Wiccan

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…

 

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…

 

 

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

 

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…

Hurray for Our Side

I can’t find anything to write…and that’s a good thing. Today is the day I normally write a post because it’s my “weekend” but, other than the usual “politicians are making noise because it’s the election season and they are pandering to the lowest common denominator”, there’s nothing glaring to write about. So…maybe I’ll just tap away and see what happens…

I love my wife. That’s by far the most important thing in my life, my love for her.

Aj, Z, and Kelladillo are still the Collective Conscience. That, too, is easy to figure out. *editorial, there’s a “silent partner” that watches but, never says anything. No, Leanna, you’re not forgotten*

Pagans are not evil. Nor are Wiccans. Witches are not, too, either. They’re just not Christian. So what, I’m not Pagan, Wiccan, or a Witch. Doesn’t keep me from loving them and treasuring their souls.

Being LBGT does not disqualify you from being a Christian. It just disqualifies you from going to some churches that teach that it does disqualify you.

Having friends that are not exactly like you is a blessing. Meaning, as a straight Christian, having friends that aren’t straight, Christian or both has broadened my perspective. They accept me, even though most of “my demographic” might find some moral exception to one or the other of the things that don’t line up with straight or Christian. Oh well. I think they’re great. Wouldn’t change them if I could because then they would be different and I might not like or love them.

Anyway, this was just a “Hurray for Our Side” post. Aj, Z, Kelladillo…and yes, you too, Leanna, I love you all to bits. Thanks for loving me back.

My “Collection” of Yankee Women

I know the title sounds sexist. If that were my intent, it would be. There’s no intent, so, please don’t be offended.

There are some people that you need in your life. I mean the ones outside of your house. My wife could count in that list but, she’s not a need unless I were to count my heart as a “need”. She’s a part of me. I digress.

When I need someone to pray, I go to three people. One is Christian. One is Pagan. One is Wiccan. The Christian and I share the same faith. The other two and I don’t but, I respect the depth of their faiths enough that I go to them anyway. 

Last night I needed some prayer. I sent a group message to the three of them.Within 5 minutes all 3 had responded. Actually, it was 4 minutes from post to last response. I needed that. I need to be able to count on someone for prayer. I have this collection of Yankee women for that. 

For whatever reasons, I don’t quite know or care, these women have decided I’m a nice guy. Most of the time I am. Sometimes, I’m accidentally inconsiderate. They don’t hold it against me. They just give me a verbal kick in the rear and drive on. I need that, too. 

They’re sometimes a tiny bit stubborn and, given reason, can be “abrasive”. They speak their minds. I love these ladies to pieces. I don’t quite know how that came about. I just looked up one day and realized I did. They’re great, this collection. 

They all have qualities that anyone would desire in a friend. As a group, they are loyal, loving, faithful, hard working, smart, and resilient. You can knock them down and they get back up. They are the people I trust with my secrets. 

The point is this, Aj, Z, and Leanna all fit into groups that are being marginalized. That shouldn’t be. They are great ladies. If you want to marginalize them for one aspect of their lives, I would have to ask, why? They aren’t asking for special treatment. All they want is “equal protection”. They aren’t asking the USSC to put  them in “protected” groups. They are asking to not have to have that happen. If they had their way, the fact that they have a different faith or that one happens to be “not straight” would be a non-issue.They want to succeed or fail on their own individual merits. That’s not too much to ask. 

I love these ladies to pieces. I’ll keep trying to point out that they are worth loving. They are worth standing up for. My collection of Yankee women deserves that from me.

*editorial, “Yankee” is not an insult. it is a Texan way of describing a non-Texan. that’s all*