In 1989 I gave a talk at the first Christians & Druids conference, held at Prinknash Abbey in Gloucestershire. You can read it here. Twenty-five years later, at Imbolc, I found myself at another Christians & Druids (and Pagans) meeting, this time convened at the Ammerdown Centre, near Radstock in Somerset.
Philip Shallcrass, of the British Druid Order, has posted Part One of a great three part detailed account of this event here – thank you Philip!
The event was organised by the Ammerdown Centre with funding and support from the Church of England, and brought together Druids and Pagans in dialogue with Christian priests and laity. I learned a huge amount from the presentations and informal conversations. I met Pagans who happily married their beliefs with Christianity, such as OBOD member and author Annie Heppenstall whose books you can read about here, and heard the extraordinary story of The Forest Church from four of its members. Read more about this in the essay below, which is based on the talk I gave at the meeting, elaborated after that stimulating weekend of discussion!
DRUIDRY & CHRISTIANITY – CAN THESE TWO STREAMS OF SPIRITUAL TRADITION INFORM EACH OTHER AND EVEN PERHAPS BE COMBINED IN ONE PATH OR PRACTICE?
There are at least three reasons why the topic addressed in this article will yield no fruit – according to the skeptics. First, syncretism – the combining of traditions – is a bad idea. Second, the theologies of the two paths are too at variance. Christianity, for example, requires the centrality of the figure of Christ, whereas in Druidry he holds little or no significance. Thirdly, Christianity has proved such an oppressive and destructive force, no good will come from Druids going to bed with the Devil. (Or conversely, if you are a Christian, Paganism has been ‘diabolical’ and modern Pagans refuse the saving grace of Christ, and therefore any attempt at meeting is doomed to failure).
If I believed these arguments, this article would end here, but I don’t – and hence this essay, and my motive for attending various ‘Christians & Druids/Pagans’ conferences over the years… Read more