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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Lessons From A Star Wars Facebook Fail

[No spoilers here. I haven't seen the movie, so this is 100% spoiler free]

 

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I Used To Be Transphobic

Recently I have listened and read and watched the Pagan community face transphobia. Again. Denora wrote a summary here and offered the challenge “How will you enact change?”

I wasn't around in previous years. I long to see our Pagan community become a healthy and welcoming place free from transphobia. I have no easy answers but I’ve been encouraged to tell the story of my personal struggle with transphobia. I used to a fundamentalist Christian and that meant also being misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, a creationist, and then some. So I offer here a glimpse of my own struggle and transformation.

I briefly lived in San Francisco, or “sin city” as we called it, with a Christian Outreach group over a decade ago. Someone in said group once warned me not to go to the “wrong side of the Safeway”, beyond which lay the Castro, the place where “the gays” lived their sinful lives. I once crossed over to eat at a Thai restaurant and felt frightened and guilt ridden the entire time.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Love this!!
Sex and the Parliament of the World's Religions

More than a week later, my bags are unpacked (mostly), the laundry is done (almost), but my thoughts linger with the Parliament of World Religions. With religious observances starting at 7am (I will refrain from commenting on this choice of scheduling) and social activities continuing late into the night, experiences seemed to add up to weeks rather than days.

 

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  • Andrea Kendall
    Andrea Kendall says #
    The ritual rocked Macha. I also very much enjoyed getting up early and sitting by the sacred fire. I learned a lot from liste
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Thank you for the links, Andrea! Those are really great resources.
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Interestingly, I got some grief about the script's inclusion of some (not a lot) overt sexual references -- "the kissing of the ph
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Thank you for sharing this, Macha. While it definitely surprised me, I'm glad that you included the references. It really did brin

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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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  • MikZ
    MikZ says #
    I prefer natural spaces too, but as a human, only to a point. I think it's fair to note that the 'point' varies: I'm seemingly le

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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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