Sarah and I were driving home from doing some errands a few weeks ago, when, not too far from home, she asked, “So, can you have something like dual citizenship in this religion thing?”
And, with that question, a whole lot of puzzle pieces fell in to place: I hadn’t really left Christianity behind entirely. I am a witch, but I also follow Jesus.
It’s simple as an idea, but very difficult in many ways. To be honest, it’s been like coming out again, and with similar reactions. Those closest to me more or less shrug and tell me that they had figured it out awhile ago. I’ve had a lot of hard conversations about this, and a lot of good conversations. I’m still figuring it all out, really. Even though the advice, from deity and from people, is to just let things happen, my mind still likes to run its hamster wheels about what people will think of me now.
What’s been pretty distressing, and what’s made this blog post hard to write, is that there will be some people in my life who may not want to be around me anymore because of this. I know I’m not the only pagan out there who is both Christian and Pagan, but the problem is that on both sides, people expect you to be one or the other. There’s no room for syncretism. To be a proper Pagan/Christian/Whatever, you must declare one way or another. Go around the web and you’ll see just as many sites about the evils of Christianity by Pagans as there are sites about the evils of Paganism by Christians. There are statements by people who are very sure that witchcraft and Christianity will NEVER be compatible with magick and never could be. I’ve seen writings by someone who had to justify their own spiritual path to a coven because they decided that they wanted to include Jesus in their spiritual work.
To put it another way: I’ve met some really horrible people who are Christian. I’ve met some really horrible people who are Pagan. I’ve met Pagans who claim that the gods love everyone, and then proceed to exclude those who are different from themselves because they don’t fit their bigoted ideas. I’ve met Christians who cry that Jesus loves everyone, yet condemn those who don’t fit their bigoted ideas to hell.
I was watching Babylon 5 last night, and during one of the episodes, Sheridan asks Ivanova if he can trust Talia, a telepath. Ivanova says “I thought you didn’t trust PsiCorps.” He replies: “I trust individuals, not institutions.” Ivanova then says, “Then you may trust Talia.” When I watched that exchange, I realized that really described what I think about Christianity: I trust individuals, not institutions. Christianity as an institution has a lot to answer for, but I also know many amazing people who happen to be Christian.
When I asked my deities about this they all basically said: “It’s your path, right? We’ll still be here if you call. You need to follow your path.” They leave the arguing to us. No one has the monopoly on what is right, and we’re all human. For me, that’s what it boils down to.
As far as my own path is concerned, I would love it if people were just happy that I’m seeking spiritually and leave me to it.