The Heretic Writes: Samhain, Writing, Change, and Some Email

I’ve been thinking about doing written posts to go with This Week In Heresy and The Heretic Speaks for awhile now, and it’s just tonight that I was able to sit down to the computer and actually write. It’ll probably be easier for me to write stuff in the next few weeks since we’ll be moving to our new house. I’ll also be tagging along with my wife on a business trip to watch her go play with robots in the desert. Don’t worry! You’ll still have episodes of This Week In Heresy during this busy time. I’m really grateful to those who I’ll be interviewing this week because it will help me a good deal during the move and trip. I’ll be writing instead of doing The Heretic Speaks during this time because of scheduling, but I’ll start doing THS episodes again in November.

October is always a very strange month for me. The Samhain season is usually a time of reflection for me. It is the Witches’ New Year after all. I also have a lot of past incidents tied to this time of year, which, I think, still poke at me a little even though time has smoothed over the bulk of the sadness and pain. There has also been a good deal of loss this year in my church, making this Samhain season pretty intense.

It’s times like this that I used to be able to write a lot, but in the last few years, that type of journaling and blogging has been few and far between (at least, it seems that way to me). Lately, though, I feel like I’ve been getting more of the writing “itch” and have actually wanted to write both creative things and more essays.

I have two books that I’m working on at the moment. One is an expansion of my Wiccan Christian liturgy that I wrote last Summer. I’ve figured out how I want to organize it, but actually writing the theology has been like pulling teeth, especially since graduating in May. I think my brain is on strike when it comes to theological writing. I haven’t even really wanted to read any theology books, either. I don’t blame my brain on that. With all the deep, dense reading I did in seminary, I think the brain just doesn’t want to work that hard for awhile. I decided to put that project to the side for the time being until I feel like I can go back and do the book justice.

The second book I’m writing is a hard sci-fi novel set in the near future. I’m actually going to write this during NaNoWriMo in November. I’m kind of nervous about doing this, since I know it was hard for me to really get my liturgy out of my brain last summer. Although, now I know that I can write beyond a couple thousand words. I’ve been really working on this idea: writing timelines and histories for the world, asking Sarah about space and computer concepts that are necessary for the story, researching concepts, making lists of characters, and all of those things that help me figure out the world I’m creating. I’ve been batting around this idea for about a year now, which makes me believe, even just a little bit, that I can write it.

The wrench in the works at the moment, though, is our move. Thankfully, we were able to find a place that isn’t too far away from our current house. It’s much smaller, though, which means a lot of purging of stuff that we don’t need. I’m glad we’re downsizing, that I’m downsizing, but it’s change, and change is always hard. If you’re in the area and are following me via Twitter, Facebook, etc, you’ll see posts about when you can come and pick over the stuff we’re giving away! (Books! Kitchen gear! Shelves! Desks!)

The last few months have also been huge lessons in letting go and letting people help me when things are super busy for me. I’ve been receiving major lessons in faith: faith in prayer, faith that we’ll find a new house, faith in those who work with me in my ministry, faith that my work will gain traction, faith that what I have to say is important to people, and faith that everything will work out ok. It’s difficult to hold on to that faith in the middle of lots of change, and I know I forget that I can ask for help and for prayer. When I remember and do ask for the help, it’s always a surprise to me when people actually do. I know that surprise comes from a lot of things in the past, none the least of which is ACoA stuff, but I’m working on being better at the asking.

It’s also a big lesson as a leader. I’m a founder, now, of two traditions, and that’s a hard place to be. Being the one with the vision can be really difficult because sometimes it’s only you who can see where the ship is going. It’s been really awesome of the last few years that I’ve been able to find others to share this vision , but it’s still me seeing the future and getting the messages from the various Gods and Spirits. That kind of vision can be amazing, scary, and frustrating because there’s a big part of me that wants it to exist RIGHT NOW. But I have to have patience and hope. The trick is not to let the time in between now and when the vision manifests get me down.

What really helps is when I get emails from people who I either don’t know or who are not part of my inner circle of friends. I got once such email praising This Week In Heresy a couple of days ago, and it was a real lift to my spirit. There’s also been some pastoral work I’ve done recently that falls into this category, and it’s always amazing and humbling to know that I’ve touched someone in a way that has helped them, or, even changed their lives. Seeing spirit work in that way is quite amazing.

On the flip side, I’ve been lucky so far that I’ve only received one piece of negative email. Although, I’m kind of disappointed that the email in question was just a one liner saying that I was going to Hell for my heresy. I don’t take it seriously, but the person could have at least included a bible verse or two. Not that I’m really looking to get hate mail, but I’d rather it be a bit more creative in execution! Telling me that I’m going to Hell is so 90’s!

But overall, things are good. My work, my ministry, is moving forward, and that’s all to the good!

A few announcements:

  • Between the Worlds Samhain Service has been moved to October 25th. Also, if you have any names of the Beloved Dead that you would like to be read at this service, please email me and put “Samhain” or “Beloved Dead” in the subject line.
  • Because of the move and traveling, my Skype office hours will be disrupted. I am still generally available Tuesday through Friday from around 11 am to 4 pm, but if my Skype is not on, that means I am not available. The best way to reach me until after November 1st is to email me.
  • I will be preaching about the connections between Christianity and Wicca on November 16, 2014 at Tapestry Ministries in the chapel at Pacific School of Religion at 5 pm. All are welcome!
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