I hate this phrase, let me tell you why.
It seems like I can’t pick up a Norse Paganism 101 book that doesn’t have this phrase in it, usually within a larger discussion of ethics. A person is their deeds, actions speak louder than words. Ultimately, what you do is what defines you. This is, of course, most often trotted out in response to Christianity’s (particularly Protestant Christianity) emphasis on belief.
Lately though, it seems like this phrase needs a few qualifiers:
“We are our deeds–unless you worship a god I don’t like.”
“We are our deeds–unless you’re Wiccan (then you’re just a fluffy bunny, HAHAHAHAHA!)”
“We are our deeds–until I commit a crime. Um, don’t pay any attention to that deed! I’ve done a lot for Heathenry, what have YOU done for Heathenry?”
“We are our deeds–but it’s okay for me to spread nasty rumours and outright lies about other people because they aren’t True Heathens (TM).”
How many Heathens say “we are our deeds” and then call all Lokeans “chaos-mongers” based not on what actual Lokeans have done, but solely on the fact that they honour Loki? Because “we are our deeds” only applies to you and your close circle of friends? Yeah, that’s not hypocritical.
This is why, when you are a racist, sexist, homophobic asswipe, I don’t give a shit if you’ve published books and attended conferences and “look at my deeeeeds I’ve done a lot for Heathenry” the fact of the matter is that you’re still a racist, sexist, homophobic asswipe. As far as I’m concerned, you’re not doing a whole lot for any religion by being an asswipe, and I know plenty of “Heathen heretics” who are not only not asswipes, but have probably written more books than you.
So, yeah, an asswipe, don’t be one.