Alright, let me introduce this as delicately as possible. Over at Patheos, Timothy Dalrymple of the Evangelical Channel, opened a can of worms. He decided that, after a long flight and car ride discussing religion with Star Foster--a name you have heard here before, as I greatly admire Star's opinion--he would give his opinion on Paganism from a Christian standpoint. I read his blog yesterday morning, smiled, nodded, and agreed to disagree with him about his One True God. I left the blog post feeling enlightened, supported and happy to have allies, even though they would rather see me convert.

Last night, I read Joseph Bloch's response on the post over at PaganSquare and I felt myself agree with him a whole lot less. I would ask you to read both Timothy Dalrymple's post and Joseph Bloch's post before reading on. Context matters, and snippets don't do much to open dialog. I will therefor not post quotes from either article.

This is what I wrote in the comments of Bloch's post:

"I read Timothy's blog post this morning and I enjoyed it very much. He is aware that his own religious views color his judgement and makes no excuses for that. He views Paganism from a Christian world view, and from a Christian heart. I can understand how he would feel hesitant embracing religious views other than his own, as he has been taught--and obviously believes--that there is only One True God. He has found in Christianity what I have found in Hellenismos and on his blog, towards his Christian readers, he has every right to highlight the rise of Paganism from the standpoint of that conviction.

I agree with Timothy and Star that Paganism as a whole, and many of its branches, still have a lot of growing up to do. We are not united. We bicker amongst ourselves. We are not proud of the Pagan label and most branches fight to stand on their own despite the label. We focus on the individual (or branch), not the community. And this is fine, really, I understand. This is how Paganism was conceived and it has naturally progressed into this state. Yet, if we look at the big religions--you know, the religions that seem to have found a way to stay viable to this day--they have their unity in common. Do all the branches under the various labels love each other? No, not at all, but they (in general) don't fight the overarching label. 

And, FYI, we are young. Wicca has been around for... what? 80 years? 70? Hellenismos only 20. Christianity has a couple of years on us. And the early Christians didn't do anything the Greeks (or Romans, etc...) did not do. In fact, the early Christians were hunted down and killed for their views.

Could Timothy have been more politically correct in his post? Yes, probably, but I wasn't offended at all. I may be the odd one out, I may not have all the facts, I may be stupid, but I think Timothy meant well. He speaks from his religion, and I respect that. A lot. Also... if we want him to respect us... wouldn't it be a nice gesture not to belittle him either?"

After I wrote this, I went to check out the comments to Timothy's post. I hoped that the comments would be positive and they were, largely. There were a few angry Pagans, but most of the comments were intelligent, factual and/or emotional responses to a heartfelt--and progressive--post by an Evangelist Christian.

Timothy has made an effort to bridge the gap between Christians and Pagans. He wishes Pagans would come and find religion over at his corner of the religious landscape, but he still accepts our decision not to. I respect his decision to find religion in a corner of the religious landscape I am not at home at. We all have the right and the freedom to chose how we want to worship. I do not agree with Timothy's views. I don't even agree with Timothy's views on Paganism. Yet, I still enjoyed this post as an effort at interfaith dialogue that has obviously meant a lot to him, and I hope you did too.

EDIT: Star Foster dissected Timothy's post on her blog, and did an incredible job of voicing the opinions my mind didn't want to formulate very well. Please, read her post before you make up your mind about this issue. There are a lot of points in all posts which are real eye-openers, and it would be a shame to go without those.