Religions2014, 5(2), 435-443; doi:10.3390/rel5020435 - published online 21 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The faith leaders of North American cities actively engage in the civic affairs of their urban communities. Religious leadership, charismatic preaching, and, possibly, reputation of prophetic powers, continue to play important roles especially in the African American civic leaders’ rise to public authority. The article reflects on the twenty-first-century significance of Max Weber’s concept of “charisma” in interpreting the civic involvement of urban religious leaders in one city in particular, Baltimore. The article suggests that within the context of Baltimore’s dramatic challenges associated with urban poverty, violence, and racial and socio-economic health disparities, charismatic religious leadership continues as a recognized form of communal authority especially among the city’s African Americans. The article suggests that the gender dynamics of contemporary charismatic leadership appears strikingly similar to another time period and place, also analyzed by Weber—namely, medieval Europe. Just as an intense personal faith granted some medieval religious women authority and position they would not have had in the institutions reserved for men, so too the religious leadership and personal experiences of faith support the urban advocacy of African American women leaders.
Religions2014, 5(2), 422-434; doi:10.3390/rel5020422 - published online 16 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Classic Buddhist thought understands the mind as arising in dependence on the body. This causal dependence may be fashioned as a kind of “Buddhist materialism”. However, this should not be confused with any variety of scientific materialism, in which ontological and/or causal reductions of mind to brain affirm matter as the fundamental entity or property. Buddhist materialism, in contrast, is a purely phenomenological description that rejects both “mind” and “matter” as entities possessing substance or essential natures. This view questions the presumption that matter is external, real, and scientifically accessible, whereas mind is internal, subjective, and harder to empirically observe. Instead, perceptions of mind and matter are understood to be different kinds of experiences of equal phenomenological reality.
Religions2014, 5(2), 402-421; doi:10.3390/rel5020402 - published online 14 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The primary aim of this paper is to offer an overview of current research into the relationship between religion and family life and to offer suggestions for future research. In order to do this, the paper distinguishes between research in which religion is a dependent variable, labelled as socialization research, and research in which religion is an independent variable, referred to as research into family functioning. With regard to these areas of research, the paper, first, offers an overview of the most important insights existing research has generated thus far, after which some important shortcomings are identified and suggestions for future research are proposed. Subsequently, the paper offers some reflections on methodology and points out some strengths and weaknesses of existing research and offers methodological advice for future research. The paper closes by discussing how research into the relationship between religion and family life may contribute to an overall understanding of religion as such.
Religions2014, 5(2), 385-401; doi:10.3390/rel5020385 - published online 11 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Children’s diseases can negatively impact marital adjustment and contribute to poorer child health outcomes. To cope with increased marital stress and childhood diseases severity, many people turn to spirituality. While most studies show a positive relationship between spirituality and marital adjustment, spirituality has typically been measured only in terms of individual behaviors. Using the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS) and Daily Phone Diary data from a sample of 126 parents of children with cystic fibrosis as a context for increased marital stress, spiritual behavior of mother-father dyads and of whole families were used as predictors of marital adjustment. Frequency and duration of individual, dyadic and familial spiritual activities correlated positively with dyadic adjustment. Significant differences in spiritual activities existed between couples with marital adjustment scores above and below the cutoff for distress. The only significant factors in regressions of spiritual activities on marital adjustment scores were number of pulmonary exacerbations and parent age. Higher odds of maintaining a marital adjustment score greater than 100 were significantly associated with spending approximately twelve minutes per day in individual, but not conjugal or familial, spiritual activities. The Daily Phone Diary is a feasible tool to study conjugal and familial activities and their relationships with beliefs and attitudes, including spirituality.
Religions2014, 5(2), 361-384; doi:10.3390/rel5020361 - published online 1 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A theological exploration of the potential of non-liturgical instrumental music for the transmission of religious Christian faith experience, based on a hermeneutical tool drawn from Jean-Jacques Nattiez as applied to Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel. The article explores musical composition, reception, as well as the piece of music in itself, to discover common traits and keys to understanding its “meaning”, and relate it to current thought and development in theology; in particular to themes of creativity, theological aesthetics, the Ascension, the artistic vocation and meaning-making in contemporary culture, through music and films.
Religions2014, 5(2), 334-360; doi:10.3390/rel5020334 - published online 31 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this article, I examine the representational strategies used to visualize the pratima (deity) of the Hindu goddess, Durga, as a paradigm of time, memory, and corporeal identity, in Rituparno Ghosh’s 2000 Bengali film Utsab. I analyze the body as a dynamic site of memory-formation that shapes new histories in the sprawling colonial palace in which the film’s narrative unfolds with an ancestral Durga festival as its focal point. To this end, I look at how the body of the goddess produces and defines the transience of human experience, the fragility of material history, and the desire for historic relevance.