Watching the news about the Las Vegas shooter I actually wondered if he’d been demon possessed or inspired by Satan. I wonder that also when ISIL-inspired freaks commit mass murder. I can hear my grandmother’s voice, “It’s the Devil’s work”. But maybe it’s more mundane — gambling debts and a psychotic personality.
Then today I received an email invitation to a Damned Ball about “enlightened darkness”. Truly makes me ask, as generation after generation has in the past, “What is the world coming to?” Tiberius wasn’t even this depraved with his orgies. Or maybe he was. I don’t know.
The news often feels like the Fall of Rome or the Book of Revelation.
One of our seminarians mentioned Yeats’ hundred-year-old poem, The Second Coming. Sure seems to fit, especially lines 5 thru 8. The final 2 lines have always been scary to me… (see below). Last century, everyone thought how uncanny that Yeats seemed to predict Hitler’s rise and the holocaust — “burnt offering” — the great genocide in Europe. Now his apocalyptic poem could mean something altogether more horrible coming down the pike — or should I say, “slouching” down the pike!
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
THE SECOND COMING
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
[The following] blogger does not agree with many Goddess Christian beliefs or the teachings of Margaret Starbird.
While his article begins with the various holy grail mythologies and the Priory of Sion hoax, if we scroll way down to Holy Bloodline, we can see that he “exposes” the bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene (sometimes abbreviated MM) as a myth.
In another article, he seems to reject the idea of MM being any type of Goddess:
In yet another article he states: The Holy Bloodline myth derives from the semi-fictional pseudo-history book Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, which used poor scholarship and unreliable sources to develop the idea that Mary Magdalene married Jesus and had children by him who eventually gave rise to the Merovingian royal house. The claim has little textual support beyond some ambiguous Gnostic references to the pair kissing.
This link is interesting, I had never heard of a tradition that MM was married to John the Evangelist:
If you do a search on Jason Colavito and Mary Magdalene, or Jason Colavito and Margaret Starbird (while he only mentions alternative writers, some of the follow-up comments do mention her, specifically), or the author and DaVinci, or the author and the bloodline of Jesus, or Jesus and Mary Magdalene being married, or Mary Magdalene as Goddess, etc., all kinds of articles from his archives will come up.
[And now a link to] his rather bizarre views on the Cathars, based upon the writing of their enemy, a Roman Catholic and further based upon his own translation of the Latin text. When challenged, in the comment section, about his authority to translate the difficult Latin, his response was that he had been ‘reading Latin since he was a teenager’. There is no mention of studying the language at a University level.
Anyway, unless I am completely misreading this blogger’s articles, which I may well be, he does not seem to feel that many Goddess Christian beliefs hold any validity. I think he would consider the beliefs of many Goddess Christians to be fringe conspiracies. –PAMELA
KATIA WRITES: We are the fringe of Christianity in our belief in a Divine Feminine / Heavenly Mother and her earthly incarnations as Magdalene. Some people don’t believe as we do that down thru the millennia Godhead might choose to manifest as a woman, not always a man, that a Heavenly Father REQUIRES a Heavenly Mother since no parent arrives at parenthood alone.
Genesis says, “Let US make man in OUR image…. Male AND female”. Both sexes made up the heavenly creator-couple’s “image”.
Heavenly Mother may have manifested / incarnated as Mother Mary, and Magdalene may be a Daughter of God like Jesus is a Son of God. To our Creator, women are not second best humans that must struggle extra hard to develop their spirituality by breaking social norms to spend time with a male teacher (Jesus). How cruel that would be. Jesus had a partner, a woman who could teach the women and sometimes talk to men, just as Jesus spoke mostly to male disciples but sometimes to women. When he preached he preached to both genders, but one on one teaching was lopsided male-to-male as we know, and the beautiful story of Martha wanting her sister Mary to come into the kitchen and leave Jesus’ bible-study lesson illustrates how difficult it was for women to study at all in those days.
The women of Luke 8, and Magdalene are probably all that remains in the canonized Church approved scriptures to hint at this women’s studies contingent of Jesus’ ministry. Of course if a deity manifesting as a female human makes you uncomfortable you don’t have to believe Magdalene or Mother Mary were divine aka “a god” like it was later claimed Jesus was. Jesus never claimed to be a god anyway. He barely even claimed to be the messiah! (Note: Jews do not and have not ever taught the Messiah is God or a god)
What IS a god, male or female or genderless? Can humans embody them at least temporarily? To me, the Creator, the Intelligent Designer, is God. If the Creator is a Godhead made up of more than one personage, and I think it is, then it makes sense it would be male and female. If God is One — no Godhead personages — then a transcendent genderless Being could be the Absolute Source Deity. We just don’t know which it is — or if both could be true. The Bible doesn’t say, it clearly makes God of the male gender and hints with words like Elohim, Queen of Heaven, and the Genesis quote, that a female gender is there, too in a Godhead.
Most of us in this forum also believe in the Sacred Marriage as a model found but suppressed in both ancient Judaism and earliest Christianity.
It’s okay, we are used to being fringe in this area. It doesn’t mean we believe in many of the less logical myths about Judeo-Christianity such as it originated in Atlantis, or that the Holy Family and half the tribes of Israel were really white non-semitic British people. Archaeology and DNA studies show without exception that the 12 tribes and Jesus’ family were all middle eastern.
Did Joseph of Arimethea travel to Britain? — quite possible considering what was going on in Britain during the reigns of Tiberius and later Claudius.
Just my opinions of course, but I see why scholars look askance at all fringe beliefs when they lump us believers in a male-and-female Godhead in with the extremely fringe stuff such as: UFO astronauts with oxygen tanks and all, came to earth and seeded it.
No Evidence for a Genderless God or Female God but both feel right / make sense
While discussing with my three young daughters our current God-gender topic, a thought occurred to me — I put it in the subject line of this email.
God is genderless and / or beyond gender
We have zero evidence, although perhaps some very veiled hints, in Judeo-Christian scripture that God is “beyond gender”, is gender-less, is above and beyond physical bodies, anatomy, reproductive organs. Yet, on some level it “feels” right, or “makes sense”, that God/Goddess/It would be transcendent and genderless.
God is a Godhead with both Male and Female beings
We have zero evidence, except for some loud hints, in Judeo-Christian scripture that God is a Godhead unit made up of at least one male and one female deity.
God is not genderless, God is Male
The only evidence we have in Judeo-Christian scriptures is that God does have gender, and he is male. Both the Father in Heaven and the Incarnate God on earth Jesus, are male. Male pronouns, male, male, everything male. God the Father, Son and even Holy Spirit are said to be male. There is some small evidence in Hebrew and Greek that the Holy Spirit might also have a Female counterpart (Ruach and Pneuma are feminine-gendered words in Hebrew and Greek for the Holy Spirit), but we all know the mainstream teaching states loud and clear that we have an all-male Godhead.
I homeschool my daughters, and we recently came across this Aristotle teaching:
The 3 Rhetorical Appeals aka Modes of Persuasion
Logos, ethos, and pathos are the three techniques used when trying to convince others. Aristotle taught them in his work Rhetoric.
Using the power of personality to convince, based on the speaker’s credentials, authority, such as a professor or a known expert in a certain field
Appealing to the emotions of the listeners. Here’s Wikipedia:
Pathos (plural: pathea) is an appeal to the audience’s emotions, and the terms sympathy, pathetic, and empathy are derived from it. It can be in the form of metaphor, simile, a passionate delivery, or even a simple claim that a matter is unjust. Pathos can be particularly powerful if used well, but most speeches do not solely rely on pathos. Pathos is most effective when the author or speaker demonstrates agreement with an underlying value of the reader or listener.
In addition, the speaker may use pathos to appeal to fear, in order to sway the audience. Pathos may also include appeals to audience imagination and hopes; done when the speaker paints a scenario of positive future results of following the course of action proposed.
* * * * * * * * *
So when examining the same Bible, the same evidence, we all can come to different conclusions about the gender or genderlessness of God.
God as Absolute Oneness, in “its” sense as Source and Beingness, not only appeals to our “gut” aka emotions (pathos) but also seems logical, thus logos. But the concept of a genderless god / Creator is not based on any evidence, so perhaps we can’t call it logical. This gets confusing to my feeble brain, so please comment if you can help me out, here.
A balanced male and female Godhead with a Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father appeals to our gut-level common sense on an emotional level and logical level, which is an argument from both pathos and logos, like the above.
A male-only Godhead (Christianity) or male-only solitary God (Judaism, Islam) is argued by the desert religions’ scriptures. All the evidence both written and traditional, says God is male. This seems to be Logos, and indeed Jesus’ gnostic code-name is Logos!, but I think it falls into ethos (again people, help me out here) because it is based on what the authorities have been telling us the past 3000 years.
As I continue to think about this, especially about my very different friends/colleagues Bishop James and Priest Pamela, it dawns on me that some of us lean toward believing pathos more than logos, or ethos more than pathos, etc. I think I have a tendency to go with commonsense “logical” arguments that nevertheless stir my emotions to get me there. Logos and Pathos. Because of all the shoddy scholarship out there and goofy theories as +James points out, I am distrustful of arguments by Ethos. They don’t appeal to me. Except when the ethos is that of my long-ago teacher Margaret Starbird whose ethos still has me a believer! (smile). Yes, yes, partly I WANT to believe (pathos) and it FEELS right and true, plus makes sense in a commonsense way. But you can’t say, “your beliefs are only based on emotions”.
From: Bishop James To: goddesschristians May 27, 2016
Re: No Evidence for a Genderless God or Female God but both feel right / make sense
Professor Michael Heiser is a solid OT scholar (Logos Software, Liberty University) and an advocate of a “Divine Council.” This is a link to his site: The Divine Council.com
God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment. Psalm 82:1
“The term divine council is used by Hebrew and Semitics scholars to refer to the heavenly host, the pantheon of divine beings who administer the affairs of the cosmos. All ancient Mediterranean cultures had some conception of a divine council. The divine council of Israelite religion, known primarily through the psalms, was distinct in important ways.”
Michael S. Heiser, “Divine Council,” in Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings (ed. Tremper Longman III and Peter Enns; Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic; Inter-Varsity Press, 2008), 112.
Gender of God, Do Majority of Christians view God as Genderless
Bishop James post on May 27, 2016
Re: No Evidence for a Genderless God or Female God but both feel right / make sense
The vast majority of Christian denominations view God as genderless.
Great summary of Gender of God in Christianity. Thanks for posting it, Bishop James (link at the end if readers didn’t get to read the short article yet). I am glad to see Elohim and other Feminine Divine evidence in the Hebrew Bible was touched upon. This line in the Roman Catholic section got me a bit peeved, however…(!)
Though Church teaching, in line with its Doctors, holds that God has no literal sex because he has no body (a prerequisite of sex), classical and scriptural understanding states that God should be referred to (in most contexts) as masculine by analogy. It justifies this by pointing to God’s relationship with the world as begetter of the world and revelation (i.e. analogous to an active instead of feminine receptive role in sexual intercourse).
Soooo….. because male anatomy is active and female anatomy is passive during sexual intercourse the RCC reasons God “should be referred to as masculine.” Uh-huh. Yet God has no body, they claim. I wonder why God can’t have a body?
Seems like a rip-off that He who is Everything and ominipotent can’t have a body. He walked with Enoch, Adam and Eve — was that a ghost-like shape? Light-being holograph projection? Doesn’t make sense. I think he has a body, an awesome one like the resurrected body of Christ which could walk thru walls and ascend into heaven bodily. Like the resurrected bodies we are going to get some day. Or are they saying Jesus turned into a neuter after the resurrection losing his male anatomy but keeping the wound marks on his hands and feet? Still doesn’t make sense.
Another annoying thing in the excerpt above is the supposed Roman Catholic teaching as fact that God’s relationship to the world is as begetter and this “naturally” led to a “should-ness” of referring to him as a male by analogy. But doesn’t it seem more natural to view the world as being “born”, not inseminated? Ancient people could have viewed God as a Mother who gave birth to the world and all our souls. Mothers and birth was all around and obvious to ancient people, but not necessarily insemination which is less obvious. Begetting / insemination still requires a womb and a woman. We need both genders in the Godhead or none at all. This logic that we “should” always refer to God as male is lame.
I believe Source, Being, the Absolute Deity, “the Force” (like the ancient Monad teaching) existed before Creation and split into God-the-Father and Mother-God in order that Creation could come into existence, in order that conscious sentient beings could come about — us “creatures” — to carry around in our skulls the most differentiated item in the physical Universe, the human brain.
Happy to see these lines in the Wikipedia genderless God article, because it seems to support my personal belief in a male-female Godhead:
Elohim is used to refer to both genders and is plural; it has been used to refer to both Goddess (in 1Ki 11:33), and God (1 Kings 11:31).
Genesis 1:26-27 says that the elohim were male and female, and humans were made in their image.
Glad this info is out there, and that theologians are at least opining about it, writing about it.
I dunno, Bishop James about the vast majority of Christian denominations viewing God as genderless, however. Maybe some of the denominational authorities are saying that on paper in the past 75 years as they deal with the feminist movement in theology and society. But in my observation, mainstream Christians still view Him as a Him, like the scriptures seem to say he is. Jews certainly still believe and teach God is masculine.
I have visited a lot of different mainstream churches this year so far with my family and have not encountered anyone that believes God is beyond gender. Only in the Mormon Church do you find those who believe there is both Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father.
Some Christian thinkers and theologians may talk/write about the genderless God, but I’ve not heard of it being taught from the pulpit on any kind of scale. Have you, +James? Would be pretty cool if it is being taught.
When the (horribly depressing) book The Shack made waves in Christian Protestant circles several years ago, the ruckus was because the author placed a black matronly woman in the role of Father-God. The discussion of a genderless god came up thanks to the book, but so many mainstream Christians were not able to give up the masculine divine God-the-Father. The author was just “playing pretend” when he made God female in an attempt to make a point that God can morph into any gender we need him to when healing or belief is needed.
The author presented brilliant reasoning for making God a black woman, explaining that God goes beyond gender, takes the form we “need” him/her to, is not limited only to the male gender. But most of the faithful just chocked it up to poetic license, concluding the author doesn’t really believe God is or can be a woman, just did it to make a point.
Genderless God is an awesome teaching, and I hope it can someday work in a practical sense such as in Sunday School. But it doesn’t appeal to everyday people and Sunday School kids. We like our archetypes. Ah, the pull of beautiful archetypes like the Bridegroom, the Bride, the Saving Hero, the Champion and the Underdog. Genderless is so…. LESS. <smile> and doesn’t penetrate into the human “story” as nicely as these gender archetypes we’ve been using for millennia. How can you ask kids to pray to an It. Even Jesus when asked to teach us how to pray knew that we needed gender for our deity and said we should call God, “Our Father” or “Dear Dad,” as others have translated Jesus’s use of the word Abba.
Perhaps a God with no masculine or feminine aspects is one we humans can’t relate to. But Source is surely genderless and can be understood when one is older and “initiated”. I don’t think you could explain to dozens of children staring at you with open faces in Sunday School class that even though the Bible says God is a male and even though the Church teaches the Trinity is 3 men, and even though every song we sing here in Sunday School has God as a Father-figure male, you girls can view Him/It as a female or genderless being.
From: Bishop James To: goddesschristians May 28, 2016
Subject: [GoddessChristians] Re: Gender of God, Do Majority of Christians view God as Genderless
There are people that study those things in depth. One very popular book is Stages of Faith by James W. Fowler III.
A quick summary of the stages he discusses is provided in Wikipedia:
Stage 0 – “Primal or Undifferentiated” faith (birth to 2 years), is characterized by an early learning of the safety of their environment (i.e. warm, safe and secure vs. hurt, neglect and abuse). If consistent nurture is experienced, one will develop a sense of trust and safety about the universe and the divine. Conversely, negative experiences will cause one to develop distrust with the universe and the divine. Transition to the next stage begins with integration of thought and languages which facilitates the use of symbols in speech and play.
Stage 1 – “Intuitive-Projective” faith (ages of three to seven), is characterized by the psyche’s unprotected exposure to the Unconscious, and marked by a relative fluidity of thought patterns. Religion is learned mainly through experiences, stories, images, and the people that one comes in contact with.
Stage 2 – “Mythic-Literal” faith (mostly in school children), stage two persons have a strong belief in the justice and reciprocity of the universe, and their deities are almost always anthropomorphic. During this time metaphors and symbolic language are often misunderstood and are taken literally.
Stage 3 – “Synthetic-Conventional” faith (arising in adolescence; aged 12 to adulthood) characterized by conformity to authority and the religious development of a personal identity. Any conflicts with one’s beliefs are ignored at this stage due to the fear of threat from inconsistencies.
Stage 4 – “Individuative-Reflective” faith (usually mid-twenties to late thirties) a stage of angst and struggle. The individual takes personal responsibility for his or her beliefs and feelings. As one is able to reflect on one’s own beliefs, there is an openness to a new complexity of faith, but this also increases the awareness of conflicts in one’s belief.
Stage 5 – “Conjunctive” faith (mid-life crisis) acknowledges paradox and transcendence relating reality behind the symbols of inherited systems. The individual resolves conflicts from previous stages by a complex understanding of a multidimensional, interdependent “truth” that cannot be explained by any particular statement.
Stage 6 – “Universalizing” faith, or what some might call “enlightenment.” The individual would treat any person with compassion as he or she views people as from a universal community, and should be treated with universal principles of love and justice.
Thanks for posting Fowler’s Stages of Faith, Bishop James. I have always loved these, and can definitely perceive them in my own life, childhood, teen years, etc. I can recognize the stages in my six children and others whose spiritual life I know intimately, but my anecdotal observation is not always in alignment with the ages Fowler gives. Some people / children / saints(!) seem to merge or completely skip stages. Sometimes he generalizes overmuch in his descriptions as his critics complain, but overall his stages are a nice guide and much can be learned.
Another criticism leveled at Fowler is that his stages of faith can lead to pride and condescension such as, “he’s stuck in an immature/childish stage,” or “I am more spiritually evolved in my faith than so-and-so.” Of course the truly “evolved” in Fowler’s final stage would not be prideful since they are “compassionate to all humans.” Thankfully we can sort of test ourselves for ego by asking, do I view every person with compassion? Do I view every person as a part of my personal inner-circle community (all completely equal brothers and sisters)?, do I think every person regardless of nationality, religion, birthplace, deserves to be heard, deserves perfect justice and caring?
As I think of the political speech and protesting of political speech in the news yesterday, another faith and spirituality aka compassion question comes to mind. Let us ask, “Am I trying to shut this person up?” I also try to ask this question when dealing with children and husbands from time to time! When we can’t listen to a person we disagree with and cannot answer back with words stating personal arguments and beliefs, things go down hill fast. Shouting and talking over top of people (a form of stifling speech) ensues, but at least that is still using words, the human gift. You and I might dearly wish the person would shut up — especially if they are yelling at you and not letting YOU be heard. Unfortunately, the next human urge is to get physical, to use our hands and feet to express ourselves when we think words have failed (or we are too lazy to keep trying words). Pushing and shoving come after yelling and screaming. Violence is the result of not letting others speak. (I’m not talking about “violence” used to defend yourself if someone else throws the first punch). A person with evolved spirituality in the highest stage according to Fowler (and this I agree with him) still loves/has compassion for the protester screaming in their face, still believes that person has a right to be heard, and does not feel the urge to get physical or violent. We are not all saints, so don’t feel bad if when watching the news lately you at least mentally feel the urge to get physical! Hah.
ANTHROPOMORPHISM – MY THOUGHTS ON
Anthropomorphism or personification of deities is considered spiritually “immature”. I totally agree that we should not project onto members of the Godhead human traits and character flaws like adultery, sex-goddess, vengeful jealousy, rape (Zeus), murder, etc. But I do not believe thinking God or members of the Godhead have a physical form as well as a spiritual form is immature.
Unfortunately, atheists use anthropomorphism as “proof” there is no God and as proof that religions are founded entirely upon human mental delusions. Indeed, in the Wikipedia article on Anthropomorphism (link below), atheist Stewart Guthrie is quoted claiming “all religions are anthropomorphisms”.
In Faces in the Clouds, anthropologist Stewart Guthrie proposes that all religions are anthropomorphisms that originate in the brain’s tendency to detect the presence or vestiges of other humans in natural phenomena.
ALL religions are poppy-cock because it’s really our mind playing tricks on us, see. We’re deluded, immature and un-evolved for believing (shock!) that God creating us in his image is at least partly literal.
Look at this line in the same article:
Anthropomorphism has cropped up as a Christian heresy … This often was based on a literal interpretation of Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them”.
A Christian heresy? Call me a heretic, then. And I am not even a Biblical literalist. Either we have literal bodies or we do not. Because well, the physical Universe, Creation, is LITERAL. Sheesh. I suppose I am considered a heretic for believing we resemble our Creator in our spiritual, mental and physical forms. This aversion to God having a body and/or being physical reminds me of the Gnostic (with a capital G indicating historical Gnostics, not philosophical or spiritual gnostics) loathing of “fleshly” bodies as “corrupt”. The Christian church later adopted this doctrine of physical-is-dirty, hatred of all bodily functions. Bodies are yucky and dirty, God would not have a body. God would not get married, God would not touch an unclean female body in the act of procreation. But doesn’t this mean God can indeed create a rock too heavy for himself to lift? — he can create beings with bodies, yet he can not have one. Or don’t we believe God created us and have walked into the atheist’s use of anthropomorphism. Believing God cannot or does not have a body limits God, and theologians have always said God is limitless.
A heretic is someone who teaches heresy, not merely believes a heresy, and because of creating this GoddessChristians forum and our many Esoteric Mystery School lessons I have been accused of doing just that. Since I think God literally created human beings and the physical Universe, too, I am a heretic for yet another reason in the eyes of the mainstream church — or rather in the eyes of certain borderline-atheist church authorities and theologians. I believe most mainstream Christians are guilty of this “heresy” that Genesis 1:27 can be interpreted literally. Perhaps many theologians back themselves into a corner because they can’t get to Fowler’s 5th Stage of Faith… embracing the paradoxes and transcending them, embracing both…and instead of either…or. (paradoxes).
The Wikipedia says:
Anthropomorphic deities exhibited human qualities such as beauty, wisdom, and power, and sometimes human weaknesses such as greed, hatred, jealousy, and uncontrollable anger. Greek deities such as Zeus and Apollo often were depicted in human form exhibiting both commendable and despicable human traits.
From the perspective of adherents to religions in which humans were created in the form of the divine, the phenomenon may be considered theomorphism, or the giving of divine qualities to humans.
I am sure I am an anthropotheist, and possibly a theomorphist also since I believe in Theosis.
Anthropomorphism should not be confused with connecting to archetypes. Jung discovered the universal archetypes in human consciousness and subconsciousness. The archetypal realm is different from simply personifying supernatural beings. When one connects with an archetype, or a divine being, and sees them in human form, they are not necessarily deluded or “falling for” anthropomorphism. That is what critics say of mystical experiences and why Thomas Aquinas wanted so badly to have one himself, refusing during his long career to criticize such visions/experiences. St. Paul saw Jesus on the road to Damascus, Mary saw Gabriel in human-like form, and we are specifically and clearly told that humans look like the Creator-God(s), are made exactly “in his image.” Not “like” his image, or similar to his image, or “after a likeness of” his image, but IN his image, like a cast iron mold.
Supernatural means beyond and above natural, but it does not mean exempt from nor excluded from the natural physical realm. Roman Catholic doctrine teaches on one hand that Jesus was really God-the-Father who took on physical form, “made” himself a body. On the other-hand Roman Catholicism teaches the Trinity that God “sent” his son. The Jesuits love the Jesus-is-really-Father-God-in-the-flesh doctrine and I have often pondered it. There seems to be truth in both. “I and the Father are One,” said Jesus. It’s a paradox, but it’s okay. We can handle it.
I worry that anthropomorphism and personification are used incorrectly to judge someone’s level of spiritual development. Of course history and our contemporary world reveal countless cases of con artists claiming they’ve seen/heard God, Jesus, Mary, Mohammed etc and committing crimes from incest and rape all the way to genocide based on their false “visions”. That is the dark side of anthropomorphism, really anthropotheism. It is a form of blasphemy to project anthropomorphic things like uncontrolled sexual lust, or murderousness onto God. That negative kind of anthropomorphism is spiritually immature also, but it’s primarily blasphemy, whereas believing God created us in his image is not immature. Nor is such belief denying God also has a transcendent, beyond-gender state of Being.
Like so many things, I believe this argument is a “both…and,” not an “either…or”. We do not have to buy into these (borderline atheistic) statements:
Either God has a human-like form OR he has a completely inhuman abstract form.
Either God has a body OR he does not
Both are true, that is the paradox we encounter and embrace as described in Fowler’s later stages of faith.
God has BOTH a human-like form when he/she/it chooses to AND an abstract ultimate unmanifest Source “form”
God has a body AND does not have a body
Paradoxes are a pain in the neck, but they are so cool when “both ends of the stick” can be mentally grasped — by pushing the mental rational self in his chair and allowing the spiritual self to contribute equally to our “reasoning” process. Or you could just say by transcending the intellect and embracing the paradoxical. It’s gut-level and spirit level “gnowing”, spelled with the g of gnosis.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Margaret Starbird writes:
Father Matthew Fox, author of “Original Blessings” and “The Coming of the Cosmic Christ,” offers what I think is “ground zero” for the understanding of “God”— in suggesting that the Divine “indwells” creation and is not separate from it. He calls his theory “Panentheism” (not to be confused with “Pantheism.” I embrace this idea of the Divine Presence in everything: “Take off your shoes, for this is holy ground.” “Practicing the Presence of God” acknowledges that all ground is holy ground, all that is, is Sacred. An Old English spelling of God—“Godde”—seems to reconcile “god” and “goddess” making the question of gender irrelevant. Remember the Jewish “take” is that “God” is beyond all understanding, beyond all imaging.
In my “Goddess in the Gospels” I include discussion of a quote from Job: “Perish the night when it was proclaimed, the child is a boy.” Yet that is a fundamental message of the Christian era: the Child was male. This has led to the “High Christology” that places the human Jesus on a throne in heaven to be worshipped alongside his heavenly Father—to the exclusion of the “Sacred Feminine” that is the “other face of God. As I’ve discussed many times, this adulation of the masculine, stripped of its feminine partner, is playing out now all over the world: the “masculine principle” (solar/666) unleashed without its mitigating “feminine” (lunar/1080) culminates in materialism, hedonism and violence. “When the sun always shines, theres a desert below.” We’re watching the adulation of the masculine principle play out to its bitter end across our planet—
This, in a nutshell, is the whole meaning to the Book of Revelation. The wars and rumors of wars end with the “Marriage of the Lamb” (Rev. 21-22) which causes streams of water to flow from the throne of God….”for the healing of the nations.” As Carl Jung so poignantly insisted, one cannot envision Jesus embracing a church building full of people. He needs to embrace a woman who represents the Community as Bride. In the Christian Gospels, that woman is Mary Magdalene.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, made a prescient comment on the new moral reality in an article in the the Wall Street Journal in 2011, warning, “A tsunami of wishful thinking has washed across the West saying that you can have sex without the responsibility of marriage, children without the responsibility of parenthood, social order without the responsibility of citizenship, liberty without the responsibility of morality and self-esteem without the responsibility of work and earned achievement.”
Read more at http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/64582/temple-baal-ancient-idol-worshiped-biblical-times-will-stand-times-square-biblical-zionism/#qTTDPdJsT9WZX3Ot.99
Please watch this short, awesome video…and read my reaction below
I got teary-eyed watching that video and I am not even a Jew. What got me emotional was the whole idea of clinging onto your heritage no matter what, while surrounded by murderous hostility. Resisting the cultural assimilation demand to “be exactly like us or DIE!”, is valiant indeed. As is not falling for the insidious, less violent pressure to just give in and conform.
Light of the World
As I always tell my children each year, “Yeshua and Magdalene, Mother Mary and Joseph — they all celebrated Hanukkah every year.” It’s amazing how long the Jewish people have made it in a world surrounded by brutal enemies without being stamped out.
Another inspiring part of the video was the concept of light in the darkness, and each of us having an inner light. As followers of Yeshua the Jewish Sage and Messiah, we also know him as the Light of the World and his birthday also occurs along with Chanukah during the dark time of the year, the Winter Solstice. Our inner light, as mentioned in the video, is also a reflection of the Messiah-Light. We must choose to allow our inner light to shine forth. Otherwise it won’t. Think of songs like “Let your light shine,” and “This Little Light of mine”.
Other ironic-seeming connections that come to mind as I type:
Christos is the Greek word for Messiah (means anointed one) and the earliest followers of Yeshua were called “Little Messiahs” or Little-Christos aka “christians”. The first place that word “christian” was used was in Antioch, Syria. Syrian Christians are very ancient — the Assyrian Christians. Now that city is called Antakya, Turkey because a century or so ago the moslem Turks stole it from the Syrian Christians, burned the entire city-center, chased out the Christian inhabitants, and incorporated Antioch into the country of Turkey. It’s very near the land whose air-space the Russian jet flew over for 17 seconds last week causing the Turks to shoot it down.
Ancient events and ancient peoples do seem to tie into current events more and more these days. Be sure to LET your light shine in the darkness. A little light can move a lot of darkness, goes the saying. Help those around you to keep theirs burning, too. Bring out the best in each other, not the opposite!
Words of wisdom fell like pearls (as usual) out of the Dalai Lama on the desperate need for people of all faiths to work together at this juncture in human history. But not as usual, they were spoken to Glenn Beck. T’was an awesome conversation on interfaith-ism. (I think that needs to be a word, interfaithism)
Glenn Beck told the Dalai Lama about the interfaith work he himself is doing “trying to bring different faiths together without mixing our theology,” in hopes of repairing some of the religious strife ripping the world apart these days.
The Dalai Lama replied the way in which religions hate each other so much “is one of the biggest heartbreaks of his life right now.”
The Buddhist Pope as he’s been called says “we are dividing ourselves. That we’re being so foolish by dividing ourselves when we all will stand together. We all have similar, if not the same goal. Any good religion has the same goal, and that is happiness, love, and peace. And if we can’t unite on that goal as humans — because he said everybody on earth needs to recognize that we’re all equal, that we are all the same. We’re all human. We’re all born, and we all want to be happy. But as he said, there is some troublemakers in that lot as well. And he said many of the troublemakers are highly educated people that are using their position to crush others. He said we’re social animals and yet we’re very self-centered, and those two things don’t match. He said we have to get back to the basics — his words — back to the basics, because this is not good for our future, to be so self-centered, if we have to have each other to lean on. And he counseled that we begin to be friends again. He said friendship comes from trust. Trust comes from caring and serving others.”
Read the entire conversation and see a short video clip of the two here at The Blaze.
A recent claim says the Cathar heretics never existed. You may have heard of them, the Cathars were persecuted (hunted, burned) by the Roman Church in the Dark Ages and had to go underground. Margaret Starbird nicely refutes the claim they never existed (see below). I love her take on it, especially the way she likened the Cathar heretics to the Tea Party “heretics” today!
The Cathars — or “Purist Christians” — did indeed exist. Over 200 of them were burned alive at Montsegur, France in 1244. So uh yeah, I think they existed. The historical record agrees. See Cathars. The cool map above shows their location and dioceses.
Why The Cathars Never Existed, an interview with Dr. Pegg
Published on May 16, 2015 YouTube episode: https://youtu.be/O4-imkYbPWw https://youtu.be/O4-imkYbPWw
The Cathars are known as the greatest heresy of the Middle Ages, perhaps in all of western culture. Yet new scholarship reveals that the Cathars never existed. They were a fabrication and projection of both heresy hunters and romance hunters. We deeply understand one of the greatest historical mistakes in all times, as well as how it forces much of medieval history to be completely rewritten, including that of Christianity…and Gnosticism and Occultism as well.
********Margaret Starbird responds:**************
I listened to this entire interview with Dr. Pegg posted on YouTube. I agree with his assessment that “Catharism” did not exist as an organized religion (with central leadership, foundational documents and doctrines) in the 12-13th centuries. What DID exist were numerous groups of people (like St. Francis of Assisi) who used the Gospels (translated into their own Old French dialect, the Langue doc), to interpret the presence and teachings of Jesus in ways that challenged the rigid hegemony of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. The German word for “heresy” is “Ketzerei,” which is suggested a possible source for the word “Catari” (Cathars). But the Latin root (“cathar”) means “pure.” Apparently medieval heretics claimed that their faith was “purer” than that of Rome. St. Bernard of Clarivaux was sent to examine the heretics of southern France and proclaimed that no teachings were more Christian than theirs. My own belief is that these “heretics” (now called “Albigensian” — the general region where they lived—or “Cathars”) were actually Christians who embraced the Gospel of John with its radical message the Christ was present in their daily lives and “walk with the Spirit.” Researchers have always known that the medieval “Cathars” didn’t leave charters and documents. They were living and preaching a “life in the Spirit”—not creating a formal religion.
Also permeating the underground faith of the region was the “great secret” the Jesus and Mary Magdalene were “Beloveds”—attested in a History of the Albigensians written in 1213 by Pier vaux-de-Cerrnay. I have visited the church in Beziers where the “Cathars” and other villagers who sought sanctuary were burned to death when the church was torched on Mary Magdalene’s feast day, 22 July, 1209. Pier Vaux-de-Cernay, a chronicler who wrote about the event in 1213 said that it was Divine Providence to punish the Cathars on that day for their slanderous belief that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were lovers. Other medieval documents assert the “Cathar” belief that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were husband and wife, and apparently this is one of the reasons the Roman Catholic Church was so eager to suppress them. Of course the annals of the Inquisition would not record this belief of the heretics; why would they want to perpetuate the heresy they are trying to squelch?
As discussed in two of my books, “The Woman with the Alabaster Jar” and “Mary Magdalene, Bride in Exile,” the art and artifacts of medieval Europe retain evidence for the heresy of the “Sacred Partnership” of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Dr. Pegg may well be correct in his view that “Catharism” never existed as an organized religion, but the fact that P. aux-de-Cernay’s “History of the Albigensians” was written in 1213 would prove that the heresies of Provence were virulent and brutally suppressed by the Church of Rome. Those heresies were an anti-clerical “grass roots” movement that grew out of the Gospels themselves—encouraged by wandering preachers. In a way they are like the modern “Tea Party” movement— a group of like-minded citizens unite in the belief that the central government in DC (like the Roman Church of the 12th -13c) is hopelessly corrupt and is distorting their “foundation documents” and teachings (the Constitution of the USA today, the Gospels in medieval Europe). The “heretics” in both cases are only loosely connected by certain core beliefs—not in any formal, institutional sense.
I was amused that Dr. Pegg mentioned [the book] The DaVinci Code, since Dan Brown, a novelist writing fiction, borrowed his ideas from Holy Blood, Holy Grail, and from two my books (which he mentioned in DVC). I would have liked for De. Pegg to have commented on the massacre at Beziers in 1209 and on the siege at Montsegur and burning of 200+ heretics there in 1244… are they not history and incontrovertible proof that “Cathars” existed and were persecuted into near extinction?
Peace and light,
www.margaretstarbird.net The Woman with the Alabaster Jar
Okay, so I have a PhD in Religion and teach world religions online, especially esoteric alternative religions with their roots in our ancient history. Yet I read this article and learned things I never knew — or maybe I thought I already knew. Ha ha. Such as:
Alawites (like Assad of Syria) believe you can be reincarnated as a plant. They won’t eat certain kinds of plants because it might be a relative… This might be why Yazidis still don’t eat lettuce.
Zoroastrians hate cats because they believe they are inhabited by evil spirits. I knew they worshipped dogs, and that during the Iranian purge of Zoroastrians, the new religionists (Muslims) would attack the Zorastrian family dogs. But I didn’t know they fear cats to this day. Ironic that Muslims fear dogs to this day, won’t touch them due to them being unclean.
The Druze (such as George Clooney’s new wife) believe in family reincarnation, not just “ordinary reincarnation.” Druze believe they can reincarnate as other Druze (much like Northern European “heathens” believed). Furthermore, Druze youth must be initiated into the religion or they don’t get to know the secret inner teachings. The article author doesn’t know if Mrs. Clooney was actually initiated into her ancient faith as a teenager. I knew the Druze were an esoteric religion influenced by Plato and Aristotle — they are Gnostic neo-platonists, but I didn’t know they were so secretive of their full teachings, requiring initiation of their youth.
Zoroastrians and Mithraism are alive and well, still performing the Mithras worship annual bull sacrifice. The Yazidi priest still whispers in the ear of the bull before he is killed just like the ritual 5000 years ago in the Epic of Gilgamesh! The taurobolium later evolved into a bloody initiation and then “baptism” cleansing ritual. Sacrificing a bull originally symbolised the death of the Age of Taurus as the ancient world entered the Age of Pisces (thousands of years ago). Now we are moving into the Age of Aquarius (it goes backward thru the Zodiac, called the precession of the equinoxes) so I wonder if we will be killing fish. Well, we “killed” Jesus…he was a sacred fish. That is a wierd thought. Carl Jung delved into it, but I digress. Back to stuff I learned in the National Geographic article above…
The reason the Yazidis put conical shaped rooves on all their temples. It was done to represent the Sun-god’s rays — these people date back to the time of the Pharoahs. The Yazidis invented the handshake, it is connected to the Mithras worshippers secret handshake. The Yazidis won’t eat lettuce, and their long mustaches symbolize they are worthy to learn secret teachings.
Samaritans, as in “the good Samaritan” Bible story, still exist and pray daily by bowing on the ground (similar to Muslim prostrations) toward their holy mountain, Mount Gerizim in the West Bank / Israel. They are almost as old as the Jews, and still worship there. I encountered some of them during my trip to Israel in the 1990’s, but I forgot their daily prostrations toward a holy location resembles Muslim prayer toward Mecca. The Samaritans pre-date Islam by at least 1000 years…
As I read, there were also things I did indeed know, but was reminded of, such as:
The Pythagoreans would not eat beans — why not was kept as a sacred secret. (Must’ve been the gas!)
There are Gnostics (with a capital G) that survive to the present day, not only the Druze in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, but the Mandeans who have been quietly hiding out for 2000 years in the marshes of southern Iraq. They are neighbors with other religious hiders such as the Marsh Arabs who worship pre-Islamic gods of Mesopotamia — Old Testament “pagans” who live near the spot the Garden of Eden supposedly once stood and know it.
If you want to hear the language spoken by Jesus / Yeshua and Mother Mary, and Magdalene, you no longer have to travel to hidden villages in Syria and Iraq. You can go to Detroit, USA. Yes, indeed there are now more Aramaic speakers settled there than in my favorite ancient Christian village of Maaloula, Syria (now completely deserted thanks to al Nusra terrorist murderers). We study the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer in our Esoteric Mystery School lessons, it is so beautiful to hear in Aramaic and even to read and speak in the English translation of the Aramaic. The Aramaic version up until 2013 was sung daily by children’s choirs in Maaloula — a favorite experience for Western visitors to Syria. That experience is lost now forever unless the nuns of St Thecla Monastery / Convent somehow survive Syria’s dissolution and somehow manage to return there in the distant future. But even if the nuns go back, and clean up their pillaged, desecrated mountain-top home, will the Christian families who lived there since the time of Christ also come back? Doubtful. Most fled to Damascus in 2013, a few made it out of the country. I wonder how many are in Detroit…and if any of them can sing the Lord’s Prayer. A haunting, lovely, other-worldly sound…. You can still find it on YouTube, thanks to religious tourists in 2010 before the Syrian Civil War. Search for St Thecla Syria Aramaic Lord’s Prayer.
Freddie Mercury, legendary lead singer of Queen, was born into a Zoroastrian community surviving in exile. He was even initiated into the religion as a coming-of-age ritual — just like boys 3000 years ago.
The article also answers the question “Why aren’t there druids running around in London”, since some of their contemporaries have survived in the Middle East? His answer is considered insulting to some, but hey, survival of the fittest, people, and Christianity has pagan DNA. Just look at this week’s European holiday! (Halloween)
Meantime in Syria, a country that is 10% Christian (a hundred years ago like Lebanon, it was over 60% Christian) a Priest and 20 of his church members have been kidnapped, another priest and nuns have gone into hiding, and it is not looking good for them. There are no Christian special forces to go in and rescue the kidnapped ones, nor those being ethnically cleansed.
Then there is this great story of a very brave 28-year-old from Wisconsin who said, “I was sick of just sitting and watching Christians getting slaughtered,” and took off to fight ISIL in Syria. He ran into another American guy doing the same thing and barely had time to get his name before ISIL shelled their position.
“Like many Americans, Jordan Matson is outraged by the brutality of the Islamic State. But unlike virtually every other American, he decided to take the militants head-on.”
* * * * * * *
Are we going to allow ethnic cleansing in the Middle East?
“One cannot resign oneself to conceiving the Middle East without Christians,” Vatican ambassadors sent by the Pope said in an official statement. They reminded everyone of the 2,000-year history of Christians inhabiting the Middle East. Two thousand years is a long time to just throw away. Jews have been there even longer, of course.
I really like this giant Detroit billboard, “Save the Iraqi Christians!”
So this poem Rudyard Kipling wrote just after losing his son in World War I, is being talked about now as prophetic regarding current events, WW3 dawning, etc. See below. I read The Gods of the Copybook Headings again to see if I agree, and whoa, this thing is obtuse. Supposedly it’s about humans constructing false gods, war being a pattern that always repeats. Copybooks. They are those composition tablets into which schoolchildren would write out stuff they were supposed to learn, memorize, etc. Fascinating how the last line has the word “terror” in it. I thought I was getting the gist of the poem until that last verse threw me back into what-the-heck status again. Aye aye aye. See for yourself…
The Gods of the Copybook Headings
AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.
We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.
We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.
With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”
On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!