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  • The Romanian Orthodox Church, the European Union and the Contention on Human Rights

    Marco Guglielmi (MDPI AG, 2021-01-01)
    Since the 1990s, there has been conflictual interactions between Orthodox Christian churches and human rights in South Eastern Europe, especially during the process of European integration. In this work, I shall concentrate on the case of the Romanian Orthodox Church and explore its current position towards human rights that has developed within the context of EU membership. Focusing on the influence that European integration has had on the Romanian Orthodox Church, I hypothesise a re-orientation of the latter from a position of closure and a general rejection of human rights in the direction of their partial acceptance, with this being related to its attempt to develop a European identity.
  • Interpersonal Forgiveness and Meaning in Life in Older Adults: The Mediating and Moderating Roles of the Religious Meaning System

    Dariusz Krok; Beata Zarzycka (MDPI AG, 2021-01-01)
    Forgiving others may play an important role in achieving meaning in life as it offers a valuable platform for deliberate moral acts of acceptance of positive affect, behaviour, and cognition towards a transgressor. The aim of this paper was to analyse the relationship between forgiveness and presence, and the search for meaning in life, as well as the mediating role of the religious meaning system in this relationship among older adults. A total of 205 older adults, 112 women and 93 men, participated in the study. The mean age was 72.59. The Transgression-Related Interpersonal Motivations Scale, the Meaning in Life Questionnaire, and the Religious Meaning System Questionnaire were employed in the research; revenge and avoidance revealed negative correlations with presence, whereas benevolence showed positive correlations, but not with the search for meaning in life. The religious meaning system was confirmed as a mediator in the relationships between forgiveness (revenge, avoidance, and benevolence) and both presence and the search for meaning. The findings point to the significant role played by religious beliefs and behaviour in the domain of purpose and goals. Additionally, testing the mediation and moderation effects sheds new light on the interaction of compassion- and goal-oriented mechanisms in older adults’ meaning in life.
  • After Hajj: Muslim Pilgrims Refashioning Themselves

    Kholoud Al-Ajarma (MDPI AG, 2021-01-01)
    The Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) is one of the five pillars of Islam and a duty which Muslims must perform—once in a lifetime—if they are physically and financially able to do so. In Morocco, from where thousands of pilgrims travel to Mecca every year, the Hajj often represents the culmination of years of preparation and planning, both spiritual and logistical. Pilgrims often describe their journey to Mecca as a transformative experience. Upon successfully completing the pilgrimage and returning home, pilgrims must negotiate their new status—and the expectations that come with it—within the mundane and complex reality of everyday life. There are many ambivalences and tensions to be dealt with, including managing the community expectations of piety and moral behavior. On a personal level, pilgrims struggle between staying on the right path, faithful to their pilgrimage experience, and straying from that path as a result of human imperfection and the inability to sustain the ideals inspired by pilgrimage. By ethnographically studying the everyday lives of Moroccans after their return from Mecca, this article seeks to answer the questions: how do pilgrims encounter a variety of competing expectations and demands following their pilgrimage and how are their efforts received by members of their community? How do they shape their social and religious behavior as returned pilgrims? How do they deal with the tensions between the ideals of Hajj and the realities of daily life? In short, this article scrutinizes the religious, social and personal ramifications for pilgrims after the completion of Hajj and return to their community. My research illustrates that pilgrimage contributes to a process of self-formation among pilgrims, with religious and non-religious dimensions, which continues long after Hajj is over and which operates within, and interacts with, specific social contexts.
  • Race, Disability and COVID-19: A DisCrit Analysis of Theological Education

    Barbara A. Fears (MDPI AG, 2021-01-01)
    The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has generated public debate and private discussion about systemic racism in contemporary U.S. society and the ill preparedness and misdirected focus of clergy responding to this crisis. Later research will reveal reasons trained clergy called denominational offices, requesting assistance to address the needs of patients and parishioners, and initiated lawsuits demanding to gather for worship against medical advice and government mandates. While theological educators cannot anticipate every emergency awaiting graduates, U.S. history records national crises (i.e., hurricanes, mass shootings, BLM protests, etc.) that repeat. Practical theology course offerings, course content and course assignments, therefore, should be designed to prepare students to lead in anticipation of personal and communal tragedies. As professors introduce students to theory/theorists, we must also create space for the development of critical consciousness about and praxis for: problem solving, advocacy, race relations, relationship building, crisis management, identity politics, privilege, implicit curriculums and race-based disparities in health care, policing, religion, education, etc. Critical Race Theorists assert that this nation’s colonial past still plagues contemporary behaviors, employing the framework of Disability Studies and CRT (Dis/Crit), I analyze theological education to address what has been identified as racial paterfamilias in the institution, which may explain our colonial/capitalist response to COVID-19.
  • Puritan Lecturers and Anglican Clergymen during the Early Years of the English Civil Wars

    Youngkwon Chung (MDPI AG, 2021-01-01)
    During the early years of the Civil Wars in England, from February 1642 to July 1643, Puritan parishioners in conjunction with the parliament in London set up approximately 150 divines as weekly preachers, or lecturers, in the city and the provinces. This was an exceptional activity surrounding lectureships including the high number of lecturer appointments made over the relatively brief space of time, especially considering the urgent necessity of making preparations for the looming war and fighting it as well. By examining a range of sources, this article seeks to demonstrate that the Puritan MPs and peers, in cooperation with their supporters from across the country, tactically employed the institutional device of weekly preaching, or lectureships, to neutralize the influence of Anglican clergymen perceived as royalists dissatisfied with the parliamentarian cause, and to bolster Puritan and pro-parliamentarian preaching during the critical years of 1642–1643. If successfully employed, the device of weekly lectureships would have significantly widened the base of support for the parliament during this crucial period when people began to take sides, prepared for war, and fought its first battles. Such a program of lectureships, no doubt, contributed to the increasing polarization of the religious and political climate of the country. More broadly, this study seeks to add to our understanding of an early phase of the conflict that eventually embroiled the entire British Isles in a decade of gruesome internecine warfare.

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