Hey, folks. In case you just joined us:
We are working to build something here: a community.
People of common heart and shared values.
Even though we–Atheopagans–are spread far apart. Even though it usually takes the Internet for us to be together.
In many ways, it’s an alien thing to me. I didn’t grow up in a community and I’m feeling my way forward now to figure out what it is about. I don’t have a feel for it, much as I wish I did.
So: what is a community?
I think it’s a place where you know to your bones that you belong. Where the people care about you. Where if you go, you will be missed. Where people gather to observe important community moments, for better or for worse.
Hard to do, in the Overculture.
Hard to do, without succumbing to a cult and its delusions.
Hard to do when families are splintered and people don’t know their neighbors.
Hard to do when we move around the world like chess pawns to meet the demands of capitalism. To find a job. A roof we can afford.
Community is anathema to the so-called free market. Because it needs us to depend only on the largess of capital. To view as “good fortune” that, if we run the treadmill hard enough, we will be allowed to survive.
But the secret poor people all over the world have learned–yes, even in the United States, in Europe, in the “rich countries”–is that community will keep us alive even if we haven’t “earned” it. Because of who we are in relationship with one another.
Community will feed us, hold our hands, make space on the couch.
Because community is love.
And the Overculture, the market, the interests of shareholders know nothing at all about the power of love. It baffles them when they see it, infuriates them when it turns to organizing change.
Can we achieve all of that? Perhaps not as a whole. Perhaps in small circles of like-minded people who come to know one another.
But as a whole, together, we can be kind. We can listen. We can offer up what support we can when one of us is in pain.
Sure, we mostly gather in places like Facebook and Discord.
Sure, it’s just bits. Just text. But there’s a person behind every post, every comment.
I have had the great privilege of meeting a number of you now. And every last one of you I have met has been someone I was honored to know.
I’m fortunate that the Atheopagan affinity group in my local area meets in person. And the Suntree retreat last year was a truly joyous occasion where nearly 50 of us came together in person, to celebrate, hold rituals, socialize, share knowledge, and just be together.
We’re building something here. A community.
Thank you for being a part of the effort.
Image: attendees at the 2022 Atheopagan Suntree Retreat.