A phrase that has landed on lots of our radars over the past couple years is “Cultural Appropriation.”
My understanding of why this is a bad thing is evolving. It took me a while to see how it is a problem at all. As time has gone by, I still need somebody to go slow and help me with some of the details.
The problem of cultural appropriation plays out in a few specific ways for me here, at the Faith-ing Project. The most obvious one is my use of practices from traditions that I do not consider my own. It is inevitable that I am going to oversimplify, misrepresent, and gloss over important aspects of all the practices that I present here, especially the ones that don’t come from the tradition I identify as my own.
I have considered whether I should be sharing them at all. After lengthy consideration, I have decided that it is worth it, despite the risk. There are a few reasons for deciding I should include Buddhist, Jewish, and (soon) Islamic practices here.
#1) Part of the mystic’s journey is to recognize the thing that all the major world religion’s have in common. This is not saying they are all identical, or that they all take us to the same “place.” But it is important to recognize their commonality. And for me, that begins with the spiritual practices.
#2) My hope is that your time here is the launch pad for your spiritual practice, not the end-game for it. As you dive deeper into a practice or belief system, I am hopeful that any errors you picked up here will get corrected.
#3) The real power of the internet is the possibility for interactions. I truly, deeply, and sincerely hope that if I have misrepresented something that you will help me out. There is a fine line here, of course. There are certain things which are simple disagreements and can’t be authoritatively decided in this lifetime. I don’t mind you sharing these sorts of things if you would like. But what I am more passionate about is the places where I am demonstrably, objectively wrong about what a certain group practices or believes. Please hear this invitation: if I got something wrong, please feel free to use the comment section of the posts, the contact button up top, or to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org