A pagan visit to a Hindu Ashram Community

Last weekend I went up to the Virginia mountains to become certified as a Laughing Yoga Leader. I am now trained in laughing exercises to use as a means to help people re-learn to laugh. :-) More on that in another post.  My focus for this blog is the center of which the two-day laughing yoga class was held: Yogaville, and the resulting observation that can only be heard from a neutral Pagan. Tell me, what does that word, Yogaville bring to mind for you?  Lots of people doing yoga? … [Read more...]

Religious Shop Talk

Formal Language in Ritual

Social media is such a wondrous tool.  I graduated from an Evangelical Lutheran high school, and so I still have a number of very conservative Christians on my friend's list.  This past week, I was able to have a discussion with a friend I haven't seen in years, who is a student of theology and is heavily active in his church (a non-denominational, but strongly Evangelical organization).  He posted a question about the use of language in prayer - specifically, why many Christians use … [Read more...]

Late night ruminations from a pagan interfaither

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Just a quick note as I run from this interfaith meeting to that interfaith program, to this interfaith gathering to that interfaith service.  I like to think I sit here as an interfaith journalist, questioning people about their belief in God, Of the Almighty One, the All that Is. Or Yahweh. Or Allah.  Doing my best to walk as a neutral interfaith journalist, it has become clear to me, all over again, that interfaith action truly does provide a safe space for people to share their thoughts. … [Read more...]

Not Politics

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"I ask you to keep doing what you are doing," said the governor. Here in South Carolina it is rare that a public official acknowledges any religions besides Christianity and sometimes Judaism.   But Governor Nikki Haley is no stranger to the minority experience, having grown up as a first-generation Indian-American in rural S.C. in a family which practiced the Sikh religion.  As she noted on a previous occasion, she has faced several challenges in her career: being female, being … [Read more...]

Separation of religion and medicine?

Religion in the sick room

  Last Friday I was sitting at the local urgent care type facility, waiting for the doc to come back with confirmation that my partner had the flu. I had finished catching up on all my emails (thanks to technology and a really smart phone). I immediately became bored (I try to not play games on my phone), and began perusing the sick room we were in. My girl was on the bed cot sleeping while we waited, and having looked through the many pamphlets on the wall, I turned to look at the … [Read more...]

Why Interfaith? Why Now??

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  Let us ask ourselves, why is interfaith work important?  Why should we bother trying to understand the religious and spiritual viewpoints of others?  Is it worth the struggle to find common ground when everyone else seems to cling to the idea that they possess the one truth about the nature of the Divine?  I believe it is not only important on a local level but also vital on a world level if we are ever to achieve a state of peace that holds out the promise of our very survival on … [Read more...]

On Disagreements and Discrimination

Streets signs at the intersection between Church St. and State St.

[Author’s Note: This post deals with currently controversial intersections between religion and politics.  I share it with you all not to create disagreement or strife, but because I think it’s important to cogently work through these situations together and because I think they’re illustrative of a deeper issue within the American public square.] In interfaith, it’s all too easy to see another’s point of view during a conversation.  I don’t have to agree with a dialog partner, … [Read more...]

Them and Us Part III: Common Ground

ReceptionChatter

Oppositional culture. I was very struck by this phrase when I first ran across it years ago in Sabina Magliocco’s Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America (an excellent read, by the way). It’s a term that’s used in education, but here I recognize it as an apt label for a rut that often trips up us Pagans. We define ourselves as what we are not, grasping for ways to articulate who we are while  simultaneously over-anxious to distance ourselves from that which makes us … [Read more...]


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