Pagan Studies


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Studies Blogs

Advanced and/or academic Pagan subjects such as history, ethics, sociology, etc.

Annika Mongan makes a wonderful point in her blog post of March 28, 2014 - namely, that public scandals in Christian communities have a particularly demoralizing impact on their members, because Conversion promised them that Faith and the Holy Spirit would make them spiritually healthier than the rest of the world.  I agree, but I don't think that Christians have a corner on those feelings.  The same expectations, just expressed in different words, have applied to every spiritual community I have ever joined.  

In high school, I was an acolyte and president of my church's Methodist Youth Fellowship.  It was hard for me to understand why my father, who was active on the Board of Trustees, suddenly decided after 8 loyal years to take our family out of the church due to social friction with other Board members and political disagreements with the new Ministerial staff.  I had been taught that we were all members of the Body of Christ, and that we prized agape - divine brotherly love - above all else.  Why was my Dad so out of touch with what our Youth Ministers had been teaching me every week?  Could there be other realities, separate from the rosy picture that had been painted for me in Sunday School? 

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  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Thank you, Ted. Well said and I so resonate with what you write. I am glad to have found a home in Paganism and I am here to stay.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Good points, Cat lover. I'm sure you're right about that 9 year old. As for challenging a responder's comments, my feeling was t
  • Cat lover
    Cat lover says #
    Ted, you are right. I was responding to the other commenter, and it had little to do with your post. Sorry if I helped derail your
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    No problem, CL. Thanks for understanding my position.
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Re: the problem of hating men for possession of pornography. Our community is all abuzz with hateful opinions about a well known
Predators, Sacred Space and a Call to Maturity

How do we want to present ourselves to the world? How does the world at large view the Pagan community, and are we happy with the way people see us?

These questions have circulating for years, and often the answer is something like, “Why should we care what they think? All they’re going to do is judge us anyway - and they’ve already made up their minds.”

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Last week, as the Full Moon in Virgo was making a transiting conjunction with my Natal Moon (that's an intense time of discernment and analysis for our non-astrology speaking readers), I experience two very strange occurrences. What was really strange was they were really both about the same hot button topic for me, but from opposite ends of the spectrum. One involved me as a student, the other as a teacher. It produced a lot of internal dialogue, conflict, communication, and ultimately a few snarky Facebook posts. It was the Facebook status updates that inspired our esteemed host, Anne Niven, to ask me to write about it in more detail. I didn't think I was going to, but with some time and distance, I got greater clarity on the whole thing and thought, if she thinks I should share it, then why not? Anne's certainly encouraged me to write quite a few things and, if it should prove helpful to anyone else beyond me, then mission accomplished.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Count_of_St_Germain.jpg

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  • Morganlafey
    Morganlafey says #
    Sorry you had to go through such chaos with a past teacher and former student of yours. However, I love how you extract the less
The Pagan as Professional Chaplain

Imagine the following scenarios…  

  • You have recently finished your education at Cherry Hill Seminary and you’ve been hired as a healthcare chaplain at a local hospital.  The Director of Pastoral Care turns to you and says, “Well, since you’re the newest chaplain you get to preach at our bi-annual memorial service for all who have passed away at the hospital since our last service.” 
  • You are sitting at an interview for a position as a staff chaplain at a prison.  The warden who is interviewing you says, “I expect my chaplain to be the pastor of the whole prison community.”
  • You get a call in the middle of the night.  A Catholic patient of yours is near death and the family can't find a priest to anoint the patient.  You've been asked by the nurse at their bedside to attend to them. 

Good advice for anyone interested in chaplaincy would be to suspend your sectarianism.  Institutional settings that have chaplains need their chaplains dedicated to interfaith ministry.   Chaplains need to be of service to all of those within their institutional setting. Suspending your sectarianism doesn’t mean sacrificing who you are as a minister, priest, or cleric.  It means being open to diversity and being able to embrace that diversity to be of service to others where you find them.  This means being strong in your own religious conviction.  Your identity as a Chaplain should flow from your theology and that theology should be expansive enough to embrace the needs of others both within and outside of your tradition.  Suspending your sectarianism means your agenda is one of service and compassion; and the person with whom the Chaplain serves sets the agenda. 

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  • Carol Kirk
    Carol Kirk says #
    Valerie Cole is my thesis chair, and David Oringderff is also on my committee. I'll be glad to share the thesis with you when it
  • David Oliver Kling
    David Oliver Kling says #
    Very interesting topic. Who is your thesis advisor? I'd be interested in reading it. I'm a Gulf War veteran myself.
  • David Oliver Kling
    David Oliver Kling says #
    Carol... congratulations on your studies! That must have been a lot of hard work. What are you writing your thesis on? I imagin
  • Carol Kirk
    Carol Kirk says #
    My thesis got started because I became interested in the rising rates of suicide among combat veterans...which led me to the topic
  • Carol Kirk
    Carol Kirk says #
    Great post! Like Sandy, I am working as a volunteer chaplain at our local hospital where I primarily do grief work with families

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Three Knots

 

Dear readers I hope you'll forgive me for not posting as frequently to this blog as I would like to. I'm in the midst of finishing my next book, and have a heavy teaching and ritual schedule for the next several months. The blog post after this one will return to the topic of the mechanics of how rituals can be done from a distance. I did feel moved by a third degree initiation that just occurred this past weekend to quickly share a few thoughts.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Practice What You Preach!

Several years ago I was facilitating a spiritual discussion group at the Yellow Springs Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.  I was serving that congregation as their religious education director and one of the duties I took upon myself was leading this discussion group before we gathered for the weekly service.  There was a wonderful gentleman named Chuck who would often attend our discussions and sometimes attend the main service depending on the topic.  One Sunday morning after about a half hour of group discussion Chuck spoke up and addressed the small group of about eight or so at the spiritual discussion group with, “You folks talk about being opened minded and affirming of others yet in the course of this discussion you’ve insulted me several times.  I’m a Christian.  I’m a Fundamentalist.  I teach at a Baptist university, and I regularly attend a Baptist Church.  And I’m a Republican.  Some of you have used these terms like they’re swear words.”  After he spoke his mind there was a lot of back peddling.  Chuck attended these discussion groups because he valued the discussions and he attended the main service when he was able because he valued some of the topics presented.  On those occasions when I was able to preach at the fellowship he would often attend to hear me speak.  He was and is a good man.  He wasn’t the “enemy,” but he was someone who sought to understand others and dialogue for mutual understanding and respect.

But Chuck presented an important dilemma for Unitarian Universalism and also a dilemma that is pertinent to the Pagan community.  How can we advocate tolerance, acceptance and understanding while simultaneously causing alienation and marginalization?

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  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    Well said, and much needed, David. Thank you.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    This is excellent, David, and of course it applies to all religious enclaves and all parties in a democracy. I had the same revel

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

The subject of memory has become something of a bugbear with me.  I remember a lot of things from my childhood which are now impossible to confirm…and this makes me wonder whether my memories are real.  believe they are, but I have no proof.  The few people still alive who were around then have their own recollections, which deal with different events from my own. 

The reason it's become important for me to verify memories is that, five years into our marriage, my wife spontaneously retrieved a wonderful memory that had been suppressed till then  - something that happened, she said, when we had been married for only one month. 

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Ted, since your post was so personal, I want to add something that might be a support. Below is a link to a blog of mine that migh
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Ted, beautiful. Bless you for sharing your personal journey. That is so important, given the topic. Your closing line about the D
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you for understanding, Stifyn.
  • Stifyn Emrys
    Stifyn Emrys says #
    The love you clearly have for both these women shines through in this article. Thank you for sharing something so personal and hea

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