Suburbia and the sacred. Sound like a contradiction? If there’s a cathedral in the suburbs, we’re more likely to consider the local shopping centre than a place of worship. Ann Aisatullin, of United Religions Initiative, and Religions for Peace Australia, speaks in the program, Soul Search.
But the suburbs are where most of us live most of our lives – it’s the place where we explore and express our beliefs and spirituality day in, day out.
So where do we find joy and hope, beauty and grace? How do we experience the transcendent and divine?
Ann Aisatullin, the Asia-Pacific representative of the United Religions Initiative, grew up in Sellicks Beach just south of Adelaide, Witawali or Witawodli is its Kaurna name. She’s returned there now to care for her mother.
“There’s a calmness and a peace here that I really like connecting to,” she says. “I feel the sacred here in a sense, it’s a closer connection to the ground, nature, the earth.”
Harshpreet Singh, coordinator for Turbans 4 Australia, will introduce us to his neighbourhood in Brisbane, where he and his family are part of the Sikh community. They visit the local temple frequently and regularly.
“The temple itself teaches us some many things,” he says. “What is kindness? What is sharing? So many things we attain when we go to the Gudwara.”
Also, Dr Jaimee Stuart, a cultural and developmental psychologist, will introduce us to superdiversity – a phenomenon we see in Australian cities – and discuss the suburbanisation of religious diversity.
Sacred Landscapes: Part II explores the coldest regions of our world covered in snow and ice, to suburbia – the areas that outline our cities but are central to our collective spirituality and sense of the sacred.
Catch up on Sacred Landscapes: Part I where we go to the church forests of Ethiopia, the mountains of Chinese Daoism, and the seascapes of Pacific theology.
Sacred landscapes: suburbia Listen to the Podcast (or download).