I’m from a little town in Tennessee called Jonesborough. I didn’t grow up there, but my Grand Mother lived on West Main St. until her passing many years ago. My dad was born in that house. When we went to visit family, all of whom live around there, that’s where we stayed. It was going down “home” and I truly love that little place.
One of the things that still draws me to this little town is its history, being the Oldest Town in Tennessee, and that it’s home of the International Storytelling Center. A truly wonderful place to visit!
To show my support for one of my favorite places, I follow the ISC on Facebook. This weekend, they shared a story that is definitely worth reading. They posted this on their FB page.
As we enter a new year together, ISC would like to share a story of peace and community building between two UK Muslim and Jewish Communities. We would love to hear your story posts of community and intercultural dialogue and highlights of your 2013. Was there a moment of collaboration or community building in 2013 that stands out for you? Or perhaps you were you part of an intercultural story just waiting to be told! ~ Bradford synagogue saved by city’s Muslims.
Reading the story made me realize I have developed a friendship this past year that I feel blessed to have in my life today. They asked for sharing, and it’s one I wanted to share. I posted the story as a comment on their post and realized that it deserves to be shared with a wider audience. As Pagans we often face condemnation from other faiths much more than we do acceptance. So I hope that sharing this story might restore your faith in humanity as it has mine.
My Aussie Friend:
As a Pagan Minister and an author, I receive a great many emails from people asking questions. With the internet being what it is, I receive questions from around the world, as well as here at home in America. One day I found an email from a gentleman who described himself as a Christian in Australia. He came across an article about paganism that sent him on a search for information. That lead him to my website and to sending me an email.
As a pagan here in the U.S., we still face a number of persecutions based on misunderstandings from centuries of propaganda and from modern entertainment venues. Those persecutions are not in the past, they are alive and well, as others and I have faced first hand and in person in our every day lives. From work, to family we often struggle with coming out of the broom closet so to speak. Since I’m an author and pretty much out in the light, I’ve received many emails from people saying they’re Christian and having what seems like an innocent question, but ends with condemnation, insults, name calling or worse. Sadly I’ve had a few confrontations in person in the general public as well.
I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and not pass judgement on a person by the group they maybe associated with. So I answered his question the best I could and figured I’d never hear from him again. As is often the case with the majority of these types of emails.
This began in the late summer of 2013. He responded to my initial answer and shared what he knew about the topic. Now, at least each week we exchanged emails and discuss our beliefs and approach to ministering. He has been a counselor in his church. We talk about approaches to spiritual counseling, religious history, misconceptions, and mostly how we’re the same much more than we are different.
Those weekly emails evolved from basic spiritual discussions to checking in on each other. His wife and I have similar tastes; my husband and he have also become friends. It is a friendship that has taught me a great deal, as well as, deepened my own beliefs. More importantly it has restored my faith in humanity and the Christian culture in general. I’m honored to have such a great friend though he is so far away, in a different culture and belief system. I’m truly blessed this year for having received that first email. And I’m honored to call him a dear friend.
So let me say Thank you Angus, for sending that first note. Blessings to you and your sweet family, my friend. May your kindness and compassion be redeemed with prosperity of health, happiness and abundance throughout the coming year.
© 2013 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.