One of my personal rules as an Eclectic Witch is to examine different spiritual paths and to embrace whatever works best for me. I have been negatively and positively criticized because of this practice, and I have the feeling this post will produce more censure.
The content of this post might increase the criticism because I’m planning to speak about Jesus. Yes, I mean Jesus Christ, the son of the Judeo-Christian God. I don’t only embrace what I like about Pagan traditions, but I also borrow bits and pieces from other belief systems. For instance, I have incorporated a few Judeo-Christian teachings into my personal eclectic beliefs vault. This post will shed some light on one of my favorite Christian beliefs: the belief that Jesus Would Do Outreach.
I understand that those exact words cannot be found in any known copies of the Christian Bible, but they are clearly conveyed. One example is the fact that according to what I’ve read in the Bible, no one has ever provided a picture of the church where Jesus preached his sermons. If you have one, do send me a copy. But I must warn you, if I get a picture of a majestic palace, decorated with marble pillars and candelabras made of gold, then I’ll know your picture is a fake. I know in my heart that if Jesus had a church, it would be a humble structure, a nice spot in the middle of the forest, a corner in one of our city’s poorest neighborhoods…
I believe that Jesus would be in the heart of need. He would be at the local soup kitchen multiplying the food pantry with his holy magic, near prostitutes handing out condoms in order to keep the public free from deadly diseases, urging drug addicts to stop polluting his temple with illicit substances that promote fake happiness… Jesus Would Do Outreach. He would do the required grunt work that would promote long, healthy, safe living, which would give people time to find themselves and be happy.
Am I too arrogant for pretending to know what Jesus would do if he was physically among us? Probably, but that doesn’t make my conclusions any less probable. Wasn’t Jesus the one who fed tons of hungry people with a few fishes and several loaves of bread? Didn’t he cleanse a leper when everybody else recoiled at the mere sight of the man’s infectious sores? And I’m sure that if illicit drugs had been as big of a problem during Jesus’s time as they are today, then he would be out there promoting harm reduction and helping people find happiness within their own sober souls.
Are you wondering where I’m going with all this? I sure hope so, because I’m getting ready to tell you. I worked for a nonprofit organization that assisted individuals who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. This organization offered support services, prevention services and it educated the public, in an effort to prevent/reduce the spread of HIV. It did the same for other sexually transmitted diseases.
One of my really good Christian friends was interested in providing her church with information about the services offered by the agency where I worked. I accompanied her to a religious service and at the end she spoke to her preacher about the agency and about her intensions. When my friend finished telling her preacher what I did for a living, the man looked at me like I was the devil in a pink dress and brown boots. He told me that he led a decent congregation, and that the people I wanted to target weren’t church goers. He went further to point out that what I had to say was meant for the streets.
I stared at the man in disbelief. I almost lost my cool and nearly issued my entire Jesus Would Do Outreach spill. But I didn’t. I was composed enough to know that I was too upset to sound eloquent, so I thanked the preacher for his time, instead. I also told him that a bit of education had never hurt anyone. Then I left the church, wondering how a man with so many college degrees could be so immensely ignorant.
The encounter with my friend and the preacher happened years ago. I didn’t think about the incident in quite some time, but the event came to mind, after a conversation with another Christian friend. She told me she had read my first post, where I shared a story about my witchy roots. She then confessed that she had struggled with her own beliefs for a while. She spoke about feeling guilty because she didn’t go to church like it was required by the mandates of her Christian faith. My friend also told me that her sister had once told her that not going to church didn’t make her a bad Christian. Her sister said that “if Jesus was here he would probably be on the streets, doing something about drug dealers and taking care of the needy”, which describes some of the work my friend was involved in.
I told my friend about my Jesus Would Do Outreach theory and she threw her head back and roared. After wiping away happy tears, my friend told me that she had another confession to make. She said that after reading my post, she had to research Paganism and Witchcraft. She was surprised by what she learned. Before visiting my blog, she thought that the lives of Pagans and Witches consisted on running “around at night killing chickens and doing evil.”
The initial idea behind this post was to illustrate my belief that if Jesus was physically here, he would probably be where he was most needed. Once I started writing, I noticed my focus shifting toward Eclecticism and the similarities between people who follow different spiritual paths. The writer in me screamed in outrage “fix it right this instant!” And I almost did, but changed my mind immediately. I decided to leave it as it was because the main message ended up being a lot more powerful than what I first intended.
My original thesis promoted a personal idea about Jesus, while the accidental one illustrates the basis of my eclectic beliefs: doing a bit of research and talking to others can reveal that most spiritual paths have something great to offer, also it can let the researcher see that people from different belief systems struggle with very similar spiritual dilemmas.
What do you think about Eclectic Paganism? What about eclecticism spirituality in general? Have you struggled with a spiritual dilemma? And finally, do you think Jesus Would Do Outreach?