Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What Are We In?

The question is often raised: Whether the people who call themselves pagan/Wiccans constitute a community. If we use as a first-draft definition: a community is a group of people who work together for a common purpose and are mutually supportive, then to our eyes the people who espouse the label have lost their professed purpose. Many pagan/Wiccans find themselves trying to educate a small group of acolytes/seekers. Unfortunately that teaching sometimes comes with an unspoken subscript, "My path or no path."
One prime purpose of a community is mutual support. If a member is unwell, is short of cash, needs help getting a car repaired, or whatever, then the community should pull together to offer what help it can. This is not to say the community should be enablers of parasitic or negative behavior.
We Frosts may be blessed with a larger number of friends and acquaintances than many of you are, and we can say with some confidence (though with great sorrow) that today's pagan/Wiccans do not support; instead they tear down. We've all got to stop this behavioral trend, though quite frankly we ourselves have no idea of how to do it. So we're open to suggestions.
It would be a great pity if everybody changed their path so that we all formed one gray amorphous mass. The whole excitement stemming from differences of opinion, and thus sharing possibilities, would be gone. What can we do, mutually to help each other? How can we go forth as a united religion (or spiritual path) and gain our rightful place in a modern society?
Some of you read on this site the little homily about Gail Geisenhainer's painful experience in a UU fellowship. We got only one real comment on why the members of the fellowship did not criticize the woman who held such negative views about gays. Is that fact symptomatic of our problem? That apathy?
We're off to Toledo, so you'll have plenty of time to get worked up again at us.
Blessed be, y'all. Gavin and Yvonne


SecondComingOfBast said...

It's probably just symptomatic of the times we live in. There is a lot of anger out there, and even more uncertainty as to what lies ahead. Politics is the ultimate divider, in my opinion. It hinders progress, because it encourages value judgments of people toward one another based on an assumption about them due to their perceived political or other beliefs. It is called "identity politics" and it unfortunately infiltrates all areas of life, including religion.

That is to a large degree an explanation as to why your friend didn't get more support in her UU dilemna. Bear in mind, the UU is arguably one of the more "liberal" organizations out there, so if this divisiveness infiltrates even a place like that-a place that openly encourages advocacy positions, generally geared toward liberal politics-that's a sure sign that we are facing divisions throughout society.

A lot of people would probably have spoken up, but now so many people are on edge, they hold back. If I do this, will I be seen as somebody that supports gay marriage, will I be seen as someone who wants homosexuality tolerated, if not outright encouraged, in our public schools.

As a matter of disclosure, I should point out I am in favor of gay marriage, as opposed to "civil unions". At the same time, there is a lot of nonsense out there I don't want to be personally identified with.

That is the crux of the matter. It is hard to pull together as a community when there is so much resentment just seething below the surface as pertains to so many divisive issues.

In a way,though, there is a positive aspect to all of this, when you stop to think about it. It shows, for one thing, that people are getting tired of identity politics, and all the divisiveness it brings. They would prefer to stay in the background and say nothing, as to be perceived as someone who jumps on a bandwagon as a knee-jerk ideologue of any stripe.

What it all boils down to is-people not only dislike-they resent being pigeonholed. Yet, that is what the "leaders" of society encourage. You are expected to migrate into one or another particular herd like all the other mindless cattle.

Then, you are expected to sing for your supper, so to speak. Or, perhaps more appropriately, jump through hoops when the bell rings.

When those bells rings, though, you see the crux of the problem. Divisions are encouraged in society, and these divisions go a long way toward divisions within communities. When times are relatively good, then tose divisions are manageable, and can even be positive to an extent.

But, when times are bad, and there is so much uncertainty, and fear, those divisions are exacerbated exponentially.

Shadowhawk said...

Hello i am home once again.. First off ,my mother was in the hospital for 7 and a half weeks after surgery for large masses on her lower descending colon, after 2 weeks they were about to release her when they pull a drain to soon causing her to be septic and went back in for a second surgery. i went up to see her and ended up staying 8 weeks myself taking care of her.. now she is back in PhelpsCounty Regional in Rolla for a 2 week vacuum treatment to seal her incision . Let it be known cancer is a horrible thing..Now to my comment.. I dont see it as apathy per se in the pagan community towards others , i see it in some instances as selfishness.Its all this get laid get paid type of magickal mentality that is causing it to an extent..Its like not many care to learn the depths of pagan practice experience and see where traditions come from.. Also i see in the3 UU arena that it seems to me its on purposely trying to shun the pagan contingency.. Like the case where UU no longer allows CUUPS to be a part of the UU voting body in matters of things that tie them together. They are trying to say that CUUPS is far removed from what the mission of the is supposed to be.. There are articles about it floating around.. Thats why for me im not UU . To much politicking not enough spiritual focus.. I would hate to see the Wiccan pagan community turn to something Amorphus and uncohesive..Unity is nice but the ME ME ME attitudes are whats ruining it for the rest of us

Unknown said...

I have to agree, I am not UU either. Granted, I am still the Registry Agent for CUUPS (because I live in Ohio) I am only doing this as a favor for the President of CUUPS.

I think that the UU church is instead too far removed from it's affiliates --which to me in is teetering on dangerous ground if you ask me. The UU church isn't very supportive in many aspects and I don't see that changing at all in the near future. The UU church is like any other church and they are clique'ish and nothing but political. Since moving to Cincinnati I have had the chance to attend the local UU's around here and choose not to.. I choose to remain solitary but loosely affiliated with a local coven in Northern Kentucky.

Church politics suck and it always will. NOthing can be done to change that.

na said...

Politics Suck! (How is that for an intelligent comment lol)

Maybe a good cleansing of the Earth is in order. Then we can all let the Goddesses and Gods sort things out afterwards.

czoom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.