I am traveling and cant edit my mistake_ It should sat stand unified AS Christians not at Christians. LOVE you all.
You are amazing! And so true. This week, my parents are going to be here, and I'm so dreading the "conversations" that are gonna come up about church. Thanks for this reminder to justshow LOVE. Even when my flesh says, strike back, just shower grace and Love! Thank you, beloved friend!
Awesome awesome awesome!! So beautiful! Such God's heart. Thank you for this post!!
Thank you for reminding us to love! Such a beautiful post.
Just wanted to say I loved what you shared on "soccermomwitch" blog. I'm glad I'm not the only Christian who wanted to send her some Jesus love ;)
A personal thank you for both your comment on my blog and for this post. It's so much easier to hate people who are different in some way from us - so much harder, and more fulfilling, to find a way to love them.Many blessings to you and yours.
I am so taking a break from the Top 25 ex-pat blogs rally to vote for you - your open-hearted kindness reminds us all that perhaps the greatest definition of 'Christian' comes in striving to be like Christ himself. I would say 'Bless your heart', but it sounds like that has already happened.
Great post. We all, pagan ~ christian ~ other, can use all the love and hope we can get and give.Blessings to all.
Beautiful. What a stand you are making for love and your God, lady!
This was truly a beautiful post! Blessings!
Thank you. As a pagan seeing this all unfold has been difficult to watch. What is beautiful is when we can all agree that love is never a waste of time or energy. And it shines brightly and adds beauty to the world. Blessed Be.
What a lovely blog post, and Love speaks in all languages and all religions. I choose Love x
This is beautiful. I cannot wait to share this on my fan page. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you for this touching post. That's what it is all about: love, respect, acceptance. Not arrogance, hate, prejudice, that can never lead to anything good.Bright blessings, and love from a Brazilian witch mom.
Fantastic! I have been trying to have a dialogue with some of the other Christian bloggers who couldn't hear this exact message. I am neither Christian nor Pagan, but love many people and beliefs in both faiths. How awesome and big of you to step up and admit pride of all things. TOUGH TO DO! Bless you and Blessed Be!
Beautiful. Thank you for your love
What a beautiful post and it warms my heart to know that there is hope for Christians & Pagans to walk side by side with mutual respect for the other! May there be more Christians like you. Blessings! (Yes,I too am Pagan)
Thank you for such a beautiful post, if only more people of all faiths, creeds, walks of life could have the same "aha" moment you did. Life is too short to live with just one moment of hate and fear. To love With our hearts, with our minds, with our souls everyday and be thankful for those around us. To learn from one another and be thankful for those lessons when they open our eyes.
You do more to represent the love of Christ in this post, than any of the so-called righteous ministries that speak words of derision and condemnation -- words that would never have come from the mouth of the Jesus I was brought up to know.Blessings to you and yours from this Pagan Mama. You've got my vote too. There is room for everyone at this table, and you represent your faith and your God most beautifully.
This post was definitely a beautiful message, and a shining example of a loving heart.If all people could read and understand your message in this post, we might find ourselves ignoring our differences and standing together with our hearts focused on our similarities, in a much more peaceful world.To paraphrase Captain & Tenille, "Love will bring us together". Regardless of anything else, all people have Love in common. It's time for the world to remember that.Many many bright blessings to you and yours, and thank you for brightening up my Saturday :)
What a beautifully written post. I think that choosing to love takes courage but it's so worth it when it's all said and done, if for no other reason than what comes back to you is more love. To look past that initial kick of fear to find love, even better. Blessings to you.
Thank you for your post! Your post reminds me of the beautiful Christan women who are my friends. Your relationship with Christ is sincere and he is living in you. This witch sends you light, love and blessings.
This is such a wonderful post! It is people like you who the rest of the Christian faith (and others for that matter) should follow. Many blessings to you!
Thank you so much for these amazing words of wisdom! I was so disheartened by the separation, the hate, the attacks, all in the name of religion...any religion, coming from this contest. This is a wonderful message and it honestly brought a tear to my eye. You truly have a beautiful heart, and I'm happy to see that something good, education, acceptance, love, has come from all the negativity. Many blessings to you and all those who take the time to understand and love.
Beautiful and Blessed young Soul, thank you SO very much for opening your heart so wide as to embrace, and even love, your neighbor for who, or whoever they are!A million Blessings I send to you! Thank you!!!Jewels
Thank you for your kindness.Our religious and spiritual paths should make us grow and become better. It's difficult to follow your heart at times, especially when so many view Pagans as being evil (we aren't) Satanists (nope, not that either) or kooky (not at all).You set a wonderful example for your faith, and you have a beautiful heart. Blessed Be.
All we need is Love. Thank you for your stunning and beautiful post. And thank you for being so brave to reach across the line and "meet" us.
Wow, this is good stuff. And you already know why I needed to hear this. Thank you for your prayers and thanks for being a REAL Christian. Love you, Jules!
As a Mom, a Wife, a Human and a Pagan I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is hard for people for people to resist their first knee jerk reaction. Blessed Be!
You have touched so many with your unfathomable love and incredible courage, and I am just but one. When are people going to realize that hate is a prison, imprisoning only the hater? The very foundation of being a Christian is about following Jesus's lead. And Jesus (and God) love all unconditionally.
Very well said and a great reminder. Sometimes we get so caught up in are on beliefs that we dont see very far in front of us. Loving all is showing them who Jesus is. Thank you for this reminder!
LOVE it and you Julie! PERFECT!!!
I deleted my original comment because I wanted to add something to it.As a former Christian Mmnister who is now Pagan, I thank you for seeing past the labels we place on one another. The real job Jesus was sent to do was to teach is to transcend beyond our limited selves to find the Divine in one another. Kudos for having the courage and sense to do just that.
I love that Quote you used by Tullian... it helps one better understand GRACE. Keep extending... You are a jewel among come stones!
As a former christian who is now a pagan I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your post. I have taught my children that there are 2 things most important to remember in life and they are love and acceptance. Thank you so much for offering both. You represent your faith beautifully.
I agree and I admit that I too reacted at first with a knee jerk reaction and how dare they and then, I got over it. It's a wrong attitude as a Christian and you are right, it's sin. I'm so very saddened about what has happened this past week. I've seen some nasty stuff come from both sides, neither is pretty. I wrote an article about this today too but with a little different take but the same idea. Blessings,MelPlease feel free to stop by: Trailing After God
This is beautiful, I was thinking myself how interesting it was that the top pagan blog...was posting the most loving message, kudos to you for stepping up and writing such an honest post that isn't compromising in your beliefs, but at the same time does not devalue another human being.
Very classy. And encouraging! <3
Dear Julie:Bless you. Yes, some people will not like that you offer love. Example, in 1983 in the height of the aids epidemic, I had a neighbour who I extended common respect, courteous when noone else would (other Christian neighbours). They were afraid to reach out with love by talking to them. This fellow became very ill and from his hospital bed asked if I could visit him because he wanted to know "WHY I CARED ABOUT HIM" when his own family would not? I could not find one church person to come with me. His partner asked me to go with him to visit his friend and I went. This man asked me to read the bible to him and he explained the hurt he had encountered. I asked him to forgive those who were unkind and read him the love that God had for him that he sent his only begotten Son to die on the cross so that he could bridge the gap between God and Man. This dear man accepted Jesus Christ into his life and His partner as well. They were so happy and loved our family until they passed on.There is nothing greater then a man giving his life for another. That takes GREAT LOVE! How many of us, Christian or not can put our lives on the line for another?Julie, A book by Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity", Page 74, 75 excerpt" It was the Christian spirit of mutual love and communal charity which most impressed pagans." ....etc.The pagans learned from the Christians after being offered LOVE AND NOW IT HAS COME FULL CIRCLE!!!.Love.Penelope.
Dear sister, I understand your post, and agree entirely with love. It is patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, NEVER haughty or selfish or rude. I believe that it was my post that started all of this in the blogosphere, and I'm sad that so many people have turned to looking at my words rather than looking to Christ. My error was in talking about these women in particular. In addressing something that I disagree with, I have since learned that I should disagree with their "stance," but not the person. So between PAGAN MOM and I, I apologize for directing my thoughts toward YOU and the other woman mentioned. And to Pagan mom I'd like to say this. If you were my neighbor, my sister or friend, we might very well have gotten along and shared a cup of coffee over the fence. I'm sure you are a very nice person likely with adorable kids. BUT because I am a Christian, it's my duty to stand against ideas that aren't in line with MY faith. While many faiths may believe that all roads lead to Rome, I can't. My faith dictates that I must be a watchman. So please forgive me for involving your name, but understand that I stand strongly in my faith because I believe that I must. I am no better than you. I am the greatest of sinners and have much to be forgiven for constantly. But because I believe it Jesus Christ and His saving grace I believe that without Him people are lost.We all have a right to choose, but again I don't believe that anything other than Christianity is right or okay. That's MY belief.To Journey to Beloved I'd like to say that when you say, "We could learn from a coven of witches what it looks like to stand together in a common truth and support one another. A giant army of voices." I'd prefer we look to Christ as He is an infallible compass. And although you may not have seen it publicly, there have been thousands of women supporting one another. I've received countless letters, but most of them don't support the contest. So we don't see it there. They don't believe in arguing and fighting online. I've seen it as I'm in the midst of this storm along with Pagan mom.
This a beautiful post and one I applaud you for. Blessings to you and yours.
Well done with this article and thank you for your transparency in this situation. Religion causes all sorts of hostility and it manifests from a fearful and prideful heart. I have battled it myself before, many times. Yet grace is an outpouring manifestation of love. Grace, that unmerited favor, lavished on us all. My faith doesn't hinder me from being friends with people, but there was a time when my former religion sure did. Once I realized that sin simply means 'miss the mark' I could see that we all have missed it entirely. Thankfully Jesus hit it right on target. While I don't practice rituals of religion or witchcraft, I can love both followers of such groups. I can appreciate how they live their unique lives and not condemn them for believing or living differently than I do. It's the same freedom we are given, therefore I give it to others too.
I too agree with that this was a beautiful post and thank you for posting. Thank you for the reminder that loving people is how we show other who Jesus is! Be Blessed!
I'm just one of the little blogs being voted on but the whole thing has really saddened me because I went to some of the pagan blogs like you did and what I saw made me sad that the pagans were being so much more respectful than we as Christians were being. So thank you for being Christ in the blog world! And just remember Christian bloggers, we don't have to take it into our own hands - we just have to follow Christ and trust that His hands are big enough to handle it.
Your grace and love shines through your post. Thank you for seeing our similarities, rather than dividing us, as women, by our differences. We may not worship the same, but Love is universal. You've just probed it. Blessings to you and yours.
*slaps head* - I meant you've just proved it. Can you tell I'm short on sleep?!!
As a Pagan Mom I too thank you for your post. It reminded me of one of my favorite greetings- NAMASTE. It is a Sanskrit word which, roughly translated, means; "The light of the Devine that dwells within my Soul acknowledges and reveres the light of the Devine that dwells within your Soul. Wishing many Bright Blessings upon you and yours.
That was a lovely thought you shared with your readers. When people are honest with themselves and their true intentions they touch grace. Thank you for putting aside your fear and examining your own heart objectively.
I will vote for your blog, too. It isn't about which label we have, it is all about Love.Did you know that in virtually all of the world's religions, there is the commonality of LOVE and the "Golden Rule"?Bless you, and Blessed be!
Thank you for this, the sentiment is lovely. As one of the Pagan moms who is voting, it's really nice to see a posting like this from one of the christian bloggers. You're a classy lady.
I was in the contest, in the top 25, until I took my blog out of the running. It was what I felt was best for me.I have been in touch with several of the women, including Darlene. They have been only supportive and loving of each other, and have shown only love and compassion for the pagan blogs. Darlene's article was not supportive of their view, but was loving in its presentation and content. How better could you love someone than to share the gospel? Of course it was not received well. what do we expect? Darlene has never been unkind or unloving in any way.I want to encourage you to seek to encourage her in the same way you have the pagan blogs. the christian women I have communicated with have been very loving and supportive of eachother and have a heart for those who do not know God. They have done well. Darlene has done well.
I saw this on facebook and had to read it. You have generated all that is faith. My faith and your faith may not be the same but if we all live with love there is a place for us all. Thank you for reaffirming my faith in people.
Hello! And thank you. Saw this shared by Pegalish on facebook and had to respond. I really, really love seeing people who live their faith. That you were able to stop and self-examine and evaluate your initial reaction is truly wonderful and I wish more people would do the same. I believe they will. So love back at you, lovely Christian lady. If all the common ground we have is the belief in the basic Compassion and Love of the universe, that is enough. Many blessings to you, and thank you for brightening my day!--Thistle
Gina and Darlene,I hope your hearts will hear this...this post was not written to condemn or cast judgement on Christians either. You ladies are my sisters in Jesus. This post was about examining MY own heart, finding truth and learning to love like Jesus...something I've failed at many times over. My passion is to declare the love and grace of Jesus and to walk in the truth of Jesus Christ. His Truth sets us free. Love and radical grace drops shackles. Love the sinner, hate the sin.I stand unified in His truth...I am not here to cast judgement. I apologize if in any way I conveyed such a message to my Christian friends. I love you! I' am out of town and have only had a phone to respond to this outpouring...forgive me if I've not been able to respond more. For all of the pagans who have left such beautiful and kind words....I am truly speechless. Wow. You all are truly loved.
As a Christian I understand how Jesus always loved & accepted His creations, sinners, with open arms...but He never accepted the SIN. Let us be careful with making other Christians who are speaking out as being hateful toward the Pagans. Speaking the gospel as it has been in this "contest" has been done lovingly & courageously. I feel like this post comes dangerously close to blindly accepting what Christians know to be sin in paganism & calling it Biblical love. Jesus loves us all & then calls us to repentance, change & holiness...not to continue in ungodliness.
The Gospel is an open invitation to come drink freely of the water of life. No religious hoops to jump through in order to get a sip. Darlene made inappropriate comments. She admitted that. To say she has only been kind is not accurate. My ministry is to love all those that many Christians refuse to speak to and who have been wounded by legalism. Even the missionaries know that you must become part of a community that you want to minister to. We must know what they believe and why and how to extend grace and love. Apostle Paul said he became all things to all people. He even told the pagans of his day that their 'unknown god' is the SAME God that we worship. The pagan mom blogs did not purposely join the Circle of Moms 'just' to 'push down all the Christian blogs'. They didn't spark a debate, or bash the Christian bloggers. It was the Christian bloggers who attacked first. Darlene has confessed her wrong doing. She is certainly free to disagree with the views of the pagan faith all she wants, but lets just remember that Jesus died for us all WHILE we were sinners. And just because we believe in Jesus now, doesn't mean we are better than the pagans. This judgmentalism I am seeing is ungodliness to the core. How rude to expect a pagan to ascribe to the views and standards of the Christian religion. Jesus didn't chase down the rich man who didn't want to give up his wealth. He let him go free. Isn't that what Christians believe in? Free will? Let these pagan moms have their free will and as Paul said, "As much as possible, live in peace."
I agree with Elizabeth - you should question your writing if it gets huge applauds from witches...remember in Acts - Stephen stoned to death, Peter was crucified upside down, John the Baptist beheaded, and many many have been martyred for the faith. We follow a crucified savior. It's okay if they are offended by the truth - the Bible says we will be hated.To elevate the witches by saying:"Oh, that we could learn from a coven of witches what it looks like to stand together in a common truth and support one another."certainly got you applause - but you should really question whether Jesus or Paul would ever call out Christians on behavior they didn't like and point to another faith and say - Christians - learn from them.I believe your heart is sincere and not meaning harm...but your words are severe toward your own sisters in Christ and the very thing you promote - which is love - you are not showing to your own Christian sisters when you ask us to act like witches...
First of all, I want to say thank you. Thank you for living the love of God my father taught me. Thank you for humbling yourself and allow Christ to speak through you. To detractors I would remind you that we are cautioned in the bible to "Speak the truth in love". Was your sister here condoning any belief system than your very own? No. She was merely loving as Christ loved. As she pointed out, Christ did indeed lose his temper, but it was with the prevailing religious leaders and practitioners of his time. He was angry with money making schemes in the temple (Jesus Junk anyone?). He was angry at the treatment of others. He spoke to people on their level. If you TRULY read his interaction with the Samaritan woman, you see a witty interaction. Where he shows his love. He didn't say to Zacchius "you money grubbing, cheating tax collector, get your hiney outta that tree, and act right". He said, (I imagine with a laugh) "Hey, I'm coming home with you today." Would any of one even recognize Christ if you saw him? I promise you he wouldn't be in lofty places. He would be where the bible always tells us he was. With the poor, the sick, the homeless, the drug addicts, the prostitutes...LOVING. Showing with his heart the love of God. Speak. The. Truth. In. Love.If you go around inciting a riot, and there is truly no love..then you are doing nothing but making a lot of noise for no purpose but hurt. (Clanging cymbals anyone?)I challenge everyone to think about your attitudes in this, are you a useless noise maker, or are you showing the love of Christ?No one asked anyone to act like witches. She is saying look at the love. Where is ours? Maybe you need to ask yourself that.
Anonymous #2: So agree with you on the point of love! But you just said "No one asked anyone to act like witches." and Julie said: "Oh, that we could learn from a coven of witches" What does the word learning mean? I thought it meant watch them and act like them - sorry for my misunderstanding...could someone explain what that means???
Answering while on a phone is not easy...I ask for grace with my spelling and grammar.First I feel I should clarify something, when I spoke of Chrsitians hating I spoke out of my own healing from legalism from which I was deeply steeped. When I left my church to seek grace and truth and healing I was shunned, lied about and treated with hateful venom...all by Christians. There are legions of hurting, broken former legalists just trying to breathe and know who the true Jesus Christ is. We were fed lies,hate, performance and no grace or love. This is what I spoke out of. I promise you I had no idea what Darlene or any other top25 blogger said. My words were triggered from my own story and background. (this is why we cannot judge others and presume anything)As for learning from witches...maybe my words were unclear or misrepresentative of what I was trying to convey. I apologize..the true Lord Jesus Christ is our guide, our compass, the Way, the Truth the Life. I declare His name shamelessly but these witches taught me something...together we stand divided we fall...their ability to rally over a common belief is astounding. I am reminded that the devil does not tear down and destroy from the outside but by the inside. Every time we fight each other we give Satan ground. (again..spoken from MY own background of experience.) hope this clarifies. This dialogue is healing.
I am grateful to the author of this blog for acknowledging how unlike Jesus it is to pass judgement on those with whom you disagree. I was raised in a "born-again" community where I learned to judge and hate people who disagreed with us. A few of the commentators felt the need to mention how their way is the only right way to God, which only reminds me of why I have found my calling in another religion. When religious people go on and on about how their way is the only way simply because they happen to believe that theology, I think it does very little to support your cause and attract other people to your beliefs. In fact, I think that if your religion were truly the one and only way to God, I would think that you wouldn't be so scared of another religion.I have people in my life with very diverse views, and they all believe that theirs is right for them, but none of them would attack each other's beliefs on a public forum like this. As for "learning from a coven of witches", I imagine that this statement only refers to the truth that we can all learn things from other humans. The Pagans that I know are respectful people, and what's wrong with learning to be a little bit more respectful?
Learning for witches. The point I believe, is to see the love, and support they have for each other. To see the interaction.For heaven's sake...it did not mean, do ritual, worship multiple gods, or whatever misinterpretation there is. Learning is everywhere, in all things.Love is not just a Christian precept. And as our lovely blogger pointed out, she is speaking from her own experiences in Church, and seeing the fellowship amongst the other bloggers taught her something. Christ once pointed his followers to the birds of the field as an example of behavior. I am quite sure he did not mean to infer that we fly over cars and houses pooing.
Oh my how I needed a good laugh....haha..I'm snorting! Flying over cars and pooing...you win post of the day. Laughter felt wonderful, it's been a rough day. Thank you
Just wanted to tell you that I think you're great! And I love your humility and love for truth.
Glad to be of service! =-)
(Anonymous)"I agree with Elizabeth""Question wether Jesus or Paul wold ever call out Christians on behaviour they didn't like and point to another faith and say Christian learn from them".1) Jesus rebuked "get thee behind me Satan" to one of his apostles.2) Jesus pointed out a "Roman-Pagan Centurion" and stated he had not found such faith"> Julie is pointing out THE LOVE!Darlene, Blessings to you and thank you for recognizing your error and openly apologizing without compromising your beliefs. The apostle Peter denied Jesus 3 times and became one of the writers of the Gospels. We know Jesus loved him very much. Darlene, you have been chosen for this controversy to display our human weakness but to then also show God's love and strength to ask for forgiveness and to love without compromising."Whom God loves he corrects." Because we are His Children. If he did not love us he would not correct us. (Any parents out there?)3) God can use any of his creations to bring out His purpose and will in our lives et; a burning bush, a talking donkey, rocks that cry out.He is and can use pagan witches to convict and bring love and unity to his children. Sometimes He uses those things that confound, shame us to behave in a more loving way.To pagan witches, please know that God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit loves you. Jesus will passionately, persistently persue your heart with His love wether you love Him back or Not. To my christian brethern; The Book says; "I have carved you on the palm of my hands, you are mine, you are precious to me".Love to allJulie's Mom.
Hey everyone..Maria is my mom and she is amazing and the reason I am a Christian. In my younger days I tore up a Bible in front of her and told her I would NEVER have anything to do with her God. She loved me and prayed for me despite my unbelief..love won me over. LovE you mom!
<3 to Mom.That is absolutely the point I believe. How dare anyone try to put God in a box, and limit his limitless love? How dare any human try to point a finger at God and say..."You can't use THAT!"<3,Anon 2
I am His beloved, I pray that when people read your post, they will also read your comment where you clarify your thoughts and show your pure and beautiful heart. To your daughter--such an awesome comment! Enjoy your mom and give her the biggest hug ever. (Not a lame pat on the back, okay? LOL)Remind her to rejoice and be exceedingly glad today and all days. Jesus knows her heart and her love for Him. Be blessed my friend. Hugs across the miles.
Oh, I thought that I Am His Beloved's daughter was speaking! LOL It was you. I thought your kid was on your machine, saying "Maria" is my mom. I thought who's maria? haha. But you can hug your mom anyway, right? ;)
Maria, what a lovely statement. I think the biggest misconception is that we are servants of Satan. In the 20 years I've been on my own Pagan-flavored path I have never once done any act in the name of Satan. Now I'm not saying there aren't people who act out maliciously, knowingly at that, and I've made my fair share of mistakes. But making positive change in your life. That's where the magic happens.Another misconception is that we don't believe Jesus. Jesus was a great prophet. While we don't see him as our "only" savior, it does not mean he was not an important man with a powerful message. We perform magic, like Jesus. Sometimes we use candles, like Catholics, sometimes we use the moon to help us. We try to break bad habits during the full to new period, we try to bring on better habits from the new to full. Any movie out there that is about "Witches/Witchcraft" most of the Pagans cringe at it too. We find savior in the scent of the roses, the feeling of the grass, the sound of the wind. I wish more people would live a more positive life no matter where they find their breath of fresh air. We are trying to defeat evil too! Who wants that in the world? But a totally peaceful world seems like it can never happen. Though there's hope and faith. Good Luck to all the blog mom's out there.
glad to find another recovering Pharisee. beautiful post.
THANK YOU!!!! I love this post. I am a Christian and firmly believe that the Bible is true and Jesus is the way BUT how are we suppose to communicate that message when we aren't loving people? I think the Pagan Soccer Mom was far more gracious than many Christians in this whole fiasco. I am praying that what was intented to hurt will in the end heal. Thank you again for writing this post. I am now following your blog!
Julie - I'm extremely interested to see how you are going to answer Anita's comment...will you choose to love her by saying nothing or love her by saying truth...and if you say truth should we judge you for that?Is there anything in her comment that you think you should respond to to direct her towards truth? Is she doing magic like Jesus?
They say "if at first you don't succeed then try try again." I wrote one response and watched it get lost in cyberspace. :) I read Julie's post when it was first posted but failed to respond at the time. Since then quite a few responses have been made so I thought i would weigh in. Not because I think I am anything special but perhaps can offer a different viewpoint. Just so you know...I am a guy. LOL My link is with my name so you can see I will not hide behind Anonymous. I have received some hurtful anonymous letters and would have been better off throwing them away rather than read them. I was always told that it is a coward's way to write or say something but not let anyone know who you are (I commend Julie's mom for letting us know she was one of the Anonymous people. You have a phenomenal daughter). Check out my website and you will also find out I am a pastor (but don't let that turn you off...ha), so that will definitely let you know where I am coming from. More definitively, I believe in God the Father; His Son, Jesus Christ, as the one and only Savior; and the Holy Spirit as Christ living in me. I say that not to turn you off but to let those know who may not agree with what I say to not waste their breath in ripping me apart and calling me liberal. You could ask anyone in the church I pastor and they could tell you I am dead serious about what I believe the Bible teaches. I was also a legalist (self-imposed) and believe very strongly in grace and forgiveness. With all that out of the way, I would like to comment on Julie's post and the comments.
First, I am not a fan of the Top 25 of anything. I have been blogging over 3 years and cannot tell you how many RSS'ers I have or how many read my blog. I write because I enjoy it and feel as long as I have something to say that might help someone else, I will write. I think it is a really bad idea to do this Top 25 thingy. MY question is: who really gives a rip? Second, I have read all the comments. After Julie posted, I looked for her comment on the "pagan" blog and could not find it. I went to Mrs B, I believe. But time didn't allow me to hunt it down. The thing is, I believe Julie's heart is right and she did the right thing. She stated, not an acceptance of their belief, but an admiration for their stick-togetherness. I have said the same thing about a religion or two that I believe is a cult. I will say, "I admire their zeal" or "I admire their mission effort" or "They are committed to their door-to-door, two-by-two efforts." While I might admire their effort and zeal, it does not mean I agree with what they teach. Another example(and please see this for just that), I don't approve of the gay lifestyle but that should not stop me from trying to befriend them. Ironically, it was the gay young man who turned me away and not the other way around. Go figure. (Someone did mention that scenario already). Think about it: who was the biggest thorn in the side of Jesus? It was the religious leaders, the one's who had their starched robes and noses in the air so high they couldn't see the lost people right in front of them. It was Jesus' willingness to "touch" the unlovable that changed lives. Coming off high and mighty and judgmental is not the approach I believe Jesus did take or would take. Talking with someone, or as Julie has suggested, learning from someone, is in no way a blatant acceptance of their belief. I see Julie just saying, "We can learn a thing or two from their example of sticking together." Perhaps you have heard the saying, "Christians are the only ones who shoot their own wounded." Yep, it happens. I can give you horror stories of that. In fact, Julie could tell you stories that would curl your toes about being shot at, and even left for dead. Before I close, i do want to agree with Julie's mom. To all of you "pagan" (your word not mine)moms out there, you are not hated. While I may not believe what you teach, I do love you. But I also know Someone who loves you even more. What can be done? First, why not put a moratorium on this whole Top 25 thingy? I once heard someone say, "Comparisons are odious." I admit, I voted (for Julie and one other I know whose blog I read). But while I believe in them, I will not vote anymore. As Christians, we often talk about comparing ourselves to others and how wrong it is. Why do it this way then? Second, agree to disagree. Put the swords away. I applaud Darlene for her humble spirit of apology. I think you did more to defuse what could have been a very ugly thing than anything anyone could have said. Well done! Those are my thoughts. You are welcome to comment on them. Just be kind. LOL
Sorry Julie and all. My comment was too long for one. I was not trying to hog the page but I do hope they came right after one another. LOL
Anita--your comment was beautiful <3 Your lovely words clearly reflext the divinity that lives in your heart!
First, I want to thank Julie for her sentiment. I am a Pagan and I greatly appreciate it. While some of our practices are strictly admonished in the bible, we are not bad people nor are we evil intentioned. We are people connecting to the Divine and trying to live good, righteous lives the best way that we know how. While I'm not Christian, I do know the bible (for there is still a good message in it), and times like these always remind me of Matthew 7:21 - "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." We Pagans may be saying 'Lady, Lady,' but we also work to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, etc. like many of you. Thank you for seeing that, despite our two faiths' constant head-clashing, we're good people too.Second, I want to congratulate Darlene on her apology (while still being true to what she believes in). While it's quite obvious that we share completely different beliefs, I do know how hard it is for any of us to admit when we've done wrong and the strength that you have shown in doing so is greatly admired (Kudos to you!). I know in my heart that you're not a bad person and that your intentions are good. I want to extend my apology to you, also, on behalf of my fellow Pagans who may have responded to you in words of hate and harm. Just as not treating others as you want to be treated goes against one of the greatest of Christian tenets, knowingly doing anything that causes harm is equally as contrary to a key tenet in Paganism. There are members of all religions who, by not living by their faith's tenets and not showing their faith in there works along with their thoughts, unfortunately drag all of us down. You have my sincerest condolences in that matter.Third, I want to make a quick response to Anita. I loved the intent of your message. I also admire and cherish you for speaking up for our common cause. However, the words "We perform magic, like Jesus" just hit a wrong nerve for me. Jesus, to the Christians, performed his great works through the power of the Abrahamic god (who, to many, is actually Jesus himself). I just feel that some of the Christians who read that may be offended by it (as if you're saying that we are just like their god and can do what he did too). I know that's not what you meant, but I wanted to caution you that it may be construed that way.Blessed Be
Dear, Blessed Be. Thank you for your kind words. You might say I'm not a bad person, yes--but you have never played a game of Monopoly with me yet. THAT likely would change your mind in a heartbeat. LOL!
Yes, I definetly mixed up my words. Not that we are Jesus like, but I'm sure everyone here, Christian, Pagan, Jewish or otherwise have been involved in saying a prayer for someone. To me that is magic. You care enough to expend your energy to help others. Just as Jesus did.
This is Julie's mom. I do not use anonymous.I thank ALL OF YOU for your kind words. May I pray for you, especially those who are not believers? In 1 Kings 28:25-29 the manner of prayer that was offered to the gods who could not hear: That is not the way I pray. The words that we as believers speak are not vain, but they are spirit and life, and mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. We have a God Whose eyes are over the righteous ad Whose ears are open to us: when we pray, He hears us.You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, and your prayers will avail much. They will bring salvation to the sinner, deliverance tothe oppressed, healing to the sick, and prosperity to the poor. They willusher in the next move of God in the earth. In addition to affecting outward circumstances and other people, your prayers will also have an effect upon you.In the very process of praying, your life will be changed as you go from faith to faith and from glory to glory.As a believer, your first priority is to love the Lord your God with your entire being, and your neighbor as yourself. You are called to an intercessor; a man or woman of prayer. You are to seek the face of the Lord as you inquire, listen, meditate and consider in the temple of the Lord.As one of "God's set-apart ones," the will of the Lord for your life is the same as it is for the life of every other true believer;--seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).--Maria, Julie's mom.
I wanted to comment on this yesterday, but I had just commented so I thought I'd wait a while.Darlene, I applaud you for your first comment. I am Wiccan, but I admit you have the right to your beliefs, so long as you express them respectfully and without naming specific people, as you said.And what Anita said, I knew what she meant. When Wiccans/Pagans perform magic, we are not walking on water or turning water to wine, we are trying to use our own energy to create a positive outcome. I like to think of it as the power of positive thinking, with some ritual involved depending on what you're doing.This thread of comments is wonderful. I think my liberal arts teachers at school would be so proud. lol
Rain Audrey, Sorry that I addressed you as "Blessed Be" I thought that was your signature. Thank you to you, Carolina, and the other women who have stepped out in kindness. I am blessed that Journey to Beloved has allowed me to comment here, and has offered a platform for respectful discussion.
To "I am His Beloved" - thank you so much for your loving attitude! I know that it's tough accepting us - I used to have trouble with it myself, back when I was a Christian. Having been in the shoes of those on both sides - well, suffice it to say it's a terribly sad conflict with misunderstandings and fear on both sides. Things only start to get better when the hackles come down. To Maria - thank you so much for being so sweet and loving! I'll accept prayers and loving energy from anyone, so long as the intent is positive. I wanted to remark on what you said here: "May I pray for you, especially those who are not believers? In 1 Kings 28:25-29 the manner of prayer that was offered to the gods who could not hear: That is not the way I pray. The words that we as believers speak are not vain, but they are spirit and life, and mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. We have a God Whose eyes are over the righteous ad Whose ears are open to us: when we pray, He hears us."I know you meant what you said in utmost love, but I wanted to point out that what you said could be taken as "our God is better than yours, so nyah", and a lot of people might actually take it that way. I know that your beliefs tell you that your God is the only real God and that our different gods cannot hear us, but many, many, many of us could provide examples of situations in which our prayers have been answered, myself included. We don't see our prayers as being in vain. I am so encouraged by all the love I see here from all sides. Keeping an open dialog is the key to getting rid of all this anger and fear that's between us.
Rowan and to my sweet pagan friends,I agree, this conversation is quite unusual and beautiful!I must ask a favor of you all in love though. As Christians we are guided by absolute truth...the true Lord Jesus Christ. we believe that He was not just a prophet and good man, but the Son of God. He was sent as a sacrifice and gift of love so that we as sinners (for all have sinner and come short of the glory of God) would not be cast into the lake of fire or hell forever . Sin separates us from a holy God and God knew that there is nothing we could do in our own flesh to attain heaven, our own goodness or works our most positive energy, our own knowledge cannot purchase our way out of hell into heaven. And this is where our absolute faith is separated by all other faiths. The grace and love of Jesus. Because God loved us so much He gave His son as an atonement for our sin. The blood of Jesus Christ was shed for us so that we would be free!!!! To accept His free gift all we need to do is BELIEVE...it's as simple as believing, trusting and calling on His Holy name. Saying that...we de believe that Jesus is the only way. We make no apology or exception...it is not intolerance it is what our entire faith is based on. Though we love you...yes truly we love you...we believe in Jesus and His grace as absolute truth. So I am in tears, literally so grateful for your beautiful hearts and this dialogue..Our belief is in a God of love who gave all because of His love...I hope in love that you would know such unfathomable grace....unmerited favor, not based on you but on his love and sacrifice. Jesus loves you, I love you and I pray you understand my belief is not intolerance but the foundation of my faith. It is my passion to declare hHis love and grace and it is offered to you, His creation freely..He does not force grace or belief.... it is a free gift. I am not going to force Jesus 's love on anyone....I just ask that you most beautiful hearts understand I stand grounded in my belief that Jesus IS the only way....and I still love you all so much. We can agree to disagree and still love each other. isn't that amazing?!
Darlene, by the way, I am so blessed beyond measure to have found a new friend in Christ...I thank you from the very bottom of my heart for your humility and grace. Huge hugs coming at you friend!
Dear Rowan;If I gave the impression that my God is better then your god attitude, that was not my intent.Are we agreed that l) There is a God who answers prayers, whether a believer or not?The God to whom I pray is the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, The Abrahamic God. His Son, Jesus Christ who came to live, die, and arise again so that all mankind might be saved. That whosoever believes on Him might have eternal life. He ascended into Heaven and sent His Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth to be our comforter and lead us into all truth.Jesus will come again to take us unto Himself.I believe, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, hears, sees, knows all things about everyone in this whole universe. There is no place too deep that he is not deeper still. No place soo wide that he cannot reach. No heart too hard that he cannot comfort. No cry so weak that he cannot hear. He knows every weakness and strength of mankind for he became man and suffered more then anyother human so that he was acquainted with our griefs. For God loved you so much that he GAVE his only begotten son that whosoever believes on him will have eternal life.Sometimes we do not know all the answers but God does and someday when I see him face to face I will ask and receive answers for all those questions that cannot be answered now.Rowan, what turned you away from the Christian faith?
Oh my sweet Jules... I just spent half of my day reading through this post's comments! ;) The other day I briefly read what you wrote when you posted it, leaving no comment when there were literally zero... And what I did was try to just digest it all. I cried, I prayed. What did I think? Was I judgmental and vindictive towards the pagan faith, or did I want Jesus to shower them in the same love I feel from him? Your words truly drove me to examine myself and what I believe about "whosoever believes". For that I thank you!And of course the other thing I want to say is that I am praying for you more and more, showering my love upon you in any way I can because I know that this struggle comes at a cost. But you are armed. Maybe the other "stuff" of the past year or so was just the beginning and this catalyst of a blog post is what prepares you for the forum of God's love that awaits in your future. I am proud to know you, my sweet Italian friend! A serious cup of espresso and a bite of tiramisu in Napoli someday awaits us, I just know it! So, let me know when you just HAVE to get away, and I'll meet you there! ;)
Mariawhile I am not Rowan, I'd like to share what turned me away from Christian/Catholic faith. I grew up in a Roman Catholic family. I was baptized, made communion, made pennance, made confirmation. In 8 years of Sunday School I didn't learn a thing about religion. Why were we receiving these sacraments? NO one could answer why, it's just that's what IS. I'm more inquisitive than that! I've gone to church, I've been horrified by the people who are talking on their cell phones (a little respect in GOD's HOUSE). I've also been looked at in horror b/c here I am wearing a pentacle and answering the priests questions. When no one else could. I never knew that there were TRUE Christians out there. What I saw at church is what I knew these people to be. I call them "holiday" catholics. Only go to church on holidays, weddings or baptisims. I've actually learned more about your faith and why you chose it through the comments on this blog than I ever did in Sunday School. And I'd also like to thank I am his Beloved and everyone else on this blog to allow me to comment. This has got to be one of the most cordial discussions I've ever been involved in regarding religion.
Oh sweet Anita, I am literally weeping reading your words. You are a seeker! Jesus says if you seek He will answer. Ive been personally destroyed. Maligned and judged by people in the name of religion. What I cling to is not religion but Jesus. If I look to people or look to myself I will be let down..the only place I look is up. Grace, love ,hope that is faithful and unfailing. We share aommon inquisitiveness a common quest for truth. The only thing thatanswers that hole is Jesus.Anita...sending you the biggest hug ever. Love you so much.
Hmm. See, these conversations are so much easier to have in person. I don't want anyone to apologize - raised in your faith as I was, I know what you believe, and why. I even understand it. What I'm trying to do is shed a little more light on a point of common frustration between our two religions. I have seen it over, and over, and over again - been on both the dealing out and the receiving end, and trust me - I didn't realize how horrifyingly condescending it sounded coming out of my mouth until I got the same attitude from my own family. I've already had a lot to say on thus subject, both on my blogs and several others, but the jist of it comes down to that there are very few ways to phrase "my way is the only way" that doesn't sound like you're demanding respect that you refuse to give. My path is precious to me. I have had both prayers answered and a peace unlike anything I have ever known, and no-one else has lived my life, so oftentimes it feels like something very private and precious being spat upon when Christians remark upon my obvious delusion and treat me like a small child with a mental instability. As to how I came to leave Christianity - there are simply some tenets I cannot make my peace with. One of my very earliest memories was of a thought I was scared to ask my family - as to why there was a Father, and a Son, but no Mother or Daughter. My soul longs for a heavenly mother as well as a father. I cannot accept that woman is not equal to man. I have severe and repeated issues with the writings of the Apostle Paul which I won't go further into, because it's entire book unto itself. I've spent the last five years studying literature and language, and the fluid nature of language and writing no longer allows me to believe that the Bible has remained untouched in it's long history. And even if it had, there are no women among it's authors. Something else I cannot accept. In the past, so many cultures have been railroaded and destroyed by Evangelical Christianity. I cannot be part of something in which war has been repeatedly fought over what essentially boils down to philosophy. And there are several other reasons, but the reasons could fill a book. If I could make myself believe it, if I could change the way my mind works, then I would. My life would be infinitely easier if I were able to believe in the Christian God. But the things above - they're irreconcilable differences. One cannot remain a Christian as I was taught Christians are and hold those beliefs at the same time. When I became a pagan, it was a tears-inducing feeling of coming home. It gave me more peace than I had ever had in my life. Your God is the Abrahamic God. My God is of the greenwood, both the Great Hunter and the hunted stag, Lord of animals and all things wild, and He is the sun that rises in the morning. My God is the stag that is killed so that others may be sustained. His heart bows before She who is my Lady as his knee before the stream to drink - She, who of old was called Isis, Astarte, Diana, Brighid, and by many other names. She is the Great Mother who wears the stars as a crown upon her brow and tosses the moon between her hands - and together their love creates the universe. And maybe it's all just the same loving energy in different clothing. I don't have the right to say that it's not. Jesus said he had sheep in other pastures. Maybe I'm one of them. I honestly don't know, and the not-knowing, the quest for more knowledge - that is why this is my path. Because I believe the universe revolves in endless mysteries, and my heart yearns to know them all. Maria and I am His Beloved - you are obviously sweet, precious ladies who only want the best for others, and I appreciate the gracious way you've handled yourselves. I'm proud to count you as sisters the same as I'd count Anita or any of the other pagans here. This kind of openness is what heals ancient hurts.
Dear Rowan;Thank you for your explanations. I see that you are a seeker of truth. The whole truth and nothing but the TRUTH. I am not an appologetic author but you may have heard of Dr. Lane Craig. Looking him up on the internet will garner you a lot of answers.You and your sisters/friends have been very gracious in your openness and the conversation has been an eye opener. I could tell you that there are women who have written parts of the bible eg. The book of Ruth, Debra was a Prophetess and commander of the Israel's army. Priscilla and Aquila instructed Paul(Priscilla was a woman). But I digress.When there is a safe environment given to speak without condemnation, we are all blessed for it. With respect to Jesus being the ONLY way--Jesus said this himself, Quote; I am the way, the truth and the life and NOONE comes to the Father but by me!. Jesus said that He was the Son of God before Pontius Pilate. Your inquiry as to wanting a mother figure in the Bible, did you know that Jerusalem is the wife of God and those who believe and accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour are the Bride of Christ--whom Jesus will be coming soon to take to the marriage supper of the Lamb(Jesus).Anita:You are so precious as all the rest of you who have commented.I taught Cathechism in the Catholic Church but as you, I was hungry for more knowledge of God. I found my Saviour(Jesus) in a hospital bed when I was dying of kidney disease. A wonderful Christian lady whom I never met, came to my bed side and told me she had been praying for someone who would be in the hospital room when her daughter-in-law was scheduled to have knee surgery. She came right to me and told me that God loved me and she loved me. Gave me her telephone number and the rest is history. She was one of the Kindest, loving christian I have ever encountered. Later I prayed to accept Jesus into my life and then Jesus miracously healed me(1976). I have never been the same and neither has my family. I live for Jesus and I will die for Jesus(as Corrie Ten Boon-The Hidding Place movie)She came out of concentration camp with her faith in tack and strong after going through the horrors of the Nazi regime. My father escaped out of a concentration camp and carried his prayer book throughout the war. I have that book today and I know that my father is in heaven for he loved Jesus. My father was the only one who escaped the Russian Camp. He had to have me. See God had planned me before I was even born.<I pray that God will answer all your questions for he is more then able. May He make himself known to you for He is a Spirit. There are no male or female in heaven as per Jesus` words. He gives us free will to choose our paths. He NEVER forces us to His way of thinking. It is a FREE GIFT. You don`t have to do anything to get it. You don`t have to earn it, just say `Yes` to Him and give him the only thing anyone can really give which is ---YOUR HEART!Well, I have so enjoyed your love and kindness and now I must go to make, Gnocchi, Wedding Soup, Chicken and Potatoes for some very special guests. Blessings to you and I will continue to pray for all of you.Anita: I love you and God loves you more then you will ever know.Julie`s Mom-Maria.
Dear Maria, I'll have to defer to your knowledge here, because you know a little more than I do. I'm not quite sure that the book of Ruth was attributed to a woman, but in the end that's an argument that doesn't really matter and it's not the whole of my reasonings anyway. I do accept that there were strong women in the Bible, just that in general, both in what I understand of the written text and in modern attitudes, women are supposed to take a submissive role to men, and while I respect that there are some women whose path it is to be submissive, and to find joy in it, it is not mine. And see - while I appreciate that Jerusalem is supposed to be the wife of God and the entire church is supposed to the the Bride of Christ, this is something I've heard many times, and to me it just isn't enough. The church isn't a person, and in the hierarchy of it all the church is still beneath Christ. I stand firm on the belief that women are equal to men, and so the Goddess is equal to the God, not beneath Him. And it's all very asexual, which is something I take issue with as well, but that's another story entirely. Maybe Jesus was the Son of God. I'm not denying it. But if He was, then I'm entirely certain that He would have the capability to speak through more than one socio-cultural filter. I create stories for a living. Science fiction, fantasy, those sorts of things. I've had my hand in creating all sorts of invented religions. And one thing I've learned is that names and images and all the trappings of religion are just that: they're trappings. Accessories. Decoration. The spirit of a thing can live with a hundred different names and forms and still be essentially the same. I'm not saying that we worship the same entity - maybe we do, maybe we don't. But it's something to consider. Did you know that in dozens of mythologies there are stories of a young god - usually a god of the sun or fertility - who is sacrificed so that his people can live? It's an utterly ancient story that isn't exclusive to Christianity, and I will be the first person to say that it is beautiful. My tendency has always been to step back and try to see the world as the whole that it is instead of viewing it through the filter of my own culture. It's a puzzle. I like puzzles - maybe I'll spend the rest of my life trying to solve it, but that's the adventure.
I must also add another comment to say that Julie, it sounds like your Mom is a wonderful cook. That sounds yummy!
Lol! She is..im drooling just thinking about her cooking! (:
I'm just popping back on here to say thanks to Rowan, Anita and others who have shed some light on what they believe and their journey in coming to those conclusions! I really appreciate that!Oh,and I agree about the cooking comment... seriously, who wants to get in line to be special guests at Julie's mom's house?! :D
No prob, Shelly - you know sometimes what I think we all need is just to sit down around a big family table with a giant meal and discuss things, so that if anybody starts to get too ornery somebody can jump up and say OH MY SOME FABULOUS PUDDING or something else tasty and we can all laugh and relax together. Okay. I've been typing entirely too long. There is cleaning that needs to be done and I would not fancy finding vegetation growing under my bed. Ro
Julie, I've commented and emailed you before and again I wanted to say thank you. I've been spending the day reading through these comments and it is amazing! This is one of the most respectful interfaith discussions I have seen between Pagans and Christians. Thank you so much for opening the door to allow this to happen in your "home." What a blessing to share such love between us all. Agreeing to disagree respectfully. I love it. Much love and blessings to all involved here. This is truly a beautiful thing.Bright Blessings,~Mary
Maria, I'm glad you are still able to be here with us to tell your story. I'm sorry you had to go through all that in your life. God truly has greater things planned for you!I am His Beloved. I've been reading through your blog. I actually love it. These are the same things we (pagans) go through on a daily basis. We are all mothers, workers, volunteers. We have to be strong for our families. We feel like we've failed at time, but faith will see us through. I am also Italian with my family coming from Naples! See we are more alike than anyone thinks! lolI feel that we all have the same message to spread, we just have different messengers. I don't dispel God either. I just feel, like Rowan that there's an equal Goddess. I also feel that we find that God/dess like divinity within us, when we are a service to the world, and not looking for fame.I'll leave off with saying something that I should have said in the beginning. I'm speaking for myself with my comments, but did hit on some generalizations about Pagans. We are all different ourselves. Just like there are different sects of Christianity. Again thanks for opening up your blog. I've really enjoyed the conversation. Though it probably would have been more fun chatting over a glass of wine and a big bowl of pasta! I will definitely continue to read your blog.
I have to admit when I first saw Pagan blogs on the top 25 blogs of faith I was kinda shocked. Then I saw Muslim and Jewish blogs and began to think. That can be dangerous for a Kentucky girl. It said blogs of faith. Faith is system of beliefs. I guess growing up Christian you hear faith being an interchangeable reference to Christianity and it becomes an easy assumption. From that moment I decided I would not allow my mind to be judgmental or condescending. Like Julie I am a recovering pharisee, judgment was second nature. I wish it wasn't so but the past is the past.I have learned a lot today. Thank you for sharing your faith and allowing Christians the same courtesy. The Bible says the greatest commandement is to love your neighbor as yourself. Although I sometimes fail that is my goal. Please know you are loved and prayed for.If I have written half thoughts or not made much sense I am an insomniac and going on 3 hours of sleep. It all made sense in my head though lol.
I have greatly enjoyed reading the comments here! I want to relate to you something that I believe is important. I am a follower of Christ. I believe His blood is the only thing that can save us. I am amazed that He would even love me or call me His own. I am broken, sinful, imperfect, stubborn, prideful. I do not deserve His grace in my life--yet He offers it anyway.When I was in high school, I had a great friend who was Wiccan. (My knowledge of the term Pagan is limited, so please friends, feel free to correct me if there is a difference) I was quite drawn to her faith--even though I was raised in a Christian home. I can only speak for myself when I say this, but I know now that what drew me to it was power. Power that I didn't have in my own life. A power that I desperately wanted. I didn't actually give my heart to Christ until after high school. Looking back, I realize that what it takes to believe is to let go of the power that I craved and let God have it. I am simply a vessel--a piece of clay that I want God to mold into His image. I want to let go of what I want God to be and just believe in who He says He is. I am much more comfortable knowing that there is an all-knowing God who guides my path rather than myself. Any power that is in me now comes from God's Holy Spirit living in me. It is freeing--amazing--life giving. Thanks again for this post. You are obviously a woman that is led by the Holy Spirit. Here is encouragement to you to keep up the radical kind of love that Jesus Christ shows us!
Wiccans are a kind of pagan - as in, all Wiccans are pagan, but not all pagans are Wiccan. Of course, there's some debate going on within our own community right now about the word "pagan" - it's current use is sort of an umbrella term for those who practice polytheistic and Earth-based religions. Druids, Wiccans, those who practice Norse, Egyptian, and Greco-Roman reconstructionist religions, as well as many, many others that the wider umbrella term "pagan". (If I've missed any of you, sisters and brothers, it's just because we're so numerous!)A loose parallel would be denominations within Christianity, although we're more like a benevolent confederation of different religions which sometimes overlap. There are many Celtic principles from the Druids that are incorporated into my everyday religious practice, but at the end of the day, I am Wiccan. (If you're curious, this type of practice is usually identified as "eclectic" within the community.)I am a self-identified Wiccan - though I usually just say "pagan" when someone asks and "Wiccan" if pressed for specifics.And you're right - there is a lot of power that can be had if one chooses to look for it. The ability to actually do something about a situation - whether or not it's lighting a candle and praying for my mother to safely make it through surgery or taking an herbal bath that helps draw love into my life, if there is a situation I need to take action on, I can take action on it. But that is not why I am Wiccan.If I could highlight that in a hyperbalillion different colors, I would. I recently just moved from my own apartment back into my parents' house for financial reasons. My parents are die-hard Southern Baptist Christians. They do not approve of my religion - and though we have a loving understanding - I am not permitted to practice in their home. So right now - I don't have an altar, I don't cast spells or hold rituals, I don't do anything beyond lighting candles and praying - sometimes writing my intent on a piece of paper. So am I still a Wiccan? You betcha I am - just like a Christian who doesn't go to church is still a Christian. It all comes down to what you believe in the heart - and in my heart I believe in the Wiccan God and Goddess - separate from each other but of the same Spirit that is what we all come from - the Great Archetypes from which all Gods and Goddesses come. I pray - sometimes to Thor, sometimes to Hestia, sometimes to Brighid, sometimes to Lugh (I could name others but we'd be here for hours) - but in my eyes, they are all part of the Great God and Goddess, with whom we work together to create a better world. Most of us aren't here for the power, though there are some. Most of us are here for Them.
I can certainly sympathize with the fact that many people have a stereotype of your beliefs. Honestly, it is truly the same way with Christianity. People only see the ones who speak the loudest, and honestly--they don't always represent Christ for who He is. Let's face it, none of us do. We are all fallen men trying to do our best. But, I want you to realize that being our best is not what Jesus is about. Our best next to Him is feeble, lame. You can see some of that through this whole contest situation. Our faith is simply about letting go of self and coming to a place of humility before our creator. We understand that we cannot "get there" on our own. We are tired of trying to be good enough. But Jesus said: "Come unto Me all you who are weak and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." That's an incredible invitation. It is the definition of love itself--giving up oneself for another. And the amazing grace is that we simply don't deserve it.
I can understand where you're coming from. Once, a long time ago, I had the same struggle. But one thing that I - and many others, I'd wager - would like understood, is that we are not trying to "get" anywhere. We aren't trying to be good enough - we simply accept what we are. I believe that's a major difference - a touchy one, on both sides, because many Christians I've met have an honest belief that man is truly despicable - and from one just one glance at the news I can understand how such a belief would blossom. But many of us just don't share that belief with you, and that's something that's at the root of what I'm overdramatically beginning to call The Great Schism between our two faiths. I can't speak for other pagans - but my beliefs in human nature are like my belief in the gods. Just like I believe that the God must be balanced by the Goddess, I believe that light and dark must balance each other out, and that the healthiest place to be is a shade of gray, because both complete darkness and complete light can blind. So while Christians are striving for perfection through Christ, many of us see perfection as something negative. Perfection eradicates struggle and promotes ease. And it's only through struggle that I become a better person. I don't want "no more tears" because without tears, how can I have joy? Positive and negative, dark and light - the universe is literally made up of this energy, and cannot function without it. In my belief, the best and most healthy place to be is in a balance between the two. I don't believe the gods want us to repeatedly bow and humble ourselves. We work with them to become more like them - they don't need constant reminding of what stunningly awesome fellows they are - I've always thought that repeatedly telling them so was a little redundant. "You're awesome." "Why yes I know. But keep saying it. It makes me feel pretty." It just rubs me the wrong way, if you know what I mean? I mean no disrespect to Christians who worship this way, I've just never been able to understand it.
You are right. That is the fundamental difference. I believe that it is what makes Jesus unique. I am reminded of the old saying: "religion is man trying to get to God, Jesus is God reaching down to man." In my limited knowledge, I am not aware of any other religion that says we can't be good enough and that we needed a Savior to be righteousness for us--because we can't do it ourselves. I can look back over my life and I am acutely aware of my failures and shortcomings. I still struggle with many of the same weaknesses, and the Holy Spirit is making me more and more aware of shortcomings that I am still unaware of. I want you to know that I have enjoyed listening to you and chatting with you. I don't agree with you, but I always love an open and honest conversation like this.
Any time! I'm always open for discussion. Peace is all about clearing up misconceptions, and I approach this as an opportunity to do just that. I really don't expect any of you to agree with me - and rightly you shouldn't - anyone with an open and loving heart is an asset to their own religion, and they're lucky to have you. It's more of a chance to reassure you that no, we aren't green warty hags who spend all our time in dark murky basements plotting how best to corrupt your children. :D I'm a fairly normal person - embarassingly dorky, actually, because when I'm not doing this I'm playing video games or writing stories about elves, dwarves, and hobbits, oh my! Oh, and the occasional werewolf. :-p Anyway, my golden rule: if you find yourself frustrated with a group of people on the whole, go out and make friends with a bunch of them! This has worked to help me with my frustration with Christians, because when I start to get frustrated (I work in retail, and sadly, our most frustrating customers are almost always the shouty I'm-better-than-you sort of Christian) I can remember sweet Julie and Maria and all of you wonderful ladies who have taken the time to talk with me. If anyone ever wants to chat, pop on over to my blog! I'd welcome any of you. :DRo
I believe there is a picture posted on an earlier entry of Julie's. It said "Jesus is my Savior not my Religion" Couldn't agree more. We bristle at the word 'Pagan' or 'Witch' but what do any of us know about their beliefs unless we research it? My mother claimed to be one later in her life but i never bothered to research it. What i did learn from her though is that it is nothing like the theatrical version that the name suggests. What it taught me is that we all as a People, need to be much more accepting of others views. To this day i do not align myself with a Religion, but i live my life every day, setting the examples and demonstrating the morals He instilled in me. While i agree that there are plenty of people in my life that had something to do with my moral compass, i choose to give Him all the credit as He brought these people to me to learn from. So learn from everyone you meet. Absorb what feels right and discard what does not! Keep up the excellent work Julie!
@ReneeThat's what I always try to tell people! Research! Growing up as Catholic, I was always told that pagans and Witches were bad. My mom tried to drill it into my brain, but I always was fascinated by it. So about 4-5 years ago, I started doing research. There is soooo much that is misunderstood about paganism. The more I researched other faiths, the more that a belief in a Goddess made more sense to me. And eventually, I converted altogether. And I have to say, I feel as though I've become a better person since. And I continue to read about other faiths, and have gained new respect for each and every one. I think having different faiths is one of the things that make the world beautiful. <3I might have rambled a bit. I'm known to do that. LolTo the author, I thank you. It's rare that a Christian would take the time to see from the pagan perspective. :) Bright Blessings!
Julie, as a former witch and re-dedicated Christian I give you a huge cyber hug! You have hit the problem exactly. As Christians we are to reach out to others in love. So many Christians react to Pagans, Wiccans, and Witch's with fear or loathing when the proper response is love. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life as we both know and everyone needs to be told the good news. Even if a person chooses their own way we still must treat them with love...always.You saw the truth of your own reaction, listened to the leading of the Holy Spirit on what needed to change, and are being faithful to stand up to share it.Beautiful post.
Kristine,Thank you for stopping by, I hope you dont mind me sharing your testimony on video..it is powerful.http://kristinemcguire.com/?p=5492
I'm honored that you want to share my testimony. Your very kind. God is the One who reminded me of the truth of His great mercy and I thank Him every day for it.
Hi, I am anon #2 as I was labeled earlier. =-)Again I just want to thank every one of you for the respectful and loving dialogue that has happened here. It warms my heart. My daughter said to me at the beginning of the "Top 25" mess, "Mom, I don't want to go to an anti-war rally, I'd rather go to a peace rally. What can I do to help? How can we get anyone to listen?" I've shared this with her. <3
Hello everyone:I survived my Gnocchi, soup, chicken, potatoes, meatballs etc.My feet hurt, my arms ache and it feels sooooo good!! I NEED TO GET BACK INTO SHAPE FOR AN OLD LADY.You have all been so busy conversing, it took me a while to get caught up. I see that you are becoming more and more respectful of one another and learning the truth about each other(without compromise). Anita, Thank you for lovely words. going through hard times makes us better in understanding pain and hurts of others. I love helping in hospital settings and nursing homes there is such a great need for love in most places and especially in our own homes, communities, work places. If there are people there--they need someone to reach out in love no matter where, why, how, what place."Well done is BETTER than well said".You have all been doing the following:"Good writing is clear thinking made visible." We have a clearer picture because of the dialogue.This week I discovered to just be considerate, accept each other for what you are, and don't point out that the hair he's losing on his head is now growing out of his nose--and his ears.(Peg Bundy on Married...with Children). My husband wears 2 hearing aids and I needed to shave his ears and while I was at it, I also clipped his nose hair!!! too close for comfort Yep!! that hurt!To all who are reading this, May the Lord Jesus Christ speak his word unto you. May He be a high tower that you will run into and be saved. I want TO LOVE YOU FOREVER!Maria Julie's mom.
P.S. I have to leave you with one more thought.You never see a man walking down the street with a woman who has a pot belly and a bald spot.(elayne Boosler)Maria.
Delia,I tried to post a comment on your site but it would not allow me to do so. My words..Oh sweet Delia,You made me laugh, ( That pooing comment made made tea spew out of my nose), you defended me,and now reading your story I see a commonality of us both surviving some horribly painful and similar situations.I just want to say, thank you dear sister. And your daughter- she has a most lovely and amazing mother.Beautiful you are.
If I could I would write each of you I would. I just want to thank every single one of you-Christian and Pagan alike for showing each other respect and love here, yet standing rock solid in your conviction in your truth and faith. Thank you, it is literally one of the most remarkable situations I have ever had the privilege of being part of. I mean that.
I too am a recovering fundementalist. I had to run away from God before I came to peace that the person people were preaching about. The one that suposedly required we had to dress a certain way, listen to certain music, decided how we wore our hair, how we schooled and so on. Funny the bible did not mention that. How anyone not following our way of life and our interpretation was not christian was what drove me out. It was stifling that I could barely breathe. Now I breathe once more, free from legalism, trying to find my God in the still small voice inside me. I am trying to heal and change the Pharisee inside me.Oh if christians know how it is legalism by christians and not witches that is the biggest threat to christianity.
just wanted to say i thought this was a fantastic post, and you are a wonderful, courageous lady. It takes a lot to stand up when something isn't right, even if it may, on the surface, conflict with a particular belief you may have. Many blessings to you!
Sweet Beloved,I will figure out the commenting. It is supposed to be open to everyone. I just truly appreciate you and your story, life, testimony. Love and Light,DeliaPS I am always happy to provide entertainment. =-)
I'm a new reader to your blog. I stumbled across your little corner here earlier this week when I was reading about the Circle of Moms drama. I'm really impressed at how you handled the whole situation. I'm a pagan (Wiccan) and just wanted to say thank you for your post and the civil discussion about religious similarities and differences.
Spirit Phoenix and everyone who have stopped by,I am TRULY honored and humbled that you would feel comfortable to do so. I want you to know that I am glad you are here. Welcome!
I am just gonna be honest here! I found Julie's blog through the a survivor's page on facebook for people who grew up in a religion/cult that was very legalistic, judgmental, controlling and just flat out all about appearances. This is very hard to undo!When I first saw the top 25 faith blogs on circle of mom's site- I was appalled (?sp) that they would include witches/pagans in faith blogs and I was going to 'unjoin' circle of mom's after the contest was over; and I think I commented on some of the pagans blogs w/ the intent to convert them.WOW, was I humbled after reading Julie's blog about love, even for witches!! When you grow up around condemnation, it is just a knee-jerk reaction to condemn those who don't believe what I do. I must apologize to the pagan mom'sb/c I judged you and my biggest pet peeve is this very thing.One of my mentor's once told me 'the ground is level at the cross' and how true that is. What makes me think I am any better than you? I am a recovering pharisee and this blog post and discussion has helped me realize that!!It's no wonder people are so turned away from christianity- we are called to LOVE, yet we (I) think we must convert people to what we believe before we can do so.God forgive me for not loving as you do, unconditionally; and please forgive me pagan mom's for not wanting to offer you that kind of love!!Bless you all and thank you Julie for your realness!!
You rock for posting this! (salutes)Wonderful words; you've proven that an honest opinion can remain so without having to result in viciousness. I'm voting for your blog along with Mrs. B's and a few others because you guys have accomplished something way more important here than some online popularity contest. You've made a statement about playing fair and consideration for others.In the horribly polarized, self-absorbed political and social climate we're currently in, here's to some of your attitude being contagious. We don't all have to agree with each other, but demanding that those we don't agree with leave the planet is no good for anybody. You are a credit to Yeshua and I'm sure he is proud of you right now. May your generosity of spirit come back to reward you tenfold.Snooze HamiltonPagan hedgewitch & shamanic totem worker
Take this for what it's worth, coming from a Christian-turned-Pagan, but, I don't think the Gospel can be compromised through compassion, grace, love, and kindness. Was the good Samaritan considered one of the Holy? The woman at the well? The tax collectors or prostitutes that Jesus ate with? Did any of His acts of kindness compromise the Gospel, or further it?It is refreshing to hear someone truly be an example of the Jesus that I love. Yes, a Pagan, who loves Jesus. Go figure.
Many blessings on you and yours for your kindness and love. Your ability to step outside the modern pressures of your faith and see what Christ would have done is astounding and beautiful.
this is such a great post which i totally agree with. i was sad in seeing how some of the pagan bloggers were treated & it is so up lifting to know there are christians like yourself that see the important issue is to love each other.
I just wanted to say that the open and respectful dialog in these comments have almost brought me to tears. Although our faiths are different, I would be proud to call any of you my sister or neighbor. The next time I encounter hate spewed at me for my faith, I will remember this post and return their hate with love. I know it might not mean as much coming from a Pagan, but God bless you. (And may the Goddess bless my equally-awesome Pagan sisters!) (I wound up voting for your blog too. :3 )
Hey, I voted for your blog just because of this post. What the world needs is more Christians like you. Thank you!Practising Pagan from far, far away myself - never mind! You still sound like a person I could learn to respect.
To the author of this blog, thank you for being a decent person as well as a Christian. Meical abAwenWiccan
I am the author and I just want to say again how much I appreciate EVERY voice on this comment thread. I've read every single comment and I want to thank every single one of you for your gracious and kind words. I love you!I also want to take away ANY praise on me and point it to the One who convicted me, the One who IS Love and my Ultimate Example- Jesus Christ.
You have my vote.Many blessings to you and yours,~crow
First off I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am glad that there are Christians like you who can admit their faults and learn to love. I honor who you are as a person and take joy your journey even though we walk seperate paths.
I just want to say thank you. As a Wiccan this whole thing has been very painful for me to see. I have to commend you for your stance on things. I am a very firm believer in my faith, BUT I think that people should be judged by who they are as people, not just by what their own personal faith is. If they are good people, and they do good things, and make a genuine effort to help others and their community, then regardless of what their religion is, I view them as good people, and the opposite applies. If they do bad things, hurt others, and take, take, take, from their community but never give, then they are not good people. So even though it goes against your initial reaction, thank you for reaching out and deciding to love, rather than hate. Just because we practice a different religion, it doesn't make us bad people, we just have different beliefs.
Thanks for pointing the way to our Savior, I am His Beloved. It isn't always easy to love others with different beliefs, though Jesus explicitly tells us to love. Thank you for the wise words.
Rowan,Thank you for putting your beliefs into such eloquent words. I have the same beliefs, but have never had such a way with words as you have. If you don't mind I might actually borrow them in future exchanges with people.It's beautiful to see everyone speaking with kindness and respect. I was raised Christian and converted at a young age, for many of the same reasons Rowan did. I live in the deep south and have been physically attacked on the street more than once over the years for my beliefs. I've always been firmly out of the broom closet and it's nice to see that tolerance is not only possible, but maybe even becoming a real thing.Thank you and Blessed Be,Rachel
Hey sweet friends,Just popping in to again say, I hear you and I thank you for your comments and words here.I also wanted to talk about the word tolerance. I really hate that word, it is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Who wants to be tolerated? Ugh, not me. I choose to love you all. This post was not toleration- it was love. Love transcends color, race, creed, belief- it says I love you. It also says that in my love I can still stand strong in my own beliefs and not compromise. Love says- you are a precious and priceless life that I respect and love. I don't tolerate you lovely friends- I love you.
"If you haven't any charity in your heart you have the worst kind of heart trouble" to cure it help people, let's unite for one good cause, be a volunteer"save lives"!mawaddainternationalaid
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