Monthly Archives: April 2012
The men and women moved slowly past the prostrate women in her eighties. She repeated a modified sun salutation and prayer for peace several times in the aisle, even as a dozen or so latecomers passed her as they made their way to their seats. And then the woman stood up, hands pressed together in a sign of peace and compassion and returned to her seat using her cane for assistance.
All this time, the room remained rather hushed with four thousands hearts and minds fixated on the stage, awaiting the words from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This woman was physically doing what so many of us longed to do. We longed to match the peace and compassion of this global religious figure in action. Instead most of us just sat in awe of his demeanor and superb eloquence. Read the rest of this entry
Last Sunday, a controversial art piece in Stockholm’s Moderna Museet set off a firestorm of controversy throughout the world. Afro-Swedish artist Makode Linde created and participated in the piece, which has explicit undertones of race, which most have deemed racist in nature. I have a heavy heart as I reflect on this piece, attempting to humbly consider whether there is a time when we must stand up against certain expressions of art. This is what brought me to this difficult state of reflection:
“Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth (Swedish Minister of Culture) was invited to open the festivities by performing a clitoridectomy on the cake, which she did by slicing off the part of the cake depicting female genitalia. She then proceeded to feed that part of the cake to a performance artist, done up in blackface, his head protruding through the table.” As the video below indicates, the artist screams in excruciating “pain” as the knife slices at the genital regions of the cake, adding an auditory element to the artistic experience. And it was an experience. In many pictures taken, men and women stand around sipping their wine, as they watch with smiles and laughter at the “shock art” before them. Read the rest of this entry
As a life-long Unitarian Universalist, the premise of Holy week, which begins with Palm Sunday and leads up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday, our denomination has always put a greater emphasis on the miraculous ending rather than the horrible event that led up to Easter. The theology taught in most UU communities, at least from my experiences in church, weighed more heavily on the infinite possibilities of “new life” after a tragedy of such grandeur as the one depicted in the religious texts of Christians. The new life is not necessarily eternal life, but rather a renewed life of hope, dedication, and passion.
Unfortunately, this comes at such a great loss in the Christian historical narrative: the crucifixion of Jesus. I believe an important part of the message of holy week is left out or at least overshadowed by the ultimate focus on the sacrifice made by God and the undeserved reward that all people receive when “it is finished”. This is the brutal reality that the powerful elite, militarily, politically, or otherwise, have and use their power to eliminate perceived threats to their hegemony. And it is for this reason that Good Friday should truly matter to all people and not merely Christians. Read the rest of this entry