24
Mar 15

The Roof, The Roof...

The Roof is on Fire!

On Monday the citizens of (London)Derry in Northern Ireland burned a temple to the ground, not as an act of violence but as an act of community.

The wooden structure had been built for that express purpose,by a Burning Man artist, and covered in messages before the ignition.

Naming such a place a "temple" is purely artistic licences, but we can see in the act itself a very religious event. We have artistic sacrifice, prayers to and for the dead written into its structure. We have a community gathering. We have fire. Fire is perhaps our oldest religious rite.

And yet there was no "religious" motivation behind the act. At least not nominally.

I believe that such rituals, for what else could it be called, are hallmarks of a neo-religious movement in the West. Community acts that have inherent in them a since of the transcendent, but without a clearly articulated theology. We see these more and more often in the mainstream in part due to a broad rejection of religion in the public forum.

Candle light vigils, Boston Strong bracelets, aids ribbons, Burning Man, performance art...even cosplay all have echoes in religious acts, all have meaning beyond the the immediate.

Theology, however, always follows ritual. Rituals have to be explained.

What theology will emerge, I wonder, from the art and leisure of the 21st century?

Leave a Reply