Where are the many voices?

Dear Friends,

This cartoon by David Sipress, flowed across my Facebook feed earlier this month…

I’ve mentioned before, that keeping abreast of current events is an important practice to me; I also mentioned that it wears on me, erodes some parts of me like a sandcastle meeting the incoming tide.

These are trying and complex times we live in, the specters of hate and ignorance and prejudice are rearing back to ugly life like the oh-so-fashionable Zombie Apocalypse in both our news events and political debates.  In the last several weeks the stories of  a boy in Kansas City, and Shaima Alawadi in California,  and most famously and closest to my home Trayvon Martin here in Florida, have struck my heart and sent me reeling.

I find myself sometimes just wanting to run away from the awfulness and selfishness and hatred and anger and ignorance and fear in the world.  It seems like the same sorts of struggles and same sorts of horrible things happen again and again and again.  At the same time I know that it is by too many people running away from such things, or seeking a scape goat, seeking an easy answer outside themselves, that that is why such things are able to have such a power to stain the Holiness of Creation.

The thing is that so often the discussions are mired in the either/or and One-True-Way-isms of the (still) Predominantly Monotheistic Overculture.  The discussions on these difficult and complex issues don’t always seem to genuinely speak to complexity and difficulty that issues of Race and Politics and Poverty and Systemic Change that seem to have bubbled up in the first decades of the 21st Century.  Too many times I find myself only partially agreeing with one side, too many times I find myself falling into the trap of trying to demonize one side or the other as entirely wrong or bad even when I have some guilty sense 0f “yes, but they have a point here…”

I like to think that the faiths and paths of Contemporary Paganism can bring new ideas and new ways of looking at difficult issues that are much needed in our world.  Whether it is by acknowledging the beauty and value of the world around us, or by trying to respect and resurrect the very Pagan idea of the worth and dignity present in the many points of view around us, or our intertwined communities increasing participation in Interfaith movements… I believe that Paganism -in all its faiths and forms- has much to bring to the table.

Are we doing so?

I’d like to think we’ve started.  Our voices are being heard in ways great and small.  We have shown Compassion to the peoples of Japan in a time of trial, we have worked to bring our voices to the table in the Interfaith movement, we are creating Community Centers to come together across lines of faith and philosophy and building stronger communities, we are acting and speaking to the complexities of Societal Change that are needed to meet the challenges of the 21st Century, and we are raising our voices in our own communities to speak to issues of fairness and equality.

Today, I pray that our voices will be heard.   I pray to the Holy Powers that our words and actions will change the world for the better for all.

I also would like to know…

Where and on what issues to you think Paganism’s voices are needed and could do good?

What voices speak to your heart and mind on the issues of the day, and are they reflective of your Values and experiences as a Pagan?


Pax / Geoffrey


2 thoughts on “Where are the many voices?

  1. Steve Tanner

    You are the third Pagan blogger I have read today, and the third Pagan blogger I have read that has written about social injustice. Since I do not believe in coincidence, I find this quite intriguing. It also makes me proud to be Pagan.

    Icward writes about abuse, particularly child abuse, but it might also be considered “female abuse.” I think she brings some important issues out that can be read here: http://deathcalls.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/part-2-i-cant-think-of-a-snazzy-title-but-this-follows-when-hope-fails/ .

    Eric Jeffords brings some matters to light that I suspect will be of particular interest to you at: http://throughthehiddendoor.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/my-thoughts-on-the-day-of-silence/ . While you, Icward, and Mr. Jeffords write about different issues, all fall under the umbrella of social injustice. If the day continues this way (I have more blogs to read), I may find more social injustices. I think Pagan voices are doing quite well speaking out about social injustices, and all of these issues are worthwhile.

    I have also stated in my comments to those blogs, and now here, that a Pagan principle of “embracing the darkness” plays an essential role in fighting social injustice. “Embracing the darkness” is too frequently correlated with embracing evil, particularly by Christians, but that is false. I have NEVER heard this principle stated as “abandon the light and embrace darkness,” for example.

    Icward provides an excellent example of someone that had no choice but to look at the dark side of life. She did not have the luxury of looking away. She could have reacted with repulsion to the idea confronting her own darkness, but she did not. She confronted her demons, harnessed them, and turned them around to serve her purpose. This is phenomenal considering that we usually hear the abused usually grow up to be abusers.

    Mr. Jeffords demonstrates a method where a large group of people is being confronted with their darkness, and how they react to it. People are uncomfortable with this, but they cannot harness their inner demons if they do not confront them, and those unharnessed demons can drive us to madness and unconscionable behavior. Such behavior includes the matters you draw attention to here.

    I think the fallacies concerning the Pagan principle of “embracing the darkness” needs to be cleared up. I believe the social injustices you write about are brought about by a predominantly Christian society that has advanced an idea that one can be forgiven without repentance. This results in people not confronting the demons of their darkness. This raises the question, “How can you confess your sins when you don’t even acknowledge your own darkness.” Correcting the real fallacies might go a long way to reducing social injustices.

    Okay, that is a rant, but you asked the questions! It was also evoked by your excellent post. Blessed be.

  2. Pax

    Blessings right back at you Steve!

    Of course what we are really skirting is the “Problem of Evil” from a Polytheistic and Pantheistic and Religiously Liberal perspective… need to meditate on that but I feel some thoughts bubbling up…

    Thank you for reading and thank you for sharing your thoughts!


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