Thursday, September 24, 2015

Re-Re-post after PPD 2015

Re-post from my old Super Duper Social Worker blog, August 2012

I do not identify as Christo-Pagan. In my experience I’m too Christian for the Pagans (this always cracks me up) and I’m way too Pagan for the Christians (not surprising, but disappointing.) 

But, I do identify with those who want to have a relationship with Christ, or those who love aspects of Christianity, church and the bible. My heart breaks with theirs, though, when they go seeking something beyond orthodox and traditional ideas of Christianity and/or Paganism and are only met with rejection and ridicule from other religious communities.

Christianity and Paganism are completely compatible, and there’s no reason that the Christians and the Pagans (and everyone else, for that matter) can’t get together for a meal, a beer, community and prayer.

Christianity has its roots not only in Judaism (which has a rich mystic tradition) but Mediterranean and Egyptian mystery cults. Sure, a literalist interpretation of Christianity has been going strong for two thousand years, but that does not mean that this tradition is void of mysticism or even Paganism - far from it! My advice to those who think that Christianity and Paganism are incompatible – read some history.

Try to understand who the God of the bible is, read his words closely and think about the motives of his commandments. Think about what this would mean to people two thousand years ago, one thousand years ago, and now. Learn the history and the politics of the world two thousand years ago.

Look at the formation of the Catholic church, per-Constantine. Read about the life of Jesus, and then read about the Christ. (Yes, they are different.) Study the creation of the bible as we have it today. Read the Nag Hammadi, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gnostic texts and those other books that were left out of the bible, and study why they were left out of the bible.

Study Judaism, in particular the mystical traditions, the Kabbalah, and the elements of Goddess worship. Read the Old Testament. Read Plato and Neo-Platonist writers, and read The Golden Ass and the Homeric Hymns. Study Egyptian and Hellenistic mystery traditions and life/death cults.

Christianity and Paganism have been growing side-by-side for over two thousand years. This relationship has been… well, you know how it’s been. But it’s still there. After two thousand years of human civilization, you literally cannot separate Christianity from Paganism, or Paganism from Christianity. Sure, we can try, but two thousand years of tradition is hard to deny.

Even if you practice what you consider to be pre-Christian traditions, we’re in a post-Christian world looking at things with Post-Christian eyes. The influence is there. Now, I’m not saying every single Pagan practice is Christian, or that every single Christian practice is Pagan. I’m saying that nothing exists in a vacuum, and these things influence and inspire one another.

But, in the end, it doesn’t matter if you’re Christian or Pagan (or anything else!) If you’re Christian, be Christian. If you’re Pagan, be Pagan. And if you’re neither or both, then, by all means, follow your heart and intuition and worship in the way that works best for you.

It doesn’t matter, really. Just don’t make blanket statements or pre-emptive judgment calls. Read, think, learn, pray. Stop hating and judging. It’s okay if a witch prays to Jesus. It’s okay if a Christian performs a spell. There are no real contradictions - not after you study and build a frame of reference and a context.

And if you happen to find stuff that seems contradictory, well, that’s life and that’s okay, too. We’re modern people trying to interpret an ancient world, trying to put together pieces of a huge puzzle we’ll never really understand.

Life is full of contradictions, why should religion be exempt? That’s just part of the fun, fulfillment and magic.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Amanda! I found your site through which said you offer handfastings? My name is India. My fiancé Jared and I are having a handfasting in November (on the night of the 5th) in Bahama (right out of Rougemont). Of course at first I just wanted to know if you even still did handfastings and what you require for them before we go further. I know it's a bit short notice, but we both really hope this has a chance of working out! I've read a good portion of your blog so far, and I love the post on the Curanderismo class (I'm taking part II now). I got a degree in anthropology (cultural & medical) and my main focus of research was on Mexican brujería! Anyways, if you could please email me anytime you're free at -! I can't wait to hear from you.