I am fortunate to serve on the Annual Conference on Current Pagan Studies’ (Pagan Conference) Board of Directors. A little over a week ago we had our Seventh Annual conference at the Claremont Graduate University in California. There were two outstanding keynote speakers: Patrick McCollum and Selena Fox. Both were great speakers; however, what makes both of them truly outstanding is how they manifest—through actions—their commitment to social justice for Pagans, other religious practitioners, and others throughout the world. The commitment to taking actions is one of the key elements with Pagan ethics where we serve our community, other people, deity, and nature.
Each year, presenters at the Pagan Conference seem to emphasize the need to take action for environmental and social justice causes. I am lucky that in my daily work, I develop and work on programs that involve public safety; I interact with other Pagans; and serve some Pagan organizations. Yet, hearing Patrick and Selena speak did make me question whether I am doing all that I can. One reason that I started my blog is that I wanted to become better at written communication and to engage others with my understanding of philosophy.
This past weekend, I attended a California State University, Fullerton philosophy alumni meeting. One of our recent graduates was presenting his application to some Ph.D. programs. What he wanted to convey in his writings was how philosophy could engage with political and social causes. He wanted his work to affect change in the world. I think that from a Pagan perspective, our beliefs matter in so much as they produce actions.
The question that I need to keep asking myself is whether my work is producing actions; that is, am I making a positive difference in the lives of people I hold dear, the causes that I feel strongly about, and my community.
Being responsible for our own actions, personal responsibility, also goes along with questioning if our actions have a positive impact on thw world around us. Too often I see people and the media promoting placing the blame on others, not being personally responsible for their actions (both positive and negative), and condoning this act, especially if others are harmed in some way. Personaly responsibility is a core belief of many of the pagans I know and I believe this belief is lacking in mainstream cultures. How our actions affect our world also affects us. Are we effecting the changes we want to see in the world or are we just maintaining status quo? I can only hope, as yu do, that my actions and the work I do improves the lives of my loved ones and the world areound me. Examples can be set by our own actions. By focusing on the bigger picture instead of having a narrow view of just ourselves, we can shift into more positive and fulfilling work and lives, but this is just my opinion.
This is one reasons that I enter into government service. My consulting gig paid well but I enjoy being a public servant. It may be that I read too much Greek and Roman philosophy for my own good with all the writing about serving the people.