Every story has a beginning, middle, and end; and I learned a long time ago that compartmentalizing pieces of my life’s story by hiding them only hurt me later. Curiosity is the nature of human experience and eventually that great person you are dating will want to meet your parents, or want to know about your childhood. I can’t escape my Christian upbringing, and why should I? I am not ashamed of it. I am egregiously disappointed by it, but I am not ashamed.
My recent transparency has brought me some attention; which to be honest I was not expecting. In the past week or so, these three questions have been posed to me in various ways.
1: How can you be a witch and not turn your back on Christianity?
2: How have you reconciled your relationship with Jesus with your new beliefs?
3: How could you write such things about the Church that raised you?
Exciting questions, and because I put my past out there, in this public setting I will answer these questions here this one time. Lets start with number three first.
How could you write such things about the Church that raised you?
Very easily! I was raised to seek truth in the Bible, as commanded in the gospel; Matthew 6:33. I could argue at the time that as a baptized man of age, I did my duty and found it flawed. I find the entire doctrinal codex of “the church” and everything ascribed to the Apostle Paul to have been wrote, from the epistle of Romans onwards, to be in contrast to the Gospels. The church told me to be silent and I declined. My family chose the church over their son. Period. The Goddess chose me, long before the church and long after my family.
How have you reconciled your relationship with Jesus with your new beliefs?
I’d like to reframe reconciliation. I understand the deep pain, anger, and violation that many people have toward Christianity and in turn their God and Jesus. This includes our Pagan community. I see Jesus through the parable, first as a prophet put on the Earth by the God of Abraham to lead a life of piety, made into a puppet with an alleged power but none of the authority to use it, manipulated in game by an evil parent and ultimately forced into human sacrifice. I often think to myself hmm, how many people’s lives are like that life now? Manipulated and abused in power structures? In the end of the Jesus parable, Jesus is brutally beat on the streets while is virgin mother (aka the Goddess who Christianity has rendered powerless) and his father (who could stop this all, and subsequently humanities suffering) watches him crucified. All of this to glorify the ego of the God of Abraham. Jesus of course is resurrected but before he ascends to heaven, to whom does he seek, why yes, the great whore, Mary Magdalene. And the rest is corrupted by more patriarchy.
For me, however I see a prophet like many others from history and a man a lot like you and I.
I call Jesus prophet and teacher, and the gospels from the Bible a wisdom tradition that I may choose to learn from.
I see Goddess all over Jesus. I see him as chosen by Goddess. Birthed by a virgin in the mysteries, protected by a great whore, and was a practitioner of magic. Jesus rose people from the dead in the same manner of the Witch of Endor did in the Old Testament.
But most importantly, Jesus is not my redeemer or messiah. I am delivered unto myself. I am divinity, just as Jesus was divinity. This is because I am immanent divinity, I am Goddess, you are Goddess, All is Goddess, and nothing is Goddess.
And so, I see Jesus through the lens of example, as wisdom. He is not deity to me. He never was. "He’s a man, he's just a man, and I’ve had so many men before, in very many ways, he’s just one more!" to quote Mary Magdalene, in Jesus Christ Superstar.
How can you be a witch and not turn your back on Christianity?
What I said was “Let me clarify, that there is no “after my time with Christianity”. I do not believe one turns their back on one faith experience for another. But rather that each experience is a part of an interconnected whole that is dynamic and ever evolving.” To clarify that further, because I frame Jesus into my spiritual architecture as a teacher I own my relationship with him and I release him from the patriarchy of the churches dogma! Because I am transparent with my truth I can use it. I use it when an elder within our pagan community’s father is dying and she crafts a prayer to Jesus whom her father honors as God but she does not, and I can comfort her and support her magic. I use it to speak to gay and lesbian teens who may not be pagan but are fractured because they have been told they are worthless as I once was told the same thing. I use the wisdom I learned being reared in the church to reframe Jesus like this:
The poet, Christina Rossetti said, "Love came down at Christmas...a love divine" Emmanuel means; God is with us. I've always thought maybe Emmanuel really means LOVE IS WITH US. May Love be with us, comforting in the love that is Divine. And may our Holy Mother, from where even Emmanuel came, from where the Law is Love.
And every now and again, when I feel the urge to slay an evangelist street preacher, I too can quote scripture. It’s quite a scene! They never know what to do when they meet this witch. And so, that’s that, I guess a rebuttal, a reframe, and a release.
I turned 35 this past week and many things happened. One involved question three, which came on my birthday from a family member, and it devastated me. Even in the midst of my beloved's most magical expression of his love for me on my birthday I still wept. Until the next day when I was invited into the loving embrace of my chosen family, they also made me cry, but tears from love. Then the next day when I was asked question two by a newly initiated witch from a wonderful tradition. Like me he was also raised evangelical Christian. I had already been asked question one, and thought I might answer it, but question two is why I do this work. Why I write this blog, why I bring the dharma, and why I serve Goddess, whether alone in her presence or out in the world.
Blessings and Blessed Be.