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Life is Orthopraxic

28 May

One of the first things we like to teach in the Kemetic community is that our religion is orthopraxic. That means that Kemeticism isn’t based so much on what you believe inasmuch as its focused on what you do. The gods need us to perform certain cultic and temple functions for them in order for ma’at to be perpetuated. The gods need us to do the right things and follow through in our actions and words more so than they need us to necessarily believe in them or believe that they exist.

And in a way, I would say that life in general is that way.

Belief can be nice. We can believe that god exists or doesn’t exist. We can believe that clothing the naked and feeding the hungry is a great cause. We can believe in peace and love and green energy and all of those nice lovely things that we see at humanitarian events across the globe. We can believe that being honest and forthright is the best course of action. We can believe whatever we want.

But at the end of the day, if you don’t act upon those beliefs, they are useless.

“Brendan + Action” by Marc Thiele via Flickr

For example, I could talk on and on about how being respectful to our peers is important. I could tell you about how we need more interfaith work, and that we need to not be dicks, and how we should all strive to get along. But if I get off of this blog and go and yell at everyone I meet and belittle every newb I come across, not only will that create a conflicting message from me, but it will also lead everyone that sees me to believe that I am really a jerk that likes to blow smoke up everyone’s asses. I can talk about respect and community and devotion until I’m blue in the face, but it means absolutely nothing if I don’t have any follow through.

Our whole life is made up of what we have done and said. We may have the greatest thoughts and ideas and beliefs in our minds, but if they never are brought forward into the light of day and turned into actions, then what purpose do they serve? When we go through our lives and let injustices occur and watch people screw other people over in our day to day lives without saying a word, what are we accomplishing?

I understand that it’s not always so simple. I have worked for people who are less than moral. To say something means to put my livelihood on the line, and therefore the livelihood of my family as well. We can’t always afford to be 110% just and moral all the time. However, I still think its important to remember that our legacy is built upon our actions and not our beliefs. Our lives are shaped and remembered by the marks and impacts we have left upon others, our communities and families, upon the world; and that our gods and fellow man benefit the most by the things we do for one another. And that in addition to that, our actions behind closed doors can speak even louder than the actions we do in front of others in public. You know, the actions we perform that we might think don’t have any sort of consequences to them, or the actions that we feel won’t have any payoff for us.

As you move forward into your communities, on your path and in your life, wherever that may take you, remember to keep in mind your actions. We are often taught in Western culture that our beliefs define us, but I posit that it really all does come down to our actions.

How do we do this? Well, through a number of methods. When you come across problems within your community, speak up! Or perhaps look into solutions that can help remedy problems. Network with other people, reach out to other folks and discuss with them about where they are at on their paths, what your community could be lacking, or other ways that you can create more resources for one another and newcomers to your community. For those with less spoons, just keep talking. Click the “like” button when someone else posts something you fancy. Talk about your experiences or give feedback on others experiences. Share links around for others to look at. Spread the love.

Every little action that we take helps to build up the community or tear it down. Every action helps to propel us forward or send us hurdling backwards. Even the little actions that we think don’t matter. As you move forward in all that you do, make sure that your actions are helping to form the world that you want to live in.

Do you think that life is orthopraxic or that your actions have weight in the community? What types of actions would you like to see your community members and leaders to take in the future? Do you feel our communities should be discussing the value of action? 

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11 responses to “Life is Orthopraxic

  1. Nornoriel Lokason

    May 28, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Reblogged this on The Serpent's Labyrinth and commented:
    This post articulates a lot of my own feelings on the matter of building community and right action.

     
  2. K.M.H

    May 28, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Reblogged this on Stumbling Through Faith and commented:
    I don’t usually reblog, but this was too good not to. Kemetic faith practice at it’s finest.

     
  3. ubenmaat

    May 29, 2014 at 9:06 am

    I was just having this discussion with my wife, specifically in regards to action vs. intent. You can intend to take action, but if you never do the result is the same as never considering it at all.

     
    • von186

      May 31, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      Yep, I would agree. That’s part of how I’ve learned to push through my anxiety. “Someone has to do it, might as well be me. I want this thing to happen, so I’m just gonna make it happen, damn everything else in my way”. And through sheer bullheaded-ness, I’ve worked into who and what I am now XDDDD

       
  4. L

    May 29, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Reblogged this on Mountain, Path, and Pool.

     
  5. Red

    May 29, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    “Do you feel our communities should be discussing the value of action? ”

    Yes. And maybe even that in order to act, you might have to give up or restrict something you like, or you might have to sacrifice even though you’ve already done a lot of sacrificing.

     
    • von186

      May 29, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      The only response I can give to that is that you’d have to determine whether what you’re giving up is actually worth the action being taken. Hence my caveat about how you can’t always move into action because it puts too much in danger, etc.

       
      • Red

        May 29, 2014 at 8:43 pm

        I’m in agreement, I think. The reality is we aren’t always empowered to make a stand. But just to grab a random example, if say I am against animal cruelty but continue eating at McDonald’s even though I have better choices available to me (not everyone does), I would consider that problematic.

         
  6. Aubs Tea

    May 31, 2014 at 9:18 am

    I wonder if anyone will actually start working on these things now. I mean, I honestly just think that there are a lot of lazy polytheists out there that like to talk a big game. Hell, I’m probably one of them.

    I’d like to see the things, but doing the things… yeah.

     
    • von186

      May 31, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      I don’t know. The moral of the post was about doing- both in religion and in life. And ot remember that actions on both ends are going to effect things… so to be careful about the actions (or lack of action) that you take.

      I don’t know if people are lazy inasmuch as they just don’t make religion building a priority. I’ve always had a theory that tied to charity- that if everyone gave a dollar, that’d be a lot of money that we could use to make a lot of good happen in the world. Take that into community terms- if everyone did a little bit of something, then we’d all move that much further that much faster.
      However, the idea is nice on paper, but I don’t know how to translate it into what everyone can do within the community. I think a lot of people are just caught up in day to dday life and don’t have the time or sometimes the resources/skills/knowledge to do some of the stuff we need.
      Even so, every time someone talks about concepts and how it applies to them. Every time someone goes “Look at this thing I did for the holidays” or every time someone posts a useful quote from a Kemetic book, they’re strengthening our community. And eventually, all of those little things are gonna add up. Because then newcomers can come in and go “wow I can actually do this!” and us old farts can look around and go “wow I’m no longer practicing alone”.

      I guess that’s how I envision everything working… sorta. We still need more heavy lifters, but that takes time. Good thing I’m patient :>

      But its through the small, little actions, that bigger shit happens. Kinda how Kiya says that putitng one cart away can make a difference. I also believe that little stuff does add up. It’s just a matter of empowering people to want to do those little things that is probably more the issue. :3 Which si why I keep making up holidays and simple heka and crap liek that, in a hope that people can use that stuff and find meaning in it and help them to feel better in their own lives.

      yadda yadda. I’m rambling now. Sorry about that XDDD HAVE A WALL OF TEXT, YO.

       

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