The Pagan Eucharist

We are pantheists when we study nature, polytheists when we write poetry, monotheists in our morality.Goethe

So a couple days ago, Christianity Today got its knickers in a twist over the “idol worship” taking place at a the Episcopal Church’s Women’s Ministries website. The reason? A rite submitted called “A Women?s Eucharist” that dared to cast God with a feminine face and borrowed language from the infamous “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven” line from the book of Jeremiah.

“Come to me, my ‘Pals!”

Astarte image by John Singer Sargent

The Episcopal site now under fire from several conservative sites removed the pages much to the snotty pleasure of CT who remarked. “Guess what’s no longer linked on the Episcopal Church USA’s page for Women’s Worship Resources?”

Further, CT and the Internet Inquisition have decided to dig into the activities of the rector who posted this ritual in the first place and out her as a Pagan.

Rector Glyn Ruppe-Melnyk

Merely heretical or full-blown Pagan?

The “smoking gun” seems to be her and her husband’s involvement in the site for OBOD (The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids).

I won’t go into the completely ignorant comments about Pagan ritual and the lurid suppositions about what goes on in one (“The particularly sensitive may want to skip past all this…”, “The priest and priestess apparently do this part naked…”) and skip to the issue of allegiance to a Pagan faith.

First off, they could have been Pagans who converted to a liberal form of Christianity (it happens more often than you think), they could be Celtic Reconstructionists many of whom are Christians with a deep and strong love for their Celtic ancestry (and considering the Episcopal Church’s strong tie to Scotland not so surprising for them to “go Anglican”). Finally, they really could be playing both sides of the field and taking the whole “You shall have no other gods before me” line from Exodus literally, placing Jesus and the Christian conception of God first while still worshipping Pagan gods much like Saints. Very much like people in Haiti and Central/South America do when they syncretize their Loa/gods to the Catholic Saints.

In any case, all the “concern” strikes me as a bit shallow. They wanted a media spectacle, they wanted to hammer on those liberal Episcopals and Anglicans who dared treat gay people and women like full divinely created humans. They wanted The Windsor Report to kick the Episcopals to the curb instead of them receiving a slap on the wrist, and failing that, they want an old-fashioned witch hunt.

“I’m not a witch. I’m not a witch.

They dressed me up like this.

And this isn’t my nose. It’s a false one.”

Funny, I doubt Christ would treat a “pagan” in such a manner, I truly doubt he would encourage people to dig over this issue and try to get a Rector up on charges or cast out from the Church. But then I’m a dirty Pagan, what do I know?