|I even have this sticker on my car...|
I sat at Starbucks, attempting very hard to complete some outstanding calculus homework I've allowed to pile up around me, when two Christians from a local church occupy the comfy chairs to my side. At first I was extremely annoyed by their back and forth banter about their church's politics and "God is taking me here" and "I know God will see me through this." The conversation wasn't conducive to successful mathematical calculations. So I put my math book and paper away and popped on Facebook. I have "liked" Pagan News Now and often read the Patheos.com posts that they pass along on their page. Today, a post really caught my attention and has made me realize just how wrong I've been.
Aliya bat Stam is featured on Patheos' Agora with a post called The Road from Hate to Understanding. In a nutshell it outlines Aliya's path away from anger at a Deity she once followed and at the community surrounding that Deity, to one of understanding and acceptance. She also shares an account of a Pagan group bashing Christians and their God.
*Smack*. What the... Oh, whoa... Crap...
It can't be coincidence that a couple of Christians (from the sound of it, a youth pastor and maybe a pastor's wife) come into the same Starbucks I was in, sit right next to me, talk loudly enough for me to hear their conversation (and for me to get annoyed at), and then I read a blog post about intolerance to Christians as Pagans.
I've often been on the soap box touting the need for tolerance, acceptance, and respect of others' religious beliefs and followings (I have the Coexist sticker on my car for crying out loud!), and yet I failed to realize my grudge against Christianity (especially Catholicism) has made me look like a bigoted ass more than a few times. Heck, even in this blog have I been a bit snarky when alluding to my religious past. Now, I can assure you, I was never more aware of it than I am now, and it was never my intention to cause offense, but jeez. I feel bad!
This is definitely a lesson I needed to learn, and what a wonderful way for Divinity to enlighten me. I came out of that Starbucks feeling a little lighter and wanted nothing more than to thank the two devout Christians as I walked out.
Old habits die hard, and I can't promise my enlightenment will take affect over night. But I can be trusted to try my hardest to remap and reroute the anger and frustration I have towards my religious past and work on the understanding Aliya's post encourages.