Tag Archives: Radical Inclusion

TWIH Episode 81: Planting the Church Unusual with Darnell Fennell #radicalinclusion #blacklivesmatter

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This episode we welcome Darnell Fennell, the founding pastor of Just Love, a radically inclusive church plant in Houstan, TX. We discuss what it’s like to create an inclusive church in an area that is seen as more conservative to the wider progressive community. What does it mean to be “church” and what are the difficulties in starting a new church in general? How do you bridge the conversation on race and privilege in a mixed congregation? What is the importance of doing the inner work outside of the worship space?  We also discuss how to pastor people through the ever shifting political and social justice landscape, and the difficulties, financially and emotionally, of being progressive clergy.

Note: Apologies for some of the noise, Skype was being a bit cranky. Also, this was recorded at the end of May before the shootings in Orlando.

Darnell Fennell is a native Texan, from southwest Houston. He is no stranger to church having grown up in the Baptist tradition where he discovered a deep passion for ministry. In 2011 Fennell received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Religious Studies from the University of Houston followed by a Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Ca in 2014. As an ordained minister in Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), he has returned to Southwest Houston to begin work on a new church plant, Just Love. Darnell is over church as usual and desires to see a renewed Church, one that takes love seriously.

Links

Just Love: http://www.justlovehouston.org

Facebook: D. D. Fennell

Pacific School of Religion

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TWIH Episode 76: Being Heathen with Cara Freyasdaughter

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In this episode, we talk to Cara Freyasdaughter, where we discuss her journey to Heathenism, her introduction to Freya and Freyr, and some of the issues that are challenging modern Heathenism. What are  CUUPs and ADF? What does the lore say about racism and other issues that have been being dealt with within the Heathen community?

Cara Freyasdaughter is a devotional polytheist dedicated to Freya and Freyr who works within a “reconstructed-ish” Heathen tradition. A current member of The Troth and ADF, she writes a biweekly blog on Patheos’ Agora channel called “Happily Heathen”. Currently, Cara leads Heathen rituals and Runes ‘n Lore classes for the White Oak Grove CUUPs group and is a member of the Sinnissippi Tuath ADF Grove in northern Illinois.

Links

Email:  cara@goldandredthread.com

The Troth (http://www.thetroth.org) The Troth is the largest International heathen organization. They are open and welcoming to people from all backgrounds.

Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (https://www.adf.org)—While this is officially a “druid” fellowship, all Indo-European mythologies are honored. ADF has a large, active, and diverse Heathen contingent.

Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans: http://www.cuups.org/

“Happily Heathen” on the Patheos Agora Channel (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/author/cfreyasdaughter/)

“Huginn’s Heathen Hof” (http://www.heathenhof.com)

“A Community of Gods Surround Me” (communityofgods.wordpress.com)

“Freya: The Gold Thread” (thegoldthread.wordpress.com)

 

Books

Modern Heathen Practice:

Original Sources:

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TWIH Episode 65: Being Intentionally Inclusive with Shauna Aura Knight #pantheacon

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Shauna Aura Knight joins us in this episode to talk about ritual practices that can make our public rituals more inclusive. What do we mean by inclusivity? How do we make the welcome clear so that others know that they are welcome into the ritual? Why are people so averse to using more inclusive language or making accommodations for allergy, disability, and gender issues? What is the responsibilities of public priests to ensure that their rituals are inclusive as possible? How do you take ownership, as an ally, of your process, especially in admitting when you’ve done something wrong  even if it was unintended? What happens when you realize that the pagan community isn’t a monolith of belief?

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

Shauna Aura Knight is an artist, author, ritualist, presenter, and spiritual seeker, Shauna travels nationally offering intensive education in the transformative arts of ritual, community leadership, and personal growth. Shauna is passionate about creating rituals, experiences, spaces, stories, and artwork to awaken mythic imagination. She is the author of The Leader Within, Ritual Facilitation, and Dreamwork for the Initiate’s Path. She’s a columnist on ritual techniques for CIRCLE Magazine, and her writing also appears in the anthologies Stepping in to Ourselves, A Mantle of Stars, Calling to our Ancestors, and Bringing Race to the Table.

She’s also the author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels including The Truth Upon Her Lips, A Fading Amaranth, A Winter Knight’s Vigil, Werewolves in the Kitchen, Werewolves with Chocolate, and more. Shauna’s mythic artwork and designs are used for magazine covers, book covers, and illustrations, as well as decorating many walls, shrines, and other spaces.  http://www.shaunaauraknight.com

Links

 Email: shaunaaura@gmail.com

Website: https://shaunaaura.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShaunaAuraKnightRitualist

Pantheacon 2016 Schedule

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TWIH Episode 58: Baptist, but not That Kind of Baptist with Paul Schneider

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In this episode we talk to Paul Schneider, one of my good friends and Baptist seminarian about his journey, and his church’s journey into affirming LGBTQA people and radical inclusion. We also talk about the realities about the way that traditions can be used to harm people, regardless of faith path and how clergy need emotional and personal support in order to help them avoid harming those they serve. How does clergy isolation create the idea that we have to “do it all ourselves” and not ask their communities for help? (Even Jesus has his disciples…)

Note: Apologies for the lack of episodes recently. One of my covenmates was suddenly ill and is in the ICU. If you can help them in any way, prayer or otherwise, we would all greatly appreciate it.

Paul Schneider was born, raised and still lives in Oakland, California. Raised at the First Baptist Church of Berkeley, Paul was part of the church leadership when they were joining the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists. Now a father, husband, and seminary student at the American Baptist Seminary of the West, Paul is pursuing a deeper understanding of Liberation Theology, struggling with quiet, and dynamic liturgy.

Links:

Blog: http://logonpaulos.wordpress.com

Twitter: @Logon_Paulos

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30 Days of Social Justice 30: Radical Inclusion #30daysofsocialjustice #amwriting

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Radical inclusivity is and must be radical.Bishop Yvette Flunder

As I come to the end of this project, I realize that most of my posts were speaking primarily to the pagan community. Besides the fact that I’m writing a book about radical inclusion geared toward the pagan community, paganism, in the “big umbrella” sense, is coming into its own as a class of religious practice. We may still be a community on the margins, but we are now looking around and realizing that we have many layers and margins within the community as a whole. There’s a great deal of intersectionality with People of Color, LGBTQIA, class, politics, traditions, and many other aspects of difference. As pagans, we know about intent, and if we create a space with the intent of being inclusive in the broadest way possible, we make our spaces a safer place for people to be themselves. This is a new skill we are learning, and like all change, we’re having the inevitable growing pains.

Radical inclusion requires the intention to be inclusive of all people regardless of race, color, ancestry, age, gender, sexual or affectional orientation, body size, or any other difference. Radical inclusivity also demands that we not only reach out to the margins of our traditions, but to the whole of the greater human community with a clear message of welcome. This necessitates clarity because just saying “all are welcome” doesn’t necessarily equate to inclusion in the minds of most people. This is true for people already included in the community and those seeing it from the outside. The general assumption in a given community could be that “all are welcome as long as they are like us.” Or “all are welcome except homeless people because they smell bad.” Or “all women are welcome except transgender women.” This is the most difficult aspect of radical inclusion to learn and practice because it demands that we recognize the diversity of humanity within our own ranks as well as within our hearts and minds. Our common marginality doesn’t necessarily mean that we are all “together” on every issue, which we have seen over and over again. There is a false assumption, particularly with the newest converts to Paganism, that the entire community is some sort of monolith where everyone thinks alike. It can be devastating to realize that a group that you thought was doing good may actually be promoting the very same discrimination that you were trying to get away from.

The clarity of the welcome also needs to be continuously examined and re-evaluated. Even if the community is based on a specific philosophy, cause, or religion, it still needs to be aware of the margins within it. What many leaders seem to forget, particularly progressive pagan leaders, is that even in the most communicative and open of groups, not everyone is going to feel comfortable publicly talking about their vulnerabilities, needs, or asking for change — even people who have been members of the community for decades.

I’ve come to believe, in all my studies, ministry, and discussions with others, that while social justice is the work of making sure that ourselves, others, and those in power are not being shitty to people, radical inclusion is the ‘housework’ required to make sure we accept each other as human beings. There are many people, particularly in the greater pagan community, that assume that inclusion means that we all have to like each other, or that we have to please everyone in our practices and rituals, or keep our mouths shut and not challenge elders, leaders, and other members. This is far from the truth. Radical inclusion is a theology, a philosophy, and a way of life that recognizes the fundamental humanity of The Other. It recognizes that humans have joys, sorrows, excitement, pride, and all of the other ups and downs of existence. It recognizes that we’re not always going to agree or even like each other. It is the hope of redemption when everyone else has said “no” and the light of hope in the dark.

Radical inclusion does not automatically mean that everyone has to believe the same, like each other, or not have boundaries and rules. It does mean that we have to acknowledge ourselves and others as human beings in all their humanity, the good and the bad. That in itself is a radical act because most of the time we can’t acknowledge The Other as human.

May we all find the grace to see each other in our human-ness and welcome each other home.


Acknowledgements:

I’d like to thank ohimemiko on tumblr who came up with with the Month of Written Devotion for the inspiration. I’d also like to thank the Circle of Cerridwen for the feedback and support. And most of all, I’d like to thank my wife Sarah for all the love, support, and reality checks during this project. I love you. :)

And, finally, I’d like to thank all of you for going on this journey with me. It wasn’t a very easy journey, but I hope you all have learned a lot. I know I have.

TWIH Episode 56: Embracing the Seeker with Davie Floyd #tfam

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In this episode, that was recorded at The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries Convocation in July, I talk with Davie Floyd about her multi-faith practice that includes Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Sufism (amongst other work). How do we become a personal sanctuary of inclusion for people to help them discover their own paths? How do we support the seeker, and how can we help people find what they need? What does it mean for someone to be spiritual? How are we evolving as a society and as human beings?

This episode was recorded on location at City of Refuge UCC during The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries Convocation on July 17, 2015.

Davie Floyd is a life-long member of the Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas, TX where Rev. Curtis W. Wallace is the pastor. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Cognitive Studies and Education at Columbia University in New York. While in New York, she has joined Romemu, a Jewish renewal synagogue where David Ingber is Rabbi. She also regularly attends services at Rivers of Living Waters where Rev. Vanessa Brown is the senior pastor and often practices mindfulness with the Riverside Sangha which follows the Buddhist teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. She is involved with several interfaith organizations in New York City. Though she is deeply spiritual and religious, her beliefs are largely agnostic. She lives a life oriented around realizing her full potential and coaching others to do the same.

Links

Email: davie.floyd@gmail.com

Romemu Synagogue: http://romemu.org/

Rivers of Living Water Church: http://www.riversoflivingwaternj.com/

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30 Days of Writing about Social Justice. Who’s in? #amwriting #30daysofsocialjustice

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Tuesday I’m going to start writing about this little list of social justice topics. I was inspired by the Month of Written Devotion (which I have now fixed to the proper link) and created 30 days (because 30 days have September). True, this isn’t everything and I know there could have been way more topics on here. Feel free to substitute topics or mush topics together. I’m not that fussy about what folks do with this list!

Really, it’s your writing for 30-odd days. I’m more curious about what I, and others, will write about these things. Feel free to link back here because I’d love to read what you’ve written. I might even use some of the topics for The Heretic Speaks vlog (instead of writing).

I’ll also admit, for full disclosure, that I’m writing a book that includes pretty much all of these topics, and some of my writing during this time my end up in it. It’s all my wife’s fault, really, because she told me to do the thing.

So I did the thing.

Anywho, here’s the list of topics. Feel free to pass it around on the Twitters, the Tumblrs, and the Facebooks!

1. Social Justice
2. Diversity
3. Marginalized
4. Oppression
5. Gender
6. Classism
7. Bias
8. Dialogue
9. Identity/Labels
10. Intersectionality
11. Privilege
12. Stereotypes
13. Tolerance
14. Worldview
15. Dominant Culture
16. Multiplicity/Multi-identity
17. Cultural Appropriation
18. Ableism/Accessibility
19. Ageism/Adultism
20. Body Shame/Policing
21. Transgender/Transphobia
22. Calling Out
23. Misogyny
24. Hate Crime
25. Patriarchy
26. Racism
27. Microaggressions/Trigger Warnings
28. Sexism
29. Sexual/Affectional Orientation/Asexuality
30. Radical Inclusion

 

Good luck, and I look forward to seeing what you and I write!

30 Days of Social Justice Writing Prompts #amwriting #30daysofsocialjustice

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I’ve been watching folks do the Month of Written Devotion the last couple of months which has been really cool. I thought, earlier today: “Huh…I wonder if there’s something similar for social justice?” My Google-fu and asking on Twitter has failed me, and my wife (not so subtly) suggested that I should do it.

So I did.

The idea is that for each day for 30 days you write about the topics listed. To be honest, I’m not really fussed how you all decide to work on these. Feel free to write on more than one of these a day or spread it out for 30 weeks, or whatever. I’ll be starting mine on September 1. Maybe we can use the hashtag #30daysofsocialjustice? You’re welcome to announce that you’re doing it in the comments (and you can pingback, too).

These terms aren’t in any particular order, but they are many of the terms I see floating around the social justice blogs and other places:

  1. Social Justice
  2. Diversity
  3. Marginalized
  4. Oppression
  5. Gender
  6. Classism
  7. Bias
  8. Dialogue
  9. Identity/Labels
  10. Intersectionality
  11. Privilege
  12. Stereotypes
  13. Tolerance
  14. Worldview
  15. Dominant Culture
  16. Multiplicity/Multi-identity
  17. Cultural Appropriation

  18. Ableism/Accessibility
  19. Ageism/Adultism
  20. Body Shame/Policing
  21. Transgender/Transphobia
  22. Calling Out
  23. Misogyny
  24. Hate Crime
  25. Patriarchy
  26. Racism
  27. Microaggressions/Trigger Warnings
  28. Sexism
  29. Sexual/Affectional Orientation/Asexuality
  30. Radical Inclusion

Good luck, and I look forward to read what folks write!

TWIH Episode 54: The Dynamics of Awareness with Deborah Blake

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In this episode we talk with author Deborah Blake about daily practice and how we can get hung up on what “proper” daily practice is. We explore how daily practice can be just a part of our mundane practices, and that what is right and “proper” depends on your own spiritual needs. How do we cultivate a practice that works for us? How do we determine the regular practices in our groups or covens? Are we walking our talk? We also talk about the advantages and disadvantages of both group and solo work, and the ins and outs of working in community.

Deborah Blake is the author of the Baba Yaga paranormal romance series, including Wickedly Magical, Wickedly Dangerous and Wickedly Wonderful (Berkley) as well as eight books on modern witchcraft from Llewellyn Worldwide. She has an ongoing column in Witches & Pagans Magazine and was featured in The Pagan Anthology of Short Fiction.

Links

Author Website: http://www.deborahblakeauthor.com

Blog: http://deborahblake.blogspot.com

Books

The Circle Within: Creating a Wiccan Spiritual Tradition by Dianne Sylvan

Everyday Witchcraft: Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World by Deborah Blake

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TWIH Episode 52: The Teacher, the Student, and the Seeker with Schmian Evans #tfam #blacklivesmatter

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This week we talk with Schmian Evans about education, marginalization, and what we can do about it. What is considered normal? How do we educate and empower people, especially children, when they have be constantly told by the system they are stupid, can’t learn, or not worth people’s time? How do we navigate the grey areas? We also talk about spoken word. how their spoken word ministry can connect to others on a deep level, and how art is treated in our (U.S.) culture.  

This episode was recorded on location at City of Refuge UCC during The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries Convocation on July 17, 2015. 

 

Schmian Evans is a Master of Divinity and Certificate of Sexuality and Religion student at Pacific School of Religion. She also serves as the student representative on the Inter-Cultural Justice Committee and student trustee on the Board of Trustees. She holds a Certificate of Ministries Studies from PSR and a B.A. in Gender Studies from California State University Stanislaus. Schmian has served as an advocate for those considered at-risk and marginalized, for several years, as an educator, mentor and organizational leader. A poet, performer, and City of Refuge Minister, Schmian remains dedicated to the work and service of creating a more just world.

 

Links

Lost Voices by Darius Simpson and Scout Bostly (Spoken word piece on YouTube)

Email: schmian@att.net

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