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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Gotham Religious Revival?


When people think of New York, seldom do they associate it with high levels of religiosity. Yet, that is exactly what journalist Tony Carnes has discovered through the "A Journey Through NYC Religions" project he heads. In fact, it appears that 1978 was a turning point in New York's religious life. It was at that point that the number of church (and synagogue, mosque, temple, etc.) foundings began to outpace the number of closings. Indeed, Carnes refers to NYC as a postsecular city. I wonder what Harvey Cox would make of that. While the project's website is awash with stories, pictures, videos, and more, you can get a taste of the project through a recent Research on Religion interview of Tony Carnes ("Tony Carnes on Jesus’s Auto Body (and Soul) Shop, Blessed Pizza, and NYC Religions Part II"):
A hat shop in Harlem that dispenses spiritual advice. A circle of Korean limo drivers holding Bible studies. An auto body repair shop named after Christianity’s savior. All of this stuff, and more, can be found in New York City and Tony Carnes has been on a mission to find this and document it. Following up on previous interview about Carnes’s project “A Journey Through New York City Religions,” we delve into some of the interesting, surprising, and sometimes unusual details of what constitutes NYC’s spiritual lifeblood. We go over some of the meta-trends as well as looking at the fine details. A fun and informative look at the post-secular city.
This is actually the second time that Research on Religion host Tony Gill has interviewed Carnes (hence, the "Part II" in the title of the podcast). The first interview, however, is more background than it is about the actual project. Hence, I recommend listening to this one rather than the first. As always, the Research on Religion podcasts are available on iTunes and at the Research on Religion website ("Tony Carnes on Jesus’s Auto Body (and Soul) Shop, Blessed Pizza, and NYC Religions Part II").

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