How to talk to others; religious discussion in two parts

28 Jun

Most other married people I know don’t have roommates. We do, and it’s actually a fairly enjoyable situation. We get a great deal with the house and I get a social life built in. And a bathtub that I am marrying. One of the nicer things about our roommate is that both he and his girlfriend are intelligent, thoughtful humans and Christians. So is roommates father, our landlord and minister in his own right.

We were sitting in the garage the other night as people were pounding away at an impromptu armor building session when the girlfriend and I got to talking. She’s a devout Christian the same way I am devout, which is always inspiring. She mentioned that in one of her classes the profession maligned paganism, Wicca and of course (because she does attended a conservative Christian college) said we practiced human sacrifice both now and in the past. The past, whatever. She didn’t say much, other that stating that she believed he was wrong, but mostly because she didn’t know much herself.

So I educated. Basic stuff, really; Paganism is an umbrella term, Wicca is a very specific religion but that it is also used as a shorthand (for good or ill), that there are many different pagan religions — but no, it’s not much like different denominations. Simple stuff — I didn’t need to go into specific practices at this time. Explaining what Hellenic means was sort of amusing, though.

She’s been interested before, and we’ll probably have nice long conversations later as well. She has her faith, one that treats her well and that she is strong in, but it isn’t threatened by me having my own and it being so counter to it. And that gets me thinking, for the most part, this is how I operate in the pagan world. Even when I encounter ideas and practices within the Hellenic community that I don’t abide with, it’s usually easier to just say my bit of thought and move on, if it’s not something that I find directly harms in influences harm.

I’m very active on a forum, though less so than I used to be mostly because I got tired of the same conversations popping up in the religion section over and over again. It was a constant rehash, and others were better at it than myself. But more so, I would look back at how I was framing the discussion. I have a reputation for being the “nice one” but that was in comparison to other members. It started feeling toxic to my own behavior. So I’ve stepped back, and try only to respond in ways that are more productive. I fail sometimes, but it’s a journey.

And that’s really what I want to accomplish as I have these discussions. That they don’t have to be brash, bold and full of snark all the time. They can be quiet and work with the person, so that they don’t get a barrage information that they will never retain all at once, and that they can progress on their own journey. The girlfriend will eventually ask more questions about Hellenic Polythiesm and what I do and believe and I’ll be able to answer well. And on the other forum? I’ll still be respected and listened to, not because I have the best snarky banter, but because I’m fair, honest and compassionate. And hopefully because I’m right.

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Posted by on June 28, 2010 in Uncategorized


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