demonization of women 2012, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ local/chi-mikvah_29jul29,0,2186833.story. in Judaism.

Nina Berman is a third year student at Loyola University Chicago studying English and WSGS. In her spare time she likes to think up nicknames for Judith Butler and wave at other people’s dogs. She danced with the cutest boy in 8th grade at her Bat Mitzvah even though she really had a crush on someone else at the time.


Table of Contents

Even though Jewish women are not united on the value of the mikveh, or even what it has to say about what it means to be a Jewish woman, there is a vibrant intellectual and spiritual discussion around the tradition and the practice. Women on both sides of the debate are engaging actively with what it means to be Jewish on several levels. There is discussion about what women’s roles should be, how we should treat sexuality, women’s bodies, and women’s communal spaces. But there is also the very fundamentally Jewish act of argument, discussion, reinterpretation, revision, and reinvention.[11] Judaism is in many ways fundamentally about argument, disagreement, discourse, and debate. One of the major Jewish texts, the Talmud, is essentially a record of disagreement over textual analysis. In Jewish founding myths, Abraham argues with God, disputes and haggles. The mikveh is being claimed not only as a place of female spiritual community but also as a site of women’s spiritual discourse.

[6] Marmon, “Reflections on Contemporary Miqveh Practices,” 237. [7] Barbara Brotman, “On Sacred Grounds: Orthodox Judaism’s Daily Joys Outweigh Ancient Inequalities For Some Women,” Chicago Tribune, November 1, 2000, accessed November 2, 2012, http://articles.chicagotribune. com/2000-11-\01/features/001101001 8_1_orthodox-jewsjewish-sabbath-jewish-women. [8] Brachear, “Jewish Ritual Bath.” [9] Marmon, “Reflections on Contemporary Miqveh Practices,” 240-1. [10] Marmon, “Reflections on Contemporary Miqveh Practices,” 235. [11] Hartman, Feminism Encounters Traditional Judaism, 42.

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

My Magdalenes: New and Old By Katie Ann-Marie Bugyis Pictured above is a stained-glass window from the Christ Church Cathedral in in Victoria, British Columbia. The window was created by Edward Schaefer in Victoria, British Columbia. The panels depict the famous Visitation scene from Luke’s Gospel in which Elizabeth proclaims the coming of the messiah through Mary. Schaefer’s inclusion of the mesh around the two women represents the sad truth that women’s spiritual gifts are still not recognized and valued in most Christian Churches.

Table of Contents

I am often asked by Catholics and non-Catholics of my sisters whose lives, in the living out of the alike why I am still a self-proclaimed, practicing various vocations to which God has called them, Catholic. Much about me, especially my intellectual challenge me to live out my own vocation more interests and theological commitments, would boldly and authentically, or of the Sisters of the seem to suggest that my spiritual needs would best Holy Cross, with whom I worship every Sunday, be nourished elsewhere, probably in a Christian who reveal to me the true meaning of liturgy – a denomination where women can answer the call work of the people. These women and so many to the priesthood, gay couples are welcomed into others who have graced my life are the faces of the the sacrament of marriage, and the laity has a Catholic Church. To no longer be Catholic would powerful voice within the institutional hierarchy, be to deny the truth of their witness to Christ’s to name just three examples. But, whenever I good news. entertain the thought of leaving the Catholic Church, a voice deep within In the Gospel of John, the me cries out against it. I am This voice reminds me that seemingly unlikeliest of not sure whence this voice heralds proclaimed the emerges, but somehow I the Catholic Church has good news of Christ’s know that it comes from the resurrection to the fearplayed a formative role most essential part of who I bound and grief-stricken in my becoming all that I am. This voice reminds me disciples: Mary Magdalene that the Catholic Church am, but, more crucially, my (Jn 20.11-18). This Mary, in has played a formative role her exegetical treatments Catholic faith runs in my in my becoming all that I by early church and am, but, more crucially, my very blood. It is the faith of medieval theologians Catholic faith runs in my – most influentially by my grandmother, mother, very blood. It is the faith of Gregory the Great in the my grandmother, mother, late sixth century – became aunts, and sisters; it is my aunts, and sisters; it is my conflated with all of the matrilineal inheritance, matrilineal inheritance, named and unnamed and no one, not even that Marys in the gospels, from and no one, not even that Catholic patriarchy, can Mary of Bethany, who sat make me renounce it. It is Catholic patriarchy, can at the feet of Jesus when rightfully mine. he visited her home (Lk make me renounce it. 10.38-42), to the unnamed, Many both in and outside sinful woman, who washed of the Catholic Church will likely be surprised to the feet of Jesus with her tears, wiped them with hear that when I think of the Church, its undeniably her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with “masculine” face is not what first comes to costly ointment (Lk 7.37-50). This palimpsest of a mind. Not the pope, curia, bishops, nor even my woman, sinful though she became in the hands parish priests immediately populate my ecclesial of her later, male redactors, Christ deemed to be imagination, but the many, strong women who the worthiest vessel of his gospel, and, thus, she is have brought me up in the faith. I think of sitting most fittingly called the apostola apostolorum, the with my grandmother, enfolding her soft hands in apostle of the apostles. For, indeed, where would mine while she prayed the rosary, or of my aunt the Christian Church be now had she not told the administering the Eucharist to my grandmother waiting disciples all that she had seen and heard when she was too sick to leave her house, or of my in the garden outside of Christ’s tomb? Would it aunts lowering the chalice to my hands at my first even be at all? communion, or of my mother’s paintings which help me to remember, so often with incredibly piercing clarity, that beauty “ever ancient, ever I too have heard Mary’s good news and, most new” that is God’s presence in all of creation, or recently, from just as unlikely a herald. In August,

at a prayer service held on the eve of the annual veritable Magdalenes in their own time. Their lives meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women testify to the rich and varied sacramental agency Religious (LCWR) at the Church of the Loretto, and authority that women religious once had, and the church of the Sisters of the Holy Cross on the they give me hope that women can once again campus of St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, lay claim to their full inheritance as members of Indiana, I heard one of my sister-friends proclaim the body of Christ. They, along with my sisters in this gospel reading to her community. Her liturgical the flesh, are my cloud of witnesses inspiring me act prophetically gave witness to the apostolic to fight for change, for the Catholic Church is our lineage that she had inherited matrilineally when church too. she made her vows of religious profession. In that breathtakingly powerful ...this sister-evangelist, moment, she not only reBio: Katie Ann-Marie Bugyis presented the testimonies resounding with the voices is a doctoral candidate in of her biblical foremothers, the Medieval Institute at the of her fellow sisters in but she also performed University of Notre Dame. one of the liturgical She dedicates this piece to solidarity with her her, roles that vowed women the memory of her dearly religious had customarily made it clear that the beloved grandmother, assumed up until the high Mary Catherine Smith, sisters would not be middle ages. Despite who passed away on April the Congregation of the silenced so easily. They too 24, 2008. She was and Doctrine of Faith’s most are heirs to Christ’s good is an unfailing source of recent attempt to silence inspiration. American women religious’ news, and they too are preaching of the gospel worthy vessels of it. in both word and deed (see the CDF’s assessment of the LCWR: http:// www.usccb.org/loader.cfm?csModule=security/ getfile&pageid=55544), this sister-evangelist, resounding with the voices of her fellow sisters in solidarity with her, made it clear that the sisters would not be silenced so easily. They too are heirs to Christ’s good news, and they too are worthy vessels of it. These spiritual sisters, along with the sisters of my own bloodline – grandmother, mother, aunts, and sisters – have inspired to me to dig deeper into the histories of our sisters in the faith from the more distant past. At present, I am pursuing a doctorate in Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and I am writing my dissertation on the liturgical and pastoral ministries that women religious performed in early and high medieval England. Consecrating new members, hearing confessions, anointing the sick, administering the Eucharist, burying the dead, honoring their saintly foremothers in song-filled prayer, and proclaiming the gospel, these women were


Any religion-based answer to the problem of our neglect of inner values can never be universal, and so will be inadequate. What we need today is an approach to ethics which makes no recourse to religion and can be equally acceptable to those with faith and those without: a secular ethics

The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, and forgiveness. In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.

Quote Corner His Holiness, the Dalai Lama XIV

Whether one is rich or poor, educated or illiterate, religious or nonbelieving, man or woman, black, white, or brown, we are all the same. Physically, emotionally, and mentally, we are all equal. We all share basic needs for food, shelter, safety, and love. We all aspire to happiness and we all shun suffering. Each of us has hopes, worries, fears, and dreams. Each of us wants the best for our family and loved ones. We all experience pain when we suffer loss and joy when we achieve what we seek. On this fundamental level, religion, ethnicity, culture, and language make no difference.

Irrespective of Whether you believe in God whether we are or not does not matter so much, believers or agnostics, whether you believe in Buddha or not does not matter so much; as a Buddhist, whether you believe whether we believe in in reincarnation or not does not matter so much. You must lead a good life. And a good life does not mean God or karma, moral just good food, good clothes, good shelter. These are ethics is a code which not sufficient. A good motivation is what is needed: everyone is able to compassion, without dogmatism, without complicated philosophy; just understanding that others are human pursue. brothers and sisters and respecting their rights and human dignity

Table of Contents


Career Call Memos from the Workforce What is your career? I am an Associate Pastor for Urban Village Church and the Church Planter for the Andersonville site. When the site first launched, I was the one connecting with the community, getting people in, helping to lead worship, and making community connections. Who is Urban Village hoping to attract? At UVC, we have the tagline- “burned or bored by religion in the past?”. We are really trying to attract people that are frustrated or have been disillusioned with their experiences of faith and religion. How did you first get involved with Urban Village Church? I attended seminary back in 2001 and graduated in 2004. I came out at the very beginning of seminary and knew that as an out lesbian woman, I would never be able to serve in a Church. So when I graduated, I took a job as a barista at Starbucks. I ended up really loving the Starbucks Company, but after about a year into my job as a manager, I started to feel restless. I realized that I was doing less of what I loved- spending time talking with customers and building relationships. I realized that I really wanted to be in ministry. So I began to attend “church-planting” school at the Institute for Congregational Development. I originally began thinking about church-planting as an opportunity because it would allow me to create the environment and inclusive nature of the church that I desired. At the same time that I was attending the church-planting program, the lead pastors at Urban Village Church, Trey and Chris, had started planting Urban Village and were at a point where they ready to start their third site. So about two years ago, Trey and Chris, brought me on board as a church-planting intern. After a couple of months, we mutually discerned that we were a good fit for each other, and I was hired to be the pastor to plant the Andersonville campus. What does it mean to be an Associate Pastor? In a traditional church, the senior pastor is a “lead pastor” and is pretty much in charge of everything- the

We are humbled in our push for inclusivity and we know that we are standing on the right side of history. majority of the preaching, visioning, and leadership development. But one of the great things about UVC is that we currently worship on Sunday at three different sites (Andersonville, Wicker Park, and the South Loop). So my role as an Associate Pastor revolves around the weekly work of worship in Andersonville. I have a lot of ownership over what happens at that site in terms of leadership development, congregational care, and youth/children’s ministry in Andersonville. So I get all of the experience, but with the benefit of mentorship from our lead pastors. What challenges have you faced as a woman pastor? I will say that within UVC, I don’t feel that I face a lot of challenges as a woman pastor. Every once in awhile, I’ll get the question, “Oh, I didn’t know that women could be priests?” But I would say that by and large, and I may be in a bubble in the city, but I really don’t feel that I receive a lot of resistance. Do you feel that it is to your benefit to identify as both a lesbian and a woman in your ministry work? When I first came on board, my partner and I had been trying to get pregnant for many years. When I first joined UVC and talked to Trey about it, his first response was, “man, a lesbian pastor couple with a baby in Andersonville…that’s going to be amazing.” (laughs) I do think that there are people that seek me out simply because they aren’t used to having a woman pastor. And I think that some of those people, particularly women, are excited by that. Maybe the experience feels less threatening and they feel like they have someone they can relate to.Alert contributed by Julia DeLuc Part of UVC’s mission is to include all sexual orientations and gender identities- are you encouraged that the United Methodist Church will be more open to gay marriage, the ordination of homosexual pastors, and the promotion of women to higher religious roles in the future? Our new bishop is actually a woman, so I think that

Employee: Brittany Isaac Title: Associate Pastor/Church Planter Field/Career: Ministry

The United Methodist Church is a global church and we used to be a very colonial church. Fortunately, there have been great strides to try to have equality of voice from throughout the world, but unfortunately, because we are a global church, it prevents us from moving forward with progress on this particular issue. And I don’t say this off-handedly with total blame, but if you were just to vote within the United States, the Methodist Church would already be blessing samesex unions and the ordination of open, homosexual clergy. It probably would have happened twelve years ago. But one-third to nearly one-half of our voting happens from people outside of the U.S, and while I’m not saying that everyone in the U.S. is progressive, our global status has definitely made progress on this issues more difficult. However, I do think that we have an opportunity in the United States to say that we “understand that this is Church policy but we’re choosing to stand outside of that”. UVC is leading the way a little bit, but the entire West Coast is doing a lot more. They’re talking about standing in biblical obedience to the scriptures on issues surrounding homosexuailty. What does it mean for them to be exhibiting biblical obedience while still being more progressive? When we look at the Bible, we can’t cherry pick it for text after text. But what we can do is look for the arc of the narrative and we see that the arc always stands toward justice and inclusivity. So it’s an obedience to that.

Does your work at UVC reinforce current social conditions or try to change them? Going back to the resistance of women in the role of a minister, I do sometimes underestimate the power of me walking around in my clergy collar and the power that that does for people that see me in that role. We work with the Community Renewal Society, which does a lot of justice work, and so for me to go to Springfield in my clergy collar to meet with their representatives... I do think that is creating social change. I think and I hope that we are enacting social change around gender roles. But I think those are more implicit. What we are explicitly working on is giving a second chance to people who have been imprisoned. Helping to get their records, if they were non-violent, expunged so that they can start over and apply for a job. What is your most memorable experience with UVC? I am continually humbled that people come to me in a variety of different ways and just share their soul. Sometimes it is fragile and sometimes it is full of pain. Sometimes it is hopeful. It is in those moments that I understand the monastic heart and the desire for people to live a life of prayer. I realize in those moments that all I’m called to do is listen. And maybe it’s a difficult situation that requires me to respond by advising counseling or driving them to the hospital. But then I sit in prayer and give that to God and ask God to watch over and keep and help me respond in ways that I can. Click here to learn more about Urban Village Church! by Julia DeLuca

Table of Contents

from a woman’s rights perspective, or what they call the “stained glass ceiling”, I don’t know that UVC is doing anything to challenge gender roles. But when you ask questions about homosexuality and where the future of the Church is, I think that we are pushing the envelope in that area. We’re not doing it out of petulance. We are humbled in our push for inclusivity and we know that we are standing on the right side of history and we know that God has called us to that. So, yes maybe UVC is a trailblazer in that way.

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

In Other Words: Talking about Faith, Spirituality, and Religion in an Interfaith World By Evan Young

In the ecumenical and interfaith campus ministry where I serve, we spend a lot of time with people from a variety of faith traditions, and with people

who don’t claim any faith tradition. Some of these latter might be considered the “spiritual but not religious” folk that have been so much in the public

can find self-referential dictionary definitions (“of or pertaining to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature”), or vague and circular definitions (“Spirituality is a universal human experience of divinity, of nearness to the Source of Spirit”), or definitions so broad as to encompass All of them, though, are hungry to talk about everything (“the definition of spirituality should be the things that matter most to them: meaning, simple: Life”). The first sentence in the Wikipedia purpose, value, vocation, relationship, community, entry on spirituality reads: “Spirituality is the responsibility. Things we concept of an ultimate or an like to talk about too. So alleged immaterial reality; In most cases, definitions they find their way to us, an inner path enabling and we find ourselves carry implicit assumptions a person to discover the in deep and challenging essence of his/her being; about the right way to view conversation, around or ‘the deepest values topics that have involved the world (and, of course, and meanings by which ministers and their people live’”--which the many wrong ways) that charges time out of mind. might cover all the bases, but doesn’t really help us alienate people who think These conversations have to communicate more always been challenging. differently or come from clearly. And of course But now I’m finding them there’s “religion”: “the a different context. What challenging in a new belief in and worship of we wind up with is a set of way. Because some of a superhuman controlling the resources I’ve come terms which we use to talk power, especially a to rely on in my ministry personal God or gods.” about universal questions have started to betray me: the familiar words I have Virtually any definition and problems of human been accustomed to using you choose leaves some existence, but which breed to refer to and describe people out, predisposes the questions, ideas, and them to say, “OK, fine, division, misunderstanding, concerns at the heart of but that doesn’t apply and distrust. these conversations are to me or mean anything no longer my best friends, to me.” Sometimes, as because in the interfaith space we’ve been able with the third definition of “faith” offered above, to create they mean different things to different it leaves out humanist, atheist, and/or agnostic people. In the world, in the media, and in ministry folks. Sometimes, as with the Oxford Dictionary we use words like “faith,” “spirituality,” and definition of “religion,” it leaves out Buddhists and “religion” as though we know and agree on what practitioners of other non-theistic traditions. In most they mean. But we actually use them in a very fluid cases definitions carry implicit assumptions about way, and they mean different things depending the right way to view the world (and, of course, on who’s using them, and why, and how they’ve the many wrong ways) that alienate people who experienced those words in the past. think differently or come from a different context. What we wind up with is a set of terms which we Take “faith,” for example. Some people use this use to talk about universal questions and problems word to mean the body of religious doctrine their of human existence, but which breed division, church trained them up in; some mean trust that misunderstanding, and distrust. what happens is what’s supposed to happen; some mean an unreasoned “belief in things unseen” that That’s the problem our campus ministry faced is contrary to logic and science. Or spirituality: you when we set out to create a welcoming and

Table of Contents

discourse in recent years; some of them have fled organized religion out of a sense of being judged, excluded, or required to conform; some of them just think the whole religious enterprise is silly or irrelevant.

inclusive interfaith weekly student group: words we all use to describe a very important identity, experience, and/or practice we believe we all share, but which we all define differently (and often idiosyncratically). How can we even talk with each other about these things unless we have some kind of common understanding of what we mean by them? And, how can we arrive at such a common understanding?

they could relate to it. But what exactly was the experience behind all our stories? Then I shared one of my favorite definitions of faith, from the Christian theologian Schubert Ogden: “that original confidence in the meaning and worth of life, through which not simply our religious answers but even our religious questions first become possible or have any sense.”[1] It was a little dense at first, but we liked it enough to work on it. We believe the great big We decided that the And eventually we agreed first thing to do was to “all of this” we’re a part on “a confidence in the experience the problem meaning and worth of life of means something it’s together. So during an that makes it important to early-semester meeting important to us, we care wrestle with big questions we all stood up and like ‘why are we here? what about it, we want more. placed ourselves where are we supposed to do? we thought we belonged And so our questions about what happens when we on a line, one end of die? why do we suffer?’” it matter enough to ask which meant “faith is very We believe the great big them, to expect and seek important to me” and the “all of this” we’re a part other end of which meant of means something--it’s out answers, and to give “faith is not at all important important to us, we care to me.” Then we all shared that search for answers about it, we want more. stories from our personal And so our questions about power to shape our lives. experience about why we it matter enough to ask came to be standing where them, to expect and seek we were. I was hoping that out answers, and to give these stories might shed some light not only on that search for answers power to shape our lives. how we understood faith, but also on how we felt That first belief is what we decided we would misunderstood by others about faith. And they did. mean by “faith.” Because in general, the stories people on the “not at all important” end of the spectrum told were We did the same kind of continuum exercise with about other people using the word “faith” to draw “spirituality” and “religion” too. With spirituality, a line between right and wrong and to put them we found that what the people toward the “not at on the wrong side (for instance, saying about some all important” end were not identifying with was specific point of church doctrine, “It’s a matter the sort of non-rational, magical-thinking, Godof faith--you either believe it or you don’t,” with ghost-spirit incorporeal and powerful entity idea of the clear implication that believing it is right and spirituality--but that they did have experiences and not believing it is wrong). And those toward the feelings they found hard to categorize or explain. “very important” end of the spectrum told stories And the people at the other end of the spectrum about experiences that had a profound impact on nodded their heads vigorously and started sharing them and that invited others to identify with the their own stories of such experiences; and we experience in some way. began to identify some common themes. Nature was huge--lots of stories of having a heightened The more we thought about this, the more it sense of connection with the nonhuman world. seemed that content got in the way of form. When Also huge (and apparently universal) were stories we got specific about any article of faith, people about giving of oneself to help others, and the started feeling left out. But when we talked about sense of connection that came with that. the experience of faith, everyone had something

Then a funny thing happened. I asked people to place themselves on the “very important” to “not


Table of Contents

“How about this?” I said. at all important” continuum “What if we define spirituality ...eventually we for religion again, only as ‘understanding and/or this time using our new decided that religion experiencing yourself in definition. And I saw quite a relationship with a larger whole might be how we lot of creep all along the line. of which you are a part, on Sure, there was one guy who experience and express which you depend, and which stayed camped out on “not consequently you are called to our spirituality in at all important”--but most serve?’” Most everyone agreed of the students shifted in the community. on this right away--except for direction of “important,” and the word “called” and the some moved a long way. idea that we’re obliged to serve. “Maybe you guys aren’t ready for that part yet,” I thought. “But you I think this is important not because I’m a campus will be.” To be honest, this was a definition I’d minister, not because I’m a champion of religion spent some time on in seminary, when I was one in general or my religion in particular. I think it’s of the few Unitarian Universalists in my mostly important because it points us toward a way that Methodist school. I was pretty confident of it--and we can be in community that honors the different also unwilling to let go of the service obligation. paths we walk, the different beliefs we hold But even without it, I thought we’d arrived at a that help us to navigate through the challenging definition we could all work with: “understanding passages of our lives. If we can find words that will and/or experiencing yourself in relationship with a help us share our experience of those universal larger whole of which you are a part and on which human passages, rather than words that help to you depend.” build and maintain barriers between us based on how we believe differently, we might just be able When we got to “religion” they all knew the to move forward from this culture where religious drill and lined up. We had no one at the extreme diversity is a risky business, a problem to be solved, “important” end, a cluster somewhere between into a world where it’s an abundance of assets to “important” and the midpoint, a cluster between be celebrated. Because I want to live in that world. the midpoint and the “not important” end, and several folks camped out right on the “not at all [1] Schubert Ogden, The Reality of God (New important” endpoint. Then the stories came. And York: Harper & Row, 1966), p. 34. everyone on the negative end had a story about an encounter with a religious institution that left them Evan Young has served since 2005 as Campus feeling judged, blamed, “othered”; some also told Minister at United Campus Ministry Center for stories of seeing and being put off by their church’s Spiritual Growth and Social Justice, an ecumenical hypocrisy . Most on the “important” end told and interfaith ministry in Athens, Ohio serving stories about the embrace of a community, and Ohio University. He also serves as minister of the the feeling of being loved and accepted. Pretty Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens. He much everyone equated “religion” with “church.” received his M.Div. from Methodist Theological “OK, but is that really what it is?” I asked. “Where School in Ohio in 2006. He and his family live does that leave Buddhists? Wiccans? Humanists? in an off-grid house in an intentional community Is there another way to think about religion?” We outside Trimble, Ohio. mulled over the work we’d done with the other words, and thought about how that might affect our understanding of “religion.” And eventually we decided that religion might be how we experience and express our spirituality in community.

by Abi Wilberding

Educated Guess Asking How, Why, and What the Hell?

Potholes, Agnostics as Hipsters, and Why it’s Important to Talk About Religion

Table of Contents

Conversations about religion are a lot like potholes others that don’t and they are going to change you. on Lake Shore Drive. I try to avoid them as much This isn’t an optimistic world view, it’s a realistic as possible, and when I can’t, I always feel like I’ve one. We are altered by one another, and the world damaged something. It’s is a lot less in our control than hard for me to talk about any of us want it to be. We The more we are religion without clenching can resist this, we can argue exposed to those with my teeth or nodding so vehemently that only our one hard that I get dizzy with different views, the view makes sense--Atheist, my agreeability. In the last Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, more we can’t help but few weeks I’ve found that Jewish, Hindu, etc--or we can it’s just as difficult to write adapt our views to suit a realize that the world we live about religion, partially in is not a subjective one and greater world, no matter it never will be. because I feel nauseous when I begin to think about how steadfastly we it. Bear with me. I’m going Religion is so deeply imbedded believe or don’t. to argue against every in culture and identity that feeling I have right now it is frequently difficult to and say that it’s incredibly differentiate between the three. important, actually essential, for us to talk about The world we find ourselves in is shaped by every religion with one another. person and every belief people across cultures and countries have. We are not alone. Our religious or Many people I know think that discussing religion a-religious views do not exist in a vacuum. They is a pointless endeavor. They argue that, like affect others whether or not we talk about them, political affiliations, people have very concrete and we all need to be incredibly responsible with and developed thoughts on religion and are what we believe, how we believe it, and how we unlikely to change those beliefs based on a five understand the beliefs of others. This is something minute conversation. But I don’t think that this is I am willing to preach, and in many ways this idea the point--to change people’s beliefs. A good friend of finding a common ground and understanding of mine named Liza recently explained to me what that means is my religion. that with every conversation we have we change a little. Regardless of how I am Agnostic. I am not much we disagree with the This misinterpretation apathetic. Or confused. These other person, we hear what three things are frequently of Agnosticism is gagthey say and it alters the way thought of as one and the we view ourselves, if only same and they shouldn’t be. worthy. I’d like for an infinitesimal amount. Over the past few decades, people to stop thinking The more we are exposed to Agnosticism has been cast those with different views, as the hipster movement for that my religious the more we can’t help but religious affiliation. We’re affiliation drinks a lot adapt our views to suit a ironic because we don’t greater world, no matter of PBR, wears designer really know what we believe. how steadfastly we believe Or we’re confused and don’t plaid, and refuses to or don’t. really care much about culture and our surroundings. smile at people. This is important. It is This misinterpretation of important to recognize that Agnosticism is gag-worthy. however subjective our day-to-day, reality beckons I’d like for people to stop thinking that my religious us to be objective, to understand others, and to affiliation drinks a lot of PBR, wears designer plaid, realize ourselves as a part not apart from the rest and refuses to smile at people. of the world. No matter what you believe there are

I am not confused and I’m one it right, is religion. Not of the most passionate people I love people. The common a hipster fashion show, I know. Much like a onesie on but something I work denominator across most a T-Rex, organized religion very, very hard at. never fit me well. I don’t like religions is this idea of authority, and I especially There is not a person love. As an Agnostic and as dislike authority that has out there who is not an agenda underneath it a me, I try to love people working hard to survive that many believers seem in whatever sense they without expecting anything not to question. Power define it, and every one unquestioned is a very scary in return, and I try to love of us is a part of that. thing. Power unquestioned Inevitably, we won’t live people as much as I can in under the shroud of holiness forever; sorry to ruin the is even scarier. Agnosticism, ending to this one. And the short timeframe I have. to me, gives the ability to figuring out how to be question and, in turn, grapple okay with that? That’s with things that are much larger than I am and life. That’s religion. That’s real. can’t really be solved. That’s worthy of a conversation. For instance, I don’t know what’s going to happen when I die. I don’t know what’s going to happen to anyone when they die, and that is a very, very scary thing. Instead of solving this puzzle and accepting that it’s either lights out, or I go to a “better place”, I try to realize that the reality is unfathomable. I struggle with my vulnerabilities, my shortcomings, and my inability to know and control things. I struggle with being human. This, in part, is my religion. I love people. The common denominator across most religions is this idea of love. As an Agnostic and as a me, I try to love people without expecting anything in return, and I try to love people as much as I can in the short timeframe I have. I wrestle with my conscience and I do the absolute best I can do everyday. No. Don’t jump over that sentence. Think about it. It sounds bland but it’s actually incredibly difficult. I try to listen to viewpoints I absolutely despise. I strike up conversation at bus stops when I am bonetired from work and school. I work at apologizing when I’m wrong even when I really don’t want to. I question my beliefs, my deep-down-wouldn’t-it beeasier-to-not-alter-these beliefs. I try to understand people who offend me instead of offending them back. I try to think about the world outside my small patch of living. This is not easy stuff, and it’s important to do. This consciousness, when I do

BroadSide Expressions in Poetry via Street Literature Style

Benediction By Tania Hossain

Behold! A shooting star I stop and stare; Thwart those silent wails A moment of hope is here A sudden flash and gone? Deception, thy light Illusion, thy sight.

Table of Contents

My mind gyrates Straining at its axis; Disillusioned with thy promise An encounter with distorted bliss An accursed vision and gone? Vacant, my eyes Void, my cries.

Tania Tasneem Hossain is completing her second Master of Arts degree in Women’s Studies & Gender Studies at Loyola University Chicago. She is from Dhaka, Bangladesh, where she teaches English Literature at Jahangirnagar University. Tania enjoys reading, writing, music, eating out and traveling. She is specially interested is in feminist issues, which focus on the relationships between race, gender, class, religion, visual culture and literature, thereby addressing issues of power, resistance, social transformation, and interlocking systems of oppression and privilege within an international and national context.

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

The Same Instructions

by Allison Pilatsky

At the end of the Apostles’ Creed as recited every Sunday in church during my childhood, there are the following lines:

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

Why, I wanted to know, if she understood this distinction, could she not bring herself to say the Creed correctly? Her other answer seemed to reflect a lack of understanding that I knew to be false. This second inquiry never received a satisfactory answer, but instead, week after week, my grandmother would pronounce her belief in “the holy Christian church” as the rest of the assembled declared our belonging amongst the general catholic masses. I tried a number of other times to press my grandmother into the switch, but she would have none of it. The vehemence of her response, in fact, led me to refer to elaborate Catholic rituals at “the Catholic terror,” a term applicable to everything My grandmother was the first relative on the from incense to Hail Marys. I joined my maternal side of my family to convert from grandmother in rejecting the majority of such Catholicism in order to practices, but we continued join the Lutheran church. ...my grandmother’s to speak our profession of Defecting in her late teens, faith differently. strong faith causes she began to attend church with her Lutheran friends. any note of outside + ++ In doing so, she found that challenge to fall away, she preferred the simplicity If my grandmother has of Lutheran practice, the caused me some confusion to vacate its hostility direct access to God in regards to the appropriate or tendency towards through prayer rather than phrasing of the Apostles’ only by way of intercession. oppression at the Creed, or some frustration She also observed the at her adamant stance moment of encounter. comparative lack of politics about saying “holy Christian in the Lutheran Church, in church,” the strength of Her faith contains a opposition to the Catholic beliefs has taught kind of certainty, placed her Church; politics not in the me an important lesson. specific sense of positions entirely in God. That strength does not and social policy but rather make itself known in bull-­ the apparent belief of the headed refusal to engage in Catholic hierarchy that people were worthy to conversation or to respect other people’s beliefs. judge the choices of others. In light of this No, she is more than willing to explain her long history, when I asked about her rhetorical thoughts, and will adapt her beliefs if some choice in the Creed, she replied passionately new light is shed upon them, as she notably that she simply could not bring herself to say did in regards to creationism after a particularly ‘catholic.’ She was too deeply alienated by good sermon about evolution. Rather, my her upbringing to utter the word in her new grandmother’s strong faith causes any note of church home. outside challenge to fall away, to vacate its hostility or tendency towards oppression at the I objected to this immediately – I had learned moment of encounter. Her faith contains a kind quite young that the term “catholic” in the of certainty, placed entirely in God. Creed was a term meaning universal; it bore no relationship to the faith of my paternal family, To my grandmother then, phone calls from or earlier generations of maternal relatives. politicians trying to lobby her Republican vote

Table of Contents

This piece of the liturgy was easy for me to grasp – even as a child I knew I believed in all of these things. I would recite along confidently until I came to one small detail: the word “catholic.” As I stood between my mother and grandmother each week, I knew that I would stumble there as two different words reached my ears, as my mother said “catholic” and my grandmother said “Christian.” My grandmother was louder than my mother and each week I would become confused, losing the rhythm of the Creed as I tried to assimilate the difference. Finally I asked my grandmother about it.

against gay marriage and abortion rights are the to find out. I suppose I can say no more and perfect sites for the exercise of faith. Answering no less about my own God at this juncture. the phone, she listens as the person on the While politically I may hold more points other end constructs a leading question, one of contention than my grandmother around meant to draw her further into the cause. social policy, her answer is ultimately the only After all, a person in her seventies, a registered accurate one for our shared eternal lives: only Republican, she seems like an excellent target God can decide. Until then, in both religious for conservative politics and pandering. Instead, and political community we can only protect she pauses before answering, “I don’t think each other’s autonomy, hold each other’s that’s up to me. Only God choices up to the light of can decide that.” respect and be still. So that Her feminism is when my grandmother says In those moments, my centered on her faith, she believes in the holy grandmother becomes a on her belief that she Christian church, what she surprising breed of feminist believes in is this respect, in the eyes of these poll has the same right to and when I say I believe workers. Unwilling to speak to God as a male in the holy catholic church, enact her will in the place I extend a hand with that priest, that she has no of God’s, my grandmother’s same meaning. answer echoes her profession more knowledge and no of faith, her belief in “God, Allison Pilatsky is a first year less than those priests the Father, the Almighty” PhD student in Women’s, and in the forgiveness Gender, and Sexuality studies of what God desires of of sins upon the day of at Emory University in Atlanta, us because we are all judgment. Her feminism Georgia. Her work focuses is centered on her faith, working from the same on the intersections of queer on her belief that she has theory and disability studies, set of instructions. the same right to speak to with an emphasis on radical God as a male priest, that conceptions of community she has no more knowledge and interdependence. and no less than those priests of what God desires of us because we are all working from the same set of instructions. Until further notice, then, she will not be the barrier to anyone else’s autonomy or decision-­making. In the wake of such phone calls, my grandmother has told me she is retracting her Republican Party membership in favor of the status of Independent, but that is not the whole truth. Rather, instead of independence from party-­ line values, my grandmother’s political shift is towards a location that doesn’t believe itself to be the arbiter of sin. She doesn’t need someone else’s values to tell her what she believes, but only the word of God and the patient belief that it will all be decided in time. My grandmother’s God may or may not be a feminist, but I will just have to wait in order


First Published:

Bookmark Here


Current Publisher: Epica Task Force


The Poisonwood Bible

$14.95 122




»» Post-colonial era in the Belgian Congo in the 1960’s »» Conflict between Evangelical missions and respect for native beliefs »» The impact of religion on the lives and perceptions of four girls

From the back cover:

Amalia Molina’s story. A bi-lingual book.

by Barbara Kingsolver


“A courageous and beautiful testimony of how the great American dream becomes a nightmare.” ~Mario Bencastro, author, Odyseey to the North “I felt like I was back in prison, remembering the abuse, negligence and frustration, but in awe of the creativity and caring that women offer one another. The prison system - on all levels - is broken, a travesty of the concept of ‘rehabilitation.’ Only trust in God gets one through the disappearance of detention. I pray that we learn the truth about the ‘justice’ system and set all our souls free.” ~Judith Kelly, School of the Americas prisoner of conscience


Well-researched, narrative depiction of the time period and location; told from the perspective of multiple characters; illuminates important political issues and the U.S.’s involvement in the Congo’s internal conflicts; a very original story that portrays the critical need for cultural sensitivity and respect for indigenous religions and customs.


Since this is a novel, content should not be trusted as necessarily accurate historical information; might be viewed as overly critical of the life and work of missionaries to foreign countries; slang terms and dialect of some characters might be difficult to understand.

Table of Contents

“The Power of Love tears down the walls between us and our immigrant neighbors, opens us up to their plight, strength, and courage, and calls us to advocate for their release and profound reform in current immigration law, since we, too, were once strangers in a strange land.” ~Alice Linsmeier, Jesuit Refugee Services, Los Angeles

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

Ibuprofen and Mortal Error By Richard Ray

I remember when I started attending Sunday school I hated it like most kids. I remember sitting in a drab room that smelled like old carpet and musty books and we sang songs about bosoms and recited prayers about heavenly kingdoms. I remember asking questions and not really getting any answers. My mom told me during thunderstorms that all my deceased aunts, uncles and grandparents I never met were all bowling in heaven. I remember asking about heaven and what it’s like there, I remember being told everyone I know and love would be there. It sounded pretty nice. I was raised in a pseudo-Christian Scientist household. No, that’s not Scientology. Christian Science (Mark Twain hated us, look it up) is a branch of Christianity founded by a woman named Marry Baker Eddy at the end of the 1800’s. Essentially, the big idea is that modern science and medicine are to be avoided and prayer and faith in all that is holy is the only remedy for any illness. My mom was raised in this church (though she

took, takes and continues to take medicine and has health insurance, she even volunteers at a hospital gift shop, so she’s definitely going to hell) and since my Dad was in the seemingly infinite ranks of non-practicing Catholics, Mom took me and my sisters to her church when we were kids. As we grew up our allegiances were scattered. One sister is decidedly just “Christian”, another is a very fashionable atheist, and the oldest converted to Catholicism when she got married. I am not articulate enough about religion and spirituality to label myself, I just don’t know. I don’t really call myself agnostic, because I think that actually means something more than most people think, it’s not safety in uncertainty. In agnosticism you’re supposed to actually think that it’s impossible to know the truth, it’s unobtainable, not a spiritual weigh station while you figure it out. It’s as definitive as atheism. You’re not just saying “I dunno,” you’re saying “I’m positive ‘I dunno’ forever until God shoves his face in mine and screams in my ear ‘DUDE, I’M RIGHT HERE’”.


Table of Contents

So this is where all of us ended up, my mom pull shut. I love my mom, she’s the best mom out being the only one that still has any affinity for there, but her church, and all other churches, were the quirky offshoot of Christianity. The one that got glaring examples of the horrible truths I learned as my sisters and me strange looks when it came up I got older. So, I thought to myself, if this is how the in conversation like “isn’t that a cult?” To which world works, there is no way I will just jump on the we would respond with a curt and dismissive “No, bandwagon and pretend like its peachy. I won’t do it’s not”. I remember once being called a “stupid it. I won’t do it for my childhood friend’s mother fucking Christian Scientist” by a kid in my grade who doesn’t have her youngest son anymore. I for not having Advil at my house when he had a can’t do it for all of the horrors committed in the headache, so I promptly whipped an unopened name of holiness. can of a coke at his head and he whimpered off back to his hegemonic, I still feel that way today, as an Protestant household. I adult; with my own son, whose I love my mom, she’s didn’t do it for Mary Baker was named Phillip after the Eddy, and I didn’t do it for the best mom out friend I lost. I, like everyone, seek our anti-pharmaceutical catharsis, something to purge all there, but her church, Jesus, in retrospect I did it of this innate guilt and fear and out of some alien familial and all other churches, pain that come with the joys of pride I didn’t know I had. I existence. Like my son waking me were glaring examples mean, we didn’t have Advil up in the morning with his bare in the house because we feet slapping on the hardwood of the horrible truths I were out of it, not because floor. The way my dad’s cable of religious doctrine, learned as I got older. knit green sweater sends me but still I felt the need to reeling through time and space to respond heavy-handedly to the insult. And at this the most warm-bellied memories of childhood on point I had already told my mom I wanted to stop Christmas (originally a pagan holiday celebrating going to church on Sundays. I was defending the the winter solstice, mind you). These cultural integrity of a faith I never really cared about. norms or spiritual havens, whatever you want to call them, are ingrained in us for better or worse. It was a conflict I felt at a very young age, making my Mom happy with going to church and reconciling Ultimately, I do not feel the need to attach myself a belief in a god that would allow my childhood to any doctrine, as I know what love is, I know friend, Phillip, to die in a handgun accident in the right from wrong, and I believe I have a pretty spring of my 3rd grade year. But I also remember good understanding of how much of an impact telling people, young friends mostly, that I could we all have on one another and the planet we talk to Phillip in heaven and he could make the live, the space we occupy. If that makes me an clouds cover or reveal the sun at my request. I unwitting child of god, so be it. God never told me would ask Agents Scully and Molder and Snake to go to church on Sundays and praise him. Every Eyes (the G.I. Joe), my heroes who eventually day of my life, when I feel gratefulness, that’s my replaced the heavenly father in my prayers, to take Sunday church service. A very over used quote by good care of my friend in heaven while I slept. Abraham Lincoln (and one I must confess I don’t know the context of) kind of sums it up, “When I This distaste for church and worship grew and do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. stayed with me, well into teenage hangovers And that is my religion.” keeping me in bed, the shades drawn on Sunday mornings while my mom would put her favorite Richard Ray is a media saturated idiot that can’t put broach on her blazer and crack my door, an idea together for the life of him. He murmurs the whispering how she would really like me to come lord’s prayer in binary while refreshing his LinkedIn with her. I would mutter into my pillow something page over and over again in hopes that the divine barely intelligible and I would hear the door softly will find him suitable for employment.

Words Are Useless Artist: Kristen Black

Telephone Wires and Wires

Mixed Media, 2011 Biography: A California native, Kristen moved to Chicago to begin LUC’s dual MSW/MA WSGS degree in 2011. Having minored in Religious Studies in undergrad, she has a lot to say on the topic, but decided instead to submit a piece of artwork that better expresses the jumble of opinions, emotions, and contradictions she finds in her own spiritual wonderings. She will finish her MA in WSGS in August 2013 with a thesis, and is inspired by all things considered.

WLA Re-Animated Artifacts from the vaults of the Women’s & Leadership Archives

1933: “Presidents” Description: Sr. Mary Ramona, BVM; Sr. Ann Ida Gannon, BVM; and Sr. Joan Therese Scanlon, in 1933, working on an education curriculum. Commentary: Throughout history, religion has been used to justify women’s inferiority to or dependency on men. However, women religious lived independently of men and used their intellect and skills to promote social justice, often obtaining significant positions of leadership and influence. In fact, nuns throughout history have run schools, hospices and hospitals, and provided food and medicine to the people surrounding their homes. Even today, nuns are also involved in advocacy, social services, and a wide variety of social justice positions.

Table of Contents

WLA Mission Statement: Established in 1994, the Women and Leadership Archives (WLA) collects, preserves, organizes, describes, and makes available materials of enduring value to researches studying women’s contributions to society.

byAnna Gentry

Off the Shelf Books, Brains, and Broads

A Few Words on Atheism

Table of Contents

I got really excited about this issue’s theme. identity during my semester in Queer Theory to During my undergraduate years at Loyola, I kind know that claiming one of those titles says a lot of fell into a religious studies to me and to the world, and degree. Sitting in the theology I don’t think either really Many religions have, department senior year my expresses how I feel or advisor told me it looked as think. I’m still working that historically, not been though I had always been a out. Though I don’t claim religious studies major even kind to women. Many atheism as my own religious though my declared focus religions still are not. We or non-religious identifier, was psychology. Religious I find its role fascinating in have to read between studies courses and feminist recent history (as well as not theologians at Loyola are so recent history). the lines of religion’s to credit for my Master’s fables and texts to detect The religious and political degree in Women’s and Gender Studies. Never had I women’s voices and atmosphere since been inspired to think more September 11, 2001 has critically than in my women experiences that are been tumultuous. It always and religion classes. has been, but the horrific so often buried deep events on that day opened within. There is so much material up a space for some serious in religion for women and religious fundamentalism in all feminists academically. Feminist theologians this country to gain power socially and politically. have created theories for studying religion that The tea baggers, the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, I use in my research just as much as the secular etc…have all lead to us re-fighting hard won theories taught in my feminist research courses. battles over birth control, abortion, and basic Many religions have, historically, not been kind rights to privacy and personal decision. to women. Many religions still are not. We have to read between the lines A true sign that I should of religion’s fables and texts The religious and eventually tackle that PhD to detect women’s voices is my tendency to use my political atmosphere free time writing rough and experiences that are so drafts of syllabi for courses often buried deep within. I since September I would like to teach. One could spend hours listing the 11, 2001 has been of those courses happens atrocities that women face due to be about Atheism. I to various religious doctrines tumultuous. It has always don’t know enough about about what we are, what we been, but the horrific Atheism to teach a class on should be, how we should it, but I would love to take behave, and how we should events on that day that class. The most famous be treated. opened up a space for atheist in recent history is probably Christopher As I have gotten older I grow some serious religious Hitchens. It is, as it used farther and farther away from fundamentalism in this to be (though with less any religious identity. I don’t dire circumstances in currently claim any one. My country to gain power the United States), a big Catholic partner loves to socially and politically. deal to come out against teasingly call me a heathen religion. Whether you find as he puzzles out what to Hitchens’s 2007 God is not Great: How Religion seriously label me. He switches between agnostic Poisons Everything offensive, enlightening, or just and atheist, but I am either too chicken or too plain fascinating; I want to highlight that it was a unsure to claim either one. I learned enough about

big deal for that book to have simply been written. And, thank goodness we still live in a society where that book was written, published, and on the New York Times best sellers list.

No matter what you believe, religion and religious leaders should have to answer to their histories and their actions, and it is not offensive to question them and make them do so.

Individuals like Christopher Hitchens and Bill Maher who have spoken and speak openly about their dislike for religion are often labeled as not only atheists, but as being offensive. What do we find so offensive about them when they talk about religion? A blatant dislike, disbelief, and openness about not understanding how someone can believe in religions is met with hostility and discomfort by even the most liberal of believers. Our country’s protection of freedom of religion has perhaps become a little conflated. Being anti-religious has become misconstrued as being anti-freedom of religion which doesn’t just offend believers, but also patriots. Freedom of religion means that we can choose not only what religion we practice, but that we can also choose not to participate in one at all. We can also talk about why we make those decisions. Why is it alright to critique a film by arguing that it is outdated, but not a religion? God is not Great is less about how religion poisons everything, though there is a great amount of that in there, and more about religious history and an argument that religious beliefs are outdated next to our advances in science, literature, and philosophy. Terrible things have been done, are done, every day in the name of religion. Hitchens goes to great lengths to document this throughout history. No matter what you believe, religion and religious leaders should have to answer to their histories and their actions, and it is not offensive to question them and make them do so. Modern day American Atheists are not arguing to persecute believers. Mr. Hitchens is vehemently against religious persecution in his book. He is saying I think your views are ridiculous, man (he uses man pointedly) made, and I think they have done a lot of harm. It should be okay to say that. Religion doesn’t get a free

pass, because our society believes in freedom of religion (which somehow demands respect for religion). It should be okay for atheists to talk about their beliefs as much as it is okay for a Christian to talk about theirs.

Christopher Hitchens had the courage to brilliantly and openly argue against something he didn’t believe in. Religions are unbelievable. They rely on their practitioners to have faith in inconceivable events beyond reason. Many argue that this is a positive attribute of faith and the basis for being a true believer. I do not state that in criticism, though if I did that should be okay. God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything and The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever by Christopher Hitchens are intelligent works about the nonbelief and beliefs of individuals with valuable things to say about religion. Whether you are a believer or not, these books will make you think critically about and make you better able to express and argue what you yourself believe.

Quote Corner Mary Daly “Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation”

Why indeed must “God” be a noun? Why not a verb-the most active and dynamic of all.

Really moving beyond god the father and his surrogates means Livingthe process of participation in Powers of Be-ing. Elementally, Metaphoric words and the actions they encourage and reflect are signals of these Powers. They are Metamorphic, shifting the shapes of space and time, rearranging energy patterns, breaking through and relocating boundaries.

Women have had the power of naming stolen from us. We have not been free to use our own power to name ourselves, the world, or God. As the women’s movement begins to have its effect upon the fabric of society, transforming it from patriarchy into something that never existed before - into a diarchal situation that is radically new - it can become the greatest single challenge to the major religions of the world, Western and Eastern. Beliefs and values that have held sway for thousands of years will be questioned as never before. This revolution may well be also the greatest single hope for survival of spiritual consciousness on this planet.

It is the creative potential itself in human beings that is the image of God. ‘God’s plan’ is often a front for men’s plans and a cover for inadequacy, ignorance, and evil. Few major feminists display great interest in institutional religion. Yet this disinterest can hardly be equated with lack of spiritual consciousness . Rather, in our present experience the woman-consciousness is being wrenched free to find its own religious expression.

Table of Contents

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

Mary Daly: God-dess Emeritus By Caelyn Randall

Mary Daly first emerged as a public figure in 1968 with the publication of her book, The Church and the Second Sex. Though it was initially decried by Roman Catholic Clergy, it catapulted her into the burgeoning Women’s Liberation Movement. Daly soon embarked on what would be a roughly 40 year radical evolution, the height of which was arguably her departure from the Church and Christianity entirely. Her radicalization ultimately lays the foundation for modern reconstructive feminist theology. Feminism broadly conceived is the belief that women are as equally human as men and have the same human capacity for knowledge, love, etc. Feminist theology, however, is “a discourse

about God that complements a centuries-long tradition of theology articulated mostly by men, by using the experience of girls and womenpeculiar to them- to devise language about God that is neither sexist, androcentric nor patriarchal” (Kennedy 178). Most of Daly’s publications exist somewhere between these two definitions. Indeed, some conviction of feminism must be employed to articulate a feminist theology. Though Daly maintains a metaphysical framework for much of her writing, her later work is less theological and more philosophical in nature. Perhaps her most pragmatic book, The Church and the Second Sex, takes aim at the misogyny of the Catholic Church. Published after Vatican II but


Table of Contents

before Inter Insigniores (the Vatican’s declaration Many intelligent people are not aware of the depth against women’s ordination) in 1976, The Church and far-reaching consequences of this problem. and the Second Sex articulates, among other It appears to such persons that an image God as things, a theological argument for the equality an ‘old man with a beard’... is too childish to be of men and women. She taken seriously by any adult... challenges such theologians The Church and the but they fail to realize what as St. Thomas Aquinas a powerful grip such images Second Sex articulates, arguing that his theology, have upon the imagination among other things, a read properly actually makes even after they have been the case for gender equality consciously rejected....” (The theological argument (Suhonen 114) . This historical Church and the Second Sex for the equality of men re-reading and logical re180). configuration has been at and women. the heart of the work for Daly is here engaging both gender advocates within the the feminist audience and church, as much of the Church’s justification for the Catholic Church. Her appeal to “intelligent the subordination of women has been the logos people” is a cry to those feminists who may have of the Bible and Church tradition. Despite critics understood any discussion of religion as irrelevant who would later use Daly’s admittedly essentialist to the broader women’s movement. Her appeal is works to read her earlier publications, she one of broad inclusivity- she declares that how we adamantly opposes any metaphysical grounding conceive of the divine is intimately related to how for the category of “woman” in The Church and women are treated in all sectors of life, and thus the Second Sex (Suhonen 114). Daly was rightly religion, if only by default, should be a concern of concerned that if the Catholic Church continued feminists. to uphold such principles, Christianity could be discounted as the obstacle to human progress However, rather than disregarding religion, (Suhonen 114). specifically Christianity, as the impediment to progress as Beauvoir did, Daly asserts that this Much of the book is comprised of Daly’s affirmation ‘radical surgery’ can be completed successfully. and re-appropriation of the principles in Simone’s Daly saw The Church and the Second Sex as a De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex in order to both point of exigence for the Catholic Church. She sanction De Beauvoir’s critique of religion as it implores the Church to change declaring, relates to the denigration of women and to affirm the Church’s ability to change (Kennedy 186). “Rather than a philosophy of despair, we choose a Her ethos as a Christian, indeed a Catholic, was theology of hope, not because the former is ‘false’, imperative to the reception of the of The Second but because we think it represents an incomplete Sex. While such an identification may have slightly and partial vision...Men and women, using their distanced herself between other feminists of the best talents, forgetful of self and intent upon the time, it validated her critique of the Church. work, will with God’s help mount together toward a higher order of consciousness and being, in which Daly identifies the root of the denigration of women the alienating projections will have been defeated as the second sex by the church as a masculine and wholeness, psychic integrity, achieved” (The conception of God. According to Daly, altering Church and the Second Sex 223). how we conceived of God in gendered terms, what she calls “radical surgery”, is necessary if the Caelyn Randall is a senior at Loyola University Catholic Church is to ever bear gender equality: Chicago from Grand Rapids, Michigan. She will graduate this December with degrees in both “In theology, at the root of such distortions as Philosophy and Women’s/Gender Studies. antifeminism is the problem of conceptualizations, images, and attitudes concerning God.

Words Are Useless Artist: Luke Watson, Series: Keeping Faith

“Keeping Faith�: Greek Orthodox

Medium format, photography About the Series: This series, from the Permanent Collection of the National Galleries of Scotland, includes a memorable set photographs of leaders of sixteen different faiths in Scotland. Each of the leaders has been photographed in appropriate surroundings. The photos are the work of Luke Watson.

Artist: Luke Watson

“Keeping Faith”: Muslim

Biography: Luke Watson is an internationally exhibited photographer whose work explores the boundless possibilities of the photographic encounter, themes of national identity, social structures and unusual environments. He is also fascinated with the photographic process and finding ways to enhance meaning and intention with technique and craft. He was the youngest person to have sold a series of work to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (the series ‘Keeping Faith’) and has exhibited in Japan, Australia the united states and the UK. He has taught at Edinburgh college of Art, Napier University, Edinburgh Academy and currently teaches photography at Stevenson College, Edinburgh and is developing new projects. Website: lukewatsonphotography.com

Table of Contents

Medium format, photography

Words Are Useless Artist: Luke Watson, Series: Keeping Faith

“Keeping Faith�: Roman Catholic

Medium format, photography About the Series: This series, from the Permanent Collection of the National Galleries of Scotland, includes a memorable set photographs of leaders of sixteen different faiths in Scotland. Each of the leaders has been photographed in appropriate surroundings. The photos are the work of Luke Watson.

Artist: Luke Watson

“Keeping Faith”: Buddhist

Biography: Luke Watson is an internationally exhibited photographer whose work explores the boundless possibilities of the photographic encounter, themes of national identity, social structures and unusual environments. He is also fascinated with the photographic process and finding ways to enhance meaning and intention with technique and craft. He was the youngest person to have sold a series of work to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (the series ‘Keeping Faith’) and has exhibited in Japan, Australia the united states and the UK. He has taught at Edinburgh college of Art, Napier University, Edinburgh Academy and currently teaches photography at Stevenson College, Edinburgh and is developing new projects. Website: lukewatsonphotography.com

Table of Contents

Medium format, photography

Words Are Useless Artist: Luke Watson, Series: Keeping Faith

“Keeping Faith�: Anglican

Medium format, photography About the Series: This series, from the Permanent Collection of the National Galleries of Scotland, includes a memorable set photographs of leaders of sixteen different faiths in Scotland. Each of the leaders has been photographed in appropriate surroundings. The photos are the work of Luke Watson.

Artist: Luke Watson

“Keeping Faith”: Wiccan

Biography: Luke Watson is an internationally exhibited photographer whose work explores the boundless possibilities of the photographic encounter, themes of national identity, social structures and unusual environments. He is also fascinated with the photographic process and finding ways to enhance meaning and intention with technique and craft. He was the youngest person to have sold a series of work to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (the series ‘Keeping Faith’) and has exhibited in Japan, Australia the united states and the UK. He has taught at Edinburgh college of Art, Napier University, Edinburgh Academy and currently teaches photography at Stevenson College, Edinburgh and is developing new projects. Website: lukewatsonphotography.com

Table of Contents

Medium format, photography

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

Radical Compassion By Anonymous The day after my mikveh (ritual bath), the day after I fully joined “the Tribe” and became a Jew, my rabbi gave me a necklace. It is a hamsa with a heart in the palm. He gave it to me with a note that said, “no words...just...” When I looked up from the box on the table and met those eyes I had studied with for over a year, those eyes I thought I knew so well were shining with tears. I kissed him on the cheek, and left his office without a word. The next day, he told me he was in love with me. I had studied with this man, and counseled with him; I had walked with him and eaten meals with him. I had talked to him on the phone late at night, and shared every corner of my soul with this human being. He was my first spiritual counselor; I had

no frame of reference for who he had become in my life. Mentor, teacher, guide, counselor - I had become his “Shaliach” (or messenger) for hospital visits when he was too busy; I had become his apprentice, having found that I was interested in the rabbinical path. In hindsight, I was completely under his power- his opinions were the only opinions that mattered in my life. I became, also, his love. This rabbi was married. He proposed to me nonetheless. I loved him, I trusted his word in all things...when he said his marriage was not healthy, when he said it was over, when he said he had never loved like this and spoke of the two of us standing under a chuppah, talked about how our souls had stood together at Sinai, I believed him with all my heart.

us, in my living room, my rabbi and love bound us with rituals he had done in the synagogue for others so many times.

Two years followed - years of torture in which everything I believed in was tested. He didn’t want to divide the community by divorcing; Seven times we walked around each other -three he didn’t know what to do. “Wait until after High circles for me, three very slow, halting circles for Holy Days, I promise I will him, and one together- “take tell them all then,” he told your time,” I told him softly, as I love this man, not as me, two years in a row. “I his illness made itself known can’t live without you,” he in a painful walk, step by a spiritual guide on a told me, and I believed him. difficult step, around me. His pedestal anymore, but Two years later, he told me hands trembled in mine, but he had initiated a divorce. his eyes never faltered - they as a flawed human who Two years in which he had were shining, eager, a young loved me and was given abandoned me repeatedly to man’s eyes in a mortal man’s “work on his marriage,” or aging body. “Take your time.” to me as a teacher in “figure things out” then had He covered us both in a tallit this life. come back to me, flooding and made vows to me - vows me again with promises and which he broke a short month words of love. There was always a desperation in later, abandoning me with one last terse email. “I him - it was like being suddenly overtaken by a have to say goodbye. I have to rebuild my health tsunami, when he came back to me. Two years and my life.” in which I forgave him and tried to learn to trust again; two years in which slowly, an illness took This love taught me so many things. It taught me over his ability to function well, and he retired why there are such strict laws about a fiduciary from his job. relationship between counselor and patient or spiritual leader and congregant; it taught me about Two years in which I alternately accessed a love and forgiveness, it stretched the strength of generosity of heart I didn’t know it was possible my faith, but most of all, it showed me the breadth for a human being to possess, and let my fears and depth of my own heart. and lack of trust grow. I reproached him with not being the man I had believed him- reproached I have been shunned and shamed, gossiped about him for falling from his pedestal, for lying, for in the “spiritual” community and tormented with hiding, for acting directly against every single one cruel acts even in a synagogue while a service of his teachings in the synagogue. I didn’t heal was in progress - I have been called cruel names the rifts and wounds that occurred every time he and I have had immense lies told attacking my abandoned me- there was never time. I didn’t character, my spirit, my heart, and even my sanity; know how to begin. I depended on this man far I have said, throughout this torture, not one word too much. against the man I still love- I love this man, not as a spiritual guide on a pedestal anymore, but as a Two years, several lifetimes of lessons later, flawed human who loved me and was given to me he proposed to me again, on his knees. I said as a teacher in this life. nothing. “Please say something,” he began to cry. I said “please ask me again? When your divorce I have seen “religious” people speak (and sing: is completely final.” He wanted my promise right one of them is a cantor) in the synagogue about then. He wanted me to be “safe.” If something forgiveness and loving kindness, and then turn happened to him, he said, he wanted our souls to around and treat me with shocking cruelty; people be joined. He was in such a hurry -oh my love, his who have not paused to hear my story, have not time was running out and he knew it. asked me what I have to say about it have not He wanted to do rituals to seal it. Just the two of stopped to find out who I am as a human being.

Table of Contents

I was to learn that this rabbi was human.

These people have weakened my belief in society’s definition of religion. These people have strengthened my faith, and have started my feet on a path to find authenticity of heart in other humans. These people have shown me what hypocrisy is, and have shown me that I cannot tolerate it- I have learned to see them with compassion, and have also learned what my purpose is in this life. I have been humbled beyond what I knew a human being could endure. I am grateful for it all. Spiritual leaders are human beings. They fall in love; their marriages fall apart. They are human beings with flaws, and they need to remember that; their congregations need to remember that.

this deep soul connection. I can feel it even now a love so great, sometimes it feels as though I am not large enough to contain it; there were never enough words, there was not enough time.

I am starting to know that a return to this love, though it involves immense pain, is a great giftI cannot live with half my heart, silencing the deepest truth I’ve ever known. I don’t want to come to the end of my life and realize I had silenced my Spiritual leaders are heart and numbed my soul, so human beings. They fall that I could fit in a definition in love; their marriages that other people could understand. Who can explain fall apart. They are love? So, I’ll take the pain. I am learning right now, deeply human beings with and truly, that it is the broken flaws, and they need to heart that can truly pray.

remember that; their congregations need to remember that.

When you walk into a place of worship, don’t put on another face. Spiritual leader or congregant - walk in carrying all that you are. Only in this way can healing begin. I will always love my rabbi; I will always be grateful to him for what he taught me. I was shattered by his leaving; I will grieve when I remember this man who had huge dreams. He was not able to grow big enough to be the person he wanted to be - he held himself on the same pedestal that his congregation had him on, all those years; when his body failed, he hated himself. I hope he finds faith again, and learns to love himself with all his flaws, as I have learned to love him. He has taught me, in a deeply painful journey, the meaning of the word love. Whereas before, I was a pure and clear glass with the light shining through, I am now stained glass: broken and put back together, refracting the light in a million places. It is the broken heart that can truly pray. One of the last times I saw him, I ran into him by chance, up on a mountain with the snow falling around us. He was just sitting there on his bike, as though waiting for me. I got out of my car and walked over to him. It will always live and breathe,

“I was looking for you; this is beshert,” he said, and held me close. “Please,” his voice broke, “tell me something about love.”

My rabbi called me his teacher - he called me his wise one, his Raven. He looked to me for answers; but sometimes the answers are not what we want to hear. I pulled back to look into those dear eyes. “When you feel like your heart is breaking,” I said, (he began to cry, and I wiped his tears away with my thumbs, my hands caressing the face dearest to me in all the world,) “Don’t put up walls. Don’t close down. Let it break, break it open further, because that is when the light comes in. That’s when God comes in.” And so, love of my life, my beshert, my friend and my soul, I’m practicing what I preach. This broken heart is learning to pray again. I am returning to love, and returning to the deep truth that you are a part of me, and always will be. What a gift. Once we can deeply forgive ourselves for being human, and bring all that we are to places of worship, we can forgive others.


Ex Bibliothecis

E-resources at University Libraries are not only about research; they’re also about studying smarter. Here are just four examples:

Oxford Language Dictionaries Online* is an authoritative source for Spanish, French, Italian, German, Russian, and Chinese. Consider developing your vocabulary by subscribing to the Word of the Day feature*. World Maps* in Oxford Reference Online* displays up-to-date political and physical maps to help you see where in the world current events are occurring and historical ones occurred. Testing & Education Reference Center* gives you a glimpse into your readiness for the GRE or other standardized test by providing three timed practice exams and explanations afterward for why the right answer is the best one. RefWorks* and Zotero are both citation management systems that can organize your reading and save sources you anticipate *

consulting in the future. Librarians lead workshops on both tools each semester; check our calendar for spring semester dates when classes resume in January. Sometimes the best studying happens in a quiet place but we know those can be scarce in our world, perhaps never more than at the holiday season. Visit the third floor of the Information Commons (and the fourth floor during special hours), the Donovan Reading Room in Cudahy Library, and the ninth floor of Lewis Library for a reprieve from noise and distraction. Lastly, to connect this column to the issue’s theme I created a list in the WorldCat Local catalog of religious and spiritual memoirs written by women. Each one offers a thoughtful and engaging winter read. I wish you a successful close to the semester and 2012. It is a privilege to serve you as subject librarian. You are always welcome to contact me by sending a message to jcurrie@luc.edu.

This resource is accessible on-campus or off-campus to students, faculty, and staff after log-in with a Loyola Universal ID and password.

Table of Contents

Studying Smarter

by Jane P. Currie

From Loyola’s Libraries to you. Assisting you in your search for information.

By Emma Steiber

Queer Thoughts A Transgressive Approach

Finding Stability in Instability Religion is multi-layered, multi-textured, limitless, an open book. It is a book we all have access to, yet it is a book I’d hate to stare in the face. It is a book of judgment, in which religions overlap and make claims as “Truth” over others. On the other hand, it can be an accepting book, in which religions take you in, forgive you for your sins, or tell you to renounce your sins and move on. Yet it can also be a gendered book for some. I challenge these “Truths.” Rather than a book of beliefs and statements, I argue that the compilation of these beliefs should not be categorized under

the term religion, but be called art, creativity, pro-expression, creative non-fiction, or a mythic saga. Take out “religion” and you find story. I like finding these overlaps and juxtapositions between religions because it is the cracks in the ground we overlook that are intriguing. Most importantly, though, it is the stories behind them and the analyses of these stories I like the most. It makes me wonder how and why we think the way we do through religion. It turns into a sociological approach toward religion. This article isn’t meant to be a replacement of one “Truth” with another,

against the norms and crossing boundaries? Pagan societies have done this, but they have, in effect, been looked at askance. Placing this idea within the realm of sexuality and desire, one finds hierarchies Paganism encompasses many subcultures placed and overly emphasized. “Most systems of of spirituality and is the sexual judgment – religious, predecessor to many psychological, feminist, Disregard “Him” or religions practiced today. or socialist – attempt to Paganism, which grew from “Almighty,” but reclaim determine on which side nature, and Wicca, a subthe line a particular act goddesses, such as Gaia, of group within Contemporary falls,” stated Gayle S. Rubin Satan as a representation in her essay, “Thinking Sex.” Paganism that emphasizes the interconnectedness of nature Thus, moral and immoral of desire, him/her/it/ through natural magic, are acts are placed on a XYZ pronouns. The list representations of something spectrum, a sliding scale of greater than the term what is deemed acceptable, of passions and spiritual “religion.” Whatever we may questionable, and unworthy term our spirituality and more, findings are endless. of acceptance. We can these creative processes that place fetishes on the lead to spiritual connectivity immoral side of the wall, through nature and pantheistic thought seem yet claim the power to label monogamy, marriage, to be the framework for an all-accepting, alland heterosexuality on the other side. encompassing foundation. Many place spirituality and pantheism out of bounds and in a stigmatized, Instead, one should reclaim desires, whether they falsified category, but other ancient sects teach are non-normative or deemed acceptable. If you us to accept God or Jesus Christ in all of us. want to label it “Satan,” so be it. But I make the Society has misleadingly used Wicca’s beliefs in statement that Satan, and worshipping desires, witchcraft as encompassing all Pagan beliefs and, transgressions, and transcendence, whether thus, has negatively stereotyped these Wiccan individually or communally, should be brought groups. My question to this is, who cares? If we back into a positive light. In accepting all cultures equate symbols to our souls or our actions, such as we could, dare I say it, make genderless higher drinking the blood of Jesus during Mass, aligning beings and gods, or reclaim female deities, as well witchcraft with the Earth should be placed on an as male, back into the symbols and representations. equal and accepting footing. Looking at Pagan I do not intend to switch one belief with the next; thought in a different light, I see it grounded in rather, I suggest returning to paganism as a belief not only interconnectivity with all persons, but in system that we can learn from and expound off of. desire and passion as well. This is what I believe I suggest rewriting The Book of Religions as The in. Disregard “Him” or “Almighty,” but reclaim Book of Creative Process and Thought. In doing goddesses, such as Gaia, Satan as a representation so, it encompasses all the stories in which these of desire, him/her/it/XYZ pronouns. The list of belief systems exist. passions and spiritual findings are endless. Emma Steiber has been a barista in the Chicago If we disconnect the Devil from Christianity as the coffee industry since 2010. In addition to being a rebel against God, we find a being or symbol who coffee enthusiast, she is also a transfer student at has chosen a different path, one that was not a Loyola University Chicago, majoring in Women’s universally accepting one. Thus, he was rejected Studies and Gender Studies. On her own time, she from societal acceptance. Satan, a symbol of writes short fiction and creative non-fiction. Her transcendence from the faith of one God, is seen hopes are to combine her passion for coffee and as an evil one must not accept or trust. Yet, what gender studies into a future endeavor she has yet if Satan/Evil/Devil were reclaimed as that of going to figure out.

Table of Contents

but an alternate path to take in order to question (or not) these inner thoughts, these ideas in the works.

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

Finishing the Page By Rev. Jonathan D. Lawrence, Ph.D. This August I was invited to speak at a memorial service for the Sikhs who were shot at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. I am currently the President of the Network of Religious Communities in Buffalo, NY and my friend Dr. Surjit Singh invited me to represent the Network at

a service at the Gurdwara in Niagara Falls, NY. As a college professor, I am rarely at a loss for words, but in this case I was not sure what I could say or do other than attend and stand with them in solidarity.

Table of Contents

As the service began, Dr. hopelessness. In the face Singh explained that at such feelings, many ...at the time of the shooting, of the time of the shooting, people look for something some of the victims were they can do to take their some of the victims were engaging in a Sikh practice off these feelings. engaging in a Sikh practice minds of taking turns reading I think this motivation their holy book aloud from of taking turns reading from explains the crowds who beginning to end. He said flocked to donate blood their holy boook aloud from that according to tradition, on September 11, 2001. if the reader stops in the beginning to end. I remember sitting at a middle of a page the page blood bank in Indiana has to be started over with my wife and our baby again. According to Dr. Singh, when the shooting daughter as we tried to absorb the events of that started it was the temple president’s turn to read. day eleven years ago. The challenge, of course, Instead of running to hide at the sound of gunfire, is finding something to do that is constructive Satwant Singh Kaleka stayed where he was and and useful. Sadly, so much of the blood that was was shot while reading his page. donated on September 11 went to waste because there was no plan to deal with such a large Dr. Singh explained that we were beginning our volume of donations. Similarly, while I respect the memorial service by listening to a reading of the intentions of people who collected warm clothing pages that were being read at the time of the for the victims of the Pacific tsunami or canned shooting. He called on us to honor the victims goods after the Haiti earthquake, these collections by finishing the page for them. After listening to were not much more practical than the blood these pages, we proceeded to prayers, speeches by donations in 2001. “Finishing the page” gave us politicians, representatives of local and national something to do after the shootings in Wisconsin law enforcement agencies, and religious leaders. and it returned the focus to the victims’ tradition, There was also a collection to help support the rather than what outsiders thought the survivors families of the police officers who were killed or might need. injured in the attack. The event concluded with an outdoor candle-lighting, a moment of silence, and Finishing the page also offers us a reminder singing Amazing Grace. that we are continuing the interfaith efforts that others It is easy to become I remember few of the words have started before us. It is from the speeches, even my easy to become disheartened disheartened over the own. However, months later over the challenges of this challenges of this work the idea of finishing the page work especially in the face sticks with me and gives me of tragedies like the attacks especially in the face chills as I think of it. I think in Wisconsin. Even so, it is of tragedies like the it offers a powerful response important to remember that to this violent event but in others have faced challenges attacks in Wisconsin. a broader sense it offers a too and yet persevered. Think Even so, it is important useful metaphor for those of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, of us who work to build to remember that others Jr., Rosa Parks, and all the interfaith communities that countless Civil Rights heroes have faced challenges work together for justice. who risked their lives to stand too and yet perservered. up for human dignity. Or In the aftermath of a violent there is my friend Rev. Petra attack such as the one in Heldt who bears the scars Wisconsin, it can be easy to become overwhelmed from a bombing in Jerusalem and yet continues to by conflicting feelings of anger, uncertainty, and work for peace and understanding in the Middle

East. Finally, consider the experience of my host at As we struggle to build the memorial service in August, Dr. Surjit Singh. interfaith relationships we He was the first person of do not have to start from the Rev. Jonathan D. Lawrence, non-European ancestry to Ph.D. is an Associate beginning but can draw on move into his suburban Professor of Religious neighborhood and over Studies and Theology at the wisdom of those who the years he and his Canisius College and is an came before us and finish family have experienced ordained American Baptist much prejudice and minister. He is President the page for them. mistreatment. Decades of the Network of Religious later the prejudice has not Communities in Buffalo, NY disappeared but he is now accepted as a valued and has traveled in Israel, Jordan, India, and Fiji. He member of his community and is consulted by the is currently working on a multimedia examination town council and law enforcement on many issues. of religious diversity in Buffalo, the Religion in As we struggle to build interfaith relationships we Western New York Project (religionwny.blogspot. do not have to start from the beginning but can com). draw on the wisdom of those who came before us and finish the page for them. Finally, the idea of finishing the page reminds us that we do not need to do all the work by ourselves but that we can prepare the way for those who will follow us. When we feel we have to do everything by ourselves we can easily become overwhelmed and immobilized by the burden even when there are others around who can help. At the same time, when we feel that we have to do all the work by ourselves to make sure that things get done a certain way we risk pushing willing helpers away. When we view our efforts through the lens of finishing the page, we remind ourselves that at some point someone else may have to finish the page for us. Hopefully it will not be under such violent circumstances, but we never know when or how we will have to hand our work over to someone else. This is why it is so important for us to train the next generation of interfaith leaders. We are looking for ways to do this in my own community, but I am grateful for the work of the Interfaith Youth Core on this issue as well. I brought some of my students to the IFYC’s Interfaith Leadership Institute in Atlanta last January and was thrilled to see the enthusiasm and creativity of the next generation of interfaith leaders. I don’t plan on giving up any time soon, but I’m comforted to know that when my time comes there will be many people around to finish the page for me as well.


BroadSide Expressions in Poetry via Street Literature Style


by Abi Wilberding

Did I do it right?

III. My father drags me to church when I am seventeen.

When it sticks between the teeth it lingers.

Light streams through the stained windows like fat copper pennies swollen with sun.

It tastes like cardboard. Like Jesus was a paper cut-out that I ate.

At the altar hymns flee the singing woman’s throat like doves.

II. At thirteen I visit the Vatican, horrified. Paintings glare between glitter-shiver frames. Gold thick as my forearm.

My fists clench, my fingers are feathers, bird wings crunching.

Back home, a cardinal owns the mansion at North and Dearborn. He flits through the rooms— velvet and chiffon— with his coin purse tongue and his teeth white as sugar. Outside, a man collects change in a shoe.

Abi Wilberding is an Editor of Broad Magazine and writes the column “Educated Guess.”

IV. I believe in the two gods of my hands holding the summer of your skin. One month before Easter, the heater in the car blasting, we cross our arms around one another. The deep cold outside is so many watching eyes. The silence breaks open with the sheep-bleating of a train from miles away.

Table of Contents

I. Communion at seven. Do I bow low forehead kissing floor? Do I dip my head with the weight that isn’t mine? After, I whisper to my sister:

By Bryce Parsons-Twesten

People Telling Stories peopletellingstories.tumblr.com

Kaeli It was my Sophomore year of undergrad, and me and my boyfriend at the time and another couple. It was Halloween and it was the middle of the night and we were really bored and we were really drunk—we used to get like four bottles of wine and split it. We were driving around the town, a really small town, and we saw that this church had tons of pumpkins just sitting out, and no one was around, so we were like, “Um, we should go get a pumpkin and steal it.” It was a great idea. [Laughs]. We got out of the car and we’re sneaking around. There’s no one around, but you know, you’re drunk and you want to feel cool, and we’re sneaking around. And we all grab our pumpkins and we start to walk, and then a cop car comes down the highway, so we were like, “Oh my God, run!” and we have these huge pumpkins, and we’re so drunk, we’re trying to run and we run and we run and we’re trying to run and there’s a hill and I fall down face first and black out for about five minutes. and I just assumed it was God punishing me for stealing one of his pumpkins.

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

Why Baha’i? I am a member of the Baha’i Faith, which provides me with an optimistic, forward-thinking, spiritually-based world view and connects me with a global community of like-minded individuals engaged in making the world a better place. This Faith offers me intelligent, believable answers to the seemingly un-answerable BIG life questions. Questions like: Q: What is the purpose of life? Q: Can we know whether God exists? Q: What about an after-life? Q: What can one lone person do about all of the problems in the world?

Becoming a Baha’i has also helped me to make sense of the puzzle pieces of my personal life story. I am the product of an interfaith marriage, my mother was Jewish, and my father was Roman Catholic. In order to be married in the Catholic Church, my mother had to promise to raise her future children as Catholics. My brother and I both went to Mass every Sunday and attended Catechism classes two days a week. This was during the 1960s and 1970s in what was then a predominantly Irish-Polish Catholic neighborhood on Chicago’s southwest side. When my father died when I was 17 and a high school senior, I was faced with some of those big

Table of Contents

By Joyce Litoff

questions about life and death and purpose, and I turned to my Catholic faith for the answers. I became increasingly disappointed with the answers I got, particularly when I went off to college and could not reconcile some of the church’s teachings with my budding feminism. I still clearly remember the Sunday morning I woke up and decided not to attend Mass, joking that I risked getting struck by lightning. I ended up leaving the Church after my freshman year. At the time I felt that if I couldn’t believe all of the teachings, I couldn’t believe any of them. The apt expression would be “throwing the baby out with the bath water,” and it happened to be the baby Jesus! My college roommate was a born-again Evangelical Christian, and we spent long hours discussing Christianity, but I never felt moved to make a personal commitment to her version of it.

me, I made a commitment to raise my future children in their father’s religion. My husband and I took religion classes together, and joined a warm and welcoming Jewish community in Evanston. I spent ten years actively involved in that community, developing deep friendships, volunteering, enrolling my children in the preschool, ...I was faced with some and even serving on the synagogue’s Board of of those big questions Directors. I was happy.

about life and death and purpose, and I turned to my Catholic faith for the answers. I became increasingly disappointed with the answers I got, particularly when I went off to college and could not reconcile some of the church’s teachings with my budding feminism.

I took a college course in comparative religion and read a lot of the new age literature of the day. I was fascinated by some of these exotic philosophies, but found no practical application for them in my modern life, and my independent reading did not connect me with a community of like-minded people, so for my immediate post college days I remained religiously unaffiliated. Fast forward ten years to when I met the man who was to become my husband. Dan was Jewish, and had strong family and cultural ties to his religion. He had relatives who had escaped the Holocaust in Europe during WWII, and he had grown up with the idea that being Jewish was something to be protected. Because Judaism is matrilineal—if your mother is Jewish, you are considered Jewish—I was “Jewish enough” for him to marry. Like my mother before

When the synagogue announced a group trip to Israel, I was eager to join them. I saw making a trip to the Jewish homeland as a potential “confirmation” of the Jewish life I had been living. Before we left, I prayed to have a spiritual experience while I was there. I did have a spiritual experience, but not the kind I was expecting.

From childhood on, my husband had been taught that Jews have a special connection with the land of Israel and he was ecstatic, reveling in his first visit. I, on the other hand, felt dismayed and disconnected: Who were these people, what has this place really got to do with me, and will these people ever stop fighting? I left our tour group one day to spend extra time in Haifa, Israel, a sea port on the northern coast of the Mediterranean. The Baha’i World Center is located in Haifa. I had a friend from my early post-college days who had become a Baha’i and was now living and working there. I hadn’t seen much of her during the intervening years, and we had a wonderful reunion. I shared with her how unsettled I was feeling in the Holy Land, curious about how she had adjusted to living there. She listened sympathetically and when we parted she gave me a book to read about the Baha’i Faith.

ways to see Jesus in a new light and I was able reembrace some of the Christian beliefs I had once held, bringing my life full-circle. Here are some of the answers I discovered along the way: Q: What is the purpose of life? Our life on earth provides us with a training ground; our life is a period of growth during which we focus on the development of our innate spiritual and intellectual capacities. The evolution or development of the soul and its capacities is the basic purpose of human existence. http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-0-6. html

When I returned home to Chicago from our twoweeks in Israel, I resumed my duties as busy working mother, and put my spiritual yearnings on the back burner. Coincidences cropped up, though, that kept the Baha’i Faith in my life. To give just Q: Can we know whether I found the teachings one example, I found a thick God exists? Although God volume of Baha’u’llah’s resonated deeply with is utterly transcendent and teachings on the bookshelf in beyond human imagination, me and I saw them as a close friend’s home. It was we may know Him through a book that had belonged to irresistible. I wanted to His Manifestations. her father-in law, and neither http://info.bahai.org/ learn more. I wanted to she nor her husband had article-1-4-0-2.html ever read it. I borrowed this become a Baha’i. book and stayed up late into Q: What about an afterthe night for a week eagerly life? ...human nature is reading. In hindsight, I believe this and other fundamentally spiritual. Although human beings incidents were not mere coincidences. God was exist on earth in physical bodies, the essential tapping me on the shoulder to take a closer look identity of each person is defined by an invisible, at the Faith. rational, and everlasting soul. http://info.bahai. org/article-1-4-0-5.html I felt unsettled. I viewed my interest in an unknown religion as a potential crises in my marriage because of the commitment I had made Q: What can one lone person do about all of to my husband to have a Jewish home and family. the problems in the world? All human beings, I eventually decided to take the class offered at Baha’u’llah states, have been “created to carry the Baha’i Temple in suburban Wilmette to decide forward an ever-advancing civilization.” The whether there was something in this Faith for me creation of a peaceful global society that fosters or not. both individual and collective well-being is at the heart of the Baha’i vision of the future. As individuals begin to cultivate their innate As I learned more, my fears were allayed. I found capacities, so the community around them is the teachings resonated deeply with me and I transformed.…[and] results in widespread moral saw them as irresistible. I wanted to learn more. I and material advancement. http://info.bahai.org/ wanted to become a Baha’i. article-1-8-0-1.html That was fifteen years ago, and I have spent those years learning and growing, volunteering and working, and making friends in this amazingly diverse Baha’i community. The Faith gave me

Learn more about Joyce in the Career Call section on the next two pages!


Table of Contents

It was a slim volume with a bright blue cover. I read it on the bus from Haifa to Jerusalem, and with each page I became increasingly intrigued with what I was discovering about the Faith and the teachings of its founder, Baha’u’llah. I felt like a cliché; the cartoon light bulb was going off over my head. So here was the spiritual experience I had prayed for!

Career Call Memos from the Workforce

What is your career? I work as a Communications Assistant in the Office of Communications at the Baha’i National Center in Evanston, Illinois. The office is responsible for editing the content of our U.S. public website, www.bahai.us, and electronic newsletter, engagement in social media networks, and media relations related to coverage of the Baha’i Faith in the news. How has your past job experience impacted what you do today? I have a degree in journalism, and have worked in a variety of publishing, media production, and public relations positions in the course of my career, both in corporations and in the not-for-profit sector. Although it always surprises me how a skill I learn in one job comes in handy in another, my writing skills, coupled with a frank interviewing style, have been perennially valuable. Clear writing reflects clear thinking. Being open-minded and genuinely curious has allowed me to stay current in a changing media work world. Share a memorable experience from your current work. Meeting with the Abi Wilberding, Editor of Broad Magazine, allowed me to take time during my work day to capture these thoughts. Meeting with writers and reporters, and sharing my beliefs is a part of my job that I love!

Being a Baha’i connects me with God and inspires me to serve my fellow human beings. It helps me understand that both the destiny of my own soul and the evolution of all humanity are guided by an unfolding Divine plan in which I am an active player.

What made you interested in the Baha’i Faith? I became interested in the Faith primarily for its teachings on “progressive revelation”—the concept that the founders of the world’s great religions, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammad, are all manifestations of God. Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith, is God’s latest messenger, and addresses the needs of our increasingly complex modern age with its global outlook. Baha’u’llah’s writings about the unity of humanity resonated deeply with what I already believed based on my own life experiences. The writings also opened me up to new ideas. Once I started reading them, I wanted to learn more. Early on I remember thinking, “Why haven’t I ever heard about this Faith before?” Since then, I’ve encountered lots of people who are similarly excited to learn, “I didn’t know there was a religion that teaches what I believe!”

Employee: Joyce Litoff Title: Communications Assistant Field/Career: Faith-Based Organization What does it mean to you to be Baha’i? To be a Baha’i is to recognize Baha’u’llah as the latest Messenger of God and to do my best to follow His teachings. Being a Baha’i connects me with God and inspires me to serve my fellow human beings. It helps me understand that both the destiny of my own soul and the evolution of all humanity are guided by an unfolding Divine plan in which I am an active player. Knowing this is both mind-blowing and comforting at the same time!

Baha’is around the globe participate in both local grassroots service projects and in larger organizations to bring about social change in the areas of Human Rights, Advancement of Women, Environment and Sustainable Development, Social and Economic Development, Interfaith Relations, and Race Unity.

Baha’is around the globe participate in both local grassroots service projects and in larger organizations to bring about social change in the areas of Human Rights, Advancement of Women, Environment and Sustainable Development, Social and Economic development , Interfaith Relations, and Race Unity. For example, the U.S. Baha’i Community has been represented at the United Nations since 1947.ert c ontributed by Julia DeLuc How would someone interested go about volunteering for your organization? The U.S. Baha’i website has a page where people can learn about some ways Baha’is serve their communities: http://www.bahai.us/community-life/ People can volunteer by first connecting with their local Baha’i community: http://find.bahai.us/ How would someone who was interested learn more about becoming Baha’i? There are Baha’is in more than 8,000 towns and cities across the United States actively involved in fostering open, vibrant, supportive communities. Visit this link to connect with them: http://find.bahai.us/

Table of Contents

How does your employer/the Baha’i faith work for social justice? Baha’u’llah taught that, “The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice...” The establishment of a just society is necessary for peace to become established and to flourish. We need not feel overwhelmed by the current chaotic state of the world, though. The Baha’i Faith offers hope and solutions--a blue print--for how we can all work together to bring about universal justice and peace.

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

Love: The Connection to God By Ariana Lewis

How do you define spirituality? How do you define God? Does God represent spirituality or does spirituality represent God? Some would say God and spirituality are a mixture of love. You may ask how does the thought of God or spirituality yield love? It is quite simple. Think of love as relationship Love is a form value. Sometimes we get caught up in the “I” and forget about the “WE” in relationships (of all kinds). Bond!

outcomes. My hope is one of the outcomes of this piece will help readers learn more about who they are, what they like or dislike, critique my thought, push the proverbial intellectual envelope or just make someone feel better and smile!

of spirituality. Spirituality is what connects us to God. When you smile, you luxuriously communicate a sense of joy to others, regardless of native language.

Sometimes we come to a place in life that calls for us to be reminded of oaks growing strong in contrary winds. Strength! Sometimes we have to make peace with who we are in terms of the “meaning” we are to others. Relationship!

Sometimes when things happen we realize how important our actions influences the outcomes of future possibilities. Destiny! Sometimes we make decisions reflecting our greatness, which in turn shape our legacy. Character!

All these things I wish are forms of love. Love is a form of spirituality. Spirituality is what connects us to God. When you smile you luxuriously communicate a sense of joy to others, regardless of native language. Yup, it is that simple. Think of smiling as a universal symbol.the promotion peace and love.

Practice smiling today and you might help someone else feel a bit better and in return you will feel amazing. God is amazing and our spiritual connection to the omnipotent power creates our relationship value. This is what God and spirituality mean to me.

Occasionally, I question my friends and family to learn what they think of me as an individual, a daughter, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin, a friend and a colleague. How do the people in your life view you? What does your character say about your strength as an individual, the impact you have on a team, the relationship you bring forth to a family or friend and the challenges you work through day in and day out? As of today, what is your legacy? What do you want to work towards creating and perfecting? Yes, I know.don’t we all love perfection? Perfection is one of those key anomalies in life pushing us to better our self, our environment, our situations and those around us. When we work with those around us, we shift energy, we create change, we have the ability to empower people and influence

Ariana Lewis is a simple woman with a complex mind who enjoys learning something both new and fabulous everyday. She has a Master’s in Education degree from Loyola University Chicago, focusing on student development, organizational change and emotional intelligence. Born and primarily raised in the Chicagoland area, Ariana has a passion for living in Chicago, technology, mentoring first generation college students and empowering women. The tag line, work to make the lives of others better and in return your life will be extraordinary, is how Ariana lives her life and encourages others to do the same.


Table of Contents

Sometimes we make decisions about uncertainty that shape our commitment. Challenge!

by Brandon Haydon

Con/Science Explorations of feminist space in the vehicle of skeptical wonder

Science and Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners?

This column was written with significant contributions from Jenn Miller and Kyle George King.

It is interesting for me to follow a column about all matter, and then the matter suddenly somehow love with a column about religion, because I find created? How did that happen? In many cultures, myself in such parallel cycles of rumination when the customary answer is that a god, or gods, approaching either subject. I correlate both subjects created the universe out of nothing. But if we wish with the indefatigable, distinctly human (so far as to pursue this question courageously, we must of we know) need to ascertain our connectedness, course ask the next question: where did God come our relevance, and our significance within the from? If we decide that this is an unanswerable largesse of reality. Our unique insecurity about question, why not save a step and conclude that our origin, our meaning, our purpose has been our the origin of the universe is an unanswerable legacy since the historical era, and likely before. By question? Or, if we say that God always existed, all indications scientific and why not save a step and spiritual, we emerged from conclude that the universe By all indications a great unity (of species, of always existed, that there was molecules, of energy) and scientific and spiritual, no need for a creation, it was while we may recognize always here? These are not we emerged from a aspects of that unity within easy questions. Cosmology nature and one another, great unity (of species, brings us face to face with how do we return to it in the deepest mysteries, with of molecules, of energy) these forms, cast along so questions that were once wide a spectrum of ethnic and while we may treated only in religion and and cultural permutations? myth.” Toward this, I hearken back to a previous thought that perhaps “God” is a name we give to the hope that love bore us into this existence and that love awaits us still beyond the mortal coil, beyond the diminutive window we are granted to glimpse the wonders and agonies of being brief creatures mining meaning between the struggle for survival and the mystery of the unknown. However, scientists, theologists, and philosophers have grappled with the relationship between science and religion ever since science was established as a disciplined form of inquiry, research, and discovery. Questions of creation and origin, much discussed within the religious and scientific communities, hang in the balance. Carl Sagan, for example, poses a series of difficult questions at the intersection of science and religion: “If the general picture, however, of a Big Bang followed by an expanding universe is correct, what happened before that? Was the universe devoid of

Yet, tying his ideas back into this idea of religion and myth, Sagan states: “I would suggest that science is, at least in my part, informed worship.”

From the religious community, Karen Armstrong, a former nun and now prolific scholar and author and promoter of theology, philosophy, morality, and justice offers a multifaceted view of the relationship (or distance) between science and religion, arguing for a delicate/precarious state in which the two spheres seem to be marginally aware of one another, but do not interact. She states: “The only way to show a true respect for God is to act morally while ignoring God’s existence.” This idea shows Armstrong’s view of how science should interact (or, in this case, carefully avoid) religion. Further complicating her stance, she goes on to imply that scientific reason should not stand alone, and needs to maintain a moral component: “If it is not tempered by compassion, and empathy, reason can lead men and women into a moral void.”

Table of Contents

recognize aspects of that unity within nature and one another, how do we return to it in these forms, cast along so wide a spectrum of ethnic and cultural permutations?

These are but two examples of the varied discourse regarding science and religion, to which I am now adding my own viewpoints. In my view, Religion is permitted by conditions; these conditions include a search for meaning, as humans navigate the world and attempt to understand their place within it, and an inherent sense of causality, justice, and significance, the belief that events should occur in a way that is purposeful and not devoid of meaning, as if guided/directed by some higher power beyond human control. That being said, humans connect themselves through religious community to attempt to make sense of these challenging questions together, or with guidance from a religious/spiritual leader, text, or prophet. But I believe there are questions to be investigated beyond what a community solely focused on religious devotion and connection can answer - questions that grapple more directly with not only the interaction/relationship between science and religion, but the relationship of both to social justice and human well-being. Some of the questions I’d like to see explored include: The Science of Prayer: How is the brain activated during prayer? What does this mean about the neurological function of what we call prayer? When investigated from a scientific standpoint, is prayer demonstrated to be physically/biologically beneficial to human beings?

more disconnection through the encouragement of seeing non-members as “other”? Is this a way to cope with a world that at many times seems chaotic and imbalanced? Religion as Justice: Do humans need to believe that everything happens for a reason? Must there be some purpose or lesson in behaviors, travesties, and fortunes that comes from somewhere beyond the self? Is religion used as a way for subscribers to see the myriad injustices in this world as somehow balanced and fair? Does this prevent people from taking action against injustice, because they believe that it is orchestrated by a higher power? The Government and Religion: What should the government’s role be in relation to religious freedom? Is the government actually perpetuating the mechanism of religion, of justice as mandated by God? Religion and the Discouragement of Inquiry: Inquiry is a natural predilection of humanity, though often suppressed, oftentimes by religious doctrines that claim “truth.” How can this be alleviated? Can inquiry be encouraged within a dogmatic belief system? Can religion and reason peacefully co-exist?

Inquiry is a natural predilection of humanity, though often suppressed, oftentimes by religious doctrines that claim “truth.” How can this be alleviated? Can inquiry be encouraged within a dogmatic belief system? Can religion and reason peacefully co-esixt?

Religious Group-think and Social Justice Consequences: Why do so many people participate in belief systems that require of their members bigotry and targeted hatred against certain groups? Is religion serving as a means to offer justifications for harmful practices and acts? While humans benefit from group membership, does membership in such a religious community actually promote

Mortality Salience: Does the ever-present knowledge of our eventual demise make the questioning surrounding death more dire, paranoid, desperate? When/if religion is turned to for answers in extreme life-or-death circumstances, is it simply a reflection of fear, and the individual’s desperate desire for knowledge and the ability to prepare oneself? To know what to expect? Is religion a security blanket to placate rather than explain?

Religion as a Culture: How do religion and culture interact and influence one another? Are religious beliefs and communities cultures within

themselves? How does a religious culture layer upon another culture (like an ethnic culture or a political culture?)

Ian G. Barbour, awarded the 1999 Templeton Prize for Progress in religion for his pioneering role in advancing the study of science and religion, interrogated the relationships between the two by evaluating the possibilities and presumptions surrounding their conflict, independence, dialogue, and integration in his 2000 social, and spiritual work When Science Meets In the view of science and systems that comprise Religion. I find it both religion as strangers, they human development. crucial and inevitable, if we serve distinct and different are to establish for ourselves ends, separate purposes. a position from which to redress social injustices, Religion is a primary method of interaction and that we address the existential platforms from negotiating human relations, while science is which they emanate, through modifiers of the negotiating within the larger frame of the cosmic biological, psychological, social, and spiritual perspective and developing our utilitarian, systems that comprise human development. technological powers. Religion is less bound in debate as science is by its nature bound to Barbour prompts us to examine the implications of evidence within natural law. The faith principle the most widely held positions on the relationship is to some the ultimate escape, others the highest of science and religion; as enemies, strangers, or aggravation; faith is the capacity within humans to partners in the human quest and comprehension experience/commune with God, but as God is not of nature, meaning, and behavior. truly comprehensible by humankind, faith cannot be bound by the material or physical structure First, let us examine science and religion as of science, and so has a certain “diplomatic enemies. In this view, they are fundamentally immunity.” conflictual, each seeing the other as adversarial to the advancement of humanity, and thus locked in And finally, as Barbour approaches his own a power struggle, battling for the prerogatives of conclusion of the integration of scientific and consensus reality and human culture. As British religious thought, we look to the possibilities science fiction author and inventor Sir Arthur C. for partnership. There is a danger, Barbour Clarke stated: “Science can destroy religion by warns, in distorting the two by both rigidly ignoring it as well as by disproving its tenets. No compartmentalizing and forcing them into a one ever demonstrated, so far as I am aware, the preconceived synthesis that claims to encompass nonexistence of Zeus or Thor - but they have few all reality. Toward this, he offers a balanced followers now.” rationale of inclusion, whereby a theology of nature, systematic metaphysics and process

Table of Contents

And finally, is religion a form of palliative care for our chronic ignorance?

Next, we consider science and religion as strangers. As Barbour suggests, “conflict can be avoided if science and religion are strangers occupying separate domains at a safe distance from one another. Science I find it both crucial and asks about causal relations between events, it is said, inevitable, if we are to while religion asks about the establish for ourselves meaning and purpose of our lives.” This is similar to Karen a position from which to Armstrong’s points of view, redress social injustices, demonstrating a precarious balance, where science and that we address the religion are each teetering at existential platforms the edge of one another, but from which they emanate, not intersecting; perhaps making eye contact, but through modifiers of the never interacting, and thus biological, psychological, remaining strangers.

philosophy position us within a coherent vision are going to bother to expend so much energy on of reality that allows for the rich diversity of our the rebuke, negotiation, or even reconciliation experience. Sagan, while often times hoisted on of theistic ideologies and institutions, why not great banners of atheism, was in his full reflective place equal focus on the social and economic breadth perhaps an unlikely advocate of a positive “religions” of material status and monetary systems relationship between science and the spiritual that pervade human thinking globally and actually experience. He beautifully perpetuate more suffering captures the disposition I and inequality than any I am of the belief that share: ”Science is not only celestial Big Brother? science and religion compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source can be partners, that The intent of this column of spirituality. When we is hardly to give answers. recognize our place in an science can be a form of We are the authors of our immensity of light-years own experiences, and spirituality or worship, and in the passage of ages, any authority of meaning when we grasp the intricacy, that religion can invite however postured beauty, and subtlety of life, by our sociocultural inquiry and discovery. then that soaring feeling, constructs - is tentative at For me, personally, that sense of elation and best, and perhaps more humility combined, is science and religion soundly regarded as the surely spiritual...The notion chaperone to our emergent that science and spirituality are paths to the same understanding. Rather, my are somehow mutually only hope is to bring into destination towards exclusive does a disservice focus the questions that I human connection, selfto both.” believe have been, are still and will yet be some of the knowledge, and sense of I am of the belief that most imperative to bear as science and religion can purpose in this life. we accelerate in our powers be partners, that science to disturb our environment, can be a form of spirituality explore distant others, and or worship, that religion can invite inquiry and attempt to comprehend the who, what, where, and discovery. For me, personally, science and religion why we are as we do so. It is in these precarious are paths to the same destination - towards human heuristics of our species that we navigate our connection, self-knowledge, and sense of purpose scale, connection, and power within the cosmos, in this life. and from the interpretation of the vulnerability, hope, and discovery of our quest that our justice, However, this idea serves to bring up even our rightness with nature, must emerge. deeper questions: How would we bear the final, definitive knowledge about ourselves, one way or another? Would an answer be the destruction of our human motion? Our capacity for quest? Would a finite conclusion, either scientific or spiritual be bearable? Would it squelch whatever intrinsic drive for ascertaining meaning lies within humanity as evidenced by history? These questions loom large and make for both riveting tea talk and inconvenient crises, but I want to leave on one perhaps more immediate and poignant: If we who are scientifically aligned

Words Are Useless Featured Cover Artist: Sujata Tibrewala

36�x46�, acrylic on canvas, 2012 Biography: Sujata Tibrewala is a self-taught artist whose work has been exhibited internationally. Trained as a postrgraduate electrical engineer, Sujata gave up her enginnering career for her first love, art, in 2008. Sujata is originally from Jaipur Rajasthan, the Pink City of India, and now lives in the Chicago area. She exhibits her artwork in numerous galleries and condcuts Pratibimba workshops. Of this piece, Sujata writes: A Buddha in everyone, a bit of everyone in Buddha.... Website: http://pratibimba.in/home.html

Table of Contents




Busted Advertising, Bustling Economy

Is there a balance between promoting atheism and repudiating religion? What assumptions do these ads make about how religious people conduct themselves and live their lives? What assumptions are often made about atheists that these ads aim to dispel? Are reason and religion mutually exclusive, as many of these ads suggest? Though disproportionately outnumbered by pro-religion ads, pro-atheism ads are slowly becoming more prominent in public spaces; does this reflect a society willing to accept diverse attitudes and beliefs? What demographics do these ads seem to be targeting? What impact might this have on the public’s perception of atheism? What do you think?

Table of Contents

g Atheism

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

Who’s Your Higher Power? By Jillian Anderson

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” This is the serenity prayer, known by Alcoholics Anonymous members worldwide. In my line of work with women with eating disorders, I have crossed this phrase in many forms: on posters, recited aloud, scribbled in journals, and even permanently etched in one’s skin as a tattoo. It has a striking ring about it, and hit a chord in me because of the first word. Shh! Do not say it too loudly. God. In mental health, as well as at a dinner party, there are certain topics of conversation that you should not approach, or should at least approach only with a great deal of caution. One of these topics that jumps up and down waving a big red flag is religion. The idea of God, religion, and spirituality can be not only controversial but also confusing to anyone, especially someone struggling with any type of mental illness. For some it seems almost taboo.

The Big Book of A.A., which houses the Twelve Steps program, places emphasis on relating to God and explains the importance of submitting to a Higher Power. The twelve steps have been adapted for use as a treatment for eating disorders, and I have referenced them numerous times. At first, I felt uncomfortable having to delve into discussion so directly involving and demanding an understanding of a Power greater than ourselves. “Take from all of this information what you will, whatever is most applicable to you at this time. Leave behind what you do not consider useful. Know that you may consider your Higher Power in whatever form you feel comfortable and deem necessary. The definition of your Higher Power may be different from anyone else’s, and that is okay.” I say this to my eager Sunday evening group attendees, mostly to convince myself. Understandably, some met me with rejection. I likely would be in this category if I were afflicted with addiction and forced to partake in a weekend group at a residential treatment facility, seemingly

preaching religion. Even though A.A. clarifies that it is important to “turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him,” there is still that feeling that maybe you are being brainwashed or admitted to a cult.

It had never occurred to me before that someone could be her own Higher Power. And I really like this concept. To me, YOU can be your own God, regardless of your fundamental religious beliefs. This Power is developed and built strong using a multitude of factors: values, wisdom, openness, client in particular acceptance, love, and willingness. Values alone when she was deep may have been formed from family, society, or with the addiction organized religion, going in accordance with the beliefs of others or deviating from what has been presented It had never occurred to and creating a new path. By me before that someone wisdom, I think of that which could be her own Higher has already been learned along with what there is Power. And I really like still to learn, acquired from openness. Acceptance, love, this concept. To me, and willingness rewind back YOU can be your own to our days as children, when we were ready and God, regardless of your able to see the world with a fundamental religious simplistic purity.

Standing in the middle of the battlefield of this discussion, a third young woman calmly spoke, saying she was paraphrasing from a friend who experienced a similar struggle with the feelings surrounding a Higher Power. “Your Higher Power can be found within you. It is something that resides inside everyone, and the only things that you need to find it are an open mind and willingness. I already have my Higher Power, and I know where to find it. It is not in a book, or in the sky, nor in any building or structure. It is within me; I am my Higher Power.” For those with roots in religion, they may experience God Himself having a special place in the mind or heart. Others have the right attitude, mindset, and motivation to make the perfect Higher Power potion. Many even see support groups like A.A., Eating Disorders Anonymous, the Twelve Steps, or simply friends and family as their Higher Power.

All of these things already exist within you. They are what give you the strength to push on when you think you cannot, to wander when you feel lost, and to persevere when you fail. They give you the clarity to learn and the capacity to love, as well as the ability to feel. You already have all of the tools you need. You may just need to tune in to yourself, and listen closely. “Self, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Jillian Anderson graduated from Smith College in 2009 where she studied neuroscience, chemistry, and pre-med. For a year and a half she worked with young women with eating disorders and co-morbid mental illnesses near Boston, after another year in various healthcare settings. Now she is living in the bay area where she is enjoying the sunshine, singing Taylor Swift while vacuuming, practicing yoga every other day, and finding her true self.


Table of Contents

On the religious side, one stated that she lost her faith within her eating disorder, becoming her Higher Power. In the process of treatment, she said that she takes comfort in knowing that in a sense, her recovery is not in her control. She expressed that it is not her own will that leads her to do the things she does. She offered to give me quotes from the Bible that I could use in this very article. Another spunky person refuted this idea of surrender: “If I am going to recover, I beliefs. want to do it for ME. I want to be in complete control of my recovery. No one else can do it for me, not even God!”

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

Peace: Give Faith A Chance, Maybe?

By Hiba Zakai

A simple, yet a difficult question to answer about myself has always been: Where are you from? When asked, I would always find myself changing the topic or avoiding the question completely. However, just few years back after moving to the Midwest, I realized it is perfectly fine not to have one particular place of belonging. At the end of the day, home is where I am at peace. Can one achieve peace anywhere? Sure, the power is in one’s mindset. For me, it is a work in progress, but essentially I strive to first be at peace internally (within myself) and then externally (with the surrounding environment and community). How does one achieve this state of mind? I find peace

in my faith, religion, and spirituality; which I can choose to practice anywhere. Finding the ability to accept what is humanly out of your control and permitting a higher power or the universe to take its course in working things out as they should be is the first step in helping me to achieve internal peace. Having faith that everything happens for a reason can be achieved in various ways for different individuals. A person may go on long nature walks, meditate, jam out to music, or [even] pray. I do all the above, but it is praying that allows me to let go completely – a true blessing. I identify as a Middle-Eastern born Muslim with a South Asian background, living in America.

Table of Contents

The events of September 11th, 2001, highlighted others may renounce. Here in the United States, the how the safety of U.S. citizens is closely current Muslim generation is largely divided into interconnected with the citizens of other countries three categories: 1) American born with immigrant around the world. I recall sitting down for dinner parents, 2) Converts (belonging to another or with my family in Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia when no religion before converting to Islam), and 3) we got a call to turn on the Muslim born abroad, traveled Whatever may be the news. At that time I was just to the United States in pursuit starting high school and had of higher education or the background story, each little awareness of what was ‘American Dream’. Whatever individual brings his happening. The Twin Towers may be the background story, in New York seemed like each individual brings his or her unique culture a haze, a place I wished or her unique culture into into the mix of a mutual to visit someday. The next the mix of a mutual identity day I vaguely remember an of religion. Just as religion is identity of religion. Just uncomfortable environment rooted in the world of belief, as religion is rooted in Rahima Academy, one of practices, and character; the International American culture is rooted in the world in the world of belief, School branches. The of expression, language, and practices, and character, symbol. The Director of the attendees were children of expatriates from both Islamic culture is rooted in the Nawawi Institute, Dr. Umar and non-Islamic states, Faruq Abd-Allah, speaks of world of expression, creating a mixture of Arab, culture as the thread that South Asian, American, “weaves together the fabric of language, and symbol. South African, Filipino, everything we value and need and European students and to know—beliefs, morality, teachers. Subconsciously, that was the first time expectations, skills, and knowledge—giving them I recognized the importance of intercultural, functional expression by integrating them into interfaith, and international education, and the effectual customary patterns.” challenges faced with globalization in foreign affairs. Later that day, in my journalism class, The 21st century Muslim youth in America have flipping through newspapers, I came across a silently, and some not so silently, become the quote from Kofi Anaan, the then General-Secretary movers and the shakers of their communities by of the United Nations, which has resonated with redefining cultural identities around mosques, me till this day: in Islamic schools, at home, and on college campuses. Some of these developments can be “Clearly, we need to use education to advance contributed to the nature of the learning spaces tolerance and understanding. Perhaps more than and the external environment of our society. The ever, international understanding is essential to upcoming generation has produced a number world peace -- understanding between faiths, of notable Muslim American writers, poets, between nations, between cultures. Today, we musicians, artists, and even stand-up comedians. know that just as no nation is immune to conflict Cross-cultural and interracial marriages have or suffering, no nation can defend itself alone. We increased and show that many identify first and need each other -- as friends, as allies, as partners foremost with their religious identity rather than -- in a struggle for common values and common their national identity. Compared to their parents, needs.” this new generation may be showing a higher level of cultural maturity by cultivating a deeper How often do we take our citizenship to a particular understanding of their religion, pride in their nation as a privilege? Is nationalism a birthright? cultural background, and the responsibility of What about belonging to a certain religion? Some social change that comes with their American of us are born into our faith, some convert, and identity.

Culture grants us the permission to be comfortable In the context of faith, sincerity is when you do with who, where, and what we are. However, something for no other reason than to please God. identities that are rooted in deep cultural Deterrence can be explained through a quote by contradictions can be easily misunderstood Dr. Sherman Jackson, King Faisal Chair of Islamic through a state of doubt and confusion. Inner Thought and Culture at University of Southern consistency and stability are two rare, yet strong California: “The greatest threat to religion in any threads needed to complete weaving the colorful society is not persecution, but rather apathy born fabric of true religiosity and deep spirituality, of irrelevance.” which can only be achieved within a sound cultural core. A key element of culture is the Cultural and knowledge imperative are two sides ability to create a sense of community. A culture’s to the same coin when embracing a religious strength is measured in its capacity to shine an contexture in learning spaces. Islamic studies identity, produce social unification, and inspire teach us that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) lead its members to acquire the his people out of a state of knowledge and skills to jahiliyah (ignorance) and empower them to achieve We must keep in mind into the noor (light) of Islam. personal and societal that any discourse on At the time of the revelation goals for growth. Despite of the Qur’an, the Prophet “cultural imperative” is the incredible individual was given the command to talent and the increasing preceded by “knowledge read, “Iqra!” emphasizing numbers, community and the importance of education imperative.” If we self-determination are the as the stability of religion and two key ingredients required culture in a vibrant society. take a look at Islamic for the balance of achieving The challenge imposed by history, we learn that the a “successful” and effective custom and culture has culture. And, at the core of served as a spiritual as well foundational moment cultural success is religion as a cultural transformation. from which this Ummah as a catalyst. We must keep in mind that any discourse on “cultural (Muslim community) Religion has the power to imperative” is preceded by speak and affect the social was born was a “knowledge imperative.” and experiential reality. If we take a look at Islamic moment grounded on a history, we learn that the knowledge imperative. However, with globalization, foundational moment from religion will be lost unless which this Ummah (Muslim we do something to highlight its relevance. When community) was born was a moment grounded we fail to allow religion to voice out these social on a knowledge imperative. For example, Prophet and experiential realities, it becomes an irrelevant Muhammad (PBUH) sought the assistance of conceptuality, thus granting permission for the Allah (God) during his retreat into the Cave of community to stop caring about their faith and Hira. During his retreat he sought not only clarity what their religion allows or forbids them to do. about the reality of the human experience but To effectively preach about faith and religion, it is for a solution to the problems he encountered in essential to be able to first understand where the his social and cultural surroundings. The divine other is coming from. It is the foundation of any response was the command to seek knowledge. basic relationship – to reach out to one another with basirah or “insight” (in Arabic). For a society In the realm of higher education the Inclusive to flourish, it is necessary to speak to the element Excellence movement has gained momentum in of the human being. Sincerity and deterrence incorporating the diversity conversation into how are two qualities embodied in our behavior that we compose campus-wide committees. Inclusive ensure religion still matters to our society and us. Excellence means defining experiences with

The realization of a world society for the 21st century means that local people deal with people from all over the world, including places where Christianity is the minority belief system. International corporations around the world have always needed multilingual skills in their


Table of Contents

diversity as one criterion that is used in selecting employees, but they are also seeing the need every faculty and administrator, regardless of what for further education. They are training their they teach or where they lead on campus as diversity employees in cultural issues as well, emphasizing forms a part of our core values. While issues of the different belief systems within the global equity remain essential; powered by the courts, diversity. Hence, the need to interact with faiththe changing demographics, based diversity is becoming and the emergence of a both global and local. Why The realization of a global economy, another is exposure to religious world society for the rationale has emerged: the diversity so powerful? For growing understanding that 21st century means that one thing, religion and diverse experiences can spirituality touch on the core local people deal with be beneficial to us all. The beliefs of humanity. Religion Civil Rights Act of 1964 and spirituality embody the people from all over the prohibited discrimination personal quest for meaning world, including places in the workplace on the and purpose; they are basis of race, color, religion, aspects of our lives that where Christianity is the national origin, and gender. matter deeply to us. Faith is minority belief system. However, to this date an a gateway to our inner lives, employer is not required to unveiling what truly matters make any accommodations at the end of the day. for religious reasons until asked. The question we need to ask is how do the provisions of the civil Hiba Zakai graduated in Political Science and rights act state religion as a protected class against Philosophy from the University of Arizona and with discrimination, and yet soundlessly endorse a M.S. in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis approval through the lack of actions? Actions from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She speak louder than words any day. currently resides in Madison, working towards her goal of starting an inclusive-learning community A living-learning community that has embodied based institution on the foundation of the three the quality of Inclusive Excellence in a faith-based identity pillars: religion, culture, and nationality. context is Ta’leef Collective, an organization that She has served as the coordinator for the White tailors its model to provide alternative social and House Interfaith Initiative with the Lubar Institute sacred spaces, culturally relevant programming for the Study of Abrahamic Religions (LISAR) at and positive companionship for young Muslims the University of Wisconsin-Madison and staffs to practice Islam within their social norms. A the annual American Model United Nations collective of teachers, volunteers, and peers (AMUN) Conference in Chicago alongside Dr. who understand firsthand the challenge of living Brian Endless, the conference’s former executive as Muslims in the West striving to provide the director and Political Science professor at Loyola necessary means to facilitate that perceived reality. University Chicago (LUC). Whether we approve or not, there is tension among ethnic minority religious groups, especially when confronted with American separation of religion from culture. Many deny that faith is part of public life and expression.

Words Are Useless Artist: Teresa J. Parker

“Battered Madonnas” Series

Offset photo transfer with gold leaf, printed onto 30”x22” Rives paper About the Series: The “Battered Madonnas” series focuses on the issue of domestic violence. Parker has appropriated and manipulated existing photographs of abused and beaten women and poignantly re-presented them as present day icons. Parker attributes this project’s inspiration as having come from studying religious icons, and watching a growing violence against women as brutally witnessed in different parts of the world, including India, Mexico, and Latin America. “Battered Madonnas” addresses the disconnect between the history of women’s elevated status as nurturers and life-givers, to discarded objects of rage.

Artist: Teresa J. Parker

“Battered Madonnas” Series

Biography: Teresa J. Parker has gained international recognition as an artist, curator, and educator. She has exhibited her artwork throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico and Central America; and is the recipient of numerous awards and grants Her artwork focuses attention on the rights and abuses of women and children. Her references include a global representation of religious symbols taken from various cultures, including the Latin American religious practice of Milagros as symbolic offerings for peace/healing. Parker has curated over one hundred fifty exhibitions of contemporary art for galleries, universities and museums, several international exchange exhibitions, and exhibitions with the Consulate Generals of India, Slovakia and Switzerland. Since 2009, Parker has been the Arts Editor for DuPage Valley Review, a cultural arts magazine published by Benedictine University. She is currently the Director of Ochosi Editions, a publisher of original fine arts, and she is the Director/Writer of That’s Inked Up, a blog that promotes feature articles on contemporary printmaking. Parker teaches studio art and art history at Benedictine University and College of DuPage, in Illinois.

Website: teresajparker.com

Table of Contents

Offset photo transfer with gold leaf, printed onto 30”x22” Rives paper

by Jsaon Lemberg

Embracing Chaos Catching Words in the Wind

American Tapestries Eboo Patel’s Sacred Ground and my Faith Journey “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” -- Karl Marx “To see the other side, to defend another people, not despite your tradition but because of it, is the heart of pluralism.” -- Eboo Patel, Acts of Faith

Inspiring a Movement. Sometimes we need superheroes. Sometimes we need an army. Most of the time, we just need someone to tell us that it’s OK to be yourself. Unfortunately, we live in an era where much of our daily existence involves other people telling us who we should be. Fortunately, there are people who resist this, and actively work to reverse the tide.

This past August (2012) Eboo released his second book Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America. The book is one part social movement manifesto and one part exploration of personal faith. Eboo, a father, takes a unique approach to this book. He’s one of the major leaders of an international interfaith movement where he works with thousands of young people from all walks of life. While Sacred Ground references many of these experiences and stories to highlight the power of individuals using their own strength and stories to solve social conflict, the most powerful section of this book for me was the final chapter before the conclusion, “American Muslim Child”. For all of the great work that Eboo has done all over the world, it’s humbling to hear him talk about his experiences as a father. While reading the book, I remember approaching this chapter. At this point, the book had already sent my mind in a million different (fabulous) directions. I was at that anxious part of a book when you can physically see how little there is left to read. The chapter itself isn’t laden with quotes readymade for Twitter. It’s simply a reflection by a father who, like most fathers in this world, suddenly sees the world in a better light through the eyes of his children. Unsurprisingly, as a father, this section cemented it: This book was pushing me to a place I had resisted for so long; a place where I am comfortable admitting the role my faith has played in shaping me into the person I am and the father I have

become. Little did I realize, but throughout my reading of Sacred Ground I was completing my own story. I was looking at my faith, my religion, through my son’s eyes and the future I want us to have. Maybe It’s Faith Some years ago I had a conversation with Tim Brauhn, one of my closest friends. The conversation was towards the end of our undergraduate coursework at Aurora University. We both had been fortunate to be inaugural members of a group called The Values Council. The council was a collection of students who would meet once a week to discuss and debate a wide variety of social, philosophical, political, and religious topics. Through our participation with this council, we participated in a visit to Turkey. The trip was led by Hakan Berkeroglu from the Niagara Foundation (based in Chicago), and Martin Forward, the leader of our Values Council and then-Director of the Wackerlin Center for Faith and Action on campus. The trip would involve a tour of many of the country’s greatest religious, historical, and cultural sites. At this point in my life I had already found the love of traveling and exploring the unknown, but was far from any answers as to my religious and faith-based passions. Turkey held the wonder of a new place for me, but the fact that it was also the intersection of many of the world’s greatest religions didn’t matter much to me at the time. I remember Martin and Hakan mentioning something during an opening orientation about being true to our personal religions on this trip as a means to enhance our understanding of the people and places we would meet and see. Away from the caring and, at times, judgmental eyes and ears of Martin, I confessed to Tim, “I’m not sure I have a religion.” Tim, who was raised as a Catholic and had begun at this time to identify as a Catholic Hindu, had two religions; I had none. I was raised as a Lutheran and celebrated the Jewish holidays with my mother’s family, but none of this stuck. Knowledge of the world and literature filled the religious void once I got to college. Tim looked back at me and, with a serious face, (a rarity for Tim) said to me, “But you’ve got faith.”

Table of Contents

Eboo Patel, Founder and Director of Interfaith Youth Core, has done many great things in his life. I imagine him to be a man who could talk for hours about the people he’s met and the places he’s been. I’ve met him a few times at my local coffee shop. Our conversations last no longer than five minutes. While he is fully capable of sharing the journeys of his life, he’s taken a different approach. When you talk to him, he looks at you. He really looks at you and REALLY listens. We’ve crossed paths no more than three times, but every time he remembers me, my son, and the details of past conversations. He’s got a lot going on in his life, but he remembers.

We eventually took our trip to Turkey, an amazing with emotion that I didn’t understand. It may have journey through one of the most beautiful places been joy, maybe sadness; I had no idea where I have ever been. I was in awe the tears came from, but After exiting the quaint of the many sites we visited, but I remember the emotion could never shake the feeling chapel, I realized that I was something I had that I was abusing the privileges never felt before. Maybe didn’t fully understand of the trip by exploring the it was faith. Maybe it was religions of others without what I was feeling. I something that I wasn’t possessing one of my own. I meant to understand. wasn’t sad and I didn’t didn’t want a religion because what that meant to me wasn’t feel overwhelmed with The Matzah Balls of what it meant to others. We Christmas met some amazing people in joy. Tears streamed and My mother was raised a Turkey; their dedication to their Jew, my father a Lutheran. fell on my blank face. faith and religion was inspiring. Both have grandparents I was envious of this love and who come from a lineage dedication, but I couldn’t help wondering if they where religious principles and practices formed were just the same as the people I grew up with major life decisions. My mother’s family moved in my Church and Sunday school. Did they to Canada as tensions towards Jews rose in preinvest all of their love and energy into prayer and Holocaust Europe. My father’s family followed ceremony only to walk out of the Church/Mosque/ a long line of Germans searching for religious Temple and return to a place of ignorance, anger freedom in the Midwestern states. Consequently, and, hate? I appreciated the places of worship for my parents were raised to honor their respective their overwhelming feelings of love, but that love religions, but a lot of their honor was tied seemed to stay hidden, left behind perhaps, in the to individuals, not their faith itself. As their walls of worship for me. grandparents passed away, so did some of the faith rituals they held so dear. It wasn’t until the most powerful site visit of the trip that I thought more about Tim’s comment. We Due to some super genes on both sides of my family, I was fortunate to grow up with and get hopped in a bus and took a trek to what many to know not only my grandparents, but my people, scholars and the devoutly religious alike, great-grandparents as well. At one point in believe to be House of the Virgin Mary. Yes, that my childhood, I gloated that I had three greatMary; the Virgin Mary and the mother of Jesus. On grandparents and five grandparents (one through the ride there I was anxious and excited, as was remarriage). My parents’ roots were exposed well the entire group. It seemed like something cool I above the ground which I was raised upon. could tell my father and eventually my kids later in life. I imagined myself many years hence, telling In terms of their religious roots, this meant exposure my grandchildren, “I’ve seen some great things in to many of their rituals and practices. I attended my life, like the Great Wall of China, Chichen Itza, Sunday school and was eventually confirmed and the House of the Virgin Mary.” as a Lutheran. I lit the candles on the menorah The details of the entire visit there are a bit cloudy, with my mom as the lights of the Christmas tree but I remember that my anxiousness was quickly lit the room behind us. I spent many hours with overwhelmed with something entirely different. my Jewish great-grandmother, barely aware of her Walking through the house - I was shaken. After thick Yiddish accent and what the word schmutz exiting the quaint chapel, I realized that I didn’t meant. And yes, I did eat a lot of bagels and latkes fully understand what I was feeling. I wasn’t sad growing up. and I didn’t feel overwhelmed with joy. Tears streamed and fell on my blank face. The tears came But something was different between my religion and stopped by the time I completed the short and my grandparents’ religion. While the rituals walk through the house. My body was overcome

and dedication to practice were watered down from my grandparents to my parents, they all seemed to have a more direct connection with their faiths. They had a faith, a religion they called their own, no matter how different their version was from their parents and grandparents. Even while I was being confirmed as a Lutheran, I never fully felt Lutheran and, when asked, rarely identified as one. Just because I ate matzah balls and lit the menorah, I never felt like a Jew. But I felt something, and somewhere along the line I learned a thing or two about who I am and what type of person I was to be in this world.

and the Rocky Mountains. When I returned to the midwest, I needed more.

Priorities I’m now twenty-nine years old and the father of a sixteen month-old son. I’ve spent the greater part of my adult life searching for meaning. It sounds grandiose, but it’s really quite simple: I believe there is more to life than what we see and experience. This search has manifested itself in a variety of forms. I’m a huge fan of fantasy, science-fiction, and magical-realism stories. They comfort me in knowing that many other people have and will continue to envision a reality much different from what we are used to experiencing. The first book I really searched out and chose to read on my own in the beginning of high school was a book about “alien” encounters and UFO landings around the world.

Until now, after years of restless wandering of the globe and my mind, I didn’t really see a clear connection to my actions. I never really felt the need to. I was acting on impulse for the last ten years and that has treated me just fine. As a parent, that is rarely ever OK. By no means was I a wild child prior to becoming a parent, but my decisions were my own. I consulted with my parents and my partner along the way, but right or wrong, I was still at the center of my thoughts and actions.

Unsurprisingly, being a parent has changed that. Like many great things in life, there is only so much you can understand about being a parent until you are one. There are many great cliches about becoming a parent; thousands of people daily that feel the sudden tectonic shift of priorities when they first meet their child. Within all of those, I’ve spent the greater there are many new parents part of my adult life like myself that start to look back at who they were searching for meaning. and who they’ve become. It sounds grandiose, but Looking back, I see a young man searching for meaning it’s really quite simple: in every possible way.

Around the sophomore year of my undergraduate degree, I felt a restlessness that I’d never felt before. I had discovered NPR, marijuana, writing, and coffee. All of them gave me windows into places I had never explored. They all slowly carried me I believe there is more to explore the possibilities of the world around me. What was this meaning I’ve to life than we see and I spent a summer in Colorado been searching for anyways? experience. after my sophomore year I don’t have any one grand and, suddenly detached insight. I’ve learned many from the people and places I had always known, great things in my searching, one of the most discovered something incredible: I loved the powerful being that I feel most comfortable with feeling of an experience or place that I had never the people I love over any one place. I’m not sure done or seen. Every weekend I found a different that ten years of restless exploration of the world trail to hike and fell in love with the natural world was necessary to realize I want to be with the ones

Table of Contents

This led to a study abroad trip my junior year and eventually a two-year service in the Peace Corps. Upon returning from Peace Corps, I couldn’t shake the urge to go deeper. I wondered if I was just projecting the faults of my generation’s inability to be content. My next steps were less of the physical journey and more of the intellectual manner. I attended and completed a graduate degree from Loyola University Chicago while engaging in deep yoga studies through a teacher training program.

I love. But as I look back now I wonder if I needed those journeys to truly love who I am and where I’ve come from. Sometimes, the universe works its wonders and gives you what you need when you need it the most. Eboo Patel’s new book Sacred Ground was gifted to me by none other than my good friend Tim, who even went ahead and got it signed by Mr. Patel himself at a Niagara Foundation event life comes full circle. I finished the book in about three sittings and knew that it hit me at just the right time in my life and learning.

to build a nation. To do that, people need open attitudes, appreciative knowledge, and meaningful multicultural relationships. Colleges provide a perfect environment to cultivate all three.” Eboo’s book and the focus of his work has become driving social change by building leaders on college campus across the nation. The challenge and necessary next step is for these leaders to reach further and further into America’s communities. It’s in the communities, deep in the heart of America’s roots, where both the dreams of who we were and who we can become lie.

More Than Ideas Owning Our Stories As with any great book, I found myself returning I consider myself an amateur scholar of education to sections of Patel’s book and an education policy after I completed it. I let the Sometimes, the news junkie. I completed a emotion and power of his graduate degree in Cultural universe works its book inspire me, but there is and Educational Policy much more to this book than wonders and gives you Studies. Education, from the just inspiration. There is a very classroom to the bedroom, what you need when real and powerful analysis of has become both my chosen social movements in America. and destined career path. you need it the most. Patel is an interfaith leader, As with all things in life, I but he’s also an incredibly view the work I do through successful social entrepreneur. He didn’t start off the lens of my past experiences. Education and that way, at least in terms of creating social change. community development (another passion), when There’s a very poignant section of the book where viewed through the lens of what I’ve done and Patel retells a story of a conversation with one of experienced in my life, are lit with the colors of his board members, Tarek Elmasry, who was part social and religious diversity. My world view is of pro bono team assessing the effectiveness of colored with these same lights, and much of that IFYC’s programs. In brief, Elmasry told Eboo that has to do with being raised to accept others as their programs weren’t working and lacked focus. unique. Instead of creating social change, Elmasry said, they were creating, “sizzle.” Sizzle looked and felt I haven’t always heeded the lessons of my cool but didn’t create change. Elmasry suggested upbringing (see the column from last month). I that Patel help his organization find more focus am human and I’ve been raised by humans, thus and less cool ideas. Ideas are inspiring, but social I am double-fallible. I have flaws and I live in a movements need something more. world of flaws. It’s in that perspective, that reality, Eboo and IFYC responded by narrowing focus, where I live and work. It’s in that understanding over time, to colleges and seminaries. This of people that has led me to a belief that we are decision has created an incredible marriage of all rooted in imperfection. However, we are also young leaders and diverse campuses filled with unique in how we address those flaws. Our flaws people from all walks of life. Eboo explores this are a driving motivation for change around the decision through the lens of the multicultural world and have inspired millions of people via movement; a movement rooted in the halls of their faith, family, and friends to search for paths to academia: “...the multicultural movement was expose the flaws. These flaws are the imperfections about renewing the idea that America is about of a changing world and the skin we have shed in people from different background coming together order to adapt to our daily changes.

Table of Contents

Education and the pursuit of knowledge is one is your own and that you are expected to keep way that the human race searches for answers it deep inside of you and that real learning must and a means to grow. To learn is to adapt and happen in a classroom. Anything else is funky understand the world around “experiential” education us. To understand more of the meant for old hippies and world around us is to remove We seem to be saying to their children. the fear of the unknown. society that your religion The separation of religion is your own and that you Faith and religion have also and education is intertwined been a path that countless are expected to keep it and in many ways driving people have chosen for this the multicultural movement deep inside of you and same purpose. For many in education. In the people, faith and education that real learning must search for an American are leaves on the same tree. society that reflects the happen in a classroom. To explore your spirituality colors of all members and your faith is to grow and of our communities, the explore yourself. To know more of the Self and how multicultural movement has felt the pain of its you relate to the world is to explore the mysteries own victories. that make life beautiful. Our country was built on the dreams of immigrants Recent history has revealed a shift in the partnership and we are a land of opportunity. To create between faith and education. To many in the stability and a nation able to handle such a diverse Western world, these are two separate affairs; collection of people, we necessarily were forced faith being best left to the private spaces (i.e. the to create a shared identity; an identity that, in its home and places of worship) and education to ideal principles, didn’t allow any specific racial, schools. In my opinion, this mentality, amongst ethnic, or religious group to own our identity. many other factors, has given rise to what Patel’s refers “bonded social capital”. “Bonded social Of course, this hasn’t been the reality for millions capital” is essentially collections of communities of Americans. Hence, major movements in history (religious communities in this case of Eboo’s book like the Women’s and Civil Rights movements of and my discussion here) that may live in diverse the early and mid-twentieth century respectively. settings but set up barriers of interaction between Rooted in the Civil Rights movement was a themselves and “others”. The communities take multicultural education movement. In response to care of themselves, but do very little to support or nearly a century of assimilation via suppression of interact with different faith groups. ethnic and linguistic identities in school, a powerful non-violent resistance of identity suppression was Religious communities in America may be some birthed in the Afro-American heritage of grassroots of the most “bonded” communities in our nation. movement and change. I believe the “separation of church and state” to be one of the driving factors in creating these “bonded” Multicultural education became a rallying cry for communities. The separation of religion and many to address the needs of all in school, not public education has carried us to a place where I just the dominant Anglo-American population. believe we see education as a school-only activity Many great strides were taken, until a fascinating and faith best left to private spaces of worship. shift occurred in early 1970s. As Carl A. Grant In other words, the public sphere has become a and Joy L. Lei talked about in their fabulous book, secular communal space with a collective identity Global Constructions of Multicultural Education, void of education. In public, we are all expected the inclusion of groups beyond the Afro-American to assume (in theory) a public persona that doesn’t community drastically altered the effects of the impede on anyone else’s personal identity. We movement. seem to be saying to society that your religion

As people of various ethnicities were fighting to If freedom and liberty mean having the freedom both define and implement multicultural education and liberty to choose who is allowed to pursue the debate became isolated from the mainstream the dream, then we have failed our forefathers culture and was relegated to a “diversity” issue that and have lost sight of what we are capable of as a was perceived to matter only to people of “ethnic nation. heritage.” This eventually gave the mainstream Euro-American population--the same population A generation of Americans, born in the last 30 years, that multiculturalism was trying to engage in are now coming of age raised in a world where discussions about equal opportunity--a window to what it means to be American can no longer be criticize the movement as “un-American” and “unstatic. It is the responsibility of this generation, my democratic” for excluding the larger population. generation, to take a look around the world and ask Thus, the greatest irony ourselves some questions: in the struggle for a truly Who are we? Are we a Are we a nation that multicultural education, as nation that chooses to chooses to promote Grant and Lei point out, is promote religious diversity that mainstream America by removing all religions religious diversity by has come to view its goals from schools and the of equal education for all removing all religions from public? Are we a nation as a threat to the ideals of schools and the public? that believes in only one American equality. definition of our people? In other words, we’ve become afraid to challenge the idea of what being American means. In our efforts to create a rainbow tapestry we have ended up with a dull gray scarf. We’ve found ourselves at a place in America where fear has inspired so much of our actions. We are all at fault. Sometimes it’s easier to stick with what we know. Routines create stability and stability creates order. It’s a rare occasion that a bomb is dropped in our nation in the name of religious or ethnic strife. And because of that, we accept our realities. We like our peace and our relative social stability. Sometimes even the toughest of situations in America are better than regions rife with war and extreme poverty. So here we are, on the heels of a century dedicated to rooting out Muslim extremists around the world and at home. Our ideals of freedom and liberty were threatened by a horrific attack from a select few and we used that attack to justify the our “new villain.” (See any James Bond/Steven Seagal/Chuck Norris/Arnold movie to determine America’s villain of that era.) We are watching as America’s standing in the world is being questioned and millions of people, specifically in the Muslim world, are growing more and more disenchanted by the “American dreams” of freedom and liberty.

I don’t think we are. We are a nation that thrives on the support of our communities. And our communities are full of stories. Personal stories of individuals working, living, and loving through tears and joy every day to make the world a better place for the next generation. I want my son to grow up in world where it’s OK to be who he wants to be. I want him to know who he is by seeing the world through his neighbors’ eyes. For this to happen and for my generation to heed the call of leaders like Eboo Patel for a more pluralistic society, we need to start with ourselves. Each one of us as individuals needs to believe in his or her stories. Our individual pasts of pain, growth, love, and joy shape the interactions with the world around us. The more we understand our own faith journeys, the more we can share in the joy of other’s journeys. There is no singular journey, no single conception of what it means to be an American. But the fact remains, to truly be American is to allow every American to own their story and provide them a safe and nurturing environment within which to share it. Only then, when we truly know ourselves, can we break the bonds of our communities and finally create the rich, multicultural, multifaith American tapestry that we’ve promised ourselves.

Feminist Fires Dr. Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J.

Major Achievements:

Dr. Elizabeth A Johnson, C.S.J. is a distinguished professor of Theology at Fordham University, a leading Catholic systematic theologian, and a pioneering feminist scholar. Her life and work is characterized by her dissent of an androcentric theology and her pursuit of a more inclusive Catholic theology. Johnson was one of the first female theologian church authorities to receive a doctorate, and her most famous work, She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse (1992) was the first expanded attempt to integrate feminist categories into a classic Catholic theology.

Inspired By:

The New Testament letter to the Galatians and the Vatican II Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, which states that all are one in Jesus Christ and that “every type of discrimination, whether social or cultural, whether based on sex, race, color, social condition, language or religion is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God’s intent.”

Is An Inspiration to:

Catholic women who are disillusioned with the patriarchal nature of the church but are hopeful of a possible change within the Church and within Catholic theology. Johnson decided to join the religious order after high school and completed her masters in theology at Manhattan College. While she was a graduate student, Johnson was deeply affected by the murder of two Maryknoll SIsters, an Ursuline nun and a lay missioner- women who had been working to assist refugees in San Salvador in 1980. After their tragic death, Johnson committed herself to carrying out their mission of social justice and began intellectually exploring the issues of feminist theology, the problem of suffering, and issues related to justice for women.

Importance to Feminism:

Johnson continues to battle for the reconciliation of feminist thought and Catholic theology-a resolution that has resulted in a great deal of conflict with the Catholic Bishops, but one that continues to inspire scholars and activists who seek to transform women’s position in the Catholic church.

Table of Contents

Personal Life:

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

Reflections on My Jihad By Saleha Jabeen

“If you’re a student trying to make it through school and basically having two jobs, or paying off your tuition, etcetera, that’s your jihad.” – Ahmed Rehab (MyJihad Campaign Head) When freedom of expression, an extremely empowering value, is frequently and deliberately exercised to instill and promote actions of immorality against any minority group; it becomes essential to creatively educate about that group, reiterating the essence of that very freedom that calls to be implemented in a very mindful moralistic manner. In this case, an anti-Muslim propagandist, Pamela Geller, who is committed to instigate hate and fear against Muslims, put out ads on buses and subways that categorize all Muslims as savages and portrays jihad merely as physical exertion of power, which is by the way exactly what Muslim extremists (a minority that exists like in any other group) would like to believe about jihad, irrespective of what Islam prescribes in its totality. An educative initiative, called MyJihad Campaign, came about with the

idea of reclaiming the central tenets of Islam, one of which is Jihad – meaning righteous struggle, from both the extremes alike. Prior to the international incidents of terror in the recent past the term jihad did not come into play to the popular degree, just like Islam or Muslims. The concept of jihad – physical struggle, which was brought into public sphere by a group of corrupt Muslims & anti-Muslims, which to this day is successfully misdefined by vast media, does not represent what jihad is for the scholars of mainstream and for us, the greater overwhelming majority of Muslims across the globe. Yes, jihad can take the form of physical struggle but it has it own legal and ethical code of conduct as well. But to suggest that that is the only jihad and to ignore the clear instructions in Islam that the greatest jihad is not the physical one but rather the one against the self in order to defeat the inner evil, not only adds to the preexisting widespread ignorance but also becomes a hindrance in efforts to improve understanding about Islam and Muslims at large.


Table of Contents

In the age of Internet there is no shortage of more need for the campaign MyJihad, allowing information on just about anything and everything. Muslims to speak for themselves and define what College and University libraries are filled with jihad is. books and articles that can explain at length what jihad is according to Shari’ah ...jihad is not a one-time Some of the key components (Islamic Legal System) which of the campaign: covers both the “lesser thing; rather it requires Online social media – jihad” – the extremists’ Facebook and Twitter the zeal to persistently favorite and “greater jihad” (#MyJihad) – People from – an age old debate between strive against the inner within and outside of America contemporary, modern, submit their posters with evil to get to a better and traditional scholars. So pictures stating my jihad is fortunately/unfortunately that state. such and such, what’s yours, is something, which cannot inviting others to share theirs. be found in this article, however here is an account of why a majority Nationwide ads on buses, subways, and metro of Muslims including myself feel it is high time systems starting with Chicago with real people, that, jihad, to begin with shall be taken back from stating my jihad is such and such, what’s yours? those who construe its meaning for their own personal/political agenda, whether they are from Examples of the bus ads: the Muslims community, or those outside of it. “My Jihad is to march on despite losing my son. What’s yours?” – A mom with her three kids As much as it is convenient to believe that jihad holding a picture of the fourth kid that she lost to is all about destruction, the fact remains that its a disease, and her other son is fighting the same not. In fact, people will be amazed to learn that disease. every single human engages in jihad – a moral “My jihad is to stay fit despite my busy schedule. strive against the odds – at all times. Consider the What’s yours?” – A male runner and a girl holding civil rights activists, or the suffragists who strove to weight in one hand conveying their daily struggle. provide women the right to vote. When a person “My jihad is to never settle short of my best effort. makes a conscious effort to lead a life of morals, What’s yours?” – A corporate guy and a female that is their jihad. When someone stands up teacher who strive to give their best at whatever against injustice, striving to bring just change, that they do. is their jihad. When parents strive to nurture their kids into morally responsible adults that is their Lastly, in my journey with this campaign since jihad. When students strive to make it through late September, I’ve had the opportunity to engage school for a better tomorrow for themselves and with people from different faiths, at different the community, that is their jihad. When a woman levels. My Christian friends hear me fully and stands up for her self-respect that is her jihad. The stand committed to the cause that they also see list can go on.. as a great way of breaking ice and opening up more dialogue opportunities to learn from each The point being, jihad is not a one-time thing; other and to work towards a better understanding rather it requires the zeal to persistently strive promoting just peace. On that note, I’ll leave you against the inner evil to get to a better state. The with my jihad, which is to build bridges through degree to which the acts of morality can go varies friendship. So, what’s yours? but striving to live by the higher ground, not once, not twice but always irrespective of the odds is to Saleha Jabeen is featured in the MyJihad ad practice jihad in a Muslim’s world. It is definitely campaign, included in MadAds on the next two not what jihad has been portrayed to be but that is pages! the very reality that shapes Muslims’ everyday life, which will remain unchanged. Therefore all the

MADADS Busted Advertising, Bustling Economy

Advertising Ignorance Earlier this year, this ad, containing hateful speech towards Muslims, was posted on buses and in subway stations, here in Chicago and in New York City. Transit authorities in New York and Chicago initially rejected the ad, but that decision was overturned by a federal judge who ruled that this ad is protected by the First Amendment (freedom of speech). These hateful ads were put out by a group called the American Freedom Defense Initiative, whose executive director, Pamela Geller, saw nothing wrong the ad. Many other religious groups did see something wrong with it, however, and spoke out in their own ad campaigns, shown on the opposite page.

What does it say about our society that this type of fear-mongering, hate speech is protected under freedom of speech laws? Do you think the federal judge would have ruled differently if the hate-speech was directed against a different religious group? In a country that prides itself on freedom of religion, why are so many nondominant religious groups portrayed as “other� and persecuted? What flawed logic correlates otherness with savages? Is most religious bigotry borne of ignorance? What do you think?


Table of Contents

Countering Islamaphobia

To learn more about the MyJihad campaign, please read Saleha Jabeen’s article and check out www.myjihad.org.

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

The Misadventures of a Triassic Deity

By Richard Ray

I believe in a true God. He is a fearsome creature “My friends, I’ve lost my family and all I hold perched atop an unreachable peak and carries dear,” The young child said. “We live in fear of our the weight of the title “Trylodon the Celestial own creator, when he is not casting his shadow Nightmare”. Trylodon is both male and female, a over our lands we must fear one another. The scaly green with venomous land is overrun with bandits, eyes and spikes shooting out Many would die, some murderers, and rapists. We of him everywhere. He is also would endure longer steal from one another in perpetually on fire. When blind desperation, we want than others, but all people pray to Trylodon, and for that which we do not need they must, he pukes acid rain because our minds have been would give thanks down on the world below, molded by those who control to the great Lord of dispersing an equal amount the means of information!” of suffering amongst his Devastation, it was just The young child declared, he underlings. began donning his murdered in their nature. father’s armor, pulling on his Trylodon once soared around gauntlets and buckling his the vast emptiness of space looking for children grieves over his trousers. The young child slid his so he might munch on the marrow of their bones, dead father’s rusted claymore into the sheath on but he quickly realized “gotz ta have planetz” and his back. so he forced a massive movement of earth, stone and magma out of his belly and thus the earth “I am going to have a talk with our God,” he said. was formed. The inhabitants of this ball of mud were distinctly horrible, for they were a product The child, scripture says, was delicious and tender, of Trylodon. They waged meaningless wars, his marrow sweet and smoky, the way Trylodon claimed knowledge of that which they had no likes it. Some days after the boy left, the village he understanding, and tilled the land so that it would came from is said to have heard a rolling thunder not grow again, moving on to greener fields they settle over their thatch roofs that articulated into would eventually salt or scorch. Trylodon’s malevolent voice.

One day, after innumerable years of incremental advancement, a resolute child of Trylodon decided he would ascend the unreachable heights of their god’s spire-throne. “You’re insane!” the others said. “You’ll never make it; it’s not for us to know!” “I’ve heard if you cast your gaze upon the Darkwinged you will surely erupt into a mist of crimson gore!” A particularly fearsome muddweller declared.

“MURDER IS LAW,” it informed the trembling townsfolk. And thus the question of God was extinguished before it had barely begun to grow on the tips of the townsfolk’s tongues. There were no more challengers, simply more sufferers. More to endure the wrath of an angry and insane god who allows and actively participates in the murdering of his own creation, his own children, of us. All hail, Trylodon the Celestial Nightmare! Richard Ray is a media saturated idiot that can’t put an idea together for the life of him. He murmurs the lord’s prayer in binary while refreshing his LinkedIn page over and over again in hopes that the divine will find him suitable for employment.


Table of Contents

All the while these horrible dregs would suffer the role of Trylodon’s children, this demi-pterodactyl with spikes and fire that would descend from the azure infinity and rain pestilence and death on his own creation. Many would die, some would endure longer than others, but all would give thanks to the great Lord of Devastation, it was just in their nature.

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

A Call to Prayer: My Synagogue in the Streets By Rivkah Raven Wood

I had not been able to find a synagogue in my new city that really spoke to my heart. For various reasons which had nothing, really, to do with the rabbis or congregations, I had been restless and hungry, my heart, mind, spirit not completely engaged. I kept searching, kept asking myself questions; didn’t want to just settle and tread water.

I went to a large Yom Kippur service, and felt so antsy and uncomfortable in my skin, I finally had to leave. There was something about the dressingup, the sitting there in our best clothes and chatting with friends that felt completely jarring to me. I thought, “Maybe I just need to fast and meditate on my own; maybe I have things to process this year that need silence.� So I went home, meditated

Table of Contents

for about two hours, then-just on a whim, I did life, holding a question that keeps unrolling itself not know why- grabbed my camera and left the in front of me. My awareness of this struggle - of house. I meant to walk to the waterfront, and the gap between the synagogue and Life - began walked, instead, straight into a protest march: the on Yom Kippur, but I am still asking the question: beginning of “Occupy Portland.” Listening to their how can the work of healing in the world continue stories of why they were there from all over the outside the synagogue walls? How can we pray country, taking photos with our feet more, and of the faces, I fell in love less with words alone? How can the work of healing with them: with their earnest engagement, their in the world continue outside If we stand in the purpose, their compassion synagogue leading the synagogue walls? How for each other; these were people in prayer who total strangers who had already know what they can we pray with our feet bonded together as a are there for- if we grow more, and less with words kind of community, with smug in our spirituality, a very idealistic purpose. alone? celebrating our own In hindsight, the idealism journey through the Torah did not survive - but in the cycle, in what way are beginning, there was great beauty in the Occupy we fighting the injustices that are happening out movement. I joined them, marched many miles there on the streets? A friend of mine, just before with them that day and felt more connected than I I began writing this article, was attacked in a gay had in any search for a synagogue. “Ok,” I thought, hate-crime; he was brutally beaten and thrown in “I will pray with my feet today.” front of a car. His injuries have healed now, but in my eyes, the waves of harm from that act of Before Sukkot, I came upon the encampment in violence keep spreading outward. I am deeply our city: the “Occupation.” Feeling (I admit it) shocked by this violence toward someone with sorry for myself, wondering where I would go such a beautiful, innocent spirit, who was harming for Sukkot, I walked by the encampment, and no one. Every time I see something like this, was surprised to see a giant sukkah being built. experience something like this, I am jolted with the awareness that I am not sure how to make it I second guessed, wondering how it could really stop, but that I want to do something. be a sukkah when I had just been moping about that. “No,” I thought, “it’s just a shelter.” (ha. “just” I wrote a healing service (ostensibly Jewish, a shelter.) But I was drawn back again a couple but really for everyone who cared to come) in of times to stand outside, looking in. Nervous dedication to my friend. The people who showed of these fierce-looking people, I stayed outside; up had hunger in their eyes, and fear. They sat still, I kept coming back. One day I met a woman outside the sacred space- they did not come in. who was starting an Interfaith Chaplains Guild I began with simple meditations, and a song. I in the Occupation in Portland. I joined her in finally stopped the planned service, and asked order to do work helping people - working with them: why don’t you come in? Come in closer, sit a group of others (laypeople and ministers, rabbis, under the sheltering branches. They looked at each chaplains) to be a constant voice of reminder for other, and one, a large, sweet bear of a man who non-violence, to provide listening ears and help was nursing an injured and bandaged leg, spoke drain the anger that can fester; to lead services of up. “We don’t think ‘God’ is for us.” They nodded. all kinds in our sukkah which became at times a I was stunned speechless which (if you know me) Jewish synagogue, at times an Interfaith Chapel-is extremely rare. Quietly, I sat down on the dirt to be there with my compassion and ready to floor of our sukkah-turned-sacred space. “Let’s talk support people. about this,” I said. They crept in closer, reminding me of the Disney animals in the cartoon Snow The sacred space became a “street synagogue” for White. They were all different, but in that moment, me; it is gone now, but its frame still stands in my

every one of them had a similar expression in their eyes: hunger, and a tiny bit of hope.

They were all different, but in that moment, every one of them had a similar expression in their eyes: hunger, and a tiny bit of hope.

“If we were to find a name for God that spoke to everyone and for everyone, what would we call Him or Her or It?” I said. “Here’s the thing. Let’s talk about sleeping.” They looked at me with new interest. “Every living being on this planet needs to sleep. I don’t care if you live in the biggest mansion, or are wandering the streets looking for a temporary shelter: everyone needs to sleep.” This earned me emphatic nods, and a few quiet voices spoke for the first time. “Yes.”

“When you sleep, you are defenseless. For a small space of time, you have to let down your guard. When you do, I want you all to know that you matter. That you are not alone. That, yes, you are in danger if you are in certain places on the streets; your body is in danger and you would do well to learn self-defense, but that your spirit, your soul, the thing that makes YOU - is always safe. No one and nothing can take that away from you. Today I am not addressing your bodies: there are people here in Occupation who do that doctors, the food tents - they are here to look after your physical wellbeing. I am here today to address the part of you that feels, that thinks, that has unique expression. That is what I’m going to call your soul. If you go to sleep, before you let go, what if you had a friend you could trust, to hold your soul safely? So that no matter what came to you, you know this: that you would be cherished, would be safe, would be loved - your words would be heard, your thoughts and your experiences would matter? Would be important?” Now there were tears. I looked around, and saw the sheets of paper I had handed out shaking. Some were held in front of faces, some were lowered. The big teddy bear of a man with the injured leg had tears dropping onto his paper - unabashed, he let them fall freely.

“You matter. I want you to think of your own name to call this friend who hears you, who never leaves you.” We brainstormed, we discussed, and we came up with a name that everyone present felt deeply connected to, and included by. The name

was: Sheltering One. These are people who had no shelter, or had escaped the “shelter” of homes in which they were brutalized, abused, even had their bodies sold by family members. These are people who feel they are not heard, not seen. These are human beings with hearts and with minds. These are people who feel they are NOT welcome in our churches, synagogues, houses of prayer. How can we, communities and people who call ourselves clergy or congregants, how can we leave out the people who most need to be embraced and helped? How can we dress in our best clothing and sit in a building in which we don’t welcome some people? How can we put on one face when we enter our places of worship - the face that nods sagely when spiritual leaders speak of loving kindness - and leave that face behind when we step out into the world, engaging in gossip or pettiness, lack of charity or judgmental behavior, violence toward a man because he has a different sexual preference than our own, or allowing such violence to happen while we walk by and stay out of it? How can we? More importantly, how can we change that? Perhaps I’m taking a naive view here. I am sure there are plenty of service-oriented things rabbis do, that take them off the bimah and into the world…I want to hear about it all, in great detail. Because my heart isn’t easy. The fact that I found the synagogue that speaks to my heart, and that synagogue is the streets, is something I feel I have to listen to. None of this happened by accident, I’m sure of it. There is a message here I am supposed to hear; I just don’t know enough about the structure

taught me, and brought me moments of “radical amazement.”*

But again I keep coming up against the question: what can I do? It is not enough to go to the synagogue. It is not enough. I can’t touch the mezuzah and shut the door with the world on the other side; not any more. There are people out I am now in a different town, away from that city there who have no voices; there are hearts out and away from my fellow chaplains - but still there, noble, kind and true hearts, who are not connected to them. I am still processing this, and being heard or acknowledged or cared for. There still, my heart isn’t easy. I have found a synagogue, are humans who do not know they are welcome Havurah Shir Hadash, in which people “walk in places where spiritual needs are met. How can their talk;” they leave the we better hear these people? synagogue and actually There are people out How can we let them know practice loving kindness they matter? This is a call there who have no in words and in deeds; but to prayer: I am opening a still, it is not enough. Talking dialogue, I hope; in the voices; there are hearts is not enough. Writing is great Jewish tradition, I am out there, noble, kind not enough. I had to take a asking for discussion, for hiatus from my own work, argument, for thinking, and and true hearts, who my weekly serialized Jewish for action. Someone once steampunk fiction, in order are not being heard or told me that a rabbi’s job to wrestle with this need is to bring comfort to the acknowledged or cared that has come into my life. I afflicted, and affliction to am finding I need to bridge for. There are humans the comfortable. Let’s move the gap even more between who do not know they are out of our comfort zone, Torah, my life and discoveries and challenge ourselves to welcome in places where through the year cycle, and do better. Let’s pray with our fiction. I can’t remove myself spiritual needs are met. feet, and be the beginning of into the safe world of fiction change in this world. any more. I guess in order to keep this project entertaining (as it is meant to be ...Down, down, down into the darkness of the joy-filled, in order to teach in a way that invites grave wonder) I am going to have to continue to see the Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind; humor in even the most difficult things: the humor Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave. of a kitten going missing in the encampment; (the I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned. camp kitty is named “Quantum”) hardened, battle-Edna St. Vincent Millay weary people mobilizing to search for her,over an ingenious human-voice “microphone” system, via Rivkah Raven Wood is a collector of degrees twitter, even getting the police involved. and certificates. She trained in various things at: Juilliard school of drama, R.A.D.A., University Even in those days of Occupation when the of Bangor, N. Wales and Southern Oregon idealistic began to give way to the heartbroken University. She writes a Jewish Steampunk serial realization that we were slowly being overtaken fiction midrashic series at punktorah.org. She by people with more violent goals, and no desire is currently studying psychology, in a rabbinical for peace; even in the days when the Occupation school mechinah (preparation) year, and training began to mirror the very societal structures it had to become a Maggid in Ashland, OR. formed in protest against, there were hearts that still held immense nobility. They humbled me,


*for more on “Radical Amazement”, see Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Table of Contents

of the rabbinate, and how it might or might not be shifting, to decode the message. I veered greatly, in those days, between surges of energy when I was in the encampment and working on plans for our upcoming services or for how we might best serve the camp, to a feeling bordering on despair when I came home and was not sure it was enough.

Alum Alert Re-connect with WSGS Alumnae

Broad Magazine caught up with recent grad Rachel Tamer this month! Tell us a little about yourself and your time at Loyola. My name is Rachel Tamer and I graduated from the Social Work/WSGS program in May 2011. I am currently living in Austin, Texas. I applied for graduate school with LUC after completing a year of volunteer work with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I was particularly interested in the opportunities offered by the dual-degree Social Work/WSGS program and decided to pursue that option. I completed two internships during the course of graduate school including working as a Case Manager with Deborah’s Place and as an Advocate with the Victim Witness Unit of the State’s Attorney’s Office. What are some of your favorite memories from the program? In addition to working toward my degree in the WSGS program, I co-directed and participated in Loyola’s production of “The Vagina Monologues” in 2009. This was a very liberating experience and it increased my connection to the WSGS

I am implementing knowledge I learned regarding intersectionality and systems of oppression into my work on a daily basis. program and to those who also had a passion for equality and awareness. My connections with the program, classmates, and professors increased further during my Feminist Methodologies class. There were six students in the class and Betsy Hemenway was a wonderful instructor. This class exposed us to enlightening literature and research, and provided a foundation for my classmates and I to build amazing and life-changing friendships. No matter how far away we are from each other, the friends I made throughout the WSGS program have remained in touch and incredibly supportive. Tell us what you have been up to since graduation. What was it like seeking work? Since graduating in 2011, I have moved to Austin, Texas. It is much warmer here, but I still miss Loyola’s campus, friends, and even the ‘L.’ When I initially moved to Austin it was somewhat challenging to find a job, but after building up connections I became employed after a relatively short job search. Where are you currently working? Did your WSGS degree prove beneficial when getting the job? I am currently working as a Case Manager with Austin Travis County Integral Care, in a program that assists individuals with severe mental illness. Although I am not working specifically with gender issues, I am implementing knowledge I learned regarding intersectionality and systems of oppression into my work on a daily basis. In the spring, I am also planning to begin volunteering with an organization called SafePlace in order to assist survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Rachel Tamer M.A./M.S.W. 2011 Do you have any suggestions for current Loyola students? What do you miss or what would you have done differently?

What do you consider the strengths and weaknesses of your education? What could have been better? What has helped you? Within the dual-degree program specifically, I think it would have been helpful to have more classes that included curriculum from both the WSGS and Social Work programs. The Social Work class I had called Issues in the Treatment of Women is an example of a class in which subject matter from both programs was taught in harmony, and I think more of that would be beneficial. I was very happy with my experience with the WSGS program though, and am very satisfied with my decision to complete it.

Table of Contents

As for Loyola students who are currently participating in the program, my advice is to learn as much from each other and your professors as you possibly can, stay curious, and find out what you are most passionate about. Also, even if your first job isn’t your “dream job,” there is always something you can learn from the experience. I miss the friends I made through the program, the many dinner fests and conversations, and the opportunity to constantly learn from other feminists. I honestly don’t think I would change anything about my experience at Loyola. I took advantage of the opportunities that were offered and even in the classes that were challenging for various reasons, I learned something about myself. Good luck during finals week, and have a wonderful spring semester!

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!


By Robert Carfang

God is community. The Bible states that God is love and being in Community is love. A community is a group of people who support each other. DePaul University is not only a place where I take classes,

but also my community. About 99% of my friends are people who I met in DePaul’s Catholic Campus Ministry, or CCM as we call it.

I call the CCM Office my second family. It’s my home away from home. Even some of the rules apply at home. Such as the CCM Director’s rule: No shoes/feet on the couches or chairs. My mom had the rule of no shoes on the carpets, couches, or tables. In many ways CCM feels just like home.

The Body of Christ is community, unity, equality, friendship, diversity, connection, understanding, hope, inclusion, and love. The Body of Christ is helpful in communities because people support each other. People heal each other emotionally.

I also feel I am part of a community when I serve at Catholic mass. I became an altar server, Eucharistic minister, and a lecturer. The one time I read during a mass everybody in CCM complimented me. Everybody congratulated me and it made me feel good to know that other people support me.

Community is not only about others supporting you, but also about you supporting your peers. My friend Christina invited me to go see her play in the suburbs. To get there I had to take two trains on CTA and Metra. The trip was long but to make up for it, Christina performed very well. She even drove me back to the train station and told me how much it meant to her that I came all this way. True community is about doing things for your friends and your friends doing things for you. I recognize that I’m a member of the Body of Christ through CCM, and also through other Christian communities such as Protestant Campus Ministries (PCM) on campus. Through a weekly, meditative prayer service called Taize I met my friend Jordan. (Although he’s an Obama supporter I forgive him.) We hang out a lot. Sometimes we work out at the gym and go to campus events. We also went on a spiritual pilgrimage to Taize, France together a few summers ago. Jordan also told me about PCM

St. Paul in the first letter to the Corinthians described The Body Of Christ as Christ having a single body but with many parts. The parts of the body work together. Every part has something to offer the body. Each part is equally important. If one part does not work, all the other parts will suffer. For example, if you break your leg, it will be harder for your non-broken leg to move. All the parts of your body work together. To run fast, you need to use both your arms and legs. You need to push up your arms to gain momentum. If you just rely on your legs to run, you will get tired fast and there will be a strain on your legs. All of us are in Christ’s body. The Body of Christ is community, unity, equality, friendship, diversity, connection understanding, hope, inclusion, and love. The Body of Christ is helpful in communities because people support each other. People heal each other emotionally. The Body of Christ allows us to reconcile with each other and forgive each other. People realize that there are things in this world bigger than themselves. We build relationships that are already there through the interconnectedness of the Body of Christ. Because we are people, we make connections through our day-to-day interactions. Jesus’ teaching community through the Body of Christ can teach us a lot about what it means to be a loving human being. My freshmen year I joined the swing dancing group on campus and have continued it ever

Table of Contents

My good friend, and I guess you could call him my mentor, was very active in CCM. Mark graduated two years ago and even though he is now in Washington, DC at grad school, I still talk to him despite being miles away. That, to me, is an example of a lasting community.

retreats and PCM family groups, weekly Bible study groups based on the gospel. Even though I’m now a commuter student, I am still a big part of this community. Jordan will let me stay at his apartment when I need to. We hang out at least once a week and even have some of the same classes.

since. After every dance we have to do the best we session, a bunch of us go ...we have to do the best can with the gifts that we to the local diner up the have. Everyone has the we can with the gifts that street. Sometimes up to 20 power to make the world of us go there. However, we have. Everyone has the a better place. People can on one Thursday, there do that by singing, dancing, power to make the world were only 6 of us including community service, handing my friend Bob. Bob said out lunches to hungry, or a better place. People he couldn’t afford any donating to charity. The can do that by singing, food because it was too body of Christ is community expensive. He’s right by the dancing, community and is shared by all. way. $10 for a hamburger? service, handing out Stupid inflation… Anyway, I ordered chicken tenders lunches to hungry, or Robert Carfang is a senior and shared them with Economics major and donating to charity. him. The power of Christ devoted Republican at compelled me to do good DePaul University. He is things for my friends and I know they will do the an active member of Depaul’s Catholic Campus same for me. Ministry and University Ministry. His activities include swing dancing, running, and volunteering. Freshman year, I met Casey. We hung out a lot over the last three years and I have better conversations with her than any other female friend. A community is there for one another regardless of the circumstances. Last year I had a crush on her and even though I knew that my feelings would be unrequited back to me, I still care about her and still want to be friends with her. Even though I may struggle to be involved in my campus community at times, I recognize the presence of Jesus Christ in my friends. I keep praying to the God of Abraham because I know everyone is equal in His kingdom. I believe Jesus is the savior of us all. He has freed everyone from sin so we are all equal. St. Paul said in the Letter to the Corinthians, “God has put the body together as to put greater honor to those parts that need it. And so there is no division of the body, but all its different parts have the same concern for one another. If one part suffers, the rest of the part suffers. If one part of the body is praised, all the other parts share its happiness. “All of us make up a part of Christ’s body, a part of Christ’s community. As earlier stated, the body of Christ is a body with many parts. Everyone shares the divinity of Christ. Everyone is the hands of Christ. Everyone is the feet of Christ. The Body of Christ is people. Christ has no body on Earth but ours. This means


Words Are Useless Artist: Gayle Carloss

Adam and Lilith

Acylic on Canvas

This work is inspired by the Jewish folklore that claims Lilith to be Adam’s first wife. The story goes that Adam demanded Lilith to lie beneath him, but Lilith refused to be dominated and insisted on their equality. Lilith is often invoked as a feminist heroine and has come to represent power and independence.

Table of Contents

Biography: Gayle Carloss is a professional artist and beloved art teacher in Sugar Land, TX. She received her B.F.A. in Studio Art from the University of Texas and has sold a number of her works in galleries and auctions across the Houston area. Gayle specializes in oil and water-based paints as well as pastel. She has taught in the Texas school system for 15 years and has four wonderful daughters. Gayle believes that “Women should reveal their talents. Art is mine and I cherish it, as it has given me that area of life that has no true boundaries”.

by J. Curtis Main

Inside R Out? White? Male? Feminist? YES.

Her “Dirty” Forehead, Our Sharing, and My Faiths?

For this year’s issue on religion, faith, spirituality, and atheism, now in its third iteration, I have two topics to share. As I have mentioned, I am not currently practicing any religion, and was not raised in a heavily religious nor spiritual upbringing. My “status” in religion affects me daily. Luckily, I have one person whom I work with that has helped make the workplace much more open.

She is Catholic, I am somewhere between atheist and agnostic. She was raised to be religious, I was raised to play outside and explore. We work together everyday. While I never would have guessed I would end up at an institution that is private and Catholic, such as Loyola, both for education and work, I love this place! Furthermore, I am fortunate to work with someone who helps me navigate Catholicism since is so many respects, it is new to me. Consider the following story.

Table of Contents

One morning at work, my coworker walked by my column in the following days, here is my chance. desk, said good morning, and from what I could I do have faith, just not necessarily in a specific tell, had something on her forehead. Now I am god or gods. My faith is in people, and nearly the kind of person to let you know if your shirt tag always has been. I have great faith in people’s is sticking out, your hair looks crazy, or you have abilities and capacities for love, connection, joy, something showing in your nose. Plus since I am community, family, friendship, solidarity, creativity, fond is this colleague, I felt that I had to let her pleasure, and many, many more positive actions. know she had something While I understand every on her forehead. So I did. person has the opportunity to I have great faith in It was gray, and oddly, in do harm, to make mistakes, the shape of a cross. With and to idle through life, I people’s abilities barely a skip in her step, do have deep beliefs in the and capacities for she smiled and, in a nice human possibility of living gesture, reminded me it love, connection, joy, and learning together in life’s was Ash Wednesday and endless pleasures. that “they” were drawing community, family, crosses for people nearby, friendship, solidarity, Some might consider these like I should run out and faiths and beliefs silly, or get dirt on my forehead, creativity, pleasure, and overly optimistic. That is too. I was confused; this many, many more positive okay, because I readily admit was quite new to me. that I am an enthusiastic, actions. positive, happy person. I I giggled, smiled, and told find great joy in the energies her I had no idea what that all meant! She smiled big of life. I know there are problems and violence and told me she would give me some information and selfishness, and that humans we very well be on the practice. And she did; a neat little pamphlet just like other animals in their unethical pursuit of arrived on my desk sometime that day when I was genetic replication, but I choose not to whither in away. Her second gesture made me smile again; the such thoughts. information was helpful. I needed understanding and respect as a nonCatholic, and she delivered. Others might argue that this is exactly what Buddha, Everyday since then, she has taught me more and or Allah, or God is all about. That is nice. I would more about Catholicism, and everyday, sometimes rather not name or assume any deity. I know we are jokingly, sometimes seriously, we chat about my here, and this is enough for me. Whether or not we background and “practices.” exist in some form after our bodies fail, to be honest, does not concern me much. At this rate, having Fortunately, I have this in my workplace. There been close to death several times in my life, I am is often an openness about religious practice and not scared of this unknown. I actually welcome it. belief. Especially with this particular coworker, In fact, I anticipate the surprise! If there is nothing, I our environment is made more comfortable will not know, and if there is something, some kind through understanding, sharing, and humor across of afterlife, then I will be happily surprised. And if difference. She respects me, and I respect her it is hell, or suffering, or terror, then I would rather practices, as long as neither of us harms the other. not know or worry about it now. I work everyday to So, I want to say thank you to her and others like be a good, loving, connected, open person to and her for, even though many people choose to be for others, including to and for myself. closed off in their own religious belief, she is both present in Catholicism and open to others who are I believe this is enough. I practice this. It is my faith. elsewhere. I hope others respect my “religion” in this regard. Cheers to our differences, sharing in beliefs, and My other topic is one I have yet to discuss with her, sharing across beliefs. but since it is my hope that she will be reading my

Words Are Useless Featured Cover Artist: Sujata Tibrewala


Acryclic on Canvas, 24”x36”, 2011 Biography: Sujata Tibrewala is a self-taught artist whose work has been exhibited internationally. Trained as a postrgraduate electrical engineer, Sujata gave up her enginnering career for her first love, art, in 2008. Sujata is originally from Jaipur Rajasthan, the Pink City of India, and now lives in the Chicago area. She exhibits her artwork in numerous galleries and condcuts Pratibimba workshops. Of this piece she writes: “The Great mother bursts on the world of men in overwhelming wholeness and perfection.” Website: http://pratibimba.in/home.html

Only when the veil of silence surrounding Black sexuality is lifted will Black men and women be able to realize the liberating significance of what it means for the God of Jesus Christ to have chosen them.

Derision of secular culture in Black churches defies the African religious roots of the Black faith tradition.

Quote Corner Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas

Black men and women bear the scars of their sexual humiliation as attempts at self-love are so often frustrated and transformed into a self-hate that leads to life-negating behaviors--homicide, suicide, and risky sex. Self-love is crucial to a healthy attitude toward one’s own sexuality. As mentioned earlier, to love oneself is to be able to love others as well as God.

It is not homosexuality but homophobia that is sinful.

Despite Indeed, the conditions the fact that the are right for Black genocide congregations are adorned in if something does not happen African regalia, drums are beaten, to break the hold that White and African chants are recited, the culture has had over Black people’s bodies, psyches, and ministers often preach on the evils spiritualities. A modern and of the worldly life of dance, sex, rap music, and so on. transformative discourse must begin.

Table of Contents

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

Running the Race Towards God’s Will

By Ashley Purvis

Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing, and perfect will. - Romans 12:2. According to a study done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, “Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-year-olds,” kids 8 to 18 spend an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes a day engaged in entertainment media and, thanks to multitasking, this equates to nearly 11 hours. It is

heart wrenching to realize that half of our days are spent in a stream of messages that are shaping our brains, lives, and emotions. Many argue that media has come to serve as the new contemporary religion and I tend to agree. Do we not worship it, idolize it, seek it for answers and advice, and lead other to it? How often do we check our Facebook, Twitter Feed, and/or Email before we even put our feet to the floor in the morning? Once up, we hit the gym to work on resembling the physique of Hollywood’s “It” celebs. Post gym we scan our favorite fashion websites to confirm today’s

the day’s schedule. Social gatherings with friends were put off if it meant missing a workout. I was running towards what others defined as acceptable, yet it seemed that someone was always saying something slightly different. Therefore, because my mind was consumed with everyone else’s opinions and perspectives, my efforts never led to self-satisfaction and only to a stinky self-definition.

Reflecting on this concept of how we spend our days entrenched in the views and lives of others and how easily we buy into the consumerist life; I was If we change up the route and run towards the brought back to many of the runs I went on last fall. words of the earlier verse Romans 12:2, “Do The neighborhood in which not conform any longer to ...most of our success is I was living was having a the patterns of this world, major skunk problem. It spent defining a false but be transformed by the was typical to have to renewing of your mind. Then self. Sadly, it is not a change running routes you will be able to test and multiple times, constantly product of God’s will and approve what God’s will is scanning up ahead to see – His good, pleasing, and our heart’s desires, yet a if another skunk lied upon perfect will.” Only then will the path. If one was spotted, product of every social we understand how to find routes were maneuvered acceptance and definition medium that devours our and direction changed. based on being made in A thought came to mind, lives. This has often been the Image of God. Running shouldn’t we constantly be the race towards God’s will the case in my life. surveying what is planted allow us to live out of a spirit before us on our path of life? of love, patience, peace, and self control. No matter how During those mornings, the black and white hard we work, we will never live up to gaining skunks represented the media and how, if we are the acceptance of all society. But, we can learn to not careful to stay rooted in God’s plans and ways, accept ourselves and to accept God’s love because the danger ahead can lead to some stinky detours. it remains the same yesterday, today, and always. Being cautious of what we are running towards can help us avoid a lot of life’s stinky stuff. How often Ashley Purvis is a young professional working in are we running towards that “It” body, job, house, Chicago in Corporate Marketing. She strives to or social group, because “it” is what we see every have intentional relationships and live in deep day as the definition of success? Therefore, most of community while living her life for her Creator, our success is spent defining a false self. Sadly it is Jesus Christ. not a product of God’s will and our heart’s desires, yet a product of every social medium that devours our lives. This has often been the case in my life. In my early twenties I manufactured desires to live my life how I perceived a successful young single woman should. Decisions were often made that left me feeling guilty and ashamed. However, the world was screaming, “This is normal”, “This is what everyone is doing”, “You are noticed”. These series of decisions lead to an addiction of maintaining a desirable body image. My days were dictated by when my workout would fit into


Table of Contents

wardrobe is following this season’s style. After reading a scandalous article online on the train ride to work we quickly post it to our Facebook feed for the rest of our friends to gasp over. Before we have even reached work, our entire morning has been engulfed by the media and consumerism.

Oh my God! Oh your Gods!

Interfaith is Everywhere By Amanda Mackey I just read Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel for the second time. The first time I was exposed to the book, was during world religions class at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. It has been a little over a year and interfaith continues to play an important role in my life. The summer before my senior year of college I had the opportunity to attend Interfaith Youth Corps’ Interfaith Leadership Institute in Chicago. I took those ideas back to Simpson and tried to spread the message of interfaith to anyone who would listen. Attending college in a smaller suburb of Des Moines did not make for a very

diverse student population, but I tried to educate my peers the best that I could. My undergraduate thesis discussed interfaith and the role it plays within the United Methodist Church, specifically looking at its founder, John Wesley’s view on the subject. In April I walked across the stage to receive my Bachelor of Arts in Religion. Despite my religious background, I ended up in a secular job after graduation. I had worked for the parks and recreation district for two summers and a job opened up. I became the before and

has provided more opportunity for interfaith discussion amongst the teens that I work with. I volunteer with the Kansas City Interfaith Youth Alliance as an adult mentor. This organization creates opportunities for youth of different religious backgrounds from across the Kansas City metro area to discuss their faith. I was the community When I picked up Acts of Faith again, I became service hour coordinator for the 3rd Annual Peace inspired. I was making a difference in preventing Walk. This walk raised $1,700 for Free the Children, religious violence. The kids I a nonprofit that helps free watched were going to a safe, I was making children from poverty through loving atmosphere; there was education. It also promoted a difference in no indoctrinating, no religious interfaith unity and awareness bigotry, just a place where they in the Johnson County area. preventing religious were free to be themselves. It We walked from a Methodist was about teaching the kids to violence...It was about church, to a synagogue, and learn to live with each other then to a mosque, stopping teaching the kids despite differences, religious at each house of worship to to learn to live with or otherwise. reflect on what peace means to that faith tradition. Some each other despite A few summers ago I had two girls from my youth group differences, religious students who were Jewish have interacted with this attend summer camp. The six organization as well. I try to or otherwise. year old boys showed up in their promote interfaith events to yarmulkes ready to have fun. the youth at the church I work Other children in the camp didn’t understand why at to show how they can maintain their Christian they wore “that thing on their head.” I explained beliefs while still respecting other faith traditions. that it was a part of their religion. During snack, I made sure the boys’ food was kosher, sometimes My experiences with interfaith have been very giving them an alternative to what the other kids intentional. However this does not mean that one were eating. This led to another opportunity to has to go join an interfaith group right away or start educate the children about Judaism and what it educating every kid they meet about other religious means to partake in kosher food. traditions. It is as simple as complementing the local cashier on her hijab or wishing Facebook Now that school is back in session, the opportunity friends a Happy Hanukkah. By acknowledging for interfaith dialogue among my elementary kids the other traditions and celebrating them, we can has presented itself. Since the holidays are coming all take one step closer toward peace. As the great up, I took the opportunity to educate them on Walter Cronkite said, “Never before has the need Hanukkah. I printed off Menorah coloring sheets for interfaith commitment been nearly as great as along with the Christmas trees. I put up cut-outs it is at this very moment.” The gift of friendship of Menorahs and dreidels next to Santa Claus. created by interfaith dialogue could be one of the Despite the fact that their elementary school was greatest gifts we give this holiday season. located near several Jewish communities, very few children had exposure to religions other than Amanda Mackey is the director of school age Christianity. It was nice to be able to expand their programs at John Diemer Elementary School worldview in a very simple way. and the youth director at Indian Heights United Methodist Church in Overland Park, KS. She In addition to my duties as program director, I hopes to attend seminary in the fall of 2013. am also middle and high school youth director at a local United Methodist Church. This job


Table of Contents

after school program director at a local elementary school. I also took on the task of running an indoor summer day camp for sixty elementary kids. One thought cross my mind, “How was I supposed to incorporate interfaith in a job that wasn’t religion based”?

We want you to Submit!

BROADContributor Mission: Guidelines Broad’s mission is to connect the WSGS program with communities of students, faculty, and staff at Loyola and beyond, continuing and extending the program’s mission. We provide space and support for a variety of voices while bridging i) Feminist Consciousness: communities of scholars, artists, and activists. Our editorial mission is to provoke (a) recognizes all voices and experiences as important, and not in a hierarchical form. thought (b) takes for an the self and does not assume false objectivity. andresponsibility debate in open forum characterized by respect and civility.


(c) is not absolutist or detached, but rather, is more inclusive and sensitive to others.

ii) Accessibility:

WSGS Mission:

(a) means utilizing accessible language, theory, knowledge, and structure in your writing. (b) maintains a connection with your diverse audience by not using unfamiliar/obscure words, overly long sentences, or abstraction. (c) does not assume a specific audience, for example, white 20-year-old college students.

Founded in 1979, Loyola’s Women’s Studies Program is the first women’s studies iii) Jesuit Social & Effort: program at aJustice JesuitEducation institution and has served as a model for women’s studies (a) promotes justice in openhanded and generous ways to ensure freedom of inquiry, the programs at other Jesuit and Catholic universities. Our mission is to introduce pursuit of truth and care for others. feminist scholarship across the disciplines and the focus professional schools; students (b) is to made possible through value-based leadership that ensures a consistent on to provide personalinnovative, integrity, ethical behavior, and the appropriate balance between justice and fairness. challenging, and thoughtful approaches to learning; and to (c) focuses on global awareness by demonstrating an understanding that the world’s people promote social justice. and societies are interrelated and interdependent.

Expectations and Specifics: Activism and Academia: This special themed issue on Activism & Academia explores: how activism and academia are related, whether or not they are compatible, what it means to • We promote accountability of our contributors, and prefer your real name and your preferred title (i.e., Maruka Hernandez, CTA Operations Director, 34 years J. Curtis Main, Loyola graduate in WSGS, white, 27 years old), but understand, terms of safety, privacy, and controversy, beold, a mother part ofof4; orthe academy, whatstudent types of education are lackinginfrom academic if you desire limitations. We are happy to publish imagery of you along with your submission, at our discretion. disciplines, access to education and rights to education, how academia relates to • We gladly accept submission of varying length- from a quick comment to several pages. Comments may be reserved for a special “feedback” section. In theto real thereforisa aparticular disconnect between universities andto society at large, order process world, and include aifsubmission issue, please send your submission at least two days prior the desired publication date. howa we can make what we learn Look for the [A&A] symbol for •and Please include short statement of context when submitting imagery,matter. audio, and video. onofour theme! •contributions We appreciate various styles scholarship; the best work reveals thoughtfulness, insight, and fresh perspectives.

• You may request to identify yourself by name, alias, or as “anonymous” for publication in the digest. For reasons of accountability, the staff must know who you are, first and last name plus email address.

• Such submissions should be clear, concise, and impactful. We aim to be socially conscious and inclusive of various cultures, identities, opinions, and lifestyles.

BROAD People:

• As a product of the support and resources of Loyola University and its Women Studies and Gender Studies department, all contributors must be respectful of the origin of the magazine; this can be accomplished in part by ensuring that each article is part of an open discourse rather than an exclusive manifesto. • All articles must have some clear connection to the mission of the magazine. It may be helpful to provide a sentence or two describing how your article fits into the magazine as a whole. • The writing must be the original work of the author and may be personal, theoretical, or a combination of the two. When quoting or using the ideas of others, it must be properly quoted and annotated. Please fact-check your work and double-check any quotes, allusions and references. When referencing members of Loyola and the surrounding community, an effort should be made to allow each person to review the section of the article that involves them to allow for fairness and accuracy. • Gratuitous use of expletives and other inflammatory or degrading words and imagery may be censored if it does not fit with the overall message of the article or magazine. We do not wish to edit content, but if we feel we must insist on changes other than fixing typos and grammar, we will do so with the intent that it does not compromise the author’s original message. If no compromise can be made, the editor reserves the right not to publish an article. • All articles are assumed to be the opinion of the contributor and not necessarily a reflection of the views of Loyola University Chicago.

We very much look forward to your submissions and your contribution to our overall mission. Please send your submissions with a title and short bio to Broad People through broad.luc@gmail.com.

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.