A ‘bewitching’ interview: we talk one on one with Phil Wyman from Salem, Massachusetts about building genuine relationships with witches, doing installation mission at the Burning Man festival and embracing Halloween as “the most Christian festival” of the year.
Pioneering American pastor Phil Wyman is author of the books Witches Are Real People Too, The Reformation of Halloween and Burning Religion: navigating the impossible space between religion and society.
During our day conference on Mission Among People Who Are Spiritual But Not Religious, we sat down with Phil and talked about understanding neo-paganism, what it was like to create a Christian presence at the notorious Burning Man festival in the US, the idea of Halloween being “the most Christian festival” of the year and what it’s like to have your mission misunderstood by many in the Christian church.
Questions to consider for groups:
- Do you agree with Phil that there needs to be more Christian presence at neo-pagan festivals? If so, how could you support this? If not, why?
- What’s your reaction to Phil’s enthusiasm for Halloween? What might be your response?
- Phil talks about there being a difference between holiness and traditional Western Christian cultural ideas. Where do you think the line should be when doing mission like Phil does? When does crossing cultural boundaries go too far, if ever?
- Have you ever met a witch? What was the encounter like? Having listened to Phil talk about building relationships with witches, do you think you could do the same?
- Have you thought much about how numbers of “spiritual but not religious” people are increasing in the UK? What is the significance of this for you and your church? Do you see this as threat or opportunity and why?