Once upon a time, in a land right where I am today, I was a very Charismatic Evangelical Christian. If you’ve read the blog at all, you know this. It made a big impact on me. More than developing a lasting faith in x, y and z, I developed a handful of lifelong, cherished friends.
However, starting in 2008, I began to grow away from the church. Little things at first (why can’t women be elders in our church?) to bigger things (what do I do about these experiences outside of the Christian norm?), and finally, I made a break with that particular church. Not too long later I broke up with The Church as a whole. About 12 to 18 months ago, I began labeling myself Pagan.
But I didn’t tell anyone, except my husband. Why? Because I had made these friends, see. These were people that I had been through the most developmental part of my life with. We lived together, went to school together, were instrumental in each others dating relationships with future spouses, in each others weddings, went on vacations together, got pregnant and were at each others deliveries in some capacity or the other. Now, our kids play together, and we still see each other a few times a week. So when I say that we’re close friends–what I really mean is that we’re chosen family.
Chosen family, I believed, predicated on the fact that we believed similar things. And when I didn’t believe those similar things anymore–I was, I feel, justly terrified that I was putting them in a very bad position and threatening my community and support system. It wasn’t a good feeling.
For awhile, I avoided dealing with it because I wasn’t exactly sure what I believed. When I figured it out, I felt a huge pressure to TELL EVERYONE! that was allayed by another feeling that…the time will come when it’s right. So I waited.
Friday night, one of my close friends and I decided to hang out after a baby shower. When I turned off the car in a parking lot there was a tense silence for a moment, and then she started telling me she had something to say.
I knew right away it was two things: One, she was pregnant, or Two, she found my blog.
Turns out it was two.
I wasn’t surprised. That’s the deal with an Internet presence, and one I chose to make. Lesson one, Pagans who don’t want to be found out, don’t have an Internet presence. Either that, or couch it very well.
For me, though, the potential of Internet Pagan community was a risk worth taking.
We talked for a long time. There were no recriminations. No arguments, accusations, banishments. It was…can I say anti-climatic, in a way? The best possible way. We talked. It was out and the open, there it was. I was a Pagan.
The best part was one that I would suspected would happen–she wasn’t surprised. And I feel like, if someone really is your true friend, and this conversion has been going on a long time, how could they be?
We didn’t get into much of the particulars, and these things may (or may not) have to be dealt with at a later date.
There is the looming issue of salvation. As Jax wrote in her Wife of Pagan series, traditional/evangelical Christians desire others to become Christian for their eternal salvation; this is a conundrum that has no answer. Really, there is nothing to say, no argument to make. It’s a choice of faith, and most likely, every Insert-Other-Faith/Christian relationship has to navigate that territory on its own terms.
Luckily, this friend (M) wanted a relationship with me more than…_______. That’s a true friend, no matter what the stripes. The interaction did make me ashamed that I had waited so long–that I had doubted her loyalty. However, who knows? This was most likely the perfect way, in the perfect time. I had faith that these confrontations would come when they should, for all parties involved, and that was borne out.
So, now, I’m basically an Out Pagan. The freedom of it is a strange brightness, a bit perplexing in its own way, but something to grow in to.