religious freedom

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.

Differences…

So, I was reading a different blog by a Pagan author. She was talking about how Pagans can’t seem to find a way to reconcile their different views. By that I mean they couldn’t agree that they could be different and get along with those differences. Does that make sense? So, I decided to do some research about Christian denominations…

I decided to do some research about Christian denominations…According to the numbers I could find, there are between 33 and 43 THOUSAND different “denoms” world wide. A “denom” *pardon shorthand* being defined as an organization in a country and not as an individual’s privately held belief. I suspect that there are as many different “beliefs” as there are Christians…

Anyway, the author of the post that prompted this thought lamented that they, Pagans, couldn’t seem to agree to disagree and accept that different people had different views. That some people HAD to try to force people to fit a box not of their own choosing…

Funny how some things cross every boundary.

*sigh*

People are different. My belief is that God made people in every shade and belief. He created genders and personalities. He made some to agree…and some to disagree. He gave every human some other human that they could love…sometimes he even gives us people to not be our mate and love deeply as friends. The varieties He created are as many as there are humans on the Earth…

Why do we have to put down, castigate, condemn, or slight those who are different since none of us are the same? I’d rather embrace the differences and share the wonder of the people I share my world with. Just because your beliefs or politics are different than mine doesn’t make you bad. What does is how you express those. If you see different as a reason to hate or put down, I’ve no use for you but, if you embrace the human that has the difference then you have worth and are part of the collection of people that make life worth having…

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…

Jesus Loves Me…

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

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

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

What if God loved them, too?

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

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

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

*****

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

*****

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

 

 

Respect and Dignity…

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

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

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

*sigh*

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

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

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

*sigh*

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

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

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

I write these to both Pagans and Christians…

*sigh*

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

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

*****

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

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

Respect and dignity are not too much to ask…

 

Aj Is Going Back to Hell…

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

*grins*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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…

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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.

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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.

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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.