Sunday, November 02, 2008
Ordinarily this is a pretty sleepy site; I don't talk much about my religion, in fact, have made it a practice not to. I put my plays here; some Quaker pop art; some other stuff, but it has only 22 posts since its inception and that was many years ago.
Today was the performance of Second First-day at the Interfaith Center, so I'm actually breaking the habit above. I want to make several points about the play.
For the record, the play was earlier today (Sun. Nov. 2, 2008); it was generally a success; it was attended mostly by people who came to meeting and potluck anyway, since it was not heavily advertised or publicized. Actors did great, I thought.
It was different from others in that it seemed like many of the actors had grown a lot since the last ones; new crowd, both on-stage and in the audience. Second, it was about the Interfaith itself, and came at a time when that's a hot issue (moving); I tried actually not to take too strong a stand, but, with it being all about appreciation of the place, it was hard not to at least appear that way.
Finally, I don't have much to say about use of the Buddha to represent one religion in the one religion vs. many debate. Perhaps Buddha was inappropriate for this role; I chose Buddha mostly because the two statuettes were in proximity, so much of the time, for so much of the meeting. It seemed to me like all religions have this conflict; they pressure their members to give more of themselves, and not be a wanderer of many paths. Quakerism is perhaps unusually tolerant in this regard, thus likely to side with the huggers statuette in the play. But seriously I chose only to represent the disagreement, not to post a winner. I don't consider myself one to answer that question, even though I've very clearly sided with the huggers on it, both with my family & publicly.
But I'll admit, I did very little research into the Buddha, the Buddha's role in this debate, etc. I didn't know for example that use of Buddha with "the Divine" was probably inappropriate. I just wrote it for the situation. It was kind of for this group, this building, this moment; nothing else.
I don't intend to change minds with these plays. I'm as accurate as I can be with limited time, limited knowledge and the need to do something productive with First-day school. I'm happy if people use the plays to discuss issues; in this case I'm truly torn about the issue of Interfaith vs. moving anyway, one could say I feel strongly both ways. Thought I'd get at least a few of my feelings down in print.
Pop art: what can I say? It's original, putting Quakers in pop art (see below; it may be buried in the archives of this blog). But again, I don't have any particular message. I use pop art to bring things I notice and feel up to the surface. To me it's not a contradiction to put Quakers & pop art in the same sentence, because, though pop art is surface, shallow, all on top, Quakerism can have a certain surface attraction also, an image, a powerful essence, color and shape working together to say what Quakerism is. So I play with that, all in the context of a developing, computer-based graphic pop-art medium. I also don't find Quakerism & the web, or e-mail, or even Second Life to be necessarily contradictory; I try to do everything with a genuine hope, simplicity, spirit. If I separate Quakerism from pop art, what would that say? or from my writing? It's not separate; I'm just me. And, if it offended you, I apologize. Keep in mind, unlike Andy Warhol, I'm not going out and printing a million of these "Oat Quakers;" unlike the Obama Hope posters, I don't think they'll be plastered on the walls of Denver, sell on eBay for thousands, or be the seed for blogs of viral parody. But who knows. If they do, I'll stand behind them, see above; Quakerism is, to me, important, personal, a kind of support for keeping me on the good side with where I'm going with all of this. Which means, I probably won't start selling it. Not the art, not the plays, none of it. Even if I could make it better, I probably won't; I'll leave this site for me, let people use the plays & the art, and keep adding to it, as time passes, and Quakerism gets a richer texture, more meaning, in my own life.