In this episode I begin a series of conversations with other-than-Christian folks. As the dominant religion in the United States, Christianity has often acted oppressively and hostilely to non-Christian groups. The Christian Left has contributed to those actions with its tendency toward moral and academic elitism and with its complicity in supporting oppressive and hostile structures. Some confessing and repenting on our part as Christians needs to occur as well as some efforts at taking steps to bring healing and reconciliation. Initiating such steps in its on modest way is, in part, what this on-going series is intended to begin.
As I said in the trailer for this episode at the end of the last episode, doing this series connects two values of my own experience that overlap. The first value is my heritage as the type of Baptist I was raised to be. In that Baptist tradition, cooperation on what one has in common with another is more important and useful than breaking or excluding relationships due to differences. A lot can be accomplished with others, despite significant differences, that cannot be achieved alone which makes the things better locally, nationally, and globally when such cooperation is undertaken. That desire for cooperation has not always been extended, but can and should be extended beyond fellow Baptists or Christians to all people of good will seeking to increase the common good. The second value is my own patriotism. Among the many things about my nation about which I am thankful and value deeply is its vision of creating a place where people of radically differing faiths/world views/values/perspectives/interests/etc. can live together in peace and even harmony without resorting to violence and war. However, to be a citizen of such a nation requires certain habits and people skills to realize that cultural environment and goal. Included among these habits and people skills are behaviors such as respect, tolerance, and peacemaking. Such actions help contribute to the declared purpose of our nation stated in our Constitution to establish a more perfect union. The values of my kind of Baptists and that of our nation have worked hand in hand in seeking to realize these goals. Having conversations with others of significant difference that seek understanding, respect, and areas of commonality and cooperation is one way to help realize both faith and national goals.
A group with whom Christians have had especially tragic and terrible experiences are those from Pagan communities. Witch trials are among the more notable examples. Large groups of Christians assume that paganism is synonymous with satanism. To help bring some clarity, dispel misunderstanding, and to begin to build bridges of reconciliation and respect, I want to introduce to you the gracious and delightful Byron Ballard, Wiccan High Priestess.
The music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project. You can learn more about the album and the Worship Project at theportersgate.com.