When there were only 474 days left until the new millennium--or 840, depending on when you think the 21st century starts--the Religion Newswriters Association asked people to comment on how the press might cover this turning of the ages. My list included suggestions about what not to comment on, as does this one.
Many people have asked me lately why homosexuality has replaced abortion as the hot issue. Stumped, I did some research and developed numerous hypotheses. But along the way I stumbled on to what might well be the fattest clue in our market economy of religion. It has to do with niche marketing, trend-spotting and entrepreneurship.
Researchers say Mozart has amazing effect on rats," headlined the Chicago Tribune on August 11. "Music's boost to humans also occurs in rodents," read the subhead. I was skeptical. Like other rats, I like Mozart, but I hadn't known before that his music boosted rodents as well as humans.
About 30 years ago, in a doctoral examination, a student, Trygve Skarsten, a colleague, R. Pierce Beaver, and I, the historian of religion, got into a colloquy about ancient pagan rites of Norway. The Norse had had a thing about horses and horse blood, as I recall it. They rode the former and drank the latter.
Having retired from teaching, I find I have time on my hands. I had been thinking of resuming an interest in baseball, an interest abandoned after childhood. It is not a sport for people without time on their hands. It is especially not a sport for Chicagoans. I went to my last Sox game in 1959, and will return when they win their next pennant.