Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Comparative Pilgrimage

I am taking a course in Comparative Pilgrimage this quarter (in fact, we are halfway through today's lecture class).  We are watching a documentary on the Hindu "rolling saint", Lotan Baba, who literally rolled most of the length of India as a pilgrimage and to demonstrate devotion to the goddess Devi.  This is a really interesting study because of just how different this religious practice is from my own.

In July-August 2009 I went on a two week pilgrimage to the village of Taize in east-central France.  Taize is often described as a "pilgrimage of trust on earth" and is the residence of the world's only order of ecumenical monks.  At first glance, it seems like it would be odd for Christians to have a pilgrimage site, since God is in and through all things.  Yet, there is a need for Christians, in fact, I would hypothesize that a need for all humans, to go somewhere to experience the closeness of God not found in ordinary life.  For me, this was my experience with bible camp in my youth.  However, this "mountain-top" experience of sorts is not sustainable for the long-term, and one must find the closeness of God in daily life as well, because it matters for being in community.  I look forward to this class to further explore some of these themes.  And how as a future clergy-person I can help my parishioners implement parts of this in their life of faith.

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