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Book of Shadows
Children's Circle

Church

Sarah was in second grade.

She and all her friends played in the playground after school. Her best friend in the whole world was a boy named Joe.

She and Joe played games. One of their favorites was "Cowboys and Indians", or computer games, or baseball, or, well, you get the idea.

They would get together every day if they could and play. On Sundays they could not play because Joe went to church.

One Saturday, Joe asked if Sarah could spend the night. Joe's Mommy and Sarah's Mommy said it was okay.

Mommy helped Sarah pack carefully, with extra clothes, a swimming suit, towels, her stuffed lamb, and her toothbrush. Mommy said she wanted to talk to Sarah, but there was not enough time.

Sarah and Joe had a great time that day. They played, ran, sprayed each other and the dog with the hose, and finally took a nap in the shade.

When it was time for dinner Sarah was surprised. Before anyone could eat, they all had to hold hands bow their head and close their eyes. Joe's Daddy said a whole bunch of things, which asked for the God's blessing on them and the food. Then everyone had to say "Amen." Finally, they could eat.

After baths, when it was time for bed, Joe's Mommy said it was time for prayers. Joe knelt down beside his bed, folded his hands together and stared to do the same thing that was done at dinner. Sarah just sat and watched her friend.

When he was done, Joe's Mommy looked at her and asked Sarah if she said prayers. Not knowing what his Mommy wanted to hear, Sarah answered "No."

This seemed to upset Joe's Mommy a lot.

The next morning, everyone got up and began getting nice clothes on to go to "church".

Sarah didn't have any nice clothes with her, so Joe's Daddy called her house and asked someone to bring her clothes to her.

Sarah's Mommy came in a little while with a nice dress for her and a few words of advice. "Be respectful and listen to what others tell you to do. You are going to a different kind of Circle and I expect you to be good. I will answer any questions you have when you get home."

Sarah went to Joe's church, but she did not understand most of what she saw. Most of the day she was very confused.

Many of the people who were there seemed to want to be somewhere else. A man who seemed angry about a lot of things, got up and spoke for a long time. Most of what he talked about was "what-would-happen-to-people-who-were-bad".

When Sarah left, she was sad, frightened, and unhappy. She couldn't wait to get home.

When she got home, Sarah asked her Mommy about the "church". Her Mommy explained that the church was like their Circles, but for a different God. The talking that the man did was like the storytelling that the Priest or Priestess did in their own Circles.

Sarah was still upset.

After a while, she went outside to sit under the trees, hoping to talk with The Green Lady.

She closed her eyes, and made her mind still. Once again, she listened to the plants. A little while later, she heard Lady Rhiannon coming closer.

Sarah opened her eyes, and saw Her looking at Sarah, waiting. Rhiannon sat down on the ground and said, "I am here. Ask me your questions, Daughter."

"Why did everyone seem so sad to be there?" Sarah asked.

"Unfortunately, most people, unless they are very special, don't always truly believe that their God loves them. They may say that He does, but since He doesn't tell them directly, it can be hard to believe. Most of those people don't do anything at their service except listen to their preacher, the man who was talking. There is no feeling of belonging to their God for them."

"Well, who is their God?" Sarah asked.

The Lady answered, "The God they worship doesn't have a name."

"Then who is their Goddess?"

"Christians do not have one."

"Why?"

"When they think of their God, they see him as an old man with a long white beard, sitting on a big throne. They do not realize that life cannot exist without both male and female. They are called Christians, and they think that they will only live on the earth once. Then, when they die, they believe they will continue to exist in Heaven or Hell."

Sarah's forehead was wrinkled in concentration, "What is Heaven and Hell?"

"Heaven is where their God lives. Everything is perfect and good. If they are good and obey the rules here in their life, they will go to Heaven. If they are bad, they will go to Hell where they will be punished forever. Kind of like standing in a corner for the rest of your life."

"But that is so mean!"

"Yes it is. They do not believe that it is enough to be punished or rewarded while you are alive, but that punishment or reward goes on after your body is dead."

"Why?" Asked Sarah.

"The beliefs that they have are not the same as ours. Details like who they pray to, where and how they worship, their holy days, and other things are different. They think everything they do gets written down in a book in Heaven. They believe they only get one chance to do right. They also believe that there is a bad god named Satan who will do the punishing.'

"Who is Satan?"

"He is their god of evil. Evil is the worst part of bad there is. Just like their God is all good, Satan is all bad. They also call him the Devil."

"So they do not have a Goddess, but they do have a god of bad?"

"Yes."

"Do their God and Satan exist?"

"Because they believe so strongly in them, they do."

"Well, I think they are wrong and dumb!"

"Christians are not wrong, just as you are not wrong. Both of you are right in your own ways. The beliefs you have are right for you. Christian's beliefs are right for them. Wrongness happens when you think that your 'right way' is the only way to think, and everyone who does not believe as you do is bad. You must respect what they choose to think, even if you do not agree with it."

"I will try but it still doesn't make much sense to me."

Rhiannon sighed. "No, the things they say they believe do not always make sense, but in some ways they are correct."

"Like what?" Sarah was curious.

"They have a belief that says 'Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.' That mans treat everyone as you wish to be treated by them. That is much like our belief that what you do, good or bad, will be returned to you."

They also have a belief that can be simplified to 'do what is right.' This is the same as the Rede. 'Do what you want, just don't hurt anyone.' That belief is the same. I want you to think of what other things are the same as ours as you learn more about Christians."

"You want me to learn more about them?" Sarah asked.

"I want you to look at their beliefs and compare them to yours. And I want you to always do exactly what you want to do, so long as no one gets hurt, but you must always think carefully about who may be hurt by your actions and wishes."

"I will try, but I don't think I want to be Christian."

The Lady laughed, "Oh Sarah, I am not asking you to become Christian! I do hope you try to understand them. Even if, some day, you decide to become Christian, I will still always love you. You are very speical to me, and I want you to be happy."

"Can I still be friends with Joe?"

Rhiannon laughed again. "Of course young lady! Because you believe different things does not mean that you have to stop being friends. Can you be friends with someone who's skin is a different color than yours?"

"Yes!" Sarah looked almost mad, it was such a silly question.

"This is the same thing. If you can be friendly with someone of a different color, you can be friends with someone of a different religion."

"You won't be mad at me?" Sarah seemed worried about the answer.

Smiling, the Lady shook her head. "No. I will always love you. The only time I get mad at someone is when they don't try to be the best person they can be."

"I think I will go talk to Mommy and Daddy about this some more now."

"Then I will see you again, soon."

Sarah hugged the Green Lady. "I love You."

Rhiannon hugged her back, "I love you to!"

Sarah opened her eyes with the feeling that she was someone special. She ran back to the house to talk to Mommy and Daddy about the Christians.
 

Church discussion

This chapter may cause some problems. Deliberately teaching a child about a belief system and philosophy different from your own is touchy. I feel it is necessary to teach a balanced view of the world to any child. This teaches tolerance and acceptance.

As much as we may want to make our children believe the way we do, we, as the children of the Lord and Lady, cannot. We must let our children make their own choices. They have free will just as we do. It behooves us to make the information available to them so they can make informed choices.

It is with this in mind that I wrote this chapter.

Suggested questions for discussion are:

1) How are Wiccan and Christian prayers similar? Different?
2) Why do you think Joe's Mommy was upset when Sarah didn't say prayers at night?
3) What day did Joe go to church?
4) What is a church?
5) Who is the Christian's God? Their Goddess?
6) Who is Satan?
7) How do you show someone you love them?
8) What is Heaven? Hell?
9) When will the Christians get punished?
10) Are Christians right in their belief? Why or why not?
11) How are their beliefs like ours
12) Do you agree with the Christians?
13) Will the Lord and Lady love you if you are friends with a Christian? With someone of a different color?
14) Will your parents and the Lord and Lady still love you if you decide to become Christian?
15) When do the Lord and Lady get mad at someone?

While the questions are difficult, and may be hard for Wiccan parents to ask, the suggested projects may be more difficult.

1) Take your child to Church. Most of America is Christian and a child will have to have a working knowledge of how Christians think and act. We gained our knowledge of Christianity by being raised by our parents. In all fairness, we should do the same for our children.

2) Allow them to attend a Sunday School. Go with them and talk to them about what they learned when they are finished.

Please be fair about this. In your talks and discussions with your child, do not let anger and hatred creep into your attitude.

3) Go to a Christian bookstore and get children's books on Christianity. Read them to your child and, once again, talk to your child about what they have heard. You may even be able to check the books out of the library.

4) Let your child go to church with others. In this one, you stay at home. Your child needs to go with friends or relatives to a Sunday church service.

Encourage your child to think of how their beliefs are similar to ours. Help them become non-judgmental about a differing faith.

Sending your child to church may even help their budding beliefs. I know of some Wiccan parents who began sending their oldest child to a Christian daycare out of necessity. After going to daycare for a while, the child came home and told her mother that she had decided there was a woman God. She died and was now the child's guardian angel. Her name was Stacey God.

I find the story appropriate because the Lady and Lord should be Guardian Angels, Guides and Teachers for all Wiccans. Have trust in your child and their sense of right. If they wish to walk you Way, they will.
 

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