Ahhh joy another drama storm is brewing about the interwebs. You can read the origins here:http://saltyourbones.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/on-classism-paganism-and-the-piety-posse/#comments and here http://satsekhem.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/poor-as-fuck-polytheism/
and here http://nornoriel.dreamwidth.org/293877.html?mode=reply and here(this one defends it)http://forestdoor.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/for-polytheists/#comment-4056 and here http://roguesareth.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/poverty-piety-and-paganism/
I'm sure there are other places I have missed. I've already vented my spleen and had my say, so I won't say it redundantly here. You can read my posts there if you are so inclined.
Ok that being said, it bring to mind an interesting questions. How do we show devotion to the Gods. Do we do it as others do, and do so religiously(pun not intended) or do we do it out of love? If we owe the Gods piety and offerings, do they owe us as well? Is there give and take?
My opinion. I offer out of love. For me it isn't about being a good Pagan and getting some sort of reward, it is about doing something that brings me closer. I offer them what I make for food(or teach my daughter to make). I offer what I have on hand. If I have extra money and I am in the grocery store and they ask for something I try to provide it, because I like doing that. I do that also for friends and family. It pleases me to please those that I love.
However, there is a balance. If the Gods want offerings to show them respect, then respect needs to be shown to you as well. Also you should first respect yourself.
I can here the gasps now.
We are not our ancestors. We do not need to toss the virgin in the volcano to placate the angry God to stop ourselves from dying. The relationship has changed, or has it?
In the feudal system, you gave to the Lords, who gave to the ones in power, who gave to the King. In turn the those in power were supposed to look out for you and protect you from dangers. (History has shown what a poor system that was). In what I have read(and I forget the sources or I'd link them) you gave to the spirits because they looked out for you. The Gods grew from that.
Ie, There was a give and take.
Ok lets get out of the academic and mental world.
The Gods and their devotees have their own relationships. It is not one size fit all. Though some bnp's seem to think we should take what they say from on high, and the rest be laity giving to the Gods. I think they forget we don't necessarily need them to talk to the Gods for us, many of us can do it ourselves. I think they forget we have our own relationships with the Gods and the Gods don't always ask the same from everyone.
Also I am highly uncomfortable with the idea, that if you do not do x devotions or giving to the Gods, you are a bad Pagan. It is the same mentality that I ran into in some of the Christian Churches. I found it problematic. It puts God/Yahweh first and you should obey, and not question. You should live your life to please him.
I don't think that attitude is a healthy one. Now some Pagans may do that, but they choose to do so. For every Pagan or Polytheist to do so, feels unhealthy to me. Also my Gods want me to question. I was also kicking myself for participating in the drama, before I realized standing up and calling out bullshit is a holy devotion for me.
Smurfette has a different obligation to Bridgette then I do to Loki and my other Gods. She needs to make quilts. I help put broken people together, speak for the Gods, do devotions if they wish, and study and learn and probably have a career arguing. (if I get my college shit done). The Gods have asked or told us to do stuff, and we have accepted. She is not me and I am not her. We definitely are not Dver, and Sannion, or Tess.
Lets also talk about people have different responsibilities. Who should come first, Gods or the Kids? Is it devotion to give food to the Gods that could go to your hungry kids? Would the Gods approve? Do you not have the right to balance and make sure your life is as stable as it can be, before giving to the Gods? Seems like those arguing, do not think you do. I disagree.
I believe you need to assess and take care of your needs. If you do not, you risk falling apart and then you can't give the Gods or do what they ask. I think I would have a huge issue if my Gods demanded me to give offerings I can't afford at the expense of my children. For Gods that pushed me to argue, to thrown down the B.S flag, I'd probably have a go at it with them. (uh oh I see smiling). Nor do I think it would be impious to do so. See my conflict resolution post. It's addressing at that point, an issue.
We Polytheists have a relationship with the Gods. The rules are not in the books nor are written by the BNP's. It is written by what we agree to and the boundaries we set and the stuff we negotiate(those of us that can hear them).