Why do you presume to know what my devotion means?

I don’t have time for a trifling witch-war with trifling people. If you think I’m not sufficiently devoted to my gods, that by doing their work out in the real world I’m failing them, that’s your choice. Pretty presumptuous to decide you know what my gods want better than they do, but have at it if you think you’re wiser than they are. I do it for their approval, not yours, and guess what? For adults, religion isn’t about the number of blog hits one gets. But I can’t help but see Brighid’s hand in the way sad, angry, insecure little people need to be so rude about my charity work, thus giving free press to a project that has received so much support from the pagan community as a result. She’s a craftswoman, after all. She knows how to make use of tools.

And no, I’m not linking the posts in question. Giving drama queens like that the attention they want only encourages them.

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15 Comments on “Why do you presume to know what my devotion means?”

  1. ladyimbrium says:

    Ha! I have no idea what’s going on, but I appreciate anyone saying ” F off over there, I’m doing my thing over here.” since it’s too rarely said.

    • Stephy says:

      Eh, that Krasskova woman decided to poke at me again. Apparently by taking real action in the community, I’m neglecting devotion and piety. Because I don’t worship gods of “sit on your ass and whine about your persecution complex.” Even in the lore, Brighid is shown as a goddess of action and compassion.

      • ladyimbrium says:

        Ah. She’s a scholar and one I wouldn’t mind having a long conversation with about the bits and pieces that keep showing up in my own visions. I have no issue giving her that title. But not everyone can be a scholar. Someone has to do the down and dirty mundane work. Truthfully, we’re a very imbalanced confederacy right now. Plenty of scholars and would-be priests, not much in the way of interested masses. I think that’s finally starting to shift and some folks are made uncomfortable by it. They’ll either get used to it or they won’t. Do what you do and let it fall into place as it will.

      • Stephy says:

        I’ve got no problem with her being a scholar. What I have a problem with is her insulting others’ piety by saying that because some people’s work is different from hers, that others are “actively avoiding” their obligations to the gods and looking for public approval rather than doing the work our gods have assigned to us. I do my charity work not because I’m running from ritual and mystery, and not because I’m incapable of ritual, but because that is not the role my gods require of me. Bashing Starhawk for being an activist, bashing me for doing charity work, bashing Teo Bishop for finding his connection to the divine elsewhere…you know, if one has had a problem getting along with everyone outside their little clique, maybe the problem isn’t everyone else.

        And you know what? I’m going to talk about the fact that I do charity work. Not because I want some kind of public approval, but because I think that the pagan community needs to be talking about community involvement. I think it’s a failing of the pagan community that we’re all so willing to talk about how we connect to the gods, without bothering to connect to each other and to the world around us. This idea that piety and devotion take the same form for everyone, or that someone who’s an activist is therefore less religious, is completely laughable. My prayers are as private as my sex life, and it’s not anyone’s business whether I’m giving “proper cultus.” I don’t need to discuss my relationships with my gods so that everyone can look at me and think I’m some kind of super special sacred snowflake. I don’t need to be. But suffice to say, I have my orders, and I give a lot more consideration to what my gods ask for than on what a total stranger thinks is proper.

  2. Lee says:

    Came for the drama, stayed for your blog! Joke’s on them!

    But seriously, if they want to flag everything they do as being in the name of peity and devotion, so be it. But to me, actions speak louder than words, and making a blog on the Internet that doubles as a centre for clickbaiting llamas and trolls, it speaks of a narrative which is not really aligned with devotional characteristics.

    Unless… that’s what their Gods are into?

    • Stephy says:

      Yeah, I’m not sure who the god of “sit and whine about being persecuted” is, but I’m pretty sure it’s not one I’ve met. And I know Brighid doesn’t have patience for me if I try that nonsense. She’s got work to do, and She’s got work for me.

  3. rgandillon says:

    I have never had any interest in reading what some bloggers have to say about the worship or beliefs of others. It’s one thing to share a link and an opinion that disagrees with someone else’s post for the sake of discussion, but so many of the blogs I USED to follow have become so judgmental while the writers have become more fundamental… Hell, this is part of the reason Christianity never appealed to me. There is no ultimate Truth, and if I wanted to listen to someone insist over and over again that there was and that no one else was doing it right, there are plenty of evangelical Christians that can do it louder.

    I’ve only recently started following your blog, but so far, I like what I’ve seen. You seem to be devoted in a different way, and that’s a good thing – so many folks are interested only in helping and serving in some mystical, spiritual way, and while that’s not bad, it’s nice to see someone working on a mundane level, where service is also needed.

    • Stephy says:

      I do think there’s room for both the mystical and the mundane. But I also think a large part of engaging in mystery is that it’s not always appropriate to make public, and I think that our community needs to find a better balance. In a society where everyone’s job is to be the priest, then who’s the cook?

  4. You have really had me thinking about charity work and how to serve my gods in practical ways, over the past few weeks. Thank you for that. I think you’re having more impact than you know. (Blowback from idiots is the inevitable result of making waves in the world.)

  5. Hey! I read that post in question and have been reading (and enjoying) yours. Also devoted to Brighid–her requests to me were to keep an open home and host people (including several homeless folks), and I’ve been working with the homeless as a low-level social worker for the last five years.

    I think it’s probably most interesting that there’s a much larger argument going on currently about helping others in several forums, mostly touched off I think by Teo Bishop’s statements that he left Paganism at least in part because it wasn’t making people do work for others, a bit of an unfortunate slap in the face for the person who most helped him become “known” amongst Pagans, T Thorn Coyle.

    In part, the claim is becoming (per that Wild Hunt article) that Christians somehow have a monopoly of helping others (as if, for every one christian helping people, there weren’t a thousand other christians who weren’t and another handful actively fighting against them!). Now we have people who actively marginalize people that believe in their gods suggesting something better than devotion is giving to charity (not you–the Humanistic Paganism site)–they were quite big fans of Teo, as well.

    People like yourself are certainly proof of this, but so, too, are folks like Gallina. I think the argument is coming from outside and from that accusation by Teo and causing us to fight internally. It’s unfortunate on all sides.

    • Stephy says:

      I don’t think devotion IS separate from charity. If my gods tell me to do something, I do it. Honestly, I have issues with the things Teo Bishop has said, but disagreeing with him doesn’t mean that I haven’t felt the lack of discussion of community involvement. I know that people like Thorn Coyle and Starhawk and Serena Fox and Peter Dybing are doing important work, but it’s just not being discussed enough at the individual level. It’s like we’re leaving the hands-on work to the BNPs and nobody else wants a part.

      And I didn’t have a word to say about that woman until she called me a nithling traitor for not being angry about the god graveyard. I don’t want to fight with anyone, but I have no respect for the lamppost-pissing contest and didn’t sign up to be the lamppost.

      • Aine says:

        “If my gods tell me to do something, I do it.”

        ^ This. And what I’ve noticed is that if the gods tell me to do something ‘concrete’ or ‘not obviously devotional’ and I ignore it, sometimes in favor of /actual devotional activities/ they get really mad, really fast. And I would rather have people think I’m ~impious~ than not do what the gods tell me. What the gods say matters to me way more than what the people claiming to speak for (all) the gods say.

      • There is a God graveyard? and wth blinks. As much as I want to stare at the drama llama I’m not.

        Doing stuff to make the world better is work and it’s imp work. I would love to see Pagans getting more involved in charity and interfaith charity vs what we see now.

        Oh and thank you for doing the charity work.

        smdh at the nithling traitor thing. Nope not gonna look.

  6. Sophie says:

    I was under the weather when I first read this, so I didn’t comment right away, but I’ve had this post on my mind since. It’s bothered me in multiple religious settings the way charity is so quickly dismissed. My father used to teach that it was a “distraction” from “real” work, and a form of “feel good religion.”

    Giving of my time, my energy, and my resources in the smallest way lets me feel the most connected to what’s Beyond. I feel like charity to others is a way of connecting them to that as well, of being the hands of the Powers we serve and the answer to prayers put to them by our fellow humans, whether consciously or unconsciously.

    It’s a beautiful devotion for me. Though doing it because that’s what the gods said to do is obviously a swifter, equally beautiful reason. 🙂


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