Category: body

Why the “White Man” Can’t Dance

When I was turning 50, I signed up for an African dance course in Boulder, Colorado. Some of the dances, the teacher said, were “social,” some “sacred” or “ritualistic.” One afternoon during class I shorted out. The feet and hips couldn’t remember their assigned movements. The ass wouldn’t shake, and the drummer’s fine rhythms refused…


Scouting the Horizon

I’m always scouting. I have a propensity to watch the horizon. What is it you do when you “scout?” It’s hard to shake grade-B cowboy movies out of my imagination. Scouts rode ahead, over horizons, then back to the wagon train—usually with bad news unless San Francisco was just over the mountain. White Cavalry Scout…


Intimacy and Exposure

Friendship in the Covid Era Amigos por siempre The year is 1970. I’ve just finished a PhD. This is my first academic position. Hugo and I are teaching at the same university. He is teaching Spanish. I am teaching religious studies. One morning I hear an articulate stream of Spanish swearing echoing down the hall….


Troubling the Waters

Preface The United Nations declared 1981 as the International Year of Disabled Persons. “Troubling the Waters” is a play I wrote to mark the occasion and enable students to study ritual and performance by exploring a story in the Gospel of John. Since the characters are caricatures of students in the course, I have removed…


Reading Gestures

From left, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. raise their hands to answer a question Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC at Texas Southern University in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) If you read gestures, as ritual…


Liturgical Supinity, Liturgical Erectitude

On the Embodiment of Liturgical Authority This article was published quite some time ago, in 1993. Buried in an important but obscure journal, Studia Liturgica,  it was rarely read. After the recent papal council on clergy sexual abuse, debates about gender, celibacy, and the priesthood are emerging in the media. It seemed the right time…