While I am no longer involved in the greater Pagan community, I still keep tabs on it through those who are. I still consider myself Pagan, after all. Through the grapevine, I heard about Theo Bishop's flirtation with Christianity and the subsequent outpour of feedback--both positive and negative.

Now, I have never met Theo, I hardly keep up with his blog, and I doubt we have actually exchanged words, written or otherwise. I like him, though. He's good people; eloquent, passionate, religious, and kind--as far as I can tell, anyway. I applaud him for following his desire for a closer connection to the divine.

I have struggled with my religious identity for years. I was never Christian, only varieties of Pagan, and msotly because I was searching for something that fit me well enough to call home. I have explained before that I don't like the term 'conversion'; it is too final, too painful. I prefer 'progression', indicating you take with you what you have practiced before and that that path will always be a part of you. For Theo, that past includes Christianity, and it has called out to him once more.

There are a lot of ways to feel about this; I can understand when people who joined Paganism through Theo, or who found their voice reflected in his, struggle with the loss. After all, his path is no longer yours, and that is difficult to deal with. On the other hand, no one has a claim to another person's life and religion. Just because Theo is a public figure as well as a practitioner does not mean he is obligated to remain changeless in his views and practice.

I have heard through the grapevine that some of the negative reactions to Theo's current religious truth are quite severe. It is always an emotional turn of events when we 'loose' one of our own; it leaves open the way for nay-sayers to Paganism to make this example a posterchild ("See? That Paganism thing is just temporary and [insert religion/path, especially Christianity] is much better: even one of their public figures came back to us"), and perhaps it even gets us to doubt our own decisions. That is something very few of us like to do, especially if you have been struggling with the same fears and doubts.

I want to say, though, that I often feel us Pagans, in general, put our public figures on too high a pedestal. While I have nowhere near the same pull as Theo has, this is the reason I keep telling people I'm just a girl with a pile of books: I'm just a person, I make mistakes and sometimes things change. To be clear: I have no intention of leaving Hellenismos; I am very secure in my faith and I have never felt so at home in a religion as I feel in Hellenismos. This is my faith, the Theoi are my Gods. That said, I believe all other Gods exist and are equally worthy of worship--I just won't be the one doing it.

The Delphic Maxims state: Know Yourself (Σαυτον ισθι). It's one of the best known maxims, and I think it's a valueable ideal to live up to. In the case of Theo, his attempts at getting to know himself better currently involve God and Jesus. I have no problem with that what so ever and wish him the best of his road to self-discovery and the discovery of the divine.

For all who oppose him--and please don't think the Hellenic community is without its share of similar events; Drew Campbell  comes to mind--I would like to offer another few maxim: Restrain the tongue (Γλωτταν ισχε), Make just judgements (Κρινε δικαια), and Deal kindly with everyone (Φιλοφρονει πασιν).