Archive**

The Rise and Fall of an American Gang: Religion as Camouflage?

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A history of what began as a clique of kids on the street, developed into a disciplined organization that reordered the nature of gang relations in Chicago (inaugurating the alliances of various gangs under the umbrella “People” and “Folk” labels), and was reinvented by its “Chief” as first a Moorish Science and then an Islamic religious organization; all the while running a variety of criminal enterprises, culminating in negotiations with the Libyan government with the hopes of being paid in exchange for unleashing certain amount of targeted violence in Chicago. There’s a series of huge stories here, and this book—while certainly the best resource on the subject—is hurt by the sheer range of material it has to address.

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The Mystic in the Rye: JD Salinger’s Religious Fiction

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The one thing that seems able to tame even a hardened cynic like Holden Caufield, in the least overtly religious Salinger book, is an encounter with the innocence of childhood; especially children at play. It is this quest for lost innocence that defines the spiritual trajectory of Salinger’s most memorable characters. They are all teachers, parents, players, children-at-heart.

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Yearning For A God We Can Live With

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Two new books, one offering a vision of interfaith, universal religion, the other a model of a radically transformed Judaism, attempt to wrestle God into the everyday. Against the ascendancy of the so-called New Atheism, both writers argue for a God who transcends “god-management systems” and whose primary claim on us is through our own spiritual longing.

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