Sermon: Dealing with the Abrahamic Pantheon

The following is an article I wrote a few years ago, and which I placed in my “To Be Fixed Up” pile while I was on hiatus in 2017. I’ve finally gotten around to making it presentable, so here it is—my personal opinions on certain figures from the Abrahamic pantheon.

Many Pagans simply dismiss Yahweh, Jesus, and other such figures as being “imaginary.” (Consider the time-honored disclaimer you will find in almost any Wiccan FAQ: “We don’t worship the devil, because we don’t believe in Satan.”) This position strikes me as being hypocritical, especially when it comes to Pagans who are polytheists. We have no more reason to doubt the existence of Yahweh or Jesus (or even Satan) than we do to doubt the existence of Set, Persephone, or Quetzalcoatl.

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CNN: A Woman Could Face Prison for Posters That Show a Famed Icon of Jesus and the Virgin Mary With Rainbow Halos

“No whim of freedom and ‘tolerance’ gives anyone the right to offend the feelings of believers,” Polish Interior Minister Joachim Brudziński said on Twitter.

So if I were a Polish citizen and somebody started preaching to me about the biblical Exodus for whatever reason, would I be able to press charges against that person for promoting an ahistorical, anti-Egyptian narrative that offends my feelings as a believer? Likely not—but where do one believer’s feelings end, and where do those of another begin? This is why religious blasphemy laws are insane and should be ditched by every self-respecting country on earth.

But for what it’s worth, I think Elżbieta Podlesna’s posters are terrific. As for the people who are offended by them, I would suggest they meditate on Genesis 9:13, in which the Hebrew god Yahweh creates the rainbow as a sign of his promise to Noah that he will never flood the world again. Perhaps if you are bothered by LGBTQ activism, you should try viewing the rainbow colors in these posters in light of that Bible verse instead.

In any case, here’s hoping Ms. Podlesna will win her case in court. If she actually ends up sitting in jail for two years over this, Poland’s going to have a whole lot more feelings to be worried about than just religious ones.

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Sermon: Love & Death

I first met my wife in an online Pagan discussion forum during the autumn of 2008. It was only about a year later that we met in person, fell in love, and decided to spend the rest of our lives together. We lived as an unmarried couple for three years, and then we got married on November 2, 2012. We chose this date specifically because it is the third day of Samhain (or All Souls’ Day, if you’re Roman Catholic), and we figured this might increase our deceased grandparents’ chances of attending the ceremony and reception. Since the wedding, we have accumulated plenty more happy Samhain memories for our little family as well. But one of the most monumental things to have happened was the passing of my mother-in-law, who joined the ancestors just before Halloween 2015.

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Religion News Service: Church Goes ‘Wild’ as Believers and Seekers Head for the Trees

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.

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