Today we have an unusual guest as part of our popular “Ask a...” series.
Jason Mankey is a Pagan writer, blogger, and lecturer, and an initiated Wiccan (one of the biggest traditions inside Modern Paganism). In addition to writing for the Ipinion Syndicateand at Patheos, he is active on the Pagan lecture circuit. Some of Jason's favorite topics to talk about include the Horned God, theintersection of rock music and spirituality, and Modern Pagan history.
Jason grew up just outside of Nashville Tennessee, and was president of his Methodist Church Youth Group there. He converted to Paganism at age 21 and has been involved with that ever since. Currently living in Northern California, he is involved with many Pagan groups in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jason lives with his wife Ari and two cats in Sunnyvale California. You can learn more about Jason on his Web site.
I’d had a couple of requests for an interview with a pagan, and Jason struck me as the perfect fit. He recently wrote this in an article about engaging with Christians in interfaith dialog:
“When engaging those in other faiths about Paganism, our most important duty is to simply tear down misconceptions. I don’t care if people agree with my religious beliefs, what I do care about is that they know I don’t sacrifice babies or engage in homilies to Satan during ritual. Yes, you can yell ‘I don’t worship Lucifer!' at Christian fundamentalists and perhaps they’ll catch on, but engaging them in an antagonistic sort of way confirms their belief that we are their ‘enemies.’ My enemies are people who would deny me my religious freedom, not Christians as a whole, and the best remedies tend to involve civil conversation, the courts, and the occasional school board meeting... When doing inter-faith work the goal is not to convert anyone or get them to agree with you, but to help them see you (and our community) as a positive. A successful interaction with a Christian is one where they leave seeing you as a person, not an enemy or a servant of evil.”
Let’s give Jason the opportunity to do that here—just as we have an atheist, a Muslim, a Mormon, an Orthodox Jew, a Quaker, a Mennonite, a humanitarian, an environmentalist, an evolutionary creationist, and so many more. (You can check out the rest of the interview series here.)
You know the drill: If you have a question for Jason, leave it in the comment section. At the end of the day, I’ll pick the top seven or eight questions and send them to him. We'll post his response next week. Be sure to take advantage of the “like” feature so that we can get a sense of what questions are of most interest to readers. Please remember the point of our interview series is not to debate or challenge, but to ask the sort of questions that will help us understand one another better.