The Spirit of the Season

Winter Solstice

 As we enter the winter holiday season I am struck by the discord that seems to arise each year at this time over whom the holiday “belongs to”. It’s as if there is a conclusion that the celebrations of the season are limited to one religion only, that the celebrations are a finite commodity to be “owned” by one group or another. How silly. Just because I celebrate Yule, someone else celebrates Christmas, and another joins with family to honor Kwanzaa doesn’t mean that any of us impacts … [Read more...]

Hometown Pilgrimage – 2015

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Every year the Interfaith Mission Service (IMS) here in Huntsville sponsors a Hometown Pilgrimage with the express purpose of celebrating and embracing the religious diversity of the City of Huntsville. This year's Hometown Pilgrimage is co-sponsored by the University of Alabama-Huntsville Office of Diversity and the City of Huntsville's Office of Multicultural Affairs. The Hometown Pilgrimage began on 2 September 2014 and runs until 2 November. This year the Pilgrimage has included a number of … [Read more...]

What We All Want

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The light bulb came on for me this week.It was a big interfaith week for me here in South Carolina.  Last Sunday Interfaith Partners held our annual meeting, at which I gave a very brief report on something Cherry Hill Seminary students are doing.  Then Thursday I traveled to Aiken to meet with a fledgling group there.  Yesterday I popped by the big dedication festivities for a new Hindu (BAPS) temple in my own neighborhood.I love this stuff, love the people I meet, love the friends I’ve … [Read more...]

What’s Compassion Got to Do With It?

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In a few hours I'll be on a panel for the annual meeting of Interfaith Partners of S.C.  Each faith represented is supposed to share what they have been up to in terms of expressing compassion.  For months I have wondered how to approach this task.  The following are the remarks I will make when it's my turn; I'd love to hear your responses, or even suggestions for the future.For followers of one of the earth-based spiritual paths which are collectively referred to as Paganism, articulating a … [Read more...]

Talking Our Way to Understanding

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The living room dialogue went swimmingly.  We started by going around the circle, first person sharing with the person to their left something about their religion that they think is different from everyone else, second person reflecting back what they heard the first person say.  Then the second person turned to the third person in the circle, and so forth.  No big surprises or problems here.Then I asked the group to think about the people who do not understand their religion, perhaps even f … [Read more...]

Hatred is the Poison of the Soul

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   “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.” By Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller, 1955This month I find myself trapped between the events of 9/11 and a Samhain that seems more and more filled with the angry voices of both the living and the dead. Perhaps that is why Mabon with its call for balance and for letting go of that which is not helpful seemed especially poignant. There is so much hatred and fear in the world and it seeps into our souls like some … [Read more...]

People Like Me

"We know we all believe in the same god."I sighed as a couple of friends around the table caught my eye with a knowing look. The new people at last week’s interfaith meeting were introducing themselves, and their use of this tired, inaccurate aphorism was, no doubt, their way of stating that they were in harmony with all the others present. As often as I refer to plural “gods” or say out loud that we are not all the same, I have come to accept that most people cannot hear that message. They d … [Read more...]

Autumnal Introspection

To those celebrating, Happy Helig! Photo courtesy of shutterstock.

I grew up in a household that practiced portions of two religions:  Judaism and Christianity.  My mother was Christian but converted to Judaism; my father is Jewish by birth.  But, just because my immediate family nominally had a single religious identity, my extended family remained multi-faith.  I remember fondly lighting the menorah and the tree at my maternal grandmother's house during years where Christmas and Hanukkah overlapped, for example.  My choice to live as a Pagan and a polytheist a … [Read more...]


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