I just got off the phone with Chad Bresson from CDR Radio in Cedarville, Ohio talking about my new book Generation Hex. Chad's an awesome interviewer and right on target with his questions, so he's a good gauge for how Christian media are understanding the issues of Wicca and witchcraft from a Christian point of view.
A few issues I keep noticing from Christians when I mention Wicca or witchcraft are:
-What do you do if you find out someone you know is involved in Wicca?
-Why should we be concerned about Wicca?
-Wicca and Harry Potter, Stephanie Meyer, fortune telling, or any other paranormal experience Christians don't understand...
I don't claim to know all of the answers, but here are a few comments:
1. As a Christian, if you find out a friend or family member of yours is involved in Wicca, here's my advice:
-Ask them about their involvement: "How did you get involved in the Craft? Tell my your story." (As a parent of a child or teenager, you can be more direct in ending future participation if you choose to do so. This statement is for friends.)
-Share your story of faith in Christ as the person is willing to listen (In other words, if the person shuts down, that doesn't mean to push for a decision. It means to stop, and move to the next step.).
-Learn more about Wicca from a Christian perspective through Generation Hex or another Christian book on Wicca.
-Be a friend regardless of whether the other person ever chooses faith in Christ.
Jesus called us to love our enemies, love our neighbors, love those who persecute us, love our spouses and children...your Wiccan friend should fall in at least one of these categories.
2. Why Should I Be Concerned about Wicca?
-It's growing--fast! Some say it will be America's third largest religion (following Christianity and Judaism) by 2012. The New York Times mentions it as America's fastest-growing religion (by percentage). Even if these stats aren't exact, the point is that it's on the rise.
Most Christians don't know about Wicca for two reasons: 1) They are disconnected from the surrounding culture and 2) Wiccans don't build church buildings and therefore its growth is less noticeable in our communities.
-As Christians, we should also be concerned about any religious movement that teaches there are other ways to know and worship God other than through faith in Jesus Christ. This is basic to all evangelism (Matthew 28:18-20).
3. Wicca and Harry Potter, Stephanie Meyer, fortune telling, or any other paranormal experience Christians don't understand...
Okay, so this last category is not really a question. However, the point is that Christians often lump anything paranormal into witchcraft. This is unhelpful on many accounts. What if non-Christians lumped anything with the label "Christian" on it as what Christianity is really like (Actually, many do!)? As Christians, we don't like such sweeping labels that include the Crusades, racist movements with Christian names, and other non-biblical extremes as part of Christianity.
Neither do Wiccans. Wiccans don't even believe in the existence of Satan, yet are often called Satan-worshippers by outsiders. The Pentagram or Pentacle is often called Satanic, yet is simply a religious symbol used by Wiccans that represents the five elements.
Harry Potter, The Twilight Series of books by Stephanie Meyers, TV's Supernatural, and other media are not Wiccan media. Fortune telling or psychic advisors are not practices of all Wiccans. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not responsible for the growth of Wicca.
Media does influence thinking, no doubt. All this is to say that there is still much room to go in helping Christians (and many Americans in general) to understand Wicca is a specific religious movement rather than a catch-all category for all things paranormal.