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What About Heresy, LGBTQIA+ Folks, & the Church? | Ask a Christian Witch

I've got plenty of thoughts and ideas about things like this, lemme tell ya.

Christian Witch, Witchcraft, Mysticism, Magic, Crystals, Bible, Incense, Folklore, Sara Raztresen, God, Spirituality, Tarot, Occult, Evangelical, Demons, Sin, Danger, Possession, Idolatry, Discernment, Church, Solomonic Magic, Occult, Left Hand Path, Demonolatry, Demonology, Corinthians, Paul

As you might imagine, between the content I post on my YouTube, Tiktok, and Instagram pages, I get quite a few comments on the daily about all kinds of things. From witchcraft know-how to resource hunting tips to theological breakdowns and reflections, the life of a Christian Witch is without a doubt a life of questions and answers (to the point that, should there ever be a governing body for Christian Witches the way there is for any other denomination, we may very well find ourselves with quite the extensive catechism on our hands).


But outside of people simply booking an appointment with me to discuss their questions in person, it's to the point where I've actually been able to make use of one specific platform for questions: my FIVE page. While I'm not always the quickest about answering, I do enjoy having the space to give longer answers there—and today, one answer I made public, as it's an important discussion to have.


If you're interested in following along for any questions I answer, consider checking out my FIVE page and becoming a member!


"The Eternal Word & Queers": FIVE Questions Asked by Anonymous


On my FIVE page, one person asked:


Hi Sara! I absolutely love your content as someone currently facing religious trauma while learning about Christology! As a queer person who left the church due to homophobia, I still fully believe that gods change alongside humans.


Back when the texts were still being written, sexuality wasn't understood as much as now, where it's pretty much an aspect of being human instead of being a "lifestyle choice." One of the questions that I currently find myself asking is how is the Word of God "eternal & unchangeable" when our current contexts can affect the way a Bible verse is interpreted? For example, I've been trying to find stances on if being a gay Christian affects your membership in a church. A lot of what I've been finding kind of says something along the lines of "God''s Word is eternal and unchangeable so no we will not support gay marriages because xyz passage says this."


It is absolutely heartbreaking as even though I left the church, I still think a loving and just God wouldn't want to harm a group of people who are already facing oppression (since He's quite literally fought against it numerous times). Another thing I want to add is that I’m currently learning about heresy during the first four centuries of Christianity. How does one avoid being accused of heresy or blasphemy when talking about a topic such as this to members of the community who say “xyz passage says this about queers so you’re not a real Christian because real Christians wouldn’t say blasphemous things like that.” This is two questions in one but I would be grateful for any reply. Thank you for taking time out of your day to answer these questions, it really means a lot to me!


In response, I said:


Hey there!

Right off the bat: ugh. Heresy. The "eternal and unchangeable word." Sexuality in antiquity (and further back). All these topics age me 40 years, I swear, because they're so obnoxious and so poorly understood by most Christians.

The Word and Changing Times

You're right on the money, though, about our interpretations of things. Even if we said God's word is unchangeable (in which case... honestly, Jesus would've never happened, because He walked back some of the laws given to Moses and radically shifted the way people understood what it means to be with God and created an entire separate covenant for God and Gentiles especially to enter into), the fact is that our interpretations of the text are constantly changing. Nobody knows what this "eternal and unchangeable Word" actually even is, because we are continuously doing something called negotiating with the text.

Christian Witch, Witchcraft, Mysticism, Magic, Crystals, Bible, Incense, Folklore, Sara Raztresen, God, Spirituality, Tarot, Occult, Evangelical, Demons, Sin, Danger, Possession, Idolatry, Discernment, Church, Solomonic Magic, Occult, Left Hand Path, Demonolatry, Demonology, Corinthians, Paul
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"Negotiating with the text" is looking at the text through a certain lens or with a certain position in mind. When people use 1 Corinthians to say that women shouldn't speak ever in church, they're negotiating with the text, and they're doing so in a way that talks over St. Paul's original intents and cultural contexts (of which I'd recommend reading John T. Bristow's What Paul Really Said About Women to understand St. Paul better in this regard). When people use Romans to strike out against the LGBTQ+ community, likewise, they're doing the same thing. Multiple groups have discussed the context of Romans and why it, in no way, condemns homosexuality (and same with Galatians 5:19-21, where honestly, Christians just tell on themselves: this says that the fruits of the flesh are sexual immorality, not homosexuality, but Christians automatically assume homosexuality is immoral, thus putting the cart far before the horse).

The fact of the matter is this: in antiquity, the concept of two women or two men being in faithful, loving, stable relationships was not quite conceptualized. If a man wanted to lay with another man, it was thought to be because that man was so full of lust that women alone just couldn't satisfy his appetite anymore. The idea that he would've foregone women entirely to choose one man to have a relationship with was not exactly a thought in people's heads. They also forget the nature of Roman society, in which men were able to go get their sexual urges dealt with by the prostitutes in temples to Aphrodite like it was a public health service (which is what Romans was actually talking about), where God forbid a wife even looked at another man, or she'd be accused of adultery and possibly killed, fully within the legal rights of the husband. Yes! Even among the pagan Romans! Women were seen as property across just about all cultures, faiths, etc. of this area during this time.


What About Heresy?

This annoys me so badly, because the charges of heresy Christians level at each other is basically exactly the same as the charges of fraud or malevolent sorcery that magicians would throw at each other in antiquity. They were all doing magic, but of course magicians would try to elevate themselves and downplay their opponents by accusing their opponents of participating in the illegal types. (In fact, the Apostles themselves had to do this precisely because they kept getting accused of sorcery; Romans even wanted Peter to face charges for the death of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts.)

We also have to remember that what was finally decided as heresy was decided by oen faction of Christians who happened to come out on top in their political power and their arguments. That's it. Had another group won over them, we'd have a totally different idea of what constitutes heresy. And the guys that won had the propensity to say some stupid stuff (like St. Augustine and church father Tertullian, both of which who just seemed to... not like women at all). It's honestly a useless word and a useless accusation, and my honest, first response to something like "how do I avoid getting accused of heresy?" is "who the hell cares if you get accused of heresy? The best Saints and prophets, even Jesus Himself, was accused of heresy, so you're in good company."

Because at the end of the day, the No True Scotsman fallacy really should be renamed to the No True Christian fallacy. "You can't be a Christian if you believe in such-and-such negotiated, misunderstood concept!"

Huh?

If you believe Jesus is the Son of God and believe that God is the top Creator of this world, if you love God with all your heart, and if you believe in radical liberation and justice of and for all people, you are a Christian. I'd argue anyone who believes certain groups of people are inherently sinful or less deserving of social protections are the ones who are committing heresy and blasphemy and shouldn't be called Christians. Anyone accusing you of heresy for taking the time to actually study the cultural, political, social, and religious climate in which our holy text was written to understand what's actually being talked about is, frankly, nothing shy of an idiot, sorry to say.

So my honest answer to that question is: learn your Bible good and right, learn the surrounding context of its writings, learn the Old Testament stuff from its people (as the Old Testament is actually... the Jewish Bible that Christians like to misinterpret and ret-con constantly), and learn the history of the Christian Bible's creation. Then, when you say the facts that scholars and archaeologists and anthropologists have brought up, and people respond with an extremely nuanceless, goofy, whiny cry of "heresy" or "blasphemy" because they have no rebuttal, just move on and be content with the fact that you're right, and if somehow you're not, you're at least erring on the side of liberation and equality and unification of people, rather than oppression and discrimination and division of people.

Because the former is what God is all about. His Son told us as much.

 

Christian Witch, Witchcraft, Mysticism, Magic, Crystals, Bible, Incense, Folklore, Sara Raztresen, God, Spirituality, Tarot, Occult, Evangelical, Demons, Sin, Danger, Possession, Idolatry

Sara Raztresen is a Slovene-American writer, screenwriter, and Christian witch. Her fantasy works draw heavily on the wisdom she gathers from her own personal and spiritual experience, and her s


piritual practice borrows much of the whimsy and wonder that modern society has relegated to fairy-and-folktale. Her goal is to help people regain their spiritual footing and discover


God through a new (yet old) lens of mysticism.



Follow Sara on Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, and explore her fiction writing here.


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