heathen

Embrace

Embrace.

That word eliminates fear. It’s hard to be scared of a hug. The warmth of arms wrapped around you and the feel of another heart beat.

Sometimes a hug is just a thought. It’s a quiet prayer in the dark or a memory of a voice. It’s thinking, “that’s my friend and I love her”.

Hugs keep my monsters away.

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A Comment Needed a Response and I’m NOT a Troll…

Reading other blogs is a good thing…sometimes…Other times I read the comments under them.

A few days ago I read a blog by a Pagan Lady explaining her friendship with a “Jesus Freak”. It was a very well written post talking about her friendship and how the two of them could get along. How they could find common ground and peace between them That they could share the blessings of their separate faiths with each other and not be intimidated or feel fear of the other. She also commented that some Pagans would *paraphrase* say it wasn’t possible and she was a traitor to her faith. Then a commentator proved her to be correct. He said he would accept allies “but”…In my mind, the word “but” in a sentence means “please disregard previous”…

I’m not a violent person. I haven’t physically hit someone since I was a kid on the playground. I wanted to smack the guy. You want allies only on your terms? Ok, here are mine to that guy. A. I don’t want to change you. B. I am an ally based on MY views, not yours. C. I am an ally because I want to be. It is my choice to attempt to help, not you compelling me. Alliances are based on MUTUAL respect and common ground. D. I may be some people’s ally but, *Yeah, that word* if you disrespect my views, I am not YOUR ally. You may feel free to reject the idea of my help and slight my beliefs, by doing that, it’s your loss, not mine…

*sigh*

Here’s the deal. I don’t “troll” comments or posts. If I have something to say, I use my own space to comment. I don’t get the need to disagree or argue with someone on line. I am willing to discuss a differing view but, to completely disparage another’s view, on a post that they wrote particularly when they are talking about a rare supporter of their belief system and an outsider that wants to help them, makes no sense to me.

I’m not “special”. I don’t need my ego stroked. I am also not common. I don’t know the percentage but, experientially there are very few pro-Pagan Christians that I have met…and I’ve looked for more. I need allies of my own faith to help me spread the word. If someone that is Pagan doesn’t want my help, fine, don’t take it. You have that right. Having said that, we, Christians ARE the majority view in this country. No matter how far my heresy goes, I’m still in the “club”. To push back against ANY of us that are willing to reach out or to put down ANY friendship that reaches out is “cutting off your nose to spite your face”…

Ok, the rant and “harsh” is over…*edit, I fibbed. my bad. rant continues toned down a tiny bit*

To more directly answer something I posed up there, “I am an ally because I want to be.” Why do I “want to be”? The short answer is because Aj, my “best friend that is not my wife” is Pagan. The longer answer is more complicated…

I didn’t want to be but, *that word again* I had to be. It would be easier not to be. A different blogger used the  phrase “agnostic Pagan” to describe the possibility that she might be mistaken. I have that same view, only Christian, I’ve been wrong before. It WILL happen again. To believe that my limited perspective and words I’ve read give me a lock on the Divine and morality is foolhardy…

It would be MUCH easier to be simplistic in my beliefs. “Christians good and EVERYONE else bad” is a far less complex world view but, that’s not the way I’m made. I am a person that recognizes my limitations.

*sigh*

There’s an, to borrow something from myself, expression “some of my best friends are (fill in the blank)”. It’s usually used by a racist, homophobe, or some other person to justify why they aren’t prejudiced…and they really are. In my case, some of my best friends are Pagan. No justification, fact. I can be judgmental and not exactly “tolerant” but, that’s based on the individual and not some charistic like faith or being LBGT. There are humans that fit any demographic that are people I love and like…and some that I think are complete a$$es…

Yeah, that guy bugged me and I can’t seem to get it out of my head.

I’m used to being the only Christian in a conversation or the only straight male. It would seem that the people I hang out with don’t care about those things and put up with my silly questions. *editorial, I mean on line. I go to work and come home. My “hang out” is virtual. My job requires much interaction and I like home and quiet* I digress, those people don’t “tolerate” or “accept” me, they are people I like and love and KNOW that is returned by them. They tease me and I tease back. Friends…that happen to not fit my demographic.

*sigh…for the I don’t know how many time*

My path is mine. I was raised Christian. I became “fallen”, if, not quite, atheist. I became, a bunch of years later, Conservative Christian. Over time, I wandered into heresy. It is my path. I don’t evangelize. If you don’t want to use the same path, don’t. It is not an easy one, questioning and doubting. It is mine, though. If you want your trail to parallel mine with a different faith, that’s fine. Keep your beliefs and faith and just walk along side. If you want my help, ask. If I am able and inclined, I will but, if you reject my help or lay conditions on what I do, don’t cry when I don’t. Don’t say that you reject my beliefs as they are as much a part of me as yours are part of you and then complain that you’re not getting the help or respect you think you deserve. It’s a two way street. Period. You get what you give.

I’ll take what help I can find. No matter if it’s from a Crone or a Saint. I’ll listen to words and, if there’s wisdom, gladly absorb what I am able. I’ll wish “Merry Christmas” or “Blessed Yule” depending on the person and not think twice. My nose doesn’t get out of joint at the idea that different beliefs are merely different, not wrong. I’ll respond to kindness and love with the same…

I’ve said it before, “I’m not your ally”. I might be a voice, if you’ll let me. I may not understand or share your views but, I’ll respect and defend your right to them and the practice of them. All I ask in return is the same I’m offering you…*editorial, I reserve the right to have self-contradictory views. I’m human*

Oh yeah, “mutual benefit”. What do I gain from helping you? Nothing but…some of the people I love and want the best for fit “your demographic” and what helps the people I love, helps me. If my words and thoughts make your life better and, as a result, theirs I’ve gained. To change their world for the better, I have to change yours, too.

Who Put You In Charge?

You can’t be a (blank) because I decided you don’t fit MY standards of what that is…

So, just a question, who put you in charge?

*sigh*…

This one is just something that irks the crap out of me. The comment was on a pic that a friend posted on Facebook saying that the person in the pic wasn’t really Pagan. This is just an example. Apparently, though, I am not a “real Christian” because of my views toward the people I know that are Pagan or LBGT. Some of my friends aren’t “really gay” because they have children. Some of my Pagan friends aren’t Pagan enough to be “real” Pagans because they have “mixed” views on spirituality….and we can skip the entire set of political views that aren’t far enough to one end of the curve or the other to suit the ends…

Who decides? Do I get to claim a view or a path or do you get to tell me? Here’s a hint…while I value some humans views of what I am and what my friends are, those humans have earned the right to tell me, the rest might be better served contemplating why they would exclude someone that wants to be part of their group and give them support. If I call myself Heretic Christian, and I do, that means I am still Christian. If someone claims a faith, without sharing the inside of their Heart and Head, who are we to say they are not that? Every person is different. We all have our own ways of doing things.

Look, guys, from my end, I’d rather have someone that isn’t EXACTLY like me sharing my road and giving support than someone else blindly following my words without applying their own sense of reason. *editorial, I AM NOT giving approval of “participation trophies”. You have to reach the goal but, in the cases, I’m describing you get to set the target, not someone else*…

My other point, if you think someone isn’t (blank) enough to suit you, perhaps you are the person that needs the work and not them…

 

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.

You Ask Me…

I’m going to try an experiment. Usually, a blog post gives a view or an idea or a story. In this one, you guys ask the questions. I am willing to answer ANY question about me, my past, my personal faith, my addiction, my views on LBGT’s, my perspective on other faiths, or any other thing you think I need to answer…with this caveat, I will not answer any questions that endanger the safety or privacy of those I write about. That includes but is not limited to my wife, Aj, Z, Kelly, or any other person referenced in any post that is not a public figure.
Please, feel free to ask here or on the Facebook page linked to the blog. My life will be an open book. *editorial, I don’t think I’m that important or interesting* I am merely trying to start a dialog.

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…

 

 

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.