Cross and Pentacle: Two religions at the crossroads

I was a Jesus Freak, a passionate theologian, and a Southern Baptist minister. I worked hard to convert pagans. The pagans won.

Discovering magic as a witch with an intimate knowledge of western christianity I explore the juxtaposition of these two faiths. Christianity and paganism alike are undergoing dramatic changes with parallel trends, conflicting challenges, and a growing concern for interfaith dialogue.

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Annika Mongan

Annika Mongan

Born and raised an evangelical Christian in Germany, I joined the Jesus Freak movement as a teenager and became a passionate evangelist and worship leader. No one was surprised when I went to the US at age 19 and came back a tattooed and pierced fundamentalist Christian, betrothed to a "Chrispie" (a Christian hippie, that is). I was a virgin the day we married. Five years later I graduated bible college with highest honors and post traumatic stress disorder. I deepened both my theology and trauma on the road by traveling the country in a big yellow school bus. For three years I lived as a nomad, playing music and leading bible studies, from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. I learned that Christianity in America encompasses a wide range of beliefs and practices, from Amish groups casting demons out of school busses to Roman Catholic priests breaking into government buildings. I saw Jesus in the oddest places. And then everything changed and I ended up a polyamorous Witch in a Pagan community in California.

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Searching For Balance In Hot Springs

Warm water bubbles beneath my knees. I feel weightless. The pool is just deep enough that I can't sit, so I let my feet touch the sandy bottom while the rest of my body floats. The water must be the same temperature as my blood for I feel neither warm nor cool, as if heat and cold were a foreign concept. In these hot springs it is easy to forget where my body ends and the water begins. I run my hands up and down my legs. I expect little bubbles to rise to the surface, the way they do in the hot tub, but instead I feel a thin slimy film upon my skin. I wonder about the mineral content of the water. The smell of rotten eggs announces sulfur and I wrinkle my nose, then quickly re-frame my association from disgusting-gaseous-anomalies to miraculous-healing-waters and manage to enjoy the odor.

 

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Independence and Commitment

I have never really celebrated Independence Day with parties, parades, and patriotism. I was raised in Germany and studied history and - well, let’s just say patriotism makes me deeply uncomfortable. For many years I fled into the woods and celebrated InterdepenDance Day at rainbow gatherings, far away from drunken revelry and fireworks.

 

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Rachel Dolezal and the Appropriation of Oppression

It’s been a week since Rachel Dolezal’s false racial claims made the news and just a few days since the mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina. I’m just beginning to understand the depth of racism, what it means to have white privilege, and how I can unlearn the colorblindness I was taught and become an ally. My mind has a hard time wrapping itself around the reality in which People of Color live, suffer, and too often die in this country.

 

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Pentecost and the Underworld

Exactly three years after a Pentecost service helped me see that I was a Pagan, I descend into the underworld. I spent last weekend in ritual with a group of Witches, most of them oblivious to the fact that it was Pentecost in the Christian tradition. Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit fell upon the followers of Jesus, tongues of fire upon their heads. They were filled with courage and started preaching, they spoke in languages they didn’t know, sang in the tongues of angels, and prophesied. Pentecost is usually seen as the birthday of the Christian church.

 

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The Return of the Pagan Festival in Berkeley

When I came home today I was in a hurry to wash off the smells of the Berkeley Pagan Festival. They were all over me, on my skin, my clothes, and especially in my hair. Incense and grass, sunscreen and lotions, overly scented deodorants, and the smells of so many people. Not that I mind, on the contrary, they are memories of embraces and kisses and good times shared and some of them I instinctively link to certain friends. But my overly active olfactory faculties told me it was high time to shower or else there would be headaches.

 

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Behind the Shellfish Suppression Act

Shellfish are a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us in Leviticus to suppress. They also smell bad. [...] Any person who willingly consumes or sells shellfish is guilty of a felony, and shall be fined $666 thousand per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 6 years, 6 months, and 6 days.

 - The Shellfish Suppression Act

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  • monkeyofstic
    monkeyofstic says #
    Great writing!! Hope you don't mind,but I shared you on my blog http://conspiro.net/2015/04/behind-the-shellfish-suppression-act/

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Walking in another man's privilege

When we talk about walking in another man’s shoes are we not asking to experience their privilege or lack thereof? What would it be like to walk in the shoes of a woman or a person of another gender? Recently I traded my privilege with someone. And I don’t mean that we traded stories about our experiences with privilege. We inadvertently took on one another’s privilege and we both walked in it.

I am one of the most outgoing people I know and I meet a lot of people. In light of this it is no surprise that I have met people across a wide spectrum of intersecting privilege. I have shared dinner with homeless crack prostitutes and hot tubbed with silicon valley venture capitalists. But no matter how carefully I listen, I can never fully understand how different their lives are. By walking in another person’s privilege, however, I was able to gain a better understanding.

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