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Former Episcopal Priest Explores Christianity and Druidry in New Novel
Blogger News ^ | December 17th, 2007 | suzanne evans

Posted on 12/19/2007 4:27:14 PM PST by fgoodwin

Former Episcopal Priest Explores Christianity and Druidry in New Novel

http://www.bloggernews.net/112455

December 17th, 2007 by suzanne evans

On March 22nd 2005, The Rev Walter William Melnyk was forced out of the priesthood of the US Episcopal Church after facing charges of “holding private opinions inconsistent with the teachings of the Church.” This allegation, effectively a heresy charge, ended his 23 year-strong vocation as a priest, even though his only transgression was to look into Celtic Christianity and its connection with pre-Christian Druidry.

Now, Walter William Melnyk has delved further into those links in a new novel written with Druid priestess Emma Restall Orr, who, as head of the international Druid Network, has written extensively on Druidry and Paganism and lectures and teaches worldwide.

The Apple and The Thorn is a love story set on the mythical Isle of Avalon at the time of the Roman invasion of Britain. The novel draws on the persistent myths of the Lady of the Lake; legends of Jesus’ visit to Glastonbury with Joseph of Arimathea; the Holy Grail and the Chalice Well. Although set in ancient times, it is a heart-rending tale of power and belief, a contemporary reminder of the emotional and physical conflicts that surface when the missionary zeal of one faith threatens to destroy the beauty and spirituality of indigenous culture and suppress freedom of belief and worship.

The central mythical figures of the Lady of the Lake and Joseph of Arimathea are brought to life in the form of Vivian, Priestess of Ynys y Niwl and Eosaidh of Cornualle, a mine owner and tin merchant born in the Jewish Diaspora. Their characters are rooted in the personal experiences of the authors, each alternately presenting their visions of Pagan Druidry and mystical Christianity, the story mirroring personal struggles within their own traditions and the inspiration they find in each others’ faiths.

“There is much autobiography from both me and Emma Restall Orr in the characters in The Apple and The Thorn,” says Melnyk. “Eosaidh’s conflict with the new ‘Christians’ exposes the conflict between church doctrines and dogma, and simple spirituality. His eventual separation from his friends parallels my separation from the Episcopal priesthood. In other words, Eosaidh’s journey and my journey at the time were the same.”

In The Apple and The Thorn, Vivien and Eosaidh meet when Eosaidh brings to the shores of Affalon (Avalon) his great-nephew, Iesu, whom both recognise as possessing an extraordinary destiny. Twenty-five years later, they meet again. Iesu is dead, crucified at the hands of the Romans, who now bring devastation to ancient Britain, laying to waste the plains of Wiltshire and moving steadily west, their eyes set on the twin prizes of Mendip lead and Cornish tin. Then comes perhaps even more devastating news; Eosaidh and Vivian discover an equally brutal opponent has landed on British shores; a new Jesus cult neither of them can accept or comprehend.

As the tale unfolds, Vivian and Eosaidh debate the story of the young boy who was to become the Christ, exploring questions of God and the Gods, humanity, gender, honour, and the underlying presence and meaning of the land.

Melnyk’s problems within the Episcopal Church began when he was ‘exposed’ by a conservative Christian website seeking more ammunition for attacking the Episcopal Church’s consecration of a gay priest as Bishop. They accused Melnyk of taking part in rituals celebrating the Divine Feminine. Although he never practised anything but orthodox rites in his church, steadfastly maintained that he was not “in conflict with the Baptismal Covenant and the historical Creeds of the Church,” and had the support of the majority of his parishioners, he felt he had no option but to resign his ministry. ”I was told I could stay if I agreed to sever ties with my friends and never again write about Druidry,” Melnyk said. “But I knew The Apple and the Thorn was on the way, and I would not agree to being silenced.”

“Like Eosaidh, I found myself suddenly at odds with the faith I had grown up in,” he explains. “Like the new group of ’Christians’ who found their way to the Isle of Mist, many Church leaders were quick to demonise Druidry and my connection with this ancient ancestor of Anglicanism. It is not only the gay rights issue that currently threatens conservatives in the Church; they are even more fearful of the threat they perceive in the free marketplace of inter-faith dialogue. Today I continue to be a walker between both worlds, celebrating the two faiths that have formed me but, when the Church told me I had to choose between my priesthood and my friends in the Druid community, I chose the path that honored relationship.”

“In the final analysis,” Melnyk continues, “this is not a novel about Druidry or the Church. It is a tale of human relationships and the choices they entail. Eosaidh and Vivian are able to convert one another because they care about one another. Characters in the tale who do not care about human relationship remain captive to their own dogmas. In matters of theology it is always the underlying human equation that matters. Christians and Pagans alike will find challenges in this tale. I hope they will also find joy”


TOPICS: Mainline Protestant; Moral Issues; Other non-Christian; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: apostasy; apostates; christianity; druid; druidism; druidry; druids; ecusa; episcopalchurch; heresy; heretics; melnyk; oakwyse; paganism; pagans; tec

1 posted on 12/19/2007 4:27:16 PM PST by fgoodwin
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To: Huber; sionnsar

Please ping the Anglican list


2 posted on 12/19/2007 4:30:25 PM PST by fgoodwin (Fundamentalist, right-wing nut and proud father of a Life Scout!)
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To: fgoodwin

Background:

Episcopal Priest Renounces Ordination Vows, Forms Druid Order
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1379429/posts

“You folks might like to know that I have renounced by ordination vows, and formed the Llynhydd Grove of the Druid Order of the Yew.”

Episcopal bishop won’t suspend priests involved in Druid rites
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1280810/posts

“The couple’s involvement in Druidism came to light last month after the Episcopal Church’s women’s ministry listed two of the couple’s Druidic liturgies on its Web site for possible use in developing feminist liturgies.”


3 posted on 12/19/2007 4:49:19 PM PST by PAR35
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To: ahadams2; MBWilliams; showme_the_Glory; blue-duncan; brothers4thID; sionnsar; ...
Thanks to fgoodwin for the ping.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail Huber or sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (sometimes 3-9 pings/day).
This list is pinged by Huber and sionnsar.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans: http://trad-anglican.faithweb.com
Humor: The Anglican Blue

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

4 posted on 12/19/2007 5:18:49 PM PST by sionnsar (trad-anglican.faithweb.com |Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: fgoodwin
The Rev Walter William Melnyk

Oh, him again.

5 posted on 12/19/2007 5:37:53 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("Dispensationalism -- threat or menace?")
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To: fgoodwin

Going from One God to many.


6 posted on 12/19/2007 5:48:05 PM PST by onedoug
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To: fgoodwin

“Former Episcopal Priest Explores Christianity and Druidry in New Novel”

Well, we’ll be ready when he gets a book deal for “The Wooden Golden Compass”.


7 posted on 12/19/2007 5:50:57 PM PST by VOA
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To: fgoodwin
Melnyk’s problems within the Episcopal Church began when he was ‘exposed’ by a conservative Christian website seeking more ammunition for attacking the Episcopal Church’s consecration of a gay priest as Bishop. They accused Melnyk of taking part in rituals celebrating the Divine Feminine. Although he never practised anything but orthodox rites in his church, steadfastly maintained that he was not “in conflict with the Baptismal Covenant and the historical Creeds of the Church,” and had the support of the majority of his parishioners, he felt he had no option but to resign his ministry. ”I was told I could stay if I agreed to sever ties with my friends and never again write about Druidry,” Melnyk said. “But I knew The Apple and the Thorn was on the way, and I would not agree to being silenced.”

Poor Picked Upon Pagans, boo hoo hoo.

The man's an apostate.

(Looks like he bailed on his druid priest job, though.)

8 posted on 12/19/2007 6:55:08 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("Dispensationalism -- threat or menace?")
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To: fgoodwin

Just wait 5 years. This guy will be Grand Bishop Poobah of the whole enchilada. Retiring Bishop Shori will commend his legacy of tolerance and open-mindedness.


9 posted on 12/19/2007 7:02:15 PM PST by joebuck
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To: sionnsar

There’s enough spin in this article to make a gyroscope jealous.


10 posted on 12/19/2007 10:35:21 PM PST by Zero Sum (Liberalism: The damage ends up being a thousand times the benefit! (apologies to Rabbi Benny Lau))
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To: Zero Sum

LOL!


11 posted on 12/20/2007 8:25:39 AM PST by sionnsar (trad-anglican.faithweb.com |Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: fgoodwin
Although set in ancient times, it is a heart-rending tale of power and belief, a contemporary reminder of the emotional and physical conflicts that surface when the missionary zeal of one faith threatens to destroy the beauty and spirituality of indigenous culture and suppress freedom of belief and worship.

It's a good thing atheists and scientists never want to destroy the beauty and spirituality of indigenous cultures, isn't it?

12 posted on 12/20/2007 8:50:17 AM PST by Zionist Conspirator ("Liyshu`atkha qivviyti, HaShem!")
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To: Zionist Conspirator

The real druids were a bit more like the peaceful and “spiritual” Arabs who inhabit modern Palestine. The pagans sought to appease gods that regarded them as slaves and playthings. To them the world was full of spirits and they were fearful of makng a move without an offering to placcate one. The Idea of covenant with a god like Zeus, such as we encounter in Homer, is laughable. The idea of slavery is a natural extension of the perceived relationship between gods and men, with the upper classes assuming the role of gods. The supposedly ferocious God of the Hebrews was a teddy bear in comparison with pagan gods, including many Hindu gods of whom the western world is olivious.


13 posted on 12/20/2007 9:14:49 AM PST by RobbyS
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To: Zionist Conspirator

The real druids were a bit more like the peaceful and “spiritual” Arabs who inhabit modern Palestine. The pagans sought to appease gods that regarded them as slaves and playthings. To them the world was full of spirits and they were fearful of makng a move without an offering to placcate one. The Idea of covenant with a god like Zeus, such as we encounter in Homer, is laughable. The idea of slavery is a natural extension of the perceived relationship between gods and men, with the upper classes assuming the role of gods. The supposedly ferocious God of the Hebrews was a teddy bear in comparison with pagan gods, including many Hindu gods of whom the western world is olivious.


14 posted on 12/20/2007 9:14:50 AM PST by RobbyS
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To: RobbyS

Thank you for the information and insight.


15 posted on 12/20/2007 2:07:16 PM PST by Zionist Conspirator ("Liyshu`atkha qivviyti, HaShem!")
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To: joebuck
Just wait 5 years. This guy will be Grand Bishop Poobah of the whole enchilada

Don't have to wait. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is a Druid priest who among his pagan friends goes by the name Son of Anurs, a pagan deity. And people wonder why the Church of England is withering.

16 posted on 12/27/2007 3:51:09 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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