I’m David McConeghy. Welcome to my homepage!
I’ve moved my blog here to this site to allow me to keep working on several web projects. The old blog, A Lively Experiment, is still live with over 100 posts on Religion and popular culture, American religious history, and religious studies. Highlights include items about world religions in the video game Civilization 5, the symbolic elements of Hellboy , and the site’s most popular post on occult television and anime.
My current research is on enchantment and sacrality. I am still exploring the question of how Americans make sacred space: Must religious folks seek new methods and frameworks to make sacred space in our modern society?
On the blog I have worked harder on a different kind of inquiry: How do religious perspectives emerge in material and popular cultures? This has led me to study the religious elements of video games, comic books, and television.
More than ever I think these two branches of research — call them sacred space and sacred culture — are intertwined. At least, I find myself saying again and again that religion in comics matters, religion in video games matters, the production of religious spaces outside churches and synagogues and mosques matters.
We should be paying attention not just because it is common — religious themes are hard not to find — but because this abundance suggests the modes and methods of interacting with religion have changed. Church attendance is down. Denominational affiliation is down. The discussion of religious themes, if we can measure such a thing, are up. The visibility of religion in the public sphere seems up, too.
So the new discourse on religion is taking place in more places and in more ways than it did previously. This is the age of production that exceeds our capacity for consumption. We are overwhelmed by noise drowning out the signal. Most frustratingly of all, many of us feel the signal is a lie or that competing signals mean we’ve lost something essential that binds humanity together. Time to get to work figuring out not just how things work now, but what we think we lost and whether we really want it back.
Welcome to the age of metasacralities.