There has been a lot of very heated discussion lately about Paganism and Polytheism, with some people suggestion that there are certain practices or beliefs that one should hold in order to be able to call themselves a polytheist or pagan. Modern paganism being as diverse as it is, this has taken a lot of people by surprise, and accusations and name calling is happening from all corners.

I know this, and this only: I am a member of an organization that acknowledges "We are people who normally would not mix." (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 17) But here we are--representing all sections of this country, all political, economic, and social backgrounds.  And-here's where I want you to pay attention--all religious backgrounds.

Twelve Step Programs are  spiritual programs.  It is demanded of us that we live a spiritual way of life.  It is also a WE program.  If you look at the Twelve Steps, you will see that "I" do not do the steps.  "We" do the steps.  So here we are, people of all religious backgrounds, beliefs and practices, being told we are meant to live a spiritual way of life, and that we are supposed to do it together, and that "love and tolerance of others is our code"? (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 84)

And it works?

Friends, if a bunch of drunks and drug addicts can do this, I know we can manage to treat each other's spiritual and religious decisions with respect and dignity. A.A. and N.A. do not divide into Christian groups and Jewish groups and Pagan groups.  We do it together. If a group of people whose continued sobriety and oftentimes their lives hangs in the balance of whether or not they can manage to learn from and with people who might have vastly different spiritual concepts and ideas, I know we can manage to not call each others religions or beliefs garbage. Alcoholics and Addicts are some of the most selfish and self-centered people with poor impulse control you'll ever meet in your lives (they'll tell you that themselves). And even though their life LITERALLY depends on their spiritual fitness, it makes no difference to them that the person next to them might worship totally different than they do.

If I, a practicing Witch and Goddess worshipper for almost two decades, can stand in a circle and recite the Lord's Prayer and feel God(s) Damned honored to do it because holy crap, I'm alive and sober with the help of these crazy people, I know we can manage to not rip each other to shreds on the internet. For the most part, we are taking part in this online Pagan community by choice.  This is a privileged activity. While our worship might be dead serious, our time here together could come with a bit of gratitude that even if we share NO theology in common, we are all helping normalize fringe religious practices in this country. Many of us are seeking inspiration from the past, to varying degrees.

Someone snorted derisively at me last week after I made a plea for kindness that "This isn't Kindergarten."  Well, I think we should all go back there, take some naps, and re-learn our lessons about sharing. I can share the word Pagan.  I can share the word Witch. I know others may do things with them that might not be what I do with them.  Such is the nature of life. We will all somehow manage to carry on despite our disappointment.

 Don't forget to "like" me on Facebook!