Happy Easter, Spring, Lunar Eclipse, 4/20, Passover, whathaveyou.
Easter time makes me think of Burning Man.
I was not always accepting of Christianity. In fact, I had a bitter life chapter where I woke up to the Lies of Institutional Religion(TM) with deep anger and judgment towards Christians and Christianity.
Then two things happened:
1) I went to Burning Man and learned how Radical Inclusion gives a framework to support others, even as you disagree with them.
2) I started co-hosting a podcast with my Grandfather, Rev. Caleb Shikles. And He showed me that Burning Man was my church.
Don’t get me wrong: I agree that countless atrocities have been done in the name of religion. And that blind acceptance of any teachings paves the way for horrible things.
But I would argue that the main difference between a student of the teachings of Jesus and a follower of the 10 Principles is the amount of dusty faux fur in their closet.
(NOTE: Near the end of his life, my grandpa actually called himself a “Jesus Man” or “Baptist Buddhist” because he felt that the word “Christian” had come to mean so many things in contrast with the teachings of Jesus.)
While I appreciate the teachings of Jesus, I am not a Christian, by any means. I don’t mean to defend or promote Christianity – only to point out that Radical Inclusion gives us a model for loving our neighbors – be they Jiffy Lubers, Death Guilders, Pink Hearters, or Human Caracas Carwashers.
This applies to “neighbors” on the default world, as well.
The beautiful thing about a religion or tribe is that it gives us a congregation. It gives us a non-biological family to reflect and affirm us. When we are “Welcomed Home” we come to understand that “who we really are” is okay. Not just okay, but amazing. This community acceptance allows us to recognize and cultivate our true selves.
It was Burning Man that showed me the power of this type of community – and the powerful impact on personal growth. But as I grow in the world, I see people blossom in all types of loving congregations. I have seen magical communities grow around Comic-con, Knitting, flow arts, and even the Insane Clown Posse. Yes, god bless the Juggalos.
As we congratulate ourselves for casting off the chains of our socialization, it can be tempting to judge others who have attached themselves to belief systems or communities that differ from our own. But the whole point of Radical Inclusion means accepting those who have taken different paths and express themselves differently. We must remember that in today’s world “being different” can mean clown face paint, but it can also mean being devoted to an ancient tradition or long dead prophet.
It is easy to throw out baby Jesus with the bongwater – but the path of Radical Inclusion means we need to practice accepting everyone.
During today’s HugNation broadcast, I went deeper into these ideas: