Grassroots Paganism: Magic or Miracle?
Article ID: 14454
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,175
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Author: Disciple of Oghma
Posted: May 15th. 2011
Times Viewed: 2,851
So what positive affect has the ‘Pagan Community’ yielded to its community? Just curious. Here in Lafayette, Indiana I'm not really seeing much of anything. There are forty-eight churches, five dedicated Christian books stores, and one Pagan supply store (My deep thanks to Castle-Brooks or I‘d be lost!) . So this winter I walked outside in the snow to the delightful tunes of sound of Christian propaganda clumsily disguised as seasonal music and saw one Judeo-Christian organization after another running shelters, soup kitchens, collecting toys for underprivileged kids, and the list goes on. Truly the winter is their charitable heyday, but during the rest of the year some continue to run food pantries and other assistance groups. If you dig deeper, many well-established schools and hospital organizations in this country were originally planted and manned by Judeo-Christians.
We smile our tight-lipped smiles and bless them, and then quietly amongst our friends call them greedy, close-minded, and sometimes hateful people… but for all their divisiveness and apathy, they are influential and mobilized. Why? How did they become so entrenched in the fabric of our nation? We can blame history.
They arrived here in the Americas, murdered or relocated the original inhabitants when their land-for-beads deals fell through and then established their first churches and missions. Honestly the truth is they are part and parcel with our nation because they are outwardly present and affecting their communities. Even in government affairs, you have groups like Focus on the Family lobbying the Christian agenda and the Christian Coalition telling its subscribers how to vote and letting the government officials know that if they want the panel of subscribers on their side ‘this vote’ is how to further ‘our’ agendas. How are organizations like these so powerful in impact?
The answer: they have volunteers… vindictive (sometimes) , gossiping (who doesn't) , cliquish (never!) , reluctant (often) volunteers. People touching people in need. Even without a single cohesive vision, they set aside their own bitter internal arguments to reach out and provide. Yes, they shamelessly plug and advertise but when you’re standing in line at the food pantry because you make just enough money to be denied government assistance -- but not enough to buy food after you juggle the electric bill, gas, and rent -- what else are you going to read? Of course! The nifty little packet that says "Life Sucks, But Someone Cares and Has a Plan!”
Where is OUR presence? The world isn’t stopping online to read our blogs and web posts. Where are the coven food pantries? I certainly hope we aren't too busy to start one because we are complaining over our ritual feast about why no one pays attention to us. Let’s pour some more wine and honey at the feet of our deities’ statues and ask Them to make the world a better place. (I am not self righteously condemning you; I am one of the many trying to affect the world while sitting at my computer… more shame to me. This is more an exhortation for correction than a complaint against the Community.)
How can we touch the world if we are not in it? I see a few examples of interfaith community action but sadly, compared to the need, it has no more impact than fodder for the human-interest section of the newspaper. The Goddess provides for her children. What better offering could we give than to help our community? Think big. Would it be better to offer the finest mead to our gods or to give bread to our brothers? Think small. Touch the life of an individual.
Separatism and xenophobia breed ignorance and ignorance then breeds bigotry. How can people hate you if you are committing small acts of selfless kindness? Small acts are the most innocent and most impacting. Grassroots Paganism will have a more profound far-reaching impact than a thousand books on the shelf at the local bookstore.
Help an elderly neighbor with a difficult chore. Volunteer as a Big Brother/Sister. Volunteer in Habitat For Humanity. Have your coven do a door-to-door food drive. Even if you submit your harvest to a Judeo-Christian food-bank, you still touched the lives of those you gathered from and let them know you’re not a pet sacrificing baby eater.
Yes, we can join with our Christian practicing neighbors and use their tools and resources until we can develop our own. I fully encourage we do so! They are providing affordable childcare and thus granting themselves early access by which to plant the seeds of their perspectives in young lives. How many people send their kids to free Vacation Bible Schools? How many take advantage of reduce-cost childcare and other faith-based assistance programs?
We, as Pagans, haven’t made any real impact in these areas. Why are we satisfied with our contribution to the world being a section at the bookstore squeezed in between the self-help and fantasy?
Even if we are not as well published or successful, every life we touch wherein we give our personal testament (whether spoken or lived) to the inner peace we have found free of conformity is a foundation we build to a better world. They are our brothers and sisters in humanity.
We are all vessels of the Gods, no matter who we give service to or what names we call Them. Let us use the tools at hand and develop more of our own as soon as we are strong enough! We practice a faith that venerates our connection with nature and the world. Let’s set our self-flattering aside and yield a true sacrifice. Stop overly emphasizing Magic long enough to participate in a Miracle!
Disciple of Oghma
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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