Saturday, July 16, 2011


Pantheist. Scientific pantheist. Universal pantheist. Druid. Hedge druid. Reformed druid. Christian druid. Pagan. Neo-pagan. Eclectic pagan. Naturalistic pagan. Humananistic pagan. Humanist. Secular humanist. Religious humanist. Religious naturalist. Quaker. Liberal Quaker. Unprogrammed Quaker. Programmed Quaker. Nontheist Quaker. Christian Quaker. FGC Quaker. Unitarian Universalist.

Labels. Some of the above apply to me, some do not. In one of the internet forums I follow, people were denigrating labels. Labels have a bad name. I think what's bad is not labels, but stereotyping, that is, assuming that because a person has one attribute, they will also have certain other attributes. Labels are useful. I searched for my labels, and it was only after I found the labels pantheist and druid that I could find like-minded people.

The many different labels help us find like-minded people, but do they fracture us as well? Would religious naturalism be more known and accepted in our culture if we cohered more? Perhaps, but I think it's okay as is. I think it's good that each of us can find our own unique identity. We do come together with people who use different labels. I'm not a Unitarian Universalist, but I am a pantheist and a druid, and there are Unitarian Universalists in pantheist groups and in druid groups. Thus, even though I am not a UU, I know that UU's and I are part of the same community.

And so it spreads. I am not a conservative, but some of my friends my high school are conservatives. Conservatives and I are part of the same community. I am not Latin American, but my sister lives in Brazil, and I work with someone who is from Colombia, and I have a friend with a Mexican ancestor, so Latin Americans and I are part of the same community. I am not a bee, but bees pollinate the fruits and vegetables I eat, so we are part of the same community. I am not an apple tree, but an apple tree has given me food, and I have planted an apple tree.

We use labels to find what we are looking for. We use labels to say we want an apple, not a peach. We use labels to say we want to communicate with other pantheists. Labels help us find our way. They do not diminish that fact that all of us here on earth are here together, one community.

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