I believe in Jesus. I'm not ashamed of the Gospel. I also believe in freedom of choice and agency. I make it a point never to force my beliefs on anyone. I hate "in your face" proselytization. This being said, I love sharing my faith and discussing the views of others with them. I know what I believe and why I believe it but I'm always searching, learning and growing, and these are the type of people that I want for my close friends.
I left the corruption of the Church, both Roman and her Protestant daughters, years ago. I hate any form of mind control, and the Church has been one of the greatest enslavers of humanity to have ever existed. It's the mystery schools of religion warmed over with a Christopagan flair, the same class of ruling elite corrupting and counterfeiting the truth. However, I still crave fellowship with true believers. I want to share my faith in an organic, authentic community. Unfortunately, I'm finding that I have no place in this world, either within or without the Church.
I have participated in various fellowships of professing believers over the past several years. Invariably, I've found that I've had to hold back in my sharing of knowledge or particular beliefs, lest I be be given "the left foot of fellowship" (as my grandmother would refer to her and my grandfather's expulsion from their denomination back in the 70's in regards to their evolving beliefs). I'm just as much an outcast in my circles of non-believing friends when they find out that I'm a follower of Jesus, especially within the community theaters with which I was involved.
Most recently, I attended one such Bible study. I hadn't been with this group since I moved away last spring for a job, and I was excited to be back. During the second meeting upon my return, someone brought up the topic of magick and astrology. The discussion led to to scripturally prohibited practices, with a lot of misinformation regarding the meaning of words and the application of the principles behind those scriptures. I held my comments, primarily because I know from experience that my beliefs aren't taken too well in the general case.
During a break, one of the persons took me aside and mentioned that I was being unusually reserved, not commenting or contributing to the discussion in my usual fashion. I explained that I have views that aren't generally well received and that I don't want to make any waves. They acquiesced, and I thought that that was the end of the matter.
After the break, the conversation continued. That person who spoke with me asked me a pointedly directed question. I answered it as succinctly and concisely as possible, but the trap was sprung. More questions inevitably followed, and of course, I addressed them as gently and sensitively as I know how.
The meeting ended on a positive note, and I left. Several days later, one of the organizers, a friend (or so I thought) of many years, asked to meet with me to discuss my views. I did, and we talked for hours. Near the end of our time together, he said that he believes that I'm "on to something", that he can't refute any of my points and that he'd have to look into it; however, since my views make several of the other participants uncomfortable, it'd probably be best if I don't return to the meetings—a common refrain throughout my life, and yet another reason why I won't darken the door of any "church".
When I share some of my views with others who do not believe in Jesus, I get the same reaction but in the opposite regard: how can I believe in Jesus while recognizing the reality and power of magick, and the truth of astrotheology (the story told through the names of the constellations and stars in the Mazzaroth/Zodiac)? Just as many are put off by my belief in him as the literal, historical fulfillment of the same story told in the heavens and the Judeo-Christian scriptures, his sacrifice and resurrection being the greatest working of blood over intent that ever was or will be wrought.
This group of professing believers, as well as many of my non-believing friends, say that they are non-judgemental; however, when I do take the risk of opening up and fully sharing my heart and understanding, I find myself being rejected. I'm finding that can't fully share who I am and what I believe with almost anyone of any belief, especially if I call them friend, lest I be left utterly alone.
You never know who's going to leave and who's going to stay. Sometimes the people that you thought would always be there leave unexpectedly, and sometimes you're surprised by those who remain. "Birds of a feather flock together", "Your vibe determines your tribe," and such sayings only remind me that I'm not of this world, and that I'll probably never have many true, close friends—people who accept me unconditionally as I am for who I am, as I do the same for them. It's lonely being alone.
As I've said before, I don't share what I share to change anyone's beliefs. My goal is to let those who are of a like mind, those who are seeking truth, to know that they aren't alone in the process. I support you in your journey, and I hope that you can support me in mine. If you find that our paths are sufficiently aligned so that we might find mutual fellowship and companionship as we walk our roads, I invite you to join with me in open, though hopefully not sophistic, dialog for as long as we find mutual benefit in it.