1. I’m done arguing with people about whether I am Pagan. I’m not going to convince them anyway, any more than they are going to convince me. And we all just end up looking like asses.
I don’t think being a Pagan is a matter of words anyway. It doesn’t matter if your or my Paganism fits the Webster’s definition or anyone else’s. It’s fun to discuss definitions, but they can become weapons. Whether or not it makes sense to us intellectually, what matters is if we feel Pagan … in our blood and in our skin. And no one can gainsay that part of us.
I will still continue to waive my atheist Pagan flag, so that other people who think and feel like me will know they have a home under the Big Pagan Tent if they want one — right along side Polytheists and pantheists, animists and agnostics, Hellenics and Heathens, and all the rest — but I’m done engaging those who have already made up their minds.
2. I’m done with engaging people who preach the New Pagan Orthodoxy or their personal version of the One-True-Way. I want to talk to people who will help me see beauty in diversity and in ambiguity, people who are interested in the fuzzy spaces between the bright lines.
3. I’m done engaging with people who only want to tear down or to mock. I want to talk to people who feel joy in other people’s growth.
4. I’m done engaging with people who want to debate rather than discuss. I want to talk to people who are interested in genuine sharing and deep listening.
5. I’m done adding to the noise of the echo chamber. I want to bring something new to discussion, rather than always responding to the latest controversy.6. I’m done with meta-discussions — talking about talk. I’m done critiquing other people’s choice of words and defending my own. I want to bring something of substance to the discussion.
7. I’m done hammering out responses on my keyboard and hitting “SEND” without pausing and taking time to consider whether I even should respond.
8. I’m done talking about Other People’s Paganism (“OPP”). As fascinating as I find what other people are doing, I started this blog to talk about what I am doing and feeling, and I want to get back to that. “… and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” (T. S. Elliot)
9. I’m done writing about my Paganism as a way of unconsciously avoiding practicing my Paganism. Writing is easy for me; practice is harder.
And that brings me back to point #1. As one friend recently wrote to me: “Our authenticity lies not in our responses to baseless criticism and personal attacks, but in the depth and sincerity of our practice.”
I want to thank the person who wrote that and all of my other critical friends and friendly critics who have gently (and sometimes not so gently) guided me to this point.