Monday, August 27, 2018

Lost in blasphemy?

A review of "Lost in Nature", a Christian polemic against Neo-Paganism

Keven J-Glassel describes himself as a Christian lay minister, living in “the Wiccan Rome” (his term?), the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. His book is directed at Christians who are traumatized by some friend or loved one becoming a Neo-Pagan, and contains tips on how to eventually win them back to the true faith. The whole format reeks evangelicalism (or fundamentalism, if you like), so I had expected one of the usual, full-proof “Biblical” attacks on the blasphemy under consideration.

Instead, Keven turns out to be a relatively thoughtful guy, who admits that Christians often err, and that egoistic conversion attempts of Neo-Pagans usually don't work at all. By “egoistic”, Keven means something like “If I win this Pagan for Jesus, that will make *me* feel better, and *my* particular ministry look better”. His advice is simply to live the simple Christian life, until the pagans (or Neo-Pagans) “get jealous”, and wonder what's shakin'. He also advises against confusing Neo-Pagans with Satanists, against threatening them with eternal damnation and hellfire, etc.

But above all, Keven actually makes concessions to the Pagan point of view – or, to be more exact, evangelicals will regard much of his Bible exegesis as conceding ground to the neo-pagan Adversary. Thus, the author believes that God has a feminine side or aspect, that Christianity and loving care of nature are perfectly compatible, and that women should be allowed into the priesthood. He also emphasizes that Christian apologists should attempt to find common ground with those they are trying to…well, convert.

And here, I think, is the kernel of the (black) poodle. Keven still wants to convert Neo-Pagans to Christianity, or at least to his slightly liberal brand of Lutheranism, and he paints it as some kind of tragedy that people – especially former Christians – turn to Neo-Paganism. But why? Does he have any objections to Wiccan morality, for instance? If so, he never tells us. Does he have any objection to their politics? No idea. Does he have any objection to their theology? Well, some, but on many points, he believes that the Wiccan (or Neo-Pagan) criticisms of Christianity can actually be accommodated. So, frankly, what is his problem?! Why does he *still* want to lead witches, druids and other Neo-Pagans to Christ?

Here's one guess: Keven J-Glassel *does* believe that Neo-Pagans will burn in Hell for eternity. His conversion-mania makes sense only on this, or some similar, supposition. But the moment his friends in Wiccan Rome a.k.a. St Paul (sic) realize this, they will probably tell him to take a hike…or hex him, as the case might be.

It will be interesting to see how the author will sound, say, ten years from now. Will he revert (convert?) to a more traditional, fire-and-brimstone approach? Will he criticize Neo-Pagans from the standpoint of natural law? (I mean, some of these people practice ritual sex!) Or will he finally come to terms with them, rather than claiming that his own religious opinions are the only good intentions that lead to Heaven?

Only time will tell.

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