Showing posts with label Peter Dybing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peter Dybing. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Pagan Bigots, Please Join My Grandmother

The year is 1912

The Conciliation bill is up for debate in the English Parliament, success would mean women are granted the right to vote. Viscount Helmsley argued vehemently against the law as you can see below:

“I maintain that the whole position and functions of Parliament would be altered…   the fact of the two sexes sitting together in an assembly such as this would no doubt alter the whole tone and whole feeling of this Parliament.   I do not think that any man will deny that he is conscious when he is debating in common with women of an extremely different feeling, a feeling of reserve, which is very different from the feeling which men have when they are discussing freely and debating freely with one another…

The way in which certain types of women, easily recognized, have acted in the last year or two, especially in the last few weeks, lends a great deal of colour to the argument that the mental equilibrium of the female sex is not as stable as the mental equilibrium of the male sex.   The argument has very strong scientific backing…   It seems to me that this House should remember that if the vote is given to women those who will take the greatest part in politics will not be the quiet, retiring, constitutional women… but those very militant women who have brought so much disgrace and discredit upon their sex.   It would introduce a disastrous element into our public life…   One feels that it is not cricket for women to use force…   It is little short of nauseating and disgusting to the whole sex…”  (These views are eventually rejected as sexist and bigoted)

The year is 2015

And the leader of a Pagan educational institution proposes the following in a conversation about Trans rights.

"I know for a fact that individuals with male genitalia have attended clothing-optional all-women gatherings, causing a great deal of fear and distress for abuse victims who came there seeking healing." In a recent thread TERF’s chime in talking about the bad behavior of Trans women and how their unconditional inclusion will change the face of feminism and grant Trans women more rights than they have. They include accusations that the extremism of Trans activists is unacceptable.   (Sound familiar?)


The Year is 1867

In the wake of the collapse of the south a new movement arises called the “Lost Cause” as part of their reasoning they offer

The Lost Cause proponents also maintained, often with considerable venom, “that prostrate South after the Civil War was victimized during Reconstruction by unscrupulous and barely civilized blacks.” The inferiority of Blacks which was described in both cultural and biological terms was used to justify segregation.”  (Americans reject these arguments as bigoted)

The year is 2015

Opponents of Transgender rights clam Trangendered individuals are in an unscrupulous manner, men trying to invade women only space. There argument includes statements about how Trans women are not real women described in cultural and biological terms (Sound Familiar?)


The year is 1950

 Inter racial marriage is a highly contested issue. Opponents argue that:

“It should be obvious to any thinking person that he mixture of different peoples, substances, chemicals, races weakens all its altered parts…..Deeper than the obvious, race mixing serves an obtuse political purpose that tends to undermine the social stability of all races.”  (America eventually rejects these views as bigotry)

The year is 2015

Opponents of Transgender rights argue that:

It should be obvious to any thinking person that men who dress as women being allowed to identify as women will undermine feminism as a movement and weaken the unity the effort for equality. (Sound Familiar?)


The Year is 1969

"Lavender menace." That's what National Organization for Women (NOW) president Betty Friedan called the "threat" from lesbians to the newly formed second-wave feminist movement. Friedan, bolstered by other straight feminist leaders, believed that butch lesbians would damage the image of radical feminism with their "mannish" looks and "man-hating" behavior.  (America rejects these views as homophobic and bigoted)

The year is 2015

Transgender individuals are demonized, by Trans Exclusive Radical Feminists (TERF), as a threat to feminism. These arguments include statements that Tran gendered individuals will damage feminism with their mannish looks and man like behaviors. (Sound Familiar?)


The year is 2012

The sanctity of marriage argument proposes that: marriage is a "sacred" institution that only heterosexual couples should have access to. Allowing same-sex couples to marry apparently poses a "threat" to "traditional marriage" They further state that gay marriage will erode the rights of heterosexual couples. (The highest court of the land soundly rejects this argument)

The year is 2015

Those opposing Transgender rights argue that the definition of  ‘women’, as they define it, is sacred and that granting Transgender individuals the right to self identify as fully women will erode the rights of “real women” (Sound Familiar?)

Before someone attempts to paint this post as an attack on Feminism, let me acknowledge that the vast majority of feminists in our community do not subscribe to the above views. Unfortunately, there is a group of “so called” Pagan leaders who do. These individuals are correctly highly respected for their efforts over the years in achieving equality and fighting for social justice. This very fact is why it is so important for the community to confront these views. Their influence is wide and varied.

By some strange turn of events, people who have fought for social justice for years are now using the very arguments that were engaged in opposing their considerable accomplishments. Let me state clearly: Granting rights to others does nothing to erode the rights of other already established groups! To even take such a position is to embrace the logic of those who have opposed social justice and equality for centuries.

These individuals risk the destruction of their reputations and legacy of having supported equality for a lifetime by embracing bigoted arguments.  We have an obligation to call on them to closely examine their views and apologize for their offensive words in the community.

Let me further address the idea that this is a “women’s issue” that men should stay out of.  There are Transgendered men and women in our community. If these individuals prevail in their toxic argument that Trans gendered women are not real women it will logically follow that Trans gendered men are not real men. This is a Transgender community issue. My voice is not authoritative and neither are the voices of those claiming it is a women’s issue. The authoritative voices on this issue are the voices of the Transgender community, the voices of those oppressed.

I would urge those who’s views I am writing about to do what I did when I became involved in feminism as a man, shut up, deeply listen to the Transgender members of our community and evolve!

Calls for evolution will only last for so long, eventually the community will engage in direct social activism, books will be boycotted, events where these individuals present will be protested and institutions which embrace these individuals will be called out for supporting hateful bigotry. Which brings me to my Grandmother (by marriage).

Years ago I lived in an apartment next to my Grandmother, I love her deeply now as I did then.  What became very apparent to me living there was that she would often use the “N” word when talking to and about people of color in our town. When confronted about this she would say “I don’t mean anything bad by it”. I believed her, it was part of the lexicon of her youth.  Eventually, we sat her down and explained that she would not be welcome in our home if she used such language and nor we would we be coming to family gatherings if she used such language.

While she grew up in another time, she never again used such language; she had the wisdom to recognize that society had evolved past a place where such language was acceptable. Do I still believe she thinks such things? Yes I do, but I love her and respect her for her ability to listen and her desire to not cause offence.

Here is the thing, If you have Transphobic views, I understand how hard it is to self edit, I witnessed the process with my grandmother, Yet, today I invite you to join her as a respected Elder able to change her behavior when she realized the offence she was perpetuating upon people of color.

The choice lays with those oppressing the Transgender individuals in our community. Will they destroy all they have built with bigoted language or self edit and one day join the ranks of the many respected elders that manifested our collective Pagan community. Their time to decide grows short!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Slow Activism

Speaking At Occupy Fort Lauderdale meeting

Ok, we get it; Pagan activists are always posting about the immediate need for change. We act as if when people don’t fully engage immediately the issues of the day will fade from the public view and nothing will be accomplished.

Individuals throughout the community are busy with their own lives and often can feel a little overloaded with community activism; couple this with those in the community that feel religion and politics should be kept separate and there is considerable ambiguity among the community about activism.

What many fail to realize is that these activist efforts, with their calls to action, are not really about immediate change: instead they are about slowly changing the national consciousness on important issues.

Over the years the corporate media has become very adept in discrediting social justice movements. Accusations used to defeat these movements have run the gambit from violence, UN American activities, foreign funding to deliberate attempts to paint movement leaders as thugs.

Activists often lament these efforts because they do exactly what they are intended to do, take the wind out of the sails of the various movements. Yet, when a historical perspective is taken, these movements have, with time, changed the national discourse and our collective character as a nation.

While the media painted the anti war movement of the sixties as naive and filled with stoned hippies the movement did influence the national dialogue to the point where the war in South East Asia was abandoned.

Just a few short years ago this writer stood as part of Occupy Faith’s effort in Oakland Ca. The movement, which confronted the 1% was widely attacked by the corporate media and painted as violent and UN sustainable. Yet, a few short years later, a major candidate for President of the United States is garnering incredible attention taking the very same positions as Occupy did.

Today we are collectively involved in another movement being painted by the media as violent. Black Lives Matter is on the same course to change the national consciousness on matters of race. Many will attempt to discredit the movement and take credit for its’ demise. Once again, however, there will be a ground swell of support for racial equality as the nation takes the time for the message to sink in.

Activism is a slow process nourished by the efforts of people engaged in passionate discourse.  The results of activism are slow to grow, yet, grow they will. Instead of keeping our activists at a distance due to their passion we should embrace them for being invested in long-term efforts that will surly grow and enrich our nations commitment to justice.

Activism is fast paced, passionate and demanding. Changes are slow coming and the result of periods of national contemplation. This is the grand dance of the activist, one in which our collective efforts shall carry the day long after our protests are barely a memory!

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Parliament and Ecstatic Divinity

Sights, sounds, and even the air seems charged with divine presence here at The Parliament of the Worlds Religions. It is all a little overwhelming. Over the past few weeks I attempted to prepare myself for this event with ritual, grounding and research.   The result of these efforts can only be described as abject failure. There is simply no way to prepare for the overflowing divine inspiration.

As I search for words to describe my experience, I feel that they should be eloquent, filled with bright images of how meaningful my experience is. The truth is that I just don’t have the words.  I am awash in the sacred and my experience is beyond the bounds of simple language. Words like, love, gratitude, bliss and tribe just do not cover the profound experience I am having.

Tears of joy have welled up many times over the first few days. There is perfect love and trust here, unity of purpose and a collective attachment to justice for all the peoples of the world.  Incredible examples of compassion abound giving truth to my belief that divinity is a single light and the religions of the world are the many mirrors that reflect this sacred energy.

Having been hit with a wave of ecstatic energy the forming of thoughts and rational descriptions of the experience is beyond my mortal ability. The flame of compassion, justice and human dignity burns so brightly here that its warmth draws me to clear my mind and just sit illuminated by the glow!

Let me take a moment to thank just a few of those that have contributed to these experiences.   My each of these special spirits ever walk in the embracing light that exists in this sacred space: My love to you all and many others!

Thank You,

Annika Mongan
Andras Corban-Arthen
Jerrie Kishpaugh Hildebrand
Eric Arthen
Casey Burke Pope
Heather Ockler
Patrick McCollum

Sunday, October 11, 2015

CUUPS, Interfaith and the 6 th Principle

Sitting around the table at a recent CUUPS meeting I could not but help to start thinking about interfaith issues due to my impending trip to the Parliament f the Worlds Religions.  On grand display were the very values that are held dear by the international interfaith community.  Seated around our sacred table were believers in many different paths, no unity of religious belief existed, yet incredibly meaningful and insightful conversation ensued.

This is the essence of the success of CUUPS and the wider UUA community. Interfaith for us is an approach we excel at. Within our local groups discussion of differences is brief, each of us called to a deeper purpose: manifesting a divinely inspired world of compassion, justice and peace. To do this, we collectively recognize the self worth, dignity and value of every person and belief system present.

CUUPS members are involved in many compassion-centered causes across our country.  I am often humbled to witness the work our community engages in.

 The opportunity to engage in the Parliament Of the Worlds Religions offers a unique opportunity for our UUA community; too directly engage in seeking a better world on a planetary scale. Religious leaders from around the globe will be in attendance.  Decisions and relationships will develop that have the potential to have international impact.  This is the chance to live our sixth principal “The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all”.

It is my intent to hold this ambitious principle up during the Parliament, too call our wider UUA community to demonstrate the ethics and skills that are so evident in our local communities. I can not think of any community more well prepared to engage in respectful interfaith dialogue that is focused on manifesting divine love, peace and justice upon the face of our planet.

Having been given the opportunity of a lifetime to attend and speak at this event, I will, in humility, hold tight to the UUA principals we all hold so dear. May all our UUA and CUUPS members attending also do what they do best; live our values in their words, their footsteps and their communications with religious leaders from around the world.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Radical Compassion Centered Social Justice

Many within our CUUPS community spend a considerable amount of time fighting for Social Justice issues.  These efforts clearly reflect our principles as part of the greater UUA Community. What is not always as clear is how effective these efforts are.  Matters of personal responsibility and culpability stir great passion and animated debate not to mention defensiveness and retreat into a place where individual worldviews are not challenged.

As a white male fighting for these causes it is incumbent upon me to measure my actions, insure that I am speaking up but not over the voices of those who directly experience oppression in our collective culture.

Individuals who directly experience oppression have every right, maybe even an obligation, to speak forcefully and directly, calling out the oppressive actions and attitudes that they experience.  Doing so as an ally, however, often just causes an un-needed escalation that causes distrust, hurt feelings and little in terms of progress in important social justice actions.

When we direct words like racism, white privilege and sexism towards individuals we effectively establish ourselves as individuals willing to label a human being.  My argument here is not that the label does not fit, but that if those labeled as such do not see themselves as represented by the label our ability to engage in changing views and behaviors is shut down due to the defensiveness caused by our verbiage.

What I am suggesting is that we take compassion-centered approach, as members of the dominant culture all of us have had to confront our beliefs and evolve to a deeper place of understanding and compassion.  In what way then is it appropriate to engage in name calling and labeling of individuals who have yet to arrive at a more inclusive worldview?  Is it not our job instead to engage them with compassion, directly discuss our concerns about their views in a way that will be heard avoiding escalation that ends open discussion?

For me compassion is the centerpiece of effective radical social justice.  If we engage in “calling people in” too compassion based discussion instead of “calling them out” for unacceptable beliefs are we not being more effective in our social justice work?

For me this approach means using story telling skills about oppression that have the potential of opening the eyes of those listening. It also means direct and ongoing engagement in social justice causes, manifesting a center place where open discussion is not shut down by name-calling or hyperbole.

The majority of racism and discrimination that we encounter is perpetuated by individuals engaging in “adverse” racism. By definition these people have no insight into the racist undertones of their opinions. Painting them with the same brush as the overt bigot only further entrenches their beliefs.

As CUUPS members we can choose a more effective and compassion centered approach;  let us set the table of discourse with the language of compassion in the hope of effectiveness and the desire to reflect our belief in the dignity of everyone.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I am guilty of Cultural Appropriation!

It is always an exacting experience to examine our own contributions to perpetuating oppressive cultural norms. What is personal inevitably triggers resistance to concepts that directly confront our own behaviors.  This is a process of evolution of belief and social understanding.  While my core beliefs have remained constant my insight into what those beliefs require in terms of actions and the compassionate support of others is in a constant process of maturation.

I am guilty of Cultural Appropriation. This statement does not mean that I embrace any such actions, only that my understanding of the concept has evolved over the years: nurtured by listening to the experiences of those whose beliefs have been trod upon by our privileged over culture of which I am a participant.

My spiritual journey began in the Hopi Lands of Arizona. In the Hopi I found a true feeling of peace, wonder and appreciation of nature. My young mind was overwhelmed with my sense of having found beliefs that reflected my worldview. For a number of years I embraced everything that was Hopi. Traveling to the Hopi lands often to just sit in silence and soak up the experience of being at a place that so filled my spiritual cup.

In time, I made friends at Hopi, individuals would share some basic beliefs with me and I was always honored.  Central to these beliefs are the idea that much of Hopi religion is held as secret knowledge by clans that one must be born into.  In time. I came to understand that I could have immense respect for the Hopi beliefs and societal organization only by holding their cultural norms as secret.  This understanding meant excluding my own spiritual quest from the framework of Hopi belief. 

It was the insight that honoring the beliefs of this culture is more important than my personal needs or desire for insight that began the process of moving from cultural appropriation to cultural appreciation.  There are cultural lines that it is disrespectful to cross.  These boundaries can only be learned by deep listening too and respect for those who are products of the culture. 

Does this mean that I have a clear understanding in all cases of what constitutes cultural appropriation?  No, it only means that I have developed a deep respect for others beliefs and cultures.  It means that I have surrendered my place of oppressive privilege in favor of respect, learning and honoring others beliefs and customs.

Recently the community has been struggling with the concept of cultural appropriation.  I urge those who resist the idea to take the time to investigate their actions.  If you feel the pull to honor a deity from another culture speak to a legitimate elder from that culture, determine what is respectful, what norms surround such actions and when personal desires and beliefs should be secondary to honoring the culture from which the divinity emerged.

As my Pagan path has evolved I have developed a deep respect for many belief systems and gods from other cultures. My home is filled with these images.  I have a deep regard for what I perceive they represent.  I humbly honor them in private moments in my personal practice. It is important, however, to recognize that I do not have the cultural context to shape public rituals around them.  Such actions would be disrespectful to the communities from which they come.  The lines between appropriation and appreciation can be malleable and unclear and we are not all going to agree on where they are drawn. What I ask, of myself and those I worship with, is to approach the subject with respect for other cultures, holding their experiences of appropriation above our own desires for participation.

Cultural appropriation is real. I cannot imagine how insulting it would be if I were to witness the Goddess I honor reduced to a cartoon character on a lunch box, or a corporate logo, or a sports team’s name.  It is not the business of the oppressor to determine what is cultural appropriation; it lies within the realm of the oppressed to make such determinations. We should respect their cultural norms and boundaries.

So today instead of “calling out” those who deny cultural appropriation, my intent is to “call you in “ too deeper understanding, deeper reflection and a more complex understanding of the damage that is being experienced by other cultures.

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Firefighter's Plea For the Earth!

It has been a long year for me as a Wildland Firefighter. Over the months I have witnessed Florida Panther habitat burning, fires encroaching on native peoples homes in Alaska, California ablaze and tens of thousands of acres of Idaho burning before my eyes.  Smoke filled the air to such an extent that I found it hard to breath, to sleep, to accomplish my duties.

Across America I have stood witness to the opening rounds of the conflict between our climate and those causing catastrophic damage to our environment.  This is direct experience, watching millions of acres consumed by flames during a UN presentenced season.

As things have calmed and I have returned home, I now stand witness to a debate as to the validity of climate change. I am sickened by the statements of politicians in defense of the corporate oil interests that finance them. Climate change is the #1 moral issue of our time.  It sickens me to witness people promoting policies that will ensure their grandchildren will inherit a world in peril for the sake of profit.

Let me be clear, as I stood among the flames I received a very graphic lesson in what is happening on our planet.

Do not deny science as I stand among burned homes and view vistas blackened due to irresponsible human activity.

Do not deny reality as thousands of firefighters struggle to breath within the firestorm.

Do not pontificate about not being a scientist when the reality of climate change has seen me grieving for the lives of more than a dozen sister and brother Firefighters this season.

Those who witness the damage know better, we will stand for our planet and the continued existence of our collective human community. Frankly I am over the  BS spewed by individuals who are willing to trade the future of humanity for a few more dollars in their pocket.  Their indifference is the closest thing to manifest evil that I see among humanity.

Having witnessed her desecration, I will stand for her healing, take action, demand accountability, confront misinformation and engage in civil disobedience when needed to call attention to their crimes against humanity and the earth.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

All Lives Do Not Matter

A Letter to My CUUPS Sisters and Brothers,

The title of this letter is bound to cause some discomfort. Such a statement, if held as true within our culture, shatters many of the beliefs in fairness and justice that we were all reared embracing.

Let me invite you to sit with that discomfort for a moment. Imagine that your experience of life is fully reflective of the above statement.  In this moment of reflection attempt to accept that there are people who are trapped in the reality that our culture behaves in ways that prove daily that All Lives Do Not Matter.

A young mother sends her pre-teen off to school each day in fear that he will be assaulted, killed or arrested based on the attributes that he was born with. Imagine with me this fear, apply it to your children or grandchildren, and sit with the discomfort, the sadness and the terror.

In our nation people of color are being killed and jailed in alarming numbers. Most persons of color in the criminal justice system face penalties more than three times as harsh as whites for the same offence.

Please stay with me here because I am about to use a phrase that has many in our country developing a defensive posture.  It is exactly because “All Lives Do Not Matter” that the #BlackLivesMatter movement is so important. For generations cultural norms have been passed along to Americans that perpetuate a system that devalues people of color.

As a white American I am very uncomfortable with this situation, my inner being so wants to accept the myth that with hard work, a great attitude and a little luck everyone can succeed in our nation. Of course I want to deny a system that gives me an unfair advantage, after all I worked for everything I have.

After several high profile killings of young men of color the #BlackLivesMatter movement was born. The realities of how inner city police departments treat people of color were broadcast to the world. Desperately, Police Public Information Officers began to spin the news in ways that discredit the messenger in order to not face the reality of policing in America.

For White Americans it seemed that a full on assault on our most cherished public servants was occurring. Talking heads attempted to convince us that to be pro #BlackLivesMatter was to be anti police. Nothing could be further from the truth, the movement simply calls for police departments to live their creed “To Serve and Protect” without regard for race.

Recently, a couple of assaults on police officers have been used to whip up fear that our nation is turning on its’ police officers.  In fact, assaults on police have been trending down nationally for five years, a pattern which is continuing in 2015.

Still uncomfortable?  So am I, just as my grand parents had to face their discomfort with inter racial marriage in order to manifest a more just world, so must we sit with our discomfort and continue to work for a day when Black Lives Do Matter as reflected by our collective culture.

The Covenant of Universalist Pagans will soon be considering a national statement concerning social justice and support for the #Black Lives Matter movement. The statement is listed below this letter, I urge you to support this statement. Please join me in accepting that our collective discomfort is a clear indicator of why this statement is so important.  Empathy is a reflection of understanding, may we collectively understand how important this statement is to the very values we hold as CUUPS members.

Respectfully submitted for your consideration,

Rev. Peter Dybing

The Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, Inc., affirms the intention of all members and friends to be in solidarity with those seeking justice and an end to violence. We are called to dialogue, action and maintaining a "a strong voice" to end systematic dehumanizing of anyone due to race, religion, or the prejudicial thinking we put between ourselves and others. We honor all members of the human family on our beloved planet called Earth.

We, the members of CUUPS, Inc., are witnesses and call on members and friends to act as partners in the work to create more justice in our broader communities.
We wish to express our deep sadness and outrage in the wake of the numerous and ongoing deaths of black and brown people. None of us can be truly safe or free when some lives have value and others don't. The sacred value of a human life is not superficial.

We must each find the way in which our own gifts meet the need of the world. For some that will be participating in protests on the streets. For some that will be supporting the protesters through concrete or emotional means. For some it will mean writing and talking. For some it will mean getting educated further about unlearning racism. For some it will mean doing research into root causes or effective ways to create more justice; or creating safe spaces for the anger and rage and violence within to be expressed and released. For others it will be providing training and learning opportunities for others.  In particular, we call on every white person to boost the voices of people of color, to renew soul searching for the dimensions of your own white privilege, to find the ways you are called to interrupt the culture of racism, and to take action.

Those of us who look to earth-based or Pagan spiritual sources have particular resources to offer. We offer the soul-enriching connection to earth. We offer ritual and pageantry. We offer theo/alogies of celebration of difference. Whatever the shape of your calling, follow it. Let us remain faithful to the work that must be done and dedicate ourselves to building a world where injustice is only a memory. We urge all siblings in the human family to return to the sacred sources that feed our deepest selves and remind us that we are beloved children of the divine, woven into one tapestry. Our world can be a better one. We must do the difficult work to make it so. #BlackLivesMatter

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Why CUUPS is a Deep Expression of Paganism

Many of my friends have asked me why I have moved towards CUUPS as a central part of my Pagan identity?  Most view the organization as “Pagan Lite” somehow lacking substance.  My experience however is exactly the opposite; within the CUUPS community I have found the deepest expressions of Pagan values I have ever witnessed.

For years I have participated in “major Pagan organizations”, been in service positions and stood at the forefront of attempting to manifest a Pagan ethic that makes a positive impact on the world.  Frankly, my personal experience is that most of these organizations are so moribund by efforts to perpetuate their place in the Pagan community that they do very little to impact the world in a positive way.

I AM AN ACTIVIST; belief in change is central to my spiritual experience. If my beliefs don’t urge me to make a positive impact on the world, I would question the beliefs themselves. In CUUPS I have found a place where we embrace our diversity of belief and quickly move on to how we can make a meaningful difference in the world.

This is deep Paganism, evolved beyond the identity debates that are rife in the Pagan community.  Values put into action reflect belief, not ritual tools and dogma that is self-serving. 

Debates in CUUPS occur around how we can best be of service to humanity beyond the spiritual boundaries of our community; I am blessed to be part of a community that has evolved beyond our collective need for legitimacy towards real service.  My personal experience is one of deeper spiritual awareness brought on by service and a desire to see all of humanity as incredible vibrant examples of divinity.

While I have great respect for many who participate in organization that have been around for years, I disagree with their perspective on CUUPS.  My personal experience is that CUUPS and its’ values are a logical next step in Paganism becoming a more fully evolved major religious movement.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I’m too Busy For Your Gods!

Once again I am subjected to post after post about the emerging conflict between hard polytheists and those who see deity as an archetype manifestation.  My dirty little secret is that I just scan these tirades’ that seek to make arguments on one side or the other of the argument.  You see, while I support  individual’s commitment to deities, as they perceive them, I am a little too busy attempting to live my faith through my actions, words and commitments.

Frankly I hold the Deities I worship in high esteem and have barely a passing interest in which Gods others worship.   My interest in others Gods Is confined to seeking mutual understanding, areas of mutual interest and opportunities of interfaith action in the here and now.

I’m busy,

Fighting the effects of climate change

Seeking rights for women across the world

Confronting my own measure of privilege

Seeking a form of government that does not oppress its’ people

Protecting the rights of indigenous peoples

Supporting Black Lives Matter

Bringing compassion into my own views and actions

Seeing divinity in all that surrounds me

So excuse me if I treat your posts as if they have little to do with walking a Pagan path.  I’m a  little too busy attempting to put my beliefs into action to pay much attention to what others believe, my interest is in what their beliefs cause them do upon this planet.

Daily I struggle to live a life that honors the deities I believe in, I choose to leave your Gods for you to honor.  Living a life of faith is not easy, and frankly, "each to their own" may be the most valuable concept we can embrace when it comes to divinity

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Seeking Divinity in Darkness

Dawn at the Hayfork Fire Camp

It is pitch black in Fire Camp and I am awake at 0415 a.m.  All is silent; the firefighters sleep just as they were doing five hours ago when finally I lay my head upon the ground. In this space I can connect with the sacred, slowly and intentionally I am able to sense my place as just a single note upon a magical sheet of divine music.

Up early I sacrifice an extra hour of sleep but I am also able to focus on the powers that transcend the effort I am involved in.  My mind is able to reconnect with compassion, insights well up and I am comforted: energized even.

When urgency for the mission at hand overwhelms my ability to connect it is critical that I find the time to seek the Goddess, sit with her in the darkness and refill my spiritual cup. It is not so much that the experience is profound; it simply returns me to a place where my actions and reactions are based upon my core values.

There are more than a thousand firefighters here, if I am to do my part in assuring their safe return to their families it is incumbent upon me to bring the best that I am to the table.  It is the compassion that my morning time with the Goddess manifests that fuels my passion for service and ability focus.

Time for me to go, the fire camp stirs, soon the sun will rise and a multitude to tasks will distract me, yet she will be with me, ever my guide along this journey.

My daily practice is brief, yet critical to compassion based service to humanity! 

In Her Service, from the fire line,


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Boy Scouts Still Full Of Hate For LGBT Community

We awoke to great news The Boy Scouts Of America (BSA) have reversed course and have voted on a new policy that allows members of the LGBT community to be scout leaders.  From far and wide leaders of social justice focused organizations have published statements in support of this profound change in BSA policy.


Upon close inspection the new policy does not require troops that are excluding LGBT leaders to change their policy.  By creating an exception for troops sponsored by Catholic and Mormon churches the policy re affirms the right of troops to discriminate.  With more than 60% of BSA troops based at these churches the new policy allows the continued wholesale discrimination that has long been a center of BSA policy.

Essentially all the new policy does is say, those who wish to continue to discriminate have license to do so.  The only change is that troops not sponsored by these religious organizations no longer face sanctions if they have a gay leader in their organization.

Progress is not made by reaffirming the right of organizations to engage in homophobia. Progress is not made by continuing to disallow LGBT scout leaders to assume their rightful place in more than 60% of scout troops.  Progress is not made by engaging in a PR effort about BSA's inclusive policy while sweeping under the rug the continuation of hateful policies by the majority of scouting organizations.

Those posting their support for this new policy are well meaning people who want to see progress. They simply don't see how this effort is a sham designed to lesson the political pressure on the BSA while effectively making no changes in the core policy of the organization.

Simply stated scout troops are free to continue things as they always have been.  My sisters and brothers in the LGBT community deserve better.  It is my belief that liberal social justice organizations should reject this false "change" and continue to press for full inclusion as BSA policy.