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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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.

I was at an event with a person of significant power and privilege and I ended up being mistaken for them, but I didn’t know it. But I did notice how everyone’s attention was on me and at first I really enjoyed it. I like being on stage and I love telling stories, so I felt like I was in my element. Everything I said was rewarded with nods and attentive listening. Throughout the event I received compliments, smiles, and praise. It was flattering as well as bewildering. It felt as though I had been assigned more worth than usual. I was worth these people’s time and energy. I was treated with respect, courtesy, and friendliness and it felt awesome and empowering. I could say anything I wanted and I was heard. I could express ideas and they were taken seriously and often praised. It felt like I could do anything and the crowd would follow and support me. I was heard, I was worthy, I was powerful. All of this energy directed at me - I felt incredible.

But then my ‘doppelgänger’, the person for whom I was mistaken, inserted themselves into the conversation. I began to notice that they were tolerated, but often interrupted. No one interrupted me. Their opinions seemed to matter less and more often than not, they were ignored. It wasn’t until the event had ended that my privileged doppelgänger approached me and pointed out the case of mistaken identity.

Whatever worth, power, and respect I had just gained, my doppelgänger had lost. I reflected back on the evening and I saw that they had been silenced, disrespected, and disempowered. In that moment it didn’t matter to me that they would get their privilege back once the mistake was discovered. It mattered to me that I would be treated like them again, but even more so, it mattered that every single day people are treated as if they are worth no more and no less than the privilege they carry.

That night I met with my coven and I ranted and raged about the injustice of privilege. The energy that had been blasted at me now felt wrong. None of it was directed at me for who I actually am. None of it will be taken away because of me. It was a veneration of my perceived privilege, a chance to glean a slice of it. It all felt like a bad joke and made me want to take a shower.

It wasn’t until after my rage subsided that I realized what a rare and precious opportunity this experience was. On the one hand, the ecstasy of receiving so much energy was changing me. I walked away knowing what it felt like to be ‘on top’ and it was different than I would have imagined. The perceived worth that comes from privilege was exhilarating, but it was also alienating. It taught me that our true worth is not tied to our privilege. I am worth being respected, heard, and empowered, but not because of my privilege. It can be very hard to hold on to our inner worth when the mirror of society reflects the opposite. It made me appreciate the value of power from within and the importance of doing personal work so I will rely less on the perception of others.

On the other hand it made me wonder how often I favor the privileged at the expense of others. My doppelgänger did not deserve to be ignored, regardless of their perceived lack of privilege. Seeing them treated as ‘less than’, remembering days when I was written off, and reflecting on the times when I subconsciously see the marginalized as less worthy of my time was sobering.

Rarely do we get a chance to live, even if just for a moment, in another person’s privilege. Having been granted this experience - that is a privilege in its own right and I think of it often now. I hope that experiencing this walk in another’s privilege will continue to teach me that we are worth infinitely more than the shoes we wear and the privilege we carry.










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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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