I know a bit about stories. I know us human beings think in terms of narrative: this happens, and this happens and then that happens. Cause and effect, a progression of scenes. We ask each other “what happened last night” and expect to hear a sequence of events.
One thing that many Christians are taught is to evangelise. Evangelism is telling the story of one convert so that another potential convert can go through the same story, too. There is scriptural precedence, of course. The gospels record Jesus telling his disciples to “make disciples of all nations”. I could argue for hours about what that might mean. But most who call themselves Christian take it to mean to get those around them to become Christians just like them.
Not that there’s anything inherently bad in that. Passionate devotees usually like to evangelise, whether it’s religion, football or a favourite movie. “I was like this, then It Happened and now I’m like that!”
Christian evangelism tends to be pro-active. Christians are encouraged to be evangelistic to some degree to everyone they meet in life. Usually this is sold as “being Christlike” coupled with being willing to share a personal story about becoming or affirming Christian. But some religions are not evangelistic. Wicca is one that is not. Adherents usually wait until asked. Nevertheless, it is still interesting to look at, or even model.
So this is my story.
I have begun to regard myself as Wiccan. Arguments abound as to whether it is possible to be Wiccan and Christian; suffice it to say I am not as Christian as I was a year ago.
I’ve been on a journey for longer than that, though. I’ve grown up in a Christian home and gone to church all my life. I would regard myself as having been sheltered and with a limited world-view, coloured heavily by church-driven, Biblical teachings. With that inadequate preparation, I had a major crisis of personal identity instigated by a marriage breakdown. It was with the help of a counsellor who guided me out of that that I learnt a lot more about myself. A lot.
Then I became part of a group of people trying to get to know each other without prejudices or any other pre-conceptions. The only thing we had in common was that we had a love of good writing and a love of wanting to create good writing. This was friendship that was real, more real than any I’ve had before. Or at least, any that I’d recognised before. And then I begun wondering why my church was not like that. Some people in my church are like that. Not many. Too few. There are too many people I feel I have to be careful around.
After doing some reading, Wicca enticed. It has a pantheon of many many gods and goddesses and I discovered I rather liked that. Yahweh and Jesus could even be considered a part of it (although not all Wiccans agree). I stepped out from under the Christianity that the church has been teaching and discovered whole new areas of spirituality. What was really interesting is that I am absolutely certain that Yahweh has given me his blessing to step out here.
I am still wrestling with what this means for me and what I believe. I am certain that Cernunnos is watching over me, mostly to see what I do, but he gives guidance, too, when I ask. Jesus has entrusted me to him. Less certain is what I thought I believed about how the world was made or where we’re going hereafter. I no longer believe the Old Testament is a good historical record, but it gets better the closer you get to the New Testament. I do believe the Jews did not coalesce as a nation (or a religion) until the Return under the blessings of the Persian emperor. They were certainly not monotheistic until then! I also believe most Christians do not really grasp what that truly means.
On sin and redemption, I have no opinion at the moment. On acceptance of other humans, I am much better at this, now. The Bible is not my scripture to live by anymore. My image of Jesus is, in fact, oddly more pagan than before. This is especially potent when you realize that “pagan” actually, literally means “non-Christian”.
It would be less work to accept the orthodox, conservative Christian line in my church. But that would be a step backwards for me. I am not that person anymore.
I’m just … not.