Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Big, Broad, Flexible Christian

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we're exploring the difficulties presented to those of us who want to raise good Pagan children in an increasingly Christian world! Keep the faith, fellow followers of the Ancient Ways! It can be done.

Sunday our Druid Grove held its Lughnasadh ceremony, undaunted by extremely bad weather. My daughter The Spare had never seen hail before. She got her chance. Our many fun games were scrapped, but our Ritual went off as planned, between huge, fierce thunderstorm cells.

When the elements are part of your worship, you worship within them. Drip drip, boom! ZZZZZt! Blessed be the rain.

One of our Druid Grove members is a lovely young woman named Melissa. Melissa is in her early twenties but seems older in terms of serenity and wisdom. She has an unusually fair skin type, so she can't be out in the sunshine for more than a few minutes, or else she burns badly. This condition has made Melissa look rather like a Raphael painting, her skin very soft and smooth against big, deep eyes.


The weather was so uncooperative after our Ritual that we had to seek the solace of a nearby public house. I was sitting near Melissa (a treat). She said the following:

"My birthday present to my mom is the same every year. I attend Christmas Eve services at her church."

I said, "So your mom's a serious Christian?"

"Yes, she's the head of Christian education at her church."

I said, "Well, how does she feel about your attending these Druid Groves?"

"She's just glad I believe in something."

Oh, what an eloquent word ... something. My fellow Pagans, take heart: There are many Christians out there who are just glad you believe in something! Ah, what a relief! I told Melissa her mom is awesome.

Melissa's mom joins a large group of Christians. People like the Masons, the Eastern Star, Alcoholics Anonymous, the Boy Scouts. These groups don't ask you to believe in Yahweh. They just want you to believe in a higher power.

Now, I can't speak for you, but as far as we at "The Gods Are Bored" are concerned, we believe in higher powers. Lots of them. Because if human beings are the highest power, then the universe has a lot of evolution ahead of it. We're talking mega-eons.

So tonight, we salute Melissa's mother as a role model for the big, broad, flexible Christian. Momma, your daughter believes in something. You should be proud.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

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32 Comments:

At August 10, 2008 , Blogger BBC said...

in an increasingly Christian world!

Don't worry about it, it will fail some day. Besides, it's people like you that wants to keep honoring all religions that helps keep them alive. So what do you think of those beans?

I have a nice Di Vinci picture of Mary Magdalene showing off her boobs though.

Happy Naked Pagan Dancing.

 
At August 10, 2008 , Blogger Evn said...

So what do you think of those beans?

Personally, I think those beans are sexist, annoying, and irrelevant. But it's cute when beans like that think their opinions matter.

Don't you have your own blog?

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Apologist said...

It is sad to see that people who proclaim themselves as Christians think it is okay to believe in "just something."

I could believe a chair is my savior. I could have all the faith in the world, and it could be as sincere as any kind of faith - but that does not make my "belief" of my chair being my savior true.

Any of us can believe or have faith in something - but not everything we believe in is true. I think everyone should properly research the credibility of anything we should have "faith" in.

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Raevyn said...

Being involved in Girl Guides of Canada for most of my 36-some-odd years it lightened my heart to know that the line "I promise to do my best, to do my duty to GOD, my Queen and my country" has been blissfully changed to "I promise to do my best, to do my duty to my Faith, my Queen and my country", and the fact that my wonderful little witchy daughter makes sure she gets Gods or Goddess in there for good measure.

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Thalia said...

Evn, again, I so heart you.

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Apologist said...

Dear raevyn,

You do realize your faith will mean nothing if you have faith in something that is false. Like I said, I could have faith in that a Chair is my savior - doesn't mean that my chair is my savior just because I have faith that it is.

Opinion does not equal truth. What if your faith is false, and there is consequence for it being false?

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Anne Johnson said...

Billy darling, I know where I could go if I wanted to do naked Pagan dancing, but I prefer not to, thank you. And I'm glad you think I'm influential enough to change anyone's mind about religion. (My beans are fine, thanks for asking.)

Mr. Apology: Admittedly my knowledge of the scriptures in your book is fading with each glass of wine I drink. But I do recall that some of the Old Testament warriors used to carry the Ark of the Covenant into battle with them. Would you disagree that this is reverence for a box? And if someone can revere a box, why not a chair? As it happens, I follow a credible Wiccan tradition of keeping an empty chair next to my desk -- for The Goddess to sit in. All hail the Old Chair!

Evn, I heart u 2. It's nice to see Thalia here as well -- wise lady!

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Apologist said...

Well that is up to you what you do with your chair.

Check out this site about "Wicca" - this guy that is a Christian apologist was involved in the occult. He gives his experience of it on this page along with other topics.

Just look at the site =)

http://www.carm.org/wicca.htm

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Nettle said...

I think one of my cats is part of Apologist's chair-worshipping cult - she seems to have total faith in the armchair's ability to be her savior from having to sit on the floor. Seems to be working out well for her, as religion goes (the other cat appears to be a Kemetic Reconstructionist.)

The Lughnasadh storm was awesome in the best sense of the word. While it was too bad we had to miss out on dragon-tossing, I have no doubt that we will all always remember "that Lughnasadh when we had the hailstorm."

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Raevyn said...

Apologist:

My question to you, without fear of reprisal or intent of insult, is how does one know what Faith is false or true, and who gets to decide that?

I personally think it awfully condescending and arrogant of anyone, no matter their stature or status in any religious community to assume they can hold that position _ever_.

My personal Faith is my own, and I have raised my daughter, and in fact, my two sons as well, to believe that their faiths are their own and as long as they live their lives as good people, and honour their fellow human beings, what they believe in is not as important as the fact that they believe, period.

Also, as someone who grew up in a very strict Catholic family, one of the main reasons I am no longer Catholic OR Christian is because I don't believe in the dogma that dictates one must have ONE faith and comply to ONE set of rules. If there were only one faith and one set of rules, the World would fall apart, in my opinion.

Hope that covers it :)

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Evn said...

Jeremy, Wicca jokes aside, Anne's actually a Druid. So you may want to readjust your proselytizing to more accurately reflect her demographic.

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Maeve said...

Anne, you must be doing something gloriously right here, as you've brought out an Apologist from the woodwork.

It's enormously amusing that this person keeps posting about Wicca.

Maybe they don't realize that... not all pagans are Wiccans. Wicca is a distinct religion, and yes, there are different groups within the umbrella of Wicca.

Rather than being so concerned with all the pagans out there, why don't they work on unifying the Christians first?

Get your own house in order before you come preaching in ours. :P

List of Christian denominations

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Thalia said...

Apologist, seriously, (and one would think the fact that there is a whole school of Christian writings out there called Apologies would clue one in) what's up with the false/true, right/wrong crap? And what exactly do you hope to accomplish here? You certainly aren't going to convince or convert anyone. The most you can hope for is to be annoying.

How 'bout you run along now?

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Anne Johnson said...

Thalia, there's always the off chance that I'll convince him. It would be awesome to have a 20-year-old servant of the Sacred Thunderbird.

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Nettle said...

I vote to let him stay. His youthful earnestness and naivete take the edge off of the arrogant, insulting condescension.

I especially love the insinuation that we haven't done any "proper research" in matters of religion. Haven't met many Druids, have you, Apologist? Normally I am of the opinion that one should never feed trolls, but this one is funny and I want to give him a bowl of soup and a pat on the head or something.

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger yellowdog granny said...

oh i love all the conversations this post has brought out..

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Anne Johnson said...

Hey, Apologist, you'd best take Nettle up on her offer. She makes the best soup in the world!

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Apologist said...

Unifying Christianity is a big issue that can not be dealt with in a day. Since sin corrupts the world, it helps corrupt the church.

All I am doing is trying to say: Your faith is only as good as what you put it in.

I know all pagans aren't Wiccan. I posted that aimed at the wiccan post for reference.

Also, I am here only to correct false accusations about Christianity. Plus - people don't like hearing something that questions their beliefs - everyone just wants to be liberal and believe in "something."

Could I ask you all a question: How do you know the faith you have (whatever you have faith in) is actually true or beneficial in the end? Im curious..

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Raevyn said...

I think you already answered your own question :)

How do I know the Faith I have is actually true or beneficial in the end?

I know because of what I put in to my Faith. I reap what I sow. I sow joy, happiness, a personal relationship with the Divine, I try to do good works. I don't care if it's a Christian Deity or Pagan one, He or She wouldn't send me to a bad place for being a good person (at least that's what I've been taught to believe while studying several different Faiths, including Catholicism).

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Anne Johnson said...

Oh gee, I guess I just have ... faith. Never needed no stinkin empirical evidence here, by golly! I leave all of that to Billy.

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger sageweb said...

I have a Faerie in my room that is pretty good evidence.

Love the comments. I believe in something too. But not the bible stuff.

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Evn said...

"Plus - people don't like hearing something that questions their beliefs."

Et tu.

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Apologist said...

That joy, happiness, good works, etc. does not mean its evidence. Many people try to find something that best suits them - that alone makes them happy that they chose whatever they chose.

Ok well let me ask you this (if there is some supernatural religion that is true): since all religions contradict each other, either all are false or one is true. All cannot be true at the same time.

Let me explain: There cannot be a God and no God at the same time. There cannot be Heaven and Hell or no Heaven and Hell at the same time. Either one is true, or both are false.

Now if only one religion or belief system could be true, then the others would be false.

If Christianity is somehow proven false, which I don't believe will happen... I have nothing to loose. If Christianity is proven true in the end, many have much to loose.

Just some thoughts... =)

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Maeve said...

In a world of infinite possibilities, I believe that what we understand is a grain of sand on the beach, a drop of water in the whole ocean. I believe that if we were to be able to touch the source, the Infinite Supreme Being, we'd find that all of the gods and goddesses (including Jehovah and Christ), all of the religious faiths of our world (including Christianity, Islam and Judaism), were simply individual paths leading to the same destination. An eventual joining with that Infinite Supreme Being of the universe.

For me there is no fear that I've chosen the wrong one. I am not at all interested in being a follower of a god just because I'm afraid that said god is going to punish me if I don't follow him.

I'm not bothered at not going to Heaven. I'm content with the Summerland in between lifetimes, and someday crossing beyond even that veil. Joining with the supreme cosmos when my soul has been scoured clean of the dross of human existence.

 
At August 11, 2008 , OpenID beweaver said...

For what it's worth, Alcoholics Anonymous is not a Christian organization. As a member, I know far more folks of other or no religion in that group than Christians.

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Evn said...

An oldie but a goodie (that I wish I'd written:

A Pagan, lately deceased, strolled through the Summerland with his next-life guide. It was a beautiful, dulcet day; every day is beautiful in the Summerland. The air today was clear, and fresh and sweet (there was no pollution); the warmth of the perfectly safe sun on one's skin alternating with a light, playful breeze. Mosquitoes and gnats were nonexistent--there was only the Fey to occasionally tug on a lock of your hair, or swing from an earring. The grass beneath the feet of the travelers was springy and comfortable, there were no holes to stumble over, no thorns to step on; just lovely green turf and colorful, fragrant flowers and herbs, as far as the eye could see.

"...and over there," the guide pointed to an ancient clump of magnificent oaks, "is where the Druids hold ritual, and celebrate, occasionally with the Sun God himself. And over there," he pointed to a splendid, temple-like building, hung thick with vines, "Is the palace of Gaia... and anyone else who wants to live there, of course. There goes Pan and some of his nymphs," he went on, smiling, as a goat-footed figure and several scantily-clad female figures sped by, pinching each other in suggestive places and shrieking with laughter. "Sex is okay here, you know, and there is no disease. The Moon Goddess lives at the top of that mountain, and every evening you will see her issue forth from her abode on high, surrounded by a gorgeous film of light cloud cover; the lovely crescent glowing upon her forehead."

The Pagan sighed with delight. "This is even better than I thought it was going to be," he enthused, as they walked through an orchard, heavy with tender and delicious fruits. "Look! Isn't that the World Tree?"

Suddenly the sky was rent from above with an enormous tear and a horrendous noise, spewing forth a group of screaming, twisting, figures. Below them the earth suddenly fissured, opened wide; a molten river could be seen flowing red and hot amongst flames so high they shot up to the very clouds. They quickly engulfed the shrieking group and hungrily sucked them into the fiery pit, which immediately closed upon them, cutting off huge columns of black smoke, along with their despairing screams.

"What in the name of all the Gods was that!?" gasped the Pagan, clutching his guide's arm. "That was the most horrible thing I've ever seen!"

"Oh, that." answered his guide, with a sigh. He patted the Pagan on the shoulder, said soothingly, "You'll see that happen from time to time. Try not to let it bother you."

"But what was it? How can you ignore something that horrific going on right in front of your nose?? What causes it? How does it happen?"

"It's the Christians," answered his guide, his lips tightening with annoyance. "They absolutely insist upon it."

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Apologist said...

Maeve,

All religions can not logically lead to the same place. Each religion contradicts on what is taught, life after death, etc.

Your comment does not logically make sense.

I made the logical choice in Christianity. It has evidence for it being true, and Jesus did say the only way to get to heaven was through Him.

If Christianity isn't true, like I said before.. then I lose nothing. I do not believe in Christ because I am afraid of Hell. I believe in Him because he has changed my life, there is evidence to back him up in everything he said and did, and he has promised a place for all who believe and trust in Him.

BTW: can you take a picture of your fairie for me?

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Evn said...

Maeve, you have a fairie? Neat! I just have cats.

 
At August 11, 2008 , Blogger Anne Johnson said...

Dear Mr. A:

You are leaving too much youthful spleen on this thread. Please follow "The Gods Are Bored" through its daily sermons. Then you won't waste your best snark at the end of a long string of comments.

I have a picture of Maeve's faerie, hanging out with your Heavenly Host. Email me, and I'll send you the jpg.

Evn, never heard that one, but it's sweet. I haven't forgotten the offer to decorate my house. Interior only, my backyard is totally overrun with iron faeries. Photos to follow.

 
At August 13, 2008 , Blogger Maeve said...

Apologist, were you asking about my faeries? I'm not altogether certain I *have* faeries. Things mysteriously disappearing and reappearing could be faeries, or the cat, or the children. But the yard & garden on the other hand, I'm almost certain there's a faery or more. I have no pictures, though Anne has a lovely post with a very famous faery depicted. ;) I don't think I really feel the need to photograph faeries, even if I saw them.

I'm seeing little point to carry on with polite discussions defending my beliefs. I was raised fundamentalist non-denominational evangelical Christian, and I have my own, very personal, reasons why I left that faith. I don't wish you ill, and I don't wish to chase in circles on matters of religion.

I am content to abide in faith, and do not demand of my religion that it adhere to logic. I don't demand of you or your religion that it be logical either. I have no desire to sway you from your chosen way, as I believe we are all fully capable of discerning what our spiritual path is.

 
At August 13, 2008 , Blogger Apologist said...

All I was doing was having a conversation to get everyone thinking. That was all lol =)

 
At August 18, 2008 , Blogger Frater Servitor said...

No, Jeremy, that wasn't all you were doing...

By the way, you'll be pleased to know that no, all religions do not, in fact contradict each other. That's one of those slanders that are taught by the "Bible-believing" Christians.
Fact is, a lot of the most widespread faiths have a lot in common. Pretty much all of them teach a code of conduct similar to that taught in the Commandments (without the insistence on the belief in one god, though). Pretty much all of them have some teaching on what happens in an afterlife (by the way, did you know that Judaism here has quite a bit in common with Buddhism and even Hinduism, in it's idea of tikkun?)
The point is, Jeremy, that your whole argument in favor of Christianity over other religions is based on a fundamental untruth.
I'm beting that it never has occurred to you that the idea of "Following Jesus" has nothing to do with unthinking acceptance of what people say to believe about him, and a lot more to do with following a path that this person took some time ago, a path that eventually led to him being considered a god by a third of the world. He said you could do that, too. He never said that any of us were unworthy...

Just a thought...

 

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