A Twist of Faith - Chapter 4
Your Will be Done
or My Will be Done?
Skip down to Symbols or Starhawk or Tantric Yoga
"...thousands of us have come to Earth at this time with the single wild determination to create a new world.... We are trying to remember how to be goddesses."<![if !supportFootnotes]> Sonia Johnson, author of Wildfire: Igniting the She/Volution
"In Witchcraft, we do not fight self-interest; we follow it." Starhawk
"If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know...." John 7:17
Driving through the mist on that October morning, I prayed, "Lord, help me really listen to Tracy. Please show her your love through me."
I only knew Tracy through an environmental group in Kansas City. At the time, I was writing a book showing how neopaganism permeates the environmental movement and hides God's concern for His creation. Each time I called Tracy, she was more than willing to answer all my questions. So when she planned a visit to my part of the country, she called me to see if we could get together.
A few weeks later we drove together to the forested foothills [she wanted to see]. Before we even reached them, she had told me that she was a witch, a lesbian, and an elementary school teacher.
Tracy looked more like a college student than a witch. Yet her blend of pagan spirituality, sensuality, and evangelistic zeal didn't surprise me. As you saw earlier, an inordinate number of neo-pagans have chosen professions like teaching which provide effective platforms for transforming our culture. Like the rest of us, they want to build a kinder world -- one that reflects their love for nature and quest for "good, not evil" power.
We parked the car, walked a short distance to the first cluster of towering trees. In silence, we gazed up at the canopy of lacy green branches and breathed the unforgettable fragrance of the trees, ferns, and forest floor. For a moment the shared joy in the presence of one of God's masterpieces broke through all our human and spiritual differences. Slowly we started up a trail winding between the massive trunks and the soft green ferns.
"If you love nature so much, how can you be a Christian?" asked Tracy after a while.
"Why does that surprise you?" I asked.
"Your God separated people from the earth. We believe in oneness with nature."
I prayed for words that would speak to her heart. "Tracy, I don't see a contradiction," I began. "I believe in oneness with the God who created all this beauty. He loves it, and He fills me with the same kind of love."
"But Christians don't take care of it." Her statement seemed more like a question than an accusation.
"You mean Christians here in America this last century?"
"And in Europe. Look at all the polluted rivers and oceans. . . ."
"That's happening all over the world. Wherever there's a lot of people, there's pollution. But, hasn't America done more to clean up its air and rivers than most pantheistic or polytheistic cultures?"
She thought for a moment. "But pagans care more about nature. Christians are too materialistic. They use more of earth's resources."
"I'm not sure that genuine Christians do. A lot of people call themselves Christian just because they grew up in western culture. They live just like the rest of the world, buying what they want because it's there. Christians who are one with Jesus Christ are probably not caught up in materialism. They want to follow Jesus, who was willing to give up everything in order to show us His way."
We walked on, quieted by the fragrance and majesty of the towering trees. Silently we listened to the whispers of the wind in the tree tops. They reminded me of the kindness of my Creator and I felt a surge of joy.
"Tracy, I pray and thank God for the wonders of His creation, " I said. "Do you pray to the goddess?"
"No," she answered. "We don't pray. We call it 'doing magic'."
I pondered her words. "Doing magic." The opposite of prayer! Women who “do magic” command spiritual forces to fulfill their human will. Prayer means aligning our will to God's will and asking Him to intercede. His will versus her will! Struck by the immensity of the spiritual chasm between us, I glanced at Tracy. We both wanted to do what was right and good, but her good was the opposite of mine.
As we walked and talked, I learned more about her Wiccan ways, and Tracy began to see a whole new side of Christianity. When I finally left her in Berkeley at the end of the day, she suggested we meet again.
I haven't heard from Tracy since then. Perhaps her spiritual journey drove her too far into the embrace of occult powers to risk another Christian encounter—and the spiritual confusion that often follows. Women who have just tasted the initial delights of occult empowerment are seldom ready to give them up. They may try different paths, but their feelings suggest that paganism is right. Few will heed contrary evidence until the sweetness turns bitter. Even then, it's not easy to give up the intoxicating vision of supernatural power to do "my will, my way."
Empowering "my" will
In April 1995, a friend sent me a registration form for a day-long women's conference called Releasing the Spirit: Women at Play. She had found it at her local library.
"I think it's inter-denominational, not just Catholic," she said. "Does it fit your research?"
"I think it does," I said, thanking her.
Two months later, I drove to the large Catholic school. At the parking lot entrance stood three protesters holding signs. I only had time to read the first one: "Catholic Women's Network is anti-Catholic, feminist, New Age..." it said.
Everyone seemed to be entering through the cafeteria, where groups of women were drinking coffee, talking, and checking the resource displays. I passed by the crowds surrounding the four book tables, scanned the craft displays and freebie tables, headed for the last large group of tables, and squeezed into a small opening between the browsers and shoppers. From a rack in front of me dangled dozens of silvery rectangles with engraved geometric signs. I lifted one and read the description.
"Odin, the 13th Rune, symbol of death and rebirth."
A Rune! An old Norwegian form of divination. I should have known, but the ones I saw in Norway long ago were cut in stone, not on metal, and were not used as necklaces.
Another rack held ornaments with more familiar symbols: the Egyptian ankh, the yin/yang, and lots of goblins and crosses. I lifted a large flat cross. Six other symbols were stamped into its surface. Its center showed a quartered circle, the familiar power sign of contemporary Wiccans (witches). Native Americans call it the medicine wheel. The four arms of the cross sported a pentagram, a hexagram, the yin yang, and the Hindu ohm. This event was turning out to be more pagan than I had expected.
The last rack hid an assortment of tools for women's rituals: incense, candles, rattles and drums. One drum was decorated with a triquetra, an ancient symbol of the female trinity made popular by modern followers of the goddess. It reminded me of two statements by the Wiccan leader Starhawk. In The Spiral Dance, her popular manual for witchcraft, she wrote:
"To cast a spell is to project energy through a symbol."
"The beginner must develop four basic abilities: relaxation, concentration, visualization, and projection."
Apparently, any pagan symbol can be used to channel power at will, but the drum is the favorite tool for invoking spirits at the start of a ritual.
I noticed a sage wand that looked just like the one used in the Sophia Circle I had visited earlier. "This gift from ME/Father Spirit has been crafted in Sedona," explained the label. "We invite you to use this magical smoke to cleanse, bless yourselves and your surroundings, and to create an atmosphere of peace and healing."
What a lie! I recognized the two letters, ME. Together, they have become a popular symbol for a new unholy union: Mother Earth and Me. Universal energy and my will. Like a secret message for the initiated, this formula crops up in Girl Scout literature, environmental curriculum, books, cartoons....
Next to the drums were small bags labeled "Casting with Runes." I picked one up. It felt heavy. Inside were the same silvery runes I saw earlier. A small booklet told their history: "Runes were used by the shamans and healers of Scandinavia to heal their sick and cast spells. . . . " In other words, to empower people to do their will.
I turned to the next tiny page. "Smudge yourself and your runes with sage or incense to cleanse and purify the energy," it said, sounding more Native American and Buddhist than Norwegian. "Sit quietly, hold the rune in your hand, take three deep breaths..."
"Can I show you how to use them?" asked a young woman dressed in a white flowing gown.
"Please do," I answered, handing her the bag while repeating Psalm 18 in my mind.
"They were used by the Vikings to find direction. We use them to see ourselves and find our path," she said, blending an historical fact with modern selfism. She turned away for a moment to answer someone. When she returned, I was ready with another question.
"That's an interesting dress you're wearing," I said. "Does it have a special meaning?"
"It's a ritual attire."
"Yes. Sort of a goddess gown." She spun around, and the light, loose fabric flowed softly after her.
"Any particular goddess?"
"For me it's Aphrodite, but you can be anything you want to be. The goddess is a lady of a thousand names. When you put it on, you feel different. Sort of special. Like wearing a mask for Halloween."
"Where did you find this gown?"
"The kits are over there." She pointed to a distant corner. "They're separate pieces. With these special fasteners--she pointed to the clips at each shoulder, you can put them together any way you want to."
"What about your hat?" I glanced at her three-sided velvet headdress.
"It means anything you want it to mean. Any goddess you want to be." She seemed so proud of her pagan outfit--and so oblivious to the dangers of the religion she so heartily embraced. Blue-eyed and red-haired, she looked young and innocent. How many of her peers were following the same path?
"How did you learn about all this?" I asked.
"I read a lot."
I wanted to ask more questions, but by now the cafeteria was almost empty. So I thanked her, grabbed a cup of coffee, and hurried after the rest.
The program guide showed an opening ritual -- perhaps "casting a sacred circle." I didn't want to participate, but neither did I want to expose my Christian beliefs and shut out personal encounters this early in the day. "Please show me what to do next, Lord," I prayed as I hurried to the gym.
A woman stopped me at the entrance. "I'm sorry, but you can't bring coffee in here," she said.
"Thank you. I'll just wait out here," I said, and stepped back. Behind me was the open doorway of an unlit room. "Thank you, Lord," I whispered as I backed unnoticed into a room and sat down on the only chair inside the tiny office -- His special refuge for me. Hidden from sight, I watched the ceremony.
The sacred circle
"We welcome your energies and spirits," began the president of the Catholic Women's Network. "There are almost 500 women here... Some of you have come a long way -- you're from Pennsylvania, Iowa, Chicago, Texas, Oregon, Colorado, and California"
A strange deep sound began to reverberate through the room. Someone was blowing into a conch shell and the sound rose like a mystical trumpet call. Then the ritual began. About two hundred women formed an inner circle. The rest formed a large outer circle. All joined hands and echoed the words of a simple chant:
"Make a circle, make a circle, call it sacred place...."
"... holy is your name," I prayed silently from my little sanctuary.
"....make a circle, call it sacred place..." chanted five hundred voices.
"North and East and South meets West and night is chased by day...."
"Make a circle, make a circle..."
"We are summoned by our dark to chase our fears away...."
Summoned by our dark? The words startled me. What did they mean? In pagan cultures, people invoke certain spirits to protect them against more obviously evil spirits.... Was there any connection? Or was it more of a Jungian belief about the dark side of self?
"...make a circle, call it sacred place..."
The repetitions seemed endless -- almost unbearable. After a while, I covered my ears, hoping to escape the pagan words and hypnotic rhythm. The circle of moving bodies swayed and flowed, on and on....
When the chant finally ended, the prayers began -- prayers to the four directions, to the spirits, to the goddess, to whomever....
"Pray for the things that we want!" instructed the leader.
"We want some energy!" shouted someone.
"We want some joy!"
"We want to feel okay!"
"We want our sexuality!"
"We want to be released.... free!"
"Oh God," I whispered, "you offered us all that we need, but we've turned our back to you. I am so sorry..."
Someone was reciting a new version of Proverbs 8, the favorite scripture to those who seek a feminine God. "There I was beside Him," she said, "God's delight... at play day by day. I found delight in everything.... Little did I know...." At this point the familiar scripture evolved into a gross distortion of truth and a bitter personal testimony of burnout, depression, hospitalization. "I had to turn in Jesus....I had to get a better deal."
What did she find in His place? It wasn't clear. She ended with a pretense of laughter. "Ha-Ha, ho-ho!" she laughed stiffly and loudly. "Just practice it. Ha-ha, ho-ho!"
It made no sense, but everybody did what they were told. "Ha-ha, ho-ho! Ha-ha..."
A woman shared her testimony in dance and words. She told of childhood abuse, visions of God, disillusionment, and despair.... She gave no answers, only the acknowledgment that women suffer, are angry, want solutions. Like seekers at the Renaissance of the Sacred Feminine conference, the women were prompted to search for real or imagined pain in themselves. Was this the "spiritual nourishment" the conference brochures had promised us? It seemed so futile.
Another chant began.
"God-me, me-god, play play play-ing. God-me, me-God...."
Women as God, God as woman -- the essence of feminist sacredness! Amazing! How could we willingly trade the power of the sovereign King of the universe for hollow affirmations and hopeless testimonies? Is this really what women want?
The meeting ended with a loud expression of feminist assertiveness: "Ye-ah, ye-ah, ye-ah, ye-ah..." Then the crowd left for the first workshop.
My word, my will
From a list of 28 workshops, I could only pick two. I quickly eliminated options such as Mantras and Chants, 3D Mandalas, Sacred Play, Laugh Way to Happiness, and Drum Fun. I had seen more than enough ritual tools for manipulating power, and the morning's "play" time was more crude than funny. Instead, I chose a workshop titled "Feminism and Christianity in Conversation". It met in the chapel.
"What we see is the move of the spirit around the world," began the leader, Dr. Regina Coll, an international lecturer and director of field education at the University of Notre Dame. "The old image... is that God was the judge waiting for us to make an error so He can get us.... What is developing now is a metaphor for God..... The mother image must be developed...."
Like the leaders of the Re-imagining Conference, she challenged her class to create new images of God -- images that would free a woman to do her own will without any shame. "Think what your gut-, not head-reaction is when I say God is a mother ...a judge ....a lover ...a child."
The responses came in rapid succession....
"God is more me that I am myself. Are we convinced of that?" continued Dr. Coll. "God-Me, Me-God. Someone said, 'I found god in myself and I loved her fiercely'."
Having changed the image of God into an imitation of a permissive and lovable self, Coll took time to redefine some traditional words that might quench self-expression or produce old-fashioned guilt. Ponder these new definitions that flowed between teacher and learners:
Pride: "Women don't have enough pride. We forget the second commandment: love yourself...."
Sin: "It's not loving ourselves enough."
The Cross: "We need resurrection, not crucifixion."
Virgin: "She who is complete in herself." Her "identity is not dependent on others."
No one questioned this freedom to change the Bible. Perhaps no one knew what it really said. Maybe the euphoria of defying the King of the universe quenched all caution. The women obviously enjoyed tearing down the barriers to doing their will.
To clear up the distortions, look how God uses the same words in the New Testament:
Pride: The attitude that we are good enough on our own and don't need God, or claiming personal credit for something God, not we, accomplished.
Sin: Missing the mark. Falling short of God's standard for rightness.
The Cross: God's solution for our sin. There can be no resurrection without the cross. ("I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." Galatians 2:20)
Virgin: A woman who has never had sexual intercourse.
Sobered by the disdain for God's Word, I joined the lunch line and looked around. How many of these 500 women shared that blind delight in challenging God's authority? What could I say that might help open their eyes? I didn't know.
Turkey or vegetarian? Awakened to the choice of the moment, I chose the turkey sandwich and joined three other women at a table on the patio. They were all from different church backgrounds -- Baptist, Episcopalian and Catholic. Two women had found what they wanted -- non-traditional churches with feel-good messages, fun celebrations, and "respect" for all genders.
The afternoon skits in the gym helped stretch the crowd's moral boundaries. Having re-defined our Maker, the women could now re-design their bodies. A sensual dancer demonstrated every body pad and slimming device available. Strange, since they are also taught to deny sexual differences.
"Jesus, I am so sorry," joked the dancer. "I didn't intend to include words like ecstasy and passion." Everyone laughed.
The next workshop taught another lesson in reimagining truth to speak our will. "We are the authoritarian authors of the Bible -- we can decide what this means," said Margie, the leader. "The varnish on its pages is what [traditional church] people say it means. Sandpaper the varnish, and there'll be nothing left."
Determined to turn her students into varnish-removers, she pretended to read her Bible with its old varnish still intact. She opened it to Genesis, then started to snore.
She turned to the New Testament and read a familiar story. "Jesus is asleep... The storm frightens the disciples. They wake him.... He says, 'Peace, be still.'" She looked at us questioningly.
"Wrong varnish!" she laughed. "She yells at the storm."
Adding her own varnish to another passage, she told us Jesus was snarling at a woman who asked for help. How did she come to that conclusion? I raised my hand three times to ask. Three times she looked at me than glanced away as if she didn't notice. Perhaps she suspected that I might ask contrary questions.
From defiance to witchcraft
Mockery is one of the essential steps in the paradigm shift. It always has been part of cultural transformation. Remember, back in the garden of Eden, Eve was content with all God's beautiful gifts until the serpent focused her mind on the forbidden fruit. Even when her desire was awakened, she would have resisted the temptation had the serpent not raised doubts about God's instructions. Notice the tone of his question: "Has God indeed said....?"
Eve knew the consequences of eating the fruit, but the deceiver put a new spin on the truth she had learned -- turning it into a subtle yet monstrous lie:
"You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked." Genesis 3:1-7
They had lost their innocence, and they knew it. Knowing that God had seen their sin, they hid from Him and blamed each other. In the end, following feelings rather than truth brought grief and alienation.
Feminists put their own spin on that first deception: "Even if God did say you couldn't, so what? Eve was the true heroine. She models the boldness needed to destroy patriarchy. It's time we write our own Bible."
When feminist leaders began to write their own gospel (we'll look at it in Chapter 7), they soon discovered a missing ingredient: spiritual power. Accomplishing their will required a new power source. Like humanist leaders who eventually embraced cosmic spirituality, secular feminists turned to ancient myths and pagan formulas.
The following chart is adapted from Brave New Schools. Notice that humanism was only a step on the way from Christianity to paganism.
Establishes "New" Religion
Feelings and experience
God is transcendent and personal
God is a non-existent crutch
A pantheistic god(dess) or force is present in all
Trusting God is key to success
Trusting self is key to success
Trusting one's inner god-Self is key to success
Good and evil are incompatible
Good and evil are relative
Joining good and evil brings wholeness
In The Spiral Dance, a popular manual on contemporary witchcraft, Starhawk -- founder of the Covenant of the Goddess -- shows what it takes to manipulate occult forces. "Each ritual," she explains, "begins with the creation of a sacred space, the 'casting of a circle', which establishes a temple. Goddess and God are then invoked or awakened within each participant and are considered to be personally present within the circle and the bodies of the worshippers. Power is raised through chanting or dancing and may be directed through a symbol or visualization."
While rituals may involve a group, each pagan is her own master. She submits to no one. When Starhawk was first challenged by a spirit (or demon) to pursue "Witchy work," she answered, "I'll go, but only on my own terms." Having entered a trance, she "saw" a host of spirits join the first one and shout in unison, "How could you ever do anything on any other terms but your own?"
"Witchy work" is mainly spells and magic. According to Starhawk, it's easy! All it takes to begin is "four basic abilities: relaxation, concentration, visualization, and projection." Do they sound familiar? They become a major doorway to demonic realms when used together to alter one's consciousness. The final step is to project energy by moving one's mental images with the imagination.
Starhawk spreads the lures of feminist empowerment to Christian groups and seminaries as well as covens. As a witch, she teaches the timeless rituals of earth-centered spirituality. Yet her power is no different than the impersonal Hindu "prana" power taught at the Re-imagining conference. In fact, Starhawk's words seem to echo Hindu yogis: "Relax and feel yourself rooted in the earth," she explains. "Feel the energy enter.... move up through your body... up past your head, your Third Eye....out the top of your head."
New names for old rites
Church counselors who use similar formulas for healing may call this energy "the Holy Spirit" or "Jesus." Christian labels make these rituals more acceptable. Once they are introduced to a church, few realize that they match Starhawk's seven steps up the spine to the Third Eye as well as what Hindu and Buddhist teachers call kundalini -- the feminine force of tantric yoga.
A desperate father called me one day to find help for his adult daughter who was tormented by what he called "the kundalini."
"What do you think the kundalini is?" I asked.
"It is a force in everybody. Everybody has it."
Who told you that?"
Her therapist. She regressed her to her past lives."
"Are you a Christian?"
"Of course!" He sounded insulted.
"Is your daughter Christian?"
"Yes, of course she is."
"Do you think your therapist is a Christian?"
"They all were."
I suggested that no genuine Christian therapist or counselor would use hypnotic regression therapy nor validate belief in reincarnation or past lives. He sounded surprised, so I quoted Hebrews 9:27: "It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment."
He listened as I explained that kundalini came from Hindu or Buddhist forms of tantric yoga. If his daughter indeed had a tormenting spirit inside her, whether her counselors call it kundalini or any other name, it would be demonic. She might need deliverance, I told him.
The original kundalini yoga rituals shed their harsh disciplines years ago, when they were first introduced to Western seekers. Americans preferred tamer versions of yoga, the kinds they could adapt to their own spiritual and sexual lifestyle preferences. Soon it blended right into all the other pantheistic practices that "empower" modern feminists and holistic healers.
"The Chinese ch'i, the Hindu prana, and the Hawaiian mana [remember the mana song at the Re-Imagining Conference] are clearer terms for the idea of an underlying vital energy that infuses, creates, and sustains the physical body," says Starhawk. " This "energy is... central to magic." It "can be molded, directed and changed.... It is the basis for Chinese acupuncture and Hindu yoga, as well as psychic healings, worldwide."
Energy we can mold and direct? Like Tracy, feminists have found the key to power on their own terms: cosmic energy -- earthy power that becomes power from within. “Goddess/Me, Me/Goddess.” Power that will accomplish my will.
No lie pleases Satan more! He doesn't mind humoring seekers long enough to bring them into his domain. From his twisted perspective, God’s good is evil, and God’s evil is good. This is the message he teaches his subjects. So when women become desensitized to evil, addicted to mystical thrills, and accustomed to doing their own will, they cannot see the good in God’s will. Viewing life through occult lenses, they see God as their enemy and His will as cruel chains. They couldn’t be more wrong.
God's perfect will
God loves all of us as distinct individuals. He wants us to return that love, but He doesn't force us. He tells us what is good so we can choose wisely, but it's our choice. If I choose my own way, Satan wins and I lose. If I go God's way, I win—and I find the best friend and counselor I could ever know.
Satan and his unholy armies don't hesitate to tempt, trick, or lie. Anything goes in the battle to force new victims to follow their will—and join their side. Neither polite nor honest, they have all the advantages when it comes to deceptive warfare. Yet, they would lose an honest battle, for their strength crumbles before God's greater might.
God doesn’t force us to do anything. His will is to pour His love and life into us, to make us one with Himself in an eternal love-relationship--yet allow us to be ourselves. His will is our sanctification—that we become holy like Himself, so that nothing can separate us from Him and all He wants to give us.
As in Old Testament days, it takes no more than a generation for a nation to shift its loyalties from the Shepherd who protects it to "other gods" who destroyed it. Faithful Samuel carried a sad but timely message when he told Saul, the first king of ancient Israel, that—
"...rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
He also has rejected you from being king." (1 Samuel 15:23)
Saul had followed his feelings rather than God's Word, therefore God could no longer use him as a leader. Soon an unholy, "distressing spirit" began to torment him, driving him to murderous fury. Only the sweet music played by the shepherd-boy David could soothe his troubled mind. Having rejected God's gentle guidance, Saul faced the terrors of a demonic substitute.
In Romans 1:18-32, God shows us what happens when we "suppress the truth in unrighteousness." First, they are left without a standard or reference point. Now they have no way of knowing whether they are taking the right or the wrong way. They become "unrighteous" -- they don't do right -- and they despise the standard that proves them wrong. All the more, they mock God's truth and vilify His way.
Look what happens next:
"They did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts...." (v. 21)
They would think, and reason, and search in vain. Today, young girls and women are told that it's wrong to do "right", and it's right to do "what's me." Since there is no standard for "me-ness," they are confused and unsettled and have no real basis for feeling good about themselves other than psychological speculations and self-made affirmations. The "me" is never quite good enough. So they test new ideas, try new solutions, and find new gods -- but get no closer to lasting peace or happiness.
"...and their foolish hearts were darkened." (v. 21)
Their hearts -- the deepest level of who they really are -- can no longer see or understand reality. Having no reference points, they drift from one experience to another. In this blinding darkness, disillusionment reigns.
"Professing to be wise, they became fools...." (v. 22)
The word for fools here (moras) points to a moral, not intellectual, defect. It deals with character, not ability. Degraded in heart and character, they lose all moral judgment and become unreliable and immoral.
They "changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man -- and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things." (v. 23)
Remember, that was the purpose at the Re-Imagining Conference. The leaders tried to change the eternal God into images of created beings that decay and die. The result is a fixation on corruptible things -- including self --that decay and die, followed by an endless stream of disappointment and grief.
The downward progression doesn't stop here. Three deeper and more painful consequences follow, each starting with the words: "God gave them up (or over) to...." We'll only look at the first one here:
"Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever." (Romans 1: 24-25)
When people reject God, they lose more than the warmth of His presence. He "gives them over" to who they really are. Left to their own resources and Satan's schemes, they face the driving force of their own desires. The more they feed their wants, the more cravings increase. Following that insatiable nature, they violate the natural order established by God, but run further away from the only source of lasting help.
There is no freedom for those who are controlled by their wants. The next two chapters will show why. Those who have struggled with addictions to alcohol, to drugs, to food or even shopping can testify to our human resistance to doing right. No one described that struggle better than Paul:
"What I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. . . . [T]o will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice." (Romans 7:15-19)
Everything changed when Paul joined his inadequate will to God's perfect will. His desire became God's desire, and God's strength became his strength. But those whose minds have been blinded by today's spiritual alternatives cannot see the difference.
Chapter 5 shows what happens next.
Sonia Johnson, "Women, Desire and History," Woman of Power (Spring 1990); 73.
Starhawk, The Spiral Dance (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1979), 124.
This statement will probably raise more questions that cannot be answered briefly. I deal with some environmental issues in Chapter 9, and many more in my book Brave New Schools. For a scholarly expose on environmental issues by nationally respected scientists, I recommend The True State of the Planet edited by Ronald Bailey (New York: The Free Press, 1995).
1 John 5:14-15
Starhawk, The Spiral Dance (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1979), 124, 62.
 Legalistic churches make rules and set standards not taught in God's Word. They demand obedience based on human strength, not the sufficiency of Christ in a believer. Therefore, they produces failure and disillusionment. Only the exchanged life described in Galatians 2:20 can fulfill God's standards.
Ntozake Shange, Re-Imagining Conference, tape 2-1, side A.
Galatians 1:8-9; Revelation 22:19; Acts 17:11; Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Proverbs 30:6.
Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, 142.
Starhawk, Dreaming the Dark, 49
Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, 62
Ari L. Goldman, "Religious Notes," The New York Times, January 1, 1991.
Starhawk, Dreaming the Dark, 51
1 Thessalonians 4:3.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, "Every Witch Way to the Goddess," The Sunday Telegraph (Mankato, Minnesota), October 17, 1993
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