If you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, I’d like you to take a deep breath. Draw in the sense of the sacred. T. Thorn Coyle begins dialogue in this way and I have found it useful.
Breath deep. Think about your God. Think about that holy love embracing you. Think of the joy and strength you find in G-d, Jesus or Allah. Bask in that presence. Give thanks for your joy. Give thanks for your blessings. Breathe deep. Pay close attention to that connection to all that which is Divine.
Now understand what I am about to say. Listen closely. Take it seriously. I have just as deep a holy and sacred connection to my Gods. Think about that. What you feel for your God I feel for mine.
That sacred love, that holy protection, that joy lives in my heart as well. Sometimes the love overwhelms me. My Gods came and saved me when I was lost, cast adrift and friendless. They placed my feet on the right paths and illuminated my journey. They give to me a strict morality, a lofty purpose and the seemingly impossible task of making myself worthy of this life I have been given.
Alongside my earthly family I have a holy family. They are noble, strong and wise. They are beautiful, even when they are blemished. They watch over me, teach me and set me to tasks to purify my soul. They have high standards for me and sometimes I do not think I am equal to the tasks they set before me.
I am never alone. My Gods are everywhere. In the trees and dawning sun. In the nourishing food I eat. In the stars and moon. In the eyes of the people in my life. In the stillness of my heart. My Gods are everywhere. I am never alone.
My Gods were there at the Beginning. They crafted the Universe from the Void. They created humankind, endowed us with reason, gave us tools to survive and still take great interest in our progress. Why should I not praise those who gave fire to my hearth and fire to my soul? It is right and proper to love my Gods with all my heart and soul.
Let’s take a deep breath. Meditate on this. What you feel for your God I feel for mine. Feel that love coming from your God. Know I feel deep love coming from my Gods. Know we both bask in the love of all that which is Divine.
There are stories in the Bible, the Torah and the Qu’ran illustrating your God as petty, violent, venal and jealous. By your own holy books your God does not have clean hands. He does all that is despicable and atrocious. Not one of us would condone killing a child, mass murder, genocide, destruction of the earth, condone abuse, condone lying, offer our children to rapists, abandon women and children in the wilderness, or dozens of other acts committed in Genesis alone.
So, knowing the love I bear for my Gods and the love they bear for me, you can understand how much it hurts when people say they aren’t real. When people call them capricious. When people attribute them with all that is unpardonable and unworthy. When they are treated with a disrespect that would never be applied to G-d, Jesus or Allah.
Let’s take a deep breath. We are beloved of our Gods. We do holy work. We wrestle with improving our souls. We strive to improve our world. We try to be more loving. We try to defend that which is holy and sacred. We study, we strive, we pray, we sing and we dance. We started in different places and we are going in different directions but our journey is filled with the same struggle, joy, wonder and love.
As people of faith we have so much in common. If nothing else, we both have a deep connection to that which we worship and call holy. If there is one thing I wish I could share with those of other faith’s it’s that we have the same connection and even though we are on different paths, we are equally committed to faiths. Neither of us are playing pretend. Neither of us just goofing off or trying to be contrary.
I attended a workshop with Orion Foxwood where he said something that I think is rather profound. He said we don’t choose to be gay or straight. Why choose to be gay? Why choose to make your life more difficult? In the same way we don’t choose our spiritual path. He said you are born a Witch. You have no choice in the matter.
I didn’t choose to be Pagan. I didn’t choose to be Wiccan. It’s just who I am. Some days I wish I could be more mainstream, more “normal”. But the Gods who speak to me, who love me, guide me, protect me and teach me how to live aren’t found in cathedrals, in mosques or in shul. Just as your God has claimed you and challenged you to live a holy life, so have my Gods claimed me from birth. I’m not playing at religion. This is real. My Gods are real. My faith is real.
Let’s take a deep breath. We each embrace a holy path full of challenge and joy. Our journey’s do not share the same starting point and they do not share the same destination. Yet our paths will cross and when they do I hope we can embrace each other. We each carry within us a sacred joy. If that’s the only thing we have in common, it’s enough.