Selasa, 07 Oktober 2008
AN OPEN LETTER TO PASTORS FROM A PAGAN
An Open Letter to Pastors from a Pagan
I Have A Question To Ask You
Please allow this letter to speak to your heart. This letter was not written in anger. This letter was Annie's experience as she searched for Jesus Christ. Posting this letter is not intended to harm any one in any way. The purpose for posting this letter is to give insight into someone else's experience...and an opportunity for you to care.
I am a Witch. I know that many of you think that I believe what I do because of a rebellious nature, but in reality, I follow this path because I have found something real. I have committed years to developing a spirituality that I can base my life on. However, I am beginning to realize that although it is real, it is not always fulfilling.
So, I have begun asking some tough questions, and I am giving this God of yours a second look. I have heard some amazing things about Him, and I have to wonder if they are true.
In search of answers, I have visited your churches. I have to admit that I am puzzled by what I have found there. I have sat in the pews hoping to gain knowledge, and instead I have walked away with only more questions.
In the first church I visited, I was met with shock and horror when you realized I am a Witch. Yes, I serve other entities, but what you failed to see was the fact that I was looking for your God. I did not come to your place of worship to disturb you. I came because, though you may not have been able to tell, I myself am disturbed. I have taken a great risk in entering your church, and I did not make that choice casually.
I’ve heard you teach that your God will accept anyone, but you yourselves looked on me with disdain. You told me that you could not speak with me because light is to have no fellowship with darkness. But unless I see this light, how would I ever be able to leave the darkness? If you cannot show it to me, then who will?
So I continued my search, in hope of finding those answers I crave. I was relieved to find a church that did not stare in horror when I entered. Your service was lovely, and I thought I had finally found a place where my questions could be voiced. Afterwards I listened as you spoke to your congregation of the building project and the goals that you have. You talked of donating your time to God’s work, but when I approached you later and asked if we could talk, you said that you had urgent plans elsewhere. As I watched you walk away, I heard you mention to a friend that you were in a hurry to leave for vacation.
I am impressed with your commitment to build a place of beauty for the worship of your God. But who will fill that building? The potluck dinners you mentioned are certain to draw a crowd, but what about those of us who are hungry for something more? I won’t be there, because your vacation was more important than taking the time to have a short conversation.
My next church experience was a bit different than the first two. I was able to slip into my seat unnoticed. Your sermon was about the fires of hell, and how all of those who God cannot accept will meet that horrific fate. Many others were moved to action by pure fear, but I felt nothing.
Your passion was obvious, but I found nothing helpful in the words you spoke. I believe there are consequences for our actions, but you have to realize that the threat of hell does not affect me as it does others. I live a hell on earth every day of my life. Even if that were not the case, I refuse to be forced into such an important decision by fear. So amid the terrified prayers of other seekers, I slipped out the door.
Eventually I found a church that seemed open and friendly. It was a little place, and I was immediately greeted with warm handshakes and several people introduced themselves. You knew what I was, and you were still kind. Quite honestly, I don’t remember what your sermon was about because I was still shocked due to the welcome I had received. So I came back the next Sunday, and again everyone was friendly. Each person I talked to was more friendly than the last, and a few gave me their phone numbers urging me to call if I ever needed anything.
Later in that week, the pain of my situation began playing it’s cruel games. I was desperate for some peace, but I didn’t know where to turn. So I picked up one of those phone numbers I had been given and made the call. I introduced myself, and was puzzled when the church member on the other end of the line seemed distant and detached. I plowed forward, hoping to connect with a fellow human being, but it was obvious the other person was disinterested in the conversation.
The situation repeated itself during two more phone calls, and it became apparent what was taking place. Your church people were more than willing to act concerned when there were others watching. It had been a contest of who could seem most Godly. But when the rubber met the road, and no one else was around to see, their true nature showed through. Helping the poor Pagan had become a sort of power struggle, a way to show who was the most pious. I am offended by this lack of respect and consideration.
So I have gone back to those entities that I serve, and they answered my call. It is a world where I know the rules, and they don’t change from day to day. They offer power and knowledge, but there is no offer of love. I possess strength and power and all the material possessions I could ever want; yet I have to admit that it is love that my soul craves. For a time, I can lock that desire away, but it haunts me. I still wrestle between wanting to know more about a God who claims to be All-Loving, and cursing Him for what I found in your places of worship.
If the people I have met there are His representatives, I want no part of Him. I am not naïve enough to believe that Christians are above being human, but your God inhabits your hearts, shouldn’t that be obvious?
It is likely that I visit one of your churches again someday. I have shared my experiences for your consideration, not so that you can offer an explanation, but because I wonder if you are even aware that your church has been presented in such a manner. I am looking to you for an example of your God, because I don’t know where else to look. If my search continues to turn up the same results, then I can only assume that your claims of God are false and I will look no further. I am prepared to accept that my questions have no answers, and that my search has been a failure… but I am still haunted by the thought that there must be something more to life than this. Will I find it at your church?
*based on journal excerpts of Annie Fintan, Refuge Ministries, while she was still a Pagan.