Monday, August 16, 2010

parka culture

Trying to inform worship in our "UU culture" with practices and aesthetics from other cultures is like exchanging a white parka for a colored parka, when I want to dance naked in the summer sun. A point of religion is to liberate ourselves and each other from the received and imposed identities that diminish our full humanity.

Of course, liberation can be a slow process. When you've worn a green parka all your life, a shift to an orange one, or to a green windbreaker, can be a significant step.

Perhaps it would be more fruitful, instead of debating "orange vs. green" or "full-sleeved cf. vest," if we addressed why we wear protective gear at all, and how our gear constricts us even as it shields us.

There are people in our congregations who are not aware they are wearing a parka, and who cannot or will not see that others are wearing them, too. There are many who only wear the coat their family made them. There are some people who have a whole closetful of sweaters, vests, jackets, cloaks, anoraks, hoods, hats and scarves, in a rainbow of colors. There are frequent sunbathers, and heliophobes (those who are sensitive to sunlight); there are those who took off their parka once, only to be badly burned. How can we help (most) all of our cousins to turn their faces to the sun?


At 8:30 AM, Blogger Chip said...

We ought not require people to don a white parka as they enter. We probably ought not require *any* specific outfit. We can offer different gear, and make it seem attractive. We can keep praising the sun.


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