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Re: Neopagans

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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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