Sunday Sharing - Wholeness
The journey on the road to spiritual wholeness often proves exceptionally difficult. Along the way, many of us become converts to various beliefs, sometimes becoming more or less open to deity, perhaps even more so in our youth. Then, as adults, do we find it challenging to become vulnerable again to deity? And, if we choose to say yes to vulnerability, will we necessarily have a better relationship, especially if we keep the Divine at a certain distance, still not wholly trusting? Are we missing out on relationships, mystery, faith, and a faithful life? It's something I've grappled with at times.
However, there is a place for faith in modern Paganisms. Merriam-Webster mentions two simple definitions for faith in its first listing: (1) allegiance to duty or a person: loyalty and (2) fidelity to one's promises. For Pagans, people often use faith in terms not of being loyal but instead meaning faith-filled. Of course, individual answers may vary, but I define it as an experience of divine realities, and by extension, it indicates that one "has experience" of deity. True enough, personal experiences of deity cannot be proven objectively. Still, there are enough connections between people's experiences that it is possible to speak of a "shared faith" within the Pagan community.
Recently, I met up for coffee with a few of my Pagan community members, and we had an interesting discussion around the idea of faithful and nonfaithful Pagans--what it means for our traditions and the community as a whole. "Even those in my tradition don't come to rituals" is a familiar lament. Many of us have met people enjoying the levity and freedom a Pagan path affords, yet don't want to commit to ritual or study because "I don't do groups." Then there is the fear factor contingent–those refusing participation in ritual fearing it may indeed work, and perhaps even ending up acknowledging that magic is real.
Following are some additional ideas we discussed:
Being faithful carries no requirement for us to agree. However, being faithful to honor the Divine in ways they may ask of you, to embody their virtues and values, is being faithful to them.
One may believe the Earth is Gaia or the incarnated body of the Goddess. Perhaps Earth has been created by the Divine or is a living and self-aware organism. Being faithful does not require us to hold any beliefs about the Earth, but it does call us to live responsibly upon the Earth and to care for all its inhabitants.
Being faithful calls us to honor our word and commitments.
Being faithful calls us to endeavor to show up and continue doing the work–daily, monthly, and even yearly. While we are not responsible for changing the world, we are accountable for doing what we can to help.
Being faithful does not mean we're free from doubts. It means we do not let doubts keep us from doing what we're called to do.