Today is the day Mary Mother-of-Jesus was said to have ascended into heaven and to begin her reign as Queen of Heaven, crowned by the Father & Son, becoming a member of the Trinity. It makes sense to me that she was our Heavenly Mother and like her Son decided to incarnate here on earth to bring about the Work, to deliver the Message (aka the “Good News” literally gospel).
Margaret Starbird writes:
August 15 is the official Catholic Church Feast Day celebrating the assumption of the Virgin Mary—body and soul—into heaven (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assumption_of_Mary ) validating a folk commemoration of this event over hundreds of years.
In medieval lore, two other female saint were alleged to have been assumed bodily into heaven: Mary Magdalene and Mary the Egyptian (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_of_Egypt), another “Fallen Sophia” revered by medieval Christians. Carl Jung was apparently thrilled when this feast day was declared because it elevated the “Feminine” status, completing (in his view) the “quaternity” (the classic Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit completed by the addition of the Feminine “Mother of God”).
What will it take for the Church to recognize the archetypal Sacred Complement of Christ in the person of Mary Magdalene—his Bride in Exile? She represents the entire human family (flesh and blood) as “Bride”/Partner and co-Creator with the Divine.
July 22nd in centuries-old church tradition is considered Magdalene’s birthday and Feast Day. She is the only woman in history about whom Jesus said, “people will tell this story in memory of her”. The story Jesus meant is the story of Magdalene anointing his head and feet as if for burial, but symbolizing the anointing him as messiah. Messiah is a word meaning “anointed one” and she is the only person in the Bible who anoints him. You recall the rest of the story when she weeps and dries his feet with her hair.
In June 2016 the Pope finally declared July 22nd to be Magdalene’s special Feastday again (in the 1960s they had demoted her holiday but people still celebrated it)
Margaret Starbird writes:
The Pope’s recent pronouncement declares Mary Magdalene about equivalent with the Apostles, but we should not be satisfied until she is acknowledged as the Sacred Partner—Bride and Beloved—of Christ. If you have read my “Mary Magdalene, Bride in Exile,” the epilogue expresses my position: “Who do we say she is?” Until Mary Magdalene is proclaimed as the true partner and co-Redemptrix with Christ, my work is not done. It thrills me to know that other, younger women understand this need to balance the masculine energy, stripped of its feminine partner—and are willing to carry on the effort to enlighten others.
The Book of Revelation ends with the Nuptials of the Lamb and his Bride—a union of the Masculine and Feminine—Lord and Lady of our hearts, as in the “marriage window” from the Dervaig Kilmore chapel [pictured right] —a union of archetypes that causes streams of living water to flow from the throne of God– “for the healing of the nations.”
So, in light of the honor that should have been hers for two millennia, proclaiming her feast day “official” is not nearly enough for me! But I love the Pope for taking this small step in the right direction.
I hope you are aware of my two best arguments for Mary as “Bride”: Micah 4:8-11 -The Magdal-eder prophecy which sums up her post-Crucifixion fate in four lines, and the sacred number of the “153 fishes,” a metaphor for the Church as “Bride” in John 21. The gematria of “H Magdalhnh”–153—is also associated with the vesica piscis and goddesses of love and fertility. I consider these two discoveries that prove the the authors of the Gospels acknowledged Mary Magdalene as the consort of Christ as my most important contributions to the Magdalene “unveiling.”
Pope elevates memorial of St. Mary Magdalene to feast day
By Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service
June 10, 2016
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Recognizing St. Mary Magdalene’s role as the first to witness Christ’s resurrection and as a “true and authentic evangelizer,” Pope Francis raised the July 22 memorial of St. Mary Magdalene to a feast on the church’s liturgical calendar, the Vatican announced.
A decree formalizing the decision was published by the Congregation for Divine Worship June 10 along with an article explaining its significance.
Both the decree and the article we re titled “Apostolorum Apostola” (“Apostle of the Apostles”).
In the article for the Vatican newspaper, Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the congregation, wrote that in celebrating “an evangelist who proclaims the central joyous message of Easter,” St. Mary Magdalene’s feast day is a call for all Christians to “reflect more deeply on the dignity of women, the new evangelization and the greatness of the mystery of divine mercy.”
“Pope Francis has taken this decision precisely in the context of the Jubilee of Mercy to highlight the relevance of this woman who showed great love for Christ and was much loved by Christ,” Archbishop Roche wrote.
While most liturgical celebrations of individual saints during the year are known formally as memorials, those classified as feasts are reserved for important events in Christian history and for saints of particular significance, such as the Twelve Apostles.
In his apostolic letter “Dies Domini” (“The Lord’s Day”), St. John Paul II explained that the “commemoration of the saints does not obscure the centrality of Christ, but on the contrary extols it, demonstrating as it does the power of the redemption wrought by him.”
Preaching about St. Mary Magdalene, Pope Francis highlighted Christ’s mercy toward a woman who was “exploited and despised by th ose who believed they were righteous,” but she was loved and forgiven by him.
Her tears at Christ’s empty tomb are a reminder that “sometimes in our lives, tears are the lenses we need to see Jesus,” the pope said April 2, 2013, during Mass in his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
Pope Francis also mentions her specifically in the prayer he composed for the Year of Mercy: “Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured paradise to the repentant thief.”
Archbishop Roche explained that in giving St. Mary Magdalene the honor of being the first person to see the empty tomb and the first to listen to the truth of the resurrection, “Jesus has a special consideration and mercy for this woman, who manifests her love for him, looking for him in the garden with anguish and suffering.”
Drawing a comparison between Eve, who “spread death where there was life,” and St. Mary Magdalene, who “proclaimed life from the tomb, a place of death,” the archbishop said her feast day is a lesson for all Christians to trust in Christ who is “alive and risen.”
“It is right that the liturgical celebration of this woman has the same level of feast given to the celebration of the apostles in the general Roman calendar and highlights the special mission of this woman who is an example and model for every woman in the church.”
Time to allow women to be Ordained Priests?
One of our other members, Klaus M. in Germany posted after hearing the news:
After Franziskus’ “Magdalenian decision”:
The next step now should to be allow women becoming priestesses in the RCC!
For those who are interested to read the Magdalene elevation in German:
[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.
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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.
Our seminary ordains men AND women because we believe becoming ordained as a priest (or other clergy ordination) should be an answer to the Call, not dependent on one’s gender! We also ordain both men and women as minister, rabbi, reverend, chaplain, etc.
A few days ago the Pope in Rome called for equal pay for women worldwide. Women should get the same pay as men, he said. Yet the Pope won’t even HIRE women because they are not allowed to become ordained as a priest or even deacon.
Our seminary does not discriminate in any way, and one of our bishops, Bishop James, wrote:
“So this means that female Roman Catholic Bishops and Cardinals make the same as their male counterparts?”
Father Erik chimed in: “Lol, sharp wit, and a great point +James! Why would one worry about equal *pay* when one is not even recognizing men and women are equal in more basic human rights – specifically in this case, opening the priesthood to *all* human beings. Seems pretty fundamental to me.”
Becoming Ordained — and she’s female!
One of our seminarians, Deacon Angela, who will soon be ordained a woman priest, concurred saying, “I agree. Let’s implement equality at all levels!”
I’m always amazed at the contortions New Testament scholars go into in an attempt to avoid seeing and stating the obvious. The CNN “special” segment about Mary Magdalene aired tonight. One scholar (Dr. Nicola Denzey Lewis) declared twice that “ground zero” for the idea that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus was the Gospel of Philip, which states that Mary was the “companion” or “consort” of Jesus and that he kissed her often on her…. (sadly the location is missing, but we are told that the apostles were jealous of Mary….because Jesus loved her more than all the rest of them….
If she had read my “Woman with the Alabaster Jar,” published in 1992 and cited by Dan Brown in The DaVinci Code”), Dr.Lewis would have known that for many of us “ground zero” is the canonical
Gospel of John which names the woman who anointed Christ at the banquet at Bethany (Mary) and dried his feet with her hair and follows the passion narrative all the way to the sacred reunion of the Sacred King and his Bride at the tomb on Easter morning. This has nothing to do with the (2nd or 3rd century) Gospel of Philip. All four canonical Gospels mention the anointing of Jesus by a woman and three place this event in Holy Week—followed closely by the Passion of the Christ and his resurrection. This liturgical sequence is reminiscent, even a reenactment of ancient rites of “hieros games” indigenous to the Near East—where the Sacred King is anointed and united in marriage with a royal priestess/princess and later sacrificed, mutilated, executed and entombed.
After three days his Bride/consort returns to the tomb to mourn him and finds him resurrected. These ancient rites go back to neolithic times and are repeated in the Gospel narratives, where Mary and Jesus embody the archetypal Bride and Bridegroom “in the flesh”—.
In the CNN segment, the question was raised: What happened to Mary Magdalene? Back in the 1980’s when I was researching everything I could find about Mary Magdalene, it struck me that in spite of her importance in the final chapters of the Gospels—beginning with the anointing scene and ending with the reunion with Jesus at the tomb (“Don’t keep clinging to me”)—Mary totally disappears from the story, never mentioned in the epistles or in the Book of Acts of the Apostles. What happened to her? The mother of Jesus and other female disciples show up in Acts and elsewhere. Only Mary, Martha and Lazarus are totally missing, except for later legends that try to
fill in the gaps, placing them in Gaul around AD 42…. But why did they leave?
One afternoon in 1988, I sat down at my computer and wrote a story—which is now the fictional opening “Prologue” in my “Alabaster Jar” book—explaining how we came to lose the Beloved of Jesus for two millennia. Sensing danger to the wife of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, the “custodian of the Grail,” came to her on Easter in the evening and convinced her to flee with him to a place of safety…which would only have been necessary if she were possibly pregnant with—or the mother of—a child of Jesus. Protecting the royal family would have been a top priority of the friends and followers of Jesus, the Davidic Messiah of prophecy.
Imagine her—meditate on her—over these coming days, riding on a donkey across the Sinai under the protection of Joseph of Arimathea—“defiled and defamed” seeking refuge in a foreign land, fulfilling the prophecy of the “Magdal-eder” from Micah 4:8-11.
One of our seminary students is writing a paper for her Women in Religion class and wants to interview us by email as follows. Please answer and take part!
1. What is your definition of feminism?
2. What is your definition of patriarchy?
3. What do you think of the stereotype “women are from Venus, men are from Mars?” Put another way, do you think it’s true that women are more emotional and men are more logical? Do you think that men and women are compatible?
4. What do you think America would be like if the main religion was centered on a goddess?
5. Do you think that religion in America has positive role models and messages for women?
6. Do you think that modern America is a healthy environment for women? What about men?
Women are unfortunately still not allowed ordination to the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church, but there is new talk of allowing them to be ordained as deacons. A Catholic deacon is the equivalent of an ordained minister in the non-Catholic world. Currently Catholic Deacons, like ordained pastors and ministers are called “Reverend”, and are allowed to officiate weddings and do other clergy functions.
The current movement would make women eligible for more jobs in the Roman Catholic Church than just becoming nuns. They might be eligible for ordination, not as a priest, but at least as a Roman Catholic deacon. A deacon goes thru an ordination, it is considered one of the Holy Orders. Having women as deacons in Catholic Churches would be awesome, and at least a step in the right direction. They would be female clergy.
Spent yesterday with Bishop Carol Parrish, one of my spiritual teachers from the 1990s. She was consecrated an Independent Sacramental (Catholic) bishop a couple of years ago not long after my own consecration. The ISM is still the only “catholic” movement allowing woman-bishops and priests, although the Anglicans finally have a few. The amount of female bishops is growing in North America, even if it is not in the rest of the world. Now if only my other favorite teacher, Margaret Starbird, would let us make her an Independent Sacramental Bishop…. hee hee. Time to join the episcopate, Margaret!
I often long for a feminine form of the word bishop we could use (just like I long for more feminine vestments and especially miters for us!). In the Greek Bible the word for bishop is episkopo, right? So episkopa would be woman-bishop?
One of many things we talked about yesterday was the Gospel of Mary Magdalene by Jean-Yves LeLoup which +Carol is currently reading. It was a significant study for me and my own formation as a woman priest when I read it in 2004 — suggested by Margaret. +Carol is just now discovering his work and says she really appreciates the way Leloup answers any naysayers and critics by putting the original text on one page, and the translation on the facing page. His translation and commentary are so inspiring. I am going to have to go dig out my copy right now.
Bishop Carol is teaching a workshop tomorrow at the Temple of the Living God in St. Petersburg where she’s been coming every year for the past 40 years, which is basically most of my life… She really is amazing the way she keeps on working decade after decade.
Women Deacons link all the way back to Phoebe, a female deacon in the New Testament. Phoebe was mentioned by name, and there were countless other female deacons just after the time of Jesus. A Deacon is the same as an ordained minister since they can officiate marriages, perform wedding ceremonies, and other clergy functions in which ordination is required. Deacons are actually ordained in an ordination ceremony. Below is a photo of women deacons being ordained in Armenia, near where the first Christians (such as Phoebe) lived. Asia Minor / Turkey is considered the cradle of Christianity (Israel the birthplace) and Armenia, a land full of the descendants of those ancient Christians, is right next to Turkey. They still ordain women. Very cool.
Hours after this story broke, about the head of the CDF’s remarks on women deacons, the item below popped up in my Google newsfeed. I think it opens a window to a part of the Christian world many of us in the Latin church don’t know about.
“Women deacons, an ordained ministry, have served the Armenian Church for centuries.In the Haykazian Dictionary, based on evidence from the 5th-century Armenian translations, the word deaconess is defined as a ‘female worshipper or virgin servant active in the church and superior or head of a nunnery.’ Other pertinent references to women deacons in the Armenian Church are included in the ‘Mashdots Matenadarn collection of manuscripts from the period between the fall of the Cilician kingdom (1375) and the end of the 16th century, which contain the ordination rite for women deacons.’
“The diaconate is one of the major orders in the Armenian Church. The word deacon means to serve ‘with humility’ and to assist. The Armenian deaconesses historically have been called sargavak or deacon. They were also referred to as deaconess sister or deaconess nun. The other major orders of the church are bishop and priest. The deaconesses, like the bishops and monks, are celibate. Their convents are usually described as anabad, meaning, in this case, not a ‘desert’ as the word implies, but rather ‘an isolated location where monastics live away from populated areas.’ Anabads differ from monasteries in their totally secluded life style. In convents and monasteries, Armenian women have served as nuns, scribes, subdeacons, deacons, and archdeacons (‘first among equals’), as a result not only giving of themselves, but enriching and contributing much to our nation and church. In the 17th century, for example, the scribe and deaconess known as Hustianeh had written ‘a devotional collection of prayers and lives of the fathers, and a manuscript titled Book of Hours, dated 1653.’
…To appreciate more fully the role of the deaconess in the church, Father Abel Oghlukian’s book, The Deaconess In The Armenian Church, refers to Fr. Hagop Tashian’s bookVardapetutiun Arakelots… (Teachings of the Apostles…), Vienna, 1896, and Kanonagirk Hayots(Book of Canons) edited by V. Hakobyan, Yerevan, 1964, in which a most striking thought is expressed:
If the bishop represents God the Father and the priest Christ, then the deaconess, by her calling, symbolizes the presence of the Holy Spirit, in consequence of which one should accord her fitting respect.
“Over the centuries, in some instances, the mission of the Armenian deaconesses was educating, caring for orphans and the elderly, assisting the indigent, comforting the bereaved, and addressing women’s issues. They served in convents and cathedrals, and the general population…
“Mkhitar Gosh (l130-1213), who was a priest, public figure, scholar, thinker, and writer, ‘defended the practice of ordaining women to the diaconate,’ Ervine writes, and she adds that in his law book titled, On Clerical Orders and the Royal Family, Gosh described women deacons and their specific usefulness in the following words:
There are also women ordained as deacons, called deaconesses for the sake of preaching to women and reading the Gospel. This makes it unnecessary for a man to enter the convent or for a nun to leave it.
When priests perform baptism on mature women, the deaconesses approach the font to wash the women with the water of atonement behind the curtain.
Their vestments are exactly like those of nuns or sisters, except that on their forehead they have a cross; their stole hangs from over the right shoulder.
Do not consider this new and unprecedented as we learn it from the tradition of the holy apostles: For Paul says, ‘I entrust to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon of the church.’
“By weaving myth, history and international intrigue, my novel PURE VISION: The Magdalene Revelation addresses the Middle East imbroglio through the eyes of a woman determined to discover the truth.
NEW YORK TIMES reporter Maggie Seline has written an explosive book that offers a controversial solution to the Middle East crisis. During a live radio interview, a kidnapping attempt is made and Maggie vanishes. Her disappearance sets in motion a worldwide women’s march toward Jerusalem that threatens the status quo and parallels a frantic race to possess ancient talismans.”
I found the book description above after reading a cool article with nifty illustrations,
The Cyrus Cylinder was an ancient kind of Bill of Rights — Cyrus the Persian is in the Bible and pre-dates Christianity. Our Constitution was probably influenced by Cyrus’ earliest “Bill of Rights” since Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers studied it extensively. In the article linked just above, there are many keywords that resonate with me (and our work here at the seminary) such as Multi-faith and Interfaith, Metaphysical. What a surprise to see Magdalene’s name in a book title by the same author.
Just ordered a copy, the kindle version is less than three dollars, even though I don’t have much time to read novels any more these days! After the DaVinci Code several years ago I haven’t read but one or two.
“A thrill ride in the vein of The Da Vinci Code but with a much larger vision for all of us. The alchemy is part historic fiction, part spiritual adventure, and a variety of interfaith metaphysics that metamorphosize into a golden vision of world peace . . . a page turner.”
— Paul Hertel, Whole Living
“Presents a fascinating story full of intrigue and history. Birney’s fiction seamlessly blends science and religion into a tale worthy of Indiana Jones . . . The book left this reader confident that idealism is not dead and that, sometimes, it can be the road map by which we might save ourselves.”
–Cynthia Warren, Daily Freeman
“Birney infuses this epic novel with feminine echoes of The Da Vinci Code and The Red Tent, with her eyes on the prize of world peace. Reporter Maggie Seline courts controversy by championing an international Jerusalem…when she disappears, women around the globe march for peace…powerful men vie for two ancient artifacts.”