Christianity

Other…

I was talking to a friend. She called herself “other”, meaning “different”…

It occurs to me that we are all other. I mean, even the people we think are “same” aren’t. How could we be? As far as I know, there are no cloned humans with exactly the same experiences. We might share a gender, political views, religious views, and sexual orientation but, even then, we came to those spots inside our own skins…

So, why did this idea of Other stick in my head?

It is because of this…We need to protect other. We need to appreciate the Otherness of those that are other. Gaaaaack, this seems so obvious to me. We will never be able to fully understand any human. Hell, we don’t even understand ourselves. Anyway, *sigh* to not protect Other, we fail to protect ourselves.

There’s nothing wrong with not being the same.

Current society thinks Other equals Dangerous. If your political views differ, that person must be a threat… I suppose I could go down the list but, y’all get the point…Jumpin’ Jimmeny Christmas and The Easter Bunny, being different doesn’t present an existential threat.

The next part of this thought is, how do we develop and mature our own views if we are so hidebound that we refuse to listen to difference? If am so unwilling to listen to dissent and become so defensive of my own views that I refuse to admit the possibility that I could be in error, odds are that MY views are less valid than I think. Perhaps it’s just me but, I do make mistakes and continually look for holes in what I think and my personal philosophies…and adapt when some Other shows me error or invalidity…

*****

Other is also a trap when you apply it to yourself…

“I am Other and they’re all the Same so, they couldn’t possibly understand me…” That’s what a kid says to their parents and a 20-something says to someone in their 50’s…Not realizing the oldsters survived what they are living. I know I used the section up there to point out how we’re all different but, which in this case doesn’t mean “please disregard”, in quite a few ways we are the same. We all started out pooping our pants. We all want whatever form of “success” we deem. We all want to love and be loved. We will all face the same end…

…and not to drop into “politics” because I have avoided making any indication of any “political” view I might have…

…Our parents survived the Cold War. *I was born in 1963*. Their childhood was filled with above ground Atom Bomb testing. Their parents were the generation of WWII. The parents of kids today, are children of the Viet Nam Era. The World has been filled with “threats” to us since before the Dawn of History…

We, humanity, will survive and adapt. It is our nature to do that…

*****

Other, hunh? Celebrate it.

Other, hunh? Protect it.

Other, hunh? Ignore it.

Other, hunh? Learn from it.

Other, hunh? Yeah, and Same…

Holy Smokes

It’s been almost a year since I last wrote…I left because I was fed up with “politics”. I felt that Reason had long since become disgusted and wandered away. I am not “political” in the sense that I identify with a party or specific ideology. I also believe that the topics that I’ve written about, meaning, Religious Freedom, the fact that Women have worth and should never be physically or emotionally abused and, LBGT Rights transcend politics…

I left because I was fed up with “politics”. I felt that Reason had long since become disgusted and wandered away. I am not “political” in the sense that I identify with a party or specific ideology. I also believe that the topics that I’ve written about, meaning, Religious Freedom, the fact that Women have worth and should never be physically or emotionally abused and, LBGT Rights transcend politics…

I also left because I was at a point where I felt like I had said all I could say and was reaching burnout. In addition, my own tiny family, meaning, my wife, needed every bit of my emotional energy…

I am writing this one because I want to reaffirm and restate what I always believed.

  • What your beliefs do not make you good or bad. There are bad Christians, good Pagans and, indifferent Atheists. The “content of your character” comes from within and not a system of belief.
  • Women have worth. Period. They are not chattel. They are not objects. They are not punching bags or targets for torment. They are our mothers, sisters, daughters, coworkers, fellow humans, wives, partners, and any other phrase or word you choose to describe them. They are the equals of men. They are the ONLY gender capable of giving birth to humans. We owe them our lives and they deserve to be treated with the respect that has well earned.
  • Your sexuality is your own. Yeah, I think the LBGT Community has gotten a rough deal from the majority of my Cis-het Christian Community but, the fact that you are ANY of the previous doesn’t make you “special”, it makes you human. There are over 7 billion people on the Earth. All of them have some form of sexuality … including a desire to have none. All it boils down to, in the end, is that you don’t deserve to be persecuted for who you f**k. That’s it.

I started to write this as a response to the Fear that seems to pervade today’s society. Thing is people have been saying for thousands of years “the end is near” and it hasn’t happened yet. The fears of today are nothing but the flavor of the month. We have survived both wise men and fools in high office. We have survived War and Famine. We have made it through everything Nature can throw at us. The troubles of today pale in comprison to those of the past. The only difference it that today’s are happening now…

Perhaps it’s merely my age that gives me some tiny bit, I hope, of wisdom and perspective but, I am less concerned about how the World treats me and more concerned about how I treat y’all. It isn’t the Alfred E. Neuman, “what, me worry?” as much as it is that I really don’t want to waste the energy concerning myself with things I can not change and may not even happen…

…I don’t really know if this post means I’m back or is just to say that my views haven’t changed…

Some Not Really Connected Thoughts…

Still thinking…

When we decide that we are “sitting in judgement” are we really doing what is right? We have an obligation to decide what is criminal, meaning causing harm to others, but, what about other actions? What about someone’s beliefs? Someday, I’ll stand before my maker and have to talk about MY life, not yours.

When we presume to judge the condition of someone’s soul, we are taking from God, that power and responsibility. We, as Christians, are warned against that. We are told, specifically, that the same standard we use will be used on us. If we judge based on our perceptions of “flawed” are we so very sure that His perception of “flawed” will not include some aspect of us? Are ANY of us so perfect that every bit of us can stand the scrutiny that we apply to others?

I KNOW I could not pass that test…

*****

Divination scares me. Rituals scare me. So, I don’t practice them. Makes you wonder why I am so protective of Witches? Because Witches don’t scare me. I know too many. I just don’t ask them about the ritual aspects.

*****

“With great power comes great responsibility”

We, each of us, has the power of life and death. We believe that our own view is the most important. We know that we, ourselves only,  are unique.

So, what do we do with that? Do we use our “power”, meaning our innate sense of self and value, to condemn, in our view, others for being “not us” and not “unique” or do we recognize that other people are just as individual?

That’s the question…and the power. We may recognize that people have the same rights of self and individuality that we so strongly claim or we may remove them from humanity, and life, by piling them into a group that we think are less than us and giving them “death”.

To trivialize someone for their belief is to take away from our own. To claim significance for ourselves and say that our view stands above the rest minimizes our beliefs just as we do to them. Being the biggest algae in the pond is no accomplishment. I’d rather stand among peers of strong faith and belief…even if I do not share them…than be just another green slime claiming to be king…

*****

These were just some stuff that bounced around. My life, out here, was busy for a couple of weeks because of work. Feel free to ask me stuff. I’ll answer. We might disagree. I might become defensive because I do “cherry pick” the Bible. I believe that we all do. We take the parts we want and “disregard the rest” to paraphrase Simon and Garfunkle…

I’ll leave you with this, my views are valid…for me…I’ll defend your right to your perspective, even if I don’t share it.

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…

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…

 

Unintended Results…

…The World is a big place…doh…and we each only really occupy a tiny bit of it. Yet, sometimes, we occupy more than we think. We, either by accident or intentionally, impact people in ways we never intended…

You see, there’s a Pagan that makes me a better Christian. To understand her place in my world and to try to understand her faith, not the rituals or beliefs but, the depth, I had to examine mine and my place in it. Look at it like this, we do not share the same group of beliefs but, we share Faith. We both believe in something greater than ourselves and find a sense of “place” within that commonality. *editorial, I had a pastor tell my Dad that they needed to get the humanism out of me. It didn’t work. I merely apply it within a context that include my spiritual beliefs*

Aj didn’t set out to help increase the depth of my faith. She really wasn’t trying to give me any reasons to look more deeply into what I believed. I think that she really wasn’t trying to do anything at all except correct a smart-aleck comment I made the day she told me she was Pagan. I KNOW it wasn’t her intent to “rock my world”. I suspect that if the issue hadn’t forced itself, she would have picked a different time or a different way to let me know. As it stands, what happened was I made a comment and she replied. Then there was the accidental *editorial, I do not believe in accidents. My belief is that there is a purpose for everything* part. I was left with a question, was I convinced beyond a doubt of the “rightness” of my position or was I human and possibly not completely correct? Do I believe every bit of the dogma or allow for the possibility that there are multiple “right” paths?

In the end, the only conclusion I could come to was that my path was correct…for me. That the Divine expresses itself to each in the fashion that is needed by that individual. That our spiritual beliefs are so deeply personal that we, even when we say we share beliefs, really only have our own personal construct.

At the same time, without knowing the details of her rituals, I see the depth of her faith and the way it impacts her life. That encourages me to explore my own. That puts mine at the front of my mind. That, by writing this blog, my beliefs and views are constantly on my mind. By looking for ways to express, to you, what I see, feel, and think I have to look inward. I have to find expressions of my God in my life and, even though she doesn’t see it the same, in her’s. *editorial, I AM NOT making her Christian. I am saying that having different beliefs does not negate that I believe that the God I have works in her life, just as she believes her gods work in mine. Fair enough?*

*editorial, I AM NOT making her Christian. I am saying that having different beliefs does not negate that I believe that the God I have works in her life, just as she believes her gods work in mine. Fair enough?*

We don’t always do what we set out to do. I didn’t seek out Pagan friends to become a nicer Christian. I didn’t really seek out Pagans for any reason. Wasn’t looking and, had I known before I got to know her, would have avoided them…as it is, though, I do know a few Pagans. I have learned to look outside myself. Because of that, when I look inward, I find depth in my faith and room in my heart that I never knew existed…all because  of a smart aleck comment and a response that was kindness and patience.

A soft answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
    but the mouths of fools pour out folly.” Prov 15: 1-2

Dumb Question Time

I’ve written, mostly, about three major themes LBGT Rights, Religious Freedom, and dignity for women. I’ve also written about one minor but, recurring, theme, my past addiction. The question is, in the coming year, what focus? I do not see any major changes coming but, I keep thinking I’ve missed something. NO POLITICS. I try to avoid giving a left/right/libertarian bias so, I’ll avoid that. I write, as a Christian to anyone that will listen either for support or to modify their views. Please respond and I’ll take it under advisement.

How Do We Respond?

A crime was committed against my family. I do not know what was stolen, by who, or when those things are lost to time…

My descent is Western European. There is no one, that we can tell, of any other geographical area. That means we were not always Christian. It is impossible since we didn’t spring from the ground in the 7th century AD. That means, like all others with the same roots, we had a different culture and set of oral traditions as well as a different faith. Those were stolen and we can not prove what was taken.

Anyway…that the theft occurred is a given. That one of my ancestors did it to another can also be taken as fact. What is also true, for me, is that my Christianity is my faith. Being Christian does not change that I do wonder and when I do that I can not decide which is worse, the theft or not knowing what was stolen. You see, the cultures that are gone left no written record. We have no genealogies going to those times. History was written by the victors, not the oppressed. Religion was used as a political tool to enforce temporal power.

I don’t know why my friends that are Pagan became that. What motivation other than a vague, “Christianity didn’t fit”. Perhaps someday one or a few will tell me if I ask. I wonder, sometimes if it is a longing for what was lost or anger at what was done.

*****

So, how do we right a wrong when we do not know the crime or the victims or the perpetrators?

We, Christians, have to try to set aside out fears. I know it is not easy. It wasn’t/isn’t for me so, I acknowledge them and see the person and not the practices that cause discomfort.

We should accept that there was a loss and realize that, though we don’t own the guilt, Christianity does. We need to get off our high horse with the innate moral superiority we think we have because we believe we have the ONLY path that is true and right. Paganism is our parent. They had faith before us and no matter what we want to believe, just because we have a book and all they have is an oral tradition, we are not somehow innately superior, we’re just newer. The pre-literate cultures did architecture, astronomical observation, and metal work that still amaze us. Just because they left no writings and were over-written by us doesn’t remove their validity.

We  can make a place that is safe for them to come to us. We, if we know someone that is a Pagan and odds are we know at least one, don’t mock their faith. We give the respect we so stridently demand. Even if we can not see past our sense of Salvation, we do not condemn out of hand. We ask questions seeking to understand. We don’t call it “hocus pocus”, foolish, “just a phase”, “you’re serious?!?”, or anything else unless we feel the same about Christianity and are willing to accept the same in return.

We can examine our own hearts and faith. We find our own strength and depth of faith to realize that our fears are unfounded. That the threats to our beliefs come from our own doubts. We look inward to find ourselves and do not identify a threat that does not exist. Pagans are not trying to “convert” us even while we are trying to change them so, we set aside that double standard.

If we are lucky enough to be trusted when someone does come to us with their faith, we respect that. We realize how many reasons we have given them to fear us and we count ourselves lucky that we have shown that we are worth the part of themselves  that they are offering.

*****

There’s a part of this, too, that Pagans get to do. You get to educate us. You get to teach us not to fear. You let us know you first as individuals and then if, and ONLY if, it is physically safe, let us know that you are Pagan. There will be risks to that. You risk us not understanding and mocking you or us being driven away. You will be sometimes wrong about one of us and it will be an intolerant Christian that refuses to see past our misconceptions. I am sorry, we are a fearful and xenophobic sort of people no matter what we say, we want everyone to be like us. Seriously, Aj risked pushing me away, read the middle bit of this post to see how it worked out, Which One is Pagan.   Those set backs WILL happen. You will be mistaken about one of us. You will think that one of us might be open-minded because of a view on one topic like LBGT rights or women’s rights and equate that with being open to Paganism…and you’ll be wrong. We Christians can be randomly dogmatic, sorry. I know it isn’t going to be easy. There are thousands of years of codified oppression, prejudice, and violence to overcome. You have your own baggage caused by our actions. I’m asking for you to forgive us for something that is unconscionable and I can’t blame you if you don’t but, until we both set aside our fears, y’all are outnumbered and disorganized. Our fears will win if we are allowed to keep them.

Let’s be realistic, this is going to be a series of tiny victories. Things will change one person at a time. This is not something like Marriage Equality where the SCOTUS can codify it and states can rule that discrimination is illegal. It is going to be one person educating one other person and hoping the lesson takes. Christian Churches will always be against you, they HAVE to be, by their standards, you are the embodiment of sin. They will draw no distinction and understand no difference between Paganism and Devil Worship. That battle is lost. What wins you will have will come from finding people, individuals, like me that were willing to see a person and make a change to themselves and views because of that person. Two thousand years of dogma and teaching and fear will not be undone overnight…Saying “be patient” would be useless and unfair but, it is the truth, you don’t have any other choice. You can not force fears to change. You can show that your concepts are not against ours but, different. You can try to educate us about the faces of your gods and goddesses and teach that they are not the Devil. You can gently tell us how the Christian concepts of sin and hell do not apply but, personal responsibility and morality do. You can show us that we have nothing to fear by educating us and letting us know that you’re our neighbors and friends. Yeah, tiny victories…

…and there will be setbacks. Some idiot will do some stupid violent act. It will make the news and the story will read “Pagan Commits (fill in the blank) Crime” and you will be blamed. Someone will get fed up with arrogant Christians and spout off. That will make the news, too with Christians saying, “see, I TOLD you there was a War on Christianity”. It isn’t fair or right but, there will b confirmation to Christians, some of us, every time something like that happens…and you will have to start trying to teach us again…

*sigh*

A crime was committed. The loss was immeasurable. Now, we have to try and undo it…