#6 in the series of “rabbit trails” based on my new book, Spirituality With Clothes On.
Last Friday I did a third book launch at CMU in Winnipeg, MB. I was very pleased with the attendance of about 40 people. The remarkable thing for me was the colliding of a number of my worlds: people in attendance varied from family, the church in Winnipeg where I was youth pastor 21+ years ago, CMU faculty, to a student from Columbia who happened to be in the city.
The section I read was “The Mall Conspiracy,” a humorous satirical piece about the power of consumer culture that influences our spirituality. After this I encouraged people to buy books from their local bookstore rather than online [unfortunately they ran out of books]. I suppose it is no surprise that the discussion focused on this issue, stretching to the topic of the clothing industry—even though the title of the book is completely analogous, other than this chapter on consumerism! In this one chapter the analogy also becomes an example [see p. 106].
Since the book only came out a few months ago there have been no formal reviews that I am aware of but numerous people have given their informal responses. It is interesting that quite a few of them talk about the analogy rather than the content. One elderly reader in my church has told me numerous stories from his childhood about clothing. For example, he grew up having to wear a tie to attend church in Russia to show reverence for God, but now in Canada the more conservative Mennonites frowned on this frivolous show of pride. Clothing has been a Mennonite issue since the second generation of our existence when the Waterlanders and Frisians argued over buttons and lace!
In many ways clothing literally is an expression of our personality as I begin in chapter 5. “We are what we wear.” This also works well for the analogy where clothing represents our background and our experiences. “There is no such thing as naked spirituality.” I appreciate any responses from readers, whether the response is to the analogy or the content of any chapter!