One of the more boring arguments in Feri is the argument that arises over whether or not one is in fact Feri. Inevitably someone will charge that another is “not really Feri.” Or at some point in any meeting of Feri folk, one will complain that someone said “I’m not Feri, how dare they?”
Indeed how dare we make judgments on another persons chosen path? It’s really not up to me to decide whether or not you have actually chosen this path. If you tell me that you are Feri, who am I to say “No, no you actually haven’t really chosen this path; because I don’t like you, I fear you, you creep me out, I’m mad at you, I disagree with your opinion.”
I can authenticate your teacher, years of study and practice, or your initiation. But I cannot absolutely authenticate your choice in a spiritual path. That is yours to own, to keep precious and to follow. Not I, nor anyone else, is capable of denying you your willfully chosen path.
But what we can do is decide whether or not an individual is living up to the principles and practices of their path. Of course that means we have to really understand those principles and practices ourselves. Not to mention continue to do that work to the best of our ability.
This sort of thing reminds me of the reaction of, for an example, the Christian community when a proclaimed Christian murders a health care professional because God told him to. Christians will come out in droves proclaiming this person is not a “real” Christian. I beg to differ on that.
If that individual claims to be a Christian, I have to take that individual on their word. Not a good Christian to be sure, but a Christian nonetheless. I might doubt this individual understands Christianity, and may even question their sanity. But I won’t question their chosen (or ill-chosen) path.
I won’t question who a person is, but I can question what a person does. Action, not being. Are you living up to the principles and practices of Feri? Does your life reflect the work and discipline that’s required in this path? Does your devotional practice give your life a sense of beauty and awe?
There are many, far too many, in our communities who behave badly. There are a number of us whose actions lie well outside the practice of being grounded self-possessed warriors. Bad behavior, poor practice and anti-social tendencies do not mean you’re chosen path is not Feri. It simply means you suck at practicing Feri.
I don’t call that judgment. I call that assessment*.
* BTW, if you’re going to make that assessment, do the communities a favor by making that assessment privately, preferably to the person in question. Public assessments are rarely necessary. But if you find that it is, have someone check you first. Believe me, I’ve been there. It’s hardly worth it.