Random Rantings

Monday, June 26, 2006

You never know what you'll find when you go searching...

So - I'm participating in starting up an interfaith coalition in my area of the world... so, I get a charge from my cousin to go looking for contact information for various religious groups in the area, so that we can contact them and invite them to "join in the fun"...

So - I do a Google search on "Wicca Delaware" to try and find any covens in the area for the contact list...

And... I do find the contact information... but, I also get a link to a MD/DE Baptist group...

I click on it, wondering what they might have on their site about "Wicca Delaware" - and come up with the following article:

Wicca: What You Should Know about Witchcraft
From September/October 2004 Facts and Trends
September 13, 2004 4:19 PM

Halloween -- All Hallow Even, All Saints’ Eve -- is Oct. 31. Stores are full of candy, cards and costumes. It’s also a sacred day for witches.

Surveys indicate that only 13 percent of pastors are familiar with Wicca -- witchcraft, a modern neo-pagan movement -- that is enticing a growing number of people.

Wicca has gone from underground to mainstream. No longer a secretive cult for loners and disaffected kids, witchcraft and neo-paganism have become “cool.”

In general, today’s devotees discover Wicca themselves. They aren’t involved because their parents brought them up in it. But that won’t be the case soon. After all, young Wiccans today will be Wiccan parents raising Wiccan children in 20 years.

Not only is witchcraft considered cool; it is big. While no reliable statistics are available on the number of practicing Wiccans, a search on Google’s Internet browser brought up more than a million Wiccan sites.

Neo-Pagan Ethics
Wiccans follow a creed called “the Rede” that states: “An harm ye none, do what ye will” or stated more simply: “As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, do what you want.” The Rede sounds nice, but Christians are called to do a lot more than just not hurt anyone.

Many neo-pagans also believe in the “Law of Three” or the “Law of Return,” an idea that is similar to karma in Buddhism: “For good or for ill, shall be returned to us threefold.” Sounds almost like a biblical idea, doesn’t it? The Bible says, “For whatever a man sows he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7, HCSB). The difference is that, according to Scripture, the consequences come from God, not nature.

Feminine Deity and Feminism
A man, Gerald Gardner, founded Wicca, but most practitioners are women. Wiccans usually speak of the goddess rather than god, or sometimes “the goddess and the god.”

Neo-Pagan Worship
One thing most neo-pagans, especially Wiccans, have in common is their reverence for nature. They are looking for harmony with nature rather than dominion over it. In fact, Wiccans believe that to the extent there is a god or goddess above everything, that god(dess) is in everything.

Sexual License
One aspect of neo-paganism is “no rules” sexuality. Wren Walker, a prominent Wiccan said, “We have no rules which prohibit homosexuality, nudity or pre-marital sex. Sex as the generative force in nature is seen by most pagans as something utterly sacred. We feel that the physical act of love is to be approached with great respect and responsibility.”

Satanism and the New Age Movement
Wiccans, by definition, do not believe in Satan since they reject most traditional Christian teachings. Wiccans and pagans would not deny being occultic (having secret, mystical teachings and practices), but they reject the worship of evil, animal sacrifices and anything else associated with harming others.

Witnessing to Wiccans
Wiccans need God. They aren’t any farther away from Him than other lost people and are no less valuable in the eyes of God. They need a saving relationship with Him, as do adulterers, thieves, football players, businessmen and sweet, elderly ladies.

Keep these tips in mind when sharing with Wiccans:
1. Christians do have common ground with Wiccans, but not a common faith. Wiccans and Christians value creation and strive to preserve human life. That’s a starting place. Talk to Wiccans and then take the discussion to the gospel. Be prepared with both Scripture and logical arguments.

2. Know that Christians have a lot of historical “baggage” to overcome when it comes to loving witches. Often, what has been done to some individuals in the name of God -- the Salem witch trials, for example -- has been cruel and evil. Don’t try to explain or defend what Christians have done in Jesus’ name. Instead, recognize wrong for what it was and what it is.

3. Understand the outcast. They often are drawn to alternative religions and lifestyles because they feel rejected by mainstream culture. Befriend the lonely and even the strange. Some followers may choose Wicca because they are accepted there, and for them, it may be their last resort. Recognize interest in Wicca as a cry for help.

4. Make “deposits” into a bank of trust. Show Wiccans that you care about them. Build trust by sincere acts of kindness, friendship and honesty. Listen, even when what you are hearing doesn’t make sense.

5. Ultimately, understand that the gospel is a challenge and a confrontation. Don’t be surprised if your witch friend isn’t friendly when it comes to Jesus. Receiving Jesus is liberating, but it comes at a great cost. The gospel doesn’t need to be watered down. Just speak honestly from the heart.

As Wicca and neo-paganism become more popular, Christians need to be better informed and more vigilant. Wicca is becoming a more mainstream part of American culture, which means Christianity is becoming less so. However, Wiccans aren’t the enemy. Satan, the liar, is the real enemy.

This article was adapted from a story in HomeLife magazine and authored by William Wells, a former youth minister and editor of Challengers resources for the North American Mission Board.

Definitions

Wicca: The craft of the wise. “Wicca” and “witch” are derived from old words meaning “wise.” Wicca, a modern form of witchcraft, is based on teachings of nature worship and “magick.” Gerald Gardner founded the Wiccan movement in the 1950s as a modern reinvention of witchcraft.

Witch: A Wiccan, or practitioner of Wicca. Wiccans believe nature can be manipulated to make life better for people. A witch may be female or male.

Coven: A gathering of witches. A coven can be four, seven, 12, 13, or any other number, though “magickal numbers” are believed to hold more power.

Passing over (crossing): Pagan funeral rites for one who has died.

Druidism: Paganism of ancient Wales and Britain. Many modern American Wiccan traditions are based on Druidic teachings and Welsh witchcraft. Many of the non-Christian traditions associated with Halloween come from Druidism.

Neo-pagan: Literally “new pagan,” this refers to the modern forms of pagan teachings. Neo-pagans include modern witches (Wiccans) and modern-day Druids as well. Pagan usually refers to followers of ancient or primitive religions.

Magic vs. Magick: According to neo-pagans, magic is just tricks and sleight of hand, what many people call illusions. Magick, on the other hand, is tapping into the powers within the universe and manipulating natural laws through spells.

Handfasting: Pagan wedding ceremony where the hands of lovers are joined in a bond. Wiccans don’t get married; they become handfasted.

Once-born: A derogatory term for someone who hasn’t accepted the teachings of neo-paganism.


Wow! I realize this is from back in 2004... but it still shocks me...

Especially bothersome to me is the last "definition" - I have never heard any of my Wiccan friends refer to anyone else as "once-born" - even folks who would really deserve to be called names... I'm very certain that this is not a term that is in regular use among Wiccan circles, and was most likely added to make the Wiccan path seem derogatory of others (and therefore deserving of being "targeted" for witnessing)...

Comments?

-Emily

2 Comments:

Blogger Summer Breeze said...

I too have never heard anyone use the term "once-born".

It really bothers me that we cannot have our own beliefes and that to some people their way is the right way!!!

9:11 PM, June 26, 2006

 
Anonymous t r wexler said...

Em,

I'm wondering if the definition should have read:

Once-born: A derogatory term for someone who hasn’t accepted the teachings of Christianity.

I'm thinking in the sense of blacks calling themselves "Nigger"... an in-term referring to how Christians would view Wiccans? They'd refer to themselves as "once-born" instead of born-again... and then the person writing the article considered it a derogatory word, since it denegrated the sense of being born-again?

1:55 PM, June 28, 2006

 

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