It can be difficult to engage in a religious discussion without offending someone. When I started this site, I deemed it possible to focus on the spiritual aspects of our personal human experience, while leaving the topic of religious affiliation out of the equation. Assuming that we all started ‘somewhere’ in our spiritual training, what does it matter, really, if we prefer to bestow any particular label upon ourselves regarding our religion?
Then I started recording my thoughts here, and it occurred to me that I had quite a bit to share toward the subject of Catholicism. Apparently, there is truth in that you write what you know.
Now that the topic of mainstream religions has been breached, I have decided to permit myself to expound upon my own experience with other ‘church’ related musings, and maybe take the heat off my Catholic colleagues for a spell:)
With a new decree to venture forth into relevant religious domains, one might be surprised to know that I regard many so-called “born-again” Christians I have met as some of my favorite people. As a group in general, any friendly neighborhood witch may shudder at the prospect of having someone attempt to “save” thee, but a good witch honors the chosen path of all of her fellow human beings.
Entering relations among our beloved Jeezus People with an open mind facilitates the spirit of respectfulness toward our fellow planetary dwellers. Besides, once you get to know a self-proclaimed bible-thumper personally, they are among the least judgmental and most forgiving individuals I know.
One of my first official counseling positions included facilitating a support group that was sponsored by a Baptist church. This place was huge. The organization itself was so mammoth in membership, services, and bible-based programs that most people (affiliated with the church or not) commonly refer to this well-known conglomeration as “Baptist World.”
I was fresh and eager to please. The pay rate was really generous, too. These circumstances afforded me LOTS of wiggle room to embrace the obvious Word-of-God agenda without having to compromise most of my own spiritual principles. My immediate supervisor was a dream, and the staff was genuinely friendly. Every single person that I worked with was a kind-hearted soul who maintained an admirable quality of remaining completely unshaken when listening to the sordid tales of another.
This is the thing for them, you see. This is their chosen vocation. Sanctioned guidelines for those who are in the business of Saving Others are followed with impeccable resolve. A genuine Baptist lovingly encourages others to reveal their truths, their sins, and their unfortunate experiences. Nothing shocks them. They are exceptional listeners who reserve all judgment, thus allowing the recipient to often feel as if some “weight” has been lifted from their shoulders. The unconditional invitation to unload the distasteful details of one’s past affairs has a healthy and liberating quality for the lost soul.
This level of emotional release seemed more pleasant than I could ever remember when confessing my sins to a Catholic priest. The Sacrament of Confession is a pivotal moment in every young Catholic girl’s career, when a fledgling witch can develop a certain respect for the significance of a sacred ritual. I was not always clear on what my infractions should include when revealing sins to a robed priest, but I appreciated the reverent manner in which it transpired.
When the Catholic Church began to phase out the enclosed cubicle procedure, I was resistant. Peering at the priest through a small rectangular metal grate was still available, but the institution of a kinder, gentler version of the Sacrament of Confession was gaining favor. This new and improved method included a face-to-face option. Directly confessing my sordid affairs to the same priest who would be invited to join us for dinner in our family home that afternoon had suddenly lost its appeal for me.
The seemingly casual “Come to Jesus” plan offered by a devout Baptist extended the common sinner with what felt like a more down-to-earth approach. As an addictions counselor, I found this initial phase to be quite effective for many clients who were seeking a path to change.
Once a potential candidate for salvation is permitted to release their burdens within a comfortable atmosphere, a genuine Born-Again-in-Christ-Believer will welcome this opportunity to share their faith. Hence begins Phase II, when most of us (whose origins do not lie within the Bible-Belt) will switch to ‘full-alert’ status.
This is the moment when a good witch resists the temptation to hold fast to her principles, and vows to just relax and listen. It is the least one can do, really. Detach your mind, remain open, and regard this portion of the program as an even exchange. After all, this kind-hearted soul just stood willingly in front of you while smiling warmly and listening to all your shit. It is only fitting that you would listen to theirs.
A true Baptist will really step up to the plate by providing an eerily fitting and highly illustrative bible verse to emulate your current situation. During this segment of the program, one might be amazed at the rapidity in which an astute bible reader can accurately reference your recent disclosure to reflect some pertinent bible story.
The really Super Advanced Baptists can not only illuminate an admissible teaching from a bible verse for you, they are well-equipped to offer a highly personal testimonial right there on the spot, as well. It is almost as if they were standing on the pulpit itself. Exceedingly driven, they will present their deeply rooted understanding of their own experience in “seeing the light.”
A good Christian takes this Witnessing Phase very seriously. I have found it best to simply admire the actual zeal in which they open their heart to a presumably vulnerable audience.
As such, it is with great respect that I appreciate the exchange up to this point. When this person is someone that I know, trust, work with (and signs my paycheck), I am able to admire the honesty in their own personal convictions. As a plus, there is an undeniable elevation in my own vibrational frequency when I allow myself to acknowledge this level of spiritual commitment. If anything, a good witch can garner a mutual respect for the Baptist’s finely crafted art form.
Anything after that involves sustaining a comparable form of unwavering politeness. The genuine Baptists that I have had the pleasure of knowing are so fabulous at their job, that it seemed a waste of time for me to remain offended. Any self-respecting witch can glean the value in a program that serves to remind our fellow man of the message woven throughout the story of Jesus.
As a notable resident of planet earth, this Son of God offered mankind the Universal Truth that we are all Sons of the Light. For what do the historical records indicate, really, if not that this man was a shining example of our own potential mastery in choosing the human experience?
Recognizing that Jesus was the Ultimate Witch does not bode well when spoken out loud to a practicing Christian. One must be mindful to refrain from making this observation in the company of a colleague whose mission in life is to “save” another.
Mentioning that “I am the Son of God, also,” and how much “I appreciate the reminder that I am capable of delivering myself from evil” are proclamations that are better left unsaid. Unless, of course, a witch may find herself in a mischievous mood, and is merely seeking some minor form of entertainment to pass the time…but such behavior is generally frowned upon when working in the spirit of Conscious-Self recognition.
When you are comfortable with Who You Are, it is not always necessary to inflict your understanding on other unsuspecting souls who are exactly where they want to be. Preaching may be acceptable on their plane, but I have found it is not relevant to the agenda of a true witch.
Besides, when I consider the bigger picture, I will readily attest to the tremendous success rate maintained within the structured bible-based program that I was involved with. Putting assumptions and judgment aside, any program that successfully targets a majority of the recovery-seeking population, and in the very least, provides a human being with the comfort of personal validation, is a testament to the Good Will of Mankind. Just because I cannot envision myself on a pulpit does not prevent me from appreciating those who do.
As far as I am concerned, saving the occasional lost soul became a respectable profession the day they quit burning the rest of us at the stake.