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Pagan

Welcoming Marginalized Traditions

Welcoming Marginalized Traditions

by Hans Gustafson

Marginalized traditions, including contemporary Paganisms and Earth-based traditions, are beginning to be welcomed to the table of interreligious engagement in pockets around the U.S. However, the rest of us can still be more welcoming.

Enlarging the Interfaith Tent

Enlarging the Interfaith Tent

by Hans Gustafson

Despite an ever-widening door to the growing tent of interreligious engagement, there remains work to do. Interreligious studies in the academy, as well as the interfaith movement in the wider community, have blossomed in the West over the last few decades.

Taste-buds and Interfaith Bridge-building

The holiday season is upon us, which means we are all twice as busy as we were before. The family schedule becomes more complicated, mail-order boxes arrive almost daily on our doorstep, and every time I walk through the living room I find myself picking up a strand of tinsel that somehow jettisoned itself off our tree. And then the holiday meals to plan… Menu items scurry around in the back of my mind like sand crabs on the beach as I drive my kids around and run errands. Who’s bringing the green bean casserole on Thanksgiving? Full-fat or low fat-egg nog? Christmas ham or Christmas turkey?

The Christmas Narrative Revisited

On December 25, Christians around the world will gather to celebrate Jesus’ birth with joyful carols, special liturgies, festive meals and gifts…Yet, what are the origins of Christmas and how did December 25 come to be associated with Jesus’ birthday? Contrary to popular belief, celebrations of Jesus’ nativity are not mentioned in the Gospels or Acts, and no hint is offered about a specific date or time of the year related to his birth. In fact, a careful analysis of scripture indicates that December 25 is an unlikely date for Jesus’ birth. Instead of being derived from any event in the Christian narrative, Christmas likely has pagan roots that trace back to the third-century Roman festival of the rebirth of the “Invincible Sun,” celebrated around the Winter Solstice when the increased darkening ends and the lengthening of the daylight hours begins.

Global Gathering of Indigenous and Pagan Elders

“Nourishing the Balance of the Universe” was held March 3rd through 7th in north-central India’s city of Haridwar, which means “Gateway to God” in Hindustani. Sponsored by the International Center for Cultural Studies and others, the gathering was by, for, and about Pagan and Indigenous peoples and their issues. For me it was unique – attending a conference where most participants were indigenous peoples from around the world, including a large number of European Pagans, but no Christians, Muslims, or Jews.