Yeah. I agree with Ken Wilber here (below). I have always thought we can be both spiritual AND religious. Why does religion get a bad rap — well, we all know why, because “sellers” and “enforcers” of organized religion have abused humanity. Â But religion, RELIGION itself is way cool. It’s my field, so okay, I am biased. In our seminary application process we always require new minister candidates to write the story of religion AND spirituality in their life from childhood to present.
From philosopher Ken Wilber’s forum:
It’s become quite a trend in the integral community to describe oneself as “spiritual but not religious.” In light of our shared integral spiritual vision, It certainly makes sense that folks like us would define ourselves in a way that is opposed to folks like them. Who’s them? Well you know, those mythic literalists with their fundamentalist religion. But, from another perspective, don’t you think it’s a bit awkward for us so-called integral types to describe what we are by disaffirming an opposite? And, what’s with all this us and them talk? Is that not a hallmark of absolutistic thinking? Doesn’t this reek of the same conformist cognition that fuels the fundamentalist fervor we’re so sure we have nothing in common with? Instead of so strongly insisting that we’re oh-so-spiritual–but oh-no religion!–what would it mean to be both spiritual and religious?
In this talk, Ken outlines two required steps for bringing religion and spirituality into greater accord. He’s guided by a vision of a fully functional and healthy religionâ€”one which institutionalizes a care and concern for spiritual intelligence that grows in two directions: waking-up and growing-up. On the waking-up side of the street, he envisions the return of state-stage cultivation, accomplished by resurrecting and re-engaging the contemplative practices of the early christian fathers. And on the growing-up side, he calls for a busting of the mythic ceilingâ€”a move that loosens and lubricates development along the spiral of spiritual intelligence, and which results in 2000-year-old myths being reinterpreted at higher levels. If these steps are acted in consort, Ken foresees religion as regaining a functional capacity to address human development through states and structures. And if not, folks like usâ€”folks who deeply yearn for a post-mythic approachâ€”will likely retain our status as “spiritual but not religious.”
Is Anna the Prophetess described in the Gospel of Luke really Asherah’s High Priestess serving underground and incognito in the Temple? The Bible says she lived in the Jerusalem temple full time, is of the tribe of Asher, is a psychic / prophetess and recognized baby Jesus instantly. She gives him her blessing. Â Perhaps she was more than just an old woman practicing the spiritual discipline of fasting and praying. Here’s how Luke tells it…
Luke 2:36-38 Â “There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,  and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.  Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”
Also intriguing (to me) is ancient Church tradition says Anna is the name of Jesus’ maternal grandmother. St. Anna is the mother of the Virgin Mary.
Even more intriguing is Anna Prophetess being the “daughter of Phanuel”. Â Phanuel is a great archangel and is Hebrew for “the face of God.” Look what Wikipedia says about him (especially the last lines about taking on the antichrist).
His name means “the face of God”.Â His was one of the four voices Enoch heard praising God.
This first is Michael, the merciful and long-suffering: and the second, who is set over all the diseases and all the wounds of the children of men, is Raphael: and the third, who is set over all the powers, is Gabriel: and the fourth, who is set over the repentance unto hope of those who inherit eternal life, is named Phanuel. (1 Enoch 40:9)
As an angel, Phanuel is reputedly a member of the four Angels of Presence. In 1st Enoch, he is also listed as an angel of exorcism (he is heard “expelling Satans”). Phanuel has also been linked with the Angel of Penance mentioned in theÂ Shepherd of Hermas.
Some associate Phanuel withÂ Uriel, however, theÂ Book of Enoch clearly distinguishes the two. Uriel means ‘the Light of God’ while Phanuel has a different meaning. Phanuel’s duties include bearing up God’s throne, acting as a guardian angel to all whom have inherited salvation in Jesus Christ, minister of Truth and is an angel of judgement. Furthermore, as The Book of Enoch attests, Phanuel is the angel of repentance unto hope of those who have inherited eternal life. Piecing together the writings of Enoch and the Revelation of John, Phanuel, along with Michael, Gabriel and Raphael will all drink from the ‘winepress of the Wrath of God’, strengthening them in that day, the Day of the Lord. Phanuel’s arch-rival in the demonic hoards is Beliar, the Antichrist, the demon of lies. During the Battle of Armageddon, Phanuel will relinquish this rivalry, to fulfill the prophecy that Christ will destroy Beliar with the word of His mouth. It is often thought that Phanuel (if not with others) is the angelic voice in Revelation 11:15b saying “The world has now become the Kingdom of our LORD and His Christ. He shall reign forever and ever. Amen”
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The article doesn’t mention Phanuel is also known as “demon’s bane”. A google images search for Phanuel yields some nice angel images.