If you've read this blog much, you know of my unlikely association with Burning Man. If not, suffice it to say that God has laid on my heart a real love for the people who attend, particularly the leadership. Above my desk is a picture of Larry Harvey and I hanging out in the desert, while the evangelism team from VCC was giving out bottled water to show God's love in a practical way. We had a great tent set up with artwork and worship.
Each year, Burning Man has a theme. Past themes have included The Body, The Seven Ages of Man, and The Floating World. It is a strange world. Where else could you find an Easter Island PortaPotty Station?
At the 2002 event, Larry and I spoke at length about sacred things. The discussion continued via email when I got home. One comment he made in the desert was (paraphrased) "My problem with Christians is that they see nonchristians as inanimate objects....as if we're no more spiritual than a dining room chair. I have had spiritual experiences. Perhaps not the onces you'd prefer I have, but I have experienced transcendent moments. Where is the common language where we can explore our experiences clearly, as different as they might be?" The conversation would have continued, but about that time some guy lit up a flamethrower nearby and we ran off to watch. (I am not kidding).
This year, the theme has already been announced....and I suspect it was already stirring in Larry that night we talked in the desert. Today I received a broadcast email from Burning Man explaining the theme, "Beyond Belief":
"Beyond belief, beyond the dogmas, creeds, and metaphysical ideas of religion, there exists immediate experience. It is from this primal world that living faith arises. The intention of Beyond Belief is to explore this mystery. In 2003 we will invite participants to create interactive rites, ritual processions, elaborate images, shrines, icons, and temples: visions of realities profoundly other and far greater than our conscious selves. Our theme will occupy that ambiguous territory that lies between reverence and ridicule, faith and belief, the absurd and the dazzlingly sublime. The human urge to make events, objects, actions and personalities sacred is protean. It can fix on and inhabit anyone or anything. This year our art theme will release this spirit in the Black Rock Desert."
Somebody please tell me again why we pussyfoot around spiritual discussions with nonbelievers? Oh yea, I forgot. It's because they're not interested...
To quote Earl Pitts, "Wake up, Amurika...."