Forks in the Road

I know quite a few Christians and quite a few Pagans that have pondered, asked, demanded and probed about how one can be both Christian and Pagan. Indeed, it’s something I used to think too and sometimes when I’m low or in a self-defeating kind of mood, I still ask myself that very question! How can I put it…? It’s an interesting position to be in. Quite often, it feels like I’m doing the splits between two different communities. I’m physically not very flexible so put that into the metaphorical equation and you’ll some realise that it can be painful. 

I am a polytheist. I am not a trinitarian. I believe that God the Father/Mother/Parent, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are all separate and in effect, are a pantheon. However, I also am a follower of the Norse pantheon, specifically Odin.

Now in many respects, I can see how the two don’t mix but I’m a great believer that emotions and that feeling, that intuition, that it just feels right somehow, is also worth following, not just reason. (I’m a big fan of reason and logic as well!) I think that there is a balance between the two and that centre zone provides the most stable world view.

I believe that every religion holds a truth. Something that humanity has noticed about the great unknown and the Gods and Goddesses. Some choose one tradition, others choose more, and then some choose none at all. Whatever path is taken is normally ends up becoming a maze. Religion or spirituality is not a straight path with the end in plain sight. It’s the ball of wool that needs unravelling. It’s the code that has not yet been deciphered. It’s the jigsaw that has not yet been complete.

I do not have the full picture. I am still ironing things out. Perhaps I never will completely get rid of the creases because some things may be beyond comprehension. It’s OK to not know.

I am still on the path, I am not at the destination. Who knows how long I will travel for?  

How I view it is that I am walking two separate roads that merge into one. Some are travelling on the same road but they approach me, rather than walk beside me. Their journey is taking them to a choice; mine is leading me to a union. Forks in the road have two different meanings. Both are worthwhile, both are challenging, both are vital. 

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What word do I mean?

The four letter word that tries to rule the world, 
It ruins people’s hearts and it breaks 
Them into pieces
That carry on the wind and are lost until they are heard. 

Battles are fought in honour of it, 
Eyes are turned green from it, 
Arguments thrive on it, 
The power of a single syllable. 

I’m not sure which one I feel for you. 
Or which one consumes. 
My bones are meant to be strong 
Yet here they are turning to dust, 
My body becomes the sands of time 
Because of the word I cannot decide. 

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The Voice in my Head

It’s there. 
All of the time. That dreadful noise:
The drone. 
It’s there. 
Burrowing in the chasms,
Ech-o-ing in the waves, 
It’s the ballad that never wants to be stopped… it’s there, in the highest
note of the opera and the violin of the symphony. 

It’s there. 

Just in the corner of my eye. 
A shadow. 
Fleeting. 
(Blink and you miss it)

Blink and it’s gone. 

It’s there. 
In the tick. In the tock. 
It is the second hand. 
What time is it? 
Does it have to be time to listen to you? 
I am on the stage and you are both my prompt and my reviewer but most of all the critic. 
It’s there. 
I read about in the newspaper. 
I heard about on the bus. 
Those people, why are they whispering?
Surely they’re talking about me. 
It’s there. 
The stars don’t look the same tonight. 
They’ve been rearranged. 
A message. 
The sky is in a
bottle. 
It’s there. 
Even in a smile. 
In the tears. 
In the cuts. 
It’s there. 

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Learning From Odin on the Number 6 Bus

I think one of the super duper things that I’ve learnt because of Odin is about accepting people as a whole. Learning about a new ideas and perceptions of morality and good characteristics is something that has been vital to me, especially since I’m at university and I meet a great range of people.

One of my flaws is the frequency that I end up perched upon a high horse casually stroking my ego whilst looking disdainfully undignified.  I may look pretty suave up there but it undoubtedly acts as a creator of distance. It’s OK to have some people at arm’s length but they shouldn’t be a horse away.

People are like the scales of justice. They work best balanced. Everyone has good points and bad points and together they make a dot-to-dot of that person.

It’s funny that these thoughts popped into my head on the bus and they don’t really make much logical structural sense but life is a jumble and we make what we can from the pieces we find.

Man, this has been a rather deep commute.

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Are you gay or are you a Christian?

Are you Christian or are you gay?

Are you one or the other?

Is it impossible to be both?

It seems like the life of gay Christian is one of questions and doubt. These questions and doubt aren’t just from within the person being asked either, the questioner is a doubter of a very person’s identity. Every time homosexuality and Christianity rears it head in Church, the gay Christian fears that another bout of being pepper sprayed is going to commence. The feet of a gay Christian often have egg shells stuck in them, as well as broken glass, just for good measure.

What they are really saying when they ask is, “You cannot be an abomination alongside a follower of Christ.”

What they are really doing is placing another lead weight in someone’s heart. Eventually, that heart won’t be able to beat and will be so weighed down that hate must be true since the heart hates itself.

They say, “We all struggle with sin”. True enough. Except the next sentence, “and your sin is homosexuality.” No, the true sin here is persecuting another for something that is sinless.

This is the question I pose to those who believe that homosexuality is a sin:

When you tell a gay person that their sexuality is sinful and they feel no love from you, are you actually being loving?

It is no wonder that many people who are LGBT* walk away from the Church or never walk towards it since the big, blaring message is that you cannot be in that community and be in Christ. It is not one or the other, it is not either/or, it is not damnation/salvation. The call to Christ is to be who God created you to be, and trust me, that includes being gay.

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A Letter to the Unknown

To the guy who cries himself to sleep each night since he fears that he’s letting his parents down,

To the girl who hurts herself because she hates herself,

To the boy who is different and yet hides what makes him him, 

To the woman who looks in the mirror and wishes that her body was different, that they weren’t there,

To the man who wears his wife’s clothes and lipstick and high heels and looks beautiful but could never say a word,

To the lass who “lacks” stereotypical femininity and people mutter just within earshot, “Is that a boy or a girl?”

To the person who is unsure and hides their doubt by overcompensating their masculinity or femininity,

To the people who feel alone and don’t have the community they crave,

It’s OK to be you. In fact, it’s wonderful to be you. You are loved, cherished, adored. There are others out there who would love to welcome you into their community. You don’t have to stay looking through the window anymore because someone will show you the open door and invite you in.

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Evangelism Is Another Word For Love

We have to rescue evangelism from its stereotypes and from fear and anxiety.

So evangelising doesn’t necessarily mean wandering around wearing a sandwich board that says, “TURN OR BURN” on it. Nor is it the person on the train who’s drunk and starts slurring about, “Geeeesssuusss.” And it doesn’t have to be the person on their soapbox at the street corner or the person who knocks with authority at a door. Evangelism doesn’t even mean preaching only to people you don’t know.

Evangelism isn’t reserved for a certain day, it’s full time, it’s a responsibility. We got to know Jesus, why would we want to be silent about Him? Evangelism is not just words. In fact, I would argue words are secondary to actions when it comes to evangelising. Words can be hollow; actions are solid and they make a definite noise when someone taps or pokes or kicks them. Will your actions shatter and reveal a lie when tapped? Or will they reveal Christ when they are kicked and thumped and beaten? The gospel is good news. Literally. Good news shouldn’t be hidden, it should be spread and shared and all should rejoice in it. We find ways to sew our mouths shut in fear of the repercussions we would cause in the world if we were to not only preach the gospel, but to live the gospel.

Love.

Love love love. It’s all about love. Loving your neighbour, your enemy, the loner, the loser, the outcast, the misfit. Because when you boil down the broth of evangelism, it boils down to love. The four letter word that sits at the heart of God’s plan and the short word that the world, well, the world falls in love with. If you want to evangelise, you can do so through love. Small acts of random kindness make a bigger impact than we often realise.

So today, smile and be friendly with the person who serves you, give the homeless person a hot chocolate, say, “Hello!” to a stranger, make eye contact and smile at the person sat opposite you on public transport and more! And slowly but surely, the good news of love will be spread and some warmth will be added to another’s day.

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Let’s Make the War on Christmas End Peacefully

Keeping Christ in Christmas is not about using the word “Christmas” or making sure to attend the Christmas service. No. It’s so much more.

It’s about keeping Christ in Christmas by being Christ at Christmas.

Not everyone will be eating this Christmas day.

Not everyone will be able to share their Christmas day with anyone.

Not everyone will be clothed or warm this Christmas day.

Not everyone will have a gift to open this Christmas day.

Not everyone will have a home but will be on the streets instead this Christmas day.

So if we want to keep Christ in Christmas, let us feed the hungry, house the homeless, visit those in prison, clothe the naked, warm the cold, heal the sick, cheer the down hearted.

Too often Christians get sidetracked and become obsessed with semantics and words rather than action and love. Too often it becomes about making sure that we the Christians are correct and that our beliefs, our theologies, our ideologies are the ones that are being propagated, peddled and plastered around. Are we relegating Christmas to this?

Let us remember what Christmas has at its heart: love.

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I’ve been away for such a long time

When I started this blog, I said to myself, “You’re going to blog regularly and make a good effort with this.”

It seems that went slightly awry. 

So, this is a public declaration that I will make a jolly good effort instead. 

Take that busy schedule and essays and pub trips! 

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Odin the Motivator

What I think is wonderful about Odin is that He doesn’t give you the strength to literally overcome. That’s not how He works. Determination is like a furnace and a raging fire and He makes it crackle and burn. He is not being the fire or forcing the fire or making the fire burn. He encourages it. He is a motivator. 

It’s like having a core. I have never had this before. I’ve got this yearning to stand true and independently. I can be a lax person yet suddenly I am ignited. He has helped me, I cannot deny that, but He has also taught me that I am able to do many things simply because I am myself. That is not an arrogant statement, or, at least I hope not. It is the first threads of real confidence I have had in my life. We are all born with the ability to do something and it appears to me that there are some which never discover how much they can actually do. I personally believe everyone has some form of gift from the Gods, it just depends how big or small or wondrous or mundane it is and what you do with it, once you discover it. In fact, what you do with it is more important than what the gift is. 

Although Odin in my life does not fight my battles, He equips me for them. And this I thank Him for greatly indeed. 

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