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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

Of gods and men

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C550866538/E20090317131705

I don't bow unless I respect

When I was a about 13 or 14, I met a remarkable Methodist bishop named Charles F. Golden. At the time, I was doing my best to be a good Methodist and I had gone with a youth group to meet the bishop. There were many things that impressed me about the man, and more still years later when I learned his history.

But there was one thing that stayed with me, even after I became a Pagan pagan. It was so simple, and yet so at odds with what I had been taught.

Paraphrasing (after all, it was a few years ago), he told us that when we prayed, we shouldn't look down. After all, we were talking not begging.

Later I learned that Bishop Golden was one of those men who did instead of talked. He was a "black" Methodist bishop when there were still segregated churches.

But it was that bit about talking with Divinity that stuck with me.

I honor my gods and their pantheon. When I can, I honor any gods (or worshipers) that I meet. But I don't bow my head. That's where I differ from many Pagans pagans.

My gods are wise, with wisdom and knowledge and abilities far beyond my own. Yet I believe that they do not want servants as much as they want allies. Part of this is because of the Celtic family structure. Part of it is because I believe that they want me to be the best I can be. And part of it is because I am too damn stubborn to bend my neck before anyone I do not respect.

I've no doubt in my mind that either of my Patrons could trim pin my ears back without blinking. That doesn't stop me from arguing with them. They always listen. I don't change their mind very often, but they always listen.

Part of my offering to them is my loyalty and my honor. It's a gift that is meaningless if it's done under coercion. Part of their gift to me is that I'm never alone if I need their help. Just because they know I can handle it doesn't mean that I do though. They teach the Iron Rule by example. They expect me to learn, to grow, to keep moving forward. My Gods demand that I find better ways to honor Them and the spark of Divinity that lives inside us all.

I do not believe that gods expect us to constantly abase ourselves, to always humble ourselves before them. Yes, they may be ultimately beyond our comprehension. Yes, the reality beyond the godmask is terrifying because it's totally outside our experience.

But we are the Blessed, the God-touched, the ones who walk between the worlds. I honor my Gods as Elder Relatives, not as saviors or rulers of my soul. It's the difference between fear and love.

I choose. I live. That is my sacrifice.

Posted: Tue - March 17, 2009 at 01:17 PM

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