A Failure to Communicate (And Hope for the Future)

Sometimes I look around the Pagan Blogosphere and simply shake my head, unsure of what to say. Today is one of those days. It would be easy to describe Modern Paganism as a hydra, one creature with many heads, but that’s not probably going far enough. Today’s Paganism is more like many hydras, each of those with countless heads. As long as there are Pagans there will be disagreements among Pagans.

Disagreeing with someone is not a horrible thing, nor does it have to be adversarial. I usually learn more about myself when talking with someone who believes differently than I do. It forces me to think about my own arguments and to reason out-loud why I believe what I believe. I enjoy being challenged, and to those I disagree with, it’s not personal. I don’t dislike someone because they think differently than I do.

Today I read an intelligent and articulate blogger respond to a peer with the phrase “Fuck off, John.” I couldn’t believe it. This writer* then blamed the individual she disagreed with for intra-faith communication not being better:

The Holy Powers may be nothing more than ideas to you, or mental constructs or whatever the fuck you pretend to believe, but some of us actually do right by Them . . . . Seriously, THIS is why we simply cannot have effective intra-community dialogue.

There are lines in both my writing and spirituality that I refuse to cross. I would NEVER mock someone for their beliefs, no matter how different they might be from my own, and most importantly I would NEVER accuse someone of pretending “to believe.” I used to think that standing under the Pagan Umbrella meant that those around me would accept the validity of my beliefs, even when disagreeing with me. Apparently that ideal is not shared by everyone.

Right before reading this “how to” in poor communications Christine Kraemer (managing editor here at Patheos Pagan, hi boss!) had just announced Pagan Tea Time, an initiative to promote face to face discussions in the Pagan Blogopshere. If you haven’t heard about Tea Time yet, here is Christine’s vision:

So here’s my proposition: during the month of February, if you write online, make a date to have a cup of tea (or food or drink of your choice) with another writer or commenter. Even better, be daring, and make it someone you’ve argued with. Those of you who are attending PantheaCon will have numerous opportunities to eat and drink and talk together in person, and I hope you will take them! But for those who won’t be there, I invite you to take a risk: e-mail someone (or more than one!) whose voice you’ve never heard before and ask them for an hour of their time via video chat (or failing that, phone). Get a glimpse of their pets or babies or partners. Show off your altar or your book collection or the way the sunlight slants into your kitchen. Put away your debates for a while and take the time to talk. Debates can come later.

How do I grow Pagan intellectual culture?

I form relationships. Won’t you join me this February?

Reading this nearly alongside a post accusing someone of “pretending to believe” made me wonder if it’s all too late. Has the venom gotten to the point where certain segments (and individuals) in our community are just incapable of speaking to one another as adults? I hope that’s not the case, but at this point, I’ll admit to being unsure.

Even with my doubts, I love Christine’s idea. It becomes harder to curse and mock people when you’ve actually spoken to them, even if it’s just on Skype. I believe that the majority of us are reasonable folks and that online communication simply stinks sometimes. Keyboards are just incapable of reproducing sarcasm and comments made in good faith are misinterpreted resulting in miscommunication and anger. I’ll be happily to come out from behind the keyboard anytime someone’s interested, I promise no profanities or insults either.

I couldn’t really find a good place for this in the article, so I decided to include it as a post-script.

When someone writes something disagreeable there are various ways to respond that don’t involve the word “fuck.” Here are some of my favorites:

1. Ignore the whole thing. Why give something you disagree with more exposure?

2. Argue with the content not the individual. If you really disagree with something point out why it’s wrong. Keep the personal out of it.

3. Write a private note explaining your concerns. Most Pagan bloggers are not out to offend, a little private correspondence can go a long way.

*I have decided not to name the bloggers in question. You can easily connect the dots on Google because I’ve given you a whole quote, it will pop right up. What’s most important to me is the idea that adults don’t respond to something they disagree with “Fuck off.” We can do better.

~Note~ I have decided to turn off the comments for this particular post. After a promising start things kind of got out of control. The point of this post was not to argue over the definition of polytheism but to examine the ways we communicate with each other publicly. That seems to have gotten lost.

About Jason Mankey

Jason Mankey has been involved with Paganism for the last twenty years, and has spent the last ten of those years as a speaker, writer, and High Priest. Jason can often be found lecturing on the Pagan Festival circuit, so you might just bump into him. When not reading and researching Pagan history he likes to crank up the Led Zeppelin, do rituals in honor of Jim Morrison (of The Doors), and sing numerous praises to Pan, Dionysus, and Aphrodite. He lives in Sunnyvale CA with his wife Ari and two hyper-kinetic cats.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

    It frustrates me that someone I usually agree with on theological matters, who is obviously highly intelligent and very dedicated to her gods, can’t seem to understand that religious disagreements aren’t personal insults – to practitioners or to the gods themselves.

    Your choice of pictures is most appropriate.

    • Jason Hatter

      I understand her frustration. As John himself acknowledged, he didn’t phrase the article as “his views on Neo-paganism” at first, leading the article to be read as more of an absolute “this is what it is”. That is the very attitude that has been pissing off the hard-polytheists.

      He has since edited parts of it to make it more clear, but truly, the damage is done.

      • JasonMankey

        Her response to John was framed in even more absolutes. I’ve tried very hard in the last year to stop writing in absolutes. No one represents all of Paganism, or even all of one Pagan fiefdom.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

        But it didn’t need to be “damage”. Look at how 12StepWitch responded in the comments to my post. That is the model of constructive criticism. Brava!

        • Jason Hatter

          True. It didn’t need to be. Galina (There, I’ve named names) comes under fire from a lot of fronts, and I fear she’s developed a very thin skin in some regards. I do think she overreacted, quite a bit. She also did it on her own territory, as it were, not making the comments on your blog, which is, given the past year’s worth of intra-faith wrangling, a step in the right direction, at least as I see it.

      • http://nuannaarpoq.wordpress.com/ thalassa

        Shouldn’t we all (at this point in internet development) understand that a blog is written from the author’s opinion and experience? And then, shouldn’t we all (as hopefully reasonable and intelligent human beings) be capable of discerning that disagreement is not an insult, its just a difference of opinion?

  • http://dashifen.com/ David Dashifen Kees

    Sometimes it almost seems like it’s more than a failure to communicate. I’m not necessarily saying this is true in this case, but I’ve watched some exchanges that bordered on the willful assumption of malice in one’s opposition. By which I mean to say that prior to reading or hearing the thoughts of person-B, person-A has already decided that they’re wrong, foolhardy, hazardous, or bonkers.

  • Kim Martin Bannerman

    Thanks Jason. You’re right. It’s too easy to sit behind a keyboard, and bash other people. The in-fighting has gone on for years and for as many reasons as there are various flavors of Paganism. It’s unfortunate.

    Call me an idealist, but I refuse to believe we’re all “too far gone” that things can’t be set right (at least in the undercurrent of things). Folks believe various things. That’s the beauty of Paganism, Wicca and other branches of the tree of Polytheism. It’s flexible like that. Isn’t that why we all were drawn to it, at least in part, to begin with? Like Jason said, I don’t bash anyone for their beliefs and it absolutely *is* a learning opportunity to talk with these people.

    It’s 2014. Most states have recognized Wicca and/or Pagan groups as non-profit organizations. However, we have much further to go. Working together vs berating other folks on the path serves us better as a community at large. Take the individual ego out of it folks, it’s about greater things other than ourselves.

  • http://www.12stepwitch.com/ 12StepWitch

    Yeah, I read that response by her as well and started to reply with “You know, it MIGHT be the case that we can’t have effective intra-communtiy dialogue because you call people’s work garbage and tell them to fuck off.” And then I realized it wasn’t worth it, at all, and instead turned my attention to helping John make a more powerful post. Because one of these people is reasonable and the other is not.

    • http://daoineile.com/ Aine

      “…we can’t have effective intra-communtiy dialogue because you call people’s work garbage and tell them to fuck off.” This, so much. When we can’t see the value in others’ works, when we actively degrade them, of course dialogue is going to fall apart. Even when we’re critiquing ideas, we don’t have to be cruel.

  • Conor O’Bryan Warren

    So Jason. . .are you inviting me to tea ;) ?

    • JasonMankey

      I’m always around, though if I’m in on this I’ll be sitting down with a tumbler of scotch or a pint of cider.

      • Conor O’Bryan Warren

        A tumbler of scotch is the only thing that will get you through the banality of myself.

  • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

    Is it really intrafaith when people believe radically different things?

    • http://www.patheos.com/Pagan Christine Kraemer

      Ask the Christians. The ones that believe in ecumenicism say yes. The ones who think ecumenicism is Satanic say no.

      • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

        Why let Christians define everything?

        On the other hand, Christian ecumenicism is about communication between different denominations of on religion. They do have an overarching unison of belief.

        • http://www.patheos.com/Pagan Christine Kraemer

          > They do have an overarching unison of belief.

          No, they don’t. That was my point. Christian denominations exclude other Christians from the Christian umbrella all the time (Mormons being the most common, but not the only, target right now).

    • Conor O’Bryan Warren

      Personally, I think seeing it as intrafaith is where a lot of this tension, aggression, and hostility is coming from. I think if we take an approach that people outside of our tradition or religion is, you know, of a different faith then a lot of this stuff can be alleviated. Of course, that also requires looking at Paganism as a sub-cultural grouping rather than a religious one and a lot of folks are simply unwilling to do that.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

    [I have removed the offending comment as it has been brought to my attention that Tourette's is a real disability which rarely includes uncontrolled swearing as a symptom. My attempt to be humorous was not only a "fail" but is an example of ablist privilege. It did not feel right to leave the comment out there. The rest of the comment I have left intact. - John Halstead]

    Seriously, she is intelligent and articulate, and I have consistently maintained that her perspective is a needed balance to my own and others’, but she does herself no favors with the hyperbole and ad hominems.

    • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

      “Control her Tourrets”? You’re going to use a legitimate health issue as a written club? At least she told you to fuck off rather than using a syndrome as an insult.

      • http://www.patheos.com/Pagan Christine Kraemer

        Well, in real life (as opposed to on television), Tourette syndrome almost never involves uncontrollable swearing. So, not a very effective club in any case.

        I think polite society encourages us to imply that people are unwell rather than that they’re simply being mean, even if the latter is the truth. I agree that it’s better to do that without spreading misinformation about health issues, though.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

        I apologize if I offended any Tourette’s-affected Pagans out there.

        • J. Edward Tremlett

          *sputter* starfish monkey whalebone alcatraz! *sputter*

    • http://daoineile.com/ Aine

      Noooot a cool comment, John. You could address the issue without, as Sarenth says, using a health issue as an insult.

      • JasonMankey

        I agree.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

        Yet another failed attempt by this overly-privileged Pagan to lighten the mood. :(

        In all honesty, I’m finding G.’s propensity to drop the f-bomb kind of endearing — like the annoying habit of a relative you adore. Weird!

    • http://www.12stepwitch.com/ 12StepWitch

      This is where John owns his mistake and learns something about ableist privilege….

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

        And something about Tourette’s too!

  • Ken

    As long as there are posts like this, I don’t think it’s too late for face-to-face dialog. I’d pick everyone’s brain if I didn’t work 12hrs a day on the other side of the planet:P

  • http://www.patheos.com/Pagan Christine Kraemer

    > Has the venom gotten to the point where certain segments (and individuals) in our community are just incapable of speaking to one another as adults?

    It’s always been so, I think — read the Green Egg letters forum from the 1970s. :) However, being that it now takes almost no effort to leave an abusive comment — much less effort than it did to write and post a letter by hand — we see more of people’s knee-jerk reactions.

    And, happily, we can delete them so that if desired, they can replace them with something constructive. Click!

    I do think something has happened such that many people no longer understand the purpose of opinion pieces. Over and over I see comments along the lines of “You are speaking about a group we are both part of, and I don’t agree with what you’re saying, so you’re hurting me/trying to silence me.” It seems to me that there was a point in the past where writing didn’t require elaborate caveats about it being one’s personal opinion and perspective, because that was automatically understood.

    It does seem some religious people (Pagan and otherwise) see others’ writing as threatening to them, because it might sway a majority of the group in question toward a perspective that that person dislikes, and so eventually deprive them of community. I suppose that’s somewhat legitimate… and yet it seems to me that no one in the Pagan movement has any kind of power to enforce orthodoxy, nor do I see anyone seeking any. The internet, perhaps, gives an illusion that the world is smaller than it really is.

    • JasonMankey

      I thought the arguments in “The Green Egg” were generally just Tarostar versus the world.

    • http://daoineile.com/ Aine

      I have noticed, though, that some bloggers /are/ trying to silence others (sometimes with bullying or online harassment/stalking), or at least make other practices look ‘less legitimate’/actively mocking them – but when they’re called on that, they just say, “It’s my opinion!”

      I just don’t think I’m too keen or willing to be accommodating to opinions that try to demean others or set up a hierarchy of True Pagans. I do think we have a sensitivity problem in Pagandom, but I don’t think that’s all there is to the issue.

      • http://www.patheos.com/Pagan Christine Kraemer

        Bullying is definitely a problem, especially if it’s directed at the blogger’s own space and/or by name. But for the most part, I think we can solve the problem simply by excluding those who behave abusively from the conversation. Don’t read their stuff, block them on social media, make sure no energy from you or your audience flows their way… only if that doesn’t work do I think a more aggressive strategy is needed. (For example, in my own community, there have been instances of people being offered professional opportunities that were then withdrawn because of the behavior of other people using the same group name. One could argue that the person withdrawing the opportunity was being bigoted, but if other people are blackening your group’s name thoroughly enough, you either have to change your name or start a good counter-PR campaign.)

        • http://daoineile.com/ Aine

          “…I think we can solve the problem simply by excluding those who behave abusively from the conversation.”

          I think that’s definitely the best approach, since responding seems to just feed the drama machine.

  • http://daoineile.com/ Aine

    “Has the venom gotten to the point where certain segments (and individuals) in our community are just incapable of speaking to one another as adults?”

    As much as it…sucks to admit it, there are definitely some people I would not want to chat with, or dialog with, or email with, or meet, under any circumstances in the larger Pagan community. And I’ve realized it has less to do with being afraid of criticism or differing opinions (which I’m learning to love all over again), but fear of the type of insults I’ve gotten used to. I know, I know – I should extend the hand of compassion, I should be willing to try.

    Blah, anyway. I do hope we can see better dialog in the blogosphere in 2014. I know I’m trying to be better.

  • http://www.celestinetarot.com/ Celestine Angel

    Sigh. I’m just really tired in general of Pagans telling other Pagans that they’re not Pagan enough. Whatever the crux of their disagreement may be.

    • Adam Blodgett

      There’s something disappointing about the abused becoming abusers.

  • PegAloi

    Reminds me of when my own spiritual beliefs were referred to as “horseshit” several times on various forums by one “prominent” polytheist. Some people just don’t know how to be respectful because they have no impulse control and think that belittling others makes them somehow more righteous. It’s all about fear and ego and poor self-esteem, if you ask me. I doubt the community will ever really come together because of these tendencies. Christine makes a good point about the Green Egg Forums, too! :)

  • Mari-Anne Mahlau

    These types of arguments that got just as heated occurred in the back letters section of Green Egg all the time. This is nothing new. I think that not being able to see the person you are debating with face to face makes some people feel freer to say whatever the heck they want without consequence where perhaps they wouldn’t be quite so full of piss and vinegar in person. It really is disheartening, but I wouldn’t fear the worst or that it’s “too late” for a fine idea like the “Pagan Tea Time”.

  • David Pollard

    Hope that Pagan Tea Time utilizes de-caffenated tea otherwise, given the current climate, it’ll just become Pagan Pissing Contest.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram/ A Witch’s Ashram

    If I wasn’t going to see you at PCon, I would totally hit you up for a video-chat cuppa. I googled that quote and only got your post! Ha! Of course, I’m not working very hard at my google-fu. The importance to me is not who said what, but that we need to learn better how to communicate with one another.

  • Robert Hager

    I used to be the worst offender in the bad communication department. Suddenly that changed. However, just before I put the finishing touches on my new style, I was on a facebook group where one fellow just used horrible communication skills. Most of the ‘edler’ types wrote him off. I took the opportunity to share with these elders a way to help this person communicate better. What he was saying was not bad. How he was saying it sucked. These elders virtually ignored my suggestions and didn’t add to the discussion when i tried to help this guy. In my view, if you are going to assume the elder role, one of the parts you play is helping these stubborn Pagans to learn to play nice. It is hard work but it can be done.

  • Henry Buchy

    rudeness abounds, sometimes blunt, sometimes condescending, as does myopic thought and rigid adherence to ‘author’ities. As for hope, sometimes I harbor a glimmer, but it usually quickly burns out into a cinder of cynicism, lol, but such is the age we live in. Christine writes “it’s always been so, I think.” it always has been so, for 40 +years I’ve been a witch, 25 or so of them being witness to the same type of behavior on the old listservs newsgroups, IRC, aol, compuserv, etc., up to the present. It’s always boiled down to ‘theology’,heh, and all the same old arguments.
    That will never change as long as folk keep after this notion that there’s a “Pagan Religion” and keep trying to define or describe it as such. I hear talk about the ‘Post Christian” world and the decline of organized Public religion, so why would anyone want to create another Public religion? heh. Most folks are leaving that idiom and don’t want to walk down that road again. I know I sure don’t. Nor do I want freedom of religion but freedom from religion. Besides that, there’s been 30 some years of indoctrination that modern witches or pagans don’t need institutions or community, that it’s a DIY ‘religion’, through literature, that whatever you want to do or think is valid, and all you need to do to be a witch or pagan is to just say you are. So yeah folks will take umbrage when told what pagans do,lol.
    All for the sake of growing numbers, heh, big tent? more like a big mess.

    • http://www.patheos.com/Pagan Christine Kraemer

      I think it’s a mistake to try to serve everyone who calls hirself a Pagan, for the reasons you name. But we do have examples of success on a local level, in a variety of formats (nonprofits buying festival land; temples that provide classes, services, and worship space; libraries; interfaith organizations; stable networks of small groups that provide mutual support, etc.). We can disseminate information about our experiments under the label Pagan so that people who are trying related experiments can find it and benefit from it.

      Perhaps if the focus is local rather than global, it will be easier to see what’s working — because I see plenty that’s working on a group-specific level. The strange assumption that people who live thousands of miles apart need to work together closely or agree on any kind of details, though, strikes me as bizarre. We need just enough national political togetherness to get just enough recognition that the legal system can no longer do things like deprive parents of custody of their children because of their religious practices. Other than that, sameness defeats the purpose, in my mind. Many of us have a place-based, contextual religion, so of course no two manifestations of it are ever going to look the same. It would be nice if we could just accept that as the order of the day.

      • Henry Buchy

        yup, folks need to take a more grassroots type approach and go from the bottom up rather than a top down thing, as it were. Local is the way to go, as that’s where any kind of density can be found, and that’s a big part of it, density.

        ” We need just enough national political togetherness to get just enough recognition that the legal system can no longer do things like deprive parents of custody of their children because of their religious practices.”
        yah, that’s part of the point I was attempting to make, folks have more in common on things like social justice and other political causes to unite under than any religious/ theological system.
        Also folks might start prefacing their opinions with something to the effect of: “I’m a pagan and a (adjective-noun) and I view things in this way…” it might help for folks to see that kind of description regularly, so it’s easier to recognize the diverse theologies and views that comprise a pagan movement.

  • http://nuannaarpoq.wordpress.com/ thalassa

    Though I am a (way) lesser known and not nearly controversial (probably for being lesser known) blogger (Pagan parenting blogs don’t tend to be all that dramatic), I would love to have tea with pretty much anyone that wanted to have tea. My personal philosophy regarding behavior and religion is fairly steeped in the idea of using manners.

    I just love tea. I’ll sip up any excuse to have a cup. (especially if its with a fellow lover of bad puns)

    I’d say that we need to have an Skype-pal exchange going somewhere, but I’d be afraid that might create a giant coffee-tea debate…and then the mead drinkers would be sad…and…

    Over the years I’ve come to the sad conclusion that this is just human nature at work. The only place I’ve really seen an multi-path Pagan community work effectively was in the military, where everyone had *underway on the big gray boat* in common with one another.

  • http://goddesspriestess.com/ Molly

    I have been blogging for a long time (though only for the last two years about spirituality). I consciously, deliberately, and purposely avoid blogging in “debate mode.” I just don’t do it. I also don’t blog in “current events mode.” Both have served me well as a blogger (and though my avoidance of those styles also means none of my posts go viral, they also have a good deal of staying power/longevity). I guess my comment is just a pat on the back for myself, but I appreciate your observations in this post and I wish more pagan bloggers would focus on sharing their own experiences, beliefs, and perspectives without feeling the need to debate anyone else about them (just tell your own story, make your own connections, and learn your own lessons…).

  • Lamyka L.

    This piece is a complete handwringing farce. You completely take out of context what she wrote and then sit by and say that she’s not allowed to be angry or use such language without providing any of the context of what she was responding to or how she was responded to. She and every polytheist out there have a right to be angry at what he wrote, as well as to be angry over being marginalized in our own faith–and then to be told we’re not allowed to be angry about it! It’s ridiculous!

    Hospitality is one of the key virtues that any polytheist can agree on regardless of their faith or Gods. A guest will be treated with the utmost respect, care, and compassion but when you break into someone else’s home and demand that they feed you–take care of you, you are not a guest. And you damn well can not declare yourself a guest! You are an INTRUDER. When you’re an intruder, we can deal with you as we see fit.

    • JasonMankey

      She certainly has a right to be angry, but how is she helping anything by saying “Fuck off John?” I’m amazed and bewildered by the power you seem to think John Halstead wields. His one blog post is going to completely marginalize your faith? How can you believe that?

      He’s an “intruder” when writing on her blog, not his.

      • Lamyka L.

        I nor anyone else have an obligation to teach an adult a single thing that we don’t first agree to share. I did not ascribe Halstead with any sort of power, nor did I allude or outright say so.

        I could say I find it mind-boggeling that ‘polytheist’ is hard to understand for some people but I’m not surprised anymore, especially not after reading some of the glad-handing I’ve read here. Telling or stating that anyone is the complete opposite of what they are, when it is already clear is as close to the very definition of ‘being marginalized’ as one can get.

        An act like this is insulting at best, but considering Halstead’s own opinions written out, one can easily see where he’s coming from. My analogy of an intruder is one I use because I see it happen all the time to our People. Americans come to Hawai’i demanding we share who we are, our history, our ALOHA. Some people react to this assault with kindness and some of us–more of us each day–smile and kindly say ‘Fuck off’. I would take expletives any day over false saccharine platitudes.

        • http://www.12stepwitch.com/ 12StepWitch

          I can agree that saying “You, person over there, are this thing” could be marginalizing.

          But I don’t see where John made statements about anyone else being this or that. He merely made the following observations:
          -There are people who believe the archetypes are Gods
          -Those people sometimes call themselves polytheists
          -That is a fundamentally different kind of religious expression than devotional polytheism

          These are just observations, and probably facts that we can all agree on.

          Then he make this judgement:
          -It is ok for those people to call themselves polytheists. There is historical precedent. Both viewpoints are valid and can co-exist peacefully.

          Now, I understand that you disagree. Let me try to sum up your argument. Please correct me on any misconceptions I have as I really do want to understand.
          You believe that:
          -There is no historical precedent for the use of the term polytheist by so-called archetypical polytheists and that this is an act of appropriation
          -The result of this act of appropriation is to marginalize and oppress the voices of devotional polytheists within polytheism. They cannot co-exist peacefully using the same term to describe themselves

          Did I get it correctly? I am attempting to understand. Thank you.

        • http://www.patheos.com/Pagan Christine Kraemer

          Actually, “marginalization” generally involves systematic economic and social exclusion from the center of a society. It is not usually defined by being mislabeled by a single individual who has no power over another individual or group.

          The kind of rhetoric you are using trivializes the very real struggles of racial minorities, GLBTQ people, people with disabilities, and others who are deprived of job opportunities, are regularly threatened with or experience physical abuse, are targeted by police for searches and other invasions of privacy, and other REAL infringements of civil liberties and human rights based on sexual orientation, race, class, or religious affiliation. THAT is what “marginalization” means. It is not someone using a definition that (according to you) is incorrect, somewhere on the internet.

      • PegAloi

        If he is an “intruder” she should block him; otherwise, if she allows open commenting and leaves his remarks there for all to see, then it is merely discourse.

        • JasonMankey

          She doesn’t allow open commenting. I wouldn’t have even written this piece if she had “approved” my comment.

          I’ve always had open commenting on RtH, and people who don’t agree with me are welcome and certainly not “intruders.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

          Just to be clear, I have not commented on any of her blogs since June 2013.

    • Guest

      …but he’s not marginalizing us in our own faith. That entire assertion is ridiculous. He’s writing about his own beliefs, on his own blog, which isn’t even a major traffic hub in the pagan blogosphere. I fail to see how that makes us powerless or unimportant, or excludes us from the discussion.

      And then comparing his use of the word “polytheist” to home invasion? Completely specious. He’s not plastering hateful speech on someone else’s blog; he’s not writing his pieces in “polytheist-only” spaces; he’s certainly not insisting that his definition of polytheism is the only correct one. Using the word “polytheist” in a way that you disagree with does not make him an intruder, nor invalidate your own faith.

      And gods below, hospitality applies to public spaces too – in which everyone is simultaneously host and guest. So far as I can see, that’s all Jason Mankey’s asking people to recognize. He’s not asking anyone not to be angry, he’s asking them to be /civil/. Why is that so abhorrent a proposition?

    • http://www.12stepwitch.com/ 12StepWitch

      I want to make sure I understand.

      It is simply the use of the word polytheist by people who are not devotional polytheists that you consider activity that marginalizes you in your own faith?

      • http://daoineile.com/ Aine

        This is something I’m wondering too, because I’m not quite sure I understand what Lamyka means by ‘being marginalized in our own faith’.

    • PegAloi

      This echoes, again, what that “prominent polytheist” said to me about people “coming into polytheistic space with their horseshit” etc. People, this is the internet; if you don’t want someone commenting in your comments section, block them. Come on! Really, this idea that some of the “hardline” polytheist community needs to feel like they are somehow AT WAR, and needs to make threats (to “deal with” people as they “see fit”–yeah, that is bullying language) is patently ridiculous, as is the notion that anyone is somehow “marginalized” (huh?) because, I dunno, other people have different spiritual beliefs and practices under the VERY wide umbrella known as paganism.

    • StyrrErnstson

      You and Ms. Krasskova act as though polytheists are some monolithic group, oriented towards the same goals and responding to such (minor) issues in the same ways, and that simply isn’t true. I, as a so-called “hard” polytheist, see no reason to be upset with with Mr. Halstead had to say. He isn’t appropriating a term, because it simply isn’t a term that anyone owns. No one would say that John, as a humanist, is appropriating that term from, say, a non-pagan humanist (my apologies, by the way, if I’m incorrectly putting a label on John that he wouldn’t agree with). Saying that, by seeing his own beliefs as a distinct form of polytheism, he’s somehow stealing the word and marginalising the rest of us, is frankly asinine.

      No one is saying we can’t have our own views on our various gods and spirits and no one is saying we have to agree with people who have differing opinions than we do. But we need to be able to tolerate them and lose the false sense of martyrdom and this idea of “dealing with them as we see fit.”

      In fact, I’d be willing to bet that this sense that anyone who would dare call themselves a polytheist without wholly agreeing with us is exactly what most humanist and atheist-pagans are bothered by. There’s no need to other (or, perhaps even marginalise?) them, call them intruders and offer vague threats against them.

      Then again, perhaps that’s just my own, slightly verbose opinion on the matter.

    • http://www.patheos.com/Pagan Christine Kraemer

      I believe you are the guest here, actually. Jason and John wrote on their own blogs, on this community site, which *I* manage. Neither you nor anyone affiliated with you has any right whatsoever to dictate what appears in this space.

      I am shocked that you would bring up the virtue of hospitality while you are in the process of violating it. Veiled threats are extremely inappropriate behavior for a guest — I would say for a human being in general, in fact, but by your own stated ethical code, you are behaving badly.