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Neopagans

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  • Edith Louise Crowe
    This is a can of worms I may be sorry I opened, but the Mythopoeic Society is a literary organization, not a religious one. I would hate to think a portrayal
    Message 1 of 15 , Sep 16, 1999
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      This is a can of worms I may be sorry I opened, but the Mythopoeic Society
      is a literary organization, not a religious one. I would hate to think a
      portrayal of a real neopagan disqualified a fantasy novel from
      readability. I'm not a Christian, nor a neopagan either, but I've cetainly
      enjoyed fantasy novels from both those perspectives.

      Edith Crowe
    • Steve Schaper
      ... I think you missed the context of the discussion. The question seemed to be is this book one that Christian parents would be comfortable with their
      Message 2 of 15 , Sep 16, 1999
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        At 5:42 PM -0700 9/16/99, Edith Louise Crowe wrote:
        >From: Edith Louise Crowe <ecrowe@...>
        >
        >This is a can of worms I may be sorry I opened, but the Mythopoeic Society
        >is a literary organization, not a religious one. I would hate to think a
        >portrayal of a real neopagan disqualified a fantasy novel from
        >readability. I'm not a Christian, nor a neopagan either, but I've cetainly
        >enjoyed fantasy novels from both those perspectives.
        >
        >Edith Crowe

        I think you missed the context of the discussion. The question seemed
        to be 'is this book one that Christian
        parents would be comfortable with their children reading or not?' I
        had heard of the books as being under a cloud, as it were, and yet,
        having also heard of the Chronicles of Narnia (!) similarly
        mis-portrayed, I thought it acceptable to ask someone who actually
        read them the sort of question that would help me understand the
        nature of the criticism.

        That is a far cry from implying that a work of literature lacked
        value because it portrayed actual neo-pagan practice, even in the
        role of protagonists.


        The Mythopoeic Society -is- focused on the Inklings, who were (by and
        large) a group of Christians who enjoyed writing and literature, and
        whose works are known for their Christianity.
        ======================================
        It's 1999, where's Moonbase Alpha?
        ======================================
      • Daffyd ap Morgen
        ... [snip] ... [snip] Can we answer this question for the Christian community as a whole? I have seen predominantly negative literature ( Hidden Dangers of the
        Message 3 of 15 , Sep 17, 1999
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          At 08:28 PM 9/16/1999 -0500, you wrote:
          >From: Steve Schaper <sschaper@...>
          >
          >At 5:42 PM -0700 9/16/99, Edith Louise Crowe wrote:
          >>From: Edith Louise Crowe <ecrowe@...>
          >>
          >>This is a can of worms I may be sorry I opened, but the Mythopoeic Society
          >>is a literary organization, not a religious one. I would hate to think a

          [snip]

          >I think you missed the context of the discussion. The question seemed
          >to be 'is this book one that Christian
          >parents would be comfortable with their children reading or not?' I

          [snip]

          Can we answer this question for the Christian community as a whole? I have
          seen predominantly negative literature ("Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow" as
          one example) critiquing the works of Inklings et al for BEING fantasy, on
          content, rather than on substance or even form. However, in conversations
          with individual Christians, the most frequent response is they liked the
          books but did not put much stock in them in terms of values or as a
          meaningful influence. Are we actually dealing with prejudices?
          If so, then I can see no resolution on this.

          I remember this topic and it's variants being discussed several times while
          I was with the Sacramento chapter in the 70's, and we never could come to a
          consensus on the matter. It was not divisive, but it certainly kept things
          lively.

          >The Mythopoeic Society -is- focused on the Inklings, who were (by and
          >large) a group of Christians who enjoyed writing and literature, and
          >whose works are known for their Christianity.

          I was startled to discover Charles Williams, author of the highly mystical
          (and magical) Arthurian poem cycles considered himself a Christian
          mystic--up to that time I had been half-way convinced he was a pagan, based
          on his writings. C. S. Lewis practiced "High" Magick for a time and then,
          disillusioned with it, embraced Christian mysticism as well.

          One example here is how Gandalf's stricture to the Last Council in Gondor
          reads very similar to the duties of a Christian in times of travail, such
          as described in Thessalonians.

          Another example is Aragorn's ability to heal more a measure of grace
          granted unto him by his lineage and his office than of a natural ability.
          This is in part of how the royalty of Middle-Earth also carry out sacred
          functions along with secular.

          Daffyd ap Morgen
        • d.bratman@xxxxx.xxx
          ... When was this? David Bratman - not responsible for the following advertisement -
          Message 4 of 15 , Sep 17, 1999
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            Daffyd ap Morgen wrote:

            > C. S. Lewis practiced "High" Magick for a time

            When was this?

            David Bratman
            - not responsible for the following advertisement -
          • WendellWag@xxx.xxx
            In a message dated 9/17/99 8:26:05 PM E. Australia Standard Time, ... I was about to make the same comment. After giving up the Christian faith of his
            Message 5 of 15 , Sep 17, 1999
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              In a message dated 9/17/99 8:26:05 PM E. Australia Standard Time,
              d.bratman@... writes:

              > Daffyd ap Morgen wrote:

              > > C. S. Lewis practiced "High" Magick for a time

              > When was this?

              I was about to make the same comment. After giving up the Christian faith of
              his childhood, Lewis tried to remain a rationalistic sceptic, but in his
              literary interests, he found himself drawn to mythology. He wasn't able to
              reconcile his literary side and his philosophical side until he became a
              Christian again at about age 30. He certainly never practiced magic.

              But speaking of modern magic, I'm writing this post from an Internet Cafe in
              Alice Springs in the Australian Outback.

              Wendell Wagner
            • Steve Schaper
              ... Daffyd, I am. I m not asking everyone else to be. But it is something that I get involved in. It is something I care about, and feel motivated to deal
              Message 6 of 15 , Sep 17, 1999
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                At 12:19 AM -0700 9/17/99, Daffyd ap Morgen wrote:
                >From: Daffyd ap Morgen <daffyd@...>
                >
                >
                >[snip]
                >
                >>I think you missed the context of the discussion. The question seemed
                >>to be 'is this book one that Christian
                >>parents would be comfortable with their children reading or not?' I
                >
                >[snip]
                >
                >Can we answer this question for the Christian community as a whole? I have
                >seen predominantly negative literature ("Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow" as
                >one example) critiquing the works of Inklings et al for BEING fantasy, on
                >content, rather than on substance or even form. However, in conversations
                >with individual Christians, the most frequent response is they liked the
                >books but did not put much stock in them in terms of values or as a
                >meaningful influence. Are we actually dealing with prejudices?
                >If so, then I can see no resolution on this.

                Daffyd,
                I am. I'm not asking everyone else to be. But it is something that I
                get involved in. It is something I care about, and feel motivated to
                deal with.

                >
                >I remember this topic and it's variants being discussed several times while
                >I was with the Sacramento chapter in the 70's, and we never could come to a
                >consensus on the matter. It was not divisive, but it certainly kept things
                >lively.

                My world-view has a creation-fall-redemption-restoration structure to
                it, and finds Tolkien's full poem _Mythopoeia_ to be very good,
                theologically. It was also interesting hearing one of my professors
                refer to the very Catholic Tolkien's poem as being very good Reformed
                theology. :-) From my perspective, within my circles, the rejection
                of creativity and creation is very common, but heretical. From
                Plotinus, not Paul.


                > >The Mythopoeic Society -is- focused on the Inklings, who were (by and
                >>large) a group of Christians who enjoyed writing and literature, and
                >>whose works are known for their Christianity.
                >
                >I was startled to discover Charles Williams, author of the highly mystical
                >(and magical) Arthurian poem cycles considered himself a Christian
                >mystic--up to that time I had been half-way convinced he was a pagan, based
                >on his writings. C. S. Lewis practiced "High" Magick for a time and then,
                >disillusioned with it, embraced Christian mysticism as well.

                I've read several of the novels, but I haven't found the poem cycles.


                >One example here is how Gandalf's stricture to the Last Council in Gondor
                >reads very similar to the duties of a Christian in times of travail, such
                >as described in Thessalonians.


                Most certainly! Very good stuff. I know of a missionary in Albania
                who became a Christian from reading LoTR.


                >Another example is Aragorn's ability to heal more a measure of grace
                >granted unto him by his lineage and his office than of a natural ability.
                >This is in part of how the royalty of Middle-Earth also carry out sacred
                >functions along with secular.

                Yep.


                >Daffyd ap Morgen
                >
                ======================================
                It's 1999, where's Moonbase Alpha?
                ======================================
              • Steve Schaper
                ... Yet somehow our technology lacks the elegance of the Elven. Somehow I doubt the Palantiri had Intel Inside on them and beige cases. :-) --Steve
                Message 7 of 15 , Sep 17, 1999
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                  At 7:31 AM -0400 9/17/99, WendellWag@... wrote:
                  >From: WendellWag@...
                  >
                  >
                  >But speaking of modern magic, I'm writing this post from an Internet Cafe in
                  >Alice Springs in the Australian Outback.
                  >
                  >Wendell Wagner


                  Yet somehow our technology lacks the elegance of the Elven. Somehow I
                  doubt the Palantiri had 'Intel Inside' on them and beige cases. :-)

                  --Steve
                  ======================================
                  It's 1999, where's Moonbase Alpha?
                  ======================================
                • Stolzi@xxx.xxx
                  In a message dated 9/16/99 8:19:33 PM Central Daylight Time, ... I don t think anyone said that, just that such portrayals would make such novels less readable
                  Message 8 of 15 , Sep 17, 1999
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                    In a message dated 9/16/99 8:19:33 PM Central Daylight Time,
                    ecrowe@... writes:

                    > I would hate to think a
                    > portrayal of a real neopagan disqualified a fantasy novel from
                    > readability.

                    I don't think anyone said that, just that such portrayals would make such
                    novels less readable for -some-. Someone who felt that, I believe, asked for
                    advance information =re= HARRY.

                    Define your "neopagan." :) Books like MISTS OF AVALON are =supposedly=
                    about real, or archeo, pagans, but some of us think they are probably far
                    from authentic! :)

                    Mary S
                  • Diane Baker
                      ...  I quite agree.  I greatly enjoyed MZB s portrayal of Morgaine, who can certainly be said to represent modern neopagan sensibilities concerning the
                    Message 9 of 15 , Sep 17, 1999
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                      Edith Louise Crowe wrote:

                      > From: Edith Louise Crowe <ecrowe@...>
                      >
                      > This is a can of worms I may be sorry I opened, but the Mythopoeic Society
                      > is a literary organization, not a religious one. I would hate to think a
                      > portrayal of a real neopagan disqualified a fantasy novel from
                      > readability. I'm not a Christian, nor a neopagan either, but I've cetainly
                      > enjoyed fantasy novels from both those perspectives.
                      >
                      > Edith Crowe

                      �I quite agree.� I greatly enjoyed MZB's portrayal of Morgaine, who can
                      certainly be said to represent modern "neopagan" sensibilities concerning the
                      Arthurian mythos, however much
                      I question its historicity (though Arthur's historicity is also
                      questionable).� I have enjoyed Paxson's� Westria novels.� Ms. Paxson and I
                      roomed together at Wheaton, and we had
                      some brief, and interesting discussions on neo-paganism.� I would call her an
                      "observant neo-pagan" in the way that we call Christians or Jews "observant."�
                      I was particularly struck by her observation that CSL "led" her to
                      neo-paganism.

                      Should a Christian parent let their kids read books which contain occultic
                      beliefs and practices?� I could not answer with a simple yes or no.� Too many
                      factors enter in.� It
                      would depend upon the book's focus and purpose,� the parents, their level of
                      commitment
                      to a particular faith, the child, their age, emotional maturity, and why they
                      are attracted to
                      these books.� Outright forbidding only creates more curiosity.� I would say
                      the same concerning books which contain sexual scenes, violence, or other
                      questionable material.
                      I am sure I'd have to say to a child, "let me read this book first, then we'll
                      see." In the case of *Harry Potter,*� I'd say, "Oh, you're going to love this
                      one!" ---djb.
                    • Daffyd ap Morgen
                      ... [snip] ... The inquiry itself, the examination of this question is a fine thing. My opinion is the question can be resolved for individuals, not groups,
                      Message 10 of 15 , Sep 17, 1999
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                        At 07:28 AM 9/17/1999 -0500, you wrote:
                        >From: Steve Schaper <sschaper@...>
                        >
                        >At 12:19 AM -0700 9/17/99, Daffyd ap Morgen wrote:
                        >>From: Daffyd ap Morgen <daffyd@...>
                        >>
                        >>Can we answer this question for the Christian community as a whole? I have

                        [snip]

                        >Daffyd,
                        > I am. I'm not asking everyone else to be. But it is something that I
                        >get involved in. It is something I care about, and feel motivated to
                        >deal with.

                        The inquiry itself, the examination of this question is a fine thing. My
                        opinion is the question can be resolved for individuals, not groups, such
                        as "Christian Parents."

                        >>I remember this topic and it's variants being discussed several times while
                        >>I was with the Sacramento chapter in the 70's, and we never could come to a
                        >>consensus on the matter. It was not divisive, but it certainly kept things
                        >>lively.
                        >
                        >My world-view has a creation-fall-redemption-restoration structure to
                        >it, and finds Tolkien's full poem _Mythopoeia_ to be very good,
                        >theologically.

                        Please do not overlook the Edenic Numenor, the Satanas Sauron tempting the
                        Adamic king ArPharazon to trespass upon the boundaries of the heavenly Aman
                        the Blessed, thus bringing about 1). the Fall of Man; 2). the Deluge; and
                        3). the Sundering of Heaven and Earth. All of these are elements of
                        powerful mythology and are Christian themes as well.

                        What I find interesting is Tolkien's Aragorn is not the messiah come to
                        take upon himself the sins of Middle Earth--although he did "wander in the
                        deserts"--but is rather a priest-king come to restore an ancient harmony,
                        much like the Old Testament David.

                        >It was also interesting hearing one of my professors
                        >refer to the very Catholic Tolkien's poem as being very good Reformed
                        >theology. :-) From my perspective, within my circles, the rejection
                        >of creativity and creation is very common, but heretical. From
                        >Plotinus, not Paul.

                        Hmmm, are you suggesting something of the worth of Tolkien's LotR can be
                        seen in his adherence to a Christian genesis? The beginning, therefore sets
                        the tone? How would this compare then, with, say, Eddings' Belgariad series?

                        >> >The Mythopoeic Society -is- focused on the Inklings, who were (by and
                        >>>large) a group of Christians who enjoyed writing and literature, and
                        >>>whose works are known for their Christianity.
                        >>
                        >>I was startled to discover Charles Williams, author of the highly mystical
                        >>(and magical) Arthurian poem cycles considered himself a Christian
                        >>mystic--up to that time I had been half-way convinced he was a pagan, based
                        >>on his writings. C. S. Lewis practiced "High" Magick for a time and then,
                        >>disillusioned with it, embraced Christian mysticism as well.
                        >
                        >I've read several of the novels, but I haven't found the poem cycles.

                        "Taliessin Through Logres" and "The Region of Summer Stars." He was also
                        working on a critical study of the Arthurian Mythos titled "The Arthurian
                        Torso," but died before completing it. He would read excerpts of this essay
                        to C. S. Lewis and Tolkien while composing it and they would then discuss
                        what he had done so far.

                        A quick check of amazon.com shows they are, indeed, out of print. What a
                        pity...

                        Daffyd ap Morgen
                      • Edith Louise Crowe
                        ... I don t think that I missed the context. I wondered what it was about neopaganism in particular that would make it problematic for a Christian reader, or
                        Message 11 of 15 , Sep 19, 1999
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                          On Thu, 16 Sep 1999, Steve Schaper wrote:

                          > From: Steve Schaper <sschaper@...>
                          >
                          > I think you missed the context of the discussion. The question seemed
                          > to be 'is this book one that Christian
                          > parents would be comfortable with their children reading or not?'

                          I don't think that I missed the context. I wondered what it was about
                          neopaganism in particular that would make it problematic for a Christian
                          reader, or for his/her children.

                          > The Mythopoeic Society -is- focused on the Inklings, who were (by and
                          > large) a group of Christians who enjoyed writing and literature, and
                          > whose works are known for their Christianity.

                          No argument there. But it's still a literary organization, not a religious
                          one, and not limited to The Big Three. Members are of all sorts of
                          religious belief, or none. One of the things that I've always liked about
                          the Society is the fact that its members represent a wide variety of
                          beliefs--religious, political, you name it--and are able to discuss
                          fantasy in this context without rancor. Would that the wider world could
                          do so well.

                          So, I'm glad I opened that particular can of worms after all, because it's
                          led to stimulating discussion!

                          Edith
                        • Steve Schaper
                          ... Sometimes people will ask me about a book, and if it is good or not, and what it s spirituality is -- as they conceive the usage of the terms. I know
                          Message 12 of 15 , Sep 19, 1999
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                            At 11:49 AM -0700 9/19/99, Edith Louise Crowe wrote:
                            >From: Edith Louise Crowe <ecrowe@...>
                            >
                            >On Thu, 16 Sep 1999, Steve Schaper wrote:
                            >
                            >> From: Steve Schaper <sschaper@...>
                            >>
                            >> I think you missed the context of the discussion. The question seemed
                            >> to be 'is this book one that Christian
                            >> parents would be comfortable with their children reading or not?'
                            >
                            >I don't think that I missed the context. I wondered what it was about
                            >neopaganism in particular that would make it problematic for a Christian
                            >reader, or for his/her children.

                            Sometimes people will ask me about a book, and if it is 'good' or
                            not, and what it's spirituality is -- as they
                            conceive the usage of the terms. I know that these people would be
                            deeply distressed if their kids were
                            reading actual neo-pagan (or even actual pagan, not that they'd know
                            the distinction) liturgy, or if the protagonist was one. If I were
                            to say that such a book were 'good' - remember, using their
                            framework, I would lose all credibility. But If I don't, then maybe
                            when I say that yes, Lewis, and Tolkien, etc, etc, are just fine,
                            maybe they'll listen? At least, I hope so. I think that if children
                            are brought up right, they can handle reading other perspectives
                            without any problems, and -should- read other perspectives, but that
                            is just my own personal view. (I have this silly notion that raising
                            children involves more than just plopping them down in front of the
                            TV set. :-)


                            > > The Mythopoeic Society -is- focused on the Inklings, who were (by and
                            >> large) a group of Christians who enjoyed writing and literature, and
                            >> whose works are known for their Christianity.
                            >
                            >No argument there. But it's still a literary organization, not a religious
                            >one, and not limited to The Big Three. Members are of all sorts of
                            >religious belief, or none. One of the things that I've always liked about
                            >the Society is the fact that its members represent a wide variety of
                            >beliefs--religious, political, you name it--and are able to discuss
                            >fantasy in this context without rancor. Would that the wider world could
                            >do so well.

                            I don't really disagree with that. For some reason I was anticipating
                            someone saying that they had a right not
                            to run into anything Christian in an organization dedicated to the
                            Big Three as you put them, and I wouldn't consider that to be a
                            reasonable expectation.


                            >So, I'm glad I opened that particular can of worms after all, because it's
                            >led to stimulating discussion!

                            As long as we are all ok with each other, and the discussion at this
                            point. Sometimes (frequently) I write very briefly, or late at night,
                            and this can lead to misunderstandings :-(

                            --Steve


                            >Edith
                            >
                            >
                            >>The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org

                            ======================================
                            It's 1999, where's Moonbase Alpha?
                            ======================================
                          • WendellWag@xxx.xxx
                            In a message dated 9/20/99 2:38:23 PM E. Australia Standard Time, ... I find for myself that reading things written from other perspectives is inevitable,
                            Message 13 of 15 , Sep 20, 1999
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                              In a message dated 9/20/99 2:38:23 PM E. Australia Standard Time,
                              sschaper@... writes:

                              > I think that if children are brought up right, they can handle reading
                              > other perspectives without any problems, and -should- read other
                              > perspectives, but that is just my own personal view.

                              I find for myself that reading things written from other perspectives is
                              inevitable, since I disagree with everybody else about something. I think
                              that anybody who thinks that they can read only things with worldviews
                              agreeing with theirs is either fooling themselves (they're misreading the
                              things they read as if they were from the same perspective as theirs, which
                              is bad) or else they've rigidly tied themselves to someone else's
                              philosophical system and refuse to read anything that disagees with that
                              system (which is worse).

                              Continuing the story of my trip, I'm now at an Internet Cafe in Cairns in
                              Australia.

                              Wendell Wagner
                            • Steve Schaper
                              ... I don t disagree, FWIW. ... Continue having a good trip, and watch out for the bunyips. ... ====================================== It s 1999, where s
                              Message 14 of 15 , Sep 20, 1999
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                                At 4:58 AM -0400 9/20/99, WendellWag@... wrote:
                                >From: WendellWag@...
                                >
                                >> I think that if children are brought up right, they can handle reading
                                >> other perspectives without any problems, and -should- read other
                                >> perspectives, but that is just my own personal view.
                                >
                                >I find for myself that reading things written from other perspectives is
                                >inevitable, since I disagree with everybody else about something. I think
                                >that anybody who thinks that they can read only things with worldviews
                                >agreeing with theirs is either fooling themselves (they're misreading the
                                >things they read as if they were from the same perspective as theirs, which
                                >is bad) or else they refuse to read anything that disagees with that
                                >system (which is worse).

                                I don't disagree, FWIW.


                                >Continuing the story of my trip, I'm now at an Internet Cafe in Cairns in
                                >Australia.

                                Continue having a good trip, and watch out for the bunyips.


                                >Wendell Wagner
                                >
                                ======================================
                                It's 1999, where's Moonbase Alpha?
                                ======================================
                              • Robert and Jane Bigelow
                                ... Wendell, Thank you for expressing my views with a sucintness (and, I hope, a lack of offense) better than I could have managed. Jane
                                Message 15 of 15 , Sep 20, 1999
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                                  At 04:58 AM 9/20/99 EDT, you wrote:
                                  >From: WendellWag@...
                                  >
                                  >I find for myself that reading things written from other perspectives is
                                  >inevitable, since I disagree with everybody else about something. I think
                                  >that anybody who thinks that they can read only things with worldviews
                                  >agreeing with theirs is either fooling themselves (they're misreading the
                                  >things they read as if they were from the same perspective as theirs, which
                                  >is bad) or else they've rigidly tied themselves to someone else's
                                  >philosophical system and refuse to read anything that disagees with that
                                  >system (which is worse).
                                  >
                                  >Continuing the story of my trip, I'm now at an Internet Cafe in Cairns in
                                  >Australia.
                                  >
                                  >Wendell Wagner
                                  >
                                  >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org

                                  Wendell,

                                  Thank you for expressing my views with a sucintness (and, I hope, a lack of
                                  offense) better than I could have managed.

                                  Jane
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