By now you’ve probably hear that Bristol Palin is writing for Patheos, a website dedicated to balanced views of religion and spirituality. A site that hosts an entire Pagan Portal filled with spectacular Pagan bloggers. I know Bristol started blogging at Patheos because I’ve had a total of 14 of my fellow Pagans email me in the last three hours. People I know, love and respect. Most of them are very unhappy about Patheos giving a platform to Bristol and their reasons run from a general and intense hatred of her mother to wondering why such a lightweight and nonacademic writer such as Bristol was picked.
My opinion, as in many things in the Pagan, Heathen, and polytheist community, runs counter to the prevailing sentiment. I read the coverage abut Patheos and Bristol that is blanketing the Press and social media,heard about the increased traffic to the site, and thought, “Brilliant business move.” Hell, I’d even give them a rousing golf clap. I’m a bit perverse, that way.
I love reading the various writers at Patheos. They have some of the very best Pagan, Heathen, and polytheist writers blogging for them. Seriously good stuff. I enjoy poking around in the other religion portals, too, and seeing what they have to offer in spiritual writing. Patheos is like a buffet table of spiritual offerings. Some of it is very academic in nature. Other writers throw in more pop culture. If there’s a talented writer, I read their blog often. If there are writers I don’t care for, I ignore them.
Patheos is also a business with employees and bills and advertisers to help pay those bills. If bringing in Bristol also brings in more site traffic,which brings in more advertising bucks, that’s a good thing for every single blogger and reader of Patheos. It means I will continue to be able to read my favorite Pagan writers and a site will continue to exist that values Pagan content and doesn’t treat us like second class citizens. Because let me tell you, if the Pagan Portal at Patheos were to try to fund itself through Pagan advertising, it would no longer exist.
Which reminds me of some of the conversations I was part of at Paganicon (which was lovely and we will have coverage of it soon) concerning Pagans, money, and running organizations and/or businesses. The general consensus was that we suck at it and have unhealthy relationships with money. We see money as The Man, the root of all evil. A tool of oppression. ‘Business ethics’ are an oxymoron. That’s a shame and something we need to work on if we want to exist at more than the very small, local group level.
Money is a physical representation of energy that we exchange. Structure and organization is not ‘power over’ but can be framework to getting things done with less drama and hurt feelings. Making business decisions that include monetary considerations is not selling out, it’s being responsible to your employees, your mission, and your customers. We Pagans fail in our community endeavors because we not only lack the skills necessary to succeed, we abhor the thought of gaining those skills. Our religious ancestors didn’t have these attitudes. One of the Delphic Maxims said Acquire wealth justly, not Do not acquire wealth.
This is the world we live in, there are no free lunches. If you want places were Pagan views are represented, it needs to be paid for some how. So if Bristol can make it rain at Patheos, and that helps pay for quality content I like to read, then I say Bristol may be good for Pagans. And honestly, I get a big chuckle out of that thought. Don’t you?