From Yoga to Twenty Below: Religion and Radicalism

Last weekend’s Religion and Radicalism conference was quite something. Under normal circumstances, it requires a little more effort than usual to get here – to Herrnhut, Saxony. On this occasion, the effort was significant. For those who evaded Malaysian elections, slashed feet, dreadful German immigration officials, lambing season and so on, the day of travel revealed … a Lufthansa strike. From Kiev to Oslo, from Helsinki to London, people scrambled to find other options. Eventually, people managed to get here over the next day. The result was that once here the appreciation was much higher.

The paper sessions were absorbing, generating new ideas and at times vigorous debate:





In the evenings we gathered in our apartment for drinks (the amusement was largely due to this map) …


… and took instructions in yoga:


Amazing what a few drinks will make people do at 1.00 am:


Even so, ageing bones make the lotus position just a little more difficult:


On Sunday afternoon we had a special treat: the wind chill knocked what was already the coldest ‘spring’ day on record to -20 Centigrade:


It was our day for trekking, exploring the early days of the Moravian Brethren, Zinzendorf’s Schloss, and the stone circles used for quiet gatherings in the forest. The circles were used to meet and discuss community problems in the 1700s:


With weather like this, I’m guessing not many problems would have been that urgent. Meanwhile, we made the most of it and plunged down steep hillsides:



On return, there was nothing a little bit of thawing wouldn’t restore to its old self.

Yet, despite it’s apparent remoteness …


… it is a place to which people seem to come from all corners of the globe. They even had flags out for us:

IMG_0308 (3)a

Or, more closely:



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