Setting The World Straight

03 09 Thoreau statue

In discussing Henry David Thoreau, mid-20th century American writer E.B. White said “Walden is the report of a man torn by two powerful and opposing drives – the desire to enjoy the world and the urge to set the world straight.” I am no Thoreau, but that statement describes my current conundrum quite accurately.I’m a Pagan in part because I see the world as something to enjoy. Our world is not fallen, it is becoming. Yes, life can be hard, and suffering is never far away, but there is so much … [Read more...]

Top 10 Posts on Under the Ancient Oaks

me with OBOD Chosen Chief Philip Carr-Gomm at the 2012 East Coast Gathering

I’m out of the country on a 12-day trip that’s part vacation and part pilgrimage.  Yes, you’ll hear all about it when I get back.  Until then, take a look at the top 10 posts since I moved to Patheos.When I moved here from Blogger in January 2013 I lost all my statistics.  So this list is based on traffic after I moved to Patheos – about the last 14 months.  But as you’ll see, some of the most popular posts were from the Blogger era.10) Race and Religion in the Modern Pagan World (August … [Read more...]

The Challenges of Free Will

Expecting everyone to scramble up these rocks is neither fair nor reasonable.  But if you can, the experience is amazing.

Last week I made a strong case for acting as though we have free will even though we can’t be sure if we do or not.  I really do think it’s the best way to order your life.  But like so many strong statements, the fact that it’s generally true doesn’t mean it’s always true.Msironen left a comment that illustrates this complexity, first quoting me and then adding his concerns: “But as I said in the post, whether we have free will or only the illusion of free will, we’re better off ordering ou … [Read more...]

Fate, the Gods, and Free Will

candle of will

The Patheos “What Do I Really Believe” series has a new question for contemplation across religious traditions. Most religious traditions teach that human beings have agency – that their choices matter – but also that there are greater spiritual forces at work that impact or even determine the course of events or the ultimate outcome. To what extent does divine will (or fate or karma etc.) limit human agency? Does free will really exist? My initial response is “of course it does!”  Pagans like … [Read more...]