Air's Corner

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Todays Thoughts and Feelings



HELLO WORLD!!!

I would like to dedicate this first blog entry to my reactions to reading the first packet given out in Rein's Religious Diversity course. Here goes.

Selected Poems by Li-Young Lee

Free Writing - or should i word it Free Typing
His feelings are from an immigrants perspective. Deep and thoughtful are his lines, almost reminscent of my own mind on those days of inner reflection and world scrutinization. He talks of praying, in a complex state of being. We are all of one kind, we all eat, and pray, and seek, "brothers and sister by blood and design". He believes in God, labeling God as the text. He is alert, aware of his surroundings, and in tune with the harmony of the world. In a dramatic and graphic way, Lee explains to the ends he would go to put in human terms his thoughts of such a deeper kind. After (and during) reading these poems, I felt in touch with some part of reality that so often goes unnoticed. The way Lee describes the pains of being an immigrant, an outkast in a society, outkasted from culture, religion, and life, is incredibly moving, striking a chord deep down in the depths of the human soul. It made me wonder how people from other places, cultures - immigrants feel about pursuing their religion here.. in America and how exactly do they contribute to our religious diveristy. My desire to dive into such deep and dark waters will be fulfilled in this course. I am excited.

In an overall attempt to put into an online blog my thoughts and feelings, I will try to relay the ideas that came to mind when reading through the rest of the packet..

After reading the story "Interpreter of Maladies"

Wow, this story sparked my interest because it put religion in such a sociopolitical spectrum... to me that is. I questioned to myself what the author was trying to reveal through the text. Was it change, conformity, disrespect, cluelessness? Or was it something else? My feelings towards this story were as follows: I believe the story was taking a stab at the weight religion holds in our society. It was not credible in this tale. It was almost a commodity. Sanjeev explains that the objects being discovered clearly lacked a sense of sacredness. "He was further puzzled that Twinkle, who normally displayed good taste, was so charmed." So why did Twinkle become so charmed and not him? She represents the person who gets sucked in to the commercial tendency religion has in this society. I found it ironic that as soon as she was done swooning over such relics being uncovered she lit a cigarette. She interpreted the knickknacks she found to be charming, even cute, but not holy, not sacred. It was as though the christian symbols were just another fashion statement. Sanjeev starts revealing her personalty to us, describing her it seems, as the normal, average, cookie cutter, lazy, ignorant American individual, "she seemed content with whatever clothes she found at the front of the closet, with whatever magazine was lying around, with whatever song was on the radio". Whoa Twinkle, with the cool name, is becoming that boring person who is swept along by media and propaganda. But hey! Isn't religion more than that! Can our government really sell it to us? Or is it not more than that... to the religious person? Christianity, somewhat like American technology extends its long fingers into all parts of the world, the tent in which these two seemingly opposites get married IN INDIA was strung with CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!!! Their marriage was arranged- this is a tradition with religious roots. Buying christmas lights - this is a tradition that was birthed from American economic producers!

I cant help but think that this is the connection the author was trying to make, as he outlines so plainly, simply, the American white christian culture as evidenced in the way Twinkle prepared their meal!, "there was a loaf of Italian bread in a little basket, and iceberg lettuce and grated carrots tossed with bottled dressing and croutons, and glasses of red wine. She was not terribly ambitious in the kitchen. She bought preroasted chickens from the supermarket and served them with potato salad prepared who knew when, sold in little plastic containers". Its as though our society has been taught to just follow the microwave instructions, on food, life, and the way we all are supposed to think.

Twinkle wants to fit in---- giving me the impression of a thousand immigrants: "every other person in this neighborhood has a statue of Mary on the lawn. We'll fit right in". Crazy.

On Diana Eck -

I really appreciated Eck's thoughts, as she sums up the previous story nicely, again describing religion in a political sense. I was stunned when researching a little in her and her studies, that she was appointed to the US State Department Advisory Committee on "Religious Freedom" abroad. Coincidence? I dont know.. you tell me. The perspective she gives is a must read for any one with a brain. I will be sure to pass this article on. An interesting question as a side note, for you Prof. Rein, if your out there somewhere reading this is, when she talks of how the first generation of children who have grown up here after there parents were allowed to immigrate, have grown up in the new Hindu or Muslim culture of temples their parents began to establish, but who actually established them? Religious people? People of cloth- as the catholics would say? Or ordindary people? Hmm. IDK.

Well Anyway, I am afraid it is getting late, and I am getting tired. Hopefully we can discuss more of this in class tomorrow. Phewww this was a big blog for me! Next time I will hit on the more general ideas that come to mind when I think of religion in our society, its place and its role,

Until then everyone!
Good night!

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