"Your not Polish!" said an irate woman to a man upon learning that he was not a Roman Catholic.
"Why not?" the man replied.
"Because you're not a Catholic!"
"True," the man replied, "but not all Poles are Catholic."
"The majority of Poles are Catholic, our laws are Catholic, our history is Catholic, our habits and customs are Catholic. You can't separate Catholicism from Polishness...."
Now, I don't know if you have ever had a conversation similar to that with someone in your life. It may not have been about being Polish or Catholic, but it could have been about almost anything. For some reason some people are only comfortable and relaxed when everybody else believes in and does the same thing as themselves. I hear similar things all the time. Israelis, for example, are told that you cannot be a Jew and a Christian at the same time - you must choose between the one or the other. Oddly enough, you can be an atheist Jew, but you can't be a Christian Jew, even if as a Christian Jew (more usually called a Messianic Jew) you blend happily in with Israeli culture, ways and norms.
You can imagine what it feels like as a person born and bred a Pole to be suddenly told that you are not one because you change your religion. Or to be told you are not an American because you prefer Japanese products to American ones. There is nothing worse than to be disowned by your parents or to be excluded from your family because you have changed your religious views, but it happens all the time. I know of many people who are regarded as dead because they abandoned the religion of their forefathers for something else. And in some respects they might as well be dead because they suddenly become homeless, without roots. And in some extreme cases as, for example, when Muslims convert to become Christians, not only are they disowned by their family but often their family members try to kill them out of a sense of religious duty and for their imagined 'honour'.
Not all my family members are Bible-believing Christians but I still love them and they are warmly accepted as part of my family. There is a zone of fellowship, love and trust where we meet, share, laugh, cry and are basically one. The circle of Christ is truly large even if we, in our hastiness, zeal, and lack of wisdom, sometimes try to make that circle so small that you couldn't get a sparrow into it.
As a polygamist there aren't many people who accept me. Nearly all Catholics, the vast majority of Protestants, nearly all liberals, practically every feminist, pretty well all homosexuals (when they learn I believe homosexual behaviour to be a sin...though they are very supportative when they first hear that my lifestyle is 'different'), nearly everyone who is 'politically correct', practically every fundamentalist Christian ... in fact, almost everyone is opposed to the fact that I am a polygamist EXCEPT, ironally, fundamentalist Muslims, fundamentalist Mormons, polyamorous Wiccans, libertine atheists, and some animist Africans, NONE of whom I have much in common with spiritually! Whilst the odd opponent maintains a dignified silence at my lifestyle, the great bulk of them see red, even the serial polygamists (those who marry and remarry when they feel they want to change spouses) and the sexual bohemians (who leap into one another's beds for sport).
There is, praise Yahweh, a slowly but surely growing Christian/Messianic Polygamy circle where Christians and Messianics from diverse denominational backgrounds and beliefs can today find fellowship, love and support. We have tried to be that here at HEM. Some of these circles are even big-hearted enough to welcome Mormons, Muslims and even atheists who practice the lifestyle into their circle of friends, agreeing to disagree in areas of religion and doctrinal difference for the sake of interfacing in those concerns they mutually share. The odd spark flies when one occasionally tries to 'push' his doctrinal or religious line but such encounters are mercifully rare.
But at the same time there is a neo-cultic wing of the 'Christian' Polygamy movement, claiming to be evangelical (or Messianic), Protestant, and Bible-believing, who remind me more of the Jehovah's Witnesses in their attitude towards fellowshipping with others who claim to be Christians than with disciples of Yah'shua (Jesus).
The other day I received an email from one of these 'Christians' asking me to change his URL on the ministry's link page so I took the opportunity to ask him why his site listed practically every polygamy site on the web, including Muslims, Hare Krishna, Orthodox Jews, and others but not mine. (He also allows bisexuals and non-Christians to advertise on his dating agency pages). I received a very curt reply, with no greeting or even a trace of warmth, saying that I was not a Christian because I was not necessarily 100% committed to the Nicean Creed and because I believed in eternal marriage - you can read our exchange here.
Though I have met such people many times in my ministry, I have to confess that it hurts when someone tells you that you are not a Christian - a follower of Christ - because you don't necessarily accept a Catholic creed about the Godhead (actually, I have stated that we accept it as a possible interpretation of the Scriptures but do not feel bound by it). You know, that's like being told you're not a Pole because you aren't a Catholic or your wife isn't a Christian because she wears pants and not a skirt when she's working in the garden. It's like being told you don't love your children because you refuse to take them to your opponent's church or that you hate all animals because you swatted an irritating fly. For someone who has himself received a lot of opposition for preaching (though not practicing, I hasten to add) Christian polygamy, to the extent of being excommunicated from his own Protestant Church, he seems to have leared little about Christian charity. To this date his homepage includes links to Orthodox Jewish Polygamists (who loathe, hate, detest, and scorn Yah'shua/Jesus), Hindu Polygamists (who worship demons), Mormons (who regard all Christians as apostate and their ministers as hirelings of Satan), Muslims (who regard the Trinity as an outright blasphemy and its believers worthy of death) and unbelievers, but for some reason this ministry is persona non grata, not worthy even to be included alongside or even beneath the pagan links!
I know I ought not to be so sensitive but when you are told you have nothing to do with someone you love deeply (Christ) and to whom you have given your life, it hurts. I really ought to pity the man, and others like him, who define the boundaries of love according to certain extra-biblical credal statements made by men. Yet in truth there are other moving forces behind this counterfeit wing of 'Christian' Polygamy which its proponents are sadly blind to, namely, the desire by Satan to discredit and destroy the Patriarchy Movement by all his usual, devious means.
My Christian circle of fellowship includes all kinds of Christians and Messianics, and my circle of polygamyous friends includes Mormons, Muslims, liberals, Unitarians, agnostics and others. I believe that as a Christian I not only have a duty to interface with ALL my fellow human-beings in areas where we are one, but feel it a definite pleasure to do so, so long as they respect my beliefs. So long as there is one particle of error in my life (and I know there are many) I do not feel I have the right to exclude anyone from my circle of friends, no matter what their belief or practice, if they show me respect. We do, after all, share this world with them and must learn to live with them. There are boundaries to be sure which we all apply and we must learn to be comfortable with those. I do not insist that anyone believe in which I hold to be sacred as a condition of friendship, neither will I deny those who name the Name of Christ as being Christians if they espouse what I consider to be false doctrines. We see through a glass darkly in this life - our vision is not clear, forcing us to walk by faith to some extent. But no matter what we believe, we can still at least choose to respond to those divine impulses which all of us are born with, viz. to be loving and kind, or to reject them and become cold, indifferent and even hostile.
Sometimes you have to laugh. I have a good friend who doesn't know I'm a polygamist. She thinks the world of me and we are the best of friends. A day rarely passes by when she doesn't have something nice to say about me to my colleagues at work. Then one day the subject of polygamy cropped up (initiated by someone else) and you should have heard the vitriol that poured out of her mouth! She even went so far as to say that polygamist men were perverse and should be locked up in a mental assylum! Everyone agreed with her...of course. But then polygamy brings the worst irrationality out in people - there is a passionate HATRED of this principle even by libertines who are supposedly 'tolerant' of every and any kind of lifesyle from homosexual 'marriage' to the right to have swinging orgies.
This typical reaction of immoral people to polygamy is actually one of the strongest arguments in its favour because it is a gut reaction from the carnal nature. Polygamy means responsibility, love and committment in a big way, ideals that run counter to our promiscuous, do-it-my-way, egocentric, selfish cultural norms. There is, in a word, something holy about polygamy and it's precisely that which attracts me to it so much.
I would rather live in a moderate Muslim or fundamentalist Mormon society than our liberal, secular, hedonist pseudo-Christian Western witchcraft-saturated one where there is still a sense of the sacred and holy. For that matter, a truly Catholic society (inspite of its anti-polygamy stance) would be preferable to the bilge-water that is the 21st Centurty West. The hope of the future lies now not with the rich Western nations but with the poorer countries of Africa and Asia where there is still a strong sense of the sacred, where family values still hold their own, where there is a true sense of family-centered community. That is not to give a carte blanche stamp of approval to all African and Asian socities, many of which are highly depraved - and indeed the ones deserving admiration are changing all the time. Sadly, the whole world is being swallowed up into the self-righteous delusion of the secular West and its empty moralising. The West - the USA and Europe - were certainly once the champions of righteousness. No more. Now they are the spoilt self-indulgent and self-entitled brat.
Despite what the majority say, I am still a Christian/Messianic polygamist, and they can say I am not a Christian until the cows come home as far as I am concerned. It will still hurt to hear them say it but I will not be persuaded to believe that I am now anything other than what I am. I love the Master Yah'shua haMashiach (Jesus Christ) with all my heart, the incarnate Son of Yahweh, and have given my life to His service. I am also an unapologetic polygamist with a large and happy family. My material goods are few and sometimes I am not sure how the next bill is going to be paid but I have complete PEACE and CONTENTMENT with what I know is a divinely sanctioned, biblical institution, which will have an increasingly important place in our decaying society in the years to come. True love-filled Christian/Messianic Polygamists are going to be sorely needed, and already are, to offer our dying world a beam of hope for the beseiged and almost totally destroyed institution of the FAMILY. Like all true Christian/Messianic principles, the strength of polygamy lies not so much in what its practitioners can get OUT of it (which is A LOT) but what it can GIVE to men and women morally and spiritually cut adrift by the satanist conspiracy that is our modern secular-humanist world.
And I hope that if you agree with me you will write in and let me know your own thoughts.