Questions…

Questions I don’t want to ask…or maybe I do and just am not sure I want the answers…but am willing to explore anyway…

Do Pagans believe the Christian God exists?

Why is selling steaks easier than “selling” Pagans? I love a good steak but, that’s just a dead cow. Pagans are humans and much more important. The body can survive on almost anything but, the soul needs nourishment that is very specific to it…and the soul lasts longer than the shell it occupies…

Why do people insist on only seeing their fears and not try to see anything else? Related to that, why do we fear someone else for their beliefs and not their actions?

Why do people insist that if they don’t do something, you have to not do the same thing they don’t do? Like, why insist that someone stops eating meat because you don’t? *editorial, that was the most “neutral” I could come up with*

Why do people’s interactions on matter’s of Faith have to be adversarial? It isn’t a contest. It isn’t “my God is the best and so you have to be worthless”. For example, we Christians believe that because of our belief in Jesus, we are forgiven and get an afterlife in Heaven. It says it in the Bible, right? So, we assume that John 3:16 says as an addendum that “…and whoever doesn’t believe in Him will go to Hell” but, that isn’t in there. We added that part to make it a contest…

Someday when I grow up I’ll have some answers…if you can help, please give it a shot…

Welcome to It…or Two Years and Counting…

I wish…

*sigh*

I know I’ve written this thought before but, I still wish I didn’t have to write this blog. I realize that I am an idealistic naive soul. There is no part of comparing religious bullying to rape that is enjoyable. Not a bit of having to tell my Pagan friends to stay in the “broom closet” to protect themselves is a goal that I ever expected to have. Berating Christians for complaining about alleged victimization toward them while they are earning the rewards of their attacks on other faiths is un-fun…

So, why? Why do I keep at a “project” that I expect to last my lifetime with zero chance of success? Because, for all the first person writing, it isn’t about me. Sure, it’s my perspective but, that’s just the style and point of view. In the very beginning, it was for two very dear people…and the communities they are parts of the Pagan and LBGT communities…and, yeah, for me and my conscience.

WordPress gave me the notification that a couple of days ago was the second anniversary of this blog. In that time, not counting drafts, there have been close to four hundred posts…and I don’t have a clue if any Christian has changed their view as a result. I have gained quite a bit of support from the groups I write for and, in its own way, that is important. It means that at least they are seeing that some few of us do not see them as the “enemy”.

Life is a work in progress. This blog is a continuing extension of that…

To the Heretics that read this, welcome.

To the non-Heretics, I was one of you. I do understand your fears, I just no longer share them. I have learned to not fear. I found out that our faith isn’t what’s under attack, our attitudes are. We get treated like the way we act. If we show love, it’s returned. On the other hand, if our face is intolerant and spiteful, we should expect to get slapped…

To the Pagans, not all of us hate or fear you. It truly sucks that you have been forced into hiding by us. If it is safe, you can change our world…and yours by coming out. We will probably not “get” your views but, we will love you anyway…at least some of us will. Please, please DO NOT assume that we are safe, though. Be careful. I can not say that enough. Your safety is more important than anything else. I know you know that. Still *sigh* I would rather me be a target for my view than you for your faith.

*****

One last, I said up there I hate writing this. That is not entirely correct. I hate the need for it. I love being able to do something to attempt to help make a change that I wish there was no need to make. To that end, we have started a Facebook page for the blog. It uses the same name as the title “Stones in the Middle of the Jordan”. It is an attempt to form some community and a place to come together. It isn’t about me, even though it shares the title with the blog…the blog really isn’t “about” me either as much as it is for y’all. If you do FB and want a way to reach out and discuss, please find us there. It is a “safe” space. It is very pointedly protective of faith, lack of faith, and LBGT’s…in other words, humans. *editorial, it is a brand new page and a work in progress. Please bear with us…or help out by joining and starting conversation*

 

”If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.”

I’m confused. Maybe you can help me to understand. I keep bumping into the endless series of “why” questions…
Why is it ok for me to wear a cross or a Jesus t-shirt and it isn’t for a Pagan to wear a Pentagram or clothing expressing their faith?

Why is it ok for me to get upset if I think my faith, with all they myriad sect, is called a “cult” but, Pagans are expected to let it go?

Why is it “normal” for us to have a church on every corner and Pagans have to hide? We say they have rituals in the dark and the woods because they are evil and trying to hide. That isn’t the case, they respect and worship their Gods in nature and see the divine in the outdoors. We forced them to hide from us and blame them for hiding…

*sigh*

Once upon a time, we had a “good ole boy”, Clayton Williams, running for Governor of Texas who compared bad weather to rape. He said, ”If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.” Is that what we expect Pagans to do in a Christian society? We expect them to “enjoy it” when we ridicule them. We expect them to “relax” when we bully and shun? That’s how they’re supposed to face the “inevitable”?

Religious persecution and bullying are the same things. A rapist thinks that taking what they want from a person is their right. They do not see a human but, an object. Religious persecution sees as a right, removal of person and making an object out of a human. Neither sees the “wrongness” of their action because they only recognize the validity of themselves and not the other.

At our core, what we find as our “faith” is the most basic of our “intangibles”. It is our most basic self-identity. An attack on that calls for us to question everything else in our life. From our Faith or lack, comes our sense of place and value. It gives us a context for our life and a group identity. Outside of sexual orientation, it is the most important of the ways we define ourselves.

To strip that away, to make us fearful of being attacked for that is the equivalent. It, being attacked for faith, calls us to question our lives, values, and worth. It leaves us with fear and paranoia.

So, why do we think it’s our right and duty to ostracize? Why do Christians think that Christianity allows them to attack someone else’s faith while screaming “PERSECUTION” when the return is given. *editorial, I made a blanket statement without blanket intent. Not all Christians persecute and not all Christians cry when it is returned* Why do we expect to be able to attack with impunity? To ridicule without opening up ourselves to the same? To call someone “worthless” and not show our own same lack of worth? We “reap what we sow”.

I suppose I am naive. *sigh* I thought I was taught to treat others like I want to be treated. It doesn’t matter to me what your beliefs are Pagan, Christian, “Christian-ish”, or Heretic. Those are your core.

If I want my heresy to be respected, my “self” not to be violated, my life not to be “fear, I need to give you the same room in yours. You’re not an object and you, the physical and intangible, person deserve the safety of your person. I don’t have to understand you. I do have to protect and care for you. I NEVER get to expect you to “relax and enjoy it” unless I am willing to do the same…

Jesus Loves Me…

I sat in the pew and wondered…I suspect my heresy started long before I think it did…

I didn’t ask the questions I thought. I didn’t ask what happened in the years between Jesus and now. I didn’t read the history of the religious wars and strife. I saw movies about the Knights, Crusades, Musketeers, and I accepted that they were right…but, I still wondered…

I thought, “what if God wants people that way”.  I sang, “Jesus loves the little children…” and “Jesus loves me, this I know…” and wondered why adults seem to be left out. Why do we hate people that believe differently? We called the Jews “Jesus killers” and burned Witches…because that was the “right” thing to do. What if God loved them, too?

What if God loved them, too?

Why do we fear others? Why do we include children and leave out adults?  There is a Witch I know that told me this…

“The other night before going to bed my phone rang. From a number I did not recognize came a voice asking if they could purchase a spell. I was dumbfounded. Nowhere on any of my pages have I said that I do that, but it meant that someone had assumed that. I politely told them no and when they asked if I knew someone who did I referred them to any of the New Age shops in the city. Afterwards, my reaction was fear. Fear that someone where my husband works would have seen something that would make his work life hard or cause him to be fired (yes, I know that is illegal, but so is ageism, and sexism, and several other isms. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.) Or that someone would figure out where I live and do things to bring attention to my neighbors about a witch living in their neighborhood. I would like to think that my fear is unfounded and irrational, but we see on Pagan sites where people have lost their children in custody battles, their children bullied at school, not to mention the gossip and shunning that happens when people find out that you are not Christian…”

Why do we treat her faith any differently than we want out own treated? What happened to the love we were taught when we were young? I know this lady. She is not anti-Christian. She’s merely NOT Christian. She’s not my enemy or Jesus’. If I believe that He loves me, why would I believe he hates her and I have an excuse to treat her as hated? It didn’t say that He exclusively loved Christians, and His words, in the Bible, give no indication that he does. Those thoughts and attitudes came later and were made up by men…

*****

It IS NOT the same and I am not drawing equivalence. I have to be careful about sharing my views at work. Not that I am Christian but, that I am a pro-Pagan Christian. I am leery of talking about what I think in a place where I have to interact with co-workers and “get along”. I only reveal that I write a blog after feeling out the views of the other person. I can not imagine having to do that with every interaction both on and off line.

*****

“Jesus loves me, this I know…” He also loves the Old Ways and the Pagans and everyone else, too. My God is big enough to include everyone so, maybe we should act like it, too…

 

 

Respect and Dignity…

*sigh*
I’ve been writing FOR Pagans lately. My posts seem, to me, to be harshly critical of “my faith”…or could be perceived that way. I need to clarify. I AM Christian. I love Christianity and the “words in red”, meaning HIS words. My disputes and disagreements aren’t with the Faith, it’s with the way SOME, not all, Christians practice and express it…

My own life and path have not been perfect, far from it…

I have been Christian, then atheist and addict, then “Fundie” Christian, and now Heretic Christian. I’ve wandered around trying to figure out where it all went together…and still do. My Faith is a big part of my life and world view. It is something that I spend a large portion of my mental time, when the stuff that involves work, life, and wife, allow me to think. Last thing before I sleep I’m thinking about it and first when I wake up. Quiet moments in my day and driving are filled with thinking about it…and where I fit into it…

*sigh*

Instinctively I seek the middle ground. My life as an addict was not one of “moderation”. Now it is. I am distrustful of strong emotionalism. I am suspicious of faith that is based on ecstasy. I also distrust faith that says, “if you’re not one of us, you MUST be against us”. Again, that does not make me anti-Christian but anti-extremist. I become concerned with harsh judgmentalism and wonder if those that carry that belief are not more self-centered than faithful…and I know that I am guilty of that, too. I AM self-centered, petty, jealous, rude, mean-spirited, and harsh. I am fully capable of all the things I try to write against, no matter how hard I try to keep from being them.

Respect is earned by being given. It is a truth of life that we get what we give. Kindness begets kindness. Respect for someone’s faith gains respect for our own. Treating people with dignity returns that to us…

There HAS to be a middle way. I am not, and will never be, Pagan but, there are parts of that path that I understand. I do not know the rituals and magics. I don’t want to know, not my business. I do know that the traditions of herbalism and lore were also an accepted part of Christianity. I know that we, Christians, also seek insight into the mind of God through prayer. There is no direct Pagan analog but, there is seeking understanding of the supernatural. We claim that their faith is “made up” or “fiction” yet, theirs predates ours.

*sigh*

I know a bunch of Pagans. That was an accident. I didn’t seek to know ANY. They are just people. They are just as imperfect as anyone…Of course, I accidentally know a bunch of Christians and we are an imperfect set, too…

Why do we think, as a general question, that our specific beliefs give an exclusive lock on morality? What makes us so presumptuous as to believe that our way is the ONLY way and every other one is wrong? Again, middle ground, I have been mistaken. I do NOT know everything and have no particular insight into the minds of others and no way of knowing the inner workings of the mind of God…”but, Miller, the Bible says…” Yes, it does, and we don’t speak the language it was written in, some words do not directly translate, and are we sure that the translators did not have their own agenda? Not to mention that I am SURE that Jesus spoke more words than were written down. Who knows what else He said?

I’m looking for a modus vivendi, a way of living that includes rather than excludes. I want faith to be respected. Yes, specifically, Christians and Pagans finding mutual respect and peace are the end goals.

I write these to both Pagans and Christians…

*sigh*

…even though it seems that few Christians read these. I had to learn because I was faced with a human that isn’t Christian and, yet, she  is someone I love and respect. It is my hope that we can find a way to interact that allows both paths to flourish. I want MY beliefs to be treated, by Pagans, the same way I want theirs to be respected by us…

They are not a bunch of “damned heathen Pagans with their silly made-up, comic book, magick, and divinations”. They are Witches. We are Christians. They do practice magic and divination. We pray. They are not “damned” any more than we are. They are merely different…and that adds color to our world.

*****

My reasons ARE selfish. I want respect for my beliefs. I want respect for my best friend’s. More importantly than the respect, I am proud and protective of her. I want for her to not have to hide or be cautious. Just as I am able to say, “I’m Christian” and not expect any repercussions, I want her to be able to say “I’m a Witch” and not worry about her job or safety. I have found that HER community is more accepting of my belief than mine is of hers. I see the wrongness in that because her’s are the older set and we are the upstart.

Changing the World isn’t easy. It happens one person at a time…7 billion times. I do not expect to finish the task in my life…nor do I have any reason to suspect it’ll ever be done…I do have to try, though. I have my words. I have my prayers. I have a friend that walks along side that gave me hope that change could happen, it did in me.

Respect and dignity are not too much to ask…

 

A Poll

Thanks for your help. Please leave a comment if “none of the above” would be a better choice. Aj Is Going to HellAj Is Going Back to Hell. and Burn the Witch are the posts referenced in the choices.

Burn the Witch

“A Witch, burn her”…

It’s odd how a smart aleck comment as a Facebook status may start a different path. The reply was “some of your closest friends are Witches”…

I was just trying to be funny. I didn’t even think Witches were real. I sort of knew the history but, thought it was hysteria during a fearful time. I didn’t know they still existed. I had even less of a clue that the person that would become my closest friend is one…

Sometimes people change our basic assumptions. I assumed Aj was Christian. I expected that because we share the same basic morality and value set. I took it for granted that she was Christian expecting that those values came from the same “faith”. I was not correct. We do not share the same faith.

It’s odd that she did not set out to change my world view but, did. We’ve talked about it lately. She HAD to reply with the truth and take the chance that I would be pushed away. It seems that we were both coming to the same conclusion, that we could be “best friends”…even without the other knowing that thought was occurring. She risked pushing me away to tell the truth…She almost did…and it would have been my loss…

Sometimes, I am unknowingly hurtful and cruel. I say things, trying to be “cute”, that are anything but…I attempt to be clever…and fail. We ALL do.

How was I to know that one comment would be one of those times…and begin a journey that would draw me closer to the target of that comment. The path God chooses for us is not visible until after we’ve walked it.

There’s no inflection or tone of voice on a screen. What you see are words written in black and white. You don’t get to hear the emotion in what I’m thinking. I wish you could. There are very few things I regret in my life. I am grateful for the addiction I carried for so many years because those years shaped who I am now. “Anguish” is too strong a word. “Regret” doesn’t quite convey what I am trying to express. “Sadness” also isn’t quite right because the flippant comment did work out…

Once upon a time, when Christianity was the “cult” and we were living in the catacombs and crevices of society, before we started to grow, while we were the upstart infants, Pagans were the dominant culture. While we were crawling around hiding from the Romans and convincing ourselves of our own worth, Pagan kings ruled Europe. Pagan craftsman and jewelers created weapons, implements, and artwork. They knew the heavens and stars. They had agriculture and commerce. Their works of engineering still stand. Their herbalists found treatments we still use today for conditions our quacks would “bleed” you for…

We, Christians, see “The Wizard of Oz” and mock the Witch, “I’m melllllting…” We watch reruns of “Bewitched”. We look at popular culture, that Monty Python reference comes to mind…and we forget…

…we forget that we DID burn Witches. We forget that the Pagan kings of Europe invited us in and gave us safety. We repaid them with persecution and murder. We forget that when we were twelve guys following Jesus, they were millions. We forget that we took over their Holy Days and assimilated their culture while keeping the bits we wanted and claimed that we were the origin. We ignore that we forced them to hide and live in the catacombs and crevices of society. We disparage and downplay the horror of the trials and the burnings and executions by saying “that was then, this is now”…

They have not forgotten…and I don’t blame them for remembering…

It’s a wonder to me that Aj didn’t push me away in that instant. She took the time to explain. She was and still is, patient with my questions. I probably would not be as patient as she is. I KNOW I wouldn’t have been at first. I’d have imagined and relived the horror and loss and tossed me away so fast my head spun. I would have not taken the time to explain. My comment would have not been a gentle answer, it would have been to remove contact.

This is the world we have created. We have caused our Elder Sisters and Brothers to have to hide in plain sight. We force them to appear to be like us. We tell their children that their parents view and faith are comic, untrue, or evil. We mock and deride. We make a profit on a fiction of them. We give them anything but legitimacy…and we owe them better than that…

*sigh*

My “best friend that is not my wife” is a Lady and a Witch. Her path is not mine but, it walks beside mine. Her Path is from a way that far precedes mine and a culture that is far more vibrant than I ever imagined. She’s not outwardly remarkable but, she’s inwardly, one of the toughest and most resilient people I’ve ever met. If you want to burn THAT Witch, please bring enough wood to burn a Heretic, too…

Part of me wishes I had never made the comment. I wish I had never reminded her of the history but, if I had not, there would not be a Witch in my life.

Aj Is Going Back to Hell…

I love writing about Aj. I’ve sent her to Hell…and said why I don’t think she’s going. I’ve talked of her life and how it intersects with mine. I’ve painted a picture of a Mother, a Teacher, and a Friend. I’ve expressed a desire for her to have all the good things this World may offer… It’s all part of the plan. I’m going to teach people to see people. I’m going to let you get attached to her and then…snatch her away…

*grins*

…not really…I wouldn’t take Aj away if I could. I’m going to teach you to learn to love Aj and then I’m going to ask you why you hold it against her that she doesn’t conform to your specific set of beliefs…well…maybe I will take her away…

Look at it from my perspective. The Lady *editorial, yes I use the word as a title* holds a special place in my life and heart. She is the other one I count on having “there”. Some days, just knowing she exists gives me reasons to have hope for the world. Why, then, would I want to expose her to people that only see the part that doesn’t conform to their limited perspective? To further make her subject to the “slings and arrows” that people would use on her? Why not let her stay in the circle that loves and protects her, me included?

What if I decided that you aren’t worth HER? What if I told you that, from my tiny perspective, that the second most important non-blood related woman in my life *editorial, my Mom sometimes reads this and she gave birth to me. That’s important. :)* is more important than all the rest of you combined?

I wonder what I should do? Should I send her to Hell again? Would that get your attention? Should I leave her alone and hope you do the same? I’ve tried both.Should I send her to Hell again? Would that get your attention? Should I leave her alone and hope you do the same? I’ve tried both.

I could say that say that her life and faith are none of your business but, it seems that we think we have a right to judge EVERYONES life. *editorial, the fact that I keep hammering away at this topic points out my own guilt, too*

I’ll be honest, as if I were not already, this blog, the entirety of it minus the autobiographical bits, is an attempt to manipulate your view point. It is designed to use guilt because logic doesn’t seem to work by making people see the humans they repress, disparage, or persecute as worthy of love. The tools are specific individuals that I know and love. The method is to form attraction between you and them and, then, ask you why you would diminish someone that you would like, and possibly, learn to love. The end goal, is for you to come to love them, even if only from a distance, and realize that you can not claim love and keep them in the chains of disdain that you think are your right to own…

I really don’t want to point any of this out. I’d rather just “say nice things” and hope it works. I would prefer to be able to encourage her and forget about the people that don’t. I’d love to not share her at all and keep her attention for myself. Wouldn’t that be great, keeping the love of my wife and that of my best friend selfishly locked away for my own and never to share?…Nope, what good is having someone to love and not sharing? Why be that selfish?

So…let’s send Aj to Hell. Let’s make that Hell Earth. Let’s keep telling her that she is worthless. Let’s keep our own moral high ground by diminishing the ground other’s stand on ’till there’s NO ground and they drown in their own worthlessness while admiring our own worth. Yeah, let’s feel good about ourselves at the expense of someone…anyone…so that we don’t have to face our own fears and weaknesses…

Look, I’m not trying to gain pity or sympathy for her. She needs neither. She is a strong, resilient, caring, and loving person. If any person needs both sympathy and pity, it’s they who feel no emotions but scorn, contempt, and haughty pride in their own infallibility, those who would look down their ever so long nose at her and fail to see their own warts.

Don’t feel sorry for Aj. She doesn’t want it or need it. Just give her the same room to live that you would demand yourself. That’s not too much to ask…and if you think she’s going to Hell, please do. Just don’t bother to tell me or her, we don’t care if you do…

Ask yourself this, too. Why would a Christian who has zero intention of ever becoming Pagan so determinedly and vigorously defend a Pagan? Why would he publicly claim her as “loved” and “best friend that is not my wife” if he feared her or the condition of her soul? She IS NOT a tool of the devil. She merely is herself and claims no master.

You may think Hell is her lot. I would disagree. She may be a bit banged up on the outside but, her soul is as shiny and clean as it was the day it was made…and that soul will never wind up in Hell…

*****

We all want to think we’re a “special snowflake”. We aren’t. At the very bottom of things, we all want to find our place. Aj is no different than any Christian. She, like us, want’s to interact with the Divine, live in peace, and love as she feels is best. She’s not special or different…and neither are you. The ONLY difference is, she does not pretend that her truths are universal. She does not feel like she has a right to compel anyone to conform to her view and she KNOWS that repressing someone for different beliefs is not her right.

If you want the things you expect yourself, religious freedom, respect, and love give them or admit hypocrisy. Show, by your actions, that you have earned the rights you demand…that or admit that while you send her to Hell, you are also commenting on the condition of your own soul, too…

How In the H**l Did That Happen?

I didn’t set out to find a friend…much less a teacher. I was being a smart alec and rude. It was a stupid PvP game. How was I to know that, years later, the game would be gone and the friend remain? I wasn’t really looking for anything except for a foil to my inner smarta$$.

As much as I want, I can not wrap her in tissue paper and protect her like a china doll, nor would she want me to.

She puts up with my “antics”, fears, frustrations, missteps, poor phrasing, overthinking, rambles, and “scruffy” mind. She chides, cajoles, and forces me to think. Sometimes she tells me to go away…and that’s cool, too. I don’t even begin to know why. *She’s trying to teach me not to ask and I’m trying to learn that* I do know this, though, she loves me and that’s enough.

Sometimes, mostly, there aren’t really formal lessons. This isn’t school where its Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. It’s more, I find out something by accident that I need to learn and she nudges me in the right direction…usually without me realizing it.

*****

I’ve been writing this over a period of a few days because I really feel like having something for tomorrow and I don’t really have a clue. A wise woman told me that writing says, paraphrase, more about the writer than the subject. I agree. Sometimes *grins* I hope that writing in first-person isn’t saying “I’m a narcissist” *grins again* or “I’m just a big bag of neurotic wrapped in a nice old guy” *grins 3rd time*

*****

Oh yeah, the title. Oops, almost forgot it. *editorial, I usually have a title before a post. It substitutes for an outline* It’s sort of rhetorical. I know how it happened. It happened because I did something I rarely do. I listened and found wisdom. I had an old mentor teach me that when wisdom appeared, don’t question your notions of the source, just accept it. Funny thing, I don’t think he, a “fundie” Christian, was talking about a Pagan woman a few years younger than me. *grins* I LOVE irony. *grins again* He’d flip if he knew that I was allowing myself to be taught by a woman…much less an un-believer…

So, here’s an other thought…Even though I call her “teacher”, and that is true, she’s really my best friend…and happens to teach me stuff. *editorial, sometimes that’s “sit down and shut up* She really just lives her life and answers my questions. Sometimes even when I drive her to distraction…

*****

Some other thinking, I KNOW she doesn’t want “married” again. What I want for her is for someone, besides her children, to let her be the most important person in their world. I want, for her, hugs, security, comfort, sex, passion, and words like “I love you. I couldn’t imagine my life without you. You are the most beautiful woman in the world”. *editorial, in my view, the most beautiful woman in the world is the one you look at and see “forever”. I married mine* Those things are not too much to want for your best friend.

*****

*grins*

So, how did this happen? How did an uptight “fundie” come to think a Pagan wasn’t going to Hell? How did a smarta$$ wind up being best friends with a “target”? How did that morph into “teacher” all the while remaining best friend?

*grins again*

What I do know is this. All those silly “why” questions don’t matter. They’re a waste of energy. I’ll keep what I’ve got and enjoy it. I am a lucky guy. I have a best friend that is my wife…and I have a best friend that is not…and they both want the best for me.

Life is good…y’all have a nice day and I hope you have the same luck…

D**n Confusing Woman…or, An Old Comfortable Pair of Jeans…

I have a friend. *grins* I really have several but, this is about one. She easily GIVES praise, when she thinks it’s deserved and will argue you into the ground to make you see it in yourself but, she REFUSES to see it in herself. Allow me to quote her…

“Sometimes I have to step back. I do not see in myself these things you write about me. I am just being me. I live my life the best way I can and do my best to always be kind and caring. I have my human moments but I ground myself and remember that every thing and every person has a purpose. I may not always know what that purpose is, but I am certain that there is one. With me just being me, I am at times taken aback when I realize these words are about me.”

Yes, you are human. I used the phrase, “In truth, she can be a stone b***h and highly opinionated”. You are entirely capable of being petty and spiteful. You are able to “beat me up” over a misphrased idea. Some days all I want to say is, “give me a break”. So what?

This was my reply to her, “… you agreed without any condition or editorial input, to be used as an example. You allow and encourage me to share details of your life, health, and faith. You, although you know me well enough to know they exist, have never set any boundaries on what is permissible to reveal. You want me to show your imperfections and failings. You have given unconditional trust to me. Do you know ANYONE else willing to do that? It’s easy to say things about ourselves. It is a far different thing to trust someone else to do that, even your best friend. See?…”

Think about that for a bit. How many of us are willing to let someone, even a trusted friend, to do that? How many are willing to, no matter the cause or end, are willing to be used as an example and have our lives shown to strangers, look at the warts and all, to show the frailties, comment on the sexuality, point out the chronic illness, use their faith, to be the Hammer?

Part of me wants to say, “okie dokie, here ya go” but…I can’t quite bring myself to…

People are confusing. We mistake being human for being perfect. We see our defects very clearly and our glories not at all. We are blind to what we do and when it is pointed out, automatically dismiss it.

So, what’s all this have to do with writing about how Christians and Pagans interact? Actually, not much…unless you figured out that it’s Aj that I’m talking about. Even then, there’s no direct reference to Paganism or Christianity…and, unless I rewrite this, won’t be…

It’s an odd thing, she likes the posts where I write about her humanity. She enjoys being The Hammer. Those aren’t fun for me. I like the “nice” posts, the ones where I get to talk about the regard I hold her in, the ones with the “hero worship” in them. The truth about her is probably someplace in the middle…

It’s kind of like an old comfortable pair of jeans, her friendship. It fits. It’s soft and comfortable. It has meaning beyond its apparent worth. When it started out it was starchy and stiff…now, even if we talk on text or chat, I hear her voice… I have a memory of a hug on a warm summer day…I know that when I need some thought, she was doing it before I knew I needed it…I didn’t want her as a friend but, as time goes on, I realize she was the friend I NEEDED…and still do.

Broken down into her parts, you might judge a bit and find the whole wanting but, the whole is what matters…and that’s the lesson. If you take people apart, you’ll always find something to dislike. Stop doing that…even to people that confuse you.