Pagan Policy Paper
Pagan Policy Paper to Prevent Pummeling Proprietor Profusely
OK… Thanksgiving is over. Christmas is on its way… like it, or not. Every year, about this time, we receive numerous requests for help in “showing the true pagan origins of everything related to Christmas”. invariably, these self-appointed anti-inquisitors, in their vendetta to rid the world of evil and paganism, end up turning on me because my anti-pagan/Christian position isn’t worded strongly enough for their tastes.
This year, in order to avoid any confusion, we are publishing in advance a statement of the Mishkan’s view regarding Christian holiday practices. Just so everybody knows the Mishkan position upfront…
Back in the early 1980’s, I spent a few years on the witch hunt for the pagan roots of everything. After finding that everything from soup to nuts can be claimed to have pagan origins, I finally concluded that I am only responsible for my own attitude towards Adonai, and nobody else’s. Everything we do has been done before, and probably by somebody pagan. There is nothing in the common culture that can’t be somehow associated with pagan practices and superstition from days of yore. As one wise guy once put it, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
Ultimately, I decided that, if we spend all our time chasing the Bad, we’ll never have time to represent the Good. So, don’t expect any articles from the Mishkan decrying how terrible it is that our neighbors are putting up lights and a tree. They’re pagans, and we should expect them to act like pagans. Stop pretending to be shocked.
How should we respond? By minding our own business! Do what you do. Make sure your own beliefs and traditions are based on your own best knowledge and understanding. Make sure you do what you do for all the right reasons. When people ask, share with people why you do, or don’t do, the things you do. As Kefa said,
Treat the Messiah as holy, as Lord in your hearts; while remaining always ready to give a reasoned answer to anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you–yet with humility and fear, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are spoken against, those who abuse the good behavior flowing from your union with the Messiah may be put to shame.
(Kefa Alef/First Peter 3:15-16).
In other words, be prepared to answer questions, but don’t go around spoiling for a fight! You be the one with the reputation for being “different”, but rational and calm, able to express your views without needing to resort to castigating everybody else for their alleged errors.
Somebody famous once said, “Let your light shine before people in such a way that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.” Can you remember who that was?
By the way… In case you were wondering, the article that lost us friends at the Mishkan last year was My Christmas Wish.