Archives For theology

I was just about to get on my bike when I looked in the basket and saw the note.

“When you’re done finding Jesus, come by the shop and say hi.”

It made me laugh, and yet it also immediately brought me back to something I had been thinking about a lot lately. Indeed, my bike, which is well-known downtown and easily recognizable, had been locked up outside First Christian Church for the past two hours while I was inside for a meeting with a small group that included the church’s pastor. The author of the note was a Pagan friend of mine who worked around the corner from the church, and I sensed that the mood behind the note was both joking and curious at the same time. And while I hadn’t found Jesus in the previous two hours, I realized in that moment that I had been finding Jesus popping up constantly in my work over the past few years. It also occurred to me that at this point I had completely normalized these constant interactions with churches, pastors, and those who follow the philosophy of Jesus in a way that many Pagans would find a little strange to say the least.

First Christian Church in Eugene, Oregon.

First Christian Church in Eugene, Oregon.

I find it a more than a little strange myself at times. But the process of building those bridges has led me to not only greatly respect and appreciate those who work with the poor in the name of Jesus, but has brought me to constantly recognize and reflect on the fact that other than the specifics behind the deity that called us all to the table, we are all in the exact same fight for pretty much the exact same reasons. Over time I have unexpectedly come to understand and accept that the church folks are without a doubt my greatest allies, politically as well as spiritually.

I work with the poor and the homeless. I found myself doing so as a result of listening to both my conscience as well as the Gods. I do this work because I was called to it through an unexpected merging of ethics and spirit. It is much more a divine mandate than a free choice; for me it is a calling in the true religious sense, and yet not one that results from any specific belief or doctrine. Most people who work with the poor in the same way that I do fall into three categories: those who work for government agencies, those who work for non-profit organizations or social service agencies, and those who are following the teachings of Jesus. More often than not I find myself to be the only person in the room who stands apart from these three groups.

When I first felt the pull that started me on this journey, I recognized that the spiritual narrative around that pull was much common and relevant to Christianity than it was to Paganism. While I hadn’t quite given up all my worldly possessions and sworn a vow of poverty, I have sacrificed a theoretical life of ‘comfort’ and inevitably accepted a life of near-poverty in order to do this work full-time in a way that at least in America, is seldom seen outside of a Christian context. Jesus tended to the poor, preached to his followers that they should do the same, and an untold number of people since then have dedicated their lives to the poor in the name of Jesus. I had never stumbled upon a Pagan parallel to this phenomenon, at least not in terms of service to the poor. For me, while this work is a spiritual calling, it is not necessarily an extension of my religious beliefs. There is nothing specific in the teachings of my tradition that critiques wealth or that tells me to serve the poor, nor have I ever stumbled upon related teachings or mythologies that command service to the poor and a rejection of wealth with anywhere near the strength and passion that the teachings of Jesus do.

Most Pagan-identified folks that I know personally who have devoted their lives to a cause tend to dedicate themselves to environmental or civil rights-related issues. They do so with the same degree of ethical motivation and spiritual dedication that I see among the Christians who work with the poor, but they do so in the name of the Earth and/or their Gods as opposed to Jesus Christ. My own activist path brought me to the forest years ago, and it was a natural and direct extension of my spiritual path at the time to be protecting the forest from loggers. It was a passion and drive that directly put my religious beliefs into practice, the belief that the Earth was sacred and needed to be protected. It was a passion, but not a calling. The Gods never insisted that I stay in the forest. They do, however, keep insisting that I work with the poor, and by extension of that insistence I find myself constantly working closely with others who are not only acting in accordance with the insistence of a different God, but who also have a solid text of quotes and reference points as to why they are commanded to serve the poor. I don’t have a comparable reference text. In many ways, my only true reference texts are contained in the reflections and thoughts of others and the constant signs and signals from the universe itself.

But in pondering the perceived lack of mythology/theology that could serve as guidance on this journey as someone who is operating on the basis of divine imperative, I’ve also come face-to-face with the other side of the coin: how this lack of relevant mythology can affect those who are on the receiving end of divine mercy.

In my experience, there are a much higher percentage of self-identifying Pagans in the homeless community than there are in the general population. While I would still say that a majority of the homeless population identifies as Christian, the amount of people on the street who subscribe to some sort of Pagan belief system is quite striking and somewhat surprising at first. It made perfect sense to me quite quickly, as it was easy to see how living on the physical and psychic margins of society would bring with it the tendency of adopting an earth-centered, polytheistic, and/or magical philosophy. But what is even more notable, and in time has become more and more relevant to me, is the way that the beliefs and practices of the two groups often blend together in the context of street life and the way that the two groups have found mutual agreement in ways that are quite atypical but accurately reflective of their situation. I equally seem to run across self-identified Pagans who embrace Jesus in the same manner that their Christian counterparts do, as well as many who considered themselves to be Christian and yet are accepting and often even participatory in the beliefs and practices of their Pagan friends and neighbors.

My friend Mary Ann, who lives in a symbiotic relationship with the riverbank, is one of the Pagans I know who has a deep love for and faith in Jesus. Early on in our friendship, I once asked her why.

“Well, there ain’t no pagan Jesus. at least not when it comes to looking after the poor,” she said. “I’m not saying that you can’t compare Jesus to some of the old gods in many ways, but I never heard of Osiris and Dionysis tending to the poor and oppressed, chastising the rich, specifically promising the persecuted an eternity in Heaven. Jesus has got my back. Who else has got my back like that? None of the other gods or spirits I talk to. They got my back for other reasons, but not because I’m poor. They don’t want to liberate me. They don’t inspire masses of others to fight oppression. Not like Jesus does.”

She had an important point, a point which related closely to my own musings around the spiritual nature of my work and what I was increasingly viewing as a theological hole of sorts in Pagan mythology around poverty and the poor. What Mary Ann spoke of not only pointed to that hole, but also reminded me in the instant of how Jesus is framed in both liberation theology and black theology. Mary Ann sought a deity of liberation, and found that energy to be strongest in her understanding of Jesus.

North bank of the Willamette river.

North bank of the Willamette river.

Not long after that encounter, I was on the opposite bank of the river when I came across another homeless friend, one I knew to be a regular at the local Methodist church. He was perched at the river, with flowers and what looked like salt his hand, and from where I stood ten feet back or so it appeared as though he was making offerings to the river. He turned around, saw me, and waved me over.

“What kind of pagan nonsense are you up to?” I teased.

Conestoga Hut

Conestoga Hut

“You’re not the first to ask,” he said. “I’ll just say this: you live our here long enough, and this place becomes alive in a way where you would have to be a fool to ignore it. The least I can do is acknowledge it.” That’s the other side of the reflection, I thought to myself. The missing theology from his own religion, which he supplemented with what he learned from the activities and beliefs of his Pagan peers. I saw this as the inverse of what both Mary Ann and I found to be missing in Pagan spirituality. His words reminded me immediately of conversations I’ve had with friends who identify as “Christo-Pagans”, who have told me that they walk that path mainly because the reverence of nature and nature spirits is for the most part absent from the theology and liturgy of Christianity.

It makes sense that ideological sticking points become rather irrelevant in the face of oppression, desperation, and survival. While Pagans living in housed communities often face the realities of Christian oppression on a regular basis, on the street everyone is equally subject to specific oppressive forces from outside the street community which act with no regard to creed. Those forces cause the community to unite and put differences aside just as much out of necessity as choice, but they put aside and embrace their differences in an honest and authentic manner. While a few homeless Pagans I know have very strong negative reactions to anything related to churches or Christianity, many do not view Christianity as an oppressive and harmful force in the way that seems to be the status quo among most housed Pagans. If anything, the churches are often the only institutions that help and protect them in the face of systematic oppression from both government and citizenry alike. Churches feed them, help to shelter them, provide clothing, toiletries, and other resources, and in Eugene most of them do so with no strings attached, no conversion attempts, and with a sincere respect for the fact that many of those they are serving may not be of the same faith. One of the churches in town housed a Pagan woman in a Conestoga hut for several months this past year. Not only did the pastor welcome the idea of a Solstice ritual in the parking lot, but he advertised the event on his congregational calendar.

I’ve basically been a polytheist since I was first old enough to understand the concept. I have never had either a significant interest in nor a significant resentment towards Christianity, save for an overall wariness and skepticism that I hold towards all institutional powers. Before I ever worked with the poor, I always regarded Jesus as one of a untold number of deities out there, one whose fan club seems to have missed the point of his teachings for the most part. But this work has brought me in contact with so many individuals and communities of faith that have not missed the point, and my experiences in their company have brought me a deep understanding of the energy of love that is Jesus and how it affects both those who serve the poor in his name and those who are oppressed and seek out his comfort. Working in such environments motivated by love and compassion also makes me strongly yearn for such a tradition of service to the poor in my own community. I realize that my experience in itself is most likely atypical and to an extent is a reflection of a community that is known for progressive ethics and religious diversity just as much as it is a testament to the power of those who truly follow the teachings of Jesus. But their example and their kinship helps me to fill the holes I found in my own theology, not so much filled through teachings of Jesus himself but from what I see and learn from those who reflect and emulate that energy in their words and actions and the love shown towards the poor.

While I have no desire to explore religious Christianity beyond the interactions that are already built into my present life, Teo Bishop’s recent piece about why he felt called back to Christianity spoke to me on a very deep level, and was a strong reminder of the sacred aspect of being in service to the poor. The moment that Teo describes in his interaction with a homeless woman, and the way that he was affected by that interaction is the kind of moment that I sometimes experience on a daily basis. And in the desperation and helplessness that I too often feel in those moments, often it is a specific taste, a specific energy that comes through. There is a current of surrender and desperation in those moments where you truly do give your heart, and the essence in that moment is incomparable to anything other than what I have come to understand as the love and energy that is Jesus.

A few days after I read Teo’s piece, I was riding my bike along an underpass when I saw two police officers in the process of rousting and citing a group of homeless campers. I remembered that the owner of the shopping complex next door had been regularly complaining to police about the homeless that take refuge under the bridge. As I stopped and approached to watch, someone came up behind me. I heard a man muttering softly as the police began to write another ticket.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

And there it was, that energy again, that sentiment that has no other comparison. I tried to think of something else to say, but nothing came. In that moment, I was grateful for those words. They were words of hope in an otherwise hopeless moment, originally spoken by someone who I knew for certain had our backs in this.

"God" printed in many fonts on many colors, Essex Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio.

“God” printed in many fonts on many colors, Essex Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio.

The following statements are true:

★ There is one god.

★ There are many gods.

★ There is a god named G-d.

★ There are gods that are nameless.

★ There is a God and a Goddess.

★ There is one god, but that god is broken into two gods; one is male, and the other is female.

★ Gods have no gender.

★ Gods have no physicality.

★ All of what is, is God.

★ All of what is, is god-less.

★ There are no gods.

★ The gods are imaginary.

★ The imagination is the birthplace of deity.

★ The imagination is a temple, in which deity can be honored, spoken to or summoned.

★ We are God.

★ God is love.

★ God is not love.

★ The Gods are unique persons, each with their own temperaments.

★ The gods are merely aspects of one Deity.

★ The gods are aspects of ourselves.

★ Everything is the Goddess.

★ The Goddess is in everything, but also distinct from everything that is contained within her.

★ My cat is a god.

★ We are all deities.

★ You are divine.

★ We are only human, and that is enough.

★ We are human and divine; incarnate.

★ The gods are present here.

★ The gods are both present and absent.

★ The Goddess is omnipresent.

★ The gods are not omnipresent.

★ No one can understand what the gods are.

★ The gods can communicate exactly what they are.

★ The gods are….

This list could go on. Forever, perhaps.

I say that these statements are all true, recognizing full well that they are also (depending on the statement and particular reader) equally false.

Subjectivity is a Pagan value.

I’m musing on these statements of “truth” on the eve of Beltane, and will continue to do so as I prepare for my joint-presentation on Pagan theology at the annual Beltania Festival in Florence, Colorado. William Ashton, the Organizer for Mountain Ancestor’s Protogrove in Boulder, Colorado invited me to share the stage with him and teach this 101 course as a part of Beltania’s Stepping Stones series. I gladly accepted.

During our initial planning sessions, William and I discussed the various ways that Pagans conceived of deity. We’ve covered most, if not all of the general categories:

Monotheism
Polytheism
Dualistic Monotheism
Pantheism
Monism
Panentheism
Atheism

But the more I think about it, the more I believe that it isn’t enough to tell people, “These are the categories of belief. Here’s how it looks on paper.” You have to provide them examples. They need context in order for these -isms to be relevant.

That’s where you come in.

I would like to turn the Wild Hunt’s readership into a lecture-hall of teachers, each of you explaining to the average Pagan noobie what Pagan theology is.

More specifically, what your Pagan theology is.

We’re going to crowdsource theology. That way, when I join William at Beltania I will not just come with my perspective, but I will bring all of yours, as well.

Here’s how it will work:

1. Post a comment on TWH

Explain your Pagan theology in the comment section. Use one of the “truth” statements above as a writing prompt if you like, either explaining how it is what you believe or how it is exactly not what you believe.

Write honestly. Write about your perspective, your vision and experience of “truth”. Be the teacher you wish you had when you were just developing your own paganism. And, keep in mind that there will be many differing opinions and perspectives here. No one need to feel the need to correct others – the point is to crowdsource multiple perspectives, and to hold space for those differing perspectives.

2. Tweet your Pagan theology

For every day between Beltane and the beginning of Beltania (May 9th) I will tweet from @TeoBishop the following question:

What is your Pagan theology?

Respond to this question, and include the hashtag: #mypagantheology

Your tweet might look something like this:

I honor one god, but I also believe that there are many gods. #mypagantheology

3. Write your Pagan theology on your own site

Many TWH readers write for other Pagan media sources, including blogs and other online journals. If you’re among this group of people, write your 101 explanation of Pagan theology on your site, then post a link in the comments of this post.

Then, when I join William to explain the basics of Pagan theology, I will direct our students to this blog post and to the #mypagantheology hashtag. They will find your words, read your stories, and learn – from you – what a Pagan theology can look like.

 

So have at it, friends. Unleash your vocab, unlock your mind and explain to the questioning Pagan what your Pagan theology looks like.

 

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

Today is Easter/Pasha/Resurrection Sunday, when it is said that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. Rather than give a barrage of “how pagan is Easter” type stories, I thought I’d leave you with a few non-Easter related links to look over today when you’re not busy finding eggs, eating candy, or dressing up like a witch.

Easter Witches in Sweden.

The Ganges in New York: The New York Times reports on how Hindus near Jamaica Bay in Queens, New York have turned the body of water into a local Ganges, a place to leave offerings for a variety of rituals. The problem is that the large number of offerings are disturbing the local habitat and creating an eyesore for park officials.

“We call it the Ganges,” one pilgrim, Madan Padarat, said as he finished his prayers. “She takes away your sickness, your pain, your suffering.” But to the park rangers who patrol the beach, the holy waters are a fragile habitat, the offerings are trash and the littered shores are a federal preserve that must be kept clean for picnickers, fishermen and kayakers. Unlike the Ganges, they say, the enclosed bay does not sweep the refuse away. The result is a standoff between two camps that regard the site as sacrosanct for very different reasons, and have spent years in a quiet tug of war between ancient traditions and modern regulations. Strenuous diplomacy on both sides has helped, but only to a point. “I can’t stop the people and say, ‘You can’t come to the water and make offerings,’ ” said Pandit Chunelall Narine, the priest at a thriving Ozone Park temple, Shri Trimurti Bhavan, who sometimes performs services by the bay. “We are at a dead end right now.”

The article does a good job of capturing the tensions as both sides try to find a workable compromise. I feel that as religions that engage directly with nature grow these tensions will continue. I anticipate that this will not be the last story I read about religious groups and law enforcement confronting how offerings impact a particular area.

A Queer Theology: In his latest Patheos.com column, P. Sufenas Virius Lupus confronts the “queerness” of theology within modern Paganism.

“I mentioned in an earlier article in this column that some modern Pagans have suggested that theology doesn’t really have a place in modern Paganism, and that Paganism as a religion isn’t really appropriate to the concerns of theology.  It was mentioned on that earlier occasion, though, that ancient Pagans in Greece and Rome invented most of the vocabulary of theology—including the term itself. The reservations of some modern Pagans on theology are understandable, and the ways in which Christianity has dominated the discourse on theology for the past several millennia are certainly a concern and something of which any Pagans actively engaged in theological work should be aware. Nonetheless, it is an area that is not only historically relevant to Paganism and polytheism, but one that is quite necessary to confront for modern Pagans.”

As always, Lupus is thoughtful an well-worth reading. Be sure to also check out his wonderful personal blog.

Who Gets Their Religious Freedom Protected: There’s a general election being held in Canada on May 2nd after the conservative government collapsed in a no confidence vote. It is in this context that Canadian Pagan and philosopher Brendan Myers looks at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s plan to create an Office of Religious Freedom, and wonders whose freedoms it will work to protect.

“…given the Christian fundamentalism that dwells in the Reform Party’s agenda (pardon me, the Conservative Party’s agenda), therefore you can bet that this office will almost certainly not be used to help voudouisants in Africa, Tibetan Buddhists in China, Jews in Palestine or Muslims in Israel, or for that matter any religion at all which is not Christian. The only exceptions, the only non-Christian religions which this office might support in other countries, would be religious communities that are wealthy and well-organized enough in Canada to pressure the government to help their co-religionists in other countries.”

It seems that conservative Christian outlook in Canada isn’t too dissimilar from their brethren in the United States.

That’s all I have for now, have a happy Sunday, no matter what your activities or beliefs.

Pagan Community Notes is a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note, a series more focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. I want to reinforce the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So lets get started!

Pagan Japan Relief Project Reaches Finish Line: The initiative started by Peter Dybing for the Pagan community to raise 30,000 dollars for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières has almost reached its conclusion! As of this writing, there is less than 1,400 dollars left to raise, and the hope is that this goal will be reached by the end of the weekend.

“When disaster strikes, it means that the Earth is finding Her own balance. But it is our job to feel compassion, lend aid, and support our fellow creatures that they may survive this terrible time and regain wholeness. And while we do this, let us also remember that it is this life that matters – the next will take care of itself. So as we come to the aid of our fellow beings on Mother Earth, let us live as though each day is our last, and let every day be a blessing.”Rev. Kirk Thomas ADF Archdruid

Today, there is a joint Patheos and Pagan Newswire Collective (via PNC-Minnesota) article up interviewing various Pagan leaders about the initiative, and why the success of this project is so important. If you haven’t donated yet, and wish to show that serious fundraising for worthy causes can happen among our interconnected communities, please head to the Pagan Japan Relief project FirstGiving page. I’m hoping that before Monday I’ll be able to post about our collective success in meeting our fundraising goal!

Paganicon Opens Today: The first ever Paganicon conference near Minneapolis, Minnesota starts today, and PNC-Minnesota has interviewed Elysia Gallo from Llewellyn Worldwide, one of the sponsors of the event, and Guest of Honor John Michael Greer.

“There are two ways you can take a talk about Paganism and the future. One is what is going to be the future of Paganism, the other is how is Paganism going to deal with the broader future, that is breathing down our necks at this point. I will be talking about both. We are moving into a future that a lot of people are going to find very challenging, especially if they have bought into the attitude, that “Our ancestors were stupid. We are smart, and we are going to go zooming off to the stars.   We know the truth, and no one else has ever done so.”

Stay tuned to PNC-Minnesota for more updates from the conference.

Independent Pagan Film Shooting: Morrighan Films in Canada is shooting a new film “99% made by Pagans” entitled “Our Pagan Heart.” After a small article ran in a local paper about one of the actors, film producer Laurie Stewart contacted me with a short synopsis and some stills from the production in progress.

Still from the film.

“Our Pagan Heart is an independent film, being shot over the course of a year.   It follows a village outside of time (neither truly Norse nor quite Mad Max) over the nine sabbats followed by my Druid group.  We added the ritual for Fallen Warriors at Remebrance Day (Veterans Day) because so many of us are military, ex-military or base rats.  Each 10-12 minute episode not only tries to show the reason for the sabbat, but also to explore one of the nine virtues of Celtic-Norse tradition.

As the villagers face challenges ranging from the death of their only healer, to a radical change in leadership and the resulting change in priorities, we see the heart of our faith.  What does it mean to live these virtues, these beliefs, the result of believing in ever-present, personally committed Gods who touch every aspect of your life.  There are real struggles for meaning, real questioning of their faith in the face of devastating loss.”

You can find more film stills and information, here. Between “Our Pagan Heart,” “Dark of Moon,” “Tarology,” and other independent film productions with Pagan and occult themes, it almost seems like a small grass-roots industry is emerging. It could be a trend worth exploring as it develops.

In Solidarity with Madison: Pagan singer-songwriter Sharon Knight, a member of the excellent band Pandemonaeon, recently participated in a gathering of Oakland, California musicians to record a song showing solidarity with the Madison, Wisconsin labor protesters.

“This week I joined a group of my fellow musicians to create a music video in support of the protesters in Madison, Wisconsin. The song, “Madison”, was written by my friend Mark Vickness of Glass House, and spoken word artist PC Munoz. It was produced start to finish at EMB Studios, the studio Winter and I share with Paul Nordin. I was proud and honored to be a part of this project and thought I’d share it with you all here. Enjoy and may it bring you hope and good cheer!”

Thanks to Sharon for sharing this with the Pagan community. For more on Pagan participation in the Wisconsin labor protests, click here.

Health Updates: I have an update on the condition of Pagan chaplain Patrick McCollum, who underwent surgery on Wednesday. I spoke with him on the phone yesterday, and while he’s (understandably) experiencing some pain, is mobile, alert, and active. He says that there won’t be word on test results regarding what was eating the tissue in his jaw until early April. He also expressed his thanks to everyone who has been sending prayers and energy his way. Meanwhile, Selena Fox has an update on Circle member Ed Francis, who recently suffered a stroke.

“Ed Francis is doing better & has begun speech, physical, and occupational rehabilitation at a hospital in St. Louis. Please continue to send healing to him & support to his partner Linda & other caregivers. Share words of encouragement for his rehab at this Healing page. Thanks much!”

Circle has also set up a healing page for Patrick McCollum as well. Please continue to send both your healing thoughts and prayers for their swift recoveries.

Theologies of Justice: In a quick final note, I’d like to point my readers to an essay just posted by T. Thorn Coyle about developing and acting on “(poly)theologies of justice and connection.”

“If everything is holy – imbued with divine power – how do we relate to that holiness? We pay attention. We find connection. We give back. One definition of sacred is “set apart and dedicated to a deity.” How do Heathens act in ways that are dedicated to Thor or Ing? How do Thelemites act in concert with the energy of Nuit? How do Celtic Reconstructionists honor the ever abundant cauldron of the Dagda? I could go on, but the implications of these questions should be clear: we bring everything in our lives into alignment with our worship and our practice. We can give food to the hungry as an act of devotion to the Dagda. We can offer protection to the weak, in Thor’s honor. And we can remember: Nuit is everywhere, the circumference of all that lives.”

There’s a lot there, so I hope you’ll read the entire essay, and use it to spark discussions on your blogs, social networks, and within your communities. As modern Pagans start to act within the world in an increasingly prominent and public manner, how our theologies drive and inspire our actions is something that we’ll need to hold close to our thoughts.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

As the increasingly grim and tragic suicide numbers continue to climb, as children suspected of being gay have their arms broken, and upstanding gay college students are bizarrely singled out by city officials, we inevitably have to ask, again, where is all this hate and fear coming from? Why do we have to start a campaign to remind young people that there will come a time when the hell and torments of their youth will end? Why is our culture killing these kids? Baptist minister Cody J. Sanders thinks he has the answer, the root of this hateful and tragic crop.

Anti-gay bullying is a theological issue because it has a theological base. I find it difficult to believe that even those among us with a vibrant imagination can muster the creative energy to picture a reality in which anti-gay violence and bullying exist without the anti-gay religious messages that support them.

These messages come in many forms, degrees of virulence, and volumes of expression. The most insidious forms, however, are not those from groups like Westboro Baptist Church. Most people quickly dismiss this fanaticism as the red-faced ranting of a fringe religious leader and his small band of followers.

More difficult to address are the myriad ways in which everyday churches that do a lot of good in the world also perpetuate theologies that undergird and legitimate instrumental violence. The simplistic, black and white lines that are drawn between conceptions of good and evil make it all-too-easy to apply these dualisms to groups of people. When theologies leave no room for ambiguity, mystery and uncertainty, it becomes very easy to identify an “us” (good, heterosexual) versus a “them” (evil, gay).”

In the end, it comes down to theology. Not, as Sanders points out, the easily defeated cartoon hatred of Westboro, but the more subtle belief systems that make even “accepted” GLBTQ individuals the “other”. A theology that, even if unspoken, privileges a certain kind of person over another.

“Additionally, hierarchical conceptions of value and worth are implicit in many of our theological notions. Needless to say, value and worth are not distributed equally in these hierarchies. God is at the top, (white, heterosexual) men come soon after and all those less valued by the culture (women, children, LGBT people, the poor, racial minorities, etc.) fall somewhere down below. And it all makes perfect sense if you support it with a few appropriately (mis)quoted verses from the Bible.

With dualistic conceptions of good and evil and hierarchical notions of value and worth, it becomes easy to know who it is okay to hate or to bully or, seemingly more benignly, to ignore. And no institutions have done more to create and perpetuate the public disapproval of gay and lesbian people than churches.”

If you create no space in our most primal belief systems for nuance, for difference, for multiple understandings of sacred, you end up creating classes of people who are lesser, who are ripe for torments and persecution. While defenders of these theologies talk of tradition and incremental change, more die, and are harassed, every day. It is for this reason, among many others, that I think we not only have to reassure kids that “it gets better”, but we also have to reject theologies that empower hatreds of this kind and replace them with something else.

“I don’t think it takes Sherlock Holmes to parse out why all of these things are taking place. It is because certain religions not only tolerate these negative opinions of LGBTQ people, they propagate them; they enshrine them in their sacred texts (even though some of those texts can be interpreted in other ways); they preach them from their pulpits.”P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, founder of the Ekklesía Antínoou

My “something else” is the modern Pagan movement, but it isn’t the only “something else” out there. These alternatives to a norm that pushes “others” to the margins, despite how small they are, are seen as a threat to the stability of the dominant faiths. Which is why the fringes of those dominant faiths are so obsessed with the supposed evils we commit.

“While the lukewarm and ignorant think of these customs as “just harmless fun,” the vortexes of hell are releasing new assignments against souls. Witches take pride in laughing at the ignorance of natural men (those who ignore the spirit realm).”

The faiths that are more refined simply mock us, though even they are showing signs of concern at our growth and acceptance. Despite these obstacles, it is more important than ever for us to make it known that our alternatives exist. To be visible and to make common cause with those who are told to hate themselves by the dominant faith lens. For no other reason than, in the word of Harvey Milk, to “give ‘em hope”.

The culture of suicide and self-hate has to end. The culture of violence and oppression towards an imagined other has to end. It must. Those who oppose the dismantling of these theologies, of these understandings, can’t be allowed to enable the bullies, the ostracization, the enshrining of prejudice into law. When Matthew Shephard happened, we all vowed never again, yet here we are, with Matthew’s mother once more calling for the deaths to stop. We, as Pagans, must work harder than ever to change culture, and stop this senseless death in the name of enforcing the boundaries of tradition.

Pagan Community Notes is a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note, a new series more focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. I want to reinforce the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So lets get started!

The Bonewits Papers: On their official Facebook page, Isaac and Phaedra Bonewits have announced that Isaac’s personal papers will be donated to the American Religions Collection at the library at University of California, Santa Barbara.

“It’s been a rough week, but we’d like to share one piece of good news. Isaac’s personal papers will be going to the American Religions Collection at the library at University of California, Santa Barbara. So all you researchers will be able to rummage through his stuff :-)”

Bonewits has been, and continues to be, an influential author, ritualist, theologian and thinker within modern Paganism. It is heartening to know that as he continues to struggle with cancer, his rich legacy will live on for future generations to benefit from. For those who’d like to support Isaac and Phaedra during this trial, you can still donate to offset their mounting medical bills.

Pagan Pacifists Speak: A month ago I announced a new initiative, the Voices of Pagan Pacifism project, and now their first issue of interviews, essays and articles has been released.

“Part monthly newsletter, part educational archive, part resource directory, the VoPP project hopes to further the causes of peace, nonviolence, social justice, ecological balance and creative living. By providing a forum for conversation and connection, VoPP seeks to dispel misconceptions about the philosophy of pacifism and the spiritual traditions of modern Paganism. To encourage Pagans and non-Pagans, pacifists and non-pacifists alike in pursuing the challenging work of confronting and engaging authentically with that place in all of our lives where the political meets the spiritual, and both are transformed.”

Contributions include an interview with Dana Rose, an article on pacifism in ancient Greece by Jeff Lilly, a meditation from Alison Shaffer, and more. This looks like a strong start to the project, and I look forward to many more issues in the future.

Exploring Pagan Theology: The Pagan Portal at Patheos has posted three new essays exploring Pagan (poly)theology from different angles. First, portal manager Star Foster looks at the challenges of discussing and exploring theology in a pluralistic (and polytheistic) manner. Then, Alison Shaffer examines the problems of relating to the gods through an American capitalist framework. Finally, P. Sufenas Virius Lupus (boy that name sounds familiar) discusses syncretism, Process Theology, and “polyamorotheism”.

“The insurmountable divide that people put between humans and gods in terms of our ability to understand them (e.g., “the Gods’ ways are not our ways” — a passage here paraphrased from the Hebrew Bible!), and of our abilities to communicate and negotiate with them, therefore, is not necessarily in operation. The gods may have a great deal more power, or knowledge, or freedom due to their position and their conditions of existence, but if they cannot be understood, communicated with, or related to, then the entire enterprise of religion and spirituality is useless entirely.”

All are well worth the reading, and should provide some food for thought (and discussion). Kudos to Star Foster and Patheos.com for working to bring us quality Pagan content at this multi-faith religion site.

AREN’s Action: The latest issue of the Alternative Religions Education Network’s (AREN) newsletter, ACTION, is now out, and features a wealth of interesting interviews. This includes Selena Fox, Brian Ewing of the Pagan Pride Project, and Cathryn Platine of the Maetreum of Cybele.

“Throughout this mess the “reasons” for denial have been almost impossible to pin down. Apparently the Town attorney is under the mistaken impression that I am the religion and my not living on the property for a short time is significant. He also has argued in his legal opinion that the fact we have always done charitable work, even before formal incorporation, housing women in need is some sort of proof of not being an exclusive religious property which is absurd given that the New York tax law covering mandated exempt classes is quite clear that charitable work, education and other activities are all equal and any two or more activities on the property are still in the mandated exempt class.”

Christopher Blackwell at ACTION is like a Pagan interviewing machine! Seriously, his efforts really do deserve more attention, and I hope that the ACTION archives can be saved for posterity since they provide such a fascinating snapshot of modern Paganism in the last decade.

Finding Eleusis at Fringe: The Chicago-based Pagan/magical performance troupe Terra Mysterium will be performing their new Fall show “Finding Eleusis”, an urban and modern take on the Eleusianian Mysteries, at the Chicago Fringe Festival September 1-5th. Here’s a clip from their previous show, “Professor Marius Mandragore’s Salon Symposium regarding Spirits, Spells, and Eldritch Craft”.

If you’re going to be in the Chicago area, you can buy tickets for the performances now. I wish I could afford to jet-set to the Midwest and catch this show!

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

As an academic discipline, Pagan Studies is certainly a “new kid on the block,” just as Paganism as a term for a living religious tradition is still relatively new in the current era of world history. (I have had to clarify for some people I’ve met in recent history that identifying as Pagan doesn’t mean “no religion at all” on several occasions…!) Some of the writers who have produced seminal works within Pagan Studies come from a journalistic background, like Chas Clifton and Margot Adler. The focus of a great deal of Pagan studies up until this point has tended to be anthropological, with exemplary writers like Sabina Magliocco coming from this discipline and forging paths in this new area. Many of these have done so while being practitioners themselves. But, the field of Pagan Studies is (like many such “____ Studies” subjects) an interdisciplinary one, taking in elements from history (the field of Ronald Hutton, amongst others), literary studies across many fields, sociology, psychology, and religion, as well as a variety of other possibilities, in addition to anthropology. This interdisciplinarity can only be an advantage in terms of offering many people across a broad range of subjects the opportunity to lend their own special skills and knowledge to questions within the field.

And yet, the anthropological methodology of “participant-observer” is not shared with most of these other fields, making it difficult in some cases to engage with these subjects in an academic setting at all, much less to do so when one is a practitioner of the religion oneself. Religious studies has based its own methodology on a phenomenological approach, rather than a theological approach, so that an individual student or scholar can examine a particular religious idea, practice, text, or development while not necessarily endorsing that idea from a personal or sectarian viewpoint. While a robust Pagan theology would indeed be useful, both within and across various modern traditions and movements (and moves in this direction have been made with John Michael Greer’s A World Full of Gods and T. Thorn Coyle’s Kissing the Limitless), this ability to have Paganism studied as a religion and a religious phenomenon—both by non-Pagans and Pagans alike—within an academic setting is a positive thing, but also one that does not have a very lengthy historical precedent.

Two scholars who have written on the difficulties of researching Paganism and the perceived difficulty of “going native” within academia include Graham Harvey in his piece “Pagan Studies or the Study of Paganisms? A Case Study in the Study of Religions” in Researching Paganisms, and Amy Hale’s “White Men Can’t Dance: Evaluating Race, Class and Rationality in Ethnographies of the Esoteric” in Ten Years of Triumph of the Moon. The fact is, some of us who are practicing Pagans do exist in academic fields, and happen to also study things that would potentially be of interest or use to modern practicing Pagans. So, what about us?

The simple fact of the matter is that in many disciplines, this is not in any way an advantage, and is often something that must be concealed for fear of one’s work being labeled as “agenda-driven scholarship.” (Let’s ignore for a moment all the findings of post-modern theory, and the fact that there is no such thing as completely disinterested, objective, or scientific scholarship when it comes to anything in the humanities and social sciences…!) One must tread carefully; and yet, the question of authenticity remains. Is crypto-Paganism in the humanities—particularly in the direct study of Paganism, the occult, magic, and other such subjects—a good thing, or would “coming out of the broom closet” be as useful and liberating as it is for those who are diverse in their sexual orientations have found it to be in their own workplaces?

While that is an issue that should be up to the individuals involved, what is more worrisome is how often aspects of Paganism, witchcraft, occultism, and magic are misunderstood amongst the academic “experts” in these fields. I was a guest professor at a major Midwestern U.S. university from January to April of this year, and I had the opportunity to speak about both historical and modern Pagan practices in several of the courses I was teaching; I also teach religious studies courses that touch on Paganism on an adjunct basis. In all of these, I generally do not reveal my own religious affiliations to my students (or at least not until the end of class when everything is finished and there is no possibility of bias in grading or in students’ completion of assignments). While at this Midwestern university during those months, I spoke with other people who teach or research these subjects (all of whom were non-practitioners) in diverse fields, at conferences, dinners, and special seminars. Some of the things I heard about modern Paganism from these “experts” utterly astounded me with the ignorance, negativity, and arrogance displayed. The names of the university and the events and individuals involved have been withheld here to protect the ignorant.

In early March, I had dinner the night before a seminar on witchcraft with a professor from another university, who had a large section on modern Paganism in several of his courses, and admitted to a great interest in and expertise with the subject. (After praising the work of Tanya Luhrmann as a useful and representative treatment of modern witchcraft, I became quite skeptical…) At one point, Asatru was mentioned, and another person at the dinner asked what that was. This professor from the other university said “Those are the Norse Pagans who are white supremacists.” (!?!) I quickly added “It’s a very small minority amongst the Germanic Pagan population which actively thinks that,” to which he replied, “From what I’ve studied, it seems to be an essential element in Asatru.” I pointed him to the work of Diana Paxson and suggested that he take a close look at her, as—no matter what some may opine about her practices—she is representative of the larger trend in Asatru to not have racial considerations at the forefront of her theology, or even her wider concerns, spiritually or otherwise. Gods hope he followed up on that suggestion!

There was a small weekend conference on religion and magic in the ancient world, with various classicists as presenters, and it amazed me how naïve most of the people speaking as experts in ancient magic were about how magic “actually” works. One gave a paper outlining a new methodology for outlining what might be magical material in the archaeological record, without addressing anything specific from the texts involved, like the fact that crossroads might be a good place to excavate for remnants of magical activity, if in no other way than to see if the soil samples were frequently disturbed during the period of late antiquity. I made this suggestion afterwards, and the presenter seemed rather dumbfounded that he had not thought of it. Another gave a paper on a cognitive studies approach to magic, because it is impossible (from her viewpoint, and no doubt that of many in the room) that someone could think of a by-definition “inanimate object” as having power, much less volition or even agency. In polytheistic and animistic cultures, it would be much stranger to assume an object would even be able to exist as “inanimate,” but of course the context of theology in the original cultures was not in any way relevant to the inquiry. (Much less trying to argue that certain ritual tools of many modern pagans not only have had a life of their own quite literally, but in fact might choose the owner as equally as the owner might choose them!) The results of this “cognitive theory in magic” research might reveal much about how a modern person understands from a cognitive theoretical perspective how this would work, but I seriously doubt it would have any relevance at all to magic practitioners in late antiquity.

Even worse, to support her research, she cited a recent study of how U.S. military servicemembers in Iraq and Afghanistan who work with robotic drones have often risked life and limb to save injured robots, have held robot funerals and medal ceremonies, and have become very emotionally attached to the robots they work with, even giving them names. The gathered audience of academics laughed at this. I was not amused at all. The arrogance to laugh at people under an immense amount of stress, doing some of the most difficult and dangerous work in the military, was bad enough; but the idea that as “rational” academics, all those in the room were somehow superior to these “uneducated” and even “primitive” and “superstitious” individuals was truly sickening.

However, these various incidents paled in comparison to a seminar on African witchcraft that I attended, hosted by the departments of African Studies and anthropology. After an outside scholar presented a good paper on witchcraft accusations in parts of modern Africa, including the idea that nowadays all witches have airplanes (apparently, that’s how they fly…?!?), a faculty member present asked why there aren’t anthropological studies of modern witches in the U.S., and then went on to tell us all how witches killed her cat when she lived in L.A. The outside presenter somewhat dodged that issue, but then said “Well, there is this modern thing called ‘Wicca,’ but, of course, it’s false and artificial.” Oh, really? Deciding that it was useless to engage that presenter in conversation, I instead went to the faculty member who had asked the question.

I began to suggest some of the studies I’ve mentioned above, and she cut me off and said “It’s not as if I’d actually read any of that; I just wondered why no one is doing this work.” (They are!) As I was trying to talk a bit more sensibly about some of the issues she raised, and I mentioned that there are a larger number of Pagans in the U.S. than some might think, she rolled her eyes and said “I can’t think that’s in any way a good thing.” As I began to respond to that comment as rationally as possible, she again cut me off and said angrily, “THEY KILLED MY CAT!” Due to some knowledge and research on that issue (including a great deal written on this very blog about animal sacrifice!), I then tried to explain that no modern Pagan group, including those that advocate animal sacrifice, would kill a cat, nor any non-food animal, nor would they dispose of it by strewing it out across a neighborhood, as was the case with her own dead cat’s story. Apparently, some “occult expert” in the police department said that “they probably killed it because they wanted its blood for their rituals.” I again tried to explain the likelihood of that was extremely remote, but by this time, she had completely dismissed me.

Modern Pagans, witches, occultists, and magic practitioners are a potential audience for a great deal of academic work on these topics—indeed, I imagine more modern Pagans and occultists own titles from Penn State University Press’ Magic in History series than do actual academics! And, why wouldn’t modern Pagans, particularly those of a reconstructionist bent, not want to go to university to study Classical Greek and Roman cultures and languages, Egyptology, Scandinavian Studies, Celtic Studies, and any number of other historical and literary subjects which might have direct relevance to our own spiritual practices? Generations of Christians and Jews have done the same, whether under the aegis of religious studies, theology, archaeology, or any number of other disciplines. And yet, many academics in these fields have a vested interest in keeping their “dead languages and dead religions” as dead as possible. Indeed, the term “academic” does not just mean learned discourses on a variety of subjects, but instead can mean “neither practical nor useful.” Gods forbid someone translate a ritual text or spell, lest someone attempt to use it!

The academic engagement with Paganism, as well as Pagan involvement in academia, could be very useful indeed. But, until academia takes modern Pagans as subjects of useful study on a wider basis, as well as considers practicing Pagans as equally viable to study such subjects (whether modern Paganism or ancient and medieval literature, culture, history, and magic), then full religious equality within the Ivory Tower will not be a reality.

In my opinion, it is no coincidence that questions of hermeneutics are at the forefront of academic discussions of methodology in many fields; but it is the god Hermes who is at the root of the very practice of interpretive sciences, if you like, both etymologically and functionally. The question of the biases of an academic in studying their field is a question of hermeneutics, and one which has been inserted into the discourse on feminist theory, LGBTQ studies and histories, race, postcolonialism, and a variety of other discourses within particular humanities and social science subjects. And, I think it is time that many of us brought Hermes with us in our hermeneutics, as Pagans in academia, and as Pagans studying Paganism. Gods willing, it will happen more and more as the public face of Paganisms in the U.S. and worldwide increases.

Many thanks and blessings to Jason for his continued hard work on this blog and for the invitation to write here today; to all of you who took the time to read this entry; and to all of the Pagans working, both behind-the-scenes and openly, in academia!

P. Sufenas Virius Lupus is a founder of the Ekklesía Antínoou (a queer, Graeco-Roman-Egyptian syncretist reconstructionist polytheist group dedicated to Antinous, the deified lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and related divine figures) a member of Neos Alexandria, and a Celtic Reconstructionist pagan. He has published a collection of poetry called The Phillupic Hymns (Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 2008), as well as a number of essays and poems in the various Bibliotheca Alexandrina devotional volumes to Artemis, Hekate, and Isis and Serapis, with several more due out in the near future, as well as two poems in the Scarlet Imprint anthology Datura. He can also be found blogging for International Pagan Values Month 2010 on the Ekklesía Antínoou LiveJournal group. Lupus’ day-job (as a professional academic and adjunct instructor) and general daily life is nowhere near as interesting as any of the above, and is therefore best glossed over!

Top Story: The Los Angeles Times covers a three-day conference about the future of American Christianity at the Claremont School of Theology. Entitled “Theology After Google”, the main focus was on how Christian churches need to change with the times, but there was plenty of food for thought for non-Christians interested in the future of religion.

“The consensus: It’s a whole new world out there. Churches will ignore it at their peril. “I think things like denomination and ordination are part of the old system of control and domination that has to go,” [Pastor Doug] Pagitt, 42, said as he relaxed after the conference’s first day at the Theo Pub set-up for participants … Jon Irvine, a 30-year-old Web designer who works with the “emerging church” movement, said the church of the future will have to be less hierarchical and more freewheeling and ecumenical … In this new world, he said, “You can be a free agent. You could start your own church, go to a little faith community down the street, you could go to a mega-church. You could be a Methodist today, Anglican tomorrow — it’s your choice.” That might sound like heresy to some, for whom doctrine is immutable. But it fit well with the spirit of the conference, where nothing with the exception of the corn toss tournament trophy, was etched in anything solid.”

I don’t know about you, but this new post-Google religious ethos sounds suspiciously Pagan-friendly to me. Or, more to the point, modern Pagan communities have been wrestling with ideas concerning religious community in a post-ordination society (or, even more to the point, a society in which everyone is conceivably ordained), and the realities of religious “free agents”, for decades. Having now attended some mass pan-Pagan events it’s obvious that many of us are quite comfortable with the “new” freedoms that are causing such concern among more rigid and hierarchical faith traditions.

To me, when Christian theologians and pastors start talking about dealing with a “post-Google” religious reality, what they are really talking about is a post-Christian religious reality. A world where a potential church-goer can not only  jump denominations, but jump religions, belief systems, or simply start a whole new faith. All the Internet has done is speed up the process in which individuals can enter into a post-Christian mindset. I don’t really know if allowing Twitter in the pews, or creating “Church 2.0″ will really stem the slow mass-exodus away from the dominant monotheisms in the West.

Dreher Defends His Anti-Vodou Attitude: Here I was going to praise Beliefnet blogger Rod “Crunchy Con” Dreher for making a whole post about modern Pagans without descending into his usual mockery or prattle about demon-worship, but then he wrote a long USA Today column defending his, and other writer’s, wrong-headed assertions that Vodou is a “harmful cultural force”. He tries to bolster his defense of  “tough questions” by selectively reading essays by scholars dealing with the Haitian religious world-view. He even has the audacity to subtly praise himself at the end of his anti-Vodou apologia.

“A world in which most people believe that reality is governed by the occult caprice of the gods will be a very different place than a world in which people believe events can be explained according to either a Christian or a scientific materialist metaphysic. It’s as legitimate to ask what role voodoo plays in Haiti’s fathomless social troubles as it is to ask the same question about fundamentalist Islam in the Middle East, conservative Christianity in the Bible Belt, or militant atheism in the land of academia. And it’s as necessary. Ironically, intelligent critics of voodoo show more respect for the religion than do its would-be media protectors, simply by taking voodoo seriously enough to fault it.

Yes, that is ironic! Don’t ya think? OK Sherman, I think it’s time to use the wayback machine and remind ourselves of how Rod Dreher was really respecting Vodou by faulting it.

“I think it’s a mistake to see vodou as benign or positive…”, “Haitians would be better off at the Church of Christopher Hitchens rather than as followers of voodoo.“, “I believe these well-intentioned people are playing with fire. Real spiritual fire.”.

Can’t you feel the love? So much respect! I won’t even get into all the “respect” other commentators have shown towards Haitian Vodou, since I’m just welling up with the sheer empathy on display already. You know, asking tough journalistic questions is one thing, and something that I’ve always supported, but being a triumphalist jerk isn’t journalism, and the idea that Haiti is being held back, or actively harmed, by Vodou isn’t supported by any reasonably fair scholar of the religion.

The Living Goddesses in School: I’ve reported before on Nepal’s Kumari, the pre-pubescent girls who are chosen as living goddesses and worshiped until they reach puberty. Some worried that Nepal’s new Maoist government would ban the practice, but the popularity, and tourism dollars, the tradition inspires trumped secular ideology. Considered a “cultural” practice by the new government, the young girls are now required to receive schooling, and not live the same sheltered life, a life that often ill-prepares them for their post-Kumari existence, that had been traditional. Sify News reports on a current Kumari who is now juggling being a goddess with private tutoring and government-mandated examinations.

“One of the many thousands of students appearing for Nepal’s tough school-leaving examinations is Chanira Bajracharya, who is also worshipped in Kathmandu’s neighbouring Lalitpur city as Kumari, the ‘Living Goddess’ of Nepal. The pre-pubescent girl will appear for the School Leaving Examination from the Bhaswara Higher Secondary School, the Kantipur daily reported … Chanira, the Living Goddess’ routine has changed due to the imminent exams. She starts her morning with a two-hour tuition after which she becomes the Kumari again, taking part in her daily worship ritual. The worship is followed by brunch break following which she is required to appear before her devotees. In the evening, she becomes a student again.”

Chanira says she’s interested in becoming a banker once she finishes being a goddess. This will most certainly be a net-positive for the young girls chosen to become Kumari, and provides a striking insight into how ancient religious traditions are adapting to modern expectations and values. For more on the Kumari, I recommend the documentary “Living Goddess” (available on Netflix), which captures a snapshot of their lives just before the Maoist uprising that ended the Nepalese monarchy.

Asatru in Prison: The Ravencast podcast interviews Pagan chaplain Patrick McCollum concerning Asatru in prison.

“This episode may likely be our most controversial one. Patrick McCollum is a pagan Chaplin working with the Cherry Hill Seminary. He works with about 2,000 Pagan Prisoners in California and has run into a gauntlet of administrative outright discrimination. Many of those prisoners are Asatruar, who are looking for some means to worship. We pop a few prison myths about racism and whether we should act at all.”

This interview is a good reminder of why McCollum’s ongoing legal battle with the state of California is important to all modern Pagans, and should be an excellent companion to the recent interview done by Anne Hill. This is a must-listen!

ABC Notices Pagan Chaplain: In a final note, the ABC News “Campus Chatter” blog just noticed that Syracuse University has appointed a Pagan chaplain for its student body.

“Syracuse University has tapped Mary Hudson to be the school’s first pagan chaplain. That makes Hudson, 50, the second pagan chaplain appointed at a U.S. college. The only other known school to have a pagan chaplain is the University of Southern Maine.  Internationally there are a few in Canada, Australia, and the UK.”

That’s not too bad, only a month after the story actually broke. Who says the immediacy of blogging hasn’t changed the mainstream news networks? Still, I suppose good press is good press.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!