Featured, Lifeline, Real Estate & Home

Area Churches in Transition

1 Written by: | Monday, Oct 09, 2017 11:05am

Govans Presbyterian Church, pictured, will merge with Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church.

Three well-known Protestant churches in the Baltimore area are going through transitions this fall, with one closing and the other two merging. A Jewish congregation that shares space with one of the churches is looking for a new home. Read More →


Coalition of Maryland Christian Leaders Back Proposed Fracking Ban

3 Written by: | Wednesday, Feb 08, 2017 12:31pm

Protesters outside Baltimore state Sen. Joan Carter Conway’s office.

As the debate about fracking heats up in Annapolis, faith leaders representing thousands of worship houses across the state have thrown their support behind a proposal to permanently ban the drilling practice.

Read More →


Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church

0 Written by: | Monday, Oct 13, 2014 1:50pm

View from George Washington

Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

An Unaffiliated Jew: How I Got Religion

2 Written by: | Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 12:12pm

image via kanestreet.org

image via kanestreet.org

University of Baltimore MFA student Ellen Hartley describes her stint in Hebrew school, the scandal that rocked her temple, and the pivotal personal decision she made at age 15.

I am an unaffiliated Jew. I wasn’t always. I became an unaffiliated Jew in 1956 when I was 15.

Before that I had felt comfortable within the fairly relaxed Jewish framework in which I’d grown up. My parents came from an Orthodox background of Eastern European immigrants. Their families kept kosher and observed the whole shebang. My mother officially left the fold as a teenager, when she and her cousin Ethel sneaked out of Yom Kippur services and went to a luncheonette for their first ham sandwich. When my parents married, they moved 250 miles away and dropped the Orthodoxy. Our refrigerator regularly held sliced ham for sandwiches; oddly, my mother drew the line at bacon, which she claimed made her ill. I remember my father making bacon and sausages for my brother and me on Sundays when my mother slept late. We’d run the exhaust fans so the “porky” odors would be extinguished. Read More →

Featured, Money & Power

Here’s a Trendy, Totally Unsuccessful Way to Avoid Prosecution in Baltimore

0 Written by: | Monday, Nov 04, 2013 9:45am

Noble Drew Ali, founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America

Noble Drew Ali, founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America

According to Assistant State’s Attorney Charles Blomquist, criminal defendants identifying as adherents of a syncretic sect of Islam known as Moorish Science and referencing obscure treaties with Morocco to claim exemption from American laws is “a growing problem within the courts.”

In fact, two murder defendants in one week — Terrence Rollins-Bey and Robert G. Moore — claimed Baltimore Circuit Judge Emanuel Brown had no standing to hear their cases.

Moorish Americans, as adherents are called, often trace their heritage to Morocco or to pre-Columbian America. This has led some — when faced with prosecution — to claim immunity, sometimes based on a 1787 U.S.-Moroccan treaty  Read More →

Bohemian Rhapsody, Featured, Lifeline, Links

Sun, Moon, Dog, Pineapple: An Unbeliever’s Creed

8 Written by: | Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 8:00am


University of Baltimore Asst. Prof. and Bohemian Rhapsody Columnist Marion Winik believes in…you.

In the beginning was the word. The word was but. Do you believe in God? No, but. Do you believe in the immortal soul? No, but. Do you believe in magic? No, but I believe in hormones, endorphins, serotonin, in the fireworks and transformations wrought by chemistry. I believe in every kind of serious embrace — parent and child, lovers, friends — and I believe in the power of connection between people to change the rules.

I believe in using the mind to figure things out, but I believe in the power of the senses to blow the mind. I believe in and indeed worship the blowing of the mind, through orgasm, childbirth, the let-down reflex, chanting, dancing, poetry, drugs, and also beauty, art and craft, all intricate things made by hand, sports, music, and particularly rock and roll. Read More →


This Week in Research: Flu-Tracking on Twitter and Saying “God”

0 Written by: | Friday, Jan 25, 2013 8:00am

Darker red indicates higher reports of flu cases culled from Twitter data. Clearly, 2013 (lower map) is having a more intense flu season that 2012 (upper map).

Darker red indicates higher reports of flu cases culled from Twitter data. Clearly, 2013 (lower map) is having a more intense flu season that 2012 (upper map).

I’m lucky enough to be flu-free as I write this blog post; not so much pretty everyone else in America. (Sorry! Take the Tamiflu, it really works!) Public health researchers at John Hopkins have found a surprisingly useful tool to help them track the disease as it spreads throughout the country, one that works even better than the traditional method of compiling medical information in government databases:  Twitter.
Read More →


Thursday Links: Baltimore Expanding Domestic Violence Test, City Hall’s Walkways Get Facelift, Mikulski Pushes Equal Pay for Women, and More

0 Written by: | Thursday, May 24, 2012 7:13am

Baltimore rolling out domestic violence test city wide – ABC2 News
City Hall’s new curb appeal – Baltimore Brew
Mikulski plan for equal pay for women gets push during election year – Baltimore Sun
Catholics to launch national campaign with mass in Baltimore – Baltimore Sun
The FBI Is About To Launch A New Unit That Wants To Spy On Skype Conversations – Business Insider

Money & Power

Maryland Same-Sex Marriage Opponents Aim to Put Issue to Referendum

0 Written by: | Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 8:31am

They told us they’d do it and now they’re doing it. A coalition of anti-gay-marriage groups has begun a signature drive to put the same-sex marriage bill that recently passed the Maryland legislature up for voter referendum in November. They’ll get their referendum if they can get 56,000 signatures by the end of June. With marriage-equality splitting Maryland voters nearly in half, I’ll think they’ll get it.

Oh, and in case you were wondering who is to blame for the passage of the gay marriage bill, it’s the “elites.”According to Maryland Marriage Alliance Executive Director Derek McCoy, the recent success of the marriage equality movement is due to “an elite group of politicians and supporters” who are out of step with “average” Marylanders. Not to be contrary, but you’d think that with such overwhelming support from the “elites” that the queer community would have had it a little easier up until now, right?

Of course, it’s just as likely that voters will confirm the bill as reject it in November. But to the church, even if the bill is upheld it won’t be required to perform same-sex marriages, though they may catch some heat for denying a lesbian communion at her mother’s funeral, as happened last week in Gaithersburg, Md.


This Week in Research: God is Green; When Good Marketing Backfires

0 Written by: | Friday, Dec 16, 2011 12:00am

A University of Maryland study undermines easy ideas about how religion and politics overlap.  The study, which surveyed nearly 1,500 Americans, many who self-identified as Catholic or Evangelical, found that those who believe in God also favor international efforts aimed at curbing climate change.  Seventy-five percent of believers considered it a moral obligation to act as good stewards for the environment. Two-thirds thought that meant supporting pro-environment laws and regulations.  The same goes for nuclear proliferation.  John Steinbruner, Maryland public policy professor and co-author of the study, notes that the findings “challenge common political stereotypes that pigeonhole religious Americans as liberal or conservative” on these issues.  However, fewer than half of the believers surveyed thought that there was a scientific consensus that climate change was an urgent problem. They were more likely to think that not enough was known to take action.

Advertising can play funny tricks on the brain.  It’s not surprising that boldly packaged products are more likely to fly off the shelves, as a recent Johns Hopkins study found.  But less expected is the fact that consumers actually use these products more slowly — presumably because the packaging has tricked them into thinking that they work more effectively.  In this way, strong marketing cues can have unintended self-defeating side effects.  The so-called “ironic effects” of packaging and marketing might make the products that move off the shelves quickly end up lingering longer on household shelves.  “People tend to be lazy,” said lead researcher Meng Zhu. “When we’re shopping, we don’t generally study the ingredients on the package. We look for the salient cues, such as brand names and strong images. Those things are easy to process, and whether they’re presented in a bold fashion or not makes a huge difference in how we judge products.”

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