Sunday Sundries

Several good reads for your Sunday morning. Here is a profile in courage — a former evangelical pastor in the bible belt loses faith and becomes a public atheist. Loses his wife and is shunned by nearly everyone. The subtext to the story is that religion has as much to do with community and social networks as it does with individual beliefs.

In this Rolling Stone piece on the love guru Amma, also known as the “hugging saint,” we learn why her 32 million followers pay so much money to visit her San Ramon, California ashram. Adulation doesn’t come cheap:

[A] large portion of the temple has been turned into a kind of bazaar specializing in all things Amma: T-shirts, hoodies, books, DVDs, magnets, key chains, essential oils, body washes, mantra counters. There is jewelry Amma has blessed ranging from silver bracelets costing $800 to a silver crown for $5,000. One of the most sought-after objects for sale is the Amma doll: a stuffed, handcrafted replica of Amma whose design seems inspired by the Cabbage Patch Kids. It comes in small, medium and large – $45, $90 and $180, respectively – and the idea is that it provides a kind of cosmic hotline to Amma when not in her presence. “Sometimes, I need a hug from her, and that same feeling of all-accepting love and softness is there,” a nameless devotee says of the dolls on the Amma Shop website.

Hugs are free.

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4 thoughts on “Sunday Sundries

  1. J. A. LeFevre

    Hugs are free, hopes and dreams are often dispensed at a price.
    Mata Amritanandamayi is keeping with traditions of thousands of years of shamanism and priests.

    The pain of Jerry DeWitt comes in no small part from his empathy for the pain his treason has caused his friends and family.

  2. Cris Post author

    “Treason”? Really? That’s hardly a fair characterization of things, and one which seems beneath you. But perhaps I had you figured wrong.

  3. J. A. LeFevre

    Do you think mine an exaggeration? Fealty to Country over God? To a fundamentalist?
    I thought to convey a sense of the anguish that betrayal can bring – a powerful emotion.

  4. Dr. David Tee

    God does provide instruction on what to do with those who once believed but then turned away and that includes removing them from the congregation.

    Now the question is, is this practiced properly?

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