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|Wicca's Charm | Reviews | Praise | Excerpt
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
"The Unpaid Bills of the Church," Breakpoint , October 31, 2005
"Imagine losing all your friends at once," a woman named Margaret Ann told Catherine Edwards Sanders, the author of Wicca's Charm. Margaret Ann was talking about her decision to leave her Baptist faith and become a Wiccan during her college years. "My family ganged up on me and refused to discuss it with me at all," she recalls.
Sanders adds, "All of her friends, except one, deserted her. Not one of the members of the Christian group [on campus] bothered to ask why she liked Wicca. . . . Other Christian students would only talk to her to tell her that they were praying for her."
At another point in the book, Sanders tells the story of what happened to a group of Wiccans in Orange County. As they were practicing a sunrise ritual, a group of Christians surrounded the Wiccans with their cars and blared loud Christian rock music at them.
What's wrong with this picture?
To begin with, we need to understand that Wicca and its power are real. Marketers of popular kids' books and TV programs about Wicca told Sanders that it's all fake and something kids do just for fun. But as both current and former Wiccans report, Wicca is a real, powerful, and dangerous thing. Laura, a high school student, told Sanders that she "had a very bad experience" during a Wiccan ritual and is now "haunted by a scary presence." Kathleen and Paula, two former Wiccans, also report "negative experiences too frightening to describe." Others have similar accounts.
So it's hardly surprising that we Christians would perceive Wicca as a threat. But is it right for us then to turn our backs on Wiccans, or to treat them offensively? What good can that possibly do? That kind of behavior has never been known to win anyone to Christ-on the contrary, it only turns people away.
As I said Friday, Sanders writes that many Wiccans were driven to their religion in the first place by the actions of Christians-like some women who were treated like "second-class citizens" in their churches, and turned to Wicca. Art Lindsley of the C. S. Lewis Institute says that Wicca and other forms of neo-Paganism are a result of "the unpaid bills of the church." The Church is supposed to be a place where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Our whole worldview is built on the idea of a loving God who created every person in His own image. When we fail to put that worldview into practice, people lose interest in Christianity. Many of them go off in search of a religion built on self-fulfillment, not love of God-a religion like Wicca.
So how should we as Christians reach out to Wiccans? For one thing, we can take time to study and understand what they believe and the issues that are really important to them-issues like the environment. We don't have to worship the earth to understand why many Wiccans are so concerned about it. But even more importantly, we must live out our own worldview through our actions, treating all people with love and respect. He whom you would change, remember, you must first love, as Martin Luther King, Jr., taught us. And if we do this, we will start paying some of those unpaid bills ourselves.