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A Pagan in a Christian Environment

Discussion of Christianity and other religious systems. How can we explain our faith to Christians? How can you merge your faith in Jesus with your belief in the metaphysical?

A Pagan in a Christian Environment

Postby blconn » Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:18 pm

Greetings all~

I have been a practicing solitary pagan for....going on 12 years. I am secure in my faith, and I know beyond all doubt that I am making the right decision for myself. (Isn't that what faith is all about?)

I work in a corporate environment, and fully 100% of my coworkers are Christian - and most are devout. Many of my closer acquaintances just assume that I am Christian also. I was born and raised Lutheran, and I went through all the trappings when I was a child - from baptism to confirmation - so I can speak as if I am Christian, yet I feel as though I am doing my faith a disservice by doing so.

Because of the high position that I am in, if I were to blurt out "I am a Pagan!"....it would likely not fare well for me. I am respected and looked upon as a leader, and I do not want to change that. Though, the closed-mindedness I am surrounded by would likely be my undoing.

Advice? Do I ever dare tell them? I want to proclaim my faith as they do as it is just as important to me as theirs is to them - if not more! I admire and respect Christians, but the faith does not touch me. How can I intimate this to them (if at all)?

This is something I have struggled with for a long time. Thanks to all in advance ~ peace to all..

Brian
blconn
 

Postby One Walker » Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:12 pm

Hi blconn!

Just some observations: If your co-workers just assume you're a Christian too I think it speaks to the core of the matter; which is when you get past secular doctrines and beliefs in Christianity it really isn't all that different from Pagan beliefs. Both speak to the essence which is Do No Harm and Live In The Light. Your co-workers seem to accept you, do they not? And they base their judgment of you not on what you've proclaimed to be but what you've shown of yourself. I think that is a good thing. There's little doubt they would have issues with the manner in which you practice your faith but no more so than Pagan's usually do with Christianity and when you get right down to it; ritualistic practices and doctrines matter very little in that there is no one 'right' or correct way to come to The Light.

I believe a person proclaims their Pagan beliefs by actions, not by shouting out "I'm A Pagan!" That is the act of Ego and that, I think, would be a disservice to your faith. All people come to believing in something in their own way; along their own path. Therefore, people tend to reject paths or beliefs that are 'shoved in their face.' If those people look up to you and respect you then sooner or later one of them is going to ask you about your beliefs. I think that might be the time to tell them. They are probably going to be shocked and confused because what their doctrine and the media has told them about Paganism will be at odds with what they've observed of you as a person. Most people ask questions when confused and that may be the time to gently straighten them out about a lot of the misconceptions and misinformation they have. Some of them will probably do a complete 180 on you and run away believing your 'nice' persona has been a complete deception but that can't be helped, can it? The best thing that may come out of that situation is that others will hear the person proclaiming you to be 'evil' or something but they'll look at you and not see that. Then they'll begin to wonder about the judgment or accuracy of the person who is 'crying wolf'.

I'm saying this as one who was raised with parents who were devote Baptists. I went through Baptism and doctrine classes too, and proclaimed my Christianity as well. In a manner of speaking I still do, it's just that I look upon my relationship with the Supreme Being in a way not endorsed by organized religion (and probably quite a few Pagan/Wicca sects too! :lol: ) Hope this helped some!

Blessings to you and be well along your path!

One Walker. :D
We have seen what Power does.
We have seen what Power costs.

One is never equal to the other.
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Thank you...

Postby blconn » Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:04 am

..One walker. This is something that I have struggled with for some time. I've asked this of other Pagans and not ever received such an eloquent reply!

You make a good point in that the core fundamentals of Christianity and Paganism (not to mention many others) are the same. You're also correct in that there is no more powerful thing than education. Most of the people close to me are, at their core, very good people - and likely would listen to me before passing judgement.

The hardest part would be getting around the sense of...tradition, if you catch my drift. Many of them likely just don't understand that there are so many paths to follow - but they all meet at the same place. With their upbringing, many were taught to reject anything but what they know as their "True Path". (It's how I was raised, and I imagine you are no stranger to this thinking, either.) It may be hard to circumvent this type of thinking with some..

'[...]a person proclaims their Pagan beliefs by actions, not by shouting out "I'm A Pagan!" ' - this is fantastic! - and should be in print on T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc... :) This sums up a lot, and is good advice for anyone.

I appreciate such a thoughtful reply. I knew I was drawn here for a reason! :)

My best to you and yours~

Brian
blconn
 

Postby One Walker » Sun Mar 15, 2009 1:37 pm

Hey Brian! You're always welcome my friend!

I know what you mean about getting around that 'tradition'. So many of them-and people of other faiths too-just accept what they've been taught without questioning or simply gloss over the really tough questions like "Why does God let this happen?" with "It's God's will" or "God works in mysterious ways which we cannot fully grasp." For many of these people their True Path seems more like their Safe Path to me. They take The Bible or their doctrinal teachings literally or at face value-which isn't bad-but then they fail to look for the complete meaning. They look at the Ten Commandments as the end, not the beginning. It's a Playbook for getting into Heaven. Follow "The Rules" and you're 'safe'. Instead of looking at The Golden Rule or the Ten Commandments as individual statements they should be looking at the combined or summarized meaning of them. If you were to summarize them, all those rules simply mean "Treat Each Other With A Sense Of Decency." Then, if you look at all other belief systems, you quickly realize they all say the same thing.

Well, I could go into a whole thesis-sized writing on the subject but I won't. ("Please! Spare us One Walker!"):lol: Maybe I'll write a book someday. BUT, I'll leave you with a little parable-type story that helped me on to my path as a Stone Shaman and, I hope, might mean something to others:

There was a Master come unto the earth, born in the holy land of Indiana, raised in the mystical hills east of Fort Wayne. The Master learned of this world in the public schools of Indiana, and as he grew, in his trade as a mechanic of automobiles.

But the Master had learnings from other lands and other schools, from other lives that he had lived. He remembered these, and remembering became wise and strong, so that others saw his strength and came to him for counsel.

The Master believed that he had power to help himself and all mankind, and as he believed so it was for him, so that others saw his power and came to him to be healed of their troubles and their many diseases.

The Master believed that it is well for any man to think upon himself as the son of God, and as he believed, so it was, and the shops and garages where he worked became crowded and jammed with those who sough this learning and his touch, and the streets outside with those who longed only that the shadow of his passing might fall upon them, and change their lives.

It came to pass, because of the crowds, that the several foremen and shop managers bid the Master leave his tools and go his way, for so tightly was he thronged that neither he nor other mechanics had room to work upon the automobiles. So it was that he went into the countryside, and people following began to call him Messiah, and worker of miracles; and as they believed, it was so. If a storm passed as he spoke, not a raindrop touched a listeners head; the last of the multitude heard his words as clearly as the first, no matter lighting not thunder in the sky about. And always he spoke to them in parables.

And he said unto them, "Within each of us lies the power of our consent to health and sickness, to riches and to poverty, to freedom and to slavery. It is we who control these, and not another."

A mill-man spoke and said, "Easy for you, Master, for you are guided as we are not, and need not toil as we toil. A man has to work for his living in this world."

The Master answered and said, "Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river. The current of the river swept silently over them all-young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self. Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.

"But one creature said at last, 'I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.' The other creatures laughed and said, 'Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!'

"But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks. Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more. And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, 'See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!' And the one carried in the current said, 'I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.' But they cried the more, 'Saviour!' all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a Saviour."

And it came to pass when he saw that the multitude thronged him the more day on day, tighter and closer and fiercer than ever they had, when he saw that they pressed him to heal them without rest, and feed them always with his miracles, to learn for them and to live their lives, he went alone that day unto a hilltop apart, and there he prayed.

And he said in his heart, "Infinite Radiant Is, if it be thy will, let this cup pass from me, let me lay aside this impossible task. I cannot live the life of one other soul, yet ten thousand cry to me for life. I'm sorry I allowed it all to happen. If it be thy will, let me go back to my engines and my tools and let me live as other men."

And a voice spoke to him on the hilltop, a voice neither male not female, loud nor soft, a voice infinitely kind. And the voice said unto him, "Not My will but Thine be done, for what is Thy will is Mine for Thee. Go Thy way as other men, and be Thou happy in the earth."

And hearing, the Master was glad, and gave thanks, and came down from the hilltop humming a little mechanic's song. And when the throng pressed him with its woes, beseeching him to heal for them and heal for them and learn for them and feed them nonstop from his understanding and to entertain them with his wonders, he smiled upon the multitude and said pleasantly unto them:

"I Quit."

For a moment the multitude was stricken dumb with astonishment. And he said unto them, "If a man told God that he wanted most of all to help the suffering world, no matter the price to himself, and God answered and told him what he must do, should the man do as he is told?"

"Of course, Master!" cried the many, "it should be pleasure for him to suffer the tortures of Hell itself, should God ask it!"

"No matter what those tortures nor how difficult the task?"

"Honor to be hanged, glory to be nailed to a tree and burned, if so be that God has asked!" said they.

"And what would you do," the Master said unto the multitude, "if God spoke directly to your face and said, 'I COMMAND THAT YOU BE HAPPY IN THE WORLD, AS LONG AS YOU LIVE,' what would you do then?"

And the multitude was silent, not a voice, not a sound was heard upon the hillsides, across the valleys where they stood. And the Master said unto the silence "In the path of our happiness shall we find the learning for which we have chosen this lifetime. So it is I have learned this day, and choose to leave you now to walk your own path as you please."

And he went his way through the crowds and left them, and he returned to the everyday world of men and machines.

This isn't mine but I think it's pretty good and speaks to many things, including the core of ourselves. If anybody is interested in more (and there's a lot more) you can read the original in Richard Bach's: Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. By the way, Richard Bach is also the author of the classic Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

Anyway, thanks Brian! I too think we are well-met and look forward to talking more with you. Blessings to you and be well, happy, and safe in your world!

John (Formerly known as a Baptist.:wink: ) :D
We have seen what Power does.
We have seen what Power costs.

One is never equal to the other.
One Walker
 
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Many thanks..

Postby blconn » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:18 am

..for all of your guidance. I will certainly have to read more of Richard Bach - the post was great...and not a little intriguing.

(I just bought a Kindle the other day - perfect suggestion! :) )

I agree - well-met we are! I look forward to more conversation~

Best,

Brian
blconn
 

Postby One Walker » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:28 am

Well, I just tagged a 10 on my Spook-O-Meter. I didn't realize it until just now but you're in Fort Wayne, Indiana! I did NOT realize that when I quoted Bach's parable. The parable just came to me as something I should relate. You wouldn't by chance be a pilot as well, would you? That plays a large part in the book.

One Walker. :shock: :lol:
We have seen what Power does.
We have seen what Power costs.

One is never equal to the other.
One Walker
 
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Spooky...but...

Postby blconn » Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:08 am

That is interesting - the parallel. :) To be honest, I thought that maybe you had "customized" the parable to match up with my city and state. Ok, so - quite the coincidence!

Although my father is a pilot and I have been flying aircraft since I was 13, and a large part of my job has to do with air traffic control radios - I, myself, am not an actual pilot. I do not hold a license or anything like that - though I do have a strong interest in aviation.

Does that count? :)
blconn
 

Postby One Walker » Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:52 pm

It counts. Oh BOY does it count! :lol: I would VERY much like to hear your thoughts once you've read the book.

Blessings to you on your journey! I have some sense that some kind of an incredible door is about to open up for you. Stay in touch!

One Walker. :D
We have seen what Power does.
We have seen what Power costs.

One is never equal to the other.
One Walker
 
Posts: 633
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:42 pm
Location: Minnesota, USA

Well...

Postby blconn » Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:39 am

...that is certainly encouraging! It's funny...I had somewhat drifted from my faith for the past couple of years. I was finishing up a new degree, getting situated in a new position at work, enjoying having time with my son, and just getting on with life.

Just last weekend, I came to realize that it was imperative that I reconnect with my path. I was living my life as a Pagan and holding true to the values that I keep close to me...nothing had changed with that...but I just wasn't as devoted as I have been in the past.

I was surfing the net while my son was taking a nap last weekend and I happened upon this forum. I felt a pull and before even reading a single post, I had registered. It wasn't long before I found I made the right decision! More than ever, I'm realizing that connecting with others is one of the best ways to reconnect yourself.

Hope I don't sound too bizarre. :) I'll be on the lookout for opportunity, certainly!

I'll look for the Bach book as soon as I finish what I am reading now. Thanks again for the suggestion!

Best~

Brian
blconn
 

Postby One Walker » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:22 pm

You're always welcome, blconn! Your story doesn't sound bizarre at all. In fact it's a story that is becoming more and more common these days. I'm glad you found this place!

Blessings to you and your loved ones!

One Walker. :D
We have seen what Power does.
We have seen what Power costs.

One is never equal to the other.
One Walker
 
Posts: 633
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:42 pm
Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: A Pagan in a Christian Environment

Postby hicksfan » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:45 am

blconn wrote:Greetings all~

I have been a practicing solitary pagan for....going on 12 years. I am secure in my faith, and I know beyond all doubt that I am making the right decision for myself. (Isn't that what faith is all about?)

I work in a corporate environment, and fully 100% of my coworkers are Christian - and most are devout. Many of my closer acquaintances just assume that I am Christian also. I was born and raised Lutheran, and I went through all the trappings when I was a child - from baptism to confirmation - so I can speak as if I am Christian, yet I feel as though I am doing my faith a disservice by doing so.

Because of the high position that I am in, if I were to blurt out "I am a Pagan!"....it would likely not fare well for me. I am respected and looked upon as a leader, and I do not want to change that. Though, the closed-mindedness I am surrounded by would likely be my undoing.

Advice? Do I ever dare tell them? I want to proclaim my faith as they do as it is just as important to me as theirs is to them - if not more! I admire and respect Christians, but the faith does not touch me. How can I intimate this to them (if at all)?

This is something I have struggled with for a long time. Thanks to all in advance ~ peace to all..

Brian


the problem with christianity is the dualistic belief of anything not being of the omnipotent yahweh is by default the work of satan. that's how their belief is designed, regardless of the true factuality of the situation. so even though you may be able to explain your true stance with precision, it's like showing a dog a card trick for the most part. they're going to refer to their belief, not yours. and their belief is paganism is satanism.
a lie is a lie even if everyone believes it, the truth is the truth even if nobody believes it.
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Postby RuneGeek » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:36 am

blconn wrote:Advice? Do I ever dare tell them? I want to proclaim my faith as they do as it is just as important to me as theirs is to them - if not more! I admire and respect Christians, but the faith does not touch me. How can I intimate this to them (if at all)?


I think this is a decision that only you can make. You know these people... and you know the risks. That said, here are some thoughts...

I've studied a lot of the history of paganism. I'm mostly Saxon with some Celtic thrown in for good measure, and since those cultures (Teutonic and Celtic) are what I'm most drawn to, that's the perspective that I know best.

The Teutonic peoples fought hard to hang on to their paganism, and for many of them it was either die or covert to Christianity. Many did die, and because they died for their beliefs, it was in my opinion honorable.

On the other hand, those who died probably left behind families. I too see honor in making the hard choice to live differently so that one can live, to be there for those who need them.

Fortunately for you, I assume this is not a life or death choice. :) But you could lose your job - in which case you could sue - but you'd be going through a lot of hardship in the process. Or perhaps you wouldn't lose your job, but have to deal with nastiness from your coworkers. Religious harassment is illegal, but it's a battle in a lot of cases to get something done about it.

Pagans have lived underground for a long time. We're slowly working our way back into the light of day; I am one of those who is "out". I work in government, and although it's the very-Christian south, they understand the importance of fair workplace practices. Besides that, I'm in IT... people sort of expect us geeks to be "out there" anyway. :D

I would never condemn anyone who stays in the "broom closet" however. Witches in particular and pagans in general have a long history of practicality. Our religion isn't one of pointless rules that cut off one's nose to spite one's face; it's a path that should enhance our lives, not make our lives harder. If you can be "out" then that's good. But my advice is not to pressure yourself. If it makes you feel better to be out and you choose to take that risk, so be it. But if you choose to stay in - for now - then be proud of that as well. Either way you're making a hard choice, and as long as you do what is right with your spirit, you have done the right thing.
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