wicca

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.

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A Poll

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

Burn the Witch

“A Witch, burn her”…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*sigh*

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

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

Aj Is Going Back to Hell…

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

*grins*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

*****

I write these for both Christians and Pagans…

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

Tiny Victories

Dear Pagans,

Christians are obtuse. We will try to intellectualize and understand something that is visceral and emotional to you. We will fail. YOU will be the ones taking the risk because we are the “establishment” and you are the ones striving to prove to us that you deserve equality and respect. It sucks, truly sucks. There is not one tiny bit of “fair” involved. I wish it were different.

It gets worse, even when you do succeed with one person, there’s still a chance, a good chance, that someone will come along and justify the fears that we still have. Some other person will fit our stereotypes and we will think we made a mistake, “see, I told you they were ALL like that”. You do know all of this. We will see those of you that become frustrated and vocal and we will feel vindicated. We will read words like “Witch” and “Crone” and not know that, to you, they are titles of honor that have been earned. We will look at your communities and see them as strange and different, forgetting we forced you into them. *sigh* We can not help it because we do not know any better and refuse to be taught.

I don’t know how you do it. Even though I am a fringe part, Heretic Christian is a denomination with one member, I still get to be Christian. I’m even on your side, if not faith. Remember this, too, we will see the history of our early church and the Roman Empire’s persecution of us, forgetting that we were committing treason, and see that as justification for everything we did after Constantine Christianized the Roman Empire. We will ignore or diminish what we have done to you saying, like a child, “you started it”. We will be hypocritical and xenophobic. Our faith demands it. There are vanishingly few of us, like me, that are the tiniest bit open to the idea that ANY faith outside of our own is valid, much less polytheism or elemental faith. We don’t really understand. We will always see our fears. We were trained to do that and are too lazy and mentally dishonest to try to break our teaching. We will refuse to admit the possibility that there are other paths and ways. We CAN NOT because that would mean our beliefs are not infallible. Hell, we can not even agree that all that claim to be of our own faith really are.

Please do not stop trying. Please try to show us, even when you get frustrated and feel like it’s an insurmountable obstacle to overcome. Please teach us, even at risk of loss because some of us are willing to attempt to understand. Please be patient when we are boneheads. I am not saying we are worth the effort, I am saying YOU are. Look at it like this, if one of you can convince one of us to love the first one, then we, read “I”, will become willing to accept all of you. *sigh*

I wish the burden were not on you to justify yourself. I can not blame you when you get frustrated and decide we are not worth the energy. If I had to face what you do, I would do just that. I’d stay angry at the unfairness of it all. I’d quit trying to reach out to even one of us. At some point, I’d say, “effing damn hypocritical christians need to practice what they preach or shut the eff up”. For what it’s worth I wouldn’t blame you if you said just that and quit trying but, please don’t.

When it is safe, or possibly so, meaning physically safe, please “come out” if there’s the possibility that you have found one of us that will see the person. If there’s a chance, try. From my personal perspective, one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given was the risk that Aj took and the trust and love for her I now have. She risked telling me she was Pagan after we became best friends but, while I did not know. She had become “attached” to me and was willing to take the hurt if I rejected her so that she could tell me the truth and not hide from me. That gift and that truth changed my world and my view of all of you. That was a “tiny victory” and that is how you will get there from here. It will be one of you teaching one of us. Please try.

Love, Miller

 

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…

Which One Is Pagan?

I want to try something. I want you to guess which one is Pagan. Is it the pharmacist that fills your prescription and is a single mom or is it the middle aged lady that works in the library? Could it be the quiet clerk in the deli and gives you a sandwich? Lastly, could it be the Goth girl that nannies the kid down the street and cooks for her boyfriend? Those are your choices…

Here’s a story about a “crisis of conscience”. A few years ago, I had, still have, a friend named Aj. Because I was sick. pneumonia, I was spending time sitting on the couch talking on Facebook. Aj and I had been friends and were becoming closer friends. I was learning that I had a “best friend”. Hadn’t had one in years. I think I realized that she was when she actually said it. We shared the same attitudes and values. One day, being my usual smarta$$ self, I made a status that was a Monty Python paraphrase about burning a witch. Her reply was that my closest friend was a witch, a real Pagan witch…

That caused a huge problem. I thought though we had not discussed it, that she was Christian. Her values were the parts of Christianity that I valued and still do. She lived the “love your neighbor” parts. Her walk was peace toward everyone. She took in a child that was not hers and later adopted the child because it was the right thing to do. She lived out being a good wife and mother. She forgave me for being a complete jerk when we met and looked past my faults to see the good in me. Like I said, all of the parts of Christianity I hold close…and my beliefs said she was going to Hell because she didn’t believe in Jesus…

That’s a bad place for me to be. I was given two choices. I could condemn to an eternity of suffering a person I had come to love or I could adapt. No middle ground there. Either I judge or not.

I adapted. I came to realize that, even though she had a strong sense of right and wrong, “sin” is applicable to my faith but, not hers. That I HAD to quit trying to make her a “Christian like Pagan” and accept her the way she is.

This is what I am trying to convey. My belief is that “judge not lest you be judged” is that it is not my place to judge someone’s soul. I go on with my belief that God created everyone the way He wants them to be. He puts people in our lives for His purposes. not ours. She, Aj, was the same person both before and after I knew. She had not changed. The only change was my perception of her. If I didn’t think she was going to Hell before, why would I have to think she was going after I found out. She stayed the same.

When you think about someone, what do you see? Do you see a person, or do you see your own concept of what they should be? If you meet someone, do you decide to impose your views and baggage and conditioning on them or do you take them at face value for who they are? The face value was and is that Aj is someone I love. Her being Pagan changed none of the things that are intrinsic to her, merely my perceptions of them…and not for long as I realized that my perceptions of worth were incorrect. I could not write off the human and friend because I couldn’t live with a difference in faith given that I was the one that had changed…

Aj is my “best friend that is not my wife”. She will be for as long as she will allow me. She answers all my silly questions about her beliefs. She corrects my mistakes and lives with some of my misgivings and uncomfortableness with some aspects of her’s. *editorial, tarot and divination make me uncomfortable* She puts up with a bunch from me because I overthink everything. She also teaches me to understand the parts of Paganism that I am comfortable with…and a whole bunch of other stuff like, how to be a good husband when I need advice. *grins* If she weren’t a Pagan, you’d think “what a nice Christian Lady”. *editorial, she’ll give me some static for “nice” because she wouldn’t use that word to describe herself* Anyway, unless she told you, you wouldn’t know she’s not Christian…

Remember the quiz? I’ve just been talking about the pharmacist. The second, I’ve known for some years and found out a week ago that she’s Pagan/Wiccan. I had no idea. We never talked about it. I thought that anyone that loves Christmas as much as she does must be Christian and gave it no more thought. The nanny is a “nice young lady” that was my first impression and I’ve found no reason to change it. Yeah, she’s also Pagan. The quiet girl that gives you the sandwich, I worked with. Cute as a bug when she wears a sundress *editorial, I think that’s what it’s called, she can correct me if she remembers the day we visited when I was cooking ribs* very smart and, again, Pagan. You’d never guess any of these if you looked at them. They might wear a necklace or something but, they don’t carry a banner that says “Hey, look at me, I’m Pagan”. They just go about their lives and leave it to you to like them as humans or not. None of them were what I expected them to be. I was surprised every time that they were not Christian.

In the end, I keep learning that there’s no stereotypical witch. People are people. They are the many varieties that, my belief, God made. They are unique and wonderful. They have an infinite ability to surprise me with the depths of their belief and convictions. To presuppose that if they do not conform to my faith and worldview denies me their insights. I have learned from Pagans. I have learned from Aj. I am a better Christian and husband for knowing some of the ones I do. I am far more accepting and far less prone to judge.

*exhale*

I realized it comes down to this, I choose to see people with faith. I learned that having  a different basis for that does not remove the basic idea of belief in something greater than yourself. I don’t like every Pagan I know but, I don’t like every Christian I know either. Paganism is “wrong”…for me but, not them…I should have realized that from the start. In the end, I did. I sleep better at night knowing that Aj cares and light candles for me. I’ll give it this, the soul searching was not wasted because I did grow. It wasn’t fun but, it was needed. Out of that pain came insight. I learned that my path is not the only path and the sole lock on morality or faith. Now, and you may ask anyone after Aj, when I find out that an unexpected person is Pagan, my first response is very probably, “cool”…and it is because of the people that God created to live that faith. Caring and compassion, kindness and love, independence and individuality are keystones to Paganism, as is a willingness to accept others the way they are without trying to change them. Proselytizing and evangelism are not, they will live their lives as they are called to and, if you join that path, it is because of their example, we Christians could learn from that, too. We could learn that, if we want someone to “convert”, the best way is by sharing our lives and not our dogmatic views of Sin and Hell.

*exhale again*

Please think on that. You may disagree with my conclusion about Aj…and the rest but, that’s yours to deal with. For me, I’ll gladly take the humans that have offered to let me know them and not judged me. I have gained and I have been blessed for knowing them. It hurt to change my views but, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Humans…that happen to be Pagan…