A pagan, a heathen and a Christ-follower

July 1, 2003

[Paganism, or Brother Sun, Sister Moon?]As promised, here’s a conversation I had at a work party with one of my best friends (“he”) and another gal (“she”):

Me: (I notice that She is wearing Celtic knot earrings and necklace. It makes me think of Rich’s posts about paganism and Celtic Christianity.) I like the knots, that’s really nice.
She: (smiling) Thanks.
He: Are you a pagan?
She: …As a matter of fact, yes, I am.

He: Would you happen to know ?
Me: (I laugh)
She: No.
He: Well, I thought you might have run across each other at a Beltain celebration.
She: I stay away from those things. Most of those people are freaks.
He: Can you do magick?
She: That depends what you mean…
He: Can you manipulate things simply by your will?
She: You manipulate things by your will all the time.
He: But you know, can you make things happen?
She: Well… magick is to pagans what prayer is to Christians.
Me: (Being more comfortable around pagans thanks to my old manager) Yeah.
He: Does it work?
Me: Well, Christians believe that prayer works.
He: Can you turn me into a newt?
She: No, and anyone who says they can is a liar and a freak.
He: What about Anton LaVey?
She: Church of Satan? He’s a freak.
He: What about Aleister Crowley? “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” That’s my kind of religion.
Me: I prefer Jesus’ approach: “Not my will, but Thine be done.” It goes along with the whole thing of emptying yourself, “Take up your cross; to follow me you have to die.”
He: Whaat? That sounds like a Tool song or something. Where did you get that?
Me: (Surprised) Dude, that’s Jesus. I thought you grew up with this stuff.
He: I grew up Lutheran. I’ve never heard of that stuff.
Me: (Mocking) Uh, didn’t your church ever, like, quote Jesus?
He: (Waving his hand dismissively) Well you’re different, you’re part of that weird Vineyard thing.
She: Vineyard? I’ve never heard of that.
Me: It started in California. Southern California, actually.
He: You know, if I were to ever go back to church, I’d probably go with the Vineyard, it sounds pretty cool.

I was amazed. Maybe my efforts to disassociate myself from my friends’ understanding (and dislike) of organized Christianity (and right-wing evangelicalism in particular), at the same time not being shy to talk about Jesus, and at the same time being genuinely interested in other people’s spirituality so as not to be pushy with my own, are actually yielding fruit!

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

2 responses to A pagan, a heathen and a Christ-follower

  1. Very, very cool conversation! I’m going to borrow it, if you don’t mind. :^)

  2. That is so awesome!!! I’ve been asking God to help me be able to do exactly what you did in that conversation. Thanks for sharing!