How Will Christians Ever Learn to Love These Pagans?

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Every year we saw missionaries from all over the world come visit to present their work, in hopes of gaining more financial support. It’s always inspiring to hear of the ‘miracles’ occurring in other countries and I couldn’t help but wonder why we weren’t seeing them here. I had romanticized about becoming a missionary just so I could see these amazing things happening in people’s lives, but the stories of giant spiders and scorpions quickly killed my interest. It’s not that my heart wasn’t still compassionately desiring to see people’s lives changed, it’s that I’m a big chicken when it comes to insects. I would secretly beg God NOT to call my husband and I into the mission field. Thankfully, we were called to a mission field right here in the States.

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We spent just over a decade serving those in jails, prisons, and in a faith based mission for those exiting the system and/or who had been homeless, or addicted to drugs or alcohol.. Our specialty was in serving addicts through spiritual counseling, work training, and life coaching to help get them back on their feet and into the work community again. We helped countless men and women to get their lives back. Each person would spend up to a year with us as we appeared by their side in courthouses, pleading for second chances. Some of them did so well that they were given an open door to earn their way back into their children’s lives and even several marriages were saved. The thing about mission work like this was the difficulty to find others who would serve alongside us. Some would ‘serve’ from afar by sending monthly donations, but many congregations didn’t want to support the work with their own hands and feet.

We figured a large part of that hesitation was due to fear. Some of it was due to self righteousness. We know that to be true when some folks actually said things like, “Not in MY church. I was here first!” Another was, “I saw the newspaper today. I can’t believe the judge gave THAT guy another chance.” This was said, not knowing THAT man was standing right behind them in church at the moment. I usually would just walk away and not engage in such pettiness, but that day I couldn’t hold my tongue any longer.

That kind of mission work was what helped US get OUR lives back on track. It infuriated me that church folk would close the door on someone. God didn’t give those people the keys to heaven, yet they were acting like he had. My disgust with the Christian community continued to grow.

We would travel through different churches, presenting the work like the missionaries do. We would plead with congregations to come serve meals, teach a Bible study, or even just visit the clients on visitation day. We did have a few faithful souls who dared to walk through those gates on Saturday afternoons. They would give up a few hours each week to come talk to men and women. They would pray with them and meet the family members who did happen to visit. Seeing an entire family come visit their relatives was rare. Most of these men and women had burned their bridges long before.

It’s a rough mission field. We faithfully served in that field for nearly 15 years before we were faced with the decision to leave. Leaving was one of the hardest decisions we had ever made. We deeply love the work and the lives who were being served there. However, there was another field awaiting our hearts. We didn’t know what or where it would be, but we knew something special was coming into our lives.

When God said, “Go” he didn’t give us a direction. “Just start walking”, he said. We tried several different congregations, but we didn’t get confirmation on any of them.

We later became aware that serving God didn’t require that we be a part of an organization. We began learning what the hymn meant to “go into the highways and bi-ways of life, where many are weary and sad. Taking the sunshine where darkness is rife, making the sorrowing glad”. We wanted to be a blessing to someone, anyone.

Then one day I took the children with me to a volunteer day at the local park where a woman was gardening along the creek side. She was the only one who attended this event, until we got there. She taught us about which plants needed to be pruned that day and why. These were plants that would quickly take over the land if not trimmed on a regular basis. We each grabbed a tool and put our hands and backs to work. We began talking about what brought us to this event and I shared about our past in mission work. The conversation grew and she opened up a bit about her previous Christian life. She was no longer a Christian and after hearing a bit about her story, I could understand why. Now she is a Druid.

Many Christians don’t understand what would cause a Christian to flee from God and embrace other Deities. They’re often accused of heresy and labeled ‘apostates’.

After the amount of abuse I have seen in church communities all over the nation (and in countless denominations), is it any wonder? Just type in “pastor arrested” into the Google search engine. We know it’s inevitable that some men will end up violating a child or seducing another man’s wife, but when the pastors themselves help silence the matter, it becomes horrifying to a whole other level.

We began truly listening to the stories from other people who had left the Institutional style of ‘church’. Many of them no longer trust the system at all.

They won’t go back.

We understand.

They are out in the highways and bi-ways of life, many are weary and sad.

The system isn’t perfect, but we don’t reject it entirely. There are some decent charities at work that are trying to grow and advance in their practices and beliefs. It’s going to take time for a major change to be seen.

But the system is not where we were called to. We were called into the wilderness.

I love when Rachel said,

“I want to prepare tables in the wilderness, where everyone is welcome and where we can go on discussing (and debating!) the Bible, science, sexuality, gender, racial reconciliation, justice, church, and faith, but without labels, without wars. “

This is exactly what we have been doing these past few years.

We’ve grown with our community of friends. Many from all different backgrounds and different faith systems. We’ve grown to love and respect one another and there’s been no need to demand that we each pledge allegiance to any specific doctrines or communities.

We’re not at war with Evangelicals, Catholics, or even Atheists.

Oh there is a war, just not how we were once taught to believe in.

The war is within ourselves.

Each person is at war with some thing, some one, or some belief.

What we have been called to is not something that can be organized, financially supported, or even compartmentalized with fancy cling-on labels.

Who we have been called to has brought on just as much criticism, if not more, than when we served drug addicts and the homeless.

Today’s world wide congregation is still trying to figure out how to love those in the LGBT community and still waging war over it. How will they ever be able to love folks they deem as “satan worshipers”? It’s one thing to try to love a gay man who pleads the blood of Jesus, but how do they love someone who has totally “left the faith”?

They are so caught up in winning the war within their church culture that they have missed the fact that Jesus and Paul went directly out to dine with pagans and share the love of God with them.

I remember the first time I spoke up on behalf of a pagan woman. A woman I didn’t even know. There was a blog competition on a larger site. They had several categories of awards, one of them being “faith”. Though, the site did not specify which faith. This woman’s blog had been nominated, successfully entered into the running, and was leading the vote; leaps and bounds ahead of several of the most popular Christian mom blogs. A blog war ensued as Christians waged war on her for “attempting to intrude” and “take over” the faith category. In their minds, faith most assuredly meant Christian faith. Yet, the site administrators had not made that claim.

The amount of backlash this woman got as a result was one of the ugliest displays of piety I have ever seen in the Christian culture (until last week anyway). This mom had done nothing wrong, she didn’t even know her blog was entered, much less in the lead.

As the witch hunt continued, I could no longer hold my tongue. How in the world were pagan women ever going to see the love of God in a long line of screaming Christian women holding torches higher than their own noses? I had been friends with these same Christian women on Facebook. The gossip and misrepresentation of pagan beliefs that I saw on those women’s accounts were down right hideous. Their imaginations had run wild! They were being motivated by fear and an obligation to uphold some pious standard to the point of willingness to assassinate the character of this blogger and her entire community.

You might have thought a cat fight would break out, but instead I saw grace and kindness coming from the pagan women. Grace and kindness that blew me away. They wanted to take the loving path. They pleaded for their own readers to be still their frustration and instead…to forgive.

I couldn’t stand by and see Christ so horribly misrepresented. Not only that, I couldn’t hold coats while others stoned them with hate.

After about a week of pleading with my Christian sisters to be slow to wrath and to extend love instead, I was unfriended…by many. They no longer responded to my tweets about housekeeping nor answered my pleas for WordPress help. I was on schedule to speak at a homeschool conference and “kindly” informed that they could no longer have me as a speaker. I was cancelled. I was told it was a financial issue for them, but the timing was more than coincidental.

Many of them had held their tongues while I challenged doctrinal issues in the months prior, but this must have been their last straw.

How dare I stand up for pagans. I fell off the deep end; I slid right down the proverbial slippery slope to hell.

I never could understand how Christians would financially support missionaries to peoples and tribes of pagan colonies in third world countries, but cry “HERETIC” when it’s done State side.

They will extend the hand of fellowship to Christians who study the pagan culture and beliefs in foreign lands, but disown me as a Christian sister for doing the same on the sandy shores of California.

Just as during the years in rehab ministry, here we were again..alone in our mission to love others as God loves us.

We have grown to love our pagan friends. We’ve learned a lot about their vast beliefs and rich culture. We love them not just because God calls us to, but because we truly love them for who they are.

Our little community may not be steeped in Christian church culture with floor length dresses or sharp tailored suits, but we are clothed in love.

altar by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

While the larger congregation of God works toward loving our LGBT brethren and sisters, there is so much more to be accomplished. There are so many other beloved people who have been wounded by religious zealots. There are countless folks who have been shunned by their own families and excommunicated from various congregations for choosing Earth inspired spirituality.

God loves them too. The Divine sparks within us all and is not a respecter of persons.

That means he doesn’t discriminate.

He does not say to the rich man, “sit here with me” and to the outcast “sit under my footstool”.

His love is for all people and the invitation is always open.

Christendom has a lot of growing to do and I have hope that love will ultimately win.

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Don’t Let the Natural Path Community Deceive You

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Something that infuriates me to no end is deceptive practices and the misleading teachings that perpetuate fear. It happens in religions, politics, the medical industry, and just about every other form of business field. Something I’ve noticed in the “natural remedies” community is the anger at Big Pharma for exploiting sick people with fear tactics and high priced services and prescriptions. After experiencing awful illnesses myself, watching aging loved ones being taken advantage of by their doctors, and pediatricians wanting to load our kids up on antibiotics, I was fit to be tied. I threw my hands up in the air with taking everything I was told as truth. I started questioning everything and entered the natural path for health and healing. But don’t let the natural path community deceive you.

deceived

I was glad to know I wasn’t alone with my frustrations and began deeply embracing the ‘natural remedy’ community. On the surface, everything looked friendly and intelligent. Over time, and through reading countless blogs and websites, I began noticing a lot of similarities. These similarities weren’t just the true facts being shared (because those are great), but false information(not so great). When false information is passed along from blog to blog, eventually people just think it’s truth.

“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ~Adolph Hitler

I’m not going to assume people are lying, but I do think it’s possible that more often than not, people are just gullible. We want to believe that the natural health community is telling the truth, especially when they fight so hard against Big Pharma. It had crossed my mind that some of us might have gotten our information from a site that we thought was credible and then quoted it, linked to it, and Tweeted out the info we got.

{Information has a tendency to go viral whether it’s true or not.}

If we want to be taken seriously about natural health remedies and pro-health maintenance then we need to do our due diligence with sharing information. I don’t think all of the natural path community is misleading us. In fact, I applaud them for speaking up against such a large adversary and for raising awareness so we can all be more diligent with our own health! But as with any community, there are always going to be wolves in sheep’s clothing, especially when there’s money to be made. I don’t want to cast a dark shadow on the natural path community, but if we don’t speak up about this, then we run the risk of seeing our health care be repeatedly overrun by the next group of greedy zealots!

In addition to this, I feel adamant about being genuine. Aren’t you tired of the fear mongering? It disgusts me when marketing tactics take on a cult mentality of fear and control. The arrogance of companies (and bloggers) claiming they have THE best product is more than annoying. Furthermore, when they claim something is fake or false in order to pump up the product they’re boasting about…and then add in their Amazon affiliate link (or MLM company)…

*cha ching*

I find that rather insulting. It seems to me they are hoping those gullible folks who had worshiped the ground Big Pharma walks on, will in turn take every word these bloggers say as fact. They’re banking on it! And we’re punching in our debit card numbers as fast as we can so we can get these ‘true’ products.

I don’t need a fear tactic to get me to buy something. I’m willing to bet you feel the same way. I want to know the truth about a product’s ingredients and why it works. Give me testimonials of people who have used it successfully. Educate me on why this product works and what it works for. If I need it and can see clearly that it works, then I’ll take it.

With the relentless stand the natural community is taking against fear tactics, manipulation, and flat out lies coming at us from Big Pharma then it’s only fair to expect them to be honest and operate with the utmost integrity too.

As consumers, you’re probably wanting these natural-way teachers to tell you the truth. I know I want them to. Maybe you don’t have time to study the intricate facts about herbalism and essential oils. Yes, thyme has medicinal properties but how does one specifically use it? Is a hot brew the best way to take it internally and can you put thyme oil directly on the skin? There are different types of cinnamon, but is it true there is fake cinnamon and true cinnamon? Do I really have to import “true cinnamon” at such a high cost?

Listen friends, most of us just want to have an easy to use remedy that can be taken for less endangering sicknesses. These kinds of arguments don’t need to side track us from obtaining health. I can brew a tea to aid my cough with the thyme I bought from a natural food store or even from the thyme growing in my garden. I don’t need to pour out my bank account to buy some special formula that only one company makes from some alleged wild grown herb that’s only found in the Mediterranean.

This natural health concept is growing exponentially and so it also opens us up to fraudulent information. We need to be responsible for our own health care and be advised by our chosen health care professionals. And let me whisper this little truth to you, it’s not a blogger. There’s numerous bloggers out there trying to make a buck off your clicks and purchases, but we all need to be wiser with our health and finances.

It’s good to read, research, and ask questions. I don’t want to discourage anyone from doing that. Just be careful what you buy into.

For those of us who do blog about natural remedies…

  • Lets just be honest with our readers.
  •  Be more diligent in our research.
  • When someone comments with more information we hadn’t considered, we need to make the necessary edits to our articles.
  • We need to be thankful that someone cared enough about us and our readers to speak up in the comment section.
  • When someone comments with misleading information, say something! Don’t just let those comments stick and continue to be taken as truth.

I’m one of those bloggers that does purchase from a company and I do have the ability to extend opportunities to join their buying network, but I’m not out to manipulate people into signing up for anything they are not truly ready for or genuinely want in their lives. Lets just be fair and honest with each other. It makes for such a more enjoyable community.

*Disclaimer: As an Wellness Advocate I provide my personal opinion and experiences with essential oils, and am not endorsed by dōTERRA Corporate. None of what I testify of has been evaluated by the FDA, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. I am not a registered medical professional and I encourage you to discuss your health concerns with your own doctor. I simply share resources and tools to raise consumer awareness. Read my full disclaimer here.

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How we let idiots like Pat Robertson and Ken Ham become our generation’s prophets for God

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I would love it if we could live in a world where natural health paths were the majority school of thought. I wish we could boast of living in a world where people were all treated equal regardless of gender, religious affiliation, or financial status. It would be a dream world if we didn’t have to worry about war, gas prices, political scandal, or preacher pedophiles. Living in a time of peace would be like living on cloud nine, but more often than not a time of peace just means someone evil is making plans to thwart our dreams of happiness. I wonder how long it took before the Jews wondered how they fell for Hitler’s scheme? Why did so many people let it happen? We should be asking ourselves how we let idiots like Pat Robertson and Ken Ham become our generation’s prophets for God.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ~ Edmund Burke

An ancient book, revered to be holy, tells us to be vigilant because our enemy roams back and forth seeking to devour us. They wait until we’re vulnerable. They sit back and observe us, just biding their time until they think we’re not watching. They don’t want us to look like we’re alert. An enemy won’t strike when they think we’re strong and ready to fight.

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I don’t like the idea of fighting, especially when it’s not even worth my energy. A wise sage might have told you to choose your fights wisely. There are times when we must go to the borders of our lands and stand firm against an army that would like to rob us of our freedom. Not only ours, but freedom of our neighbors too. We must stand together for others even if the war is not specifically targeting us. We rally together to stop a common enemy.

There are some bloggers and authors that I am not spectacularly happy with, but when they stand up for the oppressed..I stand with them. I may not agree with their doctrines, rituals, or spiritual practices, but standing firm on behalf of the abused, marginalized, and downtrodden is a must. This is when you put down your debates and join each other lest a bully (whether a person or organization) becomes the dominating force.

With all that being said, there have been many recent articles toting the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Assemblies of God as ‘authorities’ on the Church at large. Seeing journalists calling them “leaders in the evangelical movement” makes me want to spit on the computer screen. Let me make this crystal clear, the Catholic Church, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Assemblies of God, Independent Fundamental Baptists, etc etc are NOT “THE” dominating voice of Christ Jesus! Stop calling then leaders! Especially in the context of Christ. Even the holy book has written in its own pages that the greatest among you is a SERVANT.

The true leaders are the ones with their knees in the dirt while washing someone’s feet. And it’s NOT the pastor’s feet!

Those who truly teach, minister, and lead are those that most of the so called ‘evangelical church’ have tweeted “farewell” to.

And I can’t say all this without bringing up Ken Ham and his sheeple who worship the ground he walks on. Ken is not “the voice” of the homeschool community, nor is he the authority on the Bible. Oh he likes to think he is..and his followers unquestionably believes he is, but he’s no more an authority than Jim Jones was an authority for Christianity.

When in the world did the world-wide-congregation allow these people to gain the kind of publicity that they have? Why do secular journalists insist these quacks are the ‘voice of Christendom’? Just because they have organizations with a large following doesn’t mean it’s a good work. Even Hitler had a large army.

There are so many fraudulent ‘Christian’ leaders in the world today that we could spend every day blogging about how deviant they really are. Blow your trumpet about every abusive leader there is, but in the end all we’ve done is created a lot of noise and given the spotlight to them. We’ve essentially handed them the megaphone.

Rachel Held Evans said this in her piece on CNN,

“I’m going AWOL on evangelicalism’s culture wars so I can get back to following Jesus among its many refugees: LGBT people, women called to ministry, artists, science-lovers, misfits, sinners, doubters, thinkers and “the least of these.””

I have spent countless hours meeting with people who have been ostracized from the ‘Christian’ community. I’ve dined with dear friends from the LGBT community, camped under the stars with my Druid friends, listen to heartbreaking accounts from addicts, and watched in horror as divorced couples are fired from working in a congregation.

You want to know why people don’t want to go to church? Because it’s a freaking war zone. It’s not a hospital for souls. Maybe it once was and perhaps you hope your church is, but the real soul work is being done in the field.

The hurting folks want to fellowship, to heal, to love and trust again. But on the outside looking in, it just doesn’t look like it’s a safe place to land.

Jesus inspires us to go out in the highways and bi-ways of life..he says to GO. Why would a pagan WANT to go to a church when they know very well that they are accused of worshiping Satan? Why would a gay couple want to worship with those who have declared war on their matrimony?

All this hate has isolated the congregations and pushed away the very people whose feet Jesus is washing each day.

When I see what the bible-believing community has done to nearly 2,000 children, it makes me throw up in my mouth a bit. It infuriates me that so called Christians (even many of you homeschooling Christians) would leave starving children in limbo just so you can try to drive a pointed dagger into a gay employee’s employment at a non-profit charity. How dare you! How dare any of you claim Jesus Christ while THREATENING to remove a CHILD’s meat from their table.

*spit*

It’s not the way of Jesus.

I’d like nothing more than to go back to blogging about using essential oils to create an aromatic ambiance in the home or share my latest home made salve to help you boost your immune system. I’d love nothing more than to write imaginative soul inspiring stories to help you learn to create magic for your families, but if I write about healing the home, the soul, and your mind and don’t speak up about healing our spiritual path with Jesus then I haven’t done my due diligence as a healer. When you want to have a healthy body, you need to eliminate the junk. You have to identify what’s bad, like how most store bought mayo has formaldehyde in it. So also, in the spiritual community we have to identify what’s bad, stop taking it in, and start participating in a healthy community.

McDonald’s no more feeds my body than Ken Ham teaches me about homeschooling my children. We don’t look to Marlboro to heal our lungs and we don’t depend on Albert Mohler to tell us how to be a good Christian.

We look to Jesus. We listen to the Spirit. We align our lives with love.

 

 

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