At the prodding of my wife, our family has been attending church for the past three weeks at the First Unitarian Society of Denver. I was raised, more-or-less, as a Christian by my parents, but eventually segued agnosticism after high school. I also became interested in aspects of Buddhism in the last decade, but my laziness trumped any serious spiritual development down that path.
In two of the three services I’ve attended, I can recall thinking to myself that the particular point or principle being espoused was really a Burning Man principle as well. Yes, this could be a result of having Burning Man on the brain and the burnal equinox just having passed. However, a casual Google query today told me that I’m not alone in seeing the harmonies in Unitarian Universalist principles and the philosophy of Burning Man.
This passage from the Pilgrimage column ‘Sacred Fire, Ritual Play’ by Christopher Brown in the January/February 2004 edition of UUWorld Magazine struck me as particularly resonant:
Some people go to a church primarily to worship a higher being; for them, the community is just the means to that end. Most Unitarian Universalists see the means as the end. It’s the act of worshiping together that really mattersâ€”the human connection, the comfort of ritual performed alongside familiar faces. Burning Man is my cathedral, but we Burners have dispensed with the dogmaâ€”in Unitarian fashionâ€”and genuflect to an eighty-foot wooden man that has no meaning at all.Â (emphasis added)
I know that there is some spiritual component to the force that is calling me to Burning Man, and I’m hopeful that my further interaction with the Unitarian community will help me uncover the mystery within.