Tag Archives: people

TWIH Episode 66: Wholeness and Humanness with Laine DeLaney #pantheacon

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Laine DeLaney joins us in this episode to talk about her journey from her childhood religion of Islam to her current Heathen and magickal traditions.  What does it mean to be a Heathen? Do you have to be of Northern European descent to be a “proper Heathen”? Is there really such a thing as an “unbroken” tradition? Why is hospitality important? We also talk about how accepting people as they identify themselves and accepting their humanness is important in accepting the “Other.”

This is part of a series of interviews with people who will be presenting at Pantheacon 2016.

Laine DeLaney was born in Western New York and has spent much of her life trying to escape its pull, but recently has made a new home in San Diego, California. She has been a member of several traditions and has acted as a clergyperson, spiritual guide, and seeress for various groups and communities. Laine writes for pleasure (science fiction on her Empyrean Dreams blog and other random fiction), for profit (as a custom content creator), for activism (in her columns in various LGBT publications), to discuss Pagan issues (on The Lady’s Quill on Patheos Pagan and Pagan Church Lady on WordPress), and because she has difficulty stopping.

Links

Email: lainedelaney919@gmail.com

Website: Pagan Church Lady

Pagan Church Lady on Facebook

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TWIH Episode 55: Multi-Faith Education and Dialog with Denise Cush

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In this episode we talk about interfaith dialog and religious education with Denise Cush. How do people learn about interfaith and mutli-faith practices? What are the differences between the way religion is viewed and taught in the United States and the United Kingdom? What is the importance of face to face dialog and experience in interfaith work?

Denise Cush (BA/MA Oxford, MA Lancaster, PhD Warwick) is currently Professor of Religion and Education at Bath Spa University. She has taught Religious Studies in a sixth form college, trained both primary and secondary teachers in religious education, and taught Study of Religions at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Until recently she was Head of the Department of Study of Religions (now Religions, Philosophy and Ethics) at Bath Spa. She is deputy editor of the British Journal of Religious, a major international journal. In addition to religious education, her teaching and research interests include Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and alternative spiritualities such as Paganism.

Links

Website: http://www.livingreligion.co.uk/

Email: d.cush@bathspa.ac.uk

Books

Celebrating Planet Earth, a Pagan/Christian Conversation: First Steps in Interfaith Dialogue

The Heretic Writes: I’m your worst nightmare (apparently). #ednos #osfd #bodyissues

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These are the messages I get every day: you are a fat, lazy, person who has no self discipline, disobeys God and the Bible, and you should just stay in your house and not exist. And if you go outside, you should dress in a bland baggy outfit because your body is offensive. (If I was a person of color, you can multiply this by a million.)

I have been concern trolled, sneered at, stared at, and told that the existence of my body is bad. Even by people who don’t know me from a hole in the wall.

Most of the time I don’t really give a shit if people talk about my body, especially if it’s strangers. It’s easier with strangers because it’s easier to tell someone you don’t know to f**k off. Sometimes it’s people who should know better, like clergy or even friends. That’s the hardest part of all because when it happens my brain is like, “Oh. They posted that? Huh, they must think I’m ugly. Shit, I must be ugly. I suck. I’m a horrible person. They must not really like hanging out with me then. Maybe I shouldn’t bother eating today.”

Yup. It goes there. Not all the time, these days, but it goes there. It’s hard to admit publicly that I have (what used to be called) an Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (or Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder). I don’t fit the stereotype of someone who has an eating disorder.

But I’ve heard all this crap so often, it’s in my brain. It does the abuse for me. It suggests to me that maybe I shouldn’t bother with food because it would be more comfortable for the people around me. That if I don’t eat much (or at all) when I’m at church, then I’ll be seen as a good fatty and under control. Or that if I’m at a party, I shouldn’t stand by the food table because then people will assume that I’ll eat the whole thing. Or if I’m in a restaurant I’ve thought about what I order so that I don’t look like I’m stereotypically bad.

Don’t get me started about traveling publicly while fat. In fact, I just won’t go there.

But the bullying and messages that everyone gets every day isn’t abuse or bullying. Oh no. The institutions, including our government, consider body shaming and bullying quite ok. It’s ok to call someone a fat bitch or a skinny bitch because our bodies are a matter of discipline and willpower. Obviously it has nothing to do with genetics, medications, disabilities, or any other reason.

Today I’m just really tired of all the body shame. Today I’m tired of hearing and seeing friends and colleagues do harm to themselves in order to feel worthy of existing. I’m tired of seeing and hearing people say horrible things about themselves because society deems that they should do so. I’m tired of feeling like people think it’s ok to abuse people of any size because they feel that my and other people’s bodies are a matter of public comment.

Personally, I’m tired of me, my wife, and my friends being considered other people’s worst nightmare.

It seems that compassion for others is in short supply these days. Gods, I wish we’d all grow the f**k up.

The Heretic Speaks #12: Progressive Movement Rant: Let’s not eat our own, ok?

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A bit of a rant to start off the new year. The progressive movement has its problems, and the worst one is alienating those who are changing their minds….and alienating each other.

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The Heretic Writes: We as Beings

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11 dead in the Charlie Hebdo shooting.
2000 killed by Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and many other African Americans killed by police violence.
Two police officers gunned down in NYC.
50 Mosque attacks in France.
ISIL hacks websites and promises more killing.
Westboro Baptist Church protests the funerals of dead soldiers.
The NYPD turn their backs on a mayor who spoke truth about a broken system.
A man gets arrested for feeding the homeless in his town.
Russia passes a law banning transgender people from obtaining driver’s licenses.
Bomb blast hits Tripoli, Lebanon.
Refugees continue to leave Syria.
The United States congress writes bills to deny food stamps and slash unemployment.
Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminists send death threats and out transgender women at their places of employment.
GamerGaters dox women who speak out agains the harassment and sexism in the tech industry, driving them from their homes.

I’ve seen many posts lately talking about all of the horrible things human beings do to each other. Many people would like to lay the all blame at religious groups (or religion in general), or governments, or people of color, or white people, or the queers, or the Jews, or any other group of humans.

Thing is, we’re all to blame.

Simple version: human beings are to blame for being horrible to other humans.

This doesn’t mean I don’t think we shouldn’t be learning about privilege, or intersectionality, or listening to the stories of the oppressed. Far from it. Listening to each other, learning each other’s stories, is the only way that we’ll be able to learn that there are humans behind the anger, hate, and rage.

But are we really willing to listen to each other yet?

I think humanity is in it’s bratty teenager, maybe early 20’s, stage. The internet makes it so easy to find the information about all of these things, and to react to it all. We’re all trying to find a platform to be heard, and we all have an opinion about things. Everyone wants to change the world as they see fit and everyone thinks they are right.

Everyone.

Including those who want to harm others. They think they’re right, too.

I can’t deny this. I’ve done enough of my own “Someone’s wrong on the Internets!” over the years.

But, what I wonder is when will we, as human beings, figure out how to take a deep breath and listen before reacting? When will we take that moment to walk away to think about it before coming back and trying to solve the problem?

When will we gain the wisdom to figure out that lashing out does more harm than good?

To be honest, I have no idea when that will be. It seems that for some people, having an “enemy,” a “them,” is much easier than looking at their own prejudices and fears. It’s easier to make ones self comfortable than finding a way to help other people live securely.

It’s hard to look at a list like the one above and think that there’s good in the world, or that humanity will somehow wake up and realize what it’s doing. I want to have faith in humanity. I want to be able to think that we can survive to grow out of this state of flux we’re in.

I have hope, but sometimes even that hope seems far away when you listen to the news.

TWIH Episode 21: Invisible Disabilities with Dany Atkins

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In this week’s episode we talk with Dany Atkins about invisible disabilities and how they can be dismissed, not only in society in general, but in the Pagan community in general. People can get annoyed when confronted with their lack of thought about how to accommodate people who have disabilities. How can clergy be more responsible about accommodating for the disabilities we can’t see?

Dany Atkins is a nationally known writer, educator, and activist on a variety of issues including body image, sexuality and diversity issues. She has given workshops and lectures around the country and abroad on a variety of topics.

She has also been guest editor of issues of the Journal of Lesbian Studies, Journal of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Identity and Journal of Bisexuality. She also served on the editorial board of the Journal of Lesbian Studies and the Journal of Bisexuality.

She was the founder and Chair of the Body Image Task Force and is the former Research Chair for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance. She is featured in the educational video “Killing Us for Our Own Good: Dieting and Medical Misinformation” (produced by the BITF). She currently runs a small press for erotic fiction called Forbidden Fiction

Links:

Dany’s Email: purplerabbit13@gmail.com

Books (as Dawn Atkins):

Looking Queer: Body Image and Identity in Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender Communities

Lesbian Sex Scandals: Sexual Practices, Identities, and Politics

Bisexual Women in the Twenty-First Century

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The Heretic Writes: Tired

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I’ve been trying to work on my novel tonight without success. I figure if I can’t get my word count in that way, I can certainly write a blog post. That’ll get me at least 500 words today.

But, the truth is, I’m tired.

I’m tired because, in the month of October, my wife and I: found a new house to live in, went to the desert for 6 days, packed All The Things (with much help from our awesome coven mates), re-homed a cat, moved cats, and my wife moved to a new job situation. I also did a church service somewhere in that time as well.

I’m tired because, after all the moving was done, I got sick (and so did the wife). This isn’t too surprising given all the stress stuff mentioned above.

It’s also been one of those times where I get tired of fighting the good fight. There are days where I just get tired of being politically correct. I get tired of thinking carefully about what I say or write because I might offend someone. I get tired of watching people be so angry all the time, or people finding things to be angry about. I get tired of hearing about how our government sucks, this or that thing is bad for you, support such and such a cause, reblog this, share that, and if you don’t do all these things you’re a big fat meanie mean person!!!!11eleventy!!!!

To be honest: there are times, like the last few days especially, when I just want to pack it all in, hide under the covers, and refuse to come out. You all can handle the world. I’m just going to close the door and pretend nothing is happening.

Eventually, though, if I take care of myself right, things will slow down and I’ll feel up to facing the world again. And a good deal of that self care is knowing when it’s ok to say: “I cannot be your pastor today.” or “I need to take a nap now.” or “I’m going to stay off Facebook for the week.” or “I think I’ll walk away from this thread.” or “I will not hit send.” or “I’ll stay home today.”

It’s a hard thing to admit sometimes, especially when things need doing. I’m no good to anyone, though, if I’m freaking out myself. All that’ll do is cause more trouble. Or make me sick.

So, I’ve been resting most of this week. And trying to write. One thing I’ll remember though is not to be too hard on myself for not doing as much as my mind thinks it should be doing.

Because, really, I’m still pretty tired.

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