Friday, July 26, 2013

It's been a Haglaz couple of months...

It's been a Haglaz couple of months...

As some who follow our Facebook feed might know, just about two months ago I got married! Awesome, right? So why the heck has it taken me two months to get back on the horse, and get writing again? Well, long story short I've been job hunting, trying to get back into school, trying to arrange our (now combined) finances, and devoting what little time I have left over to the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy.
The past couple of months have been chock full of AWESOME news and developments, not just for our own communities but for the broader American audience. While I may not have been able to hit those point when they were fresh, rest assured I'm not going to just let stories THAT GOOD just slip past. First and foremost however, I would like explain a bit of what I've been doing over at the FRD.

The Foundation for Religious Diplomacy
Some of you may remember the piece a few months back over at The Wild Hunt, which can be found HERE. In that post David Dashifen Kees (Author of : Wild Garden) announced that he was seeking volunteers to assist in opening a Pagan Chapter within the foundation. While the reception in the peanut gallery was mixed, a LOT of great writers and activists answered the call. I get to work with some truly fantastic people, whose qualifications are so far beyond mine, to build something which could do some real good.
But I've been burned by “Interfaith” organizations before...
Trust me, I hear you! Many of the supposed “Interfaith” organizations out there are overwhelmingly Abrahamic, and seem like giant proselytization machines. So what changed my mind and convinced me to give this organization a go? Where some other organizations actively try to convert, or preach some kind of vague Universalism, the FRD has a different goal. The FRD is focused on a concept called “Honest Contestation”. The basic idea is to combat the insular tendencies of religious communities through dialogue with a trustworthy opponent. The goal of the dialogue isn't to convince the other party/parties of your own particular religious ideals, the goal is for each side to communicate their beliefs and motivations. In essence: we don't all have to agree, but that doesn't mean we can't try to understand one another.
In fact, I would argue that if your goal is to try and convince/convert people through debate, you're all but doomed to failure. Most people change their minds through internal processes, slowly, and generally only when confronted with a situation in which they must address the issue at hand. The more you actively try to “convert” someone, the more likely they are to simply cling to their convictions. The Pagan/Heathen community realized this a long time ago. While there are certainly exceptions, by and large our communities have never bothered to try and convert people. People come to us when their own beliefs lead them here, always have. So when I read the FRD methods and goals, I couldn't help but think that this was the most Heathen interfaith discourse I'd ever seen.

So what am I trying to do?

The Pagan Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy is still under construction, but it get's closer to reality every day. If I could sum up my desires for what this chapter could try to achieve, I would say that I want the Pagan Chapter to promote mutual respect and understanding between various religious communities through dialogue, and emphasize that modern Paganism in all its forms has a place within these dialogues.
My second goal would be to ensure an inclusive environment for Pagans of all paths who identify as such. Unlike the other branches of the FRD, we're not a single religion. We are a coalition of traditions bound together by circumstances, history, and some shared ideals. To promote an organization which emphasizes addressing diversity rather than universalism, and then to turn around and pretend that all “Pagans” are the same, would be ludicrous! I would love to see this branch stand as a proper representative of our own communal pluralism. I want to see ambassadors from any number of “Pagan” traditions, who are willing to stand up and share themselves with the world outside of our own bubble.

Back on track!

Ok, off the soapbox! To wrap up this post, I've fought through a hectic coupe of months and I am getting back on the horse! It's been a long hiatus, but we are back in business and you all can expect regular updates once again! There's a lot of great ground to cover, so stay tuned!


Pics, so it happened!
Behold, the Groom/Groomsmen!

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