Christian

Divination Scares the S**t Outta Me

Divination, in all its forms, scares me from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. I mean, the idea of it, even this mention will cause nightmares. A few of the people I love are Witches. In point of fact, with one exception, the closest of the handful of people that aren’t related, are Witches. The Witches keep reassuring me that divination is nothing to be feared…and I still fear it. I suspect I always will…

So what?

To The Witches, divination and their spiritual life,  are a part of them as much as the physical parts of themselves. So, if I love The Witches, if they are as dear to me as I say they are, what choices do I have?

Well, I could reject them. Just kick them away from me. You know, “Hey, y’all are just a bunch of trash. If that’s a part of you, y’all are going to Hell anyway, keep away from me. Besides that s**t scares the crap outta me. Damn Sinners…” Yeah…NO. Not an option. First of all, I’m a Heretic and figure that my God is capable of many things that I don’t know or understand. Also, the Bible says it isn’t MY place to Judge the condition of anyone’s soul. Besides, The Witches are my friends and are the Wise Women I go to when I need advice from wise women. Aj prefers the term “crone”.

I could ignore it but, that option doesn’t work because their spiritual life IS a part of who and what they are. It would be like going to an exhibit of paintings and only look at the frames, missing the image you came to see. Seems fairly stupid to me.

That leaves the third option, I could just realize that THEY are not to be feared. That if I don’t run from them or push them away, my choice is to live with the fact that one of MY deepest fears is in error…or at least, try to convince my hind-brain of that even if my “thinking brain” knows they aren’t a  threat.

I KNOW The Witches.

I don’t know their every thought. I don’t their every thought. I don’t want to. I don’t know their rituals and practices. It isn’t my business. I don’t know what god(s) they follow and, again, unless they make it my business, it isn’t my business. What I do know is their character. I know that I can trust them with my fear of some of their Practice and they will, patiently, try…one more time…for the zillionth time…to explain and reassure. I know their love.

You know, it’s “odd” to be me. A Witch taught me some of the life lessons I needed to learn. The first woman that wasn’t a blood relative or a dog that I told I loved I married. That is my Lady Wife.

The second woman I ever said that to is a Witch. SHE, Aj, taught me that it is possible to love someone that you are not obligated to. To love a friend. She taught me that I don’t have to understand to be able to accept. She taught me that “different” is not the same as “threat”. She taught me that her beliefs and mine are not the same but, they can exist in harmony. She helped to teach me, read kick my a$$ in the right direction, that “I” am worth trusting, even if I didn’t believe it about myself. She gives me advice on difficult subjects like “how does my wife think?” She taught that sometimes you have to risk a great loss to have a great gain but, that’s a different story for a different time.

It seems kind of mercenary to me to not just kick The Witches out. I mean, I gain from them and they have to deal with my b.s. I mean, I see what MY upside is. I get to be around people I love and like and admire. What’s in it for them? I’m no great shakes. Just some random Heretic from a faith that pushed them underground and persecuted them for the better part of 2,000 years…I really don’t get it…That loss that is in the paragraph above, Aj told an, at that time, Evangelical Christian, now Heretic. that she was a Witch. She had decided she had found someone that could be her Best Friend…while I was realizing it…and KNEW that she had to tell me the Truth about herself, to remove any assumptions I may have, rather than to let me live with Illusion…and if I just decided that I should kick her aside, that would hurt but, not as much as the Lie would.

The Witches are NOT a threat. The first Witch I ever knew taught me that. The others I know reinforce that. Our beliefs are NOT the same but, the way we live our lives are.

You don’t have to agree with my faith…or theirs but, before you so readily dismiss someone as worthless, consider who they are. Don’t look at the frame and miss the artwork within…If all I see is what I fear, I lose The Witches. THAT loss is a price I am unwilling to pay.

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Yeah, I Took Shots at EVERYONE…

Bits of thoughts…

I am NOT open-minded. In my world, people, as differentiated from “humanity” fall into 3 groups, people I like, people I dislike, and people that will be one or the other of the first two. Humanity is different, because of the people I like, I write about humans being treated with decency and compassion. I write FOR the people I like and love, to humans, about humanity and faith…

To the young lady parked next to me. Yeah, I saw the dyed pink hair and haircut shorter than mine. Yeah, I saw the rainbow flag on your rear deck. Yep, I looked to see what you looked like because I was curious. I “people watch”. Perhaps I’m reading more into the look you gave me in return but, you have no clue that I write a blog defending your right to live your life as you please so, perhaps instead of seeing a middle-aged guy driving a black Town Car, you might consider that not everyone that looks like me sees someone that looks like you as anything other than a fellow traveler on this rock, not the enemy…

I’m not sure that people really understand the word “conservative” *grins* I see a bunch of alleged “conservatives” wanting to get up in arms over the “bathroom issue”. They seem to think that “traditional conservative values” means that the Constitution was unclear when it used the word “citizens” and not “straight, white, male, Republican, Christian” in it. The Constitution uses that word several times for example here, “The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.” So if y’all all’s grasp of grammar is so poor as to misunderstand that one word, it comes as no surprise that bigger concepts like “equality” and “liberty” are beyond your grasp. Perhaps you should stick to simpler things like “fear” and “hate” as in this example, “Would y’all  misogynistic, homophobic, racist, semi-literate, cretins with delusions of grandeur please shut up?” *editorial, I am NOT a self-labeled Liberal. For most of my life, I have thought of myself as “conservative”. Now, that ideology has been hijacked by hate and fear so, I am of no political party and just look at the issues*…

While I’m at it… The nice thing about being me is that I have very few illusions about myself. I know my weaknesses and strengths. I know the bits of myself to be scared of and the places I trust. *there is a point to this* Guys that abuse women have no such confidence in themselves. All they have is weakness and the only way they are able to feel power is by making someone else less, sort of like those people in the last paragraph. The difference is that the people up there lash out at a group and the guys that abuse lash out at individuals. Either way, it is sadly pathetic when the only way you are able to feel any strength is to make someone else powerless…

And another thing…My Christianity doesn’t give me a lock on morality. When I first started using drugs, I owned and read a Bible and called myself Christian. If all it took was to claim a faith as the key, there would be no pedophile priests, spousal abusers in churches, or scammer t.v. evangelists. Just because you’re claiming “God Hates Fags” doesn’t make it so. If you actually read the words Jesus said, “love your neighbor as you love yourself” and claim that “God hates…” I suspect what you really mean is “I hate myself so, I’ll lash out at you…” Morality is a condition of your soul. It is entirely possible to be a transgender, Pagan, Lesbian and be moral. Just as it is possible to be a cishet, male, Christian and be a pedophile. It is the SOUL that matters, not the trappings around it…

Look, guys, we have to be realistic. We are not going to agree with everyone. We are not going to like everyone. There’s no way we’ll ever understand everyone but, we have to live together on this rock…at least to the day of our demise…so, it’s far easier on ourselves, and the rest of the world, if we spend less time hating and fearing what we don’t understand. There are a bunch of things to fear. I fear that a moment of weakness could bring relapse. I fear finding a scorpion in my shoe…I don’t have time to fear others because their lives are not inside my house or my head.

Predatory people happen. They are criminals. If I spend my life worrying that it will be disrupted by a criminal, I spend very little time LIVING my own and they win. If I spend my time making myself feel stronger by surrounding myself with cowards, how strong am I really? I’d rather be built up by the strength and courage of the people I know than to have sunk to the level of the fear mongers.

That’s it, in the end, do we have the strength to realize that “different” is not the same as “evil” or “loathsome”? Or do we stay with the comfort of our own xenophobic beliefs and forget Genesis 3:19?

By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”

The Great Equalizer comes for all of us one day…

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.

How I Sent My Best Friend to Hell and She Liked It…

I’ve written some heavy handed posts about how Christians interact with Pagans lately. At the end, I’ll link to them. For now, I have some observations and thoughts. This time, I’m not as accusatory. I merely want some things said…

If you wonder why I think Aj is a good Christian Pagan, ponder this. My bible says, “greater love hath no man than he who lays down his life for another”. Aj is willing to let me lay her life bare to make the entire world a better place. That is acting on a verse from a book she does not follow. That is an attitude that Christians would do well to emulate. She willingly lets me expose the good and not so good in her to be an example. It’s easy to let someone write nice things about you. It is far harder to trust someone to write knowing they will tell the truth about the imperfect bits and not want to edit or hide them. She doesn’t even have the ability to change a single word I write, no editorial authority on the blog site yet, she just lets me write what I will. That trust is something I cherish and refuse to betray. She is willing to lay down her life, for all to see, to try to help make a change, not knowing if it will ever happen.

*****

I have a very hard time being objective when I write these, meaning the pro-Pagan, posts. I really do try but, it isn’t easy for different reasons. When I was writing the group of LBGT posts, I could, to some degree, detach and become legalistic, citing law and the Constitution. That and the nature of the person, Z, I was usually writing about is that she is more “detached”. *Hope that makes sense* Also, on the LBGT posts, Z and I share the same faith. I’ll explain the difficulty down the line a bit. Briefly, though, there was never an internal conflict within myself about her salvation to be resolved. I dodged it by reverting to legalism,

I lack objectivity on this group because, first, I have to get over, and fail, my sadness and disappointment that Christians bring out because of the way we reach out. I have to get past a desire to lash out with anger and fail, at Christians for letting their conduct not match their words or, worse, actually believing that their actions and prejudices are justified. I had to get over, and sometimes have a very hard time with, my own Vacation Bible School teachings that everyone that does not love Baby Jesus is going to a literal pit of fire and eternal torment. That those people earned their fire and my scorn, derision, and hate. That I was justified in mocking them and pushing them out of “civilized society”.

I had to get over, and sometimes have a very hard time with, my own Vacation Bible School teachings that everyone that does not love Baby Jesus is going to a literal pit of fire and eternal torment. That those people earned their fire and my scorn, derision, and hate. That I was justified in mocking them and pushing them out of “civilized society”. I have to, sometimes, still tell that child within me to sit down and shut up when he tries to rear his ugly head. That battle I can win, every time because of the next reason why I am not objective…

Aj. Beginning and end, it’s Aj. I ENTIRELY lack objectivity when it comes to her, I don’t even pretend to be.  I went through this years ago and am not going to overthink it again but, briefly I found out she was Pagan after I realized she could become my “best friend that is not my wife”, watched that “become” turn into “became” and realized that her soul was not in any danger of “VBS Hell”. Honestly, I don’t want objectivity when it comes to her. I don’t want a sense of detachment. I rarely give people permission to cause me emotional harm, I keep them at arms length. I trust her enough to let her close enough that, if she desired, she could cause that harm. Not many people are allowed “inside” far enough to “hurt my feelings”, I don’t let them that close. Aj could if she ever was willing to. How could I be objective about a person that is that close?

Again, because of Aj, I have some “difficulties”, read grief and anguish, when I write these. She and I agreed I could “use” her as a “hammer” and that she was to be a “tool”. We are talking about a person I love almost as much as I love my wife, if differently. It causes a HUGE amount of heartache to even think the idea that I would “use” her. She’s fine with it, in fact, the word that comes to mind is “glee” when she gets to be the hammer. For me, the semantics of it don’t feel good. It would be easier if it were someone I didn’t care so much for…As it is, I have a hard time removing my own emotional loading from the mental construct that allows us to do what we have set out to do. Does that make sense? I’ll give it this because I am not able to step out of the emotional conflict, it makes me more passionate when I write. I wish that words on a screen could convey that, though. I wish you could feel the heartache and sorrow that I feel when I realize that my faith treats her as less than human and that I feel when I have to use her as an object.

This, too, while we are on this topic. I will use Aj again and again. I will, intentionally, take my best friend, imagine the hurts she has suffered, imagine myself also causing them by using her, become angry at myself for doing that, and use that anger, grief, and hurt to swing my best friend as a hammer at those who would see her as less than I do. I will lose sleep and eat stomach acid. I will hate myself for doing it and I will do it repeatedly. I will use my emotions as fuel to swing harder…and it will hurt more. So what? A little self-inflicted pain is a small price and nothing in comparison to what is given to her. Like I said, I lack objectivity. I am, though, loyal and honorable. If I have some amount of hurt then it means that I am doing it right. If it didn’t hurt me to do it, then it would be time to quit because she would no longer be the friend she is. Does that make sense? *editorial, I am NOT a masochist. I just think she deserves my best and I’ll use myself as a tool just as we would use her*

So, yeah, I am not the tiniest bit objective…except this post writing a commentary about why I write…

*****

At first, I tried to find ways to “Christianize” Paganism. I’ve punted. Let me draw an analogy. Christianity and Paganism are about as alike as a plate of Nachos and a bacon sammich…*grins*…If you just went, “hunh?”, I made my point. They both are tasty and provide nourishment. That’s about all the commonality…except that both fill different needs in my life. One, Christianity, gives me a foundation for the spiritual part of my life, the other, being Pagan, fills the same need for my best friend. That gives them equal weight to me.

*****

I write these for both Christians and Pagans…

I want Christians to see that we have to start acting Christian. In James, it says that if we have faith and do not show it, that faith is dead. The hardest “work” a Christian will ever do is to reach a hand to someone outside their faith. We have to prove our thoughts by our actions. Saying, “God loves everyone but, I hate heathens and fags” is NOT showing love. It, that hate, is proof of faith that is hollow and rotten at its core. That we allow ourselves to feel victimized by someone we actively repress is not our calling. Our calling is to be concerned with our own actions and our relations with our God and to show our faith by our lives. There are over 200 million Christians in this country, we don’t get to claim to be under attack by a group that may number a tenth of that. They are not a threat to us but, we are to them.

I write to Pagans so that y’all may realize that not all Christians hate you. That some of us are willing to reach out, not because we feel that you are “poor damned souls” but, that your faith carries equal weight in your lives and is just as real. So that you can know that, in one heart, at least, there is room for you to be safe and not an enemy but, in the case of some people in my life, treasured and loved just as you are…

I also write because Aj. Yeah, she comes up again. Go figure. These posts, the time, effort and, thought are a gift. They are what I may give to a friend that lives far away. They are an expression of the worth that she has to me and a way to show it. I am not rich or even moderately wealthy. What I have are my thoughts and words. I have the hours I spend writing and thinking about writing. I want to do something for her to return what she does for me. This is what I am able to do.

*****

Anyway, I wanted this post to be a breather from the posts that chastise or cajole. I hope this made some sense and some clarification of where I am coming from and why I even try to do something that I suspect will only be marginally successful. The links to the posts I am thinking of when I write are Aj Is Going to Hell and Why Is a Pagan a Better Christian Than I Am? Those are the posts that use Aj as a hammer and send her to Hell. This oneWhich One Is Pagan? started this current batch. *editorial, the last is not a beat down*

I think that I’m going to take a few days or a couple of weeks without sending Aj to Hell. I need a bit of recovery. There are no parts of “fun” when I write the posts that bash. I resent Christians for giving me reasons to feel forced to tell that “love one another” is not a conditional phrase. Interestingly, Aj doesn’t mind that I send her to Hell. She doesn’t care that she’s the tool used. She’s become used to the hate and, if she’s going to be hated, wants a way to strike back. I, on the other hand, don’t care what you think of me but, want her to be loved…or at least not  cautious of having to reveal herself for fear of repercussion. So, yeah, I sent my best friend to hell…long before I ever knew her…then realized she isn’t going there…

So, yeah, I sent my best friend to hell…long before I ever knew her…then realized she isn’t going there…*sigh* She’ll let me send her there again…and I will…as many times and in as many ways as we, she and I, can figure out how until people realize that’s not where she’s going…Worry for your soul and mine if you will, never for hers.

Why Is a Pagan a Better Christian Than I Am?

Why does it take sending my best friend to Hell to make a point? Why should I have to portray her as a “poor damned soul” to get attention? What part of our Christian Values gives us the right to only reach out to the “lost” or our church? We try to help the poor because we feel like we have a duty to do it. We attempt to “convert” the “lost” out of pity.

*sigh*

Right now, this instant, my attitude is not very “Christian”. I’m not so much angry as disappointed. Christians, not Christ, have let me down. People claim to worship Jesus and do not act like it. He fed the hungry, embraced whores and tax collectors, spoke of loving his fellow man, whipped the money hungry in the temple, and ultimately was misrepresented and was killed for that. He said that we are not to question the condition of someone’s soul unless we want our soul to also be called to the same judgement; which of us could face that and NOT the mercy we want? What part of following the ACTIONS of Jesus is persecution? What part of embracing outcasts and marginalized people is causing them to be pushed farther out? Where is the sense of self-sacrifice that cost Him His life when you are busy spouting your own righteousness at the expense of someone else? He went willingly to his doom while you play the “victim card”. I’m not questioning that you think you believe, I am saying your actions do not show it.

*sigh again*

Do you own a hammer? Right now I feel like a b****rd for using one. I don’t “own” the hammer I am willing to use because, I’m using a human I love. My best friend does not have to write these words but, she is the hammer. I am willingly and knowingly USING the life of a human…and it hurts. It is coldly calculated. I have to point out that she has been abused, threatened, and cast away by people that claim love and Christianity. If they were really what they claimed to be, she and I would never have known each other. Yet, I am taking my best friend in the world, the second person I did not marry and call “best friend”, and treat her as an object used on nails. The good news is that it is harder on the nail than the hammer. I would pound flat those that would dare to stick their heads up and claim virtue. They have no reason to claim it and neither do I. I do not pretend to be better than they because, I am far from perfect. This post and the temper that flares are as much proof as the years of addiction that I survived that I lack perfection…or even coming close.

*exhale*

Look, guys, how we treat people matters. What we do to people that are not like us is what proves our Christianity, not how we act to Christians. I am not an “uber-Christian”. I am a weak, fallible, mortal, sometimes confused, sometimes angry, human. I use another human to drive my temper to write words for her. I feel guilty for doing that because it merely reinforces, if she reads this, that she is cast out. It tells her that not many people outside her community, Pagans I mean, are willing to see her for what she is not what they presume she does.

Let’s talk about her for a bit…She’s a better “Christian” than most I know. She adopted and is raising a daughter, after her kids are adults, because it is the right thing to do. She has a chronic illness and goes to work every day to make a life for her and the young lady. She is constantly physically exhausted and persists. She would give her next breath, and every one after, to her daughter. She helps people, I mean, physically does things to help. She accepts and embraces me even though my faith pushed her away. She honors and reveres her gods with nothing to gain while Christians plead and implore a God they fear. She, by the standards of her faith, “prays without ceasing”. She is kind, tender and, loving. In truth, she can be a stone b***h and highly opinionated but, given her past, that’s fair enough. I don’t know how she goes on. Yet, she persists. She lets herself be a hammer…and I love her enough to use her as one. I wish I were half the man she is a woman. I wish I were as true to my moral code as she is to hers. I wish I were as brave and tough.

*breath*

Here’s the point, when a Pagan, Aj, is a better Christian than most Christians I know, the issue isn’t that Pagan. When we regain the moral standing, quit claiming to be victims, walk our walk, and finally follow Jesus and not our stupid views of others, then we get to push people out…and it’ll still be wrong. I know God loves her. He created her to be what she is. *she’ll disagree and I ENTIRELY respect that different view* When we are able to live the standard she does, then we are all better for it. Then her world, and ours, are more worth living in and, maybe, our souls are not in question. Till then, I sometimes, worry for mine but, never for hers.

I’m trying to calm down. It hurts to use my best friend as a hammer. The word “use” itself feels wrong. The fact that I have to do it to my own faith feels worse. I don’t wish Aj had not been forced out of Christianity becuse I would not have ever known her. I just wish Chistians would act more like that one Pagan.

Aj Is Going to Hell

My best friend is an immoral Pagan witch. She’s rejected Christian Morality. She outright refuses to accept the concepts of Christian repressed sexuality. She makes her own rules and worships her own gods, plural. She has her own rituals and practices divination. Yeah, she’s going to Hell and there’s nothing I can do about it. Not only that, she doesn’t even believe Hell exists…

So, if she’s going there, why do Christians, not all of us but, enough, feel a need to persecute her during this life. I mean, if you believe someone is going to Eternal Damnation, isn’t that enough? You think the condition of her soul means you have the right to be a jerk to one of God’s Creations, even if you think that she’s an “offense against God” and that, when He created her he made a mistake. That somehow, you’re showing her what True Christian Values are by letting her know you think she has no value? That God will praise you for showing His love to her by treating her like she has no worth?

This is what you have taught her by your examples… “I wish for true religious freedom every day but I know that as long as it is a christian based society there never will be…I have learned to walk quietly so that I am not persecuted for my belief. I do not hide who I am or deny my personal truths.” You have taught that you only believe in religious freedom for yourself. You have taught that she WILL be persecuted for her belief. You have taught her this, “If you are such a damn good christian then follow your own commandments and guidelines. Love your neighbor, do not judge and do unto others as you would have done unto you” and that you will not. You have taught her that my “heresy” in treating her as a human, a loved and cherished human that happens to not be Christian, is vanishingly rare among Christians.

You realize that you failed? If you value the souls of unbelievers, then there is one that you will never be able to save because YOU have driven it away. Your actions. Your failure to show, by the example you set, that your path is worth emulating, means that her soul is beyond reach. Once, you might have had a chance, now it is too late for her… The question does remain, what will you do now? How will you reach out to the next person you would send to Hell? What love will you reach out with? Will you invite them into the warmth of your home and life? Will you teach them, without words, of the depth of your faith? By the love for them you express, will you show them that their souls have worth and their lives matter or will you reject them and send another worthless Pagan to Hell? Will you cause them to find community away from yours and take away any chance you might have had to “save” them? What will you do to the next chance you have?

*****

My best friend is a Pagan. I am not. This is what I believe. I believe that God is able to do anything. I believe He shows himself in the form He best thinks will be received.  I believe that, to Christians, He appeared in a form we can accept. I believe that it is possible that he presents Himself to others in a way that they might accept.

I am not trying to “Christianize” Pagans or Aj. I know she doesn’t even allow for the Christian Hell to exist. I know that she will never be a Christian and yet, I also don’t think she’s going to Hell. Her soul may be a bit banged up around the edges but, the core of it is as solid as any I know. That soul, that person that lights candles for me, that shows concern for my life and my fears, has nothing to worry about. That human, that soul that animates the shell that lives on this earth, is valuable to me. I believe that soul will not go to Hell just because she’s not Christian.

 

The Storm

*sigh*

How do I do this? How do I show someone I love to people that fear her that she is not to be feared?

I love storms. You ride them out and love the wind and wave and cold. You survive them and sail, on bare poles, surfing down hill. You bail and revel that you lived. When you are in the calm, between the waves, you see the wind and lightning raging above you. Then, the calm is over and the storm defies you to have dared to have challenged it. It refuses to be chained or tamed. It lets you know just how foolish you were to have tried to control it…and it doesn’t care if you survive or not because it IS the storm. Then it passes and you see the Sun again…and wait for the storm so that you might prove to yourself that YOU are alive.

Why would I love something I should hate? Why see beauty in it, that which I should fear? Why within the tempest do I see calm and elemental passion?

My best friend is one of the most fiercely independent people I know. She defies anyone to force her to conform to their view or compromise herself in the tiniest way. If she were any different, I would not love her as much as I do. She lives her life and dares you to find fault…

She is the storm.

By all rights, I should despise her. I do not want to love her. Every teaching I ever had, says she is evil and a tool of the Devil, yet she, too, is God’s Creation. She is formed in the image He created her to be. If we allow, as if we could change it, the storm to be God’s creation, how can we condemn she who embraces it?

I have tried. I worked to make her something she is not. I have wanted to overlay my construct on her so that I might find a way to understand her. I can no longer do that. She is, and will be, the storm and there is no choice but to accept her as she is. She is no more evil than a storm, she is what she is, nothing more or less. That is all I need to know.

*****

Aj, my best friend is a Pagan. I am a Heretic Christian. I do not suppose I will ever understand her. I will not understand how deeply important a part of her that is. I tried to draw comparisons to my own faith and they do not work. In the end, it doesn’t matter how much I understand. What matters is that I love her and do not try to make her fit what I want to see unless I want to lose her. She is not evil, that much I understand. She has faith that is as deep as my own. She is, I believe, created by the Hand of God.

Christians, if we believe that God created all things for His purpose, why do we believe he made mistakes? Why do we believe that people that mean us no harm and love us the way we are, are wrong and going to Hell? Why do we not follow our own rules and do not judge them since they do not sit in judgement of us? They are our neighbors and we are to love them as we love ourselves. If we can not do that, we sit in judgement of our own souls, too. We give lie to our professed love of self and God’s creation. If she can hold true to her faith, why do we find it so hard to be true to our own?

I will love the storm. I will seek understanding within it. I will not try to change it.

 

Musings on Heresy and Pagans and Friends

It has been a busy several days…month or two…so, the posts have been short or pics. This isn’t short…or a pic. *grins*

I really don’t understand the hate that different sects of the same faith have. I was reading a blog post by a Pagan, I think, that was putting down other Pagans. *editorial, this is not intended to be a shot at Pagans or followers of Wicca or anything else. It is just an example. You could substitute Christian just as easily* He was also bashing Wiccans. His reason, their beliefs weren’t exactly like his. It became odder when he had another post talking about how his faith was like being Jewish in 1930’s Germany. If that is the case, why be divisive? Why not stand with those of your faith and present a united front?

I get differences in dogma. The way I view Christianity is best-described as Heretic. My views don’t quite line up with the Progressive, Liberal, or Evangelical parts of Christianity. Without going into a theological debate, I tend to “cherry pick” *editorial “do you believe all of the Bible?” “depends on how you mean that…”* My tendency is to ignore the parts that exclude the souls of others or consign to Hell those that do not fit a specific mould. My belief is that it is the place of God to figure out, not Miller. My belief is also that we are created the way we are for a purpose. That means, specifically, that I do not say you can not be Christian because you are LBGT. In fact, the first person I go to for Christian prayer is Z. She’s a fine Christian Lady. She also happens to be an “L” in the LBGT. Why would one preclude the other?

Is this making sense? I knew Z as a Christian before I knew she was gay. By the time I found out that she is gay, it didn’t matter. Hadn’t mattered all along. It had just never come up. Why would being gay make her less of a Christian? If we both worship the same God, what difference does it make if she loves the same gender as my wife? It is the capacity for love that matters. Why would I presume that God pays less attention to her prayers than mine? *editorial, I have

*editorial, I have bias. I think Z is a “neat” person. Sorry about the dated slang. She’s a person I like having as a friend. If my choice is to exclude her or adapt my beliefs and thoughts to include her, I’ll adapt*

I also have Pagan friends. I go to them for prayer. I don’t understand the majority of their faith. I don’t understand the varieties of “religions” that fall under that broad umbrella term. Sorry, I just don’t. What I do get is, that, if I ask, they “pray” for me. They don’t question my beliefs. They just respect that I have come to them and answer. In return, I pray for them, when they ask. Seems fair. It isn’t my place to judge them for being different. If God had wanted them to be the same, He could have done that.

*editorial, See? Heretic*

Anyway, all of this wandering around to get to this. I think that matters of faith and love should include, not exclude. The group of people I trust includes some Pagans, a Wiccan, some Lesbians, my wife, some Christians, and, occasionally, myself. I don’t question the value of the souls of any of them. I think that I have Christian friends that will disagree with my views. That’s fine. We disagree. As long as the disagreements don’t turn to hate, we can remain friends. If the disagreements do become matters of hate, I’ll just remove the conflict. Some of the finest people I know do things differently than I do. That doesn’t make them bad or wrong. It makes them different. That’s it. They are still Great Ladies. They still keep a Heretic Christian as a friend. If they’ll have me, I’ll count myself blessed.

This Feels Like A Poem By Coleridge

Every day I write some lines repeating the same trains of thought. It is very simple. There shouldn’t be any qualifiers before the word “marriage”. I didn’t get “straight married”. I don’t think it is “gay marriage”. It is just marriage.

I haven’t mentioned it lately. I am a Christian. That doesn’t change my views of social issues. It also gives me this odd bias. Because I think we are created in the image of God, I think that being the way you are is by intent. That makes it hard for me to judge someone’s faith or orientation as a sin. It is just the way you are created.

Today, Dear “Wedding Guest”, this is what you get. It’s just a repeat of the views of one person telling the same story over and over hoping someone listens.

200 and a Few

I’ve gotten to the point that I’m repeating myself. It had to happen. I’ve been trying to write, at least, one a day. I started on Feb 10, 2014. This has been an outgrowth of a commitment I made to a couple of friends. One is my best friend that is not my wife. The other is the first person I go to when I feel like I need someone to pray for me. It is because I had started “protesting” on my Facebook wall using “stolen” pictures and memes. It is in direct support of religious freedom and treating humans as human. I don’t like labels but, my bftinmw is Pagan and my prayer partner is Lesbian. *editorial, those labels only really apply for y’all. For me, they’re just Aj and Z*

I’ve learned some stuff along the way. I read the sites that both support marriage equality and the “anti” sites. There are very few saints on either side of the issue. Particularly when it comes to the vocal supporters of either perspective. I know I’m no saint. When an issue is emotionally charged it tends to bring out the ugliness in the commentators. It seems that emotion trumps reason. I’ve tried to be civil as I write. Mostly, I think, I have. Sometimes, I have not.

I have tried to point out that there comes a point that even as a Christian, Civil Rights should not be influenced by religious views. In all honesty, if we applied my religious views to Civil Rights, there are Christians that aren’t heretics, like me, that I would deny rights to, specifically because I think they’ve twisted the love of the Bible toward hate. *sigh* I try to be objective. I’m not.

I’ve  tried to point out to the anti’s that think the “lifestyle” is a “choice” that it is neither. They don’t seem to listen. My survey on those two words was a very small sample size. I asked Z. She said it was the way she is. That she didn’t make a choice. She also said that it wasn’t a lifestyle any more than it was just the way she was created. I believe her. She might be any number of things. She IS honest. I’ve never had a reason to doubt that. Not going to start doubting her.

I’ve  used my past as an example. I was an addict/alcoholic. *editorial, I don’t think of myself as one now. I don’t use and haven’t for quite a few, 8 1/2, years. I carry the baggage if not the guilt. The past is past.* I’ve said that if we are going to deny Civil Rights to potential risks to society, they should have been denied to me. That addiction is a danger to society. Being gay is not. That perspective is still valid.

I’ve  tried to point out that, the majority of the Bible supports love and respect for others. That Jesus never said one word about being gay. That if we are to use a couple of OT verses and, depending on the way the Greek translates, a couple of NT verses to be exclusionary, then we have to apply to ourselves the majority of the rest of the Bible to ourselves. As a straight person, I find more commentary about losing my temper, diet, clothing choices, and a myriad of other things that would disqualify me. That the Bible specifically points out that I should be focused on MY OWN issues. That how others live their lives is not my problem. In all reality, I have more “stuff” to deal with than I have time for. Why should I be worried about what you do? *editorial, I’m a hypocrite. I write a blog to try to influence others and say “Why should I be worried about what you do?” go figure*

I would love it if someone wanted to write a “guest post” giving a different perspective, as long as it is in support of the context of the blog. Yeah, I’m biased. I’ll let a comment from an anti through but, this blog is to support my friends… and sometimes talk about what I happened to be thinking about.

Any way, I couldn’t think of anything to write this morning, so I did a rehash.*grins* I suppose y’all know where I stand, even when I’m sitting typing.