Finding your faith and leaving the "community" outside the circle

Reaction to the repeated loud calls for greater Pagan community

The few days have been interesting. I've been without my Palm and find that time gets away from me too easily.

Of course I missed reading this week's edition of Witchvox until my friend juliaki pointed it out to me. She wanted my opinion on this article Losing My/Your Religion by Patricia Telesco.

You can find juliaki's response here.

I have a few things to say about this idea of "Pagan Community" myself. And yes, I am one of those nasty solitaries that Ms. Telesco has a problem with.

In almost every case where I have heard calls for Pagan Community, no matter what is said on the surface, the motivations seem to fall into one of two categories.

First is the Pagan Crusader. According to this type, the real goal should be restraining those "nasty Christian types" who are only a step and a half away from dominating the world. Ed Hubbard is a good example of this type. Although depending on the day of the week, he might deny it or proudly proclaim it. And of course, the ends justify the means. So if it is a fight those NCTs want, it is a fight they will get.

Then there are the types who want a Greater Pagan Community, but only for certain types. The gates are wide open if you are progressive and politically correct, but will be slammed in your face if you are conservative or libertarian. Even if they can accept you for your Paganism, you will be expected to keep your mouth shut on "important" matters. One of the more interesting Pagans I know is very conservative. I myself am libertarian. I know from experience that the GPC types don't like to have their assumptions questioned, or their particular demons shown to be not quite as bad as the hype. Patricia Telesco fits this type, I have had dealings with her before.

The fact that Ms. Telesco seems almost desperate to have her leadership role in the "Greater Pagan Community" justified concerns me. And that brings us to the matter of pay for elders.

There is also a lot of history that is getting overlooked. Neopaganism has always had more than it's share of divisiveness. Nor am I convinced that is such a bad thing, it keeps us honest.

Even assuming that all (or most) Pagans could be shoehorned into one religious group, historically there have been very few religious leaders who are paid well by their followers. Of the ones who have been, they have either had political power or take advantage of their followers in some manner. Television evangelists come to mind.

I can't help but wonder if Isaac Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame were applied to a Pagan leader who didn't have to work another job, what would the results be?

As an individualist, I have my own reasons to oppose groupthink. As a Pagan, I do not believe that the gods expect us to conform to some standard of belief and politics. And that is the real rub, at least for me. For all the flak I get for being a political Pagan, I am up front with what I believe. If I tell you something political, I won't try to cloak it in Paganism.

That is why I have both a mainstream and a Pagan blog.

Posted: Wed - July 12, 2006 at 09:09 PM
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