Sunday, August 30, 2015

computer woes

Dear readers,
You haven't seen a new post in a long time. The reason is my computer woes. I can't say when the problem will be fixed. Keep the faith.     ☺    I don't like this emoticom but it's the best I can do.
Let's all keep smiling.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

John O'Donohue

Beauty is about an emerging fullness, a greater sense of grace and elegance, a deeper sense of depth, and also a kind of homecoming for the enriched memory of your unfolding life.
John O’Donohue
On Sunday, August 9, KristaTippett’s “On Being” guest was John O’Donohue, an Irish poet and philosopher who died in 2008. I was introduced to him when the planning group of Mary Magdalene, First Apostle, came to my house to mark my move away from MMFA. This is the womanpriest group I left because its interpretation of doctrine is more literal than mine.

We celebrated my transition in a ritual—not my idea, theirs, and a healing gift to me. The greatest gift given me that afternoon was a poem by John O’Donohue that impresses me still with its understanding of a heart’s passage to freedom:
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this. . . .

Awaken your spirit of adventure;
Hold nothing back; learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

This poem so perfectly captures my process in leaving that I suspect the MMFA leader who chose it understands how it was with me.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Bill Cosby & the Lord

The first allegations against Bill Cosby did not seem believable to me; they veered too much from the image I’d formed of him. I mourn the downfall of a comedian I loved and at the same time I am glad of the scandal surrounding Cosby. The scandal heightens awareness of gender abuse. But not its source.

The Bill Cosby story goes back thousands of years, back to “the Lord” of the Bible. This male image of the Creator/Source won out over the Goddess so that later generations—our generation, in fact—thinks the Creator/Source must be male. Just as I could not imagine Cosby guilty of his heinous acts, Christians cannot imagine the Creator/Source as female. But Hebrew ancestors of the Jews did imagine Her female as well as male. The Bible tells us so (evidence given in previous posts).

Recently a column in the St. Cloud Times claimed yet again that “Ours is a nation founded upon Christian principles.” I wrote a letter saying this claim is not warranted. Deism tempered Christian conditioning in the founders. The column’s scriptural citations all came from Hebrew Scriptures revered by Jews and Muslims as well as Christians. More evidence of religious diversity appears in Bible passages showing Hebrew ancestors of Jews worshipping the Goddess. This information was withheld.

The ultimate consequence of suppressing Goddess worship can be seen in the acts of Cosby and other male abusers of women.
When I connect gender abuse to “the Lord,” some respond in the same way I first responded to facts about Cosby—incredulously. Some images we form in our imaginations are hard to dislodge. People don’t like having holes poked in their preconceptions, of which familiar God-imagery may be the most cherished. Drawing the connection between that male god and abuse becomes impossible for some.

The whole world is trained to pray to a “Him.” How could that not affect gender relations?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

NCR tells it

July 9
I often wish readers could hear or see the comments I get to my blog, especially if they have more content than a compliment. I like compliments, of course, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget the one from a woman whose husband liked my writing so much she asked him if he was in love with Jeanette.

Occasionally I have included emails in my own post, and I decided to do it again. 
John Chuchman:
I am Catholic evermore, Roman, never again.  I don't see the Franciscan Spirituality of Rohr or the Spiritualities of the other Major Orders as being "Roman."
Even if Jesus had organized a church, which he did not, it surely would not be Roman. 

I decided to post three comments anonymously without asking or waiting for consent.
fascinating, especially on Eleanor Roosevelt.  keep up your fine work.

Thanks, Jeanette.
Yes, I read the article in the NCR…
It will take a long time to undo the literal belief in Christian myth…
But I seriously believe we are making some progress.

Like you, I came relatively late to admiration of E. R.  Barbara Cook wrote a two-volume biography of her a few years ago and I think it is still among the best sources on E. R.  She is very much a “saint” to me as well!

NCR tells it        July 8

The latest edition of National Catholic Reporter focuses on the sex abuse crisis. Most interesting to me is NCR’s role in uncovering the scandal—going back to 1985, thirty years ago.  Jason Berry told the story of a priest-pedophile in Louisiana, and Arthur Jones reported on other molesting priests around the country. Back then, NCR already hit the right targets—priests preying on vulnerable children and bishops covering up the facts. Tom Fox, editor then and publisher now, comments:

We saw these dual patterns from the start. It took years for us to fill out the picture—and we had to do it pretty much on our own.

Other Catholic publications wouldn’t touch the story. Most were controlled by bishops who had little or no desire to say anything bad about the church.

Even secular papers were afraid of confronting Catholic officials. NCR’s courage points to what I like about it. It reveals everything—the crud as well as the clean.

It’s worth going to a library for this fascinating issue if you don’t subscribe to the printed paper.
I can link you to this story about John Nienstedt, disgraced archbishop in St. Paul, but Minnesotans interested in this will know as much or more if they listen to Minnesota Public Radio. Here’s a link to stories showing NCR’s history of reporting sex abuse starting 30 years ago. One story includes Tom Fox’s disclosure that as a child he was molested by a priest, which likely motivated him to persist in covering the painful topic when the rest of the world avoided it.

Like Tom Fox, I persist in talking and writing about another issue in religion that Christians avoid, even educated ones—literal belief in Christian myth. Churches encourage worship of a god-man, ignoring information that comes from science, mythology, history, and studies in comparative religion.
So young people and thoughtful adults are becoming “nones” or non-affiliated with religion. They accept spiritual reality but are dissatisfied with traditional Christian churches. I say good for them. Thoughtful Christian educators ought to stop lazily going along with God-talk that feels stupid to a growing body of cradle Christians.

I am a cradle Catholic and I am asked why I still call myself Catholic when I don’t sound like other Catholics. I cherish my religion, and I explain why I stay in God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky. In the memoir I’m now working on, I am trying to sort out how my life led me from parochial to global consciousness. I suspect some readers of NCR and maybe even some writers for NCR are in the same boat I am.