When his partner died in 2004, Kevin-Douglas Olive reached a crossroads in his faith. Even though he had been a Quaker for almost two decades and put his trust in Jesus, he began to explore other ways of tapping into the divine.

"I had this experience of (my partner) after death, and he spoke to me and woke me up out of my sleep," Olive says. "It freaked me out, because I really didn't believe in that stuff; … my faith in God had disappeared when my partner died."

He started to explore Wicca, a nature-based pagan religion, surrounding himself with pentacles, candles and incense. But that didn't stick. "It seemed like more make-believe on top of the Christian make-believe," he says. "I was rejecting one; I didn't want to bring in another."

Even after Olive found his way back to Jesus, he retained some elements of paganism. While he upholds the standard traditions of his local Quaker meeting hall, he privately incorporates pagan ritual into his prayer.

He's part of a small but growing movement of Quakers who also identify as pagan — a trend that may or may not exist in other Christian traditions, but certainly not in such an organized, public fashion.

Across the board, the number of Quakers is dwindling, to roughly 100,000 in the U.S. But if Quakerism continues to catch on among the estimated half million pagans in the U.S., those who embrace both traditions predict that could reverse the Quakers' downward trend. Still, some Quakers worry about losing their own traditions through the process of accepting new ones.

In the last decade, this dual faith has sprung up around the country, including Quaker-pagan gatherings, seminars, an extensive presence on the Internet, and even explicitly Quaker-pagan congregations. There ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

June
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current Issue
Reply All Subscriber Access Only
Responses to our April issue via letters, tweets, and Facebook posts.
RecommendedThe Secret Religion of the Slaves
The Secret Religion of the Slaves
They often risked floggings to worship God.
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickSasse: Adolescence Is a Gift, but Extended Adolescence Is a Trap
Ben Sasse: Adolescence Is a Gift, but Extended Adolescence Is a Trap
The Nebraska senator wants parents to get serious about shepherding kids into responsible adulthood.
Christianity Today
Are the Quakers Going Pagan?
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

April 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.