Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Business Cards for Your Kindred can be Helpful

Now and again we run into people wearing Thor's Hammer around their neck.  Some of them are Heathens here in Kansas City that we're meeting for the first time.  Some are interested in the culture of our Ancestors, and see Mjolnir as a "cool thing to wear."  Some are into fans of Viking Metal, a very loud growl-heavy music. Regardless, we'll often introduce ourselves and tell them about the Temple of Our Heathen Gods website at  We'll tell them about Jotun's Bane Kindred, and an upcoming Open Event that we are hosting.  But, that's a lot of information to express in an introductory conversation.

In the past we had some very simple business cards, but recently Johnny Whitebread came up with some very nice looking business cards that he had designed.  They were very eye-catching and professional, and packed with information.  This prompted me to come up with a business card design for myself, and here is the front and back of it:

This card was inexpensive enough to produce that I'm now working on making cards for every member of our kindred, with their information on them...rather than mine.  That way, whenever any of our kindred members has that chance run-in with a new Heathen or potential Heathen, we can keep the conversation less overwhelming but still give them the information they need to get in touch with us if they want, ask questions, and learn more about who we are and what we believe.

You can have fairly inexpensive business cards made at a FedEx/Kinko's store, Office Depot, Office Max, or any print shop.  You can buy pre-cut cards you can print on your own printer at home.  Or you can really save some money by buying 500 sheets of cardstock, printing your own cards, and then cutting them yourself with a paper-cutter.  It really depends on how much time you want to spend on them.  Make sure that your business card design is clear, easy to read, and that it communicates exactly what you want to communicate to whomever it is you will be giving them.  Once you have the printed up, you can buy a small business card case to carry them in for anywhere from $2 to $5 at nearly any office supply store.  That way they are always with you.

If you are working on starting, maintaining, or growing a kindred in your area...having some nice business cards printed up and keeping them with you, is a good way to make the best of those random encounters with individuals and families that may be interested in being a part of your efforts.  They are also enormously useful when new Heathens show up at your open events.  You can introduce yourself, talk with them a bit, answer any questions they have, and give them a business card to take home with them so that they can more easily get in touch with you in the future.  Giving these to Heathens you meet at Heathen gatherings is an excellent way to make and keep connections with other Heathens.

Mark Ludwig Stinson
Jotun's Bane Kindred
Temple of Our Heathen Gods

Sunday, January 29, 2012

What it Takes to Maintain a Good Kindred

I think a kindred is like any meaningful friendship or even like a marriage.  It takes good judgement, commitment, hard-work, and generosity to make it work.

You have to have the good judgement to choose people who are capable of working hard on building and maintaining the kindred with you.  They have to be stable enough, hard-working enough, and generous enough to make it work, despite glitches and growing pains that are naturally going to develop.  The people and families involved in the kindred need to be compatible.  "Compatible" can mean a lot of different things, but it does not mean being exactly alike.  Like any friendship or marriage, if you choose the wrong people to partner with...they will fail you, and thus destroy or greatly harm the mutual effort.

You have to be committed to making it work, and stable enough to not just wander off whenever the going gets a little rough.  You have to really believe in what you are doing, and willing to do what it takes to make it happen...and maintain it over time.

You have to be willing to work-hard at it.  You can't procrastinate fixing problems or doing necessary work.  You have to put in the time and effort to maintain the necessary connections and frith that holds the kindred together.

There is a level of generosity that is necessary to make a friendship, marriage or kindred work.  There is a give and take.  You have to offer trust, and also be trustworthy.  You have to believe in people, and also maintain your own credibility.  You have to be willing to listen to other people, and also share your own ideas.  You have to be willing to compromise at times, or better yet, work towards a group consensus that makes everyone satisfied with the direction your group is going.  Selfishness does not fit well into this equation.

All of this good judgement, commitment, hard-work, and generosity can come together, in the right time, the right place, and the right people into a frithful, lucky group...that is able to accomplish much more than the sum of its individual members.  Like a good marriage, in a good kindred relationship all the hard work and effort is well worth it.  It pays out to everyone involved, at least as much as they put in...if not more.

Mark Ludwig Stinson
Jotun's Bane Kindred
Temple of Our Heathen Gods