In that post, Beckett says:
I want everyone to know Paganism exists, and I want them to know what it is and what it isn’t. I want those who feel the call to this path to be able to find it in minutes, not years. I want those who have started on this path to learn the difference between crap and not-crap.
I want those who are well down this path to know that deeper experiences are possible. I want those who have had those deeper experiences to know they’re not alone and they’re not delusional.
Beyond that, we’re debating the future of Pagan religion here and now. Our version of the Council of Nicaea is taking place every day on blogs, websites, and social media. I want to be a part of those discussions. I want my ideas heard, critiqued, and refined. That won’t happen if I don’t present them.
I think these are legitimate desires. And I think I have an obligation to make them a reality.
I think this is a brilliant mission statement, and I’m swiping it.
Quibbles about the differences between the historical Council of Nicaea and the discussions going on in modern Paganism today aside, he’s basically right. Modern Paganism has grown rapidly in the last 64 years. We’re big enough that we can no longer ignore our points of disagreement in favor of presenting a united front to those outside our community. This seems to be what’s driving the Pagan/Polytheist debate, as well.
I don’t expect this generation’s debates over what Paganism and/or Polytheism is or isn’t to end with a unified Pagan Church. Actually, I don’t expect the debates to end, and I rather hope that they go on for so long as people in this communtiy keep thinking new thoughts. Still, we are re-defining ourselves. We’re making serious, if small, forrays into theology. We may be facing a bit of a generation gap as well.
My hope is that the community will grow away from the idea of Paganism as having a common practice, into a shared space defined by mutual support and respect, that contains a hundred different ways of approaching the gods. I hope we find a way to be united by our common humanity and common pursuit of the spirit, without being alienated by our different methods and practices.
Modern Paganism is maturing, and I want to be a part of the process.