Friday, July 10, 2009

A letter I sent to one of my DP Mentees.

The following is part of an email I sent to one of my DP students. I welcome any and all thoughts about this, as long as this conversation remains civil. I, like everyone else, had a moment at which I needed to decide if ADF was the right choice for me. It was not a decision I made lightly, and I finally made my choice based on much prayer and divination and loads of thinking and soul-searching. Ultimately, I decided that ADF is the place where I want to make my spiritual home, and here is why:

Off the record, I wanted to tell you about my view of ADF and why I decided to stay. My first disappointment with ADF was a lot like a child coming of age and realizing for the first time that their mom/dad wasn't perfect. It was quite a blow, and made me question everything else they told me that I took to be truth verbatim. I eventually learned that their intentions were good, even if they weren't always right. More importantly, I learned to do a lot of thinking for myself, which lead to disagreements and mismatches of opinions as I became a teenager.
Many of the issues I disagree with in regards to ADF as a whole are some of the very things that keep it from turning into an organized national church with a dogma. It took me a while to understand this.
I said, "Am I doing this right?"
They kept saying, "If you are doing, you are fine. Right Action! Piety!"
"Doesn't it matter what I do?" I asked.
"Yes and No," they said. "When you understand that answer, you will understand the nature of the organization as a whole."
Yes, it matters what I do. No, ADF doesn't care what I do. I can do whatever I want, but anything that falls outside of the defined Core Order or IE studies is not "ADF." I can write, perform, sing, wear, go, do, or say anything I want, as long as it is pleasing to my personal Gods and the relationships I have with them. It doesn't matter if they agree, and there is no set one right way to do anything, which means there is no set one right answer to any questions I ask. It is frustrating, but it needs to be so. How else can we get a Celt, a Greek, a Roman, a Heathen and a Vedic all in one rite and happy about it?
One of the reasons we have such a hard time getting study groups and other resources together is because there are always a lot of people who disagree about what we should be teaching folks, if we should even be teaching them at all. All of the study groups mediated by the Mentors or other ADF officers in the past have fallen apart. In addition, the presence of "authority figures," for some reason, puts quite a few people immediately on edge.
ADF, to me, is a common thread used as a unifying factor between an otherwise highly diverse group of people. There can be study groups, and these groups can be facilitated to start relevant conversations and keep people relatively focused, but there can't really be "teachers," not in the truest sense of the word. ADF can't be taught. ADF must be experienced. ADF wants us to think for ourselves and frowns upon taking anyone's word verbatim without checking the source of those words. And even still, as we learn more about the past and the Kindred, our views and words may change, and that needs to be happening constantly. The organization needs to be solid enough to provide a base structure but fluid enough to change with the seasons. ADF will truly be broken only if it stagnates. That's what happened to the Christian faith. They found their rock and set it down. They built a building (box) around it and cut it off from everything else. The world changed and new discoveries were made about the way things really were in the past, but no! They can't fit those ideas into the box their rock is in. So it stagnates.

I hope that this will show you where I stand, and why I choose stand here.

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