Saturday, February 23, 2008

Over The Rainbow Festival, Mount Vernon, thought provoking

A friend gave me a ride down to Mount Vernon for the first part of Over The Rainbow Festival sponsored by Mount Vernon High School Gay/ Straight Alliance.

It was a showing of the film "For The Bible Tells Me So" in M.V. High School's ornate old theater. There was also a very thought provoking discussion afterwards.

It's great to see discussion of these issues in a high school setting. Congratulations to all the folks who put this ground breaking festival together.

I wasn't able to be there for the workshops on Saturday, but glad to see the Friday night kickoff.

While most of the audience was supportive of the film, there were a few folks who were critical of the film's viewpoint. The discussion was good as it went beyond just "preaching to the choir" so to speak. I sort of felt for the few opposing voices in the discussion as it must feel kind of funny being in a room of people who are mostly disagreeing with your views.

As a lot of different perspectives on religion were discussed, one person ask if folks believe in any absolutes at all.

Several folks offered some good responses, but I didn't say anything at all. There were a lot of ideas floating about and time was limited. Also, I'm kind of shy about raising my hand.

What I would have said about absolutes would have been my thought that it's kind of presumptuous of us humans to assume that our interpretations of things are necessarily the "absolutes." Yes, maybe there are absolutes, but fundamentalists of various religions tend to think their own interpretations of things are the absolutes. That seems kind of presumptuous to me.

I'd rather think we are all learning and evolving.

Also I often say to people who think they know what the absolutes are this humbling concept. There's an old phrase which says, "Christians are forgiven, but not perfect." To me, this can mean a lot of room for dialog, rather than just saying "We know the absolute." "End of discussion."

Another person pointed out an interesting theological point. It made an impression on me. He said (if I can paraphrase it properly).

"The past has a vote, but not a veto."

To me, that means when people say "the Bible says this or the Bible says that" (other religious documents also), it has input worth considering, but there's more to the equation than just "We read that you must do (or not do) such in the Bible."

Ideas about ethics, right and wrong and so forth are good food for dialog and a reason to put on one's thinking cap.

It was a thought provoking evening. The kind of thing I often enjoy while living my life in Theslowlane.

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