The Sharpe Logs

The Sharpe Logs: email and chat transcripts with Kathi Sharpe, ex-Wiccan

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In July, 2000, while working at Christianity Today International as a Web project manager, I was about to leave the office early one night (early for me, anyhow, about 5:30 pm) when I had a sudden flash.

One of my duties was the care and feeding of our newsletter server. To aid in keeping up with issues surrounding our server, I was a member of a few newsletter discussion lists filled with people just like me, doing jobs like mine. Every day questions landed in my inbox from fellow technicians needing help with one aspect of the newsletter server or another, and usually some intrepid and helpful samaritan would step in and offer advice. If things were really difficult, a software support tech would finally step in.

It'd been several weeks since I'd culled through the messages from this discussion group. Sometimes it could get pretty high volume, so that meant there were probably hundreds of unread messages waiting for me to review. One or two of them might prove helpful in my job, so I made a habit of regularly scanning the subject lines for something useful. Occasionally I would play the part of the helpful samaritan, myself.

That night, I suddenly felt an urge to check my mail folders and clear it out. I didn't have anything pressing going on, my wife wouldn't be home for another half hour or so, and it would be one less thing to do in the morning. But, "Nah," I thought. "Just leave it." I got up to leave.

But I couldn't. As I headed for my door, I felt that compulsion again. Just check the folder.

So, sighing, I sat back down, opened up my mail client, and began browsing the subject lines. A few caught my eye. I skipped them and continued deleting any that had already been answered or were irrelevant to me.

I went as quickly as I could. About half an hour or so later, I had winnowed several hundred messages (maybe a thousand!) down to about 2 or three that needed my attention. A couple were informational pieces I could use, but one was a plea for help from someone who simply hadn't gotten any. It was from Kathi Sharpe, and her question was probably two or three months old by now. But, still, nobody had answered her. Not a single word in reply. I thought to myself that I'd take care of it the next day, and that my answer might be helpful to the general audience, even if she'd already resolved the issue herself. Besides, I needed to document my work on the issue, and answering her email would be a good start in that direction. So, I'd want to take my time with it, provide screenshots, supporting material, and so on. It could take some time.

So, I closed down my mail and got up to leave. But I was stopped. Again.

Answer it.

What? It's six o-clock, I'm going home. The answer will take me at least another hour or two to prepare, write out, fact-check, spell-check. She's waited three months, another day won't hurt.

Still, I kept thinking, Answer it!

Sighing, again, I sat back down and banged out as thorough an answer to the message group that a quick reply would allow. I CCd Kathi directly, to make sure she saw my answer. And, as predicted, it was at least another couple hours before I could head out the door. But, this time, I felt no compulsion to stay.

The next morning, I received an email from Kathi, and it blew my mind. My note, apparently, was a direct answer to prayer. And what followed in Instant Messages over the course of the next year or so was a conversion story and discipling process that taught me more about faith and God's faithfulness than I could have ever imagined.

You see, Kathi was a practicing pagan witch, a Wiccan. And God had been working on her heart and soul, leading her to him, entering into her dreams, and answering her prayers. The night before I'd responded to her work-related question Kathi went to bed and prayed, setting out a "fleece," telling God that if he really wanted her to listen to him, then he'd better have an answer to her question waiting in her inbox in the morning. Her job was on the line, and if she didn't solve this problem now she'd be out of work.

Kathi felt pretty safe setting the bar so high for God. After all, it'd been nearly a quarter of a year and she hadn't resolved the issue and nobody on the discussion group had, either. It wasn't very likely there'd be an answer forthcoming. At least, not anytime soon.

She didn't know it, but God had already answered her prayers … through me.

That next morning, she was stunned. Not only was her question answered and her job saved, but the email came from an employee of Christianity Today. Even worse, it was from someone within the Assemblies of God denomination — the only church she'd even visited in recent years. As far as prayers go, for Kathi, this was the trifecta. A neat little hat-trick that did more to bring her to salvation than anything anyone else had to say to her.

So, since God had filled out our appointment books, Kathi and I began chatting fairly regularly. More in the beginning, less as time went on and as Kathi became more involved in her local church. I wouldn't have thought discipleship could be done online, but in a very real sense, that's what happened.

If you'd like to follow this journey with Kathi and me, check out the instant message logs below. I captured every conversation. You can follow them sequentially, or just dip in here and there. If you have any questions or comments, contact me, or visit my weblog. If you'd like to get in touch with Kathi, check her weblog at, or visit her Ex-Witch website.


PS: I waited so long before releasing these chat transcripts to the Web because I wanted to be sure that Kathi's discipleship actually "stuck." And, boy, has it ever. Just check out Kathi's blog, mentioned above, to see how far she's come in her faith. As a neat little sidebar, not long after the events in this chat-log took place, Kathi and I were both featured in a televised documentary produced by Primary Focus, a Christian magazine-style program sponsored by the Reformed Church. How fun was that? Ha! (See: Primary Focus #313: Witchcraft's Spell.)

  • Email: July 26, 2000
    The first email from Kathi to Rich, declaring that his email was an answer to her prayer.
  • AOL IM: July 26, 2000
    The first chat, dreams, where you from?
  • AOL IM: July 26, 2000
    How does one convert? Saul/Paul's conversion in Acts, "all roads lead to God" and religion, sectarianism, fidelity, sin & forgiveness, "how to get saved," Philip and the Ethiopian, confession, sinner's prayer, changing names.
  • Email: July 28, 2000 [Re: CTDirect - Incarnating Mystery]
    Why do bad things happen? Rape, pregnancy, abortion.
  • Email: July 28, 2000 [RE: CTDirect - Incarnating Mystery]
    About bad things happening.
  • Email: July 28, 2000 [RE: CTDirect - Incarnating Mystery]
    More reading on bad things happening.
  • Email: August 07, 2000 [Kathi's testimony (Long! but worth it!)]
    Kathi's first "coming out" testimony, sent to the AOG discussion list (about 300 members)
  • AOL IM: August 08, 2000
    Salad-Bar Christianity, truth, transformation, encouragement, Christian apathy.
  • AOL IM: August 08, 2000
    Pagan deities vs. God, experience, healing, miracles, the Book of Acts, evangelism, old pagan friends, C.S. Lewis, Kathi's son.
  • Email: August 08, 2000
    Suggested reading material from about Wiccanism and paganism.
  • Email: August 08, 2000
    Kathi's response
  • Email: August 09, 2000
    Kathi's testimony, emailed to her Pagan friends, only two weeks after her conversion.
  • AOL IM: August 09, 2000
    Discussion of Kathi's email testimony, question about the timing of Rich's first email to Kathi, responding to God's plan, hearing God's "voice", A/G doctrine, God's will, alcohol, church doctrine, homosexuality, creation, original sin, Bible inerrancy,
  • Email: August 10, 2000
    A pagan friend responds Kathi's email.
  • AOL IM: August 11, 2000
    Kathi's Grandfather is sick, Rich's prayer
  • AOL IM: August 11, 2000
    Kathi's lunch with a pagan friend
  • Email: August 11, 2000
    Reply to Kathi's earlier email, and follow-up to discussion of the timing of Rich's first email to Kathi
  • Email: August 17, 2000
    Missed message
  • Email: August 18, 2000
    The death of Kathi's Grandfather, momentary doubts and a lack of faith, radical change and a recent epiphany, upcoming talk with pastor
  • Email: September 08, 2000
    Kathi returns her hearing aids
  • Email: September 08, 2000
    Rich's response
  • Email: September 08, 2000
    Tail end of an IM follow up regarding email, Bobby's conversion
  • AOL IM: September 11, 2000
    Bobby wants to be a missionary, about the missionary calling, about A/G missionaries, about the A/G denomination, speaking in Tongues, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
  • AOL IM: September 11, 2000
    Follow-up reading on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
  • Email: September 12, 2000
    Kathi ministers to a discouraged member of a discussion group, sharing her testimony, her childhood, rape, abuse, abusive first husband, church involvement
  • AOL IM: September 20, 2000
    Rich returns from vacation, Kathi faces a challenge at work, Acts 17, 1 Corinthians 7, Kathi prays in Tongues,
  • AOL IM: September 21, 2000
    Kathi's stepdaughter, Satan working through preachers, suicides, eternal judgement, leaving the past, Philippians 4, ministry, education, Berean
  • AOL IM: September 25, 2000
    Kathi's imminent baptism, getting rid of old paraphenalia, temptations to backslide
  • AOL IM: October 11, 2000
    Kathi is baptized, and out of work
  • Email: October 27, 2000
    Kathi plans a book-burning
  • Email: October 30, 2000
    Kathi burns her books!
  • AOL IM: October 30, 2000
    Follow up to the book burning, Bobby asks for prayer, more about Bobby
  • AOL IM: October 31, 2000
    Plans for Halloween, fears of rejection
  • Email: November 01, 2000
    Kathi describes the growth of Wicca to a listserv audience
  • Email: November 01, 2000
    Kathi emails a listserv on the subject: "How did you handle Halloween?"
  • Email: November 01, 2000
    Kathi emails Rich personally on her Halloween experiences, Christmas lights, 141 kids, intense opposition
  • AOL IM: November 01, 2000
    More Halloween aftermath, doing enough for God, God's will, planting seeds
  • Email: November 02, 2000
    Testimony for midwest Christian outreach
  • Email: November 03, 2000
    Rich's comments on Kathi's testimony article
  • AOL IM: November 08, 2000
    Accountability, background checks, delay before ministry, and sola scriptura
  • AOL IM: November 28, 2000
    Kathi's work frustrations
  • Email: December 04, 2000
    Bobby and China, and wishing Christ might not come back too soon
  • Email: December 04, 2000
    My reply regarding missions work, preparation, and the return of Christ
  • Email: December 04, 2000
    Kathy's reply to my commentary
  • Email: December 06, 2000
    Kathi's appeal for encouragement and suggestions regarding her unusual friends
  • Email: December 28, 2000
    Kathi's first Christmas
  • Email: January 02, 2001
    First Christmas kudos, and backsliding
  • AOL IM: February 13, 2001
    Demon possession
  • AOL IM: February 20, 2001
    Impending arrival of Rich's son, speaking in tongues, prophecy, Web stuff, familly pets,
  • AOL IM: May 07, 2001
    Kathi witnesses to a Satanist successfully
  • AOL IM: May 07, 2001
  • Email: June 25, 2001
    Primary Focus wants to feature Kathi
  • AOL IM: June 26, 2001
    Discussion of Primary Focus program, funerals

Note that while the transcripts end here, I still keep in touch with Kathi and hear from her from time to time, and now I get to follow her doings on her blog. However, after Primary Focus flew Kathi up to Chicago for the program, it felt like our relationship as mentor and mentee kind of resolved itself. It became very clear to me quickly that Kathi is doing well, is really plugged in to her church community, and is really learning her Bible.

Few will be interested in this archive, and if you've read this far, I thank you. I do welcome comments and questions, you can contact me if you wish. I haven't placed these files out here for personal recognition, I just hope that it shows the handiwork of God in making divine appointments and maybe even demonstrates a little bit how the Internet can be effectively used for witnessing and discipleship.



The Sharpe Logs: email and chat transcripts with Kathi Sharpe, ex-Wiccan
© 2001 by Richard A. Tatum Email
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