All too oftern I indulge my childish sense of delight in obscurity, enigma and riddles, and thus welcome approaches from others that illuminate from a different angle, so to speak. Bruce Charlton is one such; highly intelligent, learned and straightforward.
It will be easy for readers to misunderstand (or misrepresent) the following; so please read it carefully before jumping to conclusions about what I am advocating – it is somewhat different from what most others who have written on this theme have been advocating.
I came to Christianity late in life and via a decade or so of being a New Agey kind of person (but only in my reading, in my mind and private life – I have never been in any group) – and this grew from a lifelong feeling for myth, folklore, and the like.
From my Christian perspective, and from inside knowledge, it is crystal clear to me now that modern world of ‘paganism’ is set-up in on anti-Christian predicates, and most of its main writers and advocates are seedy, exploitative, devious and untrustworthy characters – with not many exceptions.(…)
The New Age set-up has claimed for itself a vast swathe of paganistic stuff, and the New Age is mostly a mixture of airy fairy nonsense and nastyness of one sort or another (generally, the usual modern sex, alcohol and drugs stuff) – united only in its explicit and implict ‘anything but Christianity is good’ orientation; and it is therefore understandable that most Christians regard the whole subject with abhorrence as either fundamentally evil, or just too risky to be worth considering.
But I do not think this attitude is a viable option for modern Western Christians – I think that modern Western Christianity needs to reconnect with its animistic and pagan roots – and therefore the risk must be taken, and the good aspects of (for example) Shaminism, Witchcraft, Druidry, Magic, The Occult, Divinisation, Mediumship, Clairvoyance and so forth must be reclaimed from the New Age into a Christian context.
In this I follow CS Lewis who believed that Christianity was Paganism-plus – crudely put: real Christianity takes paganism and adds to it and completes it. The reason that this is not explicit from scripture is simply that it was so obvious to the people of the time that it did not need to be said.(…)
What I think would be best is for Christians to engage with this realm of ‘paganism’ insofar as each is drawn to it for good motivations; and insofar as their powers of discernment of the heart tell them that it is good, sweet and wholesome.
It is this discernment which must be cultivated, used and respected – it is the divinity within us that serves as a compass of good, and it will warn us if we are approaching wickedness or if we have taken a step into wickedness: then we must repent and turn-round to retrace our steps.(…)
I am talking about a very different direction – the direction of personal contact with and participation-in the living universe.
Mainstream Christianity is, in general, an incomplete and unsatisfying thing; paralysed by the futile attempt to make life risk-free – and what we need is seldom to be found in any modern Western institutions – therefore of necessity we must explore, as responsible individuals, to find what we need to be alive and engaged with this world.
Read the whole thing, and read his blog regularly, if you’d like to be a little bit more intelligent.