This is an interesting article about “wild” Christian churches that hold their worship services out in nature, instead of in human-made buildings. The things these people have to say are quite interesting and refreshing to read, but there is one thing that ruffles my feathers a little:
Wild Church leaders are careful to distinguish what they do from paganism.
“My tradition is Christian but my objective is not that people become Christians but that they find a way to connect with holiness that is authentic for them — an expanded way of living and an expanded sense of Christ,” says Loorz.
First, there is actually zero difference between Paganism and what these people are doing, especially if we take Christopagans into account. (I’m sure that some mainline Christians would probably agree.) By definition, worshiping out in nature and combining spirituality with environmentalism is inherently Pagan, whether you bring Jesus into it or not. It’s also interesting that so many of the ministers for these “wild” churches are women, which is yet another strong similarity to Paganism.
Secondly, Victoria Loorz states in the quote above that she is not here to “bring people to Christ,” but to help them reach some kind of spirituality that works for them personally. Far be it from me to debate with Christians on their own theology, but this is a most unusual stance for Christians to take. Usually they argue that Jesus is “the only way” and that nothing else can provide “salvation.” Loorz’ statement here sounds less like something a pastor would say and more like a quip from a Wiccan high priestess. In many Pagan circles, individual adherents are encouraged to find their own ways of connecting with nature and the spirit world. So once again, this does not sound like a Christian church so much as it sounds like a Pagan coven.
I’m not arguing that these “wild” churches should start calling themselves Pagan (or Christopagan), or even that they are necessarily doing anything wrong. I fully support the idea of more Christians going out into the woods for Sunday worship, instead of buying up real estate and never paying any property taxes. But, it would be nice if these ministers could give a little more credit to the Pagan community and to Christopagan writers for coming up with this idea long before they ever did.