Yesterday (Friday), I took a bus from Cincinnati to Chicago to attend the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion. In the evening, I left my hotel, on South Michigan Avenue, and walked a few blocks south down Wabash Avenue, to experience holy communion with a Five Guys cheeseburger. (I’ve had that particular spiritual experience only once before in my life, in Charlotte, North Carolina.) Then, partly to atone for the cheeseburger’s calorie count, I walked several more blocks south down Wabash before looping back up Michigan to return to the hotel.
As I walked, I was keeping an eye out for houses of worship or religious centers. There wasn’t a whole lot—this was a business sector, though it must have been residential, too, judging from the handful of dog-walkers I passed. But here’s what I found:
- The Chicago Culture Center of Soka Gakkai International USA.
- A building under construction for True Rock Ministries
- Old St. Mary’s church and school, which boasts of being the oldest Catholic parish in Chicago
- A storefront advertising the services of a crystal energies spiritual healer and psychic.
Incidentally, speaking of religion in public space, there was no Gideon’s Bible in my hotel room.