Concerned Christian: I am not a pagan. I’m a Christian, which is obvious (I wear a cross) but I try not to bring it up unless someone else starts the conversation. I’m fine with pagans, though. In fact, I have a very good friend who is pagan, which is why I’m writing.
I let him use my laptop for a few hours while I was out and when I got it back from him he was still logged into Facebook. I mistakenly read a couple of posts of his (thinking it was TO me), and the gist of the messages was that he had been feeling a bit of stress lately, from spending time around me, because he didn’t want me to know he was pagan, because I was Christian. I assumed he’d known I knew, because his friend who introduced us had told me.
It was clear he doesn’t want me to know that he’s a pagan, and having gone through some similar things with my homosexuality, I feel like I should respect his wishes until he actually tells me. But I also know that his anxiety disorder can get dangerous, as he’s been hospitalized twice. I want to let him know that I have no issue with him being pagan, I think it’s wonderful he has something that means so much to him, that he connects with on a deep level – I also don’t want to disrespect his choice in the matter. How can I tell him I care, and don’t mind his faith, and in fact am happy he has it, without disrespecting his choice to let me know?
Dear ConChris: The ‘coming out’ problem is always difficult, even for the designated coming out to to-er. You two now have this ‘thing’ between you. And it shouldn’t be there. Secrets should be minimized in everyone’s life, no matter what your Spiritual Calling, and secrets between friends are always going to explode one way or another. Tony Robbins has this wonderful bit about “Medium-size pain” and “Big-size pain”. Too often we choose to deal with medium-size pain on a daily basis instead of just dealing with a one-time big-size pain that will relieve all of the medium-size pain forever. So, ConChris, it’s time to be brave. Here’s what you do:
- Do your homework. Learn a little about Witchcraft and the basic tenets of Earth-based Spirituality (You might be surprised how much it overlaps what Jesus taught!) You don’t have to go for a degree, but get a handle on Goddess worship, the Wheel of the Year, Moon cycles, The Rule of Three – stuff like that. The biggies.
- Take your friend for a walk. Away from everyone – and away from all electronic devices, if possible. Some place in Nature. A beach, or a forest. Pagans love forests.
- Keep the conversation light.
- When you are at a good spot (good scenery and good feeling), just go for it and tell him. And immediately back it up with reassurance: “Hey, I just wanted to tell you that I know you are a pagan – and I think its wonderful.”
- He’ll be embarrassed and dumb-founded. So you do most of the talking.
- Tell him what you’ve learned about the Goddess and God, how the seasons tell a wonderful story about death and rebirth, and how you like to go out and stare at the moon sometimes too. (“Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies.” – proverbs 89:37)
- He’ll still be analyzing this new-found revelation (and he will be for awhile), but coming out of this conversation in a positive way will go a long way towards his acceptance of your knowledge.
- The goal here is to get him to speak about his Faith, not the wall that had existed between you for awhile. Ask him questions – open ended questions – about how he celebrates different holidays, how he prays to his Gods, which of you burns more candles, and so on.
- Don’t grill him, this isn’t an oral exam, but by asking him informed questions you are SHOWING him how much you care about his feelings, while simultaneously getting him to open up about his beliefs.
Drew: How many Angels can dance on the head of a pin?
Dear Drew, Well as I see it, we got two problems here: 1), define this term “Angel”, and 2), what type of pin are we talking about? Hat pins? Needles? The firing pins of guns offer a comparatively large dance floor, but if you are talking about angels and firing pins, well, then we have a whole other set of issues to deal with.
But back to #1: Angels, like Fairies and quarks are notoriously hard to measure. So we will go with the only type of Angel that can be measured accurately: The Anaheim Angels* baseball team. Their players measure from 5’8″ all the way to 6’7″, and from 180 pounds all the way up to 245.
Now to needles and pins. The average hat pin head diameter is about 1/32 of an inch, but Idoubt that even Outfielder Collin Cowgill (5’8″ – 185) could stand on that. So we will go with the only needle that could conceivably support a baseball team: The Space Needle in Seattle.
The widest part of the roof, above the observation deck and rotating restaurant is named, no kidding, the “halo” sowe’re on the right track. It is 138ft. across, and even with the squat, pointy thing sticking up in the middle it is conceivable that 18 of the Anaheim Angels could play a game up there.
Granted the field slopes away a bit from the center and chasing after a foul ball could result in a terminal plunge of about 50 stories, but it IS possible to play.
Getting all those boys to dance though is patently impossible.
Oh. The whole thing is a metaphor. Got it.
Sorry. Um, I don’t know.
Send your questions to: angusmcmahan @gmail.com
*Yes, I am aware of what their legal name is. And it’s ridiculous.
(Photo Credits: kristinemcguire.com, afropunk.com, kthomas629, Author, cellinifinegifts.com, angels.mlb.com, universetoday.com)