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Author Topic: What I Expect From My Church  (Read 17982 times)
RandallS
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« Topic Start: October 11, 2007, 12:40:01 pm »


Web Site Article Discussion ThreadThis thread is for discussion of a specific article on our web site. Please limit discussion to questions and comments specific to this article. Feel free to start a new thread in an appropriate board if what you wish to discuss is not specific to the named article. Note that if you have arrived here from the discussion link on this article on our web site and are not a member of this message board, you will need to register an account to post in this thread. Thank you.

What I Expect From My Church

As the Neo-Pagan community grows and matures, the expectations change. Fifty years ago, Witchcraft (Gardnerian type) was an extremely secretive religion. At present, there are numerous public contact points and a few Wiccan and other Pagan groups holding public religious services. In another fifty years the expectations will have again changed. Most likely many Neo-Pagan groups will be offering religious meetings that anybody can attend. Not only will anybody be allowed to attend, but the group will offer most of the activities and services that current mainstream churches offer. To fulfill all of these commitments, these Neo-Pagan groups are going to have to raise money and have full-time paid Neo-Pagan clergy. As an active member, fifty years from now, of my local Neo-Pagan church, I'm going to expect certain things from my now mainstream Neo-Pagan religious organization.

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« Reply #1: October 12, 2007, 03:04:59 pm »

[modbreak=Web Site Article Discussion Thread]
[/modbreak]

What I Expect From My Church

As. Most likely many Neo-Pagan groups will be offering religious meetings that anybody can attend. Not only will anybody be allowed to attend, but the group will offer most of the activities and services that current mainstream churches offer.
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Yeah, it will come to that. But I'll still hate church.
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« Reply #2: October 12, 2007, 03:07:06 pm »

Yeah, it will come to that. But I'll still hate church.

Huh 

You don't like the term church, or something else bugs you?

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« Reply #3: October 12, 2007, 03:18:17 pm »

Huh 

You don't like the term church, or something else bugs you?

What I don't like is what a Church usually is.....a building that needs mountains of money for staff and upkeep. I have yet to attend just one that didn't need/expect my money.
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« Reply #4: October 12, 2007, 04:39:43 pm »

What I don't like is what a Church usually is.....a building that needs mountains of money for staff and upkeep. I have yet to attend just one that didn't need/expect my money.

unfortunatly thats thde price of having a community

a clergy man spens approximatly all his time serving the community and a meeting place allows that community to meet. but the clregy need to eat and th eplaces need to be maintained. these require funds.

as part of a community wishing to have a clergy you have to accept a responcibility towards its upkeep.

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RandallS
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« Reply #5: October 12, 2007, 09:14:04 pm »

What I don't like is what a Church usually is.....a building that needs mountains of money for staff and upkeep. I have yet to attend just one that didn't need/expect my money.

Land, buildings, people to write newsletters, and the like seldom are free and even if the land and buildings were free, they need maintenance and upkeep which usually isn't.
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Randall
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« Reply #6: October 12, 2007, 10:13:47 pm »

What I Expect From My Church

As the Neo-Pagan community grows and matures, the expectations change. Fifty years ago, Witchcraft (Gardnerian type) was an extremely secretive religion. At present, there are numerous public contact points and a few Wiccan and other Pagan groups holding public religious services. In another fifty years the expectations will have again changed. Most likely many Neo-Pagan groups will be offering religious meetings that anybody can attend. Not only will anybody be allowed to attend, but the group will offer most of the activities and services that current mainstream churches offer. To fulfill all of these commitments, these Neo-Pagan groups are going to have to raise money and have full-time paid Neo-Pagan clergy. As an active member, fifty years from now, of my local Neo-Pagan church, I'm going to expect certain things from my now mainstream Neo-Pagan religious organization.

Even if there were heathen temples on every street corner it would mean nothing to me.  Just like the self declared Gothi and priests mean nothing to me now.  I would still be solitary.  They are unnecessary.  We don't need anyone special to lead ceremonies and we don't need special rooms to have the ceremonies in.  The only purpose a church would serve is to control people.
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« Reply #7: October 12, 2007, 10:42:00 pm »

Even if there were heathen temples on every street corner it would mean nothing to me.  Just like the self declared Gothi and priests mean nothing to me now.  I would still be solitary.  They are unnecessary.  We don't need anyone special to lead ceremonies and we don't need special rooms to have the ceremonies in.  The only purpose a church would serve is to control people.

I don't know about the the controlling people necessarily.  Does anyone have experience with the Aquarian Tabernacle church?
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« Reply #8: October 12, 2007, 11:35:06 pm »

We don't need anyone special to lead ceremonies and we don't need special rooms to have the ceremonies in.  The only purpose a church would serve is to control people.

well no, the purpose church serves is to get people together because many people just do better that way. That said, I have been a solitary witch most of my life, and I was raised by an atheist lapsed Jew and Catholic witch who would never dream of going to church or temple to get their spirit needs met. But I am currently attending UU church with my Christian husband, b/c it is the only place where we both feel ok spiritually, and for lots of reasons that has recently become and important issue in our marriage. I actually could care less; It is fun to go the pagan meetings, but it is certainly not necessary for me, I walk outside and I am in church, yk? But it is good for my family, and that is sort of what church is *supposed to be about, I think.
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RandallS
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« Reply #9: October 13, 2007, 08:05:19 am »

We don't need anyone special to lead ceremonies and we don't need special rooms to have the ceremonies in. 

Some Pagan religions do need things like that, however.
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« Reply #10: October 13, 2007, 11:41:59 am »

Even if there were heathen temples on every street corner it would mean nothing to me.  Just like the self declared Gothi and priests mean nothing to me now.  I would still be solitary.  They are unnecessary.  We don't need anyone special to lead ceremonies and we don't need special rooms to have the ceremonies in. 

Yep, that is the way I feel about it. 

My back yard is my church. The birds are my choir. A tree stump is my pew. The trees, bugs, grass, flowers and plants are the congregation. The wind is the voice of my pastor. The morning dew is my holy water. The sky and clouds are my stained glass windows. Rocks and stones are my altars. The earth is the collection plate, accepting seeds and decay to bring forth new life.  Here I am at peace.
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« Reply #11: October 13, 2007, 11:45:50 am »

Yep, that is the way I feel about it. 

My back yard is my church. The birds are my choir. A tree stump is my pew. The trees, bugs, grass, flowers and plants are the congregation. The wind is the voice of my pastor. The morning dew is my holy water. The sky and clouds are my stained glass windows. Rocks and stones are my altars. The earth is the collection plate, accepting seeds and decay to bring forth new life.  Here I am at peace.

This doesn't answer the /other/ things religious leaders do, though.

The weekly going-to-church might not be so important - but for people that want religious ceremonies, what about weddings and funerals?  What about counseling?  Who do you call in the middle of the night when everything's going to hell?  That sort of thing.

If you want someone in that role, especially someone that's trained and qualified for that role, they deserve to be paid well enough to not need a day job on top of going to hospitals, prisons, charity work, etc.  Because otherwise, something's going to fall through the cracks.
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« Reply #12: October 13, 2007, 11:56:19 am »

This doesn't answer the /other/ things religious leaders do, though.
The weekly going-to-church might not be so important - but for people that want religious ceremonies, what about weddings and funerals?  What about counseling?  Who do you call in the middle of the night when everything's going to hell?  That sort of thing.
If you want someone in that role, especially someone that's trained and qualified for that role, they deserve to be paid well enough to not need a day job on top of going to hospitals, prisons, charity work, etc.  Because otherwise, something's going to fall through the cracks.

Yes, there are people who need that sort of thing, but I am not one of them.
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« Reply #13: October 13, 2007, 12:34:09 pm »

Yes, there are people who need that sort of thing, but I am not one of them.

But then does that negate the people who *do? Do the people who *don't want or need a church-y structure feel like there being one for those who do would be detrimental to pagans in general, or themselves in particular?
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  The power of Fire,
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  The power of Air,
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  And the power of Earth,
  for the strength to continue my path.

http://rosejayadal.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #14: October 13, 2007, 12:44:59 pm »

Yes, there are people who need that sort of thing, but I am not one of them.

What happens as you age, though?

One of my covenmates just stated school for a therapy degree, with an eye toward doing hospice/end of life help. He did it, in part, because of experiences with his mother when she was dying earlier this year.

It made me think about my own mother - a Catholic eucharistic minister, who has brought communion to one of the local nursing homes a couple of weeks a month for years now. And about conversations with her, about what she wants when she's no longer able to live on her own (in terms of religious affiliation, assistance in continuing part of her own religious life.) She's 71 this year, so knowing what she wants is increasingly important to her kids (none of whom share her actual religious practices/belief a this point: my siblings are currently attending Congregational and Lutheran churches, and I'm, well, me.)

What do you do when you're in hospital, and can't light a stick of incense for yourself. Or go outside? Is there a place for advocates in that situation? (Say, someone who would understand that what you want is for them to put on X piece of music, or light a candle, or whatever, and to keep people out of your way for 15 or 20 minutes while you meditate? This last one is particularly important.) Without their own idea of what your religion needs to look like, ideally.

There's also the "What about when a tragedy happens?" sorts of things. I know a number of Pagans who, following 9/11 (and to some extent after Katrina) wanted somewhere they could show up, be around other people, learn if there was anything they could do to help, and not have to deal with significantly explaining their religion (i.e. the people there would have a basic understanding if they gave the 1 sentence explanation.) Not to have explicit ritual, or prayer or anything - but to have other people to talk to where they didn't have to constantly deal with references *way* outside their practice (Christianity, etc.)

I didn't need that, myself - and I have other resources for it, anyway, from small group work. But I saw a lot of stress and nasty group internal stuff after the stress of 9/11, in particular, and I've wondered ever since what would have happened if there *had* been a casual drop-in place where people could reliably gather or pass on resources, or whatever, rather than being fragmented into different small clusters (of friends, of small groups, etc.)
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