I had seen the Londonerry project a couple of weeks ago and was trying to keep track of it, because the Temple at Burning Man has always had an especial pull for me. From its very first incarnation, the notion that this enormous structure would serve as a place for meditation and redemption in the midst of the glorious circus of Burning Man was very appealing.
That seems to be the overall opinion as well: as the Temple grew in stature, Burners seemed to expect it to be there and treated it differently than the burning of The Man. Whereas The Man was a bacchanalian release of energy/tension/ecstasy, with drumming, music, and dancing, the Temple was usually observed in silence or in tears.
Not only that, but The Man used to be burned on Sunday night, the last night of the festival—now it’s burned on Saturday night and the Temple has taken its place on Sunday. The whole focus of Burning Man has shifted to accommodate the spirit of Dave Best’s structure.
For me, the trip to Burning Man has always been largely about being there for the Temple burn. I’m not sure why, but it exerts a spiritual call on my soul. I want to see if by experiencing it I can explain that call.
So when I read about the Londonderry project, I thought, “Well, that makes sense,” especially given the troubled past of the area. And today when I saw the article about the burn, the first sentence that jumped out at me was the one about the Presbyterian minister’s concerns that the burn would “leave people open to Satan.”
Really? That’s what you get out of this? People from different—if not opposite—backgrounds come together to build this beautiful structure; and then people from everywhere leave their grief there to honor their loved ones; and then all that pain and beauty is released through an awe-inspiring ritual—and all you’ve got as an emotional response is a fear that all of this leaves people open to Satan, whatever the hell that means?
No, you sanctimonious prick, what this leaves people open to is forgiveness and pure-T caritas, which apparently you know only as a word from your Greek class. It’s pitiable, it truly is, how badly some people misunderstand God and cannot see it even if it’s transpiring right in front of them.