Kathryn Reklis

Kathryn Reklis is Assistant Professor of Modern Protestant Theology at Fordham University in New York City. She holds a PhD in religious studies from Yale University. Her first book, Theology and the Kinesthetic Imagination: Jonathan Edwards and the Making of Modernity (Oxford University Press, 2014), explores the intersection of theology and performance studies to investigate the role of the body, desire, and beauty as sources for theological knowledge in the making of modernity. She is the co-founder of The Moth Chase, a blog on pop culture, gender, and religion and a regular contributor to the "On Media" column at The Christian Century. She is also a Research Fellow for the New Media Project at the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis and Co-Director of the Institute for Art, Religion, and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary, where she served as Director of Theological Initiatives and Senior Adviser to the President from 2008-2011.

Posts by Kathryn Reklis:

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Give me that digital religion

Every Sunday night in Omaha, Nebraska, a small group gathers in a United Church of Christ church lobby to watch and participate in a streaming video broadcast called Darkwood Brew. Both the project and the space—which has been transformed into a hip coffee shop—feel more of a piece with evangelical strategies to attract new members than with the trappings of Midwestern mainline Protestants. The crowd itself is relatively sparse, and much older than you might expect for such an experiment: a couple dozen people, most between 40 and 60 years of age.

I visited Countryside Community Church in fall 2011 as a Research Fellow for the New Media Project (housed at the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis). Darkwood Brew was one of six case studies chosen for the first phase of the New Media Project’s research into how Christian communities in the United States are using, and theologically interpreting, new digital technologies. On its website, Darkwood Brew is described as “a groundbreaking interactive web television program and spiritual gathering that explores progressive/emerging Christian faith and values.” There is some debate among the participants themselves about whether or not the live stream counts as a church service; despite the fact that the weekly program features bible study, discussion, music, and concludes with the Christian rite of communion, most resist the language of “church” to describe what is happening.

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Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Au contraire, Mr. Beck

On July 13, 2010, Glenn Beck made liberation theology—and especially Black Theology—the subject of his televised program. The real subject of his complaint was twofold: liberation theology is “a perversion of God” that mistakes Marxism for the plain meaning of the Gospels, which, for Beck, are self-evidently about individual salvation, and liberation theology does away with the language of merit, convincing the down-and-out that they are victims deserving of a handout instead of hard work. The inconsistencies of this message, along with Beck’s misreading and simplification of the various complex traditions of Christian liberation theology have not gone unnoticed in rebuttals and reprisals.

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Friday, February 26th, 2010

Exploring Buddhist violence

Michael Jerryson discusses his new book Buddhist Warfare, co-edited with Mark Juergensmeyer, at Religion Dispatches, explaining “how the notion of a purely mystical and otherworldly Buddhism—promoted by some of the great interpreters of the tradition—denies its adherents’ humanity.”

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Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Pink ouija board targets young girls as spiritists or spiritual victims

Courtney Bender explores the criss-crossing lines of gender, power, and spirituality in the controversy surrounding Hasbro’s release of a hot pink ouija board, marketed for young girls, explaining the centuries old link between spiritual mediums, their devices, and gendered spirituality.

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Monday, February 8th, 2010

Idaho missionaries replay colonial legacy, imperial hubris

Anthea Butler analyzes the case of Idaho missionaries arrested in Haiti, comparing it to the long history of colonialism and imperial Christianity of which the missionaries appear naively unaware.

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Monday, February 1st, 2010

“New” pantheism enters the Oscar race

After claiming two of the big prizes at this year’s Golden Globes (Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director – Motion Picture), James Cameron’s Avatar is on a fast track to Oscar glory, hoping to prove it has more to offer than fancy special effects and groundbreaking digital technology. Heavy-handed and lacking in originality—almost every review compares it to Dances with Wolves in space—the political overtones of the well-worn “outsider goes native in order to protect the aboriginals and regain his own spiritual equanimity” storyline have garnered less debate than its palatable pantheism and environmental spirituality.

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