Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Window shopping

First day of "Lived Religion in a Secular Age"! After syllabus preliminaries, I took the class on a walk around our neighborhood to try to unsettle their sense of religion. First stop, the church of Francis Xavier, vast and newly renovated Roman-style pile - and home to the city's most visible gay-friendly Catholic congregation, whose brilliant Pride Parade archbishop-bypass is a splendid example of lived religion. Next stop, the Limelight Markeplace, three-story mini-mall of fashion and accessories in a landmarked ex-Episcopal church - before it became a shopping center, it was site of the city's most famous nightclubs, Avalon and Limelight. Time was running short so I could only point to the Salvation Army headquarters' deliberately non-religious civic architecture, the portico of what was home to the Village Presbyterian Church and a Reformed Jewish congregation, and we ended at the Second Cemetery of the Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue across the street from school ... without having time even to glimpse the Tiles for America, last survivors of the city's explosion of 9/11 memorialization. Oh well, it was a start.

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