Diplomacy

February 17, 2014 at 5:16 am 2 comments

“Irish diplomacy is the art of telling a man to go to hell so that he looks forward to the trip”- origin unknown (my good man Oscar Wilde maybe?)

I don’t shy from controversy- I speak my mind, often quite bluntly. Other times, I know when to keep quiet.  I have been poring thru posts on Wiccan privilege, polytheist/pagan relations and attempting to add posts of my own, but then I realized there wasn’t much more productive that I could add. I wondered why is that with all these different factions fighting, I have been gaining a diverse group followers on my blog- from staunch polytheists, to spiritual atheists, to “pop culture” influenced pagans and so forth- and so far managing to get along with them.

Over time, I’ve gained a pragmatic approach to interfaith relations, and being an open religious minority. One approach can work well in some settings, with some people and subcultural groupings, but not others.  I have a degree in political science, and much experience working on various activist campaigns. From them I have learned a lot about how to get messages across to people, what key words open up minds and discussions- and what shuts them down.

Telling personal stories- rather than using generalizations and statistics that people find hard to relate to. Meeting people where they’re at. We used these techniques a lot while calling people about the Minnesota anti-marriage amendment. We talked about our marriages, our family/friends’ marriages, and asked people to talk about their own feelings about marriage.

Ask polite questions about assumptions people are making- for example when someone at Pagan Pride tells you that you need to present a Wiccan format ritual because it’s “more familiar” to the public than a Hellenic ritual- ask How did it feel to go to your first Wiccan ritual? Was that confusing?

Positive redirect- When someone mentions using sources of information you think are bad, suggest better sources rather than just ripping apart the old ones. If they give scholarly sources a chance, they might start to see for themselves why they are better.

If someone seems to be engaging in cultural appropriation, suggest respectful ways about learning and approaching the culture in question. Use examples from your own experience- like I might mention going to an American Indian pow-wow and observing the etiquette that they discuss on the program of the event (easy!) and observing how other people around me behave.

Overall- Listen to people. Slow down and think before you respond in person or at the keyboard. And yes, set up a Pagan Tea Time (or whatever you want to call it) We miss a lot of nuances of communication due to lack of body language on the Internet. I wonder if, as an autistic person, whose natural communication style is purely verbal or written that I have some kind of advantage in this area?

Pagan Blog Project 2014

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Entry filed under: Ethics, Interfaith, Pagan Communities, Peace. Tags: , , , , , , .

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