Home > Newsletter, Uncategorized > Finding meaning in ritual

Finding meaning in ritual

By Paola Banchero, University of Alaska Anchorage
Religion and Media Interest Group Chair

“July? Where has the summer gone?” lamented my husband. I didn’t have it in me to tell him that we’ve spent nearly three weeks frittering a good part of the summer away watching World Cup soccer games, especially the ones that began at 6 a.m. Alaska time. I’d make sure to have coffee made by the time the game started. We talked about where we were when the last World Cup was played, and the one before that, when I’d try to see games at the mall in Guadalajara, where I was living at the time. Every four years, I become a dedicated soccer fan, reading about the players and coaches, doing cartwheels when a Cinderella team makes it to the quarterfinals or beyond, screeching at the television when the referee makes a bad call. My nuttiness for the World Cup subsides after the final, In the intervening four years, I catch only the occasional match.

A similar sensation must come over people who go to church for the “important” holidays of Easter and Christmas. They crave the ritual, the moment of participation and the good feelings that linger afterward. The details of the sermon are forgotten, but the message lasts a bit longer, perhaps until the next holiday. Meaning is found in participating in the ritual.

I’ve come to think of the annual conference of AEJMC as a similar kind of ritual. Sometimes I refer to my notes from a particular session, but more often, I think about which conference I met a colleague at or when I first heard about the research of an impressive scholar. I’m sure that the Denver conference will be particularly memorable. I’ll mark the annual ritual the same way I usually do: going to as many sessions as my brain can absorb, meeting up with old friends and slipping away for at least one good dinner. However you spend time at the conference, consider it more than a meeting of colleagues. While this year’s RMIG board can’t shoot like the Argentines or pass like the Germans, I’m hopeful we’ve had a role in making the AEJMC conference a meaningful ritual, one that you will remember for years to come.

Here’s the schedule to help you make your travel arrangements.

Categories: Newsletter, Uncategorized
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