Down South Diversity

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The other day, I read a "you know you're a New Yorker/ Californian/Midwesterner/Southerner when..." post in my G+ stream that consisted primarily of mildly to moderately negative stereotypes. Needless to say, this is not a form of "humor" I enjoy. Not only do Southerners rarely have names like "Jim Bob" and "Billy Sue," but there is also a high degree of variation in dialect rather than a single "Southern" mode of speech. And I'm going to need y'uns to spell "y'all" correctly if you're going to … [Read more...]

The War on Christmas

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Several excellent authors have already covered the so-called "war on Christmas," but since the holiday season provides plenty of opportunity for interfaith interaction, I wanted to touch on this subject a little bit here at Wild Garden. I've been trying to figure out what, exactly, the "War on Christmas" is. From our house, this is a time of good cheer when we stick a tree in the living room and drink a ridiculous amount of hot cocoa. As I write this, the sun is hitting the tinsel just so and … [Read more...]

The Problem with Proselytization

Assimilation is not just something that happens in Star Trek.

I wrote some time back about how it is imperative for me to be courteous to those who come to my door. This is part of my upbringing as well as a moral obligation stemming from my religious convictions. By and large, I see proselytization efforts as futile and mostly harmless, but the practice has certain assumptions at its core that can lead to behaviors and attitudes that can be quite harmful to those of us in the minority. The assumptions are as follows: There is one true way. Because … [Read more...]

What to say when they come to your door

Mormons in the wild (Nicest people you'll ever meet; not a rude missionary among them).

I was struggling with what to write this week, when an interfaith encounter came to my door. The gods work in obvious and unsubtle ways. And, as a side note, I'm a day late and a dollar short in posting this week. I had a thesis defense on Monday, so I hope you will all forgive me for the delay. I'm sure a lot of you have had similar experiences and have likely even devised a method of handling the door to door religion salespeople. I've heard a number of different ways of dealing with … [Read more...]

Forgiveness and Redemption

Angulimala about to fail at murdering.

When thinking about the topic of forgiveness, I found that I had a couple of conflicting thoughts. This is one of those cases where interfaith work is internal, being that I both identify as a Hellenic Polytheist and a California Buddhist. My Buddhist self told the story of Angulimala, who was once a murderer and a thief and, upon learning stillness from the Buddha (who was to be his 1,000th murder victim), became a monk and never intentionally harmed another person again. The Buddha was willing … [Read more...]

What do Gerald Gardner and Mary Baker Eddy have in common?

Not Gerald Gardner (note lack of beard)
Some upstart priestess blogger I found wandering about

This month, Women of Faith discussed our perspectives on women in the workplace as it relates to our religious paths. Our discussion primarily boiled down to a woman's choice to work outside the home or to stay at home and by and large, we agreed that a woman has the right to choose her occupation. We have a bit of a sampling bias, all of us being strong-willed women, so this came as no surprise. Methodist Cindy and UU Jill told us about their respective organizations' statements on fair labor … [Read more...]

Iftar

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My daughters and I had the privilege of being invited twice to Iftar at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM). We had a great time and the food, as always, was superb. The thing that struck me the most about attending is the way we, as guests, were treated. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was generous, courteous, kind, polite, and hospitable. This was Southern hospitality at its best. Or, at least, this is what Southern hospitality should look like. Guests were rushed to the front of the line, … [Read more...]

Does your Religion Make You Happy?

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So, I've been on a writing hiatus for a little while because of all of my children, my Master's thesis has been the most difficult. It has taken six years to be born and while I would like for it to have sprung fully formed from my head, the process has been more like Leto in perpetual labor. Without my dear friends and relations cheering me on, there is no way I would be able to finish. I just have to give it one final push and my little contribution to science will have been born. I'll let you … [Read more...]

Patriotism

Parthenon

Pretty soon, we'll be coming up upon Panathenaia. It falls sort of nearish the 4th of July and I try to make it up to Nashville at least once a year around this time to visit the Parthenon. Last year, the eldest and I had a very nice picnic in Centennial Park after praying and knitting inside. This year, I will pray to her for guidance for my federal, state, and local governments in the hopes that she can lead them to wise decisions. This prayer to her isn't limited to once a year, of course. … [Read more...]

Through the Brambles

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I've written before on my Making Light blog about our local Women of Faith group here in Rutherford County, Tennessee, but I wanted to write a little bit about why and how I got into doing interfaith work. Now, I'm not what you might call a big-nosed-Pagan and what we're doing is not on the level of the big interfaith meetings that people like His Holiness the Dalai Lama attends. We're little and we're new, but our work does what those big meetings can't do. We reach people and congregations on … [Read more...]