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Article ID: 3647
Age Group: Adult
Posted: October 6th. 2001
Some Thoughts on National Leaders?
Greetings Witches, Wiccans and Pagans,
As stated in last weeks update, we decided to 'hold' our thoughts on this until after last weeks question had rendered a week worth of responses. It was a HOT question for sure! A record 288 of you responded and YOUR thoughts were viewed over 16, 000 times. We will approach this question again in the future.
Allow us to preface this statement by saying that these are our personal thoughts and are of no more value than any of the statements posted on last week's question or that of anyone else in the community. We present our thoughts here due to the challenge in the email that started this discussion (our brief public response to that post is located at the end of this statement).
It is also worth noting that we had no "hidden agenda" behind proposing last weeks question. We have NEVER considered ourselves leaders and have nothing to gain or lose by the results from this question. Simply stated Wren and I, and many others, are in positions of community service. It's what we do and if we hadn't fallen into this (Witchvox), we would have been serving the community in other ways. We did this before Witchvox and we will, no doubt, serve the community in some capacity after our work here is done.
We are most impressed with local leaders (many of them don't even refer to themselves as such). Witchvox exists TO celebrate those that ARE actually doing something at the local level, they are the spirit OF this community. Our local leaders are in the trenches, teaching, gathering and celebrating the Pagan Path. They do this daily and consistently. If anyone is going to speak for us it will be those that live that path.
Although we see a specific need for National Leaders, we see it as a very small one. As Wren likes to say, "What would they do?". In fact, most inquiries by the press ARE for local stories about local Pagans. As I stated last week, it is our policy to send the press TO the local figureheads or groups.
Any national leader would really have to be spiritually attuned to some Pagan path, but be willing- and able- to look beyond his/her personal belief system in order to speak on issues relevant to Paganism in a neutral manner. People used to advise that in polite company one simply did not bring up the very emotionally charged topics of religion or politics. Now we seem to speak of each of them a good deal of the time. And we often speak of religion and politics together. We would prefer that in the constitutionally inferred spirit of the separation of church and state, that religion really could be separated from politics all of the time. Unfortunately, that final taboo has already been broken and we doubt that we can stuff the genie back into the bottle any time soon.
Faced with that reality, it would naive to think that Pagans have no need to keep abreast of or to publicly address political issues. That is one area where easily identifiable and readily available informed Pagan leaders would be an asset. Standing in as neither conservative nor liberal, but rather simply as for or against a policy, law or bill that may impact Pagan civil rights and equality, some such as these could be very helpful. However, this position would require that such a person be open, easily identifiable and readily available to the Pagan individuals and communities BEFORE they stand up and take on that role for the rest of the world to see.
It is amazing to watch some 'leaders' who have tried to reverse this process. Why they would want to lead or represent Pagans- when by almost every word that they utter (privately anyway), deed that they do (and if they won't get paid for it, they don't offer it) and attitude that they strike (Careful ya don't scrap that nose on the ceiling there, darlin!), they make it plain that they don't respect, notice or even LIKE most of the Pagan community- is beyond us!
Like most of you, we don't trust just anyone to speak for us, especially IF they show little desire in seeking our thoughts (do take note of this) as just plain ole members of the Pagan community. There are many that claim themselves national leaders, and we were delighted to read that we are not the only one who notice that many of our national leaders don't seek our ('our' here being the collective Pagan communities) input. If we don't get to choose them via an election, then the least we can ask is that they assertively solicit our community input BEFORE they speak for us all.
The Modern Pagan is an independent and feisty creature, and one that is clearly passionate about his/her spiritual path. As long as we have the First Amendment, we have the constitutional right to practice this spiritual path. Personally, Wren and I have little desire to be accepted or 'respected' by other faiths. No set of National Pagan Leaders, elected or not, will gain us the respect of other faiths. We WILL obtain respect when we DO things that are worthy OF respect. It always comes back to the work that actually gets done. Trust and respect are always earned.
Oh Yes, in response to the email entitled "An open letter to the Pagan Leaders" in which we were specifically noted. (see copy)
- We aren't leaders, 'self-proclaimed' or other wise,
- We have no desire to be Pagan leaders. Never have.
- We aren't "psychics" or "seers", nor have we ever claimed to be.
- We didn't get 'invited' to the National Cathedral. Even if we did, we are poor folk, I spent that day (Fri), like most of you, working 10 hours at my "day job" so that we could afford food and rent. How were we supposed to get from Florida to NY on Friday anyway?
- We don't have a book or any desire to get a "book deal". Hence you won't see anyone lining up for a book signing. In fact, only one person in 6 years has ever asked for our "autograph", we were stunned and cheerfully complied!
- We aren't MIA, the Witches' Voice is alive and has been updated daily all week. Anyone CAN connect to our email address from the bottom of any of the 3, 600 pages at Witchvox. We have a rich history of actually responding to email.
- We DO community service, via offering powerful news and networking, for FREE and have done this faithfully for almost 6 years. We have worked very hard to do this effectively.
It is clear to us that we have many wonderful leaders and the results of their work can be seen everywhere. They are the ones who usually don't think of themselves AS leaders. They don't demand your respect, they work hard in order to earn it. And once they have earned it, they do not abuse it but treasure it as the sacred trust that it is. We salute the self-less natural leaders of our community and are honored to call them brother and sister.
The journey really IS the reward, but while these fine folks do offer themselves as servants, they do not consider themselves anyone's slaves. So if you do happen upon one of the leaders/facilitators/elders/ service folk who seem to fit the description above, do take a moment to thank him or her. They don't do what they do for the power (which they will never accept) and they don't do it for the glory (There isn't any.) and they don't do it for the recognition (They are already working on something else anyway). They certainly don't do it for the money. They simply want to make a difference and they want to include everyone in the benefits that result from the service that they offer. Thus the words that they would appreciate hearing from time to time are simply: "Thank you. You have made a difference. I appreciate the work that you have done."
And so, to you who have been so kind and supportive to us over the years, we say; "Thank YOU. YOU have made a difference and we appreciate everything that YOU have done."
Proudly in Your Service,
Wren Walker and Fritz Jung
Monday, September 10th. 2001
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