Pantheacon always has that Summer Camp kind of feeling. It’s awesome while you’re there, and you miss it when you’re gone, but you also know that it wouldn’t be as special if you lived in that space all the time. Today, I miss it, but I’m also glad to be home and resting.
The Circle of Cerridwen had a suite this year, and this made for a very different, and amazing, con experience. We were intentionally a dry suite, as we have members who are in recovery, and while our suite didn’t get to the point where no one could move, it did have many interesting people come in and out. This also made for really interesting conversations. Some I didn’t think I’d have, and some that I really didn’t know the impact of until I came home on Monday.
But I (and the coven) did the work of pastoral care. Caring for people, sometimes, who would get ignored by other attendees for many reasons. Mostly ignored because they were different in some way, which, even at Pantheacon (as pleasant and awesome as this one was), does happen.
I’m still thinking about the work we did. My own personal pastoral work and impact, the impact of our coven, and the impact of the rituals we performed (The Descent and The Sacred Body). I’m really surprised that the Christian elements we brought with us didn’t get any overt push-back, and that we were thanked for talking about Jesus in a ritual. It’s really made me think harder about what my path really is. It always seems when I come up with a plan, it changes again. But the biggest message I got is that what I’m doing and the way I’m doing it is really important. I’ve been helping people, affecting and effecting people, on lots of levels. Some levels where I don’t even know what I’ve done for people.
But I do know I’ve gotten the best compliment a pastor/minister/priest can receive. Where someone takes the time to tell you that what you did, said, or preached has had an effect on them in some special way. That you’ve made an impact on their lives. That you’ve helped them realized something about themselves that they didn’t know before. That you’ve brought Spirit to them in some way that healed them.
It’s easy to say to myself that I didn’t do any of that, it was Spirit moving through me that did it. But really, Spirit can’t do this work without me (and those around me). Spirit can’t plan the ritual, bring the props, make music, make Keynote slides, break bread, make oil, and all the other things that can only can be done by a human being. But I’m really in awe of it. It’s scary sometimes. It’s scary because it just seems so much bigger than me, and because it’s so easy to get a big head about it. I know I have good folks around me to keep me from going there, but it’s hard not to go there.
It brings up the question of what I’m meant to do and where I’m meant to be. It brings up a lot of self-doubt. Do I get ordained in a Christian organization? Do I just hang on and figure that out after graduation? What organization really would want me in it? Do people really want my ritual, my preaching, anything I have to say?
Pastoring in the suite seemed so easy, really. I just did it. I was my priestly self. I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t doubt anything. I just did it. It’s only now when I’m technically “off duty” that my brain starts it’s litany of doubt.
And maybe that’s the answer. I just do God’s work and let (most) of the rest attend to itself. It seems too simple to do that, but….
So, it’s morning, and we have yet to get all the gear together and clothes together, but we’ll be doing that soon. (Most likely after a good breakfast and caffeinated beverages.)
If you’re going to be a Pantheacon, give us a shout, or better yet, come up to our suite! (Room 966…the crosstown neighbors of the Beast.) Check out our schedule of events, and don’t forget to come to our two events!
We’ll have snacks, chocolate, ribbons(!), and pagans to chat with up there, so swing on by!
If you are:
- gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual, asexual or any other sexual orientation…
- transgender, cis-gender, androgynous, multi-gendered, or any other gender…
- white, black, brown, red, or any other race…
- short, tall, fat, skinny, or any body type…
- Pagan, Wiccan, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Feri, Druid, Norse, Yoruba, Khemetic, Ceremonial, or any other faith path…
- a human being who likes to hang out with other human beings (or any flavor of being, for that matter)…
YOU ARE WELCOME TO OUR SUITE!
Mostly, it’s because there’s just so much going on! Pantheacon is a couple of days away, and I’m looking forward to doing the Wiccan Christian ritual I wrote (with some editing) on Monday at 11 am. The Awesome Wife is doing her music ritual “The Descent” on Sunday at 3:30 pm (at Club Maxx). We also have a suite this year, and we have lots of stuff going on there, too.
It’s crazy busy. You can look at the schedule on our wiki. Come check us out if you’re there.
School just started again, and that’s been really busy, too. Lots and lots of reading, of course. Interesting stuff, though.
I’ve also really started working on Dual Citizen Productions, and producing the new show Coffee With God with my friend Lee which is really taking off. Doesn’t hurt that Lee is pretty amazing at what he does! We’re also going to start filming The Greek Geek in March. I know a lot of folks liked his segments, and I hope you’ll watch the new ones when they come out.
I did an interfaith service at City of Refuge on December 30, 2012, and it was amazing. I’m still getting compliments on it, and really, I’m still in awe of the whole experience.
The biggest thing, though, is that I learned a lot about what being a minister/pastor really is about. I was feeling like I was just “one of the interns” until that service, and now I feel like I’ve really done something for the community. I know some people will say that I’ve really been doing it all along, but this was the first time I really felt that I had ministerial authority. We learn about it in classes, but I don’t think you really know until you do it.
What’s interesting, though, is that it’s made me look at what I do in my coven in a new light. I’m not only a priest and friend, I’m also a teacher. Sometimes I’m leading by example, sometimes through practice, and sometimes I have to give the spiritual boots to the head. It’s not always easy, either, because sometimes you have to be hard on someone, or even walk away from people, in order to help them. As the Morrigan pointed out to me in her story, sometimes it’s me that has to give the mercy blow.
To be honest, it sucks. Recently I was able to do it without apologizing for it, or feeling horrible about it for days afterwards. I felt sad that I had to, but I knew it was necessary. And I know I’ll have to do it again and again as I keep moving on this path.
It’s about power, really. It’s about figuring out how to wield your power to greatest effect. It’s also accepting the power you have. I didn’t think I realized just what I had in me. Now I do, and I’m in awe of it.
I also know that I need my friends more than ever now, because I know how power can put you on a pedestal or make you too full of yourself to function well with others. I also need to remember self-care, because being exhausted helps no one.
It’s hard. It’s not easy. But…I don’t think I’d have it any other way.
So, I guess I did figure out what to write…
It’s that time of year again! The time of year where we get out the fancy stuff and head down to San Jose for 4 days of Pantheacon mayhem and magick!
This year is going to be double exciting because Circle of Cerridwen has a suite this year!!! For our complete schedule of Pantheacon events, see our wiki page.
If you’re going to be at the con, please feel free to come by and say hello!
The fire surrounds me. I am raging. Raging at unfairness, at discrimination, at life, at things I really can’t control.
But I am angry.
Through the fire She comes and stares at me. She gives me that half smile that tells me She knows very well what’s going on. She laughs. The Snakes are looking at me, too, which only pisses me off more.
“What?!” I snarl.
“Well,” she says, “you can do something about that righteous rage you’ve got going there, or,” She pauses, “I could help you out.” She smiles again.
That stops me in my tracks.
I have been so angry, I haven’t stopped to think, really think, about what my anger is about. Is it a genuine anger that should be dealt with, or is it something that I should just let go of? Is it something that I can do something about on my own, or do I really need Her help?
I take a deep breath. And another. And another. And another.
I’m still angry.
I’m still frustrated.
She gives me a look and a sigh of impatience.
“Um…no…I think I can deal with it. Thank you for the offer, though.” (It always pays to be polite with Her.)
She laughs at me again. “All right. You know where to find Me if you change your mind.” A pillar of fire erupts and She has disappeared. The fire around me diminishes and grows cold.
Her laughter rings in my head as I seek a more mundane solution…
I’m trying to get back to writing a weekly post, and I’m in a strange spot these days. I have comments on a few things, so I think I’ll just make a random thought post right now, and if I think of anything more interesting later in the week, I’ll write that, too.
Art, Liturgy, and Audience
A TA from one of my classes this spring has been writing about art and liturgy, and it’s making me think about how my call to use art in ministry will pan out. One thing that keeps sticking in the back of my mind is challenging the audience. I think that it is a minister’s job is to challenge the people they are ministering to. It seems that in some places there’s a sense of not wanting to make changes because it will make people unhappy or uncomfortable. Or because they think that their congregation wouldn’t be able to “handle it” because it’s something that’s outside of what they know.
While I get the old notion that one must know their audience, I think it’s a serious mistake to think that a congregation/group/church/etc couldn’t handle anything new. And, I think, a serious underestimation of people’s intelligence. Sure, some people might not like, say, a sermon about a piece of art instead of a regular sermon, but even if they didn’t like it, they will still talk about it because it made them think.
Then again, I also think that a minister can’t be too predictable. It’s our job to help people think through the Really Big Questions, and even those answers can be a surprise.
I was talking with a friend earlier tonight about how I feel like I’m a broken record when I talk about progressive Christians with certain people. The question is always “Where are all the progressive Christians? Why aren’t they confronting the Right Wing nutjobs?”
The simple answer: money. If I had billions of dollars, you’d better believe that I’d be supporting progressive Christianity as much as I can. But I don’t have that.
My other answer: I won’t sit there and tell someone that if they just did X, Y, and Z their life will be good and they’ll go to Heaven. I won’t lie to them because the world isn’t simple: it’s not just Good and Evil. There are plenty of shades of grey and sometimes good things don’t come in pretty packages and not all beautiful things are good.
So, the progressive Christians are out there. We’re trying to fight the good fight. My question to the ones who ask where we are is: What are you doing to help us out?
Homophobia is not ok, even from family members.
A couple of weeks ago I posted a picture of Barney Frank and his partner at their wedding. It was a sweet picture, and it got a lot of likes from friends. The exception was my uncle. See, this uncle became one of the types of Fundamentalists that tell people they are going to hell for things on a regular basis. This uncle, and the rest of his family, moved to one of the south eastern states several years ago, and basically haven’t talked much to the rest of the family since (to my knowledge, anyway).
Anyway, he posted the bible verse “Romans 1:24-28”. I kind of figured where this was going, but I looked it up. Sure enough, it’s one of the ones that is used to prove the “sinfulness” of homosexuality. I admit, I was angry, especially considering a) I’m queer, b) I have a wife, c) I was his goddaughter, and d) I’m in freaking seminary. I basically said that he could take his homophobia somewhere else. He replied that their problem was with God.
Funny, since I’m queer, I suppose I’m sinful, too, according to my uncle. But last time I checked, I had no problems with my Gods (at least not about this). In fact our relationship is quite fine. I’m pretty sure, however Barney Frank believes, that his relationship with his Higher Power (or lack thereof) is quite fine too.
I suppose that thing that gets me the most is that this is the first time I’ve gotten outright homophobia from a blood family member. It’s just strange to me since the rest of the family don’t seem to have any problems with it. I did unfriend him and my cousin after this. They may be blood family, but homophobia isn’t ok, even from them.
School starts back up in a few weeks, and I’m pretty excited about it. Systematic Theology, Preaching (eep!), New Testament Greek, and Field Education. I’m doing my Field Education at City of Refuge, and I’m really excited about it! The 4M have some really awesome things coming up, too, and the Circle of Cerridwen has some interesting stuff in the works for Pantheacon. Not to mention Mabon and Samhain coming up! Busy fall, as usual.
But really, it’s all worth it!
Thus, I bear witness:
New comment on your post “More on the discussion at Pantheacon 2011“
Author : Z Budapest
E-mail : email@example.com
URL : http://www.zbudapest.com
What this whole uproar is about is 90 minutes out of five days of Con activities. 90 minutes for the women to do what we have done since Con has started.
I was asked to THROW overboard the 4o years of culture and ritual we have developed for women. Where have you been in the past 4o years? Did you develop your own rituals, songs, festivals and culture? If you want respect Politics is not enough. Not at the Con.
Your need to be accepted does not trump the women’s need for their own rituals and culture with each other.I will never betray the ladies. It was so for thousands of years, i have revived it from what was left of it,(4rth century) and adopted it to modern women’s needs.
The words i got sent was the real hate speech, wishing me dead, Old hag ,(not a nice way) calling me a bigot etc. made my one line i have written a year and half ago a blunt line,but not hate speech. My apology was sincere, but it was refused. I don’t know by whom. I don’t think anybody is going to apology to me for daily attacks, the agism, the virulent stone cold assumptions. Lies.
I dont see the Women’s circle and the Mixed circles in opposition at all. Let more people worship the values of the Great Mother the better the world be.
One of my ordained H.Ps. has accepted to lead this special mix of people, and so even in this bad emotional weather,the Dianics contributed to your growing as spiritual beings.
I hope i can go back now and serve the Goddesses without worrying the Ts community banging on our door.
I love you unconditionally.
I surrender to your compassion.
I forgive you.
I feel your pain, your anger, your hatred. I acknowledge your struggle. Yet, though you stick me, I do not bleed. I react, without attachment, only in beauty, in truth, and in love. I offer you a flower, to accept, or not, without expectation of reciprocity.
I pray for your healing, and I pray for the comity of your lineage.
Circle of Cerridwen
I can’t really describe the discussion we did at Pantheacon this year. Partly because I was channeling Crow in Warrior mode and it is difficult to remember things exactly, and partly because I am still trying to understand the effect it had on me.
Because I know, for a fact, that no one left that room unchanged in some way. Not even me.
What I do understand is that this is only the beginning. The beginning of the deeper conversation. The beginning of learning things about myself that I didn’t know before, or didn’t acknowledge. The beginning of the work of radical inclusion that is so desperately needed in all religions.
Was it perfect? No, of course not. We didn’t know who would show up or what would happen. It was stepping into the unknown, for all of us.
The biggest thing I remember though, is the beginning, where Sarah (who was also channeling Lilith, the Buddha, and Jesus) went around the room and said to each person as they introduced themselves:
“I love you unconditionally, and I surrender to your compassion.”
The energy shift in the room while she did this was palpable. How everyone received that, I don’t know. I do know that this was not a small thing.
I also know, that this is just the beginning.
We have a choice here. We can continue to be angry at each other, point fingers, and place blame. We can write angry words on the internet and speculate about who does what.
Believe me, I know about being angry. Sometimes letting it out is a good thing.
But the other option is to channel it into something more. You can let it become the passion that drives change.
I choose to channel this into the work of radical inclusion. I choose to recognize that everyone, of all races, genders, orientations, and creeds can sit at the table together. I choose to work for this in the pagan community because I know we can do better. I choose to work for this in the Christian community because I know we can do better.
But, being radically inclusive doesn’t mean we can’t be real. There are serious problems and deep wounds that need healing. These need to be aired out and discussed, then we can let them go.
This is not a comfortable process. Radical inclusion doesn’t mean that we kiss and make nice. It means we listen to what is being said and figure out how to make things better.
We are human. That means we make mistakes, screw up, and do really stupid things.
But the question is: do we learn from the mistakes we make?
Do we truly listen to people when they are hurt and angry?
Will you truly listen, or just react out of fear?
This is what we intended, this is what we brought with us.
Love is the law, love under will. Nor let the fools mistake love; for there are love and love. There is the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well!
The Spring term has started this week, and it’s really nice to be back at school. It’s funny that I’m as glad to be back at school and see everyone as I was to get off the hill at the end of last term.
It took a lot of rest and a lot of crafting to get back to a point where I was ready to get back. (If you check out my crafting blog, you’ll see what I’ve made in the last month and a half.) In a lot of ways, I’m glad I’ve gotten back in to crafting as it helps keep me calm and focused. It also gives me something to do with my hands instead of fussing with my iPad during class.
It’s a win-win situation! Don’t be surprised if I give you something crocheted or some sort of jewelry for birthdays, holidays, and special events! I also got asked during class last week if I made iPad bags for sale (they really liked mine), and that’s not a half bad idea. I might be persuaded to do it on request. (Although, if you wanted a special color yarn, you’d have to buy it.)
I’m going to try and write on this blog at least once a week. I want to make this a regular practice again. It’s looking like either Wednesday or Fridays at the moment, but that may change depending on how my homework goes.
Also, my fellow ministers are now getting into the blogging thing, and so check out the sidebar for links to their sites (not all of them are up yet).
Pantheacon is in two weeks, and I’ll have announcements about the book this week and reminders about our discussion on the Sunday of Pantheacon at 3:30 pm. It should prove to be interesting, and I’m really excited for the book to finally come out! It was really interesting to put the book together, and we have an excellent collection of authors (some well-known, some not) who have contributed. Hope to see many of you there!
On a final note, I just want it to be known that I have some of the awesomest friends on the planet! If I didn’t have them to give me a metaphorical 2×4 to the head now and again, I don’t know where I’d be! I love you all (you know who you are)!
This is just a post to say that the Open Source Alexandrian Wiki has been updated. The calendar, mailing lists, and a new section on OSA membership has been added.
Another new thing is that there is now an OSA discussion list. This list is for anyone who’s interested in Open Source Alexandrian or would like to learn more about it. Find out more information about our mailing lists on the wiki.
We’ll also be posting more about the anthology and Pantheacon 2012 in the coming months as things get finalized.