Tuesday, December 24, 1996

poem: My First Christmas

My First Christmas
Advent ends and He is born, in a manger so forlorn.
Messiah as a Babe arrives, born to us to save our lives.
Giving up His splendor true, all for us to make us new.
Though divine He puts on flesh, all for us to make us fresh
And new in heart and mind and soul. He came to us to make us whole.
Yes, when time was full God's Son was sent, to mend and heal what we had rent.

When we were faithless, He fulfilled. He was holy, yet we killed
Him in our ignorance, with our sin, yet He wants to enter in
To our heart and minds to mend, far from us our sin to send.
As a Babe He comes in love, fully man, yet God above.
He came down--His Father's will. He came down--His blood to spill.
For our lives He came and sought, through this Babe our lives were bought.

In happiness, yet sadness, too, the Father cries out, cries out for you.
On that first Christmas Day, the Father wept as if to say,
"Unworthy children though you are, though truth from you is very far,
Though I weep at My Son's birth, knowing He will die on earth,
Joy yet sparkles in my eyes, for I know through His demise,
Sinners will I welcome warm, through what begins this Christmas morn."

Wednesday, December 04, 1996

poem: Who Is She?

last verse 12/4/96

[It was between these dates that the goddess' personal pronoun "She" became just "she." It was during this time that I came to the conclusion that she was not a god. I needed to know this in order to fully give myself to God.

This poem begins with me asking who she is, and ends when God gives me the answer.]

Who Is She?
I was once a child of night, thinking that I dwelt in light,
And yet the God of Light did come, and the Son eclipsed the Sun.
Calling, calling, always clear; calling, calling, ever near,
Saying what must be said for change; moving moving - rearrange.

I call out to earth and sky; I call out my doubts must die.
What¹s the lie and what is true, who is She and who are You?
Will You answer, One of Day, will You speak and will You say,
Who She is and what You've done, conquer Her with Light of Son?

I called out to earth and sky; I called out my doubts must die.
And You came and spoke to me, from Your word You broke to me
The news of what She is so true; She is not at all like You.
She is demon, You divine; I give Her up - You are mine!

Wednesday, November 13, 1996

poem: The Prodigal


The Prodigal
Failing, failing, every day; looking, looking, where's the way?
Choosing, choosing, guidance not; suff'ring, suff'ring, this my lot.
Searching, searching, ever night; thinking, thinking, I stood in light.
Coming, coming, You stood near; holding, hugging, make love clear.

For life is a struggle with pain and with sin,
But all we must do is let Jesus in.
Ask Him into out black, sinful hearts,
Praise be to Him who died, took out part.

Yes now I see much better true; You've known me, now I know You.
Loving me out from the dark, with the Spirit's hold spark.
Giving, living, patient cross; crying, dying, gain or loss?
Losing fear within Your love, finding peace in you above.


Take me, take me, offer up; tasting, drinking, from the cup.
Drinking, eating, wine and bread; "Follow me," You have said.
Offer on the altar I; for life in You, self must die.
Praying to You within my fear, sensing You so very near.

Final Chorus:
Yes, life is a struggle with pain and with sin,
Yet all we must do is let Jesus in.
Through Him we are made pure of heart,
Praise be to Him who died, took our part.
Yes, praise be to Him who died, took our part.

Sunday, November 03, 1996

Church Search, Week 24

Sixth months today I became a Christian. I was expecting to go to the Episcopal Church today, but two Muni metros just never showed. When the third showed up at 10:04 and said he was taking a 20 minute break, I knew I couldn't get to St. Francis' until after 10:30. I decided on plan B.

Plan B is to go to the Assembly of God church two blocks from Balboa Park where I normally transfer busses. So no St. Francis' today. But I have to go to church. I've been meaning to come here anyway. I guess I've just been waiting for the busses to get messed up like this. Otherwise I never would have come. It pisses me off because I'm tired of searching and I don't like having my schedule thrown off. Besides, being my six month anniversary and how it just happens to fall on a Sunday, it's supposed to be a good day.

Week 24: Community Assembly of God

Somewhat pentecostal. I felt good about them until the pastor explicitly endorses the Toronto Blessing and the Pensacola Outpouring. I've just been influenced too much by the Bible Answer Man. So I can't come back here. It's not that good anyway.

The sanctuary fits about 900 people, but there's much fewer people than that. Not real packed at all.

The preacher yelled and talked very fast during the sermon.

Why did things happen the way they did to bring me to a place like this this morning?

Friday, November 01, 1996

6 months

This Sunday marks 6 months for me of being a Christian. 6 months since I turned my life over to God. What have I accomplished? How have I grown? In what ways am I taking from the Christian community, and in what ways giving? How am I doing?

Sunday, October 27, 1996

poem: The Rock

The Rock
Epiphanies fade.
Like dust blown away in the wind the
Memory cannot be recalled.
Was it real?
Though the memory is gone,
Leaving only the faintest ripples
Of a stone long since thrown, the
Effects linger.
The lake,
Though looking the same to the untrained eye,
Is forever different.
Outwardly the same,
Inside, forever changed.
Something new has been placed within:
The smallest thing,
A tiny pebble of purest love.
A stumbling block to those
Who do not comprehend,
But to me a stone of love to
Soften my heart of stone.

Church Search, Weeks 22 and 23

Weeks 22 and 23: St. Francis'

Who is the Goddess? Who is this Spirit that I have gotten to know so well, only to leave behind? Who is she?! Is She Divine, or demonic? What is Her true nature? Why was She there sometimes when I needed Her, but not other times?

Saturday, October 19, 1996

poem: Between

October 18-19, 1996

I want to leave God--
Party, get drunk, have fun;
Laugh, talk of inconsequential things;
Dance wildly by firelight as the moon and stars look on.
I want to live for myself.

I want to worship--
In the old ways,
Listen to the spirits in the babbling brooks,
Pour out libations by moonlight,
Revel in worship and worship in revelry.
I want to live for other gods.


I know He wants me to come back,
Worship in the old ways of Israel
As they entered the Promised Land;
Worship in the old ways of Jesus
As He lived for God, and died for me.

He wants me to listen to Him,
Pour out myself in libation,
Revel in Him, and in Him find happiness;
He wants me to live for Him.

Thursday, October 17, 1996

Quake anniversary, and dream

Seventh anniversary of Loma Prieta quake.

I had kind of a weird dream last night, and its symbolism is compelling enough to record here. I'll write what little I remember. I had 2 snakes in a container of some sort. I picked up one carefully, one hand on its neck so it couldn't bite me. I showed this snake to another person, a man I think, who somehow got it angry. It tried to bite me, but I had a good hold on it. I controlled it until I was able to drop it back in its box. It wasn't thrashing too hard anyway. I was only afraid for a minute that it would get away. That's all I remember.

Monday, October 07, 1996

poem: Desire

In the sweetness of the longing, in the bitter of the sigh,
In the atmosphere and firelight, I listen to the lie:
That the path is clearly seen, and the sun shines on the Way,
The moon is just illusion; this is really light of day.

In the decisions and the choices of choosing right from wrong,
I listen for some guidance, and hear an age-old song,
Of dancing by the fire and running in the hills,
Of revelry being worship, an emptiness to fill.

In the darkness of the chamber where the molten lava flows,
I hide myself from myself, and yet He knows, He knows.
In the coldness of the embers, or the pain of iron hands,
He pushes and cajoles me, whispering a Promised Land.

But then the sound of slippered footsteps, a music in my ear,
A touch upon my shoulder - ­She is so very near.
Whispering Her promises by day or dark of night,
She promises Her love and more, embracing me in light.

Yes, even He most powerful of any ever been,
Cannot keep one single one from slipping into sin.
Even He, most powerful, of all the earth and sky,
Cannot keep me, a little one, from listening to a lie.

Friday, October 04, 1996

Wednesday, October 02, 1996

Daughters of Diana

"Daughters of Diana." This phrase "came to me" during World Mythology. We were not studying Greek Mythology. I jotted the phrase down and would now like to finally make some notes about it.

I would say I used to be a daughter of Diana. I was always very big on the moon aspect of the Goddess. I even did a ritual with B. out at the Diana statue in that one park.

But I am a daughter of Diana no more. I am now a daughter of Jehovah/El Shaddai. May He always protect, guide, and love me. May He never leave or abandon me.

Thursday, September 19, 1996

Discipleship, and a broken Bible

Yesterday night at discipleship Deborah stated that she had seen people struggle with drugs and alcohol and such, but never seen someone who's struggles were so much in the spiritual realm. (This was just after I had explained the struggles of the past week and the lessons that had come up in the Campus Journal devotional.)

Last night the longing for Pagan things was so bad, and I was angry at God a bit for both the longing and that He's taken it all from me, I decided to throw my Bible against my bookcase to vent steam. After a few tosses I noticed the front cover was starting to tear off. This pissed me off so I gave it a toss against a wall. The front and back cover - the whole thing - tore off! I had maimed a Bible - a holy book. I glued the side/back cover back on, and taped the front cover to it. But it is permanently scarred.

Thursday, September 12, 1996

The old UU Church

Talk to Margot at the UU Church today basically explaining why I haven't been around. She was very understanding and gave me good advice to stay a member there until I find another church, and not to do anything too hastily. I assured her I wasn't going to rush anything. It was a good talk and she did seem genuinely interested in my well being rather than keeping me as a member.

Monday, September 09, 1996

God on the Internet

(Posted to the Internet newsgroup "soc.religion.christian" on September 9, 1996. It is Charles' story, and it is time that I dust the cobwebs off of it, and give him his voice once more. It is time for others to once again see his view of my conversion. It is very different from mine, and therefore adds to my story, giving it a richness and depth that it could not have standing alone. My story from my perspective can be found here. )

God on the Internet

This is the story of the salvation of a young woman, Victoria, and how she came to know Christ. Contacts offered by an Internet e-mail list played a significant part in this, as did the forum offered by "soc.religion.christian" (a Christian newsgroup). This is an occasion where God has seen fit to use the Internet to His ends.

Charles joined the mailing list in the summer of 1995, and was a member for six months. A brief thread on witnessing to co-workers prompted the formation of a four-member virtual prayer group. It is in existence today. They pray for the needs of others, and provide advice as needed.

That prayer group played a significant role in a Wiccan Witch coming to Jesus Christ. It did so by praying for her salvation, and offering advice and prayers of support regarding the spiritual pressures that arose in Charles' home during (and after) this process.

A brief background may be helpful. Victoria attended a Christian church, but left it for a variety of reasons. First, the image of God she was presented was that of a vengeful, angry killjoy who was constantly disgusted at sinful humanity, and only tolerated us because He had beat up on His Son, Jesus, at the cross. Second, God wanted more than she could give--demanded too much obedience. Grace was noticeably absent from this picture. She was a Pharisee, trying to observe the letter of the law but missing the spirit (and the point!). Third, she had been tricked by Satan into believing she had committed the unforgivable sin.

Not surprisingly, this image of God did not appeal. She left the church, and after some searching became involved first with the New Age and then with Wicca. She was dedicated to the Pagan path four year ago, and initiated as a practicing Witch three years ago.

God was slowly working with her to heal the hurts the she had received from the church, and her anger at Him. A couple years ago she befriended a Christian woman who made a great impact on her simply by showing her Christian love. Several months ago she met another Christian, this time on the Internet, and had extensive contact with him. Due to her academic interest in Christianity, she took a few courses in undergraduate studies at university, and "tuned in" to soc.religion.christian (or s.r.c. for short).

God hooked Victoria and Charles up in February 1996 on s.r.c. They began to have conversations on salvation (she brought the subject up in the context of hell), and the spiritual pressures at Charles' home began to increase. That's when he told the virtual prayer group of the situation, and they began to pray for an end to the pressure, as well as for salvation for her. The prayers certainly helped--although the pressures escalated for a time, they finally waned.

The turning point in their correspondence came when they became friends (Charles does not bestow this title cavalierly). Victoria ceased to be "the Witch with whom Charles is having theological discussions," and became "his friend, who sees things differently in some crucial areas." They discussed their respective struggles regarding God, both past and current. Far from destroying Charles' witness for Christ, his admission of his struggles and rebellious tendencies played a role in showing Victoria the reality of Christ in his life.

Although Victoria was not really aware of it, God was drawing her strongly. At the end of March she passed up two Pagan events to attend a Christian concert (though at the time she was hardly aware she had scheduled it this way). At the concert she clearly sensed the presence of God, and the love she felt made her rethink her image of Him as an uncaring despot. She could then sense Him calling her, which she resisted strongly. While her soul longed for God, her will resisted giving up control to Him. Victoria and Charles corresponded at length on this, with their prior discussion of Charles' struggles setting the stage for her to share her own.

One part of the search involved a Roman Catholic book outlining the fundamentals of Christianity. It said that God had come Himself to personally bear the consequences of our sins, rather than simply beating up on His Son. God continued to draw her in several ways, and even used a bad period in Charles' life to produce an uncharacteristically blunt charge that she stop explaining away the appearance of God and face His calls.

Finally, after 4 1/2 weeks of intense struggle and a great deal of thought, Victoria phoned Charles and asked him to pray with her. At about 6:45 p.m. on Friday, May 3rd (1996), God gave him the privilege of leading a Wiccan Witch to Jesus Christ. It was four years to the day from her dedication into the Pagan path--to the very day.

The changes since her conversion have been dramatic. She no longer considers herself a Wiccan, and has dismantled her Pagan altar. She has been spending a great deal of time and energy searching out local Christian contacts, and a church to join. She has been baptized. On the more mundane side, she is getting along better with her boss at work. The tone of her notes displays more peace, even though her external circumstances are far more stressful than before her commitment to Jesus. As an added bonus, God provided an opportunity for them to meet briefly three weeks to the day after her conversion, when Charles had an airline connection through her city.

Charles would like to thank the prayer group for its efforts, and to let the members know that God has used them for His purposes. We would both like to encourage those who are telling others about Jesus Christ on the Internet that their efforts are not in vain. The seeds planted electronically do indeed bear fruit. Finally, we seek to glorify God, not ourselves. He can indeed work in any situation, and we are very aware of Whose hand was behind every step in this process.

Your brother and sister in Christ,
Charles Scott
Victoria Shephard

Link: http://home.earthlink.net/~second_coming/charles.html

Sunday, September 08, 1996

Church Search, Week 18

Week 18: San Francisco Christian Center

black; Pentacostal (more so than Vineyard)

The serivce was at 8 a.m. so I wasn't terrible awake. It could/would have been vastly improved if I had had some coffee before.

This place is more Pentacostal/Charismatic than Vineyard. But unlike Vineyard, this one is seems that it might be more firmly rooted in Scripture. There was speaking in tongues, some ecstatic dancing, praying over people, even some people falling backwards because of the praying. Lots of people raising their hands in praise.

The search may have to go on, but I am tired, of so tired. Yes I'm getting an education but I'm tired. I want to find a church (or a couple) and concentrate on getting to know them better.

Thursday, September 05, 1996

poem: The Final Good-Bye

The Final Good-Bye
Lights shimmer and dance off the night air,
Dancing like the memories in my heart,
Dancing a dirge of moments past
That will never be again.
Dancing a dance of death,
Mocking love, mocking me, mocking everything.

The memories remain,
Unwilling to let me go numb.
As sticky as thick, I move through them
Tears streaming down my cheeks
As I remember.
But even as I say
I wish it had never been
What I am really saying is
I wish it had not been necessary.
Yet needed or no, the pain remains.

But even as I stare out the window,
Swimming through the memories--
Memories I can move through, yet dense and unchanging as God Himself--
I know that the answer is not out there.
God speaks the answer to my heart
Beneath the pain used to cover the truth:
I wish it had never been.
What I am really saying is
I wish it had not been necessary.

Wednesday, September 04, 1996

Church Search, Week 17, and Bernie Ward

(September 1) Weel 17: St. Francis' Episcopal (5th visit)

Sunday (the 1st) I called Bernie Ward's program to tell Bernie the part he has in me becoming a Christian. I called in about 6:15; I didn't get on until about 7:50. An hour and a half wait. I did pretty well. My whole body was shaking, but I sounded calm. And I did it without notes.

Me. giving my "testimony" on 50,000 watt KGO to God only knows how many thousands of people.

Yesterday (the 3rd) was my 4 month anniversary {as a Christian}, and Friday should mark one year in San Francisco. Maybe I'll take myself out to lunch sometime this weekend.

Sunday, September 01, 1996

My Testimony

I'm not sure exactly when this was written, but I think it was the fall of 1996 so I just picked September 1 as a good date to file it.)

Mad at God!

I used to be really angry at Christians. And is it any wonder? They followed a God who was mean, vindictive and would smite you for any little thing you did. He demanded more obedience than I could give. I felt that God was disgusted with humanity. When I lived in Berkeley, California (1990-1992) I used to go over to the university and listen to people taunt the Christian speakers on the plaza. I would involve myself in this as much as I could. One reason I wanted to learn about the Bible was to use it as "ammo" against them. Over a period of about eight years God softened my heart and brought people into my life who showed me Christian love. By the time I took my second undergraduate course at University I wanted to learn about it for the sake of knowledge, not as ammo.

I practiced Wicca for 4-5 years, beginning in about 1991. I was dedicated to the Pagan path that same year by the coven I belonged to, and in 1992 was initiated as a Witch. I also went to many public rituals, and began to make a name for myself by writing articles for Pagan magazines such as Green Egg, Circle Network News, and Hole in the Stone.

The Beginning of the Beginning

In 1995 I began reading my Bible again--going through the New Testament. It didn't seem to do anything at the time except fill some gap. I didn't know why I wanted to read it; I just knew I had an interest in it for some reason.

Salvation begins with God, of course, but He often uses people to accomplish His will. In that sense the beginning of the beginning was with Jim, a liberal Christian I had met on the Internet. In January of 1996 he went through some difficult times and asked me to pray for him. I began by praying to the goddess whom I worshipped at the time, but then thought that I should pray to his God. After all, his problem should be brought before his God.

I remember how humbly and apologetically I approached his God that day. I told Him I wasn't asking anything for myself, that indeed I wouldn't expect anything if I did ask. Then I presented my request for Jim. But I did end up asking for something for myself, and it turned out to be one of the most important things I have ever prayed for. I can't tell you why I did it and even now I'm not sure of the reason, but on two occasions after my prayer for Jim, I tacked on a request for myself: "God, please help me to get to know You." At the time I thought the prayer so important that I promptly forgot about it.

Life continued on as always. But God hears sincere prayers, and He heard that one. He had always worked behind the scenes, but after my prayer he began to work openly. Things began happening, slowly at first. The next milestone on my journey toward God was just over a month away, at the end of February.

Enter Charles

A month after those prayers I met Charles, a Canadian, on the Internet. He became invaluable to me over the next few months. He helped to answer my questions and concerns. I believe he was truly sent from God because the timing was too perfect.

Charles and I met when I was cruising the soc.religion.christian newsgroup. One day I posted this question: "In one hundred words or less, why are you a Christian instead of something else? Why do you believe? Please, no sermons. I've had quite enough. I just want to know why you believe what you do. Thank you."

As you might imagine, I got quite a few responses, some of them very long (I guess they didn't read the part about no sermons?), and some much more respectful of the length. Charles tried to be respectful, keeping his to 150 words. He gave me a clear, concise answer, but that wasn't what caused me to write him back. What caused that was a single line at the end of his e-mail, looking more like an afterthought than anything else, but still an honest question. "Out of curiosity, why are you a Pagan?" he asked. And I replied, and we just kept writing.

God Shows Up

A month after this, at the end of March, I went to a small Christian music concert held in the gymnasium at St. Mary's College in Moraga. It cost only $5 and was really nothing spectacular. Jesse Manibusan was opening for Margaret Becker. I have always loved Christian music and I wanted to buy a tape from Jesse (it couldn't be bought in a store.) That's one reason I went. But at the concert something happened that I will remember for the rest of my life. There I was, minding my own business, enjoying Jesse's music, when I became aware of this incredibly loving Presence that filled the room. After being taught a God that was mean, angry, and spiteful, this Presence of pure LOVE startled me. There was no way to reconcile it with what I had learned. I hated God, ran from Him. I had spent the last several years of my life doing that. Still, He came after me. While I am sure that the Presence was there because of the music and the love of the people, and not for me, there is no doubt in my mind that I was led there. It took me completely off guard, and when I got home that night and found myself alone in my room with my thoughts, I began to think about it, and I knew some things would have to change.

It set me off on a month-long search for this God. During this time many small coincidences occurred, too many and too small to chronicle here, but more than enough to convince me that this God was real, powerful, and that He loved me. It is a scary thing to be chased by God, but exciting, too. You know you're safe and in good hands, but when you're currently worshiping other gods, you don't know which hands are the good ones anymore.

Let me just tell here a couple of the strange things that happened as God reached out for me. Days after the concert, with God very much on my mind, I was listening to a secular lite rock music station on my Walkman when the song "Right Here Waiting" came on. The chorus goes like this: "Wherever you go, whatever you do, I will be right here waiting for you. Whatever it takes, or how my heart breaks, I will be right here waiting for you." I felt God calling me through that song. It was Him singing to me, asking me to come to Him.

The following day I was listening to my Walkman again when I heard the beginning of a commercial. I couldn't tell you what they were selling, but these two sentences leapt out at my ears, "Are you listening? Do you hear it?" That's all I remember, but it was enough to get me to think of God. After all, how does one not listen to God?

A few days later, another song on the radio. The chorus went like this: "I loved you, you didn't feel the same. Though we're apart, you're in my heart. Give me one more chance to make it real." In those words I felt God asking me to seek Him one more time before throwing Him away. I felt Him tell me to stop running and just give in. Trust.

There is one other thing I wish to mention before moving on: two dreams I had, one just before I was saved, and one after. The differences in their tone is worth noting. First, some background and a clarification. The Satanist in the story below is just that—a Satanist. Satanism should not be confused with Wicca, as Wiccans do not worship Satan, and in fact, do not even believe in him. It is impossible to consciously worship something you do not believe in. Most Wiccans I knew (and still know) are wonderful, law-abiding folks who simply disagree with me in some key theological areas. They are not Satanists, and should not be confused with them. However, as a Christian I do feel that because Wicca does not acknowledge the God of the Bible, it is wrong and therefore evil, though Wiccans themselves are not conscious of this.

Ok, now on to the background of the dreams. I was attending college at the time, and in one of my classes was a Satanist, Jay. (I learned his name when we ended up having a few classes together over time and I would occasionally make small talk with him before class.) He was a nice guy, never acted untoward to me, but he freaked me out anyway. He missed a lot classes between the beginning of the year and the midterm, but after the midterm he began to show up more frequently, and instead of sitting in his usual place in the back, moved forward in the desks until, just after my conversion, he was sitting with me in the front row, just a few seats away. Even though he had never done anything to hurt me, his mere presence became a symbol of evil in my life.

Toward the end of April, about a week before my conversion, I had a dream. I had been thinking about God so much that my mind, overwhelmed with all that was happening, put my fears into symbolic form.

I'm walking toward my college campus and it's night. A van pulls up and the Satanist guy from my class is driving. Suddenly, in the way dreams just "move," I find myself in the passenger seat of the van. There is no invitation on his part, and no acceptance on mine. I'm just suddenly there.

I ask him to let me out at the next block, but he just keeps driving, and soon we are away from the campus area. I crawl behind the front seats to the back of the van, but then I realize that no matter where I go, I'm still in the van with him. I realize I need to get out. I crawl back up front. I tell him that I'm a "white-light, fluffybunny" type Wiccan and this seems to turn him off.

But the scariest part of the dreams was when I asked him, "What do you want?" I will never forget his reply: "To get to know you better." I know it was only my own fears, that evil and good were duking it out over my soul, but it shook me up a bit. It took me an hour to get back to sleep, after I had written everything down.

About two weeks after my conversion, I had a second dream, markedly different in its mood. I'm working in the cafeteria (I worked part-time in the cafeteria at my college). I'm just starting my break and am in line at the taco bar to get some food. On the other side of the bar is Jay, also getting some food. He asks me if I would like to go to the movies with him and I tell him no. Right at that point, out of nowhere, a man who I took to be another student, speaks up and tells Jay to lay off me. Jay asks me if he is my boyfriend and I tell him no, wondering myself who he is. Jay and my mysterious "rescuer" exchange a couple more sentences that I don't catch. At the end, Jay tells the newcomer "You'd better be careful," and then he goes to sit down to eat. The new guy just sort of disappears. I couldn't tell you what happened to him. I go to a table away from Jay to eat my food.

Charles said that he thought my "mysterious rescuer" was him because he was praying for me, basically "standing in the gap," and that this sort of thing did not make Satan happy. Perhaps on a subconscious level I knew this and hence had the dream.

Visions and Prayers

There were many times over the month of April that I prayed to Jehovah, asking Him to help me. Toward the end of the month I reached the point where I told Him that, though I wasn't willing to follow Him, I was willing to become willing. Another time, about a week later, I asked Him to help me to love Him.

I prayed that I would get to know Him and learn about Him. I prayed that He would show me the way He wanted me to go, walk with me down it, and tell me what to do to serve Him. Often I "felt" Him listening and knew I was heard.

I knew that if I was going to get to know this God that I would have to learn to trust Him. And so I used a technique I'd learned as a Wiccan.

I visualized myself on one side of a doorway with the Goddess standing near me. Jesus stood on the other side of the open door. I remember saying to Him, "Give me one good reason I should follow You?" His response stopped me in my tracks: "Because I love you." Jesus kept reaching out for me, telling me to take His hand. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't do it.

And then, one night in mid- to late April, it happened. I closed my eyes to do the visualization, and I could take His hand! I knew that He wanted me to step through the door as well, that stepping through the door was a sign of real trust, but it was a few more days until I was able to do that.

Once I had done that, I knew I was crossing a line, a line of trusting God, maybe only a little, but more than in years. He was patiently working with me, knowing that I could never ask Jesus into my heart if there wasn't at least some trust there, however small.

April of 1996 was the most difficult month for me with coincidences abounding. I felt God reaching out for me, and yet I kept shrinking back. Due to my interest in Christianity I was currently attending a class in Christian history at my college. The teacher believed in the hands-on approach, and one of our assignments was to go to some services and write a report. We had to attend Orthodox Lenten and Easter services, and a Catholic Easter service. So there I was, struggling with God very hard, and having to attend all these services. Don't tell me God doesn't have a sense of humor!


Finally, on May 3, 1996 at about 6:45 p.m., I called Charles and had him pray with me, and gave my life to Christ. But it wasn't during the prayer that I felt it. It was when I said, "I want Jesus in my heart" that I felt it. I had accepted Him. I was Christian. Me, the Witch, a Christian! Ironically, this was four years to the day of my dedication to the Pagan path--to the very day.

Later I discovered that Charles had had a strong feeling for half that day that he should pray for me, and that at the time of my phone call he had been, off and on, for about six hours.

Riding the Fence

Of course, I didn't stop my Wiccan activities right away. Soon after my conversion I attended a large Pagan festival in Northern California. I felt it may be my last Pagan "fling", so I went even though I knew God didn't want me to.

However, I didn't count on Him showing up.

Within a day and a half of arriving I was very confused. I realized later that going there was like walking into a spiritual battle without armor on, like Paul writes of in Ephesians 6. As a new Christian I was a target of the enemy, and here I was willingly walking onto the enemy's ground with no protection! I was so confused that I called Charles (all the way in Canada!) on a pay phone. He told me to talk to God. I said I didn't know if God would listen to me because I was being so bad. He assured me that God would hear. I agreed to think about it. Two or three hours later I went out behind the Meadow Building, sat under the oak tree, and began speaking to God out loud, not a prayer really, just talking. But He heard and He came.

I hadn't spoken two sentences when I sensed this Presence under the tree with me. As at the concert, it took me off guard. Unlike the concert, this was a completely personal experience. He was there for me, because I had called Him. I expected Him to be angry with me for doing something I knew He didn't want me to do, but He wasn't. Now I know that He meets each of us where we are and gives us exactly what we need. I needed understanding and compassion at that point, not judgment, and that's what He gave me.

But His presence made me angry. I didn't know what to say, and I wasn't going to repent. He was being too loving by coming to the festival, coming after me, so I told Him to go away. He refused, remaining near. I repeated the command. He still didn't move. Finally I had to get up and walk away. If He wouldn't leave, I would. He remained close for the rest of the festival, reminding me that He was there just waiting for me to call on Him, to come back. Needless to say, all this made a big impression on me. Later, an acquaintance of mine, Bruce, the man who later baptized me, told me He didn't go away because I had invited Him into my life when I gave myself to Him. He wasn't about to leave me alone.

Choosing Sides

I was baptized at the end of the summer, but not without having to first choose sides. Two days before it was to happen, Bruce discovered that I had not yet renounced Paganism. He told me he wouldn't baptize me unless I did. It was hard for him to tell me this, and hard for me to hear it, but it needed to be said. I am glad he put Christ and the Gospel before the comfort of either of us. He helped me to understand how important baptism is: How could I undergo a death and rebirth initiation ritual unless I really was dying to my old life? How could I be raised to new life in Christ if I was still holding onto and practicing the old ways?

I mention my baptism because it was an important turning point. I call it my "Joshua moment" because, like Israel with Joshua, I was being given a choice of whom to worship. I made the same choice they did, a conscious decision to worship only Jehovah. Giving my life to Him on May 3 was only the beginning, as I had not given up worshiping other gods. He worked with me and on me, patiently walking me to this decision point.


Much has changed in my life since I accepted Christ. I have a sense of peace I never had before. Somehow this God puts to rest all the doubts that the Goddess never could. Even when I run from Him I know He still loves me and that someday I will be with Him in heaven. He answers the questions about this life, and the life to come. He tells me everything will be okay, and that He'll never abandon or forsake me. He shows justice tempered with love, which is mercy.

Directly after my conversion my relationship with my boss improved dramatically. Where once he threatened to "let me go" because of my bad attitude, he no longer spoke of this, and became downright friendly. My co-workers also mentioned how happy I seemed all the time. (Dancing with my mop as I clean the floor is not depressed behavior.) Other people have noticed that I complain less. I also worry less. I had a bad attitude and was irritable. The Goddess was not very helpful when I wanted to change these self-destructive behaviors. I was, in fact, unable to change no matter how hard I tried. With God, I didn't have to try. It just happened. The peace and joy He gives really is beyond all understanding, and one's attitude cannot help but change when bathed in this love.

Some people will tell you that Christianity and Wicca can be blended, that you don't have to give up one to practice the other. This is untrue. I tried to blend the two, but at every step the Holy Spirit told me I had to choose (Joshua 24:15).

I've naturally begun to re-evaluate who the Goddess is. I've noticed that there have been times when I was in life-and-death situations and called out to her, only to get no response. One situation occurred in January, 1996 when I was hit by a motorcycle as I crossed the street. In my pain and fear I called out to her. I received silence. She promised she'd never forsake me. She lied.


We worship a wonderful God! Who else than the God of the Bible, the only true God, Jehovah, could take an initiated Witch worshiping other gods and bring her to the Gospel light? What other God would bother? I deserved justice, and justice dictated that I continue to live, and eventually die, in the dark. But God, in order to show His mercy and magnify His glory, stooped down to me even though I had persecuted Him and blasphemed the very glory I should have worshipped.

I used to worship other gods; now I worship the one true God. Under Joshua's leadership, the Israelites were given a choice of whom to worship: "Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve" (Joshua 24:15). Joshua then told them who he would worship: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (24:15). And the Israelites chose the same: "Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods" (24:16). Like Joshua and the Israelites, I too have chosen to follow the Lord, and Him alone.

This story doesn't have an end, as no story about one's life ends until that life comes to an end. I hope this helps or enlightens you in some way. May God bless you richly as you search for and walk with Him.

Wednesday, August 28, 1996

Church Search, Week 16

Week 16: St. Francis' Episcopal Church (4th visit)

I've pretty much stopped church-shopping, as can be seen from my church choices the last few weeks. I'm just so tired of it. I've visited 9 or 10 churches. Isn't that enough?

Tuesday, August 27, 1996

Leaving Wicca further behind

Sunday afternoon I spent the time going through various Pagan things and getting rid of them: I cut my tarot cards in half, threw out my dried flower crowns from Beltane, ripped up all the pages from my Book of Shadows that I've written on (and threw out the rest of the book that hadn't been written in), buried my cords from Mystery Circle, my initiation, and my measure, and burned my dedication and initiation papers. Busy, busy, busy, huh? But after my baptism Saturday, these things had to be done.

A couple further comments regarding the breaking of the bottle {at my baptism}. First, right after I broke it I remained squatting there at least a full five seconds, letting the enormity of what I had done come over me. What had I just done? Why did I break this bottle, this symbol of my Wiccan initiation?

Second, I went looking for it later. I asked Bruce where he'd thrown it out. I had to see it. Knowing it was broken, hearing it break, wasn't enough. Bruce seemed to understand.

Monday, August 26, 1996

Got dunked!

Getting dunked {on Saturday} was pretty cool. I liked being baptized. "Spirit," Bruce said, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit." And I held my nose, went under, and came up.

Originally Bruce said I would be baptized between 1 and 4, but we got the morning part of the meeting done early, so Bruce proposed we do the baptism before lunch. It was about 20 minutes to 12 when we sat down in the living room and he introduced me and my story. Then I told my conversion story, and explained about the bottle. Bruce said he wanted to do the bottle-breaking first - death before new life.

Then everyone gathered out by the pool, and Bruce and I changed clothes. We went poolside. I showed everyone the bottle before placing it in a paper bag, and that in a Hefty plastic bag. I squeezed some of the air out, found the bottle by feel, and tapped it with the hammer a couple times so I wouldn't miss when I hit it for real. Tap, tap, smash. A good hit. The bottle broke. The wine bottle from my initiation was no more.

Then Bruce said a prayer over me. He mentioned something about being released from any vows I had taken, and coming against any demonic influence. He said more, but that's all I can remember.

After the prayer, we went into the pool. He told me to hold my nose. He said the invocation and dunked me. As I came up people applauded, and again as I climbed out of the pool. I had given Amber my camera and she took pictures of me, as I took pictures of Joanne at her baptism in the Merced River.

Then I changed clothes into my swimming apparel - a t-shirt and shorts. (My baptism clothing was the pink dress my sister had handmade for me.) Pretty soon lunch was served, then everyone played volleyball, lounged in the sun, or just hung out.

I was the first to break this by going into the pool - by the diving board. Pretty soon others joined in. Amber made a joke about going off the diving board of grace into the swimming pool of eternal salvation.

Somehow Bruce started teaching me how to dive, and I did okay. I was doing things that actually resembled dives, and a few were what I might classify as "pretty good" - clean entry and such. I practiced for quite a while and eventually stopped holding my nose, diving in with both arms in front of me.

Too soon it was dinner time. Then we had our evening meeting where we talked about the details of student outreach, I was being handed fliers just like everyone else, and participating in the discussion like everyone else. I was being expected to get involved, and I was talking as if I was going to. Somewhere in the midst of all this it hit me: I was one of them! I am an accepted part of this group. I belong to InterVarsity. I belong. It was a revelation. The walls that had been slowly dissolving suddenly fell away. I was no longer on the outside looking in. I was in.

Saturday, August 24, 1996

poem: Cleansing Waters

Cleansing Waters

How could I have thought He wouldn't ask for more,
Us in the boat as He rows from the shore?
The land now recedes, midnight becomes noon,
Dark becomes light, the sun takes the moon.

Crosses and stars, other symbols so grand,
Water and fire, sunlight on the land.
Sun becomes Son, and the moon, El Shaddai,
Symbols are real, and symbols don't lie.

The hammer that nailed is now the hammer that breaks
The past from the future, erasing mistakes.
The shattering hurts, breaking the past,
But Father, Son, Spirit--these things will last.

(A poem about my baptism.)

Friday, August 23, 1996

Leaving the Circle, take 2

I had a good long time to chat with H. in the car between Walnut Creek BART and his home, as I had talked with R. quite a bit on the phone earlier.

When we got there they started working on dinner. As I talked with R. her first reaction was anger. Getting past that was saddness. She was afraid of losing me as a friend and "sister." I comforted her in the kitchen as she got weepy-eyed, and we hugged a long hug before I left. The three of us talked a long time as dinner was cooked and eaten. They finally gave me a handwritten leave of absense certificate, near as I can tell the first of its kind.

H. drove the car as R. and I sat in the back seat and talked more. I think we left the house around 11. By the time I got BART over to the City it was about a quarter after 12. I took the 38 to Van Ness and knew I'd have a long wait for the 90 Owl. BY sometime after one the bus still hadn't come. I don't know when it did come, but I think I got home about 10 minutes to 2.

I'm still kind of tired today.

Bruce said something regarding my experience under the oak tree at AW. I had told him how God wouldn't go away after I told Him to. Bruce said that he wouldn't go away because (since I was a Christian) I had invited Him into my life. If I wasn't Christian, Bruce said, He would have gone away.

Thursday, August 22, 1996

Talking about Baptism, take 2

Bruce picked me up at 12 for our pre-baptism meeting. We went to his house and he proceded to ask questions and I proceded to spill my guts to him about the last 5 months or so of my life. We had lunch and talked. Some thing that I said about Paganism and rituals and the fun I have must have prompted him to ask this question: am I planning on going to any more rituals? The implication here is if I'm going to completely forsake Paganism - no Pagan activities. I said I didn't know. There must have been something about the question or the wau that he asked it that told me it had a lot to do with my baptism. My answer was not the right one to get his approval, but it was honest. What it boils down to, he said, was that unless I was ready to completely forgo all Pagan activities he wouldn't baptize me.

I was hurt. But I could see his point. He said he had been so willing to baptize me before because he thought I was willing for forswear it. He said he'd give me some time to think it over and if I could say I was willing to give it all up by Saturday morning, he would baptize me. He said to call him tomorrow regarding the meeting I had with H. and R. tonight to let him know how it went.

I was ready to give it all up right there - painful, yes, but I want to be baptized. And pride enters the oicture. I have already told everyone it would happen. If I backed out now I'd lose face. I told him I would give him his answer tomorrow when I called him about H. and R. We left about 3 and he dropped me off at a 29 bus stop to head home. I went home. Then I cried for a while about all I was being asked to give up before getting myself together and leaving for the meeting with H. and R.

Sunday, August 18, 1996

Church Search, Week 15

Week 15: Vineyard (3rd visit)

This is a really intense spiritual place. They lay heavy emphasis on prayer, intercessory and otherwise. Walking in there really brings out issues for me, and it feels like there's a real battle going on - it intensifies the spiritual battles in my own life. After 2 weeks of Vineyard I'm ready to go back to St. Francis' quiet liturgy.

Friday, August 16, 1996

Talking about Baptism

I had called Bruce (with IV) a day or two ago, and last night he returned the call. Unfortunately it was during the movie {I rented "Jesus Christ Superstar"} and the volume was so high I didn't know until after. I called him about 11.

The reason I had called him was to discuss baptism, so we discussed it last night. He said IV was having a party at his parents' house on the 24th and they had a pool. Would it be okay if I was dunked in the pool? I said sure. I asked Carlos yesterday for that day off, and he said he'd take me off the schedule, so I should be able to go. Wow! Eight days off. {I think I mean eight days until the baptism.}

Baptism will mean much more than what I know it symbolizes. It will be a beginning yes, but an ending, too. Just as my Wiccan initiation was the outward sign of something that had already happened, so will this be. In a very real way, I gave up my initiation at my conversion. But I wasn't willing to let go of it then. Now I am. Baptism will be the end of my initiation. I also, therefore, need to find some symbolic way of getting rid of the empty bottle of red wine that was used at my initiation. I would prefer to do it by breaking, but this probably won't be possible at the peoples' house. That bottle has been a symbol in my life for 3 years. I've had it 'on display" whenever possible during that time.

Sunday, August 11, 1996

Church Search, Week 14

Week 14: Vineyard Christian Fellowship

Pretty cool. During the service when they said anyone desiring prayer could come up after the service, I felt like I should go, but couldn't imagine myself actually doing it. But at the end of the service, they said something like it, phrasing it differently or something. I saw Lila get up and walk to the front. I decided to follow, and walked up front. A couple people with a prayer team prayer for me. So it happened anyway, even though I couldn't imagine it.

We (Lila, America, and a woman's I've never met before) arrived really late, missing most of worship. But we caught the last couple songs. I could feel myself wanting to raise my hands. (It's very common at Vineyard so I don't have to feel weird.) I did raise my hands a little, first my left and then my right.

Last night there was a massive power outage at about 3:50 or 3:55 p.m. (It was spotted over 9 states, and even parts of Canada and Mexico.) I had just gone down to the bakery to get the dirty dishes and bring them upstairs. I was in the elevator, just me and the dishes. I hit the emergency stop switch to take a couple second breather. (I was having a bad day and was in a rotten mood.) At the exact moment I did that, the power completely failed. The light in the elevator went out and there I was in complete darkness between two floors. Flipping the switch between stop and run did nothing. I was trapped.

Looking up and down I could see a little light, but inside the elevator I could see nothing. The darkness was scary. I called out...

{The entry leaves off here and does not resume.}

Wednesday, August 07, 1996

Leaving the Circle

Talked to R. last night. We had a long talk. I told her I needed to talk to her and H., but it needed to be done face to face. She managed to guess it had to do with me leaving the circle. I told her I wanted to speak with them about going inactive. It hurt her, as I knew it would, but I'm in the untenable situation of having to hurt these people I care for. We need to set up a time for the three of us to sit down and talk. R. asked if I would still be friends with her and H.; I said of course. They are my friends, regardless of what religion I am.

Sunday, August 04, 1996

Church Search, Week 13

Week 13: Cornerstone

Protestant church. Similar worship style to Vineyard, with slightly lower energy. Smaller congregation. The worship seemed shorter than at Vineyard and some of it was done sitting instead of the higher energy of standing that is found at Vineyard. I came here because I met a woman named Marga on the bus one day when I was headed to a Bible Study, I think one at Mike's house. I like Vineyard better.

Saturday, August 03, 1996

Telling Dad I'm Christian

When Dad was here visiting on Thursday we got some time alone and had a long talk. I told him everything about the last few months along religious lines, and how I became a Christian. I told him about the concert, the dreams I had - everything I could remember. He was very understanding. Then he said something that took me completely off guard. He said, "You give Christianity a good name."

A couple more comments: today is my three month anniversary of becoming Christian. Kinda cool, huh? Second, and related, I was going through the old notes between Charles and me. I found a note from June 3rd that said I had just started working as a dishwasher and things were find, but that it might just be the novelty of it all. The note said that if I were still doing my job without complaining in two months, then I might believe that God had really changed something. Well guess what? Today marks two months exactly! Don't you love coincidences? And I'm still plugging along doing the job. Maybe God really has touched my life.

Wednesday, July 31, 1996

Church Search, Week 12

(July 28) - Week 12 - St. Francis' Episcopal (my third visit)

I really like St. Francis' so I went back this week. I am narrowing the search down. I still have to check out Cornerstone and St. Dominic's Catholic.

St. Francis used pink wine and pita bread for the Eucharist. They have some pageantry but not a lot. The people make up for it.

Tuesday, July 30, 1996

poem: Full Moon

[About wanting to go back to Paganism.]

Full Moon
Tonight, they gather.
In mountains and valleys, cities and hamlets.
In groves and living rooms and bedrooms,
In groups and couples and alone,
In cloaks and street clothes and no clothes.
Meditating and dancing,
Accepting and weaving,
Planting and reaping,
They gather.

Tonight, they gather.
I can see it so clearly,
As clearly as sunlight on the land.
I long,
But may not join them.
The moon rises,
It's light causes me to cry out for the known,
A shelter from all else,
A bastion against an unknown God Who would
Not remain such.

Yet I know they gather,
Yes, they gather,
Tonight, they gather.

My blood boils,
I want to go home.
These people are mine,
Yet this new God cries out, calls me.
In His longing I sense Love,
A Love that wants return.
I cannot go to my people.

Sunday, July 21, 1996

Church Search, Week 11

Week 11: Episcopal Church of the Incarnation

I came to this church a few weeks ago, but I came back this time for 10 a.m. services. (I went to 8 a.m. last time, but you can't get a flavor for the music, people, and energy level until you go to the later service.) This is one of on;y two churches that has followed up my visit with anything. (After my last visit, I received a short note.)

The Eucharist was pita bread and red wine. I thought pita bread worked well because it has a slight bitter flavor to it.

Sunday, July 14, 1996

Church Search, Week 10

Week 10: Episcopal Church of the Advent of Christ the King

Very Catholic, complete with incense and everything. The communion wafers looked Catholic, too. We sang a hymn that someone had written new words to old music. It was Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."

I know the Holy Spirit exists because I have seen Him at work in my life. Words like peace and joy are hard to define and find in my life, but my reaction to the demands at work underwent a sudden and dramatic change, at least partly unconscious. What I have tried to learn and do for years - to "just do it" - became a sudden, wonderful reality. I had tried to do it on my own for years and failed. It was only the Holy Spirit who did this for me. I only hope the change is permanent.

Monday, July 08, 1996

Moving away from Wicca

Talked to Eleanor on the phone tonight and got my first real confirmation that there have been positive changes in my life over the past months. She gave a concrete example - complaining. She said that normally I would have complained to her endlessly about having to get up at 5 a.m., but that when we were out looking at the room last Sunday night I didn't complain. And she's right. I didn't. I did just state matter-of-factly that it had to be done. This is the first time really that someone has said I've changed. It felt really good to get outside confirmation because sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees.

At work tonight I was working with the Chinese guy I only work with once a week. He was being negative, complaining about work that Jerry or Tylor told him to do that he thought was not our job. (I later found out most of it is our job.) I told him it's our job. Later I was talking to Tylor to find out what he wanted done. He wanted the floor spot mopped for scuff marks and the cardboard taken down for recycling. It was slow so I left the Chinese guy in the dishroom and went to do these jobs. The funny thing is, something like this - Tylor telling me to do unexpected work, even if it was a slow night - would have really upset me. But it didn't phase me at all. I just stood there and said okay and accepted it. This is not like me. What is happening? Also, on the Chinese guy tonight I saw a mirror of myself, how I used to be. What is going on that I have not been like that lately?

Found out today I'm not supposed to have my Walkman at work. The Chinese guy got yelled at by Jerry for having his yesterday. I managed to sneak mine around him all day. Being able to listen made work a lot easier.

I took off my pentagram today, but it wasn't my choice. Just before work today, my pentagram and cross necklace chain broke. I decided to repair it when I got home. I wrapped it in tissue paper before leaving for home. When I got home it was hopelessly tangles. I spent quite a bit of time untangling it. In the middle, frustrated, I told God that if I got it untangles I wouldn't put the pentagram back on. So when I got it untangled and fixed the break, I left the pentagram off. The cross I'm still wearing. I paid good money for it and it was the cross I bought the day after I became a Christian. So I am wearing two crosses and no pentagrams. I think I will still carry the pentagram in my pocket, though. I only said I wouldn't put it back on the chain.

I also took down the little Brigid wall altar I had. This was more out of sheer joy and thankfulness for the good changes God has wrought in me. I keep wondering, "What if I change back? What if these changes aren't permanent?", but this is me questioning in my human weakness and/or demons. These questions are not from God. No doubt between the wall altar and the necklace this will put me under pressure. The enemy doesn't like it when I take steps toward God. Even praying seems to bring ramifications. This is more than praying. It's just that as I see God working in my life I have to give Him more because He's giving me more. He's trying to work me to the point of giving Him 100%. That's still a ways off. He's been getting maybe 80% so far.

Sunday, July 07, 1996

Church Search, Week 9

Week 9: Vineyard Christian Fellowship

It hit me during church today why I had never sensed the Holy Spirit in a church service before, and felt Him as the concert (besides that, I haven't been to church in a long time {up until 3 months ago}). It's that in churches I was always closed to the Holy Spirit. At the concert I didn't put any walls up. I didn't think of it really as a worship service, so I didn't feel the need to wall myself off. And by remaining open/being open to the music, I left a space to feel God's presence.

Monday, July 01, 1996

Church Search, Week 8

Week 8: Episcopal Church of the Incarnation - 8 a.m.; Saint Francis' - 10 a.m.

I'll have to go back to the Church of the Incarnation for 10 a.m. services. There were only about 10 people and it was very low energy. Someone at St. Francis' recommended the Episcopal Church of the Advent as being high in ritual. I might check that place out.

Well, I found out today I have to work Friday night so I can't go to taize with Paul. (Sigh.) Maybe next month - or year.

IV is tonight. I sure don't feel like praising God, but it's the right thing to do, right? Most of our time is spent watching the movie anyway. That'll be okay.

Thursday, June 27, 1996

Meeting with the Pastor

Talked to the pastor at the Baptist church today (the one across the street from the UUs). He was pretty understanding when I talked about how I can't commit to God 100%. He gave a couple practical suggestions. First, that I should start in the NT with Matthew and read 5-10 chapters a day (because I have time since it's summer). He also recommended their discipleship program, where I would meet with someone for one hour once a week for study and prayer. They took my name, address, and phone and said someone would be in contact within a week. The whole meeting lasted, give or take, about 45 minutes. Oh, the discipleship program is 12 weeks long.

It was nice to talk with the pastor, but I have to keep my church searching to myself. I don't feel drawn to join their church. I feel drawn to St. Mary's Catholic Church, and I really like the Episcopals - all the Catholic ritual without the communion restrictions and some of the dogma. Yet I'm continually drawn to St. Mary's and I don't know why.

I also talked to the pastor today about the two dreams I had, about the concert, and a little about my Paganism. It was good that he wasn't condemning of me.

Tuesday, June 25, 1996

Gifts from God, Gifts from Them

Both Wicca and Christianity have something to offer me. On Friday at the Intervarsity going-away dinner for the Peterson's, I made contact with Melissa and had a good chat with her. On Sunday at NROOGD someone left behind a bottle of good wine {as in, a perfectly good bottle of wine, not an expensive bottle} and no one claimed it after the "potluck." It was also unopened. As one of the last people to leave I snagged it. Then I got drunk that night. So I was given something by both. God gave me a gift, and the gods gave me a gift. And I was only a teeny bit hungover - and a bath cleared most of that.

Monday, June 24, 1996

Knowing Too Much

I used to say that "I know too much to ever be a Christian again." This is precisely what is making faith right now a difficult proposition. As a wannabe scholar I know too much. I can't take the Bible literally, and much of what must be taken on faith is, well, hard to believe: the virgin birth, the resurrection.

Sunday, June 23, 1996

Church Search, Week 7

Week 7: St. Francis' Episcopal Church
St. Mary's for 7:30 a.m. services

This church was much more ritualized that St. Peter's. It was also larger, with real pews. (St. Peter's has been meeting in a "basement" room as their sanctuary was damaged in the '89 quake. So they have chairs rather than pews.) Anyway, when they were going through the motions of the Eucharist, I noticed all the way from my pew that they were using pita bread! I've seen so many different things used for communion - crackers, english muffins, "Catholic" wafers, and now pita bread.

They also had the Book of Common Prayer available for use in the pews, alongside the hymnals. Oh, and the service included reciting the Nicene Creed, which I was able to follow and declaim as it's in the Prayer Books. I don't think I've ever said it before (possibly at Catholic Easter, but I think not), and I don't think I've seen any of the Episcopal churches I've been to use it. It was a nice surprise to see it here. A real plus.

Communion went well. Everyone goes up front and kneels near and in front of the altar (at a "handrail"/railing). Everyone got a bit of pita bread, and a sip of wine from the cup. It seemed to be a blush or white wine.

They also had a kneeler of a sort; rectangular boxes with (insufficient) padding and covered with reddish velvet.

This church was high on ritual and very Catholic-y. I mostly liked it.

After seeing the different between this church and St. Peter's last week, I"m beginning to realize the good points to church shopping. Mostly, I'm seeing lots of different Christian denominations, and within the Episcopal tradition, I'm seeing different ways of practicing the same tradition. In a way, it's all very exciting and is a learning experience most people never get. This is God's gift to me in my church search. I also get to meet lots of people and talk with them, which is two edged. They're all really cool people to meeting and talk to, but most of them I will never see again. But at least I finally am seeing something good come out of this search.

Yesterday was NROOGD's Summer Solstice in Live Oak Park. It was okay, but really short. I met B. in West Oakland and we went together. We got there a little late. They had already started the meeting dance. It was a small crowd. E. (from AW) and her hubby (?) D. were there. It was not the best of experiences and certainly didn't help my Christian faith any.

My faith is doing a little better today. St. Mary's this morning prepared me for St. Francis' Eucharist. So I got to take communion which is good, because I was wondering if I should with my faith so low.

Listening to Sandi Patti's Le Voyage take as a Christian is a slightly different experience than as a Pagan. The songs also take on a different meaning as my life changes - the words still apply, but in other ways. The song Home Will find You used to give me hope about coming to SF. Now I can see it as a song about finding a church home. And with Long Look I can see that I got my long look when I moved here. That look ended March 30th with the concert; God showed me what lay ahead, then pushed me back down the hill toward that. In No Place To Lay My Head I can see how I have no place - no church home, and I'll be moving soon. I got my long look. Now I'm on the move again.

Friday, June 21, 1996


America invited me on Thursday to a Christian thing on Friday. (It was a farewell dinner for Mike and Cindy Peterson.) I don't really know them, but I figured the dinner was a good opportunity to meet people. I had to skip the Gardnerian Solstice to go to this, since they did theirs one day late, yesterday. But I talked extensively there with a woman named Melissa, and if God wills we'll get together and talk sometime.

While God will not abandon me, He will let me suffer the consequences of my actions of such things as going to AW. When my faith ebbs due to Pagan events and contacts, He will let me experience the consequences to teach me that I shouldn't do it.

My faith it at a very low ebb right now and my interest in Wicca increases in direct proportion to my faith ebbing. I won't give up on Jehovah that easily because He's put effort toward me, but I can't deny a strong pull back. I could feel when I prayed last night that God won't give up on me because I'm still involved in Wicca, but He will let me suffer the consequences of Wiccan involvement. It is that that I am suffering now. To rescue me so easily and restore my faith would be to encourage me to go to rituals - God will rescue me so it doesn't matter what I do. So I must suffer this.

Wine can bring out reason. What has this God given me but hurt? Why should my only reason for following Him - love - be enough? He claims He's the answer, but He's not enough. Yet He gives me nothing else and expects me to follow Him?

Sunday, June 16, 1996

Church Search, Week 6

I never would have begun looking into liturgical traditions (like Catholic and Episcopal) if I hadn't had the assignment in my Christian History class to go to a Catholic Easter service. Additionally, meeting Paul must have had an effect. So now I am looking at liturgical traditions.

Week 6: St. Peter's Episcopal Church

They had the communion wafers like I've seen at the Catholic Church. We dipped them in the wine and then ate them. I thought about Jesus' sacrifice for me. I don't like the "dipping," though is worked great this week because I'm still sick and couldn't drink for the cup. Some people drank from the cup (before the rest of us gathered for the "dipping" communion). I don't know if that just for the clergy and choir, or if it's for anyone who doesn't mind drinking from the communal cup.

Sunday, June 09, 1996

Ancient Ways, Day 5

The main ritual last night (put on by NROOGD) was great! A wonderful ritual with one of the best post-ritual highs I've ever been on. So high. How am I supposed to leave this all behind to follow Jehovah? He asks too much. The festival, the ritual, the people, the energy. I'm just beginning to get known in the community. How can I leave it all behind?

Saturday, June 08, 1996

Ancient Ways, Day 4

Had my picture taken today with D., G., and R. of Hole in the Stone. (They're here all the way from Denver.) I first met them Wednesday (?) and one of them told me they really liked my Coming Home article. She also said that my Pagan Standard Time article will appear in the next (Summer) issue.

Talking with someone in the kitchen area today they were talking about Jehovah and other gods. They were saying that Jehovah was just one god, one who wanted all power, and no power for any other god. How can I leave the Goddess behind? She's real. She loves me. How can I worship a God that would not let me worship Her? She doesn't care if I worship others, but He does. He's not being very fair.

Whatever your philosophy, Christian or not, I'm a walking target, especially at this gathering. The orthodox Christian viewpoint would say that as a new Christian, walking into a Pagan gathering is just asking for trouble from demons that would have me remain Pagan and keep me from the One True God. The non-Christian who still believes in demons who simply want to prevent us from growing spiritually would say that I am therefore a walking target as I try to take the next step. Either way, I'm a walking target.

Everything here makes me question whether I'm Christian or not, and whether I even want to be. The Goddess and God are real. How can I deny Them to follow a God that would deny Them? How can a God that would usurp all power for Himself be a good God? How can I worship and love That? So am I a Christian now? Where do my loyalties lie?

Tried talking with God down by the river. I know He heard at least part of what I said. I came to the center of the problem I think. Between being here and the conversation with the person in the kitchen area earlier today, I have lost my faith. I will need God's help to come back to Him. I can't do it alone. I told Him that. I asked Him to draw close, to be with me. He denied me this. I think He's angry. I don't like worshipping such an angry God. I told Him that I can't worship or love Him right now. I have lost my faith. The conversation in the kitchen made it so I can't go back to Him on my own. I have lost my faith. When I asked Him to help me, the only impression I received was to read the Bible. Whatever happens, if God is going to come get me I will have to be an active participant.

Psalm 88:18
Psalm 35:3
2 Corinthians 12:9
2 Corinthians 12:10

Friday, June 07, 1996

Ancient Ways, Day 3

I am also dealing with feelings of guilt and betrayal toward the Pagan community. How can I just leave? Not only am I starting to get better known, which strokes my ego, and there is so much work to do, and all my friends are in this community and they are good people, but how could any loving God send all these fine people to hell? How could any loving God send all non-Christians to hell? No. That kind of God is unacceptable.

Why do I not do the right thing and go back and reconcile with Him (assuming I ignored the above issues)? Because I want to have some fun and don't care if it's at the expense of taking advantage of His love. I want to be in circle; I want to do ritual; I want to worship in the old ways I know. And if He doesn't like it? Tough shit. He loves me; He'll take me back, if I choose to go back. Right now it's a choice of my will. I want to have fun. The old ways are fun. I want the old ways. Besides, it's a feeling of power to tell God to go away, to turn your back and walk away, to snub God.

Now to entertain for just a moment that Jehovah is the one true God and that all the Pagans here are being deceived. If that were true, then walking in here as a Christian, especially wearing my cross, and cross and pentacle, necklaces would instantly make me a target of the spiritual opposition. Also, their work would be very easy in this atmosphere. The mere fact of being surrounded by so many Pagans does all the hard work - effects that I was able to fight off in the city. Of course, all the spirits would do all they could to "unsave" me. Spiritually, I would be a major target.

Last night on the phone Charles said not to worry - once saved, always saved. I don't know what he means by this.

Through it all I can feel God out there just waiting for me to come back. I know if I called on Him to come back into my life and be taken back by Him, that He would be there. I just know it. He's...sad that I've gone away. But He knows I have no intention of coming back right now. I intend to steer clear of Him for the rest of the Festival. If I talk to Him it will only be to get mad.

Charles was right about how He'll listen. I was afraid last night He wouldn't listen if I talked to Him, but He did. And after, instead of the feeling of Him being so far, He felt nearer. It was a maddening, loving kind of nearness so I told Him to get lost. When He didn't, I walked away, for all the good that did. Even today, He seems (to me) nearer and less angry than He seemed before our talk. Why, I can't say. It's not a real close nearness, but He's not far off, and He's waiting.

I told someone regarding what's going on that I know what I should be doing, am not doing it, and am going to have a good time not doing it. R.G. asked, "What should you be doing?" Just then I overheard something outside talking to someone else - "Going home." I thought it was funny after Charles' advice last night to leave.

I did something this evening that I don't remember ever doing before - I left a ritual while it was still going on. It was CAW {Church of All Worlds}, and they had just invoked the deities, six of them. They started with Lilith - bad enough for me - and progressed through Pan, Aphrodite, Bacchus, and one other I can't remember (no problem with any of these). Then the clincher - they invoked Jesus! Not only that, but (of course) they played down the guilt and shame stuff they say he preached, and played up the love. If that wasn't enough, they spoke of the scene where he turned over the money changers in the temple saying that he was a "tax rebel." Mark 12:13 and Luke 20:20-16 are two places where Jesus clearly says that people should pay taxes. It's the story of the coin with Caesar's picture on it. "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's. Give to God what is God's." Calling Jesus a tax rebel, for me, crossed the line over into heresy. They invoke Jesus at a Pagan ritual, then completely misrepresent Him. I picked up my belongings, cut a doorway, and split.

After I left the ritual, I ended up talking to J. (of hospitality) for a good three hours. Talking with him oddly made me feel better. I know now that I came to Ancient Ways to say good-bye, to experience it all once more before turning to Him. I will go to the main ritual tomorrow, but it will not be out of rebellion against God; it will be doing the old, familiar, fun things one last time. My rebellion ended tonight. I'm willing to go back to Him, if He will take me, but first I have to finish the Festival. I'm sure He's not even happy about the form (going to rituals) of my good-bye, so I will not begin formal prayers again until the Festival is over. I'm tired now, but perhaps I will speak with Him tomorrow.

Thursday, June 06, 1996

Ancient Ways, Day 2

First complete day.

There is more to what is going on than mere dissonance. I only wish it were that simple. What is happening is so obvious that I can't believe it never occurred to me that it would happen - being among all these Pagans, back at this Festival, is bringing back so many memories. Memories of the happiness at festivals past; memories of experiences of the Goddess and God being real - memories that battle it out with the "concert experience." Just being around all these Pagan people. The whole atmosphere of the place - no one thing in particular - is weakening and undermining my Christian faith. I've been feeling separated from the Christian God. I know He doesn't approve of me being here, and that He doesn't want me to go to any rituals. (I haven't been to any yet, but I know He wants me to worship Him alone.) So I didn't pray to Him last night knowing He was mad at me and afraid He wouldn't listen.

So I called Charles (using my phone card) from a pay phone here at Harbin a bit past 10 tonight. He helped me to see the issue more clearly, and talking to him also helped me to define better where I'm coming from. It is an issue of will, and I plan to stay firmly in control for now. He advised I catch the first bus home, even though he knew I probably wouldn't do it, which I won't. He also advised that I talk to God about it. I said I was afraid that since He was mad at me, He would not listen to me. He said God always listens. I told him that I knew what I should do, and that I was abusing God's love and disobeying Him, but that I wasn't going to do it. I was going to the circles. I am going to go to the circles. I am staying in control. And oh what a feeling of power that is! Never mind the emptiness or loneliness of the feeling of being separated from God.

So skip ahead in time to 2-3 hours later. I sit by the oak tree meeting place behind the Meadow Building, one of the few places accessible without a flashlight where it is quiet and I could be left alone. And I talk to God. (I talked to Him a little on the way back from the pools, but nothing was solved.) So I talk to Him again and nothing's getting solved until I get angry and tell Him to get lost. Just go away and I would talk with Him when I was ready. I felt He heard my "prayer" and I knew He wasn't far off. He didn't move off when I told Him to go away, even though I told Him more than once. I finally had to get up, turn my back on Him, and walk away. Even then, however, even now, I don't have the feeling of Him really going completely away. I'm disconnected from that Power, yes, but It hasn't gone away. I will tell Him again to go away before bed. Maybe He will then. If not, maybe when I attend my first festival "circle" (A Yemaya devotional) tomorrow. If I get Him angry enough, perhaps then He will go away and leave me in peace for a couple days.

First it felt like two opposing forces, like a handkerchief tied to two ropes. Now it seems like maybe I must go back, but I must do the Pagan stuff one last time. It was like this before, before going into the "handkerchief" phase, and now it is mostly back again. I pretty much have to follow Him - but not at this moment. At this moment the Lady and Lord have a chance to prove Themselves. At this moment, I am not His.

Wednesday, June 05, 1996

Ancient Ways, Day 1

As a Christian, how do I feel about being here? I feel okay, at least about the hot tubbing, but not so much about the rituals. I feel, if evil spirits do exist and hang out around ceremonial magicians or unethical people, like a walking target as a Christian, even more so with my cross. As a Pagan I am, of course, delighted to be here. As the Festival wears on, the dissonance between the two will, I am sure, increase.

Sunday, June 02, 1996

Church Search, Week 5

Week 5 - St. Gregory's Episcopal for early morning Eucharist and services. Only 9 people were there for the 8 a.m. service. Much larger crowd (I am told) at 10. The Eucharist had a very "holy" feel to it for me. (It's all in the state of mind.)

I was running early and made it to Hamilton Baptist Church by around 9:30. Services don't start until 10:50 but the doors were open. I asked the pastor what was up; he said Bible Study. I could pick between one on the family or on Genesis. I chose Genesis.

These people are so literate {I meant literal} in Bible interpretation it drives me crazy! After the studies Wednesday and this morning I thought I would be just as uncomfortable at the regular service, but not so. It was okay. We even sang a hymn I remembered from my earlier Christian days, but I don't remember which one it was anymore.

They do communion once a month and they did it today. The pastor made it very clear what it's meaning is and who can and can't take it. I, of course, took it. They used these little tiny cracker-like things and grape juice in the teeny plastic cups. (Seventh Day Adventist flash back!) :)

I'm beginning to see church shopping as not a matter of black and white - either hating or loving every church. There is a large gray area - Hamilton Baptist fits that gray area.

I'm also beginning to define what kind of church I'm looking for. I like liturgical churches. I like being able to take the Eucharist. I don't like literal translations {I meant interpretations} of the Bible. I not only want a Christian community, but a Christian family. I want a place where God is because any place God is, also is mercy and love. Not necessarily from the churchgoers,no, but from the God that is there.

But for now I wait in the hallway {C.S. Lewis metaphor}, slowly tasting Christianity's "flavors," but a long way from deciding which cone to buy. Will He help me find the right door to knock on, the right flavor to buy?

God was at both services I was at today, but it was a different experience in each church - a slightly different flavor to that God. Here is where words fail. Also in the experiences of the Eucharist and communion - slightly different meanings producing different experiences.

Hah! Feast or famine. Two communions this week; there will be none next week.

Sunday number 5 of searching; four weeks and 2 days since becoming a Christian; tomorrow will mark one month. Oh, sorrow! No one to mark it with. Such is waiting in the hallway. Anniversaries are "celebrated" alone. Though He keep me waiting, though the powerful experiences of the "calling" are no more, yet I will follow Him. He didn't give up on me easily. How can I then so easily give up on Him?

Sunday, May 26, 1996

Church Search, Weeks 1-4


Thus far:
Week 1: St. Mary's Cathedral (Catholic)
Week 2: Calvery Chapel (Protestant)
Week 3: St. Mary's and UU Church (for new member Sunday)
Week 4: St. Gregory's (Episcopal)

Woke up late so I had to make a choice between St. Gregory's or the Baptist church. Seeing as how at St. Gregory's I had more chance of taking communion, I chose them. (I was going to go to the early service at St. Gregory's, and then go to the Baptist church. Maybe next week.) Anyway, I did take communion. The guy who handed me the cup didn't realize it was empty, but I took the last drop. At least I got something. And it was real wine. I thought it was water until I tasted it, but it was wine, just like Jesus used.

I think this was one of the most (if not the most) positive church experiences I've had. The priest and deacons spoke to me at length, as well as members of the congregation. I told them of the role the Internet played in my "conversion." They were amazed. Their service was very much like the Catholic ones I've been to (a real plus), and I even noted elements from the two Eastern Orthodox services I went to. There was also a baptism of a 7 or 8 year old child.

The service lasted about 2 hours (little less). I'm told it's usually about an hour and a half long, made a little longer this time because of the baptism. But I wasn't tired or bored at all. It was a good service. Plenty of singing, a couple easy dance steps, and blessedly short litergy {I think I mean sermon} that was just the right length to get the point across. It was about the Holy Spirit because today is Pentacost. The priest discussed how, like the wind, you can't control the Holy Spirit. Then they asked the congregation to share any stories the litergy might have brought to mind. At that moment, not before, the relevance of the uncontrollable nature of the Spirit suddenly brought to mind my concert expereince. I debated speaking up (I don't know these people). I composed an outline of what I would say. Then I spoke - first. All the above took only seconds for my mind to do. I simply said that I was a new Christian and told about going to a Christian music concert and feeling an incredibly loving Presense fill the room ("in the room" might be a tad more truthful), and that I can't further describe the experience. Then I sat down. I should have said more - I should have briefly told the rest of the story. But I had at least 2 or 3 more people thank me for saying what I did. A couple people came up to me just to say that.

There was a part of the service where we could offer prayers for help or of thanksgiving. I said something about Charles, usung the form printed in the litergy and using only his first name, not expounding on any problem. I guess this is the equivelant to Candles of Sharing.

Between the service and taking communion for really the first time in years, I came away from that church glowing. (The communion on Easter was not "real"; it was an outward expression of the end of my [first] rebellion.)

Saturday, May 25, 1996

Taking down the altar

Waking up this morning last night seemed just like a dream. But I know it wasn't. The book is missing from my shelf, and there is a second necklace around my neck. It was real.

Soon after getting up today, I decided to take my altar down. It just felt right. I don't know why. I wrapped most everything in newspaper and packed it away in the travel case. I took the cloth off. There's a few items sitting on the table still, but it is a table now, not an altar. What is happening to me? I'm quite sure that if yesterday had been a "normal" Friday and I had not met Charles, that it never would have occurred to me today to take down my altar. There was something magickal about our meeting last night. What else could cause me to dissemble something I've been creating for years?

Eleanor said she never know that the concert had had such an effect on my life. After talking to her today, though, I think she understands a bit clearer. She had offered to take me to see "Godspell" tomorrow.

Eleanor made me aware of one of the blessings of living in SF. If I was still living in Chico there's no way Charles and I could have met. There's no way he could have flown through; here he can. Here God has a chance to work.

Friday, May 24, 1996

Meeting Charles

I didn't want to be on campus today, but I had financial aid to take care if and needed to take care of a couple things at the campus bookstore. Naturally, since I was on campus, I logged on to the Net. There was a note from Charles in response to my last note to him, but there was another note as well stating that a relative had died and he was flying toward Florida today. Due to Memorial Day weekend, instead of passing though Chicago or some such more direct way, he was coming through San Francisco. Did I want to meet him at SFO for his short layover?

His Air Canada flight was 20 minutes late. We only had about an hour to talk before he had to board a flight to North Carolina where he will be staying with some family. A true (and for me highly emotionally charged) bittersweet moment. And a true gift. Thank you God.

I met him at the arrival gate, and spotted him in the crowd immediately. I had my old dog-eared, highlighter-penned, used-looking copy of "The Truth About Witchcraft Today," which he's never quite got around to picking up, wrapped in newspaper (to give it more the look of a gift). I had written a sort of "dedication" to him inside the front cover. He also had a gift for me - a small 14 karat gold heart with a cross inside it. It's real tiny on a real delicate, short chain, but it's the most wonderful gift, and how he came up with it on such short notice I don't know.

So I am touched. I see God's hand in Charles' flight coming through San Francisco. It is a wonderful gift (even if the circumstances could have been better) - undeserved, unexpected, a true present that also shows God's enormous power, and is bit humbling as well. How can I thank you, God, for this completely undeserved meeting? Thank you. You know how much it means to me.

Wednesday, May 15, 1996

poem: May 3rd

[About my conversion.]

May 15-16, 1996

May 3rd
She stands on the shore
Of the rainy day,
Unsure of what lay ahead.
Certainty stretched out behind her--
Certainty, hope, love:
Her friends and her God.
Now she was being asked to venture into the
Unknown darkness of the watery abyss.
Now she was being asked to trust this
New God and new experience.
She looks out on a sunset over a cloudless sea
As drizzle falls on the beach.
Can she take this leap of faith?
Can she abandon herself?

With a deep breath
She steps into the water,
Accepting its blessing and all it has to offer.
The clouds do not clear or the rain cease,
But from somewhere an unearthly light shines.
From within and without her, the
Seascape and beach are faintly illuminated.
She looks at the water lapping around her ankles,
Like wine from a long forgotten cup,
And smiles.

Sunday, May 05, 1996

What Do I Believe?

Went to St. Mary's for church this morning. The first thing I noticed when walking through the doors was the smell of incense. The service was good - the processions, the gestures: the ritual. Ritual always turns me on. And I could feel more into it than I did when I went to the Easter service for my class. Still on the outside, but more "in" than before.

I am still beset with doubts - lots of them. I almost feel like I'm pretending belief. Do I really believe? Do I really want this? God, I'm so confused! Did he really die for me? Did he rise on the third day? Is he God? Dif God Himself die for me?! What do I believe?

Yesterday I went to a Christian bookstore and bought a small gold cross. I put it on with my pentagram. Or rather, I put the pentagram on the delicate chain with the cross as the chain the pentagram was on had broken several days earlier. Let's see how long this very delicate chain lasts...

I am just so tortured with doubts. No sooner do I recommit myself to Him, and ask Jesus back into my heart, than I have all these doubts. I don't know if I believe in Him as Savior or not. I feel like such a poser.

I've realized in the last couple days when speaking about who I am, I've always used the word "Pagan." "I am still a Pagan," I would say. I never said, "I am still Wiccan." Which brings me to a realization I had tonight that ties in with Jodie questioning whether or not she's still Christian. I don't know anymore whether or not I'm Wiccan. I would still call myself a Pagan, but am I Wiccan? And along those lines, why do I still call myself Pagan? In what sense am I a Pagan? In what sense am I and am I not a Pagan and Wiccan?

And what do I believe about Christianity? In what ways am I and am I not a Christian?

I do not have answers to these questions. They are hidden from me. I do not know much of anything right now beyond the feeling on longing in my heart.

Baptism is the Christian equivalent to Wiccan initiation. Neither should be undertaken lightly, which is why you won't see me getting baptized anytime soon.

But before Baptism, the Christian first lets Jesus into their heart, into their life. It struck me tonight that the Wiccan equivalent would be dedication. Nothing super binding, but a formal declaration of the willingness to learn and embrace the path.

I am a long way from Christian initiation. I need to study more and learn more about this man Jesus and this new God. I need to learn to love them. I need to know if I can accept this God as my own. I am struck by the love I felt from that Being at the concert. I am struck by Jesus' sacrifice for me. I am humbled and awed. But I am merely a dedicant at this point.

I know God loves me, even if I don't yet know if I love Him, and can't bring myself in prayer to say, "I love you." I have prayed that He help me to love Him, however.

I want to love Him; I want this to be real. It felt "right" to be in a Christian church today.

I've wanted this on some level all along. It wasn't just that He was calling me; I wanted it. I haven't been fighting only God these past weeks, but myself as well. That's why the struggle's been so intense. God didn't need to do a lot in my life; I was doing it to myself, and fighting that self in return.

Am I Christian? I don't know. I need to study Scripture to decide that. But I will keep praying for help, understanding, and love. I will pray to Jehovah in Jesus' name.

I'm still very much vacillating between the love or longing that I feel, and the pragmatism of knowing little of the real nature of God and Jesus, God and Christ.

Friday, May 03, 1996


I, Spirit, do hereby declare on this, the third day of May, 1996, that I have accepted Jesus Christ in my heart. I am willing to follow, wherever that may lead.

This is not to say I'm not Pagan anymore. I guess that would put me in the category of Christo-Pagan, at least for now. Obviously, things are changing fast.

To back up...I was walking across campus today thinking about what I really think about Jesus, and I really don't have a big problem with His mercy mission to earth, death, and resurrection. A small problem perhaps, but not a big one.

So I (finally) got ahold of Jim at home and asked him some questions such as, "Do you believe He came to save humankind from sin?" and "Do you believe He is the Messiah the prophets spoke of in the Old Testament?" Getting affirmative answers, I knew what I had to do. I called Charles.

Now he told me not to call him because family pressures were bad, and relations strained between him and Christine. This however, being an emergency, overrode all of that in my book. The first time I dialed I got several rings, but no answer. Thinking I had misdialed, I called again. Christine picked up. I asked for Charles, said who I was, and she said he'd just walked in the door.

(Now mind you, I had called Sprint before this to find out what time weekend rates go on, and how much the off-rates were. I discovered that 10 cents a minute begins midnight on Friday/Saturday. Off rates are weekdays until 7 p.m. - $1 a minute, after 7, 40 cents or 45 cents [I forget which]. It was before 7 p.m. at this point.)

Paul was picking me up at 7 for taize, so I called at this expensive time and we spoke for 10 or 15 minutes. I strove to keep it short, even in my agitated state. I told him I was thinking of accepting Jesus into my heart. He told me what I might want to say in such a prayer, and I said I'd think about it, and then I had to hang up.

I prayed a simple prayer then, though I was unclear on whether or not it "took." Then I called Jodie who was astounded at my "conversion." Then I decided I needed someone to pray with me to make it "take" better and to have someone to share with.

It was 5-15 minutes before 7 when I called Charles back and asked him to pray with me - now. His prayer was a bit inadequate and short I felt, but in the next several minutes, along with me making a statement about wanted Jesus in my heart, I felt it "take."

It was 15 minutes after 7 when we hung up, and that was only after I got a promise from him that I could call him tomorrow. I asked him to keep praying for me and he said something like, "Do you think I'm going to stop now?"

So it begins. Right here, right now, in this bedroom. I will follow You, Christ.

Paul had called at 10 minutes to 7 (ain't call waiting grand?) to say he was leaving Alameda and traffic would probably not be good. He arrived at a quarter of 8 to take me to taize.

We had major problems finding the freeway onramp. At 8:07 we were still in the City. We even went the wrong way down a one way street! Talk about problems. We arrives at the place the taize was being held (on the peninsula) about 8:35 - 35 minutes late. They were about halfway through the service already. But Paul and I did go up to the front and I got to bow down at the foot of the cross they had laid on the floor and put my forehead on it and tell Jesus I wanted him to lead me.

I told Paul a little of my decision to follow Jesus, but he didn't seem to know what to say and seemed uncomfortable and awkward. I'm glad Charles was there for me earlier.