I am filming my show on May 5, 2007!
Finally I have things to announce. I haven't written because my entire Spring is up in the air and I wanted to wait until I had some concrete information, and now I have it! So, I will be shooting Letting Go of God, before a live audience on May 5th, here in Los Angeles at the Gay and Lesbian Center's Renberg Theater. I am shooting two shows that day, one at noon and the other at six p.m. I will have information later about how to get tickets if you want to be part of those audiences. (There will be a nominal fee, all the proceeds for those two shows will go to The Gay & Lesbian Center, Los Angeles for their programs and community outreach.) Before that, I will do seven shows at the Center's Renberg Theater, starting on April 20th. Those will be regular stage productions. Tickets will be able to be purchased for those seven shows in a couple of weeks. I will let you know when you can get tickets for that. When I shot God Said Ha! I had a live audience as well and it took about four hours to shoot the show. But the people had fun! Anyway, all this got worked out yesterday and I am thrilled. I am really excited to do the show again on a full set. When I performed Letting Go at the Hudson theater, I basically moved much of my living room furniture onto the set. And this time I will do that again, but it's going to be more elaborate. I have all kinds of ideas. Now I can really get started thinking about the look of the show in detail.
Last night I went downtown and listened to a debate, or maybe it was just a spirited discussion between Sam Harris and Reza Aslan, He wrote "No god but God, The Origins, Evolution & Future of Islam." The discussion was moderated by Jonathan Kirsch, who has written many books - his most recent is "A History of the End of the World" about the book of Revelation, and my most favorite of his books is, "God Against the Gods" which is a history of polytheism and monotheism in Western History.
The talk was very, very interesting. I found myself agreeing with a lot of what Reza was saying. His argument was that Sam was taking the most ridiculous and dated passages from the religious texts too literally and not understanding how religion is really understood by modern people and that he
(Sam) was blaming religion for things that would exist independently. For example, Reza argued that 9/11 was an inherently political attack, not so much a religious one. Sam agreed that there were political elements to that event, but that religion is the gasoline that fuels the fire and takes it over into more deeply divided territory where people are willing to die to kill the innocent. Reza says that history shows us that nationalism also makes people willing to kill the innocent. I guess I agreed with both of them -- I think religion is a terrible added fuel to inevitable tribal and cultural squabbles and wars that will arise around the world. I sat with my friend Catherine Ingram during the debate (she is a wonderful person and author and leader of popular retreats, one of her books is, "Passionate Presence" which I recommend heartily -- there are so few people out there willing to talk about profound -- or, for lack of another word, "spiritual" -- but I hate that word now, too -- life experiences and who understand science as well as she does) and she said that she thinks Sam shouldn't use the 9/11 attack as an example of heinous religious action -- she thinks things like female circumcision or women being stoned to death for having been raped are better examples.
I was actually really intrigued supportive of almost everything Reza was saying until the end of the discussion when he started talking about numinous experiences and how there are many paths to "truth" and science is only one of them. I actually don't necessarily disagree with this, but I never really know what people mean by "truth" when they invoke that word and I suspect they don't know either. That's when words like transcendence and phrases like "relationship with the ultimate" are thrown around too easily for my taste.
In any case, I plan to be a better participant in my forum from now on. Because I like the look and feel of the blog, I'm going to post my comments on blogger as well as on the forum. This may make it confusing in terms of comments. I don't know what to do about that yet. But, for now, that's what I'm going to do.