Pagan practices

I was not sure whether we should go up to the altar, but there was a woman underneath it waving her body in Orgasmic movements, said S excitedly. We do this pagan practice, what would the church think if they knew?

5Rhythms dancing does not seem particularly pagan in any of the condemnatory uses of the word- false religion, or anti-Christian religion. We were all reasonably well clothed, though some men took their tops off. Hardly the worship of Cybele. It is Spiritual, the direct expression of feelings without words: why should a Christian object?

As I read over a woman’s shoulder on the train, the battle is not between theists and atheists, but between those who would increase human freedom and those who would impose their belief system on others, and use it to restrict freedom. I am a Christian of the former kind. I think the latter kind, the “legalists” I have heard them called, misunderstand the Gospel, though here is Matt Slick’s definition of legalism in Christianity, and here is his condemnation of abortion even in the case of rape. The writer says that condemning fornication is not legalism, because it is always clearly wrong. And he denies being homophobic, while proving that he is: his sophistries are transparent (though not to him). He realises legalism is a bad thing, while practising it.

Perhaps judicious pruning is necessary, though that is not for me to decide. Matt Slick’s getout is “Christians do have a right to judge the spirituality of other Christians in these areas where the Bible clearly speaks”, and I am of course tempted to that- I might imagine I could clearly see what was “oppressive” or “destructive” and therefore Wrong.

So if I find value in a spiritual practice, even one created by someone who despises Christianity, I feel free to imbibe all the value I can from it. This goes further than “Whoever is not against us is for us“. I have no idea what Gabrielle Roth’s attitude to Christianity was, but if she only saw it as harmful that would be down to Matt Slick and his ilk.

And, I suppose that makes me a Legalist. All of us Christians have particular sins which we think clear and beyond toleration. It must have some value at least to notice my hypocrisies, often I am pretending only to myself.

5 thoughts on “Pagan practices

  1. Fascinating. Had to read it twice! Liked the quote about the battle not being between theists/atheists, but between those would increase human freedom and those who would impose their belief system on others. And what you said is true — I grew up in an incredibly legalistic Christian setting, yet none of them saw themselves as legalistic. Makes me wonder sometimes how much of myself I still don’t see….

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post!


    • You are welcome. Considering it worth reading twice is a huge compliment.

      If the get-out from accusations of legalism is that we only condemn things in others which are obviously sins, the get-out is unlimited. And what I do not see in myself, and why, is one of the themes of my blog, which I am delving more deeply into.


  2. Hello Clare –
    I’ll respond here and on Two Minutes of Grace.
    The heart of my argument (issue?) in response to your post and mine is that much, possibly most, of what politically vocal conservative Christians say the Bible clearly says, is not all that clear, although it serves as excellent propaganda for fund raising campaigns (within the church and within the political community).


    • Where, then, does it become unacceptable legalism? I could say that those conservative Christians are “wrong”, and be OK, but if I said they are “sinful” that would be legalism?

      Or- thinking things through here- I have a right to state my view, they have a right to state theirs, and my place is to be open to views stated- simply for my own benefit.


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