Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Can't we just all get along

Can Christians be friends with Witches?

I've mentioned The Salem Gathering before. Blogger Pam Hogeweide has written a great article about Pastor Phil Wyman and his continuing work establishing bridges between the Christian, Wiccan, and Pagan communities:

...One of the problems about Christians freaking out when it comes to witches and pagans are the myths we associate with them. Myth number one: They worship satan. “They do not. Most of them don’t even believe in satan,” says Phil. Myth number two: We assume they worship a deity. “Most pagans define themselves as agnostic, or what I call mystical agnostic. Some don’t even practice spells,” continues Phil...Myth number three...Pagans and witches are out to send curses against the church. “There are many of them who really think it would be an unethical thing to do. To some degree most pagans adhere to the Wiccan Rede, ‘And it ‘arm none do what thou wilt’” explains Phil. (Rede: pronounced “reed,” which basically means, Don’t hurt anyone)...

Heh, "mystical agnostic", I like that. This next part is my favorite. I'm sure many Wiccans and Pagans have experienced the wide-eyed confusion I've seen when explaining something of our religion to those who have been fed a diet of propaganda:

I asked Phil for advice in relating to pagans about our faith. “Do not assume they are satanists,” began Phil. “Do not assume they practice some form of malevolent magic. Begin your relationship with someone who is pagan by believing the best about them – love believes all things – and that perhaps their reason for being pagan is noble. Understand that they may have been rejected or mistreated by other Christians,” says Phil. “Be willing to listen to them. Treat them with the simple respect you would desire to receive from them.”

The concluding portion is precious:

Is it kind of weird to think about Christians and witches hanging out with each other? “Everybody is weird. And we are weird and that’s why Jesus came because we’re all weirdoes. I just really love witches and pagans.” Me too, Phil, me too.

Pam blog How God Messed Up My Religion is worth checking out. Her post, Love Thy Pagan Neighbor (My friend is a witch), is a must read for Christians with wiccaphobia. I enjoyed this exchange between her and one of her friends:

...I told Michele that I had been researching paganism/witchcraft and learned that pagans for the most part are peace loving and non-violent. They don't drink blood as Hollywood, or freaked out Christians, would have us believe."No, we don't drink blood - that would be the Catholics," joked Michele...

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