Growing up with a mom that is a Trekkie, believes that aliens exist, and scours the film industry for anything sci-fi, she once told me that a life dream of hers was to take a trip to the moon before she died. I hope she can. She’s still got some time left to achieve this dream.
I listened to her for years about things that may have seemed impossible to the wary, building within myself my own desire for a dream to be achieved before I die. It’s a simple one. At least, it is to me, anyway. In my late teens, I would scour the newspaper’s religious section (we didn’t have the World Wide Web back then), searching for any hint of a sign of paganism. Only thing was, I didn’t know then it was paganism I was searching for. I was merely looking for something outside of the normal, Sunday 9am or 11am service at this or that church. I wasn’t really interested in attending this or that Thursday bar-b-que to raise funds for someone’s family that was a part of this or that congregation.
After a few months of not finding what I was looking for, I sent the editor of the religious section a request. I asked if he knew of any gatherings; something spiritual per se, with not so much mainstream religious affiliation. I also asked him that if he didn’t know of any, did he think there would ever possibly be, sections in the newspaper that pertained to such gatherings.
A few weeks later I received my reply. The editor in fact, did not know of any such non-religious gatherings. He also felt reasonably sure that there was not enough interest at that time to warrant even a small, 1inch by 1inch space of the religious section to notify the community of such. Nor would there ever be.
Well, needless to say, this response set within my core the need to experience cross-cultural, multi-faith, spiritualistic venues of the varied nature, within my community, before I die. It also started me off on my venture to learn about ALL the religious and non-religious amenities available to the human population in my neck of the woods. While the Triad was a thriving metropolis for the South (as it were) in 1999, it definitely wasn’t the multi-cultural affect one could have found in early 19th century Brooklyn.
Fast forward to 2013. Throughout the Triad, one searching for that connection with community has ample opportunity to scope out such to see if one of the many different faith (or non-faith) traditions rings true to her (or his) soul. We have Community Mosque’s, thriving Jewish Temples, and Kwanzaa cultural groups, and for the wandering soul searching for something not mainstream, there is the LEWA network. Many shaman’s came be located individually by searching on the web, as well as many home groups that teach about Love and Light for all people, rather than the outdated mode of using a particular theme from popular scripture to coerce .
Perhaps now would be a prudent time to re-connect with that long ago editor to see what his thoughts would be on the necessity of an interfaith blurb in the religious section? I still can see in my mind’s eye the advertisement I was hoping to find oh so long ago: “Come sit with us and learn how to talk with the deceased. If that’s not up your ally, come learn how to walk between worlds. All else, just come learn how to be one with All that Is. Regardless the purpose of your search, you will find that you too, can be in Love with Everything.”
I seriously doubt that editor from oh so long ago would have ever thought there’d be an article in the global news of how orthodox Catholicism raised a toast to a Pope that became the No. 2 story in the Good News Network’s reflection of 2103: http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/inspired/ten-best-of-2013.html. Or that there would even be a story on how Muslims helped a Jewish Synagogue from being closed: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/dec/20/bradford-synagogue-saved-muslims-jews
I seriously doubt that Mr. Editor would ever be reading about how in Winston-Salem, a Christian Doctor of Theology (a woman no less), offering a three part lecture series on Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism, to help teach our community about faiths other than Christianity. Mr. Editor most likely didn’t dream in his wildest dreams that a group of local high schoolers would even want to go on an Interfaith youth tour. Nor would over 200 people want to come to the Gateway YMCA to experience other faith’s traditions and rituals.
I really do need to try and reconnect with Mr. Editor to see how he feels about the religious section of the newspaper these days. Not that we need the newspaper anymore. Google, and all the wondrous opportunities to be found on the World Wide Web provides so much more than that simple, two page Saturday edition.
So, after just 15 short years, I feel I can say that I’ve achieved my dream of experiencing cross-cultural, multi-faith, spiritualistic venues of varied nature within my community. Some of it occurred over the last five years, but most of it happened just last year, in 2013. I can’t wait to see what 2014 will yield for the world of interfaith; things spiritual, and most assuredly, all things pagan.