Out of Bounds

red-cardThe blokes (that’s the right word, no?) over at The Religious Studies Project posted a link earlier today to an article entitled “The Case Against Mix-and-Match Spirituality” — an article, summarizing a recent session at The Aspen Ideas Festival, that nicely demonstrates how easily (and often) scholars adopt a stance from within the groups they happen to study, thereby taking sides in what are, in fact, local disputes, instead of studying how group members themselves make judgment calls on who is or who is not out of bounds. Continue reading

Membership Has Its Privileges

popecommunionMy first book, Manufacturing Religion, was a critique of what I called the discourse on sui generis religion — that is, the approach to studying religion that presumes its object of study is somehow unique, self-caused, original, one of a kind, can’t be fully explained, etc. To rephrase it, it was a critique of those who think that, when it comes to studying religion, a special set of interpretive tools must be used, to get at the deep meaning of religious acts and symbols, tools that are different from how we study other mundane aspects of the human.

Because, well, religion is just different. It’s religion! Continue reading