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Showing posts from April, 2008

Quaker Pagans in the News

A few months ago, I had the chance to speak at length to religion-writer Matthew Streib . The article he wrote, " Pagans Find a Sometimes Uneasy Home Among Quakers ", has just appeared on the Modern Reformation website. Others whose work or interviews contributed to the article include Stasa Morgan-Appel , Carl McColman , and Marshall Massey , all of whom might be familiar to readers of this blog. For more on the "small but growing movement of Quakers who also identify as pagan," see Streib's article .

There is a Spirit Which I Feel

I was always a "rational use of force" gal. For most of my life I believed that the use of force--by which I meant human beings taking up arms and going off to war to try to kill one another--was a regrettable necessity. Sometimes I liked to imagine that Paganism held an alternative to that, particularly back in the day when I believed in that mythical past era of the peaceful, goddess-worshipping matriarchal societies . (I really liked that version of history, and was sorry when I stopped believing in it as factual.) But that way of seeing reality changed for me, in the time between one footfall and the next, on a sunny fall morning: September 11, 2001. I was already running late for work that day when the phone rang; my friend Abby was calling, to give me the news that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York. So? I thought to myself, picturing a small private aircraft. Abby tried to convey some of what she was hearing--terrorists, fire--but the mag

Duality and Beyond

OK. This one's going to be a bit notional. Here goes: I've been challenged by A. Venefica of Symbolic Meanings and Mahud of Between Old and New Moons to participate in their mythology synchroblog on duality . You might think that would be an easy task, for a Pagan trained in two traditions of Wicca. After all, Wicca is known (sometimes a bit sneeringly ) among other Pagans for its duotheism . The Mysteries of Wicca are expressed in terms of duality, and especially that of gender. Male/female. Goddess/God. In Christianity, the world is understood through relationship: the relationship between a Father and his children (and especially, his Son). In Wicca, the world is also understood through relationship: a sexual relationship between the Goddess and the God, and a parental one with the world that is the product of their union. The world is not made, not created, but born out of that love. (I am aware there are variations on this theme. Please do not write me and no

The Conversation Continues (Peter)

Good blogger's etiquette would have me reply to each of the comments that come in after my posts. As a schoolteacher coming into the final month before my students face their AP exam, that's just not happening. I usually take the hours right before Meeting to write about spiritual matters, and while I'll read on weeknights, I'm just not available to hold up my end of the conversation in more than fits and starts. The recent thread of posts and comments around theological diversity seems to be focusing in on three intertwined questions: What is G*d? What is worship? What is a "spiritual center"? Big questions--questions that we spend our whole lives answering. But there are a few small things I've learned through these conversations, and I want to pull them together here. I think Liz Opp was right on when she said, I do however still affirm that my experience is quite different when I worship with a mix of atheist-Quaker,

Marshall Massey on Borg and the Bible

Marshall Massey sent me (Peter) this email last December, in response to my post on Reading the Bible Again For the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously But Not Literally , by Marcus J. Borg, but I had just switched to a new email address so I didn't find it until this week when I went back to sift through all the spam at my old account looking for something else. Hoping that late is better than never, I'm going to take him up on his offer to let me to post his comment here. Though it's in response to an old post, much of what he says is also relevant to the current thread on theological diversity and corporate worship. Borg, as you quote him, states that "The conflict is between ... a 'literal-factual' way of reading the Bible and a 'historical-metaphorical' way of reading it." While this is literally true, I think it is a shallow and misleading way of looking at what's actually going on. The two sides are not simply quarreling about

Meme: Passion Quilt

Passion Quilt: Gotta Love the Books! Chas Clifton, author of Letter from Hardscrabble Creek , has tagged me with a teaching meme , focused on what is our passion as teachers. And partly because, when I sit in worship and ask what it is I am supposed to be doing, I often see the face of one or another particular students, and partly because I think that there are so many things out there that can leach away a teacher's joy in teaching, I'm going to take up the challenge. It's one I find especially poignant, given the fact that Chas, a longtime teacher of journalism and writing, is leaving the profession at the end of this semester. "The zest is gone," he writes, and I understand why he has to "flog [himself] into actually writing the comments" on each new batch of student papers. There's an aspect of teaching that's a lot like being on a treadmill. In respect to a colleague, how can I say no? Here are the meme's directions: Post a picture