Searching for the Big Picture


- Two perspectives: a NASA visualisation, and the vision of a contemporary Indigenous Australian artist. A trans-cultural, cross disciplinary spiritual conversation. I would love to see these in a formal exhibit together... meanwhile we can imagine...

1) Our Galaxy's Magnetic Field, by the Max Planck institute / NASA images
2) Yanjirlpirri Jukurrpa – Seven Sisters Dreaming, by Alma Nungarrayi Granites

Our Galaxy's Magnetic Field - Image Credit & Copyright:   ESA / Planck ;  Acknowledgement:  M.-A. Miville-Deschênes,  CNRS  –  IAS ,  U. Paris-XI

Our Galaxy's Magnetic Field - Image Credit & Copyright: ESA/Planck; Acknowledgement: M.-A. Miville-Deschênes, CNRSIAS, U. Paris-XI

Yanjirlpirri Jukurrpa – Seven Sisters Dreaming, by Alma Nungarrayi Granites, courtesy of  Japingka Aboriginal Art

Yanjirlpirri Jukurrpa – Seven Sisters Dreaming, by Alma Nungarrayi Granites, courtesy of Japingka Aboriginal Art

An invitation to “Rituals and Communities”

Welcome to the Rituals & Communities section of the Exploring Liturgy website, which you’ll find in the Main Menu at the top of every page. The reports in this section are limited and partial, employing mixed-media, engaged by and grateful for the places we visit.

Here’s a bit more on what we think we can and can’t seek and try to do in what you’ll read in the Rituals & Communities reports...

What we are doing here

—We are exploring liturgy

—We visit interesting places, which in some way or other relate to one or more of our five focus areas: Aboriginal, diasporic, emergent, interfaith, and neo-Pentecostal rituals and communities (see the Research tab in “About” in the Main Menu)

—We speak “from the ‘I’,” personally, for ourselves, about our experience as participant-observers

—We ask questions from liturgical studies—such as those in the ritual surveys and worship questionnaires that are common in teaching and learning in the field. (See that in Susan White, Groundwork of Christian Worship [Peterborough: Epworth, 1997], for instance, or for examples by teachers in the University of Divinity, those in Stephen Burns, Pilgrim People [Adelaide: MediaCom, 2012] or Glen O’Brien, Introduction to Christian Worship [Melbourne: UAP, 2014])

—We seek to describe what we find in a tone of appreciative enquiry: curious and open-hearted

—For the main part, we convey what we know to be first impressions. (Although it is possible that a writer may have a longer association with a community, the report is usually of a unique occasion)

—We visit public gatherings and gathering-places, about which there is information in open social media 

—We speak with—and we welcome one another’s—different voices from across an ecumenical interfaith range

—We participate because we celebrate difference and are glad that the communities we write about are part of the liturgical, ritual, and votive landscape within our reach

What we don’t do here

—We don’t speak for the leaders, organisers, or regular attendees of the places we visit. We don’t represent, nor do we recruit, for the communities

—Although the editors of this site have affiliation with the University of Divinity, we don’t speak for the university or for any other institution

—We don’t explore the histories of the communities we visit. While sometimes reports are based on a number of visits, more often they refer to just one, trusting that first impressions count, partial as they are

—We don’t prescribe for the places we visit on the basis of norms from the religious communities we may ourselves be part of—though we may acknowledge how our own experience shapes our questions and perspectives

—We don’t speak for one another—and nor can we: for we are not the same nor hold a single view; though we do welcome one another’s, and always more, voices...

SO would you like to write for RITUALS & COMMUNITIES?

We welcome narratives of appreciative enquiry in the spirit of Exploring Liturgy as sketched out here. Contact us through the tab in the Main Menu.

Thanks for reading. We’re glad you’re here...

Enjoy exploring liturgy.


Thumbnail image: Kenneth Burns / photo: Stephen Burns.
Photos below: by Catherine Schieve from 1) the Greek Orthodox community in Melbourne,  2) a Hindu Temple in Kuala Lumpur, and 3) photographing the Jade Buddha at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Victoria