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Tony Grist

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But, On The Other Hand [Feb. 2nd, 2009|10:06 am]
Tony Grist
About ten years ago- perhaps a little more-  I accepted an invitation to speak about pagan spirituality in the crypt of Rochester cathedral.  I was going to be one in a series of speakers from different faith traditions. The list was published.  And the good, evangelical church people of Rochester were shocked- shocked- and rose up and roared- and the name of Satan got  bandied about- and the booking was cancelled. The man who had invited me- Canon John Armson- came to within a hair's breadth of losing his job.

So I may be kidding myself if I think I can just ease myself back into the church as into a pair of old slippers. I have a past. I was notorious. And so was Ailz. The newspaper cuttings are out there. Lots of them.

And it's not as though I'm willing to disown my past. Because I'm not. 

Ten years ago I relished getting into a ding-dong theological fight.  Now I'm not so sure.  I'm tired. The brain is slower. I can't see the point of arguing with silly people.

From: sunfell
2009-02-02 03:27 pm (UTC)
Sometimes things change. Sometimes they don't. But you have- and are the richer for it, spiritually. The evangelicals and fundamentalists will always roar- this is their religious duty, you see. Considering the continuing uproar from fundies about permitting Wiccans to practice their faith and have their own tombstones in the military, it's become clear that some people won't change.

Arguing with silly or zealous people is always pointless and a waste of time. Young people tend to need to figure this out the hard way. Older folks have their 'been there, done that, bored now' passports stamped, and don't need to.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-02-02 04:56 pm (UTC)
It would be nice to think that with the passing of the Bush era the extreme evangelicals have enjoyed their high water mark- and from now on their influence will ebb- but I wouldn't like to bet on it.

Something interesting is going on in my life right now, but I'm not sure what. Thus far it's been an enjoyable ride, but God/dess only knows what's round the next bend.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2009-02-02 06:42 pm (UTC)
I too, "do not regret the past, nor wish to close the door upon it". This is not an orignal quote, but echoes my feelings exactly.
There are "silly people" in my own family with whom I closed all arguments over a year ago. My issues are different from yours, but it's relevant.
If God has measured out just so many breaths per life, then why waste any of those breaths on futile argument?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-02-03 10:47 am (UTC)
No-one is ever convinced by argument. Argument simply reinforces our existing views- which arise out of childhood training, temperament, feeling- things like that.
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[User Picture]From: zoe_1418
2009-02-02 06:46 pm (UTC)
I was thinking of you yesterday as I walked the mile to my new (to me) neighborhood Episcopal church -- St. Andrews -- and sat in a back pew and participated in parts of the liturgy yet not others (confusing the senior warden and official greeter behind me; it made me very hard to place!). I went to the altar during the Eucharist but chose only to receive a blessing instead of the elements, so I got the attention of the priest, who greeted me very warmly and with interest after the service.... All around there was a very warm welcome, even when I said that I'd been Episcopalian in the past but was "more recently Unitarian, with some Quaker on the side." I even made the deacon (a woman somewhat older than me) laugh hard when I told her I was a "Quakertarian Episcopagan" with fundamentalist Baptist roots (although someone standing nearby said "Ooh, I don't like the pagan part").

Something interesting is going on in my life too, and I'm not sure either what it is.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-02-03 10:53 am (UTC)
You're braver than I am- declaring your background like that at your first visit.

Still, the churchwarden now knows who we are- and all she has to do is ask around a little- if she's bothered- to discovered the whole story. Ailz and I lived very publicly for a while and have left a paper trail...

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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2009-02-04 09:31 pm (UTC)
Fascinating and fun to think about!

What is so very scary to people about Paganism? I don't understand...
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[User Picture]From: zoe_1418
2009-02-04 09:51 pm (UTC)
Hi, Jackie! ;-D
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2009-02-04 10:00 pm (UTC)
Hi! I love reading about your journey-and Tony's and Ailz's, too.

As for me, I'm skipping choir practice to bake a volcano cake...
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[User Picture]From: mikesmaddie
2009-02-02 10:19 pm (UTC)


...no matter how hard you try, you just can't get some people to listen.

So it's usually better to leave them be.

And I suspect that right now for you the journey is far more important than trying to get others to listen.

God bless and take care. :).
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-02-03 11:15 am (UTC)

Re: Sometimes...

You're right. I need to follow my heart and not worry too much about anything else.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2009-02-04 05:18 pm (UTC)
Here, at Norris, an Episcopal priest (a former cardiologist turned pastor late in life) was asked to perform a big wedding ceremony and didn't have room at the local (tiny) Episcopal church, so he got permission to use the big Baptist Church just outside town.

He served (of course) wine at communion.

The congregation went berserk! To bring such evil into their church!

If they'd believed in exorcism, they surely would have performed a ceremony.

It's so much about ritual, so little about what's really being done or said. It's all very rigid...

Did they think, in that Rochester church, that talking about paganism would invoke Something within the walls?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-02-04 09:11 pm (UTC)
I think some fundamentalists are truly afraid of their god- and believe that he'll punish them if they allow his house to be polluted.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2009-02-04 09:29 pm (UTC)
Here's the thing: they stay in their sharp reality all day, and then on Sundays (or at prayer time) they stray into their twilit realm where anything goes and nothing is safe or sane, and at base they are very afraid of God, who they think requires them to control their thoughts at all times, lest they think inadvertently about something that will then GET them (or damn them)...I went to a Bible study group meeting once that made my stomach clench up when the very intelligent man, leader of the group, sincerely answered a question: Can a person sin once saved? With:

If a person has been saved, his life would be physically taken if he was about to sin.

It's like contortion.

How much more fun to explore the world with a God (unknown in almost every way except interiorly, and that vaguely) that is accepting and non-assessing and non-judging--especially, non-judging.

Honestly, if God will be judging us, all bets are off. We are all doomed, because that God is not Good, but is a sadist.
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