Saturday, January 19, 2008

Our own "Dr. Phil"

Excommunicated from his church, pastor draws praise and condemnation from pagans and Christians

I've posted a number of times about Wyman and his work in Salem. This article does an excellent job summarising the events of the last year:

...A little over a year ago Wyman was excommunicated from his church, accused of getting too amicable with the city’s Wiccan community because of controversial missionary tactics that included operating a pagan-Christian discussion forum, offering Web site links to pagan sites and fostering personal friendships with witches...“Christians have a National Enquirer view of pagans,” he says. “They think they must be worshipping Satan or sacrificing babies ... or they view the pagan community as a well organized machine that’s after the church. That’s a sad picture. In turn, because a few Christians have taken advantage of that to make money in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the pagans have a bad view of the Christians. We want to break that.”

It's great to foster dialog between the two communities. In many ways, his excommunication has been a good thing. He has not lost any members of his church, and it' been a somewhat liberating experience for him:

...his newfound freedom has allowed him to offer more experimental programs at his Essex Street church, The Gathering — things like Lectio Divina, a type of ancient meditation using the Bible, meant to build two-way communication between the reader and God...Wyman is still e-mail discussion group between pagans and Christians called Circle and Cross Talk. He’s continued to grow his church’s array of controversial street theater events, offered during the month of October, things like dream interpretation; psalm readings, where a costumed monk confesses the ancient sins of the church; and the Brimstone Chronicles, where participants “travel” through Dante’s heaven and hell and are forced to face their own mortality...

Great ideas! That's one of the great things about Wiccan and Neo-Pagan spirituality, you actually get to do things and participate. You are not told to 'shut up and sit down' by some drunk pedophile reading from a moldy bible.

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