November 5, 2009

Generation G: Living in a Glocal Town

Posted in Faith Transformations, Generation G(lobal), interfaith experiences, pluralism, religion, technology tagged , , , at 6:53 am by Lakshmi (LaChelle)

interfaithI’m just a small town girl, livin’ in a global world. Well, glocal, really. Because I still live in a bubble. The little area I live in is so immaculate, it looks like a movie set sometimes. And I fail to watch the news like I should. Confessions, confessions. Still, my little bubble is more diverse than the one I remember as a young teenager, when I thought the only history I knew was the US and Ancient Greece and Egyptian and British. Lots of British.

So what happened? I think I owe a lot to my continued education and perhaps (I admit with much guilt) leaving the sweet fields of waving wheat and WASPs. Not that Oklahoma isn’t super diverse, but. . . there is a fabulous Hispanic population as well as Asian. I had best friends of many ethnicities. But I never really learned too much about other religions and other cultures. Everything was in an American, Western context. And I’m not sure why.

Why didn’t we read Asian literature? What about the philosophies of the Dalai Lama or Ghandi or the story of the Gita? Why didn’t we discuss global issues, how capitalism looked from the perspectives of developing countries; why didn’t we do more than just reduce everything to stock characters and settings? Why wasn’t our education more comparative?

It is almost impossible for my generation to not be globally aware, although I still feel I have so much left to learn. I always felt that traveling was a bit more for the privileged than me, but school has helped me travel at least around the country, and helped me to participate in the conversations that have turned my focus outward.

There have been so many benefits to being in a religious studies program specifically, but graduate school in a place different than I grew up in general. I’ve learned not to be afraid of others or my own curiosity, although there is still some residual fear concerning what still doesn’t seem familiar or known. I’ve been blessed to catch a glimpse into the richness that is other cultures and religions and lifestyles. My experiences have helped me live life more fully and helped me understand that, as good and innocent of a person I have always thought myself to be, I need to work harder to understand my interdependence, and contribute to the good of the world.