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A Matter Of Opinion

The Theology of Elvis

If you haven't heard, yesterday was the 30th anniversary of Elvis' death.

Theologians sometimes point out how in our increasingly secular culture, people crave ritual. So they finds ways (whether aware of it or not) to do ritual in secular life.

The Elvis anniversary has religious overlays everywhere you look. Consider:

1)Pilgrimage. Most major faith traditions have pilgrimage rituals. Mecca. Lourdes. You get the idea. According to the Associated Press, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau estimate that up to 75,000 people will be in Memphis for the anniversary week.

2) Ritual clothing and other accoutrements. Catholics priests have vestments. Jewish people have prayer shawls. Incense, candles, bells, chimes and prayer gongs are common in many faith traditions. Elvis worshippers have black Elvis outfits or white ones, depending on which Elvis era they liked the best.

3) Communion. If you missed Doug Clark's great column and video on the making and eating of the Elvis peanut-butter-jelly-bacon-butter sandwich at Cassano Grocery in Spokane, click here to see it.

4) Music. Churches have gospel choirs and guitar Masses and cantors and chanters and organ music. Elvis worshippers have Elvis' music.

Any other Elvis ritual I've forgotten? Blog lines are open.

(This post is being simulblogged at Journey to Vatican III.)

(In this AP photo, fans visit the flower-covered grave of Elvis Presley on the grounds of Graceland in Memphis.)

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