Being offended   5 comments

Today, I was going through a little deck of cards with useful quotes or comments on them from the book “10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace” by Wayne Dyer.  I must admit, I like the book.  Not all of it is easy for me to really live up to, and yes, sometimes I fail at the principles he lists.  However, I don’t doubt one bit that achieving those goals would certainly create quite a lot of peace.  The card I pulled out at randon today is based on his “Seventh Secret” which is “There Are No Justified Resentments.”  Oh really? I recall asking this the first time I read the book.  Because a lot of people have pissed me off and it really  is their fault. Not mine.   LOL  Truly though, his message is to stop looking for occasions to be offended.  I don’t think I do that as much as I used to.  You know…..when I had more passion and energy and less common sense.  He adds, “If you have enough faith in your beliefs, you’ll find that it’s impossible to be offended by the opinions and conduct of others.”  While I think this may be overshooting a little bit (it’s always POSSIBLE to be offended..) I do think he’s got something here. 

I think about how this applies to being a witch or pagan or anything that resembles any spiritual “out” group.  Anyone that is not in the mainstream.  How many people who would identify themselves as pagans are constantly whining and moaning about how oppressed they are by mainstream religion and expressing vitriolic anger toward (especially) “the Christians” (as if they are all one hive-mind) for thousands of years of horrible, torturous, gut wrenching subjugation?  Most of these that are whining have never been oppressed for their religion.  Not really. 

And that’s the problem with today’s neopagans.  (I just sounded like the old guy on his porch saying “that’s the problem with today’s kids” I know.  Sorry.  Just go with it.)  There are certain people in this country who can worry about their safety and their livelihood every day because of their religion.  With very few exceptions, they are not wiccans, witches, neopagans, shamans, conjurers, sorcerers or whatever they want to be called.

The reasons I hear from pagan people for why they are offended by this or that just really astound me.  My personal favorite (and very timely for the season) is “How dare they wish me a Merry Christmas?”  Now we’re going to be angry with a person for saying what they thought was something nice?  Fantastic.  What about person who is offended because someone simply disagrees with them?  If a person says they don’t agree with witchcraft, is that offensive?  If so, why is okay for a pagan to say that they don’t believe in Jesus?  Religious tolerance goes both ways.   Is that how delicate we are as non-mainsteam religious people, that we are going to freak right out if the entire world does not make sure to agree with our pagan/earth religious/whatever beliefs, understand us and speak and act with the perfect level of sensitivity for our unique needs as the special snowflakes that we are? 

Sometimes I wonder how many neopagans who say they have been harassed by police were actually being asked questions by police like “did you make a reservation to assemble at this park?” (you know….like everyone else has to do) and then some pagan crusader got on a speech about how the police were impeding their religious rights and this is oppression, etc, etc, until what they really got arrested for was general jack-assery.  In my group’s case, we evidently made our Samhain ritual fire in an area that is not approved for a fire, in a receptacle that is not up to fire code and we didn’t have a hose there for safety.  So the local fire department (called by residents of a nearby apartment) paid us a visit.  We didn’t know!  The fire fighters were actually extremely nice.  They couldn’t have given a crap about what we were doing out there, they just needed the fire put out.  They even apologized for interrupting what I am pretty sure looked somewhat confusing to them, and told us how to do it next time if we wanted to be up to code so they wouldn’t have to bother us again.  I mean, these guys just really wanted to get on with their night and go back and have some coffee or something. 

If we had gotten on a rant and rave about refusing to put the fire out, I suppose we would have had a nice police cruiser out to visit us for Samhain.  Furthermore, if we had decided to start marching around and preaching about how we’re being oppressed (when really, we were breaking a city ordinance that all people of all stripes are required to follow), one or more of us could have sat a night in jail for functionally poor judgment and looney behavior.  It is possible on a long shot that someone with binoculars and a terrible fear of all things pagan scouted us out for a while and called the fire department just to ruin our wild and witchy sinful activity.  But more likely, someone was either actually concerned about a fire they saw in the woods not that far from their domicile (understandable) or they are just the sort of hall monitor personality that has memorized all city ordinances and believes that they should always be followed.  In any case, I don’t believe it was personal, and it was not a religious issue.  What we got out of the evening was actually very bonding and resulted in memories that we can laugh about together forever.

That makes me think that Wayne Dyer’s “stop looking for occasions to be offended” is pretty good advice, even for special snowflakes like us.


Posted November 23, 2011 by Jessica in Uncategorized

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5 responses to “Being offended

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  1. Great points. It does go both ways. I know a lot of Christians who feel marginalized for their faith. I’m always making fun of myself for being a New Ager. I understand that some of that stuff seems goofy to the mainstream so I laugh right along with them. And to the hyper-rational all religion looks goofy. It is just a matter of perspective. So much more I could say but I’m being run off the computer. Have a great night!

    • There’s nothing wrong with being new-agey. I have a healthy dose of that running through me and I intermingle with people who identify that way more than anything else. New agey people can be colorful and yes, sometimes people manage to pick on them and tease them but I have never seen defensive hostile behavior out of people who identify as more new age from being teased. That says a lot about them and their character!

      • ps: In all fairness, a lot of Christians truly ARE marginalized for their faith. It’s wrong no matter who it happens to or why, or the history of who is doing the oppressing. It does not matter; when people are hurt for their faith, it is unacceptable. Thank you for commenting! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  2. I totally agree that people should never be harmed because of religious choice. I know it happens, especially in other countries, but where I live I don’t see a lot of Christians marginalized for their faith, as they are the majority here. Some of them feel like the culture is hostile to their faith and I don’t knock them that. I had been given a lot of grief over the years by SOME Christians for the way I practiced Christianity (more of a Joseph Campbell style interpretation than 100% literal) so that’s one reason why I self-identify as Christo- and not Christian. No big deal though. There is a difference between that and true oppression. They ended up helping me clarify my understanding of things.

  3. I believe you’ve hit a nail squarely on its head, here. I’ve noticed this elsewhere…when pulled over for speeding. Some people get beliigerant or ignorant or rude…others are polite and yet others cry. The obnoxious people get the ticket…and sometimes even bonus tickets. Like getting pulled over for speeding…and they’ll throw in an extra improper lane usage, improper turn signal usage, and whatever else they can scrounge up. Some of us…when polite or even a bit weepy or scared…will get off with a warning often, or at the least fewer tickets. Attitude has so much to do with how the world treats you!

    I know when I had my store in the middle of the Christian Armpit (it’s too far north to be in the Bible Belt), if someone said “Merry Christmas” I just rolled with it. Why? Because they meant well, and that’s what they celebrated. If they said “Merry Christimas,” I knew that was the correct response back. If someone said “Happy Yule,” or “Happy Holidays,” I went with that instead. The customers had no way of knowing what my religion was, and went with what they knew. Ignorant, maybe, but not offensive.

    On the other hand, when someone came in and insisted that I join some sort of movement to protect Christmas…I declined quite politely and told him I wasn’t a Christian. Not surprisingly, he was offended, but there wasn’t a bloody thing I could do about that.

    Funny how life is often a mirror, eh?

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