Sunday, May 15, 2005

"Community" or fence-building?

A Roman reconstructionist Pagan decides that Pagan "community" is a hopeless notion.

The reason seems to be that too much group identity is built through denigrating other Pagan groups.

What did I, the militant new convert to Reconstructionism, discover about the Greco-Roman spheres of reconstruction? I soon discovered it was not all that different from the neopagan morass which I had left.

It's a pity that people cannot realize that all (neo) Pagan religions are just that, new, relatively, speaking, and that being new is just fine. Religion, from our point of view, is an expression of human creativity in response to All That Stuff In/Out There.

Or as the late psychologist of religion Daniel Noel said in respect to "neo" shamansm, "Ain't nobody here but us neos."


Blogger branruadh said...

My sentiments exactly. And well said.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Kirsten said...

I don't get it. Since when is Recon not neopaganism anyway? In some senses it is the very *definition* of the word "neopagan!"

I think that is a very snooty attitude. But I do agree that there is too much backbiting and mulishness in "the community," whatever that is. As evidenced, indeed, by this very post.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Wes said...

Building community can be tough. When people kvetch about the diversity in the pagan community, I wonder if they realize the incredible diversity in christianity. I was raised holy roller pentecostal. I was also raised to believe a vast portion of christianity was doomed to hellfire. That's pretty diverse. These greco-roman folks actually sound kinda tame in comparison.

I believe the perception christian community is due to their 2000 year head start. I mean (please correct if I'm wrong) modern neo paganism started in the 60s/70s. If we look at christian movements that started at the same time i.e. the vinyard movement, they have done about as well as neo paganism in attracting members and they aren't really 'new'.

In essence Chas is correct (as usual) relax we're new.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous ursus77 said...

I love how someone who obviously doesn't understand the nuances of the Greco-Roman reconstructionist "community" and its issues decides to glean passages from out of context to support an broader and somewhat external argument.

The next time you want to quote me, please feign some journalistic integrity and ask my permission first. Thanks.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...


Here is how it works. When you blog--on Live Journal or anywhere else, you have "published." Your words are out there for anyone to read.

Once something is published it can be quoted.

I can quote the Wall Street Journal, and I can quote you.

best wishes,


7:53 PM  
Anonymous Justin said...


Three hints:

1. When dealing with privately published material, it's polite to ask before quoting.

2. When taking issue with co-religionists, it's polite to discusss your disagreement first with the other person.

3. When taking a quote out of context, it's polite to refrain from distorting it.

Just sayin'.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...


Your initial premise is in error. There is no such thing as "privately published" in the blogosphere--or on the rest of the Web, for that matter.

Whether it's someone's Live Journal or a top political blog like Instapundit, it's out there for all to read and to comment upon.


9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You're confusing the legal right and functional ability to comment with good manners and civil behavior. I'm not your mamma, so I'm not going to explain the difference. You either get it or you don't. You're also ignoring the difference between commenting in the original forum and playing drama games behind someone's back. Go ahead and think about it. If you really don't get it, I'm wasting my time reading your blog.

6:02 PM  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...

Unlike me, "Ursus" has blocked comments from the general public. What kind of manners are those?

8:02 PM  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...

So, let me get this right: I should comment in a forum where I am blocked, but you can come in anonymously and say what you like?

Announcement: I am ending this comment thread.

8:06 PM  

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