Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Omnipresence of God and Burning Man

I believe in the omnipresence of God.
I believe God loves everyone in the world.

These two simple truths lead me to a simple conclusion, which I am hoping is correct.

If God is everywhere, and loves everyone, then He probably would like to have the people who love Him be available in most places. This certainly makes sense out of the Great Commission. He sends us everywhere to touch everyone.

I am headed to Burning Man in a month, because I believe in these values. I live in Salem, MA because I believe in these values.

On one side of this conclusion I ask myself: What are the limits to this? Are there any?
On the other side I ask myself: Has Christianity done a good job of being willing to go anywhere to love people in the same way God does?

What do you think? How would you answer these questions? What caveats are there, and in what ways have we fallen short.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Carnival as Revolution

The Italian "carne levare", or perhaps the late Latin "carne vale" are both potential origins for our word "carnival." Meaning to "remove meat" or "farewell to meat" respectively they point to the prohibition against meat at Lent. The Latin "carne vale" would later be thought of as "farewell to the flesh" since it translates the same as "meat" or "flesh."

Carnivale was presented as a means of revolution by Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin. In our wild world driven by growing freedom in hedonistic pleasures and capitalistic designs taking advantage of the same pleasures for the purpose of greedy gain, carnivale has become a revolution of pleasure. It has also become a trap for those who would enslave us for greed's sake. Every generation has the struggle for freedom, and in our generation this struggle it has been empowered by the commercialization of our passions. So, we must ask ourselves: are we really free? or is our so-called freedom the gateway for someone else to enslave us?

Our momentary pleasures and our sexual passions may not be our own. Could it be that they are being driven by others who are selling us things to make us feel fulfilled.

Enter stage right: The Holy Fool.

The 6th Century Saint Simeon is called the Holy Fool, and became the patron saint of fools and puppeteers in Catholic tradition. Through his tomfoolery and wild behavior he transformed the city of Emesa, Syria in his lifetime. He used wild clownish theater to share the Gospel.

Like fighting fire with fire, it may be time for the rising of the Holy Fool once again. We live in a season of carnivale as revolution. Our society is being transformed, and in some ways enslaved in a Roman "Bread and Circuses" style through the absurd theater of the entertainment that captivates us. Perhaps a Pauline "foolishness" is in order to counteract this wisdom of our age.

"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty..." (1 Corinthians 1:27)

I am hoping for a revolution within this world's passion driven revolution. I am praying for Holy Fools to rise up even now, and call our culture to something outside these traps of "the flesh" being set for us by our television sets, and rich men making money from our addictions.

If you identify with this - please, join me in the gentle and creative revolution. We are already practicing the revolution in Salem, MA, and the Burning Man Festival. Perhaps you would like to join us, pray for us, or support this work through giving.

Our current Burning Man project: Theophony, is part of this carnivale revolution. We are raising money to complete the project and get it to Burning Man this August/September. Consider helping us as our team seeks to raise $8,000 by July 21st. Follow the link above, or click on the block below, and please let us know what you think.

Visit The Gathering at Salem online