Hello again. I know it’s been awhile, but settling in here in Chicago has taken some time. I’ve also been doing a lot of discernment and thinking about where my ministry is going, which is, as those of us who are clergy know, an ongoing process. Lately I’ve been working on an initiation series based on the magickal Kabblah, and recently wrote the first of the initiations, which is based in Malkuth. And apparently, I’m also there until I start writing the next one. (This is where all the witches say “duh!”) What’s been interesting about this, though, is that
When I write about not being abusive to allies, I get told that I’m oppressing the marginalized and that allies should just sit down and shut up. And I wonder: when did verbal abuse in social justice become ok? When I write about not shaming those who can’t march, or call, or who can’t speak out because doing these things are not possible, or could put them in danger, I get told that my/their silence is assent. And I wonder: when did shaming and ableism in social justice become ok? When I write about the elephants in the social justice
I have never been a good scholar. Oh, sure, I’ve written scholarly essays that gave me the grades I needed to pass the classes that I was in, but when it comes to scholarly concepts (especially when it comes to the human condition), I fail. I fail at getting the words right. I fail at being the person that the other social justice scholars think I should be. I even tried writing a book that talked about all of these concepts of privilege, oppression, intersectionality, and all of the other concepts that I’m supposed to know as an educated feminist.
There’s a thing in social justice and activist communities that has now become a call-out culture thing that really bothers me. It’s the idea that if you’re not doing “X activist thing” that somehow you are not doing enough, or you don’t care about the subject of said activist thing, or that you are somehow complicit with the oppressors if you’re not making statements about everything that comes up. I see this over and over in many communities: Some activists in seminary thought other seminarians weren’t activist enough because they didn’t march on the streets during the Occupy movement. (or
I’ve been staring at the screen for a few minutes, listening to my Samhain playlist, and wondering what I should write about. There’s plenty of dust ups and politics that I could write about, but I feel like I’ve said all I really need to say about things. I mean, how many times can I write some version of “don’t be shitty to people”? On the Internets it feels (to me anyway) like banging one’s head against a brick wall. Or shouting in an echo chamber. Facebook has been really bad for that. That’s a big part of the reason
I want to be able to say something profound here about my working, but I just can’t. At least, not in any way that’ll make sense to people other than myself. Most of what I’ve learned this week is that I shouldn’t read any social media until after I’ve done my morning prayers, had breakfast, and done my writing for the day. I’m writing about social justice, and reading other people’s social justice stuff, or about the election, before I get into my own work makes things difficult. My wife says “Social justice work comes at a cost.” and that’s