Radical Inclusion: From Jesus to Jedi’s to Juggalos.

Happy Easter, Spring, Lunar Eclipse, 4/20, Passover, whathaveyou.

Writing on the Temple
Writing on the Temple

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.

Grandpa on Halloween(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.

Grandpa at Temple
Putting up a Grandpa memorial at the temple

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:

About the author: John "Halcyon" Styn


Halcyon is a 21-year Burning Man participant and co-founder of Pink Heart camp. He is author of "Love more. Fear less." and producer of the Burning Man short film, "The Pink Path." He's won Webby awards for his over-the-top personal site & his "Love On Demand" video podcast HugNation.com. Halcyon co-founded the San Diego based "1st Saturdays" homeless outreach program based on Burning Man Principles and coaches people how to be radically self expressed in the default world. You can find his full Playa Tips & Tricks series at www.PlayaPrinciples.com

19 Comments on “Radical Inclusion: From Jesus to Jedi’s to Juggalos.

  • harinama says:

    Thank you for this article. Selfless giving, compassion and acceptance, without regard to how it’s received allows me to be more free to express myself and more open to love others. Those that give me the most trouble truly test my equanimity and my internal “faith” that I have developed on my own path. We do not need to be pulled from our center by the defensive dramas of others if we are firm within our loving intentions.

    Burningman each year tests my intentions, patience and my tolerance. It teaches me the amazing power of a vulnerable, open heart and gives me tools to become strong within it during the rest of the year.

    Halcyon, once again you reiterate in a clear and strong voice the power of what is the Burn and the amazing changes it can help facilitate in us if we let it. Kudos to you sir!

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  • Patrick (Buff) says:

    Bless the Juggalos indeed! Theys just anotha kind of scrub and we’ze all one.

    Also – Whoop! Whoop!

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  • Ferdie says:

    What about the Jews?

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  • simon of the playa says:

    we cannot do without jews.

    who else would we blame when shit goes wrong?

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  • tinker says:

    Who else is going to Bundyfest? Everyone is invited. YeeHaw!

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  • Nick says:


    BundyFest is going to be awesome! Can’t wait to go this year, right after BM. Check this out (from FaceBook)

    “Come celebrate TOTAL FREEDOM at BUNDYFEST, just across the road from the Cliven Bundy Ranch, in Bunkerville, Nevada! 240 bands, 24 hours a day, for a SOLID ROCKIN’ MONTH!!!!

    *PENIS ERECTION CONTEST: Erect the largest penis in the open desert, win valuable prize! (tbd)

    BACKGROUND: For years, we paid permitting fees to hold Burning Man on the beautiful Playa in Northern Nevada. But now, Cliven Bundy has shown us a NEW WAY! ABSOLUTE FREEDOM! Bundy has declared the entire area surrounding Bundy Ranch as a TOTALLY RULES-FREE ZONE! ANYTHING GOES! WOO-HOO!!!

    Why should Burning Man end on September 1st? Swing down to Vegas for a few days for some R&R, a few good buffets, and then HEAD ON UP TO BUNDYFEST! All 50,000+ Burning Man participants are invited to attend — and as many more as can make the trip from anywhere in the world! 100,000? 250,000? THE SKY IS THE LIMIT AT BUNDYFEST! The desert surrounding Bundy’s ranch is LIMITLESS! “

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  • Nick says:

    Forgot to mention – BundyFest is being organized by Burning Man. It’s going to be 30 days for free awesomeness.

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  • Karen Ashley says:

    Always a joy to hear your words. My husband and I were introduced to Burning Man by you via your broadcasts. I watched all of them, including the ones with your Grandfather. What an amazing human! When he died, We felt your loss. No matter what a person calls it-unconditional love, complete inclusion…it is our mission. Thanks and be well. (Burning man 2010)

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  • lifeisshort says:

    I am so glad I had the opportunity to met you John, I only wish I would have met your grandfather. Although I am not a very religious man, I believe it took 40-60 years after the passing of Jesus before a significant number of people started really following his teachings. Your grandfather was a very special person, he had a unique outlook on life, one that very few ever obtain. His words and yours have changed the person I am and I thank you for that!

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  • MissKittyfromtheFort says:

    What a beautifully worded piece! Thank you for all you do!

    Much love and HUGS!!


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  • Jonty says:

    You and your grandfather are angels and I cried in tears of joy just by the sight and words of your grandfather, I wish I had a grandfather like that. Hugs for grandpa, I wish I had met him and I miss him. Peace, Jonty

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  • LionessBec says:

    John, thank you – once again – for a great big pink smile. Your little gems of wisdom have helped me. Passing this on to the one I love.

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  • MrLetter says:

    “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.”

    So if a person has no faux fur in their closet they are obviously not a follower of the 10 Principles is what you are saying. Which would mean they don’t belong at burning man or any of the regionals. Because they don’t display the archetype of a ‘burner.’

    It’s that kind of bull shit that has lead to official regionals stating that if you don’t follow the 10 Principles they will kick you out. Where they take advantage of that by asking people to leave that haven’t done anything wrong outside of not dress up, and give out drugs, or sex.

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  • Halcyon says:

    @MrLetter – That’s a pretty deep read of the point I was trying to make: that the differences between the two groups is largely on the surface. I used the “faux fur stereotype” to make the comparison more fun. My apologies if it struck a nerve.

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  • Darren Hamm says:

    Radical inclusion is one of the primary reasons that people hated Jesus in his day. The foreign, the weak, the victim, the “commodifyer,” and the the commodified, each one immeasurably and uniquely valuable and deeply loved. However, from the smallest quark to the largest celestial bodies and indeed the essence of what makes me, me, has to have a fixed point in time, space and character as a reference point. Everything is not good. There are evils in the world that cannot be called evil without that reference point. Many admirations to your grandfather. Sounds like a beautiful soul who cared deeply for you and others.

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