I do what I can to walk by faith in Christ and seek his wisdom, yet I can not stand idly by while brethren (and sisters) behave with such immaturity and lack of understanding for others who are not just like them. So, when I write an article like this, know that this comes from a follower of Christ. I preface this article like that, because I can be harsh at times and I don’t want it to be said that I’m anti-Jesus. I just don’t appreciate the hypocrisy, lies, and manipulation taking place in the Christian community. Jesus was harsh at times too, like in Matthew 23 when he ‘ripped the lips off’ the self righteous pharisees.
Proverbs 4:7 “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” KJV
For the last year I have worked very diligently to understand the diversity of pagans in our world. Through patience and humility I have allowed myself to walk by faith in entering their world so I can learn to understand. I have come to respect them as fellow human beings in this global community called humanity. I have found so many that respect my path and they have never tried to convert me nor do they bash Jesus to me. In fact, it was in a Druid community that my faith in Christ was deepened.
2 Corinthians 5:7 “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” ESV
I have found that many of them do respect the Jesus they read about in the bible, they just don’t respect the abusive version that some denominations of Christianity are forcing on society.
I found an article written by a pagan that I found rather interesting and posted it on my Facebook wall. I wanted to encourage a conversation of understanding so my Christian friends can learn to understand paganism with a more educated basis than the popular paranoia perspective so many of them espouse to.
It’s sad to see those who immediately throw stones without taking the time to listen. How do these people even claim to be missionary minded if they approach people with such exclusion?
I believe myself to be an organic minister and I love people where they are. It is not my intent to manipulate people into choosing Jesus as a deity, savior, or otherwise. In my faith, I believe that if Jesus wanted to give people a revelation about him, he could do that without manipulation and terrorizing tactics. Furthermore, I’m also not interested in conning people with false kindness in hopes that they’ll recite some man made prayer and pledge allegiance to the Christian flag.
Many times over the years I have had intense experiences with the Lord that convinced me to follow his teachings and accept the love he has been giving to me. It grieves me greatly to see religious leaders portray God as an abusive tyrant who threaten people into choosing Jesus. It does matter to me what people think of Jesus and how the Holy Spirit works, because I have a beautiful connection with him and I do not want to have broken relationships with people who think I’m lumped in with such immaturity.
In my view of Christ, people matter to him. And it’s through this perspective that I find myself viewing people as worthy of love. This authentic love flows naturally, but I’ll be honest and say that there are times when it’s more difficult to let that love flow. It’s when abusive people intrude and disrupt in which case I struggle with showering love on them. I fall miserably short and grow impatient when I see people being abused. Or perhaps this is just how the love of Christ manifests in defense of victims.
Luke 23:24 “Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.” Meanwhile, the soldiers divided his clothes among themselves by throwing dice.” GWT
image credit David Hayward
I believe God loves us all equally. The story of the prodigal son is really more about the father and how his relationships with his sons can teach us a powerful lesson. Both sons had an inheritance. One wanted to receive his right away then depart to go live life as he so desired. The other stayed home and close to his father’s side. Through this story we see the father freely give the first son all that he requested and allowed him to go free, leave the family, their community, and did not condemn him for doing so. Once the son had lost all he had, he decided to come back and serve his father as a slave. The other son was not happy with how their father welcomed him home, prepared the fatted calf, and threw his arms around his son. This son who stayed home is often portrayed as the faithful son who obeyed his father and didn’t ask for anything. Yet, many times Christians fail to see the real problem with the story.
The story is not about the first son living the party life (although we do learn a lesson from that), but rather we see the obedient son plagued with a toxicity we call self righteousness. He thought he was better than his brother and felt that he deserved the fatted calf more than his brother. Even with this view, there is a bigger picture here. The bigger picture is the father who loved both sons equally. Both sons had the freedom to do what they wanted, yet each brother learned different lessons. One learned his father loved him and was a man of grace, while the other learned his father was not legalistic as the son assumed he was. Two sons had different views of their father.
God gives us the freedom to decide for ourselves. He freely gives Pagans, Atheists, Unitarians, Trinitarians, Catholics, Fundamentalists and Pentecostals alike, the choice to make on their own. If we force someone to recite a prayer without having the opportunity to make an educated decision, then we aren’t really giving them freedom to choose. When Christians make choosing Jesus into a threat, then what kind of choice is that?
If Jesus wants someone to choose him, he can contact them on his own. The Spirit knows how to convince someone of love. At the same time I do believe we have a responsibility to represent him with love and compassion. Even if people never choose Jesus, our responsibility is to represent him with humility, grace, and love.
Maybe some folks should refrain from calling them Christians if they aren’t going to be committed to living out the Gospel with love. Perhaps they can simply say they are learning about Christ, rather than trying to speak on his behalf and putting both feet into their mouths.
My heart for my fellow pagan loved ones (and anyone else for that matter) is not a mission to convert them, but rather a desire to understand them and to love them. We are all a part of the global family of humanity. Let’s follow in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspiration by loving our fellow man equally. Even some of the most self centered, arrogant, and self righteous Christians are equally loved by God, it’s just more difficult for us to love them. Nonetheless, we’re all created in the image of God.
Genesis 1:26 “Let us make man in our image” ~God
Some people are easier to love than others. While it has taken a journey of faith for me to learn to love others, it’s taking me a journey of strength and patience to love bullies.