stuff I could use help with

  • The Gathering always could use prayer and support
  • I need support for the $1,800 mission trip to Wales in August
  • Thank God that I found a cheap place to rent!
  • Thank God that I have an awesome job now!

Saturday, June 16, 2007


As an eighteen year old male I am constantly being reminded by older individuals that I am not invincible. The fact that the youth of America often see themselves as invincible is only illustrated by negative car crash statistics, school violence, teen pregnancy, etc. However I have always believed that at the core of this illogical worldview.

I believe that this is illogical (although so is Faith and hope and love). But a certain idealism seems to come with it. I'm not saying that it always does, but when an intelligent, mature, youthful individual looks at something wrong in his/her world something snaps and you have an idealistic soldier. This is an idealism that can be carried on through adulthood. This is why we have the great country we have. Is because a bunch of idealistic people (who were young once) saw what needed to be changed, changed it, and continue to change it. (Hopefully it's starts changing in the right direction.)

I find that Christian development is the same. When an individual first stumbles into the Christian faith and becomes engulfed in Christ's Love we stand in contrast to our old selves and our old world. We then naively believe that we can change the world by spreading this same love and some continue to die for it. That kind of sounds like idealism and a feeling of invincibility to me. And thank God it's so. However, just as in adulthood, this zealotry can often fade. We become cynical and realistic. Though realism has it's place, we should still be illogically idealistic. We should, as Christians, keep that youthful drive to transform ourselves and teach the same to others. We should see ourselves as God's untouchable children.

Read about some more untouchables:

Mike Bursell muses about Untouchables

David Fisher on Touching the Pharisees - My Untouchable People Group

Adam Gonnerman with Quickened Pen

Michael Bennet writes Nothing more than the crust life

Jeremiah at Models of church leadership and decision-making as

they apply to outreach

John Smulo talks about Christian Untouchables

Sally Coleman shares on The Untouchables

Sam Norton talks about Untouchables

Steve Hayes on Dalits and Hindutva

Sonja Andrews visits the subject here

Fernando A. Gros speaks up on Untouchability And Glocalisation

Michael Bennet writes Nothing more than the crust life

Phil Wyman throws out the Loose Lips - A "SinkroBlog"

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Christian Witchcraft

What would posses me to title this blog with such an oxymoron? Well, I think it's fun for one thing. In fact, I just might have titled this blog Christian Witchcraft even if it had nothing to do with either one just to see what people would do, but I don't feel that weird today. (I do realize that there are those who call themselves Christian Witches and I respect them. I call it an oxymoron because "traditionalist" Witches and conservative Christians might view it as such.)

In high school for my senior paper, I was asked to write on a particular genre of literature. I chose allegories. I titled my paper Allegories and Their Growing Theological Influence. Allegories, I believe, are some of the most powerful means of communication. Heck, they were one of Jesus' favorite tools for teaching. Anyway, I analyzed several allegories, from what I believe to be the first recorded allegory (Jotham's parable in Judges 9:7-15) to The Pilgrim's Progress, to 20th century works by C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) and J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings).

But basically my thesis was that, even if these literary works or their corresponding films did not change an individual's worldview or give him/her some kind of enlightenment, they still had an impact. I believe that, like Pagans, Christianity has been given a bad rap because of the media and certain practitioners/believers who represent us poorly. Though some may point at the patriarchal archetypes and the beliefs on death and the afterlife as heartless and oppressive, the main message is one of love, acceptance, and freedom. I believe that through such allegories as The Lord of the Rings this being seen, whether consciously or not. In these books, Christianity is put into an applicable, understandable, story. Pagans, as well as anyone else, can understand Christianity as illustrated by the wizardry in such books better than they can stories applicable to Palestine around 30-33 A.D.

In fact, even if they do not realize the worldview it comes from, many Pagans are influenced by themes from such novels. Even well known Pagan author Margot Adler in her Drawing Down the Moon reciprocates such observations. (page 33, paragraph 2).

My point is that the popularity of Christian allegories, I believe can be a positive influence, both for a better understanding of the Christian worldview and for any who wish to glean from them any truths that made these works of literature and film successful. After all, allegories are nothing more than truths rearranged into an entertaining fiction.

Other Righteous Blogs
Steve Hayes ponders">The Image of Christianity in FilmsAdam Gonnerman pokes at The Spider's PardonDavid Fisher thinks that">Jesus Loves Sci-FiJohn Morehead considers Christians and Horror Redux: From Knee- Jerk Revulsion to Critical EngagementMarieke Schwartz lights it up with Counter-hegemony: Jesus loves BoratMike Bursell muses about blog/">Christianity at the MoviesJenelle D'Alessandro tells us Why Bjork Will Never Act AgainCobus van Wyngaard contemplates Theology and Film (as art)Tim Abbott tells us to">Bring your own meaning...?Sonja Andrews visits">The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Christ in Spaghetti WesternsSteve Hollinghurst takes a stab at The Gospel According to BuffyLes Chatwin insists">We Don't Need Another HeroLance Cummings says">The Wooden Wheel Keeps TurningJohn Smulo weaves a tale about Spiderman 3 and the Shadow Christian Witchcraft at"> Phil Wyman throws out the Frisbee: Time to Toss it Back Dr. Kim Paffenroth investigates Nihilism Lite

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Dogma. It sounds kind of bad, doesn't it? It kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth, like you just bit into an onion as if it were an apple.

Many people, including myself, feel infected by the word's negative connotation whenever it comes out. It just brings to mind such wonderful illustrations of legalism such as the Inquisition, the puritan culture as portrayed by The Scarlet Letter, bible thumping holy-rollers, abortion clinic bombers etc.

(Now just as a disclaimer, I am not speaking about the word's denotation or of it's classical sense. I am simply addressing the legalistic, pharisaic nature of religion that it has come to represent.)

What is it about dogma that turns so many (including myself) off to religion in general? I believe that because dogma has the tendency to sterilize the beauty of what could be in order to make it clean and tidy. It pours out a bottle of bleach onto the garden of religion. It turns oil painting into painting by numbers. It turns improv. jazz into a musician's mechanical warm-up.

If someone were to have asked me a year ago if Witches and Christians had anything in common I would have given a very general answer: "Well, uh...they're both people, and...uh...they both love and...uh...hate, uh..." and I think you get the picture. Lately though, I've been reading Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler. It's basically a look at the sociology of Neo-paganism and it's written by a Pagan. (Which I think is really cool!). Anyway, with that added to my experiences here in Salem, it seems that we have more things in common than I thought. One of which is our longing for freedom.

Now, to make generalities about either religious groups is very difficult because of their great diversities. Not only from each other, but also within themselves. Nonetheless, both love freedom. Both seek for freedom from religion and both often see dogma as an enemy to that freedom, or more directly, freedom in worship. (Some Christians may not, but they can at least relate to the longing for the freedom the Jesus gives through His death).

Both seek to be free from extra rules and laws that keep them from intimate communication and worship of their deities. For Christians it may be more so that the relationship between us and God may be closer. For Pagans it may be more so that they may have a better and more personal interaction and/or revelation from whomever they deem to worship. However you phrase it, it sounds pretty similar to me. Obviously there are a myriad of differences as to the who, what, when, why's, and how's of their worldviews, but they both have this common factor.

The other day Pastor Phil and I met with a local solitary Witch named Krista at Beerworks. (Who will be on the panel of Witches at the Gathering's conference "God For People Who Hate Church" on May 4-6). Anyway we were talking over burgers and soup (she was really cool and let me mooch off of her fries) about how she decided to become a solitary and what worship for her looked like. She described how she would create the circle, call the four corners, etc., and then she described how she would sit in quiet with incense (not burning because it makes her sneeze), keeping her mind clear of distractions. She would let her mind go over the day (how could she have handled a conflict better, etc.), pray for help on certain issues, and be still for the presence of the Goddess and/or God.

Besides the ritual aspects and the fact that we worship different deities, the meditation sounds almost identical to mine. Though in mine I actually burn the incense (isn't that funny).

So, all this to say, I realize that I share a lot in common with these people (especially in our desire for freedom and irritation with dogmatic legalism) and I think I will love it here.