Saturday, September 11, 2010

Forthcoming Book on Sacred Folly

A friend and ministry colleague of mine attended Burning Man Festival recently and has been posting his photos and a few observations on his Facebook profile. The latest profile update mistakenly identified Burning Man as neo-pagan, and asked why the festival included a strong emphasis on festivity. This has led to my posting several comments on my own in response, correcting the claim that Burning Man is neo-pagan, and borrowing from an argument by Peter Berger in A Rumor of Angels that play and festival can serve as a "signal of transcendence."

Today I received an email from Max Harris informing me of his book Sacred Folly: A New History of the Feast of Fools (Cornell University Press, forthcoming). This book will update and correct remarks Harris has made previously about the Feast of Fools in his book Carnival and Other Christian Festivals: Folk Theology and Folk Performance (University of Texas Press, 2003). As I have argued previously in my masters thesis on Burning Man, and in several posts on this blog, western evangelicalism would do well to reflect on the importance of festival and play in connection with ecclesiology and worship and how the historical Feast of Fools, properly understood in its historical and ecclesiological contexts in the past, might be recontextualized in certain subcultural contexts for the present.

See my previous interview with Harris on Carnival and Other Christian Festivals here. Related to Harris's forthcoming book is his article "A Reassessment of the Feast of Fools: A Rough and Holy Liturgy," See also my post "Burning Man and Play Theology."

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