How to Return Goddess to Judeo-Christianity

How to Return Goddess to Judeo-Christianity

“I would like to ask how to return the Divine Feminine to Judeo-Christian religion. My background is Christian, but I find that traditional church is missing something. I feel maybe your organization may help me grow spiritually.” — Stuart, Alberta Canada

We received this inquiry the other day via our northernway.org website. I thought some of you might wish to offer Stuart some ideas, advice, point him in the direction of resources you know, etc.

Margaret Starbird answered:

Church window depicting marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene
Jesus & Mary Magdalene as married couple

Maybe Stuart could start by reading the Mary Magdalene page on your northernway.org website. That page introduces him to the “Lost Bride” who was once at the heart of the Christian story. Tell him that the first heresy in Christianity was the denial of the Bride….and that in silencing her, the Church fathers silenced women’s voices on the planet for nearly two millennia! Now, in the Year of Our Lord MMxv, we celebrate her return to our consciousness bringing wisdom, compassion, and celebration of life and the gift of our bodies as “vessels”—containers for the Spirit of God. Show him the “marriage window” from Dervaig, Scotland, where Jesus and Mary are “hand-fasted” (clasping right hands, as in the rites of Christian marriage)…. and if he wants more, send him to my website: http://www.margaretstarbird.net

In memory of Her—
Margaret
“The Woman with the Alabaster Jar”

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Mystic and poet Wynn Manners said in our GoddessChristians forum:

The First Step, of course, is bringing the Divine Feminine into your own daily life and daily devotions.

Returning the Divine Feminine to Judeo-Christian religion as a whole, is a tall order… and it’s just gonna take a lonnng time… and I’m meaning at least centuries.

What Yeshua once told me was, “Goddess must be elevated for a thousand years.”

He also once indicated that Goddess has to have a different language than the patriarchal religious language.

In Her Spirit we must bring forth different words, a different conceptual matrix rather than just copping-out on Her by carbon-copying the patriarchal language describing the patriarchal God and transferring that to Her.

The Second Step is that we have to be in genuine comm*union* with Her Holy Spirit… so that we are receiving Her Direct Guidance… for She’s the One who will know how to bring about the needed changes.. . She’s the One who can provide us with the phraseology of a variant linguistic and conceptual paradigm. We have to become extensions of Her Living Spirit, womanifestations of Her transformative Spiritual Essence into time. We have to become Her Living Hands, Her Heart & Mind & Spirit — rising like waves of Her Eternal Ocean of Spirit into this time.

The Divine Feminine in Christianity, at this point in time, is mainly represented by Sophia, Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene.

Margaret Starbird’s books on Mary Magdalene are an important resource… relative to the Divine Feminine Bride of Yeshua Christ.

There is some measure of Marian worship in Roman Catholicism… but it’s highly doubtful that it’ll ever be “legitimatized” by the patriarchal stranglehold over that denomination.

When talking about Judaism and Christianity, the most helpful book by way of a Major Resource (that I’m aware of) relative to the Sophia of the Bible is WISDOM’S FEAST: Sophia in Study and Celebration by Susan Cole, Marian Ronan and Hal Taussig. Two of these have been in the Methodist ministry; one is Roman Catholic in background.

Of course you’re gonna get a lot of flack from conservative Christianity… so those seeking to help return the Divine Feminine to Judeo-Christian religion need to be well-versed in all the segments in the Bible that reinforce the Divine Feminine perspective and Sophia (as the Holy Spirit) specifically. Tho they won’t be of any use to you, relative to conservative theological lock-ins, it is also best to be well-versed in all parts of the ancient Gnostic scriptures that reveal more about Sophia & the Divine Feminine in general.

For example, it is very important to realize that when Yeshua spoke of what we have translated into the English words “the Holy Spirit” that he was always referring to Her with feminine pronouns, not the masculine pronoun as is falsely translated in the Gospel of John, chapters 14 & 16. The Hebrew word for spirit is ruach… and the Aramaic word for spirit is rukha (there are variant English spellings of these two words)… both of which are feminine nouns. I think it is also important to know that in “The Gospel of the Hebrews” Jesus actually called the Holy Spirit his Mother! Jerome — who, to my understanding, translated the entire Bible (including the intertestamentary books — which Protestantism expurgated from their Bibles — thus deleting major revelations about Sophia — “Sirach” chapter 24 and “The Wisdom of Solomon”) into the Latin Vulgate also considered “The Gospel of the Hebrews” sufficiently spiritually legitimate that he translated it too! Roman Catholicism did not include “The Gospel of the Hebrews” in their canon — and only quotations from it have survived in some of the Church Fathers’ writings… but maybe a complete copy if it will eventually be discovered and we’ll be able to determine why it was excluded from the canonized scriptures — and (possibly) learn much more therefrom relative to early Christian beliefs and actual further teachings of Yeshua that didn’t survive otherwise.

In the Nag Hammadi Library, works like “The Gospel of Philip”… “Thunder, Perfect Mind”… “Trimorphic Protennoia”… and “The Apocryphon of John” (and others like “The Hypostasis of the Archons” and “Upon The Origin Of The World”) are important resources relative to awareness of Sophia & the Divine Feminine as it existed in the early centuries of Christianity… and the return of neo-Gnostic denominations of Christianity, as they florish across centuries ahead will surely be utilizing these… along with more contemporary revelations of and from the Divine Feminine… for, of course, we’re going to get lots of future texts being written across the centuries forthcoming by many who are “in Her Spirit”.

It’s going to be exciting!

Besides contemporary Gnostic groups (like those of Tau Malachi and Tau Rosamonde Miller) incorporating the Divine Feminine in their services, there are a few contemporary ministers in the mainline Christian denominations who are devoted to the Divine Feminine, too. Foremost, to my knowledge, is “herchurch” (ECLA Lutheran) in San Francisco, California.

http://www.herchurch.org/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/herchurch/135493109832761

I think it also Of Value to read some of what the opposition to the Divine Feminine are writing… so that one is aware of what kind of criticisms / attacks one needs to be equipped to respond to for the sake of the borderline sorts (one is hardly going to convince the “hardliners”).

http://www.exposingtheelca.com/exposed-blog/category/goddess%20worship

The only major Christian denomination (that I’m aware of) which recognizes Goddess, is Mormonism — but you’ll hardly find that out from the most of what they’re saying! — for they pretty much “keep Her in the closet”… and (it appears to me) that the voices of the women who want to promote Her are being suppressed by the Mormon patriarchy. One writing friend (who is Mormon) at a local writers group a half a dozen years ago, when I asked him about it, said that Mormons don’t broadcast Her Existence because She’s too holy to them to beget circumstances where unbelievers will be profaning Her. Another Mormon who came to my door about six months ago — when I brought up the subject to him — said that Mormons are condemned to hell for so many of their doctrines, already, that they didn’t want to be adding more fuel to the fires of other denominations condemning them as not being Christians by publicly advocating Goddess, too — for of course that gets labelled as being “paganism” by Christians who condemn the Divine Feminine.

I praise those who are working within the established denominations, trying to “return the Divine Feminine to Judeo-Christian religion” — but, overall, I believe it’s going to turn out to be a heart-breakingly futile attempt. (I’ll be only happy to be proven mistaken in this assessment! I believe there are several in the ministry who would love to incorporate Her in their services, but are very well aware that they will either lose their positions… or lose most of their congregation — especially the conservative ones who make the larger monetary donations.)

I think, in largest part, those capable of doing so are just going to have to start up their own separate denominations… just like Methodism, Lutheranism, Christian Science, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormonism, Unity & the Jehovah Witnesses all had their own beginnings (or, more anciently, Valentinism, the Sethians, the Barbelites, etc. did) — only these new denominations will totally incorporate the Divine Feminine, eliminating the distortions and still-faulty mythology of many of the ancient Christian Gnostic sects. And they will be bringing forth “The New Wine of Her Spirit”.

~~wynn manners

http://cosmicwind.net/800/Cmwl/SiteMap/CmwlSiteMap.html

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sophia-Mother-of-the-All/332599176773679

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Seeking-Mary-Magdalene/102467599878534

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I personally have had good experience with the Unity Church, a very metaphysical Christian denomination. They allow Goddess to be mentioned in childrens’ Sunday School — She is not suppressed! Unity Churches are in most cities.  — Katia

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Margaret Starbird wrote yesterday regarding this article about about Mary Magdalene’s similarities with the Egyptian Goddess Isis.
https://www.academia.edu/12129204/Tears_and_Fragrance_for_the_God_s_Death_and_Resurrection_The_Funerary_Syncretism_of_Mary_Magdalene_with_Isis

Margaret says: Although this author, Dr. Margaret Merisante, does not site my work, she could have. I discussed the connection of Mary Magdalene with Isis, the original “Sister-Bride” of a sacrificed Bridegroom-King in my Woman with the Alabaster Jar (published in 1993). I’m not an expert on Egyptian funerary rites, but I recognized the connection of the anointing of the king as an ancient rite from the Hieros games cult in which the marriage union of the “Beloveds” is followed later in the liturgical season by the assault, mutilation, death and burial. This connection of Mary Magdalene with Isis is strong—based on the “Song of Songs” where the fragrance of the “Sister-Bride” spreads around her Bridegroom at the banqueting table. The “Canticle” (Song of Songs) is known to be a a liturgical poem from the cult of Isis and Osiris. The Bridegroom speaks of his beloved as “My sister, my spouse”— which I believe was the epithet given to the wives of Jesus and his apostles, the “sister-wives” Paul mentions in his letter to Corinthians (1: 9-5).

I’m so thrilled that others are finally seeing this connection and are willing to research and affirm that Mary Magdalene is indeed, the “Goddess in the Gospels“.

In memory of Her—
Margaret
“The Woman with the Alabaster Jar”
www.margaretstarbird.net

Papal Hypocrisy: Equal Pay for Women, But Won’t Ordain Women!

Ordination of Women?

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!”

 

Mary Magdalene & Mary of Bethany the same person

Magdalene anointing Jesus ordained by God priest and messiah
Mary of Bethany aka Magdalene Anoints Jesus Making Him the Anointed One – in Hebrew language, “Messiah”

For centuries people have debated whether Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, is the same person as Mary Magdalene. This is called “the conflation of the Marys”.  Supposedly Pope Gregory said they were the same woman in a sermon, confusing everyone for centuries thereafter. But no, people thought they were the same woman before his sermon. The Eastern Orthodox Church believes and teaches that Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene are two separate women, but the Catholics said they were the same for over a millennia.

Margaret Starbird asserts they are the same person and indeed the Secret Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of John, and more recently an early 20th century Catholic Encyclopedia(!) imply or state they are indeed the same woman.

Here is a recent post by Margaret Starbird explaining why she believes they are the same woman.

Quoting an article we were discussing on the GoddessChristians forum:

  “Mary Ann Beavis explains how the unnamed sinful woman who anoints Jesus’ feet in Luke 7:36-50, Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene gradually became identified.  This was the teaching of Pope Gregory. The idea that (the conflated Mary’s chief sin was sexual and that she was a prostitute is a later elaboration.
***************Margaret Starbird’s reply;
IMO, this very old and very tired explanation is an error, endlessly perpetuated by people who attempt to separate Mary of Bethany from Mary Magdalene, although for centuries they were honored as a single Mary, the “ointment bearer” at the banquet at Bethany and at the tomb of Christ.  The earliest “conflation” of the two women occurs in the Gospel of John, believed to have been written in about 90 A.D., although some scholars attest that the Gospel seems to have strong “eye-witness” elements.
Here’s the account from Luke’s Gospel 7;37-38:
        37. And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume,
38. and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.

Remember that  an “unnamed woman” had anointed Jesus in Mark 14 (written c. 70) and Matthew 26 (written c. 80), a woman with “an alabaster jar” of pure (precious) perfume (nard) came to Jesus at a banquet and anointed his head….and the apostles complained about the wasted value of the perfume. Jesus this says, “She has done me a favor.  She has anointed me in advance for my burial, and wherever this story is told, it will be told in memory of her.”  He links this anointing (an ancient rite associated with the messiah and his marriage to the land and people through the action of the “Bride”).

So Luke, writing in about 80-85) retells (and embellishes!) the story of the unnamed woman with the “alabaster jar” —and calls her a sinner!  He also takes the story away from Bethany and Holy Week and places it in an unnamed town much earlier in Jesus’ ministry, I believe in an attempt to downplay the importance of the action of the woman who anointed the head of Jesus in the earlier Gospels.

So now we come to the Gospel of John, written a few years after Luke.  John is trying to correct Luke’s version of this story.  It is most improbable that an anointing of Jesus by a woman happened more than once, since a woman touching a Jewish man in public is an absolute “taboo”—as in NO chance!!  All four Gospel authors are dealing with a story that has been “told and retold” in their community for an entire generation about a woman who anointed Jesus at a banquet….probably just shortly before his Crucifixion and probably in Bethany, on the Mount of Olives, an extremely important location in Jewish prophetic tradition.  And John’s version is extremely explicit.  In John 11:2 and again in 12.3, the author states that “it was Mary who anointed Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair.”  Clearly this is a detail (outrageous action on the part of Mary, in light of the “taboo”) that occurs in Luke’s Gospel and is repeated here.  Then, in chapter 12:3, the author of John’s Gospel repeats the story, in case we missed it the first time:

1. Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
2. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.
3. Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, *said,
5. “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?
6. Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.
7. Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial.
We can see that “John” has taken the original story and has now named the woman with the ointment who anointed Jesus —she is Mary, the sister of Lazarus. And, when Judas complains, Jesus says, “Let her keep it for the day of my burial”!  Again, Jesus associates the action with the ancient “heiros games” rites of the sacrificed Bridegroom and his Bride, the woman who anoints the King.  Luke’s version is the anomaly. The other three accounts agree that the woman who anointed Jesus was the “ointment bearer” at the banquet and at the tomb.  Yet WHICH Mary carries the ointment at the tomb?  Invariably, it is the one called “the Magdalene,” an extremely significant title that associates her with the prophecy of the Magdal-eder, crying at the tomb of the deceased King and being sent, defiled and defamed, into foreign exile!  “Why are you crying?” the Daughter of Sion/Magdal-eder is asked (Micah 4); the words are repeated at the tomb of Jesus n John 21, again, not once but twice:  “Why are you crying?”   It is the role of the bereaved Bride to return to the tomb of her beloved and to find him resurrected in the Garden….  Where have we heard this story before?
 
I believe it’s time to correct the record! The “conflation” of Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene was NOT a later construct based on a sermon by Pope Gregory in 592. It was the original understanding of the community who knew Jesus and Mary, the one whom they gave the title “H Magdalhnh.”  For more information, please visit my website article about this title:    http://margaretstarbird.net/mary_called_magdalene.html       
 
In memory of Her,
Margaret
“The Woman with the Alabaster Jar”
 

 

Jesus & Magdalene Marriage Depicted in Church Stained-Glass Window

Church window depicting marriage of Jesus and Mary MagdaleneMargaret Starbird wrote yesterday: My Highland friends Theresa and Barrie Dunford just sent me this link to their webpage about the “Marriage Window” in the Kilmore Church in Dervaig, on the Isle of Mull (Scotland):  http://sacredconnections.co.uk/…/stained-glass-window-myst…/  The page includes information about the artist, Stephan Adam and his connections with the 19th c. “Pre-Raphealite” circle (DG Rosetti, Sir EB Jones, et alia), whose many depictions of the Grail Maiden are so wonderful!

Mary Magdalene’s Journey into Foreign Exile

Married Jesus Magdalene ordained female priest PhD
Jesus & Magdalene in the 1973 Movie Jesus Christ Superstar

Margaret Starbird wrote today April 10, 2015 the week after Easter:

Legend places Mary Magdalene in France after AD 42, but she disappears from the Christian narrative sometime between Easter morning and the beginning of the Book of Acts. One of the questions we must ask is WHY? The mother of Jesus and the apostles all reappear in Acts—but Mary Magdalene, Joseph of Arimathea, not to mention Lazarus and Martha, all disappear abruptly and are noticeably absent in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles.  St. Paul never mentions any of them in his epistles either.

In 1988 I wrote the short fictional “novella” that was later published as the “Prologue” in “The Woman with the Alabaster Jar” (1993). The story show how we might have lost all information about Mary Magdalene following the proclamation of the Resurrection. If Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus and pregnant with his child (or even possibly pregnant—or already a mother), protecting her from the Roman and/or Jewish authorities would have been a top priority of the friends and followers of Jesus. Legend insists that Joseph of Arimathea was the “custodian of the Grail”—the vessel that “once contained the blood of Christ.”—
In 1995 Susan Methvin, Ph.D. a college English professor in Alabama, sent me a poem she had written in response to reading my book:

“Imagine the Grail if you can, not as a gold cup
nor as one silver, embossed with grapes and vines,
but imagine the grail as the cup of her body,
that rocking place beneath her breast, the deep pear-shaped sac.
Her stomach rounded skin stretched into spun silk,
fills with the fruited seed of their making love.
The unborn child sways in this dark grail as her mother rides
across the searing desert.  Magdalen’s only songs . .
steady breath, heart’s beat, dry sob.
In the heat, sometimes Magdalen
mouths His name, and the child takes form
blessed beneath the name of Jesus.”

A few years later Susan died, a victim of breast cancer.  You can visit a blog commemorating her here:   http://www.susanmethvin.blogspot.com/
These days following Easter are an anniversary of the trek of Mary Magdalene across the Sinai to Alexandria—into nearly 2000 years of exile…
In memory of her—
Margaret

Margaret Starbird on Mary Magdalene in the Four Gospels

Mary Magdalene Jesus Kiss OrdainedMargaret Starbird wrote the other day:

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.

In memory of her,
Margaret
“Mary
Magdalene, Bride in Exile”
www.margaretstarbird.net

People “hate” church but still love religion and spirituality

Ordained Minister Rabbi Priest challenges to keep Church ministry thrivingThis is such a paradox, yet we all know the feeling, don’t we? You still believe in God and most aspects of your religion, still have faith, but you despise going to church or synagogue.  You are reluctant to go perhaps because either you’re so exhausted from trying to keep up with the culture-techno-information age “activities” and “entertainments” OR because church is so old-fashioned / gossipy / politics / boring / hokey — take your pick. Also for some of us, the theology and teachings just don’t inspire as much as they did our ancestors. Have movies spoiled us? Do we need updated myths and spiritual stories — more inclusive ones? I personally believe, as most of you know, that the absence of the Divine Feminine, of God-the-Mother, is part of the problem, but that’s another post.

I know that as an Ordained Minister, Rabbi, priest or other clergy we should pay attention to this unchurched phenomenon so we can still reach the people who want to work / worship / learn with us. They are all still out there, just not showing up to brick and mortar buildings anymore. Our alternative clergy who receive ordination from us here have many kinds of ministries and churches, including online churches, in order to connect with people.

There is a Free Webinar on this topic April 15 which I plan to “attend” / view. I urge all of you ordained clergy just starting out to sign up also:

Sociologists reveal why people are DONE with church but not their faith

Webinar Overview:

After devoting a lifetime to their churches,they’re walking away.

Why?

Sociologists Josh Packard and Ashleigh Hope reveal the results of a
major study about the exodus from the American church. And what they’ve
discovered may surprise you…

Church refugees aren’t who you’d expect. Among those scrambling for the exits
are the church’s staunchest supporters and leaders. Leaving the church
doesn’t mean abandoning the faith. Some who are done with church report
they’ve never felt spiritually stronger.

Training Objectives [ for the ordained ]

•        Learn what prompted a study of the dechurched?
•        Get background on how was the study conducted and what hypotheses were confirmed or challenged in the process?
•        Discover any consistent themes that came out of the study?

If you can’t make the webinar time be sure to register anyways, we’ll send
you a link of the recording to watch afterwards. You’ll also
get a special offer on the book Church Refugees.

Webinar will be approximately 50 minutes in length.

 

Is God Genderless? Is there a God the Mother and God the Father?

God the Mother Genderless Holy Spirit is Female
God the Mother as part of the Trinity on a church ceiling in Urschalling Germany

My seminary friends and I were discussing God-the-Father and God-the-Mother existing as one step down from the Absolute, an Ultimate deity (in the Wisdom Traditions called “The Monad”) who is beyond gender, even beyond/above Creation.

Wikipedia articles give Christian and Jewish opinions:

 

  1. Gender of God in Christianity http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_of_God_in_Christianity

“the majority of Christian denominations (with the notable exception of Mormonism) accept a God who transcends gender.”

  1. Gender of God in Judaism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_of_God_in_Judaism

“’ G-d has no body, no genitalia, therefore the very idea that G-d is male or female is patently absurd. We refer to G-d using masculine terms simply for convenience’s sake, because Hebrew has no neutral gender; G-d is no more male than a table is.’”

Believers in the Divine don’t need Cosmic Answers

Thought-provoking line I just read in a news article:

I am not smart enough to argue with those that cling to disbelief. Centuries of philosophers have made better arguments than I could, and I am comfortable with just pointing in their direction if an acquaintance insists, “If there is a God, then why [insert atrocity]?” For me, belief didn’t come after I had the answer to that question. Belief came when I stopped needing the answer.

From Why I’m Coming Out as a Christian by AnaMarie Cox.

Every human has probably asked the so-called ultimate questions, “Why are we here?”, and “Why does God allow suffering?”, “Why doesn’t God show him/herself?”

When we stop needing the answer — ’cause we’re simply never gonna get the answer — is the only time we can relax and just believe, just get to work. Some “believers” become spiritual workers. They work as a spiritual guide and/or spiritual helper for others. Some “believers” are quiet advocates working behind the scenes thru prayer and meditation. Others do nothing other than live their life as an example of how allowing your spiritual side to develop brings ultimate happiness in life.

Why be spiritually retarded? You work on your mental and physical self, why ignore the other third, the spiritual? I think a lot depends on how a person is wired. Some people naturally gravitate toward developing their spiritual third just like many athletes develop their body first and foremost, and scientists develop their mind / mental capacity more.  Most people I work with in my field of religion and spirituality are spiritual-mental dominant with their physical health and fitness, developing their body, coming third.  A few are mental-spiritual dominant instead of spiritual-mental (with the physical coming third). Of course we all know many people who are physical-mental dominant or mental-physical with their spiritual third coming in last. That is the great majority of humanity, I think.  I have not yet met anyone who perfectly balances all three.

I’ve heard that Tibet is the most spiritual “country” in the world. Tibet has the highest concentration of ordinary people devoting their lives to religious life, becoming priests and nuns. I put country in quotes since China annexed them and Tibet sadly no longer exists, but that’s another story.

Various Interfaith Minister Manuals and Resources

We have been recommending to all our ordained ministers the Interfaith Minister Manual by Angela Plum for decades. But it is harder to get lately, so I ordered these to see if I like ’em:

Get Ordained a Minister Rabbi Pastor Priest Interfaith1. The Interfaith Worship Manual by Rev. Stephanie Rutt. This manual includes a wide variety of interfaith worship services from Reverend Stephanie Rutt’s extensive repertoire. They span many faith traditions and cover musings on inspiring individuals as well as major holiday celebrations. Also included are guidelines for creating sacred spaces and for developing and facilitating meaningful interfaith worship experiences.

2. The Interfaith Prayer Book “…immensely popular for use both at interfaith gatherings and for personal reflection, having found its way into hospitals, motel rooms and college classrooms as well as places of worship all around the world. A selection of prayers from six religious traditions; Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Bahá’í. This Expanded Edition adds prayers from eight additional traditions; Native African, Native American, Zoroastrian, Taoist, Confucian, Shinto, Jain and Sikh.

3. The Interfaith Alternative: Embracing Spiritual Diversity  “Whatever your spiritual path, chances are that the primary tenets of your faith include universal love, acceptance, and compassion. Yet three thousand years after Moses, twenty-five hundred years after the Buddha, two thousand years after Jesus, and fifteen hundred years after Muhammad, we are still divided by our differences. Religious intolerance, discrimination, even persecution and violence make up the not-so-golden rule.

The Interfaith Alternative shows us how we can celebrate each other without fear of losing our own identity. It illuminates the path to creating a nurturing spiritual community that honors and includes all religious languages.”

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4. I am about to order this book because although it is not a minister manual, it looks to be an excellent resource, How to Be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook

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We encourage all our ordained clergy to share any ceremonies they have created.

If you are not yet ordained, and have heard the Call to become ordained, we would be glad to have you in our interfaith, multi-faith community of clergy. Read the easy steps to ordination. This is not an online ordination, but distance ordination and we have been ordaining clergy of all faiths since 1987.