The Gospel of Compost

This is the sermon I gave today at the First Unitarian Church of Hobart, Indiana.

“Give me your moldy, your stale, your sprouting potatoes.  Bring me that wilted, pitiful bag of salad you really meant to eat this time.  Bring me your bananas too brown and mushy even to make bread with.  Bring me your grass clippings and fallen leaves.  Give me the wretched refuse of your teeming refrigerator, yearning to rot free.  Give me these, and we will make life itself.”

Continue reading “The Gospel of Compost”

Then they came for an evangelical whistleblower and the Patheos Pagan writers said nothing …

Last week, I unsubscribed from my weekly Patheos Pagan channel updates. It had been quite a while since any of the posts in the email blast had interested me enough to merit a click. It was the latest step in distancing myself from what goes for mainstream Paganism today.

But last week, a couple of friends shared links to reports that a writer at the Patheos evangelical channel, Warren Throckmorton, had had his blog taken down. Throckmorton has been described as an “evangelical whistleblower” and an “evangelical watchdog”. He had previously written about the scandals involving Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church, K.P. Yohannan, and Gospel for Asia. Driscoll and Yohannan both have blogs at Patheos, which continue to be hosted there. Vistors to Throckmorton’s Patheos URL, however, will now see an error message. Continue reading “Then they came for an evangelical whistleblower and the Patheos Pagan writers said nothing …”

Pagan with a small “p”

Pagan-Adjacent?

I recently met someone who described himself as “Pagan-adjacent”, which I thought was an interesting self-designation.  He was a (self-described) “angry atheist” who followed atheism to its logical end and was left wanting. He intuited that there was something else–something bigger and/or deeper–but no one seemed to be writing or talking about it. Then he discovered David Abram’s Spell of the Sensuous, which he experienced as revolutionary.

He told me that he knows “in his bones” that “the sacred is in the soil and the wind,” but he is turned off by a lot of what he sees in the Pagan community.  By way of example, he told me about an encounter with a Pagan group where he heard one person talking about how great the divination app on her phone was.  I know what he is talking about.  What has a divination app to do with the sacred soil?

I’ve felt pretty much the same way for 15 years, for as long as I have been calling myself “Pagan” in fact.  I came to the Pagan community because I thought here was where I would find that something bigger and deeper.  But almost everywhere I look, I see the small and shallow.  Almost everywhere I look, I see Pagans reproducing the disenchantment of the mainstream culture. Continue reading “Pagan with a small “p””

7 Reasons This Pagan Celebrates Christmas

1.  Yule is NOT a minor sabbat.

Whenever I hear a Pagan say that the winter solstice is a “minor Sabbat”, I can’t help but roll my eyes.  What exactly makes it “minor”?  Because Margaret Murray only listed the cross-quarters as witches’ sabbats?  Because Gerald Gardner only added the quarter days as an afterthought and his followers like the way the druids did it?

“The Sun. That right there is the source of all of our myths and allegories and hopes and dreams. It gave life to the world; gave birth to life.” -Jason Silva

There are 8 stations on the Neo-Pagan Wheel of the Year.  Why would one spoke of a wheel be minor and another major, especially in a tradition that emphasizes balance?  And if one is going to be minor, why the winter solstice of all days?  After all, it’s the day the light begins to return, the day most of Western civilization is praising the birth of the Son/Sun. Continue reading “7 Reasons This Pagan Celebrates Christmas”

The Wild Hunt for Justice: At the Intersection of Ritual and Protest

I was recently invited to the New Orleans Pagan Pride Day this year to lead the opening ritual.  I also led a couple workshops on activism and non-theistic Paganism and joined Bart Everson, Nicole Youngman, and Emily Snyder in a panel discussion on the same topics.

I wanted to share the opening ritual here. I’ve written before how protest marches can be like Pagan ritual. Here, I tried bring together elements of Pagan ritual with elements of political protest.  I tried to bring together the myth of the Wild Hunt with social action, blurring the line between a religious procession and a protest march.  Rather than standing in a circle with our backs to the world, I wanted the ritual to be focused outward.  And I wanted to raise energy without dispersing it cathartically, so as to motivate social activism.  I also wanted to tie the ritual to the place where the ritual was held, so references were made to environmental devastation, and racial and LGBT violence perpetrated in or near New Orleans. Continue reading “The Wild Hunt for Justice: At the Intersection of Ritual and Protest”

Why I’m Boycotting Lughnasadh Again

I remember when I was in high school and Indiana changed its license plate to include the phrase “Amber Waves of Grain”.  It pissed people off.  I mean, really pissed people off.  Because in Indiana, we grow corn and soybeans, not wheat.  While technically corn is a grain, it’s not amber.  While the phrase was poetic, it just did not speak of “home” to the people of the Hoosier State.  That’s kind of how I feel about Lughnasadh. Continue reading “Why I’m Boycotting Lughnasadh Again”

How a Hobbit Would Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Midsummer in the Shire

This year, the summer solstice falls on June 20 or June 21, depending on your time zone. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and the apogee of the light. In the Neo-Pagan religious tradition, the summer solstice is called “Litha”.  It is one of eight holidays on the Neo-Pagan Wheel of the Year.

The name “Litha” is first found in the writings of the the 8th century monk, the Venerable Bede, who recorded that “Litha” was Anglo-Saxon name for the intercalendary time between June and July.  But the reason why Neo-Pagans use the word “Litha” has less to do with an 8th century monk, and more to do with Hobbits.

Yes, Hobbits.

To read the rest of the article at the Huffington Post, click here.

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