Practical Matters, Prayer Pawns, and A Chat on We Shall Remain

Paul Harvey

Emerging briefly from the depths of senior theses and graduate seminar papers, before taking a deep breath and diving back down. Notes of interest on new opportunities for online explorations.

First, Practical Matters, an online journal of religious practice and practical theology published out of Emory, has just posted its first issue, on the theme "Engaging Imagination." Articles and reviews range from photography to dance to "ritual praxis inside the classroom," and a host of other ways to open up the religious imagination. The editors introduce the journal here, and explain further:

In this journal you will find digital scholarship that utiliz­es the capacities of the internet to ask and provoke new questions about religious prac­tices and practical theology. You will also find here a variety of content: peer-reviewed scholarship in several media and genres, reflections and essays by practitioners and teachers, video and audio interviews with scholars, reviews of current work in religious practices and practical theology, musical performances, photographic essays, and more.

Next, Katie Lofton has emerged from her cubbyhole at Princeton to deconstruct the recent nonsensical tit-for-tat about the "National Day of Prayer":

The irony of debates about national prayer is that they transform the experience of nationalism (worthy, perhaps) into a prescription of nationalism (failed, always). Despite our stories plurality (or perhaps because of them), the landscape of American hope and American need has become stunningly arid, silenced by prayer box sets and by rationalist relativism. What now to say before the dying soldier? What now to do during an epidemic of economic dismay? We reach for prayers, but they have become too precious by half, made by both squabbling sides something to demonstrate that you have done (he in the Oval Office, they on the sidewalk of Pennsylvania Avenue), rather than something that you seek to do. Beyond the glare of this hollow exhibitionism, we stretch for something real, we seek a prayer that isn't a pawn. And so I do what most mothers and fathers, lovers and workers, believers and atheists do: I squeeze the hand harder, and ask what I can do to see you better, to know you better, to serve you better. Then (I promise, I pray, I swear, I stand), I will do it.

Finally, I received this email about the PBS series We Shall Remain, a multi-part exploration of Native American History, which will interest some of you.

We would like to invite you to join us for a live chat with Julianna Brannum, co-producer of “Wounded Knee,” the fifth film in PBS’ “We Shall Remain” series. The films explore pivotal episodes in American Indian history. Tomorrow (Tuesday, May 12) at 2pm EST we’ll host a conversation about the film and Julianna’s behind-the-scenes perspective on this moving film. She'll answer your questions live in our hour-long chat.

Go to on May 12th at 2pm to join the discussion or leave a question for her today.