What If We’re Wrong?

Don’t take this post as a doubt of where I’m headed in life. I’m merely responding to one of those search terms that brought someone to my website. And the search term? “Pagan fear of hell”.

I’d suggest covering your own ass, and becoming Christian and Pagan at the same time in some fashion, as some choose to do.  Personally, I find that exceptionally ill advised, as the two spiritualities do operate on fundamental differences.

Or maybe you’ll be pagan until the moment you die, and then you’ll ask forgiveness from Jesus as you breathe your last breath.  Also ill advised, as the lack of loyalty you’ve shown to either side will win you no favors.

Maybe you’ll heed the 13 Principles in that life is about balance, and there is no absolute evil in this world.

Or maybe you’ll think to yourself, “I’ve lived a good life.  God(s) will understand and respect and reward me.”

I tend towards the last two, but leave you with this question.  If you were raised in a society not dominated by Christian culture everywhere you go, be it Main Street or a history book, would that ‘fear of hell’ really be an issue?  Or would it be treated like you do the other religions who claim that their way is the only way?

All Quiet on the Western Front

I have to tell you guys, I’ve been searching for 3 hours now on CNN and wherever else the road took me to try to find something controversial going on in the religion world, exceptional from the standard Middle Eastern fighting and American Politics.  I suppose I’ll have to make my way over to a different news site though, because all CNN has is Obama and the celebrity model who committed suicide in New York this weekend.

What I seem to be focused on now, is getting my community involved in my life.  I’m thinking of starting up the Order of the Gecko’s campaign to local churches, but even that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  It’s alright if its a small group of people – but it seems like I’m standing alone.  Its not like I’m trying to poke a sharp stick into an empty hole – there are goals of the Order which stand outside the chains of time: religious tolerance, community service, religious education.  But it seems like there is a big gap between the internet world and the real world.  We can get professors, church leaders, to hold seminars, but asking them to write a tutorial or an “e-course” is just too much work.

The Order isn’t meant to be an individual effort.  It was founded by two people with hopes for their respective communities, and eventually, maybe, the world.  I don’t have the money to invest in hiring staff writers or content contributors, or even paid advertising.  It’s not meant to be a business.  It’s meant to be a group of people who care.  People who are intelligent and feel that they owe something to, if not the people, the world in which we live.

Maybe I can get some fellow bloggers on board.  I’m looking for content – whether its an article on reading runes or an article on becoming a better Christian, I want it.  You’ll keep your rights – I’m not going to go around anytime soon and publish your article in a book and sell it for lots of money.

I know, this is a blog dedicated to pagan issues.  This is an issue, at heart, though.  I am not the only person attempting to resurrect or begin an internet community – and I am Pagan.  The issues of running a group, of founding a group, tie in with basic group dynamics and covens, themselves.  We have a rule at the Order, which is initiated by the attempt to register: you must make the first move – you must come to us.  It is much the same in the path we walk – you are not born in, or initiated without a choice.  You say yes.  You ask for that right.

Give me an issue!  What is it that you guys want to hear about?  I can’t possibly have blogged out all of my subjects – we haven’t even been together a year!

Until inspiration hits me, I s’pose I’ll be focusing on the Order and my other projects.  And posting.  Daily.  Even if its relatively useless like this post.

Blessed Be!

Resetting the Body

Do you ever have those days when you just totally wipe?  And how often this process repeats itself is an indicator of stress or change?  My body likes to show its unhappiness with its own existence through the use of migraines.  Like the one I’m starting to get right now.  It says to me, “You have actually f-ed me up to the point that I’m not sure which way is up or down, and which sensation is hot or cold, and all I really understand is that this blinding pain in my head is not fun.”

And so, although a short post, allow me to shed light upon the lesson learned:  We need balance in our lives to maintain a healthy existence.  And whether your stress shows in headaches or anxiety or sudden lapses into bad or odd behaviors, it’s all the same.  The lesson?  Let your body reset.  And then try to give it a fighting chance.

In magical terms, this may be meditation or some other healthy habit that we pick up as “skills” along our path.  Perhaps a simple prayer in the morning would stave off this unwanted pain.  Some sort of stretching routine, perhaps, could alleviate some of the physical triggers of what ails me (or you).

In any case, I will feel better in the morning after passing out for a few hours and allowing my body to regain its fighting chance against the world.

Blessed Be!

Skill vs. Strength

There are so many times in life when we are presented with a challenge which the more experienced or more skilled could accomplish more easily.  Whether it is a new website design in a language you only half know, or a presentation you had exactly one hour to prepare, we all know that sinking feeling when someone asks, “Well, I can always give the job to _____”, a more experienced person.

For me, it is my upcoming bicycling trip with Parks and Trails New York.  It’s 400 miles across the state (Buffalo to Albany) along the Erie Canal.  I did the ride last year with no knowledge of biking in groups, or really, biking at all.  I never even knew what the point of all those gears were, except that the higher gears made you go faster.

Now, I have so much more experience, but I haven’t trained as much (not that I trained too much last year, summer classes got in the way).  I’m also not as pushed towards excellence this year.  Last year, I made a promise to myself that I would bike every single mile of that trip.  Make it up every hill.  This year, I am more inclined to take pictures of everything and anything – I really want to capture the beauty of the trip.

I’m also promising to myself to enjoy it this time.  Not that I didn’t, last time, but sometimes I got too focused on the fact that I was going slow or the need to be done for the day.  This time, I really am going to focus on the touring aspect and not so much the athletic aspect.  I am satisfied – I have done those hills before.

In the same manner, it is skill that opens us to enjoying new things.  Just like when we reach a new degree along our path, or a new discovery, we get like, a new playground to explore.  When we graduate high school, the world opens up for us with more opportunities, not less.  And so, having done this trip before, I think my eyes will be opened to an entirely new variety of experiences to be had in my week long vacation.

But, that brings me back to my point.  Am I strong enough?  Will my skill compensate?

Just some thoughts.

Blessed Be!

Tiring of Fear

We’re going back to group dynamics for a little bit this morning.  As something occurred last night (details don’t matter, it was much calmer than normal group situations involving “Supernatural” or otherwise “weird” things), I realized that it takes a certain person not to be a fluffy bunny.  You have to be tired of fear.

I realize that there are fluffy bunnies out there who will look at a spirit that has just thrown them out of the room through a wall, and go, “Why are you so angry, ma’am?” – I’m pretty sure that I would either do that, or leave.  But the key in stopping group or even individual “weird” occurances into anything more than what they should be is simply tiring of fear.

If you’re like me when I was a kid, I used to be just as frightened of what was under my bed.  I must have run and leapt onto my bed up until I was 12.  Granted, I didn’t go into a store and talk to the storekeeper / buy something all by myself until I was 14.  I wouldn’t order pizza until I was 14.  Hell, I still won’t do it with other people around.

But that scared of the dark, scared of the things you see out of the corner of your eye, immobilizing fear, needs to stop.  It can’t control you.  If you’re meant to die, you’re going to die.  Otherwise, you’re going to survive and take all of the knowledge you can out of it.

And when you start to realize that no one is going to come out of the shadows of your surburban home, kidnap and kill you (real or ethereal), life becomes a little happier.

Unfortunately, convincing an entire group of this “tiring of fear” concept can be difficult.  Fear fascinates us – death, destruction, we love it all.  We love that adrenaline rush, we love getting excessively crazy just to creep ourselves out.  If left alone long enough, sometimes we can actually give ourselves the auditory and visual hallucinations to accompany the fear.

Granted, sometimes what is occurring (auditory and visually) could actually be happening, but regardless, you are given a sense of reality about this thing which you have worked yourself up towards.  Or have been working yourself up towards after the hearing/seeing.

Point is, once you’re sick of fear, staying above that sort of situation may get a bit easier, and enable you to prepare for other, more important situations in the future.

(Damn you, horror movies!)

AIDS Ride for Life

Well guys,

As you know, within any religion there is a need to pass yourself off as a leader, indeed, become a leader of the community in which you live – whether that is the local, regional, state, national, or international depends on your hopes and dreams.

In my life, I am headed towards a new goal for the year: to bike 100 miles in a day.  A century.  This seems like a pretty daunting task, with an average bicyclist riding at 10 mph.  So, I began to search last night for group rides, and I found one.  AIDS Ride For Life.  It takes place in Ithaca, NY, on September 13th.  And I will be joining this team in bringing the message that there is hope for AIDS research.

The problem is, that I have to raise at least $300 to participate.  My fundraising goal is $500.  And trust me, every little bit will help.  Even a dollar.

So, if you donate even the tiniest bit to this organization, I’ll do something for you in return.  I’ll give your blog or website a special little mention here, I’ll help you build a website, I’ll give you some personal recognition – I’ll do anything to meet my goal, and to help the AIDS community at large.

And remember – especially if you’re against gays and somehow reading my site.  More straight people – women, children – who are just caught in bad situations or don’t know – are diagnosed and are being treated for AIDS.  Period.  AIDS may have been the gay disease at one point – but now, it could be your daughter or your sister or your cousin.  The HIV virus can be hidden for years at a time, dormant.

AIDS is a global problem.  Let’s do something about it.

The Religious Distortion

I tend to distance myself from politics, but as the election is coming very, very soon, we might as well get right to it.  I’d like to disclaim my views right now, in that they most likely do not represent any significant portion of the pagan community.  If any.  I’d also like to offer up the fact that if it were the other side being criticized in the same fashion, I would be just as quick to leap on the opportunity.

The Evangelist James Dobson is criticizing Senator Obama in his choice of words in 2006, at a meeting with the Christian Group, “Call to Renewal”.  From the article I read, Obama was at first, pointing out inconsistencies between biblical culture and modern culture – there is no more child abuse, animal sacrifice, or slavery, at least in the United States.

The criticism by Mr. Dobson begins there.  He claims that the antiquated bible verses should not be applicable to present day.  However, he fails to realize that in including the Old Testament into the Christian Bible, a certain amount of responsibility and reverence comes along with that inclusion.  In essence, not only the words of Jesus, but also the words of his ancestors and the traditions that predated Jesus should be held important.

Obama is, at most, with his statement that scripture should not fully lead the country, pointing out the inconsistencies between the two cultures:

Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy?  Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount?

The second criticism mentions Obama’s appeals to the Christians to translate their believes into something with universal appeal to better their aims among other people.  Dobson refutes this, saying that Obama is attempting to lower America’s standards to the “lowest common denominator.”

Does Dobson realize that in such a religiously mixed society, this must occur?  And that some values – love, peace, respect – tend to be inherent to most religious values of the society in which we live?  Instead, he is merely presenting himself as intolerant of the idea that anyone could possibly be different than himself.

What he doesn’t understand is, that in those public schools which I graduated from not too long ago, every day, we’re taught that we are special.  We make our own choices.  And in the churches of America?  Your choices are your own.  God(s) love you.  You take responsibility for your actions.  And other religions?  They’re not that bad.  As long as they preach the same ideals: love, trust, peace, respect.

In this day and age, we’re concerned about oil and the wars that may be spawning from that concern.  We’re most interested in keeping peace and saving our failing economy – not preserving the ideals of a few fundamentalist Christians who want us all to be the same as them.

In addition to that, appealing to the majority?  Common economic principle.  Common business principle.  Common sense.  Dobson’s objections that Obama wants to be indecisive are unfounded.  Obama is, at most, recognizing the fact that he needs to appeal to more than one group of people.  As president, he needs to be willing and able to work with the country with all of its organized and disorganized religions alike, both “us” and “them” to find something that we all are happy with.

And go back to bible school, Mr. Dobson.  Even Jesus understood the importance of a universal message.  Why else has his legacy lasted 2000 years?