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.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
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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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
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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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
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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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • 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/

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
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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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Ageism and Pagan Institutions

I always wondered what it must have been like to be a part of the early church, to meet the apostles, to see this little tribe of misfit disciples grow into a religion. I often wished I could travel back in time, just to get a glimpse of the excitement, the challenges, the rawness of a growing fledgling religion. I thought I would never know, but then I became a Witch.


It’s not that I discovered a spell for time travel. But I joined a young religion with old roots in which many founders of traditions and elders are still among us. And sadly I have been seeing eulogies on The Wild Hunt for elders I had just met or was hoping to meet some day. Our founders are aging and dying and a new generation is bringing different interpretations and ways of being Pagan. While we are culturally different, some of the letters that comprise the New Testament of the Christian Bible were written a a time when early Christianity found itself at similar crossroads.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Wendy WIlson
    Wendy WIlson says #
    While I like the idea... many of us may not have all those skills. I am good at creating rituals and leading them... preaching is
  • Amanda Morris
    Amanda Morris says #
    "And yes, I want to see paid clergy, but not for imposing rituals on us, preaching or instilling doctrine. Leading ritual, preachi
  • Wendy WIlson
    Wendy WIlson says #
    I create 8 rituals a year and my first priority is to minimize my talking and actions, while maximizing the other participants' in
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    And yet we already have them and continue to build then. I wonder if it is also a question of definitions. I haven't heard any out
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    "Institutions are scary. The very word produces a knee-jerk reaction in many of us." yes this indeed!

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