People are People – Thoughts on Definitions and Community

As I widen my reading of the Pagan blogosphere, I see lots of writers talking about the maturation of the overall Pagan community.  This really does my heart glad to read.  Not that I think that the Pagan community is following my lead on the topic – I know I’m most likely the johnny-come-lately to that party.  The meaning I derive from that is that many other people are seeing the same things that I am.  For me, that validates the idea that I am not crazy.  ::snort::  No, what it validates for me is that there are people who value the idea of a wider, over-arching Pagan community – and are willing to roll their sleeves up to get things started towards strengthening it.

Ok.  Sure, its just all *talk* at this point.  There are very few people actually putting things into motion.  But the key here is that there is talk – and *that* is a starting point.  I’m not about to bemoan the fact that these are merely baby-steps.  We, as a community, need to learn to walk before we can start winning the marathon races.

However.  You just *knew* there was going to be a “however” in all of this, didn’t you?  However, there is something that bothers me a little bit.  As I go through many of the blog posts, I see a lot of argument and debate over definitions.  I get that Pagans – for the most part – are very articulate and examining folk.  Personally, I see this as a big strength in what being a Pagan is all about.

Pah!  And here I am – I’m one to talk!  One of my bigger problems is always trying to fit everything into little niches.  But then again, I have a pretty good idea how the Analysis-Paralysis concept works.  I was extremely guilty of that in projects that I oversaw when I worked in the InfoTech world.  It was one of the biggest reasons that my projects had such a faltering schedule process.  I’d spend so much time trying to figure out the best way to accomplish one task, that I lost the focus on the larger picture of keeping the project on task.

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Yes, I understand that words and concepts have meaning.  Thus the need for the debates and discussions over such things.  And yes, I’ve seen debates

and discussions over super-fine details wind up imploding many fantastic ideas of over-arching concepts of inclusive community.  I’ve seen that numerous times here in the DFW area.  However, my personal belief is that all of that happened over an inability to compromise.  Regardless, that’s in the past.  Surely, issues like that will crop up going forward…as an infamous anonymous philosopher once said – shit happens.  The question isn’t over who may or may not take the shit — but over how the cleanup process will be accomplished.  And honestly, looking that far into the future is just borrowing trouble…  For me, the focus is on the here and how.

So, we come back to what I see as a small issue…the need to define everything.  To compartmentalize everything.  I’m not sure its necessary to do so.  For instance, take the concept of the Pride Day events (LGBT Pride Day, Pagan Pride Day, etc etc).  Anyone is welcome at such an event.  There’s no dividing lines.  Wiccans go over there.  Asatru go over there.  Celtic Reconstructionists go in the back.  Hellenic folk go over here.  WTF?  Everyone gets together and MINGLES.  People that want to sit back and talk with the folk that they know — they will do just that.  People who want to walk around and meet new people.  They will.  No one wears an arm-band identifying who they are or are not (didn’t we do away with that after the arbeitslagers?).  Somehow, we all manage to be friendly, outgoing and accepting at these events.  Why not within the local community too?  Or is there some dividing line that says that we put on our public face at events, and take it off when we come back to our smaller camps??

For me its a simple thing…and I take my nod from Depeche Mode:  “People are people, so why should it be that you and I get along so awfully?”

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