Friday, July 12, 2013

Resisting Cargo Culture (Bold Cafe)

This is an article I wrote for this month's edition of Bold Café- an online magazine for young adult women (or anyone who reads it). The magazine is a ministry of the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The article has a companion faith reflection (see previous post).

I saw the pair of shoes on the shelf near the window, when I was almost out the door. Their eye-catching color and unusual heel shape pulled me like a magnet. “Please don’t be my size, please don’t be my size,” I chanted, as I lifted the right one. Phew! The number suggests they’ll be too large. “You never know until you try them on,” whispers a little voice in my ear.  
I shake my head to clear it and firmly say out loud, “Cargo cult.” I put the shoe back and walk out of the store, completely empty-handed.   
The little bag of yarn reels me in like the catch of the day. With eight balls of coordinating yarn, I think of the fun little projects I could make. Sure I have yarn at home I haven’t used yet, but not like this. I could make a… “Cargo cult.” 
And I push the cart on to complete my grocery list. I have talked with my husband again and again about making a weekly meal plan, but something always comes up and so we never do. I buy groceries for the week, attempting to guess what we might eat. I usually forget something I bought, only to find it later—rotting in a corner or drawer of the fridge or dust-covered in the back of the pantry. Embarrassed, I throw it away or compost it, muttering: “Cargo cult.” 
In reality, a cargo cult is a complex spiritual and religious system—most frequently found in islands of the South Pacific. The belief system is oriented around specific worship practices and living habits that organize the social relationships of the community. There is also an expectation that the correct religious practice will result in material blessings from gods or ancestors... See more after the jump to the Café website. 

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