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Laura the Witch

Fri, 20 Aug 1999  

Greetings! I last saw you preach on the campus of Ohio University, from which I graduated in '95. Much has happened since then, and I felt led to e-mail you about it. I hope you don't mind a looooong letter from a recent convert ... 

My first encounter with your ministry was my freshman year; I believe it was Bill McMillan who preached that afternoon. I remember that day as the day I rejected Christianity; what was being taught sure wasn't the God I knew, and how could I embrace a God of hate like that? One of my most vivid memories of the afternoon was shouting in his face, alleging he committed perversions with his Bible (I won't repeat what I actually accused him of), proudly declaring he couldn't shout me down. He pronounced me a rebellious woman. I took that as a high compliment at the time, especially when the crowd seemed more loving and accepting than he. 

Time passed; I became active in feminist groups on campus and in the religion of Wicca; I accumulated various sexual sins; and although I never got into the whole bar scene, I certainly had my share of drunken nights while in a friend's room or home. And I continued to come watch "Brother Jed's Traveling Circus" when it came to campus, although gradually, I was less and less amused by it and more and more often provoked into thinking. My conscience and/or my sense of reason was touched by various considerations, never enough to turn me to Christ, but enough to make me reevaluate some beliefs, although always in the context of Wicca. 

Last year, things seemed to be going well for me -- I had a well-paying job; I was engaged to a man with whom I'd been friends for many years beforehand, and we were planning a Wiccan wedding; we were involved in a church of Paganism in Akron, so we had a religious community surrounding us; and even my mother was showing less resistance to my religion. Yet there was growing dissatisfaction in me; my fellow Pagans seemed to be content and strengthened by their faith; why wasn't I? I still believed the answer lay with the Goddess, but my devotion was in fits and spurts. 

Then, one night last October, I was reading an article on Y2K which discussed the possibility of social unrest and violence stemming therefrom. I found myself fearful of death, which morphed into the knowledge that hell was real and I was headed there. I wrestled with it for a few weeks, during which I was immersed in a profound depression that made even previous low points of mine seem pleasant -- I didn't want to give up my religious community, my fiance, sex -- yet I knew I had to. Finally, at the beginning of November, I broke up with my fiance and prayed a sinner's prayer. 

I cannot yet claim perfection; I still have moments in which I lack faith, or in which I stumble, yet I am confident God is working in me. As an example, the other night I reread portions of _Who Will Rise up?_ and was left weeping at how my attitude had changed toward that book. Sister Cindy first gave me a copy one of those days on campus, when a friend and I sat with her and admired baby Priscilla. I remember reading it in subsequent days and writing objections in the margins. There have been times since then but before my conversion when I have been fearful to pick it up, lest I feel a sting from it. But I now thank God that he had turned my heart so I could read it with a spirit of wanting to learn from it. 

Laura

 

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