From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hugs: Embracing religion

(Painting by Vigee-Le Brun, 1789)
What with Hug a Jew, Hug a Muslim, and Hug a Christian days – not to mention all the hugs that accompany the average worship service – it’s about time somebody clarified the actual religious value of a hug.

And somebody has…  That “somebody” is none other than Lord
David Prosser of Bouldnor, North Wales.  He created the Buthidar movement because he was sick and tired of sitting around listening to existing religious groups complain bitterly about other religions. What calls “the Religion without Religion” was born out of that frustration.  The Buthidar movement foregoes praying and preaching in favor of smiling and hugging.  After all, it is often the preachers of hate that pray for the “enemy’s” doom.  On the other hand, few have died from smiles and hugs (especially in regions where boa constrictors are scarce).

The Buthidar movement began humbly on Facebook, and then
expanded onto its own website.  It’s motto, Friends First and Faith Second, was meant to emphasize the commonalities between adherents of all faiths.  Just an Internet way of translating another “motto” -  God is love  Pretty soon there were people of many faiths developing friendships with one another.

But why hugging?  Especially in the wake of reported abuse cases, both clergy and non-clergy are understandably wary of warm and fuzzy gestures.  Hugs have become quite formulaic in certain religious circles.  They have been categorized into those that are safe - and those that are risky.  The full frontal is decided risky.  The side-to-side is decidedly safe.

The Lord (Prosser, that is) transcends all such categorizations.  He simply focuses upon the overall power of hugging.  He goes so far as to claim:  We need four hugs a day to survive, eight to preserve ourselves, and twelve to grow.  Prosser then asserts that hugging is a “universal language” that achieves the following (and more):  It harmonizes the hearts of friends.  It strengthens and increases our ability to share.  It gives us a sense of belonging.  It preserves energy.  It delays aging.

He leaves us with this to chew on:  You can’t hug easily while holding a weapon…


Copyright June 11, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved 

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