Hell House

Kelly J. Baker I want to go to a Hell House, the evangelical Christian alternative to the ubiquitous haunted houses that pop up every October. I say this almost every year, but I’ve yet to attend one. I’ve only had near misses. When I was in high school in the 1990s, local churches took their youth groups to a Judgement House, the kissing cousin of the Hell House, in Dothan, Alabama. The ride was about 90 minutes round trip, but Judgement House’s message about dangers of the modern world were apparently worth cramming boisterous teens into buses and church vans.

Indian Summers: “You’re a Bloodthirsty Sepoy, Man!” Edition

Michael J. Altman and Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst This is our second in a series of discussions about the PBS Masterpiece series Indian Summers, airing Sunday nights at 9 pm EST on PBS. Sacred Matter’s managing editor Michael J. Altman and Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst, assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Vermont, will offer their reviews of the series as it airs in the United States. Don’t miss their analysis of episodes 1 and 2NOTE: THERE ARE SPOILERS 

Peace, Love, and World Religions?

Brian Pennington In 1893, Presbyterian minister John Henry Barrows opened the inaugural World’s Parliament of Religion in Chicago by inviting the first-ever assembly of religious leaders from across the globe to join him in a “act of common worship” and to sing Isaac Watt’s Trinitarian re-write of the 100th Psalm. This less-than-catholic invocation, which concludes with the call to “Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” was followed by a similar gesture when Cardinal James Gibbons recited the Lord’s Prayer, which Barrow declared the “universal prayer” that would open each of the Parliament’s seventeen days.

Reflections on Mujeres de Maiz

Lara Medina While the majority of Chicanas and Latinas participate in religious traditions that continue to attempt a male monopoly over the sacred, many others turn to traditional Indigenous ways that honor the sacredness of the universe, of women, and the ancient Mesoamerican tradition of communicating with the divine through the arts and through community. But while these women are returning to a traditional path, they are also creating a new one in response to societal marginalization, neocolonialism and ongoing racial, gender and sexual oppressions in and beyond Chicano and Latino communities.

Indian Summers: Inqilab Zindibad Edition

Michael J. Altman and Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst This is our first in a series of discussions about the PBS Masterpiece series Indian Summers airing Sunday nights at 8 pm EST on PBS. Sacred Matter’s managing editor Michael J. Altman and Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerstassistant professor of religious studies at the University of Vermont, will offer their reviews of the series as it airs in the United States. NOTE: THERE ARE SPOILERS 

Welcome to the Dark Side

Kelly J. Baker

In my first year of graduate school, I lent my middle sister all of my Harry Potter books. I loved the books that I had read so far. I imagined that she might too. She’s almost six years younger than me and at the time lived at home with our parents. When I later asked whether she enjoyed the books, she quickly explained that our mom had moved the books out of the house to the shed, yards and yards away. More intrigued than surprised, I asked why. Harry Potter was apparently a problem.