WBEZ | religion http://www.wbez.org/tags/religion Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: The cloistered life http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-03-05/morning-shift-cloistered-life-109812 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cover Flickr S John Davey.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We get a preview of a Chicago City Council vote on the oil refining byproduct known as petcoke. Also, the life of a cloistered nun. Plus, the Americana sounds of Chicago&#39;s Will Phalen.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-cloistered-life/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-cloistered-life.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-cloistered-life" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The cloistered life" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 05 Mar 2014 08:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-03-05/morning-shift-cloistered-life-109812 Muslims and Jews sing, talk and protest their way to interfaith cooperation http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/muslims-and-jews-sing-talk-and-protest-their-way-interfaith-cooperation-109452 <p><p>A program inside a theater on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side feels a little like a talent show, or maybe a family reunion. Performers step up from the audience to recite original poetry, do interpretative dance or sing.</p><p>The sound quality&rsquo;s spotty. The pacing&rsquo;s a little off. But this isn&rsquo;t about slick production values or seamless performances. The goal here is far more ambitious: to bridge the divide between Jews and Muslims in Chicago.</p><p>The show is called &ldquo;Café Finjan,&rdquo; after the Hebrew and Arabic words for a metal coffee pot. It showcases Muslim and Jewish poets, musicians, painters and more. It&rsquo;s one of several interfaith events that share the goal of getting Jews and Muslims to move past historical tensions and distrust so they can work together and help solve some of the city&rsquo;s urban problems.</p><p>But they&rsquo;re finding it&rsquo;s not always easy.</p><p>&ldquo;The paradigm that we&rsquo;re trying to create is that we have an interest in what kind of society we have here, even though we also have strong concerns and interests about what happens to our brothers and sisters, to our cousins and to our friends in other places in the world,&rdquo; said Asaf Bar-Tura, formerly of the <a href="http://www.jcua.org/">Jewish Council of Urban Affairs</a>. He spent five months with an interfaith team planning the café.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/iftar%202.jpg" style="float: right; height: 233px; width: 350px;" title="Gerald Hankerson, the outreach coordinator for CAIR-Chicago [left], chats with JCUA board member Kalman Resnick [right], and several others." />He acknowledged those political differences over Palestine and Israel remain painful and deep.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a tension there,&rdquo; Bar-Tura said. &ldquo;But we can&rsquo;t overcome these tensions, we can&rsquo;t discuss the issues, without getting to know each other first. You don&rsquo;t dive into &lsquo;Oh, tell me what your ideology is.&rsquo; You first (say), &lsquo;Tell me about your family, tell me about what you do, what does your day look like, what do you want for your kids?&rsquo; And then we can get into these deeper discussions.&rdquo;</p><p>The <a href="http://jmcbi.org">JCUA started working closely with Muslim groups</a> more than a decade ago, after noticing rising Islamophobia following the Sept. 11 attacks. Their most popular event is &ldquo;Iftar in the Synagogue,&rdquo; where Jews and Muslims share a meal to break the fast during Ramadan. In just four years, attendance jumped from 90 people to more than 500.</p><p>&ldquo;We started this program to stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters to say, &lsquo;We feel your pain, and we are going to help you fight against discrimination,&rsquo;&rdquo; said Judy Levey, JCUA&rsquo;s executive director. &ldquo;Because that&rsquo;s what we do. That&rsquo;s who we are.&rdquo;</p><p>The events are about more than poetry and hummus. The JCUA, the <a href="http://www.juf.org/cbr/">Chicago Board of Rabbis</a> and the <a href="http://www.ciogc.org/">Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago</a> sponsor periodic rabbi-imam dialogues. They&rsquo;ve discussed things like the role of Shariah law in a democracy and their shared dietary traditions.</p><p>Jewish and Muslim activists have lobbied to demand immigration reform, to stop foreclosures and to protest anti-Muslim bus ads. After a baby was fatally shot in Chicago last spring, they went together to her funeral. There&rsquo;s even been &nbsp;<a href="http://jcuanews.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/jewish-and-muslim-cyclists-will-ride-together-narrowing-the-distance-between-faiths/">Jewish-Muslim bike rides</a>.</p><p>Activists on both sides hope these events will lessen suspicion and lead to partnerships in the city they share and call home.</p><p>But some say the results are mixed.</p><p>&ldquo;Qualitatively, in some ways, I would say maybe they are better,&rdquo; said Aaron Cohen, the spokesman for the <a href="http://www.juf.org/">Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicag</a>o. &ldquo;Quantitatively, in terms of seeing vast numbers of people engaging, I wouldn&rsquo;t say that needle has moved much either way.&rdquo;</p><p>Cohen&rsquo;s a hopeful guy, and well-liked by Jewish and Muslim activists. He&rsquo;s been part of Jewish/Muslim dialogues, and he took an interfaith trip to Turkey.</p><p>But he says there are stumbling blocks to interfaith cooperation. Unlike the JCUA, the Federation won&rsquo;t formally work with the <a href="http://www.cairchicago.org/">Chicago office of the Council of American Islamic Relations</a>, a civil rights agency well regarded by the Muslim community. Cohen said that&rsquo;s because many were offended by anti-Semitic signs spotted at a CAIR rally a few years ago.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s crossing a very big red line,&rdquo; Cohen said, adding that statements demonizing Jews or Israel can&rsquo;t be tolerated. &ldquo;History delivers on our doors an awful lot of baggage, and we really need to make conscious choices about how much of that baggage we&rsquo;re going to schlep with us into the future.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/iftar%203.jpg" style="height: 233px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="The annual Iftar in the Synagogue event drew more than 500 people this year." />&ldquo;Obviously, we can&rsquo;t control every single individual in a massive rally,&rdquo; said Ahmed Rehab, the executive director of Chicago&rsquo;s CAIR chapter. &ldquo;However, the facts are that when we saw the sign, we removed it as organizers, because it does not mesh with our values.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We stand against anti-Semitism,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Rehab said he believes his strong critique of Israeli policy, not the signs, is the real issue &ndash; which federation leaders deny.</p><p>Rehab said he thinks some federation leaders are out of touch with younger Jews:</p><p>&ldquo;Especially the new generation, it&rsquo;s not intuitive for these young men and women to look at each other through a fence, or see each other as enemies or rivals,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Because they do have a shared common culture; they share the same appreciation for music, for movies. They were born and brought up here.&rdquo;</p><p>Despite the challenges, Rehab is hopeful. He believes more Jewish and Muslim youth want to work together, and that cooperation is the wave of the future.</p><p>That seemed to be the case back at Café Finjan. Muslim girls wearing headscarves nodded along with a klezmer band. Gray-haired Jewish activists applauded warmly for a student who recited a poem about being a Pokemon master and a Muslim</p><p>One of the attendees, software developer Najim Yaqubie, is Muslim. He said he and his best friend &ndash; who&rsquo;s Jewish -- care more about their friendship than politics.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re both human, we&rsquo;re both American, we&rsquo;re both young and we&rsquo;re just trying to have some fun,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It doesn&rsquo;t matter who or where you&rsquo;re from.&rdquo;</p></p> Mon, 30 Dec 2013 17:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/muslims-and-jews-sing-talk-and-protest-their-way-interfaith-cooperation-109452 Morning Shift: Does interfaith dialogue do more than preach to the choir? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-12-30/morning-shift-does-interfaith-dialogue-do-more-preach <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cover Flickr 1yen.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Religious leaders from around the city join us to discuss the state of interfaith relations in Chicago. We take a look at tech trends past and present. And, Chicago Mag&#39;s Dennis Rodkin checks in with the latest in housing issues.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-does-interfaith-dialogue-do-more-tha/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-does-interfaith-dialogue-do-more-tha.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-does-interfaith-dialogue-do-more-tha" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Does interfaith dialogue do more than preach to the choir?" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 30 Dec 2013 08:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-12-30/morning-shift-does-interfaith-dialogue-do-more-preach Sisters struggle to reconcile feminist beliefs with Mormon faith http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/sisters-struggle-reconcile-feminist-beliefs-mormon-faith-109355 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS7417_chi000411_g1-scr_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago sisters Shannon and Didi Mehner describe themselves as Mormon feminists.</p><p>In Mormonism, women cannot hold the priesthood or assume certain leadership roles in the church. The Chicago sisters are troubled by this, and say they&rsquo;re fighting to change it ... within their church.</p><p>They visited the Chicago StoryCorps booth to talk about the challenges of reconciling feminism and faith.</p><p><strong>Shannon</strong>: I think I always knew I was feminist. I always kept my feminism kind of separate from my identity as a member of the Mormon church. And so I think when I got married is when it all came crashing together. I obviously love Nick, and I&rsquo;m really glad I got married, but a lot of your identity starts to feel like it sinks into your husband&rsquo;s identity.</p><p>Shannon decided to keep her maiden name, rather than to take her husband&#39;s.</p><p><strong>Didi</strong>: Shannon and I grew up with a dad who kind of always told us we could do whatever we wanted.</p><p><strong>Shannon</strong>: He is also extremely conservative, so when he gets mad about us being feminists, I always tell him that he created us, and made us this way.</p><p><em>To hear how Shannon plans to raise a &ldquo;raging feminist boy,&rdquo; and how she won a victory that both sisters say is a big deal in the Mormon church, click on the audio above.</em></p><p><em>Katie Mingle is a producer for WBEZ and the Third Coast Festival.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 13 Dec 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/sisters-struggle-reconcile-feminist-beliefs-mormon-faith-109355 Cardinal George speaks in support of coalition for free water for nonprofits http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/cardinal-george-speaks-support-coalition-free-water-nonprofits-106913 <p><p>Cardinal Francis George has joined a large interfaith coalition pushing for free or discounted water for religious institutions.</p><p>The coalition, working together since Mayor Rahm Emanuel cut the exemption that gave churches free water in December 2011, is now responding to the mayor&rsquo;s proposal that would charge nonprofits for water based on their assets. Nonprofits with net assets under $1 million would be exempt from paying for water, while those with more than $250 million in assets would pay the full charge. Those in between would pay a discounted rate.</p><p>Cardinal Francis George voiced opposition to the plan, though he was careful in how he addressed his challenge to the mayor:</p><p>&ldquo;As we go forward and people are saying that there has to be some kind of mutual accommodation, I would just like to say that they should look at the budgets and the operating deficits and the savings, much more so than assets,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp; &ldquo;If you don&rsquo;t want a city that only has government institutions, then you have to see to the solvency of religious institutions and other non-profits.&rdquo;</p><p>The Cardinal said he and other religious leaders want to find a middle ground with city officials.</p><p>Aldermen that support the coalition proposed a change to restore the water exemption last December, but that&rsquo;s been stuck in committee.</p><p>In a statement, Tom Alexander, the mayor&rsquo;s deputy communications director, called the asset-based compromise &ldquo;a fair, reasonable proposal that will allow all non-profit institutions the chance to continue providing their vital community services, while paying their fair share, just as residents do.&rdquo;</p><p>Alexander said the measure is the mayor&rsquo;s &ldquo;final proposal&rdquo; after holding meetings with faith leaders, aldermen and community groups. He said they hope to bring the proposal up at the next City Council meeting.</p></p> Tue, 30 Apr 2013 18:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/cardinal-george-speaks-support-coalition-free-water-nonprofits-106913 'Media nuns' assist Catholics in staying connected in a digital age http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/media-nuns-assist-catholics-staying-connected-digital-age-106328 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/star%20wars_1.jpg" style="height: 229px; width: 305px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 1px; float: left;" title="Sister Helena comes face-to-face with Darth Vader on Hollywood Blvd. Sister Helena writes movie reviews for Catholic New World. (Courtesy of Sister Helena Burns)" />The sanctuary inside St. Mary Catholic Church in the village of Huntley echoed with the voices of more than 200 high school freshmen. They fidgeted as they waited for confirmation class to begin.</div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">A poster for the movie <em>Warm Bodies</em> appeared on a large screen behind Sister Helena Burns. She asked the students if any of them have seen it, and some raise their hands.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;What happens when the two fall in love?&quot; she asked. &quot;The zombie guy and the human girl, what happens?&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">And yes, she was talking about a zombie movie.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;He starts to come back to life, right? His little heart starts beating. What else happens? Does it just stay between the two of them? It&rsquo;s just their love, and it&rsquo;s all closed off and private?&quot; Sister Helena asked.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Hands began to pop up around the room, and one student shouted out the answer Sister Helena wanted.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;Yes, the love spreads,&quot; Sister Helena said to the students. &quot;Two thumbs up! Wasn&rsquo;t it great?&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The self-dubbed &#39;media nun&#39; is teaching a class about theology of the body, the idea that the human body is a revelation of God.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Using popular movies as a way to communicate to teens is just one example of Sister Helena&#39;s media savvy. She also tweets, blogs, <a href="http://www.hellburns.blogspot.com/2013/03/brand-new-my-video-review-of-warm-bodies.html#.UVOBRjevlI4">writes movie reviews</a><em> </em>and is making a documentary film about her order&#39;s founder with Spirit Juice Studios.<br /><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>To get a sense of Sister Helena&#39;s social media presence, check out this sampling from Storify:&nbsp; </em><a href="http://sfy.co/gH2R">Sister Helena Burns, &#39;Media Nun&#39;</a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">She&rsquo;s part of an international order of nuns called the Daughters of St. Paul. They claim they&rsquo;re the only order in the world whose sole mission is using media to &ldquo;communicate the gospel in a digital age.&rdquo; And at a time when studies show more and more people are feeling disconnected from institutional churches, the sisters may have found an unusual way to reach out.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The order was founded by Father James Alberione in 1915. He had a vision media would explode in the 20th century, and he should spread the gospel to as many people as possible using whatever technologies were available.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Back in those days, that was mostly newspapers and passing out pamphlets door-to-door. In 1932, the order opened the Pauline bookstores, which have locations across the country, including Chicago.</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/choir_0.jpg" style="height: 211px; width: 310px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 1px; float: right;" title="The Daughters of St. Paul Choir singing at a Christmas concert in Boston. The order has its own state of the art sound studio for recording and producing albums. (Courtesy of Sister Helena Burns)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Over the years, the stores have adopted new forms of media and technology as they&#39;ve come along.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Today, they&#39;re known as Pauline Books and Media.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">They&#39;ve expanded their technologies to include ebooks, smartphone apps and software, among others. Music from the Daughters of St. Paul choir can be found on YouTube and in iTunes.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The Chicago order of the Daughters of St. Paul is located over its Pauline Books and Media store on North Michigan Avenue in the Loop.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Dressed in her navy blue veil and smock, Sister Helena greeted me warmly when I dropped by the store. It was early, so there weren&#39;t any customers browsing the religious books or trying to track down communion gifts yet. Sister Helena led me to the back of the store, where we took an elevator upstairs to the convent. The furnishings in the florescent-lit kitchen were spartan but comfortable.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Sister Helena entered the Daughters of St. Paul at 17, after finding an ad in <em>Catholic Digest.</em> The order&#39;s mission of spreading the gospel through media spoke to her immediately.</div><p>&ldquo;I felt, what better way could you bring God into somebody&rsquo;s heart and soul and mind, just directly through a book, a song, a magazine, a film,&rdquo; she said.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/MEDIA LITERACY WORKSHOP 2.jpg" style="height: 225px; width: 300px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 1px; float: left;" title="Sister Helena giving a talk on media literacy. The Daughters of St. Paul do various forms of outreach to teach others about using media responsibly. (Courtesy of Sister Helena Burns)" /></div><p>Sister Helena didn&rsquo;t always know she was going to be a nun. Growing up, she dreamt of working with animals, especially birds. But she also loved reading and writing short stories</p><p>&ldquo;I could see the influence for the good and the ill that media had on me, on my friends, and on society,&quot; she said. &quot;I thought, &lsquo;Wow, I would love to just get in there and affirm the good, and try to help people also reflect on their everyday media experiences.&#39;&quot;</p><div class="image-insert-image ">The Daughters of St. Paul don&rsquo;t just evangelize, they teach people to use media responsibly without allowing it to take over their lives. In addition to speaking to large groups like the confirmation class at St. Mary&#39;s, they also offer private sessions with families and individuals, or anyone who needs help balancing the media and technology.</div><p>Sister Helena told me about a woman whose granddaughter used to come over every day after school.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;&#39;Because,&#39; she said,&nbsp; &#39;Grandma, you look at me. I go to my house, my little brother&rsquo;s playing with his games, my mother&rsquo;s talking on her phone, my dad&rsquo;s at the computer.&#39; She said, &lsquo;I come into your house, Grandma, and you&rsquo;re at the computer, you shut it off.&#39;&rdquo;</div><p>In addition to working with teens and families, the order also uses media as a tool to recruit new sisters. A 2012 study from Georgetown University shows the number of nuns in the United States has dropped by two-thirds since the 1960s.</p><p>The Daughters of St. Paul hope to reverse that trend by reaching out to young women in their own language, social media.</p><p>That appealed to 30-year-old Danielle Lussier, who&rsquo;s entering the order this September. Like Sister Helena, Danielle never pictured herself as a nun.</p><p>&ldquo;They were other worldly, they were outside of my own worldview, totally, like, out of touch maybe? But also mysterious,&quot; she said.</p><p>Danielle studied photography and film in college, but she began to wonder if she was using her talents for the highest possible purpose. While on a religious retreat, she found her purpose in the Daughters of St. Paul.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/italy_0.jpg" style="float: right; height: 212px; width: 305px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 1px;" title="Sister Helena filming a scene on location in Italy. She's working with Spirit Juice Studios of Chicago on a film about Father James Alberione, who founded the Daughters of St. Paul. (Courtesy of Sister Helena Burns)" /></div><p>&ldquo;This is a means of reaching people where they are,&quot; Danielle said. &quot;This is the language of our culture.&rdquo;</p><p>Back at St. Mary Catholic Church, the nuns seem to be getting through. Fifteen-year-old Bailey said she&#39;s heard some &quot;boring&quot; speakers in confirmation class, but hearing a nun speak about a zombie movie caught her attention.</p><p>&ldquo;She&rsquo;s not just [living] this strict life, she can get out there and teach kids [in the way] we learn,&quot; Bailey said. &quot;It&rsquo;s kind of more our generation,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Now, Bailey said, she expects to pay more attention to Catholic issues when they pop up on Facebook.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 28 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/media-nuns-assist-catholics-staying-connected-digital-age-106328 The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/color-christ-son-god-and-saga-race-america-105640 <p><p>How is it that in America the image of Jesus Christ has been used both to justify the atrocities of white supremacy and to inspire the righteousness of civil rights crusades? In <em>The Color of Christ</em>, <strong>Edward J. Blum</strong> and <strong>Paul Harvey</strong> weave a tapestry of American dreams and visions&ndash;from witch hunts to web pages, Harlem to Hollywood, slave cabins to South Park, Mormon revelations to Indian reservations&ndash;to show how Americans remade Jesus visually time and again into a sacred symbol of their greatest aspirations, deepest terrors, and mightiest strivings for racial power and justice.</p><p><br /><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F80119043" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>The Color of Christ</em> uncovers how, in a country founded by Puritans who destroyed depictions of Jesus, Americans came to believe in the whiteness of Christ. Some envisioned a white Christ who would sanctify the exploitation of Native Americans and African Americans and bless imperial expansion. Many others gazed at a messiah, not necessarily white, who was willing and able to confront white supremacy. The color of Christ still symbolizes America&rsquo;s most combustible divisions, revealing the power and malleability of race and religion from colonial times to the presidency of Barack Obama.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/TNL-webstory_1.jpg" title="" /></div><p>Recorded live Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at The Newberry Library.</p></p> Wed, 20 Feb 2013 15:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/color-christ-son-god-and-saga-race-america-105640 List: Reasons why I'd make a pretty good pope http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-02/list-reasons-why-id-make-pretty-good-pope-105457 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8448374_a261fbc944.jpg" style="height: 225px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Flickr/bayat" /><span id="internal-source-marker_0.8878438304891015">I&rsquo;d bring new fresh ideas to the Church like putting all the nuns in charge and re-instating the fun-to-say &ldquo;It is right to give Him thanks and praise&rdquo; and maybe swapping out the &ldquo;Peace be with you&rdquo; handshake for a more hygienic long-distance high-five. </span><br /><br />&nbsp;</div><p>I tweet a lot.<br /><br />There might be a slightly different attitude towards abuse of small children if a former altar server and parent of a small child were in charge.<br /><br />I like both bread and wine.<br /><br />Every day of Lent would be Fat Tuesday until Easter.<br /><br />When pop culture makes fun of Catholicism, instead of embarrassing us by getting all outraged I&rsquo;ll say something more along the lines of &ldquo;Okay, you got us, that was pretty good.&rdquo;<br /><br />I used to take Italian and Latin.<br /><br />The Church would be much more inclusive because then when parishes have church parties we could maybe rent out a club instead of having to use the old church rectory basement again.<br /><br />I look good in hats and dresses.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s time for another Polish pope.<br /><br />I got my flu shot so I&rsquo;m good to go.</p></p> Mon, 11 Feb 2013 09:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-02/list-reasons-why-id-make-pretty-good-pope-105457 Join the grand tradition of looking kind of bad at your baby's baptism http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/join-grand-tradition-looking-kind-bad-your-babys-baptism-105170 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/8107081210_f8f5f11ea4.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="image-insert-image "><span id="internal-source-marker_0.5039652526344417">A friend of mine is having her baby baptized soon, which is very lovely, except for the fact that the baby is five months old already.</span></div><p>No, it&rsquo;s not a problem because the parents let the baby risk being alive all these five months before getting some nice-smelling oil rubbed on his little baby head. If it weren&rsquo;t for the cute frilly white dresses and the way everyone holds their breath when the baby gets the water splashed on the baby head, I&rsquo;d say no one should be baptized until they&rsquo;re 18 and have picked his or her religion.<br /><br />The problem is that this mother unfairly skirted the tradition (in the christening set) of Looking Kind Of Bad At Your Baby&rsquo;s Baptism.<br /><br />Looking Kind Of Bad is not at all the same as looking actually bad. You wouldn&rsquo;t find a picture of yourself in Glamour with <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-12-19/cautionary-tale-anthropologie-sweater-sale-95008">a bar across your eyes</a> for Looking Kind Of Bad. It&rsquo;s just the sartorial result of being presented by the challenge of being required to look nice on a photo-op day that is a significant occasion shortly after you just had a baby. It&rsquo;s been difficult enough simply taking care of the child, taking care of the house not to mention keeping yourself together in the face of basic biology (wherein, post-birth, your boobs explode and your uterus falls out.) Then you have to find a dress that covers up your postpartum belly but is slightly hipper than a muumuu. And you need to find shoes and jewelry to go with that nonexistent dress and don&rsquo;t forget to do your hair and makeup. You could put your clothes on before you feed the baby but then the baby might spit up on you so hurry, hurry! Get dressed before you get to the church. Don&rsquo;t forget the undereye concealer, you waking zombie. So it&rsquo;s no wonder that mothers in their kids&rsquo; baptism photos look a tiny bit uneasy in addition to tired and happy. I myself purchased a Gap dress that was simultaneously gigantic yet also too short, but what really mattered was that it was a fun day, the baby behaved and we ate some delicious honeybaked ham.<br /><br />Looks aren&rsquo;t everything, especially when it comes to recording your kid&rsquo;s life. (This essay by <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allison-tate/mom-pictures-with-kids_b_1926073.html">Allison Tate</a> &nbsp;encapsulates that beautifully.) We can&rsquo;t all look like <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2013/01/claire-danes-flaunts-post-baby-body-on-golden-globes-red-carpet/">Claire Danes</a> who looks like she must have given birth to a pea-baby. What&rsquo;s important on a christening day is health and happiness and family and whatever spiritual element one finds in the day (and of course whether the baby cries once its baby head gets wet.)<br /><br />But once I realized that feeling awkward in your clothes on a baptism day is a funny sort of tradition and not a curse, it seems like some sort of cheat, like managing to skip over puberty and going straight from adorable childhood to confident adulthood. So whether you&rsquo;re doing the christening late or you used a surrogate or adopted, just do the decent thing and at the very least, eat a big meal right before the christening, and join the club.</p></p> Mon, 28 Jan 2013 08:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/join-grand-tradition-looking-kind-bad-your-babys-baptism-105170 No apocalypse? Chicago residents can tell you why http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/no-apocalypse-chicago-residents-can-tell-you-why-104520 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/halseike_mayan.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>You&rsquo;ve heard it all: 2012, apocalypse, end of the world, blah blah blah. But for some Guatemalans and Mexicans in Chicago, December 21 is a time of celebration that has nothing to do with doomsday prophecies.</p><p>In the Mayan tradition December 21 is a major turning of the calendar, the end of an approximately 394-year-long cycle called a Bak&rsquo;tun. It&rsquo;s the 13th Bak&rsquo;tun of the Mayan calendar era, and some say this era will be only 13 Bak&rsquo;tuns long. Translation: time for a new world.</p><p>But in reality, December 21 more closely resembles Y2K than the John Cusack movie &ldquo;2012.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s a big, huge renewal with numeric and astrological significance. Only one Mayan text suggests that it&rsquo;s the end of the world, and people of Mayan descent are more likely to be celebrating than stocking up on bottled water and firearms.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F72090955&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&ldquo;This is a time of reflection and to see what we have done with our lives, with mother nature, and how are we going to move forward in this new era,&rdquo; said Hugo Hun, the Guatemalan consul general of Chicago. He said many Guatemalans will travel to large ceremonies in 13 different cities throughout Guatemala.</p><p>The Bak&rsquo;tun events are also a tourist attraction, but some are concerned that the doomsday hullaballoo is commercializing the Mayan culture.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;The living Mayans are systematically losing the way they used to live and their beliefs as well,&rdquo; Akaze Yotzin said.</p><p>He&rsquo;s the leader of a Chicago group called Nahualli that practices and studies indigenous Mexican traditions. He said poverty and racial stereotypes already endanger Mayan identity in Mexico, and stressed that Mayans are not an ancient people, but a people who are alive today. Nahualli held a ceremony Friday morning at the American Indian Center to celebrate the winter solstice and the turning of the calendar.</p><p><strong>Music and mathematics</strong></p><p>Ancient Mayan culture gave great significance to math and numbers, and the number 13 is considered particularly powerful. The complex numerology of the Mayan calendar system inspired Chicago musician Juan Dies, who produced a song called &quot;13 Bak&#39;tun&quot; with his band Sones de Mexico.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F72124780&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&quot;13 Bak&#39;tun&quot; features 13 parts, each carefully planned to highlight numerology.&nbsp;For example, the second part is in 2/4 time and uses two instruments. The thirteenth has 13 instruments playing in 13/8 time. And guess what - the song is 13 minutes long.</p><p>Dies said the date is important and also misrepresented. His song is part of an effort to correct that. Sones de Mexico has been together for nearly twenty years studying and reinterpreting traditional Mexican music. The tenth part of &quot;13 Bak&#39;tun&quot; features Chicago poet Carlos Mejia performing a poem in&nbsp;Quiche Mayan. According to Dies, Mejia traveled to Guatemala for Dec. 21, 2012 to join the Bak&#39;tun celebrations.</p><p>&quot;I think the Mayans are seeing it today as a closure of a long cycle, very much as we saw the end of our millenium,&quot; Dies said. &quot;Along with that comes an opportunity to renew yourself, to look back at the achievements of the last four hundreds years, and how you may make changes or improvements or a rebirth in the new Bak&rsquo;tun.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 21 Dec 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/no-apocalypse-chicago-residents-can-tell-you-why-104520