You really should.
Ok, yes, I do produce the show, but Lee is really amazing! You should totally check out his blog, too! We have a lot of great episodes coming up!
Ok, back to thinking about homework, and possibly another blog post. I do mean to post more, but…you know…seminary…
I’ve been thinking a lot about God and Jesus and other things these days.
Writing about your own theology can do that to you.
A thought came to my mind this Easter morning:
What if we are the second coming?
What I mean is: what if those of us who are showing love, inclusion, compassion, care for our neighbors whoever they might be… What if we are the second coming?
What if we are Jesus made manifest in this world? Millions of Jesus’ all doing God’s work?
I get these thoughts sometimes.
I’m a witch. I see pretty far and big when I think this way.
A blessed Easter to you all.
I’ve actually talked to Sam in real life a few years ago and we came to the conclusion that we’d never agree on this issue. We still don’t, obviously.
Now, I could write a bunch of historical stuff about how the ancient Romans and Greeks (aka “pagans”) weren’t all unicorns and rainbows. Or how the ancient Celts didn’t exactly shoot rainbows out their ass. Or that a lot of deity lore involves killing, maiming, and raping. I’ve been a witch for 13 years, and I go to seminary. Hell, we all know these stories one way or another.
But I’m not going to. First, I’m a history nut, but not that much of a history nut. I also think other people have done it well, and I’ll leave you to read their work.
No, what I want to talk about is compassion.
See, I get it. I get that a lot of pagans have some serious church burn. It’s ok to be angry at Christianity. You aren’t the only one. Would it surprise you that there are even Christians who have serious church burn and are angry about it, too? (Feel free to come to City of Refuge sometime.)
Let me tell you a little of my own story:
See, last school year when I realized that I needed to bring Jesus back into the equation, I was afraid. I was actually worried more about the backlash from my pagan friends and acquaintances than from the Christian friends. I was also afraid of the other gods I work with abandoning me.
So, I did what any good witch does in this situation: I called up my deities and had a little chat. It wasn’t easy, and my awesome wife helped, but I invoked all 6 of them. All 6.
The consensus was a collective divine shrug and an admonition to be wise about how I go about it. They didn’t care as long as aligned with my call to serve and to love. And, boy howdy, did it ever!
Or, to put it another way: the other deities really didn’t give a shit as long as I was still doing the work. What’s been even more surprising to me is that Jesus and The Dagda have been doing a lot of work together through me.
Interesting, isn’t it?
Look, it’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to grieve. It’s ok to not want Christianity in your life.
But ask yourself this: How long are you going to hold on to that anger? What purpose does it serve? What is the purpose of acting out in anger because someone doesn’t hold the same beliefs about Christianity that you do?
As my wise and wonderful mentor as told me: even the margins have margins. Or, as Bishop Flunder has said: sometimes the oppressed decide to become the oppressor.
But when do we let go of that? When do we decide that the greater compassion is more important than what someone believes or doesn’t believe?
How do we move from a place of anger and hurt, to a place of healing, love, and compassion?
I firmly believe that learning to work together and to respect each other’s truth for what it is is the future. It doesn’t negate anyone else’s beliefs. It doesn’t tell them they are wrong. It says here is my truth, here is your truth. We both have truth, and isn’t that awesome? Now, how can we work together to bring more healing and compassion into the world?
Because, in the end, if we can’t find a way, we will obliterate ourselves. Not just one group or another. ALL of us.
May peace, love, and compassion prevail.
I’m preaching at City of Refuge tomorrow.
OMG I’m preaching tomorrow!
If you’d like to hear it, be at 1025 Howard St. in San Francisco tomorrow at 1 pm (although, I’d also recommend coming for the pre-service Intercessory prayer at 12:30).
Oh, I’m preaching about seeds. I’ll even have props!
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!
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!
I brown the beef in the pot with the onions. I add a little flour to make a roux. I add carrots, potatoes, and garlic. Then comes the beef broth. I stir it all up to make sure all the roux is mixed in, and move to put the lid on for it’s long, slow simmer.
He stops my hand and says, “Aren’t you forgetting something?”
I laugh and sigh at the same time. Maybe I roll my eyes a little, but I can’t argue. I pull a can of Guinness out of the fridge, pop it open, take a swig, and pour the rest into the stew. I give it another stir.
“Yeah, that’s more like it!” I pull two more out of the fridge: one for me and one for Him. We go and sit in old creaky lawn chairs in the backyard, just watching the sun move across the afternoon sky. As the sun sets, we get to talking. Occasionally, I go and stir the stew.
He takes a long drink as twilight sets in. “You know why I like it when you cook?”
“Not entirely, no…”
He sits up on the edge of the old chair, His green eyes serious through his bushy red eyebrows. “Heh…you’re a bad liar.” He laughs. “But this time, I’ll humor you, because it’s important. Food does many things. It can heal people. It can comfort people. It can bring joy, and soothe sadness and pain. When you are the one making food for others, you are bringing them closer to you. You are doing a magickal thing. It is satisfying when you’ve fed someone who you know needs what you can give.
But it’s not just about the food. Food is only the vehicle for the human need for connection. Food brings people together. So much can be communicated by and healed through a shared meal. Especially when you cook for someone else.
That’s why I like to help you. A doubly blessed meal is always a good thing.”
He pauses taking another swallow of Guinness, patting His big belly. He pauses for a few minutes, then continues. “It’s the same when you priest, you know. I bet you know why by now.”
I think for a minute. “Well, yeah, when I’m priesting, I’m stirring the spiritual pot and making something beautiful and nourishing for the people I serve. And if I don’t make it good and flavorful, people won’t accept it.”
He smiles. “And don’t forget to have some variety. Remember, a stew isn’t a stew if you don’t have all the ingredients together. And sometimes, a little spice is a good thing!” He winks at me, then lets out a huge roar of laughter that comes from his belly. “Go on, check the stew. It should be almost done now.”
I get up to stir the stew. He picks up His harp and plays a light tune as the stars come out. I hear the lilting song in the kitchen. Over the music he yells back into the house: “Pull out a lot of bowls, love, there’s a lot of folks to feed out there!”
“All right!” I start pulling bowls and utensils out of the cabinets, lining the counters and the table. I begin to hum along to the harp song as I slice bread, put out the salt and pepper shakers, and butter. I feel the anticipation of knowing that a meal I made will feed so many. It is a beautiful thing.
The harp song rises, calling out into the night:
“Come, come, whoever you are,
for the cauldron is full
and you will not be turned away.
Come, come, whoever you are,
we call to you to come and taste
of comfort, of love, of peace
and of justice
Come and taste, come and talk, come and love, come and be
May we be blessed with abundance as the seasons turn!
Come, come, whoever you are
for the cauldron is full to overflowing
Come, come, whoever you are,
you are welcome here
and you will not be turned away
Come, Come, whoever you are
for love is here and plentiful
Come, come, whoever you are
you are welcome here
come and have your fill!
Come and taste, come and talk, come and love, come and be
May we be blessed with abundance as the seasons turn!”
There is a knock at the door.
“Come in!” I shout, as the harp song continues….
We sit on the beach at sunset. We are tending a fire on the beach. The others have gone, leaving us alone.
“You have questions?”
I nod, open my mouth, and shut it again. There are so many questions that I don’t know which one to ask first.
He nods, poking at the fire with a stick. He waits, patiently.
I look out over the dark ocean. The stars and the moon shine on the water. The waves form a steady rhythm behind the pop and crackle of the fire. I fidget, trying to ask the question that I have, but scared to know the answer.
Because, knowing Him, the answer may not be what I really want to hear.
I look over at Him again, and He raises and eyebrow. I fidget a little more, and then finally spit out: “Why me?”
“Ah…why you?” He pokes at the fire with a stick. “Why not you? Why wouldn’t I have someone like you learning from Me and being My Priest?”
“Well…I…I’ve been told by some that I can’t follow you truly…because I don’t see you as they do…”
“Do you believe that?”
“Then let me tell you something: Scripture is just words on a page written by men a long time ago. When I came, I was also told I wasn’t ‘following scripture’…that I couldn’t possibly be following God because I didn’t see God the way the priests did. I knew scripture, but I also knew what was right. I knew that God was in everyone I met. I could see it. I could Heal because I called the spirit inside me that is God and told it to Heal. I caused change in the world. I had hoped it would do more good than harm, but…well, history didn’t come out that way…”
He pauses, stirs the fire again, adding another log. “Let me tell you a story…” I give a little laugh. He rolls his eyes, then continues:
“There were three people who came to me one day to hear what I was teaching. One was a merchant, one was a priest, and one was a peasant. I told one of my parables (I don’t remember which one), and each of them had a different reaction. The merchant told me how inspired he was by the story, and left some gold at my feet in payment. The priest got angry and started yelling at me about scripture and rules. He was even foaming at the mouth! He told me I was going to Hell and then stalked off. The peasant sat, and listened, thought quietly while the other two were doing what they did. He asked me a few questions, left a loaf of bread, and walked away, still thinking about what he had heard. So, here’s the dilemma: which of the three had the greater faith?”
I sat and thought about it for a minute, and answered: “Well, none of them had any greater faith than the other, since they all came to listen to You and Your message in the first place.”
“Yes.” He pauses. “Exactly.”
He gets up from the sand, brushes off his robes, and throws his stick into the fire. “So, to answer your question: Why you? Because you came and listened. Because, more importantly, you understand what you hear. I’m not really that fussy about the details. How you get there isn’t important. Showing Love and Compassion is.” He puts His hand on my head in blessing and starts walking down the beach.
After a few steps, He looks over his shoulder and says:
“Tend the fire, friend. There are those who need it’s warmth.”
(Merry Christmas to you and yours.)