The Value of Sacred Language

codex regius

I've been married now for almost a year, and my wife and I have been together for nearly three. During that time I've gotten to know the local Jewish community fairly well, and (being the Rabbi's son-in-law) I've gotten a unique kind of “behind the scenes” look at how Synagogues and the general community function. One of the biggest internal cultural movements I've noticed in modern Judaism is this drive to reclaim Hebrew as a sacred language and encourage everyone in the community to learn … [Read more...]

Speaking for Others: Part Two

Used via creative commons license.

In Part One of this series, I talked about the difficulties and dilemmas in being asked to talk about a tradition or faith that is not your own.  This week in Part Two, I'd like to offer some suggestions to those who find themselves in this situation. I must imagine that the monists or soft polytheists who attend interfaith events and work with those of other faiths want to accurately convey the great diversity within Paganism.  I don't believe that anyone is out there honestly trying to … [Read more...]

Asking the Right Question

A five-pointed star with a dollar sign centered within it.

From time to time, the curators over at the Patheos Public Square send out writing prompts to all of us. Usually, they don't fit well within the overall topic of interfaith that we tend to stick to here at the Wild Garden so I, personally, haven't used them.  This time, though, I think there is a connection to be made. For the public square, we were asked to answer a question:  has capitalism failed? Unfortunately, I don't think the world deals in absolutes, so the answer can only be … [Read more...]

Interfaith in the Pagan Community

Pagan Interfaith

We talk a lot about how we need to engage in interfaith work to bring peace and harmony among the religions of the world.  Generally when we are speaking to this we are talking about Pagans working with Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, etc.;  in other words, working with members of religions that do not fall under the Pagan umbrella.  All of this is important work that badly needs doing.  And it is vital that Pagan voices be heard in any discussions about how the religions of the … [Read more...]

How to Do Interfaith: Basics For Pagan Beginners, Part 1

photo10

Someone asked me recently, however did you gain acceptance in South Carolina as a Pagan interfaith leader?  Honestly, the story is not much of a mystery, but I’ve learned some things along the way which you may find useful. 1.  Show up.  Patrick McCollum was asked once what is the key to successfully building Pagan community.  His answer was, “Show up.”  If you want to be part of something, you have to be there when the action happens.  That may mean visiting religious services, … [Read more...]

Speaking for Others: Part One

Used via Creative Commons license

In the recent discussions that have gone on in the Pagan community about 'Wiccanate privilege', a large number have mentioned interfaith gatherings.  Some have asked for more Heathens and devotional polytheists to come to the table, and others have expressed frustration that their views are being misrepresented by Pagans who tend towards a duotheistic or monist worldview.  Now, this brings us to an interesting question - is it okay to talk about the beliefs of others (even if they fall under … [Read more...]

The Pagan Collective

With apologies to Gene Roddenberry

In March, Rhyd Wildermuth and our fearless leader proposed a topic to which all interested parties on the Pagan channel could respond: Much of the current dialogue in the Pagan blogosphere is about carving out ways to explain and justify our personal experiences and beliefs in relation to other traditions, but without a clear vision of the place our own traditions and experiences might have in an ideal world. Will the Pagan movement become one tradition-heavy set of religions with several … [Read more...]

On Homogeneity

Word cloud from the RLDW 2012 by Dr. Lucinda Mosher, facilitator of the workshop.  Used with permission.

It's human nature to generalize, to assume.  And, doing so isn't always a bad thing.  You can likely assume that walking down dark alleys in dangerous places at night alone isn't going to be the best idea you've had.  But, when we start to generalize about populations, religious or otherwise, then we start to find ourselves making decisions based on expectations rather than reality. I Slay Dragons (on the Internet) I play video games, especially World of Warcraft.  I've been playing it … [Read more...]

Religious Diversity Leadership Workshop 2014

a building at Hartford Seminary on a blue background

Last June, I had the privilege and the honor to attend the Religious Diversity Leadership Workshop at Hartford Seminary.  During the week long intensive program, I sat with around 30 individuals from a variety of faiths as we learned about each other and our communities, studied cases dealing with interfaith leadership, and in some moments simply discussed matters of the day as it pertains to religious and non-religious interaction. It was a wonderful experience which I wrote more about … [Read more...]

Faith in the Public Square

a public square behind which sits a church

  Weeks ago, I read (and reviewed) the Os Guinness book The Global Public Square in which the author advocates not for a secular, or "naked" public square, but for one in which all faiths are allowed to express themselves equally and without fear of discrimination.  This past weekend, a conversation relating to the public square could be found on the Wild Hunt related to an article about the experience of religious minorities in Christian-dominated schools.  The conversation was, at … [Read more...]