Saturday, March 15, 2008

a possible logo

(Nathan, I'll send you the 300dpi graphic file. You wanted something photocopiable, so there we are.)

Readers: the above design is subject to change, but the basic concept for it came to me pretty much in the form you see it above (not my face, though; that's a conceited addition). One danger is that the bootprint image might be accidentally or deliberately misread by the clueless and/or by cynics (not to mention clueless cynics) as implying that I'll be stamping out all religions. Your reactions are welcome.


Friday, March 14, 2008

places I'd like to visit during the Walk

I'd love to be able to hit any (or all!) of the following:

churches/cathedrals (of various denominations)
temples (Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, etc.)
religious centers (Zen centers and the like)
ashrams (wherever they might be)
universities (I'd like to pepper the Walk with some academese)

As mentioned before, I understand that I most likely won't be sleeping overnight in the actual houses of worship; that's fine with me. Spending a night at the home of a clergyperson or layperson is a delightful prospect.

You may have noticed that I mentioned universities above. That was deliberate: while I hope to spend most of my time meeting folks from all different backgrounds, I think it might be a good idea to mingle, periodically, with academics. Why? Because while academics might occasionally be off in their own little worlds, it's that very distance that often allows them to see the Big Picture, to put matters in perspective, to tease out grand themes and underlying concepts. And let's face it: while I'll never be a truly rigorous scholar, I do share certain geeky personality traits with hardcore academics. It'll be a pleasure to talk with them.

As the Walk approaches, I realize more and more how little I actually know about any of the religions I hope to encounter, including my own. This occurred to me the other day as I was mulling over the question of timing-- I'll be arriving at certain holy sites at special times of the year. What ceremonies will I be likely to see? Not knowing much about the liturgical calendars of the major religions (even with Buddhism, the religion with which I am most acquainted outside of Christianity, my studies tended to focus more on the metaphysical aspects and less on the concrete, practical questions of ritual, liturgy, and other "external" signs of praxis), I have no idea what I might be walking into, although I'm pretty sure I won't be encountering any human sacrifice.

Anyway, the thought of passing by (and through) the great diversity of the American religious landscape, of meeting all sorts of interesting people and talking with them about interreligious issues, has me very much looking forward to this journey.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

mapping with Google

Google Maps is definitely an indispensable planning tool for people trying to calculate how far they walk. I just used GM to calculate the approximate distance I walk when doing the Namsan hike, and it's 2.4 miles, which I do in 48 minutes. Having just done the math, I see that 2.4 miles in 48 minutes is exactly 3mph, which is reassuring, as most of the walk is uphill once I'm past the Hilton Hotel. If I can maintain 3mph on a medium uphill grade, this bodes well for walking on level ground while encumbered.

I just applied the distance measurement tool to the first part of my walk from Coquitlam, BC to the US border; it'll be anywhere from about 18 to 21 miles to the US border, which I can do in a single day. Whether a place of worship lies just beyond that border, though, is yet to be determined. Nathan?