Analysis & Comment

Opinion | Sacred Spaces vs. Social Media

More from our inbox:

To the Editor:

Re “Influencers Are the New Televangelists” (Op-Ed, March 6):

I applaud Leigh Stein’s criticism of the empty Instavangelism of social media influencers. Entertainment suppresses the agency of its audience, rendering us passive observers.

Faith is just the opposite, demanding engaged action and the living of our values. A clergy person does not preach a sermon to generate thumbs-up emojis; she speaks to move her congregation to pursue justice.

I pray that more millennials step into the less bespoke institutions of religion that have challenged and frustrated, nurtured and inspired our forebears. These sacred spaces, sitting empty in the pandemic, are yearning for our questions and our wrestling, and our prayers.

And most of all, they ache for our bodies, reminding us that religion is the original social medium, a framework for gathering and relationship-building that can help us make the best use of our wild and precious lives.

(Rabbi) Juliana S. Karol
New York

The Pain of Small Losses

To the Editor:

Re “It’s OK to Mourn, No Matter the Size of a Loss” (Science Times, March 16):

I moved six months before Covid and had to say goodbye to my longtime therapist, a supportive man with whom I would have shared the everyday losses and disappointments of pandemic life. He always knew the right things to say, and never made me feel judged, petty or self-indulgent.

Virtual sessions with a new therapist were an option, but it wouldn’t have been the same. Anyway, who wants to spill one’s woes in a place with no couch and no privacy at home?

Thanks for acknowledging the pain of small losses. I plan to use some of your D.I.Y. suggestions to mourn them so I can let go and move on.

Joan Harris
Huron, Ohio

What Progress Looks Like in Bangladesh

To the Editor:

Re “See What Biden’s Plan Can Do for Poverty” (column, March 11):

I agree with Nicholas Kristof about the development of Bangladesh and would like to share what I have been seeing right here in my village for the last 20 years.

We had no electricity or satellite TV channels. We had no vehicles to commute to and from the town. The pregnant women would scream in their dark rooms without light, doctors and care.

Fortunately, we can now watch CNN, ride motorized vans and go to the health care centers easily. Now, we have small businesses like shops and beauty parlors nearby. This progress has happened before my eyes in my own village.

Rezaul Karim Reza
Rangpur, Bangladesh

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