Shortly after arriving home after dropping my Captain America son off at the West Point Prep School, my amazing hippie, dread-locked, tattooed, I'm-more-of-a-Buddhist, 22 year-old daughter asked me, her 53 year old Episcopal Priest father to go with her to Burning Man. I love the constant adventure of parenting. And I love my daughter. (And truth be told, part of me has always wanted to go to Burning Man.) So on Monday I will be going to the Playa so Laura and I can experience our first Burning Man together.
When my wife Andrea saw the list of things we needed to bring in order to survive, she commented that it was longer than her packing list for her deployment for Afghanistan. In addition to all the regular camping supplies one needs, you have to build a shade structure so you don't bake when you are trying to nap in the day in the blazing sun and heat. So I have learned how to build a monkey hut.
And there are the costumes. Creativity is important at Burning Man. So Laura and I went thrift-shopping. And of course one needs a tutu for Tutu Tuesday. I Received this photo from a grandmother in my congregation, letting me know that Michael's had a good selection.
But the big decision for me had to do with what I had to offer the Burning Man community. I am not particularly artistic and I did not have a great deal of time to prepare. I wondered in what way I could offer myself as a priest. Laura told me to make sure I brought holy water. That invited me to think how I could bless people. I've decided to bring oil for anointing, and to use a blessing that combines words I say at the end of Mass with words I say at Baptism, anointing their eyes, ears, lips, hands, and feet as I say:
"The world now is too dangerous and too beautiful for anything but love. I anoint your eyes so you see God in everyone, your ears so you hear the cry of the poor, your hands so everything touch is a sacrament, your feet so you run to those who need you. And my your heart be so opened, so set on fire, that your love, YOUR love, changes everything."
I've created a business card with my contact information including my BM address at camp Perky Parts, as well as the words of the blessing. I don't know how I will be received, but I am eager to bless and be blessed by the beloved children of God who will be gathering on the Playa.