Hey, these are some great comments to come home to after a day out & about!

tournesol – Excellent point about ‘love apples’ – wish I’d remembered that.

Peter – I’m glad you agree with me about fundamentalism, since I gather from other stuff you’ve said that you were once more or less in that camp yourself.

Re: purity, I thought about qualifying my points about priesthoods and such, but figured that if folks followed the links to my old posts about the Zuni, they might realize that the important distinction is whether the people serving in priestly roles are unpaid volunteers, as in Zuni, or whether they form a seperate caste, as in India, say. It has a lot to do with patriarchy, too: the Zuni are matrifocal, so male priestly positions can only be handed down to a nephew — a sister’s son. All this works to guard against the growth of an ideology of seperateness associated with ritual purity and a fear/hatred of the body associated with sexist ideology, I believe. In Zuni, someone performing an important ritual function must restrain from sexual contact for only a day or two in advance.

Marja-Leena – Glad you enjoyed this!

Pica and Teju – That sounds like a book I really need to check out. I do admire the incarnational, embodied aspect of Christianity.

Leslee and Teju – “Lifeless” may have been a little hyperbolic, but I was thinking in terms of the contrast with towns and cities in the global south.

Leslee’s point about anxiety is spot on. As for comparing ourselves with other countries — that’s hard. In certain domains, we do have a lot more freedom, especially for women and sexual minorities. But in other areas, as Teju suggests, we accept a lot of controls that must be very difficult for new immigrants to understand.

Bill – Thanks for the poem! What kind of handle, exactly?