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Representing the community

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:26 pm

Accursed character limits in the title >.<

This thread would be better titled "Representing our community in other communities," and is an inquiry if you do so, and if you don't, what your opinion is in doing so (for example, if you think religion is a private matter and should stay one, etc.).

Personally, I'm of the mind that we -should serve as representatives of the faith. After thousands of years of it being nearly extinct, getting knowledge of it into the public is the only way it can begin to regain the status and privileges it once had (for example, recognition as a faith in the military, which has yet to be achieved, as far as I know). Being a member of the furry fandom, also, I tend to discuss religion a lot with other acquaintances in that community, and it's generally pretty well known that I am a practicing Olympianist, and I tend to serve as a pamphlet of sorts for the people interested in it. I'd like to think I'm doing a service in getting the knowledge of the faith out and more well-known, even if it's only to a small crowd.

What say you? Do you also attempt to serve as a good representative of the religion? If you don't, do you agree that we should be vocal, or do you think it best to stay in the background and continue to develop as a community behind the scenes?

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Re: Representing the community

Post  Erodius on Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:47 pm

I'm a bit confused with myself here. Usually I have a strong and formulated stance on most things, but this — I'm not sure how I feel.

I'm an extremely private person, and I do not broach the subject of religion unless asked.

Disseminating good information and making people aware is a good thing, but I think for public awareness to really take much shape, people need some sort of resource hub and tangible, IRL community. But the simple truth of the matter is that numbers and thin dispersion, coupled with the fact that most individuals are solitary and have never known any different, have made it such that there is virtually nothing in the way of IRL communities with any sort of 'tangible public edifice'. And, as I said, because so many are so accustomed to being on their own, with only a little bit of interaction with others via the Internet, I think many are probably relatively content to remain alone, or, as I would say it, at least content enough with religious solitude to not have a particularly strong drive to create a tangible, public face. Whether this is good or not, I think it nevertheless makes perfectly logical sense.

We in the Orphic sodalitas, on the other hand, possess already a considerable level of internal organization. However, several factors prevent us from doing much in the way of the active, door-to-door evangelism of the Orphics of Plato's day. For one thing, we do not (unlike some other living Mystery cults, like the Hermetists of the OAS) charge anything for religious instruction or for acceptance to catechumency. As such, we have no money to fund anything that would require it. Furthermore, we are, what you might call, an example of a 'house church movement'. Just as it was a millennium ago, Orphic worship is not public, but a private affair open only to initiates — as such, we had no temples in Antiquity, and have none today, nor really a purpose for them. If that ever were to change, an Orphic 'temple' would probably operate much like a Mormon temple — private, and open only to demonstrated initiates. Both for our 'heterodox' beliefs and our secretive practices, I have heard Orphics called, disparagingly, "the Mormons of Antiquity". Finally, our modus operandi of teaching precludes rapid growth or the acceptance of large numbers of catechumens at any one time. All newcomers must go through a period of extensive personal instruction from a lineage-holding teacher, of whom there are only very, very few available, especially to Anglophones. We are almost to a point, as it stands, whereat our instructors are unable to accommodate any further catechumens.

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Re: Representing the community

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:04 pm

Orphic tradition would be and should be an exception to this, I agree, because of it's inherently initiatory and secretive nature. But I do not mean so much revealing everything and your mother to the public sphere of influence so much as I mean letting people know we're here and providing a solid enough foundation for those interested in the faith that they can work out their own beliefs and defend them when asked to. Not so much being vocal in teaching, but more so being like signs that point to the path, giving necessary information, marking out that we do, indeed, exist, that we aren't just quacks, and then leaving the rest for the outsiders who are interested in Hellenismos to decide, for themselves, whether the path is right for them.

So not so much an evangelical approach as it is an apologetic (<--- right word choice?) one.

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Re: Representing the community

Post  Erodius on Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:22 pm

Oh, I agree. I was just giving an explanation as to why, given that we (Orphics) are already a relatively organized group, do not presently have much of a public face to show for our instructional efforts. :-]

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Representing the community

Post  Andromeda Amethyst on Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:30 am

I personally try to be a positive representative of my religion when dealing with people of other faiths. I have never seen the need to proselytize to another about my faith. They ask, I answer as simply as I can. They ask for more information, I'll give them slightly more. I try to treat others respectfully and to be a good person to others. I have had to point out to some that the basic morals they are taught thru their religion are actually very similiar to ours.

Unfortunately, I don't think there are enought of us yet to manage to shift the military's position on us as a "recognized" religion yet, but I don't think we should be out there trying to recruit converts, either. If, by talking to those who ask, someone decides to check into it as a possibility, I will be content. We can only hope that people that are at least interested will find their way here, any of the other sites dealing with this religion or any of the multiple facebook pages I know are out there. Some will turn away, disgusted. Some will decide it's not what they want. But, still, a few will take a more active interest in it and start asking questions and reading. I think that is the best we can hope, for now.
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Re: Representing the community

Post  tayarlin on Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:51 am

I agree with trying to be good representatives of our religion. To better ourselves, is a part of our religion (speaking in the case of those that follow the Delphic Maxims at a guide), as well as help others. For example, I have a friend who was in need of great relationship advice. Meaning, he didn't have any experience save, bad ones. I used the wisdom of love given to me by Aphrodite and what She has given me. By sharing with others what the Gods have taught me, is how I try to be a good representative of our community. In turn, aiding the cause of recognition (ideally) Razz Razz

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Re: Representing the community

Post  Callisto on Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:35 pm

Generally I don't make a point of discussing my practices or beliefs with others as most of the time I don't find it's necessary (for anyone) to do so. However I will choose to if someone asks and depending on who they are and why they want to know. I am on other forums and will either be the only Hellenist or one of the few Recons of various paths present. But I'm not there to "promote" Hellenismos, usually there isn't discussion about it and when I do bring it up it's in response to posts regarding mythology or in rebuttal to erroneous comments about something being Hellenic when it's not or all polytheists/pagans practicing magic, adhering to the same ethical code, having the same ritual practices and festivals etc.

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Re: Representing the community

Post  Linda on Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:49 pm

Personally I'm doing my best to be a good and virtuous person according to my faith. To care for my family, friends, neighbourhood and planet. To leave a place the way I want to find it.

But I'm not of the missinary kind and I will never be, regardless of the 'population size' of my faith. And that's because I hate it when people are slamming their faith in the faces of others, so naturally I will not do that to them. If someone ask, I tell. Some become interested and want to know more, others don't and tell that this is not their path, and then I respect that and end the discussion there. For those who know me well, like family and friends they all know where I stand and they respect that. Live and let live and each to their own, that's my main standpoint.

Then again, I have never really felt discriminated against because of my faith (save for superficial things like jokes about Our Gods, but that I try to disregard, they're by the idiots and for the idiots anyway) however I'm fully aware I might well see it differently should I face such discrimination. Then I can actually picture myself willing to go to court for the right to practice my religion, and pay a good amount of money for lawyers.

I know that people in Greece (of all places) have a hard time to recieve proper respect for their belief, and that is very much related to the standpoint of the Orthodox church, which sits upon a lot of money and a beehive of lawyers making life a pest for the indigenous practitioners. I have been trying to help my Greek friends with ideas on how to handle the sometimes overwhelming animosity, but they are no exactly in the position to pay trough their nose to push their case and due to Greek laws they cannot raise a class action the way it would be possibly for instance in my own contry.

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