Showing posts from 2011

How Christmas began

The history of Christmas should make us ponder. Christians had no Christmas for more than 200 years after Jesus was born. The origin of the feast had nothing to do with the birth of Jesus because no one knew when he was born. Bible scholars inform us of contradictions and impossibilities in the biblical accounts contributing to the myth, the Gospels of Matthew and Luke (the authors actually are unknown, but that’s another story). Rev. E. J. Niles, a scholar quoted in Unity magazine, says, I love how Joseph was said to take his pregnant wife Mary 94 miles to Bethlehem to fulfill a type of civic duty (a census) that most women would never have even participated in during those times. Also factual nonsense are the genealogies in Matthew and Luke, which disagree with each other, as do their implied dates of Jesus’ birth. Quirinius was governor after Herod died, not before. But we don’t need Bible scholars to tell us that the manger myth lacks facts; any intelligent reader can infer its d

Back to being sheep

Back to being sheep , December 8, 2011 The overthrow of ICEL The new Mass language produces more than a few ripples of indignation, but only in people who know what took place. Ordinary people in the pews, unaware of the history preceding this change and oblivious to the implications of language, accept it without question. All Catholics who attend Mass, however, will be affected negatively, especially those unaware of what happened. A reader asked me to comment on the new translation, and I am happy to comply, but first I expose the conspiracy. Yes, conspiracy. An International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) produced its first Vatican II-mandated English translation of the liturgy in 1973 and continued its work to improve the first hastily-wrought translation. Liturgical, biblical, and linguistic experts—even poets—from around the world contributed to a new translation, finished in 1998, that focused on beauty of phrase while accurately translating the sense of the

Michele Bachmann vs Bishop Spong

God calls us to fall on our faces and our knees and cry out to Him and confess our sins. I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We've had an earthquake; we've had a hurricane. He said, “Are you going to start listening to me here?” Michele Bachmann Michele Bachmann's god reflects the reified idol promoted by typical Christian God-talk. He thinks and speaks like the dominant males so admired in the paradigm we are in the process of escaping. Retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong articulates the paradigm to which we are shifting. Joyfully I listened to him on MPR’s Midmorning cogently support the messages in my book and blog. Samples: Science versus the literal “Sunday school version” of faith; Bible passages contradicting each other and contradicting Christian doctrine (for instance, the idea that Jesus is God); Atheism (a-theism means not believing God is an external being; it does not necessarily mean disbelief in God); God

1% vs 99% in church & state

Wealth inequality finally has entered the political debate, thanks to the Occupy movement. In politics and economics, the issue is unequal money and power. In religion the issue is power, not money. In both church and state, the few at the top look out for themselves while failing to realize that they need everyone else. This is the reason things are falling apart in both spheres. Science and spirituality agree that every aspect of reality is interdependent with everything else, no exceptions. On the physical plane, quantum physics shows interdependence between physical objects and human minds in wave/particle experiments. A scientist/observer setting up an experiment on an atom decides which it will be—a wave or a particle. The physical reality observed cannot be separated from human consciousness; it is not objective but united in a web of relations with the mind of the observer. Quantum non-locality further supports the principle of interdependence by showing that one part of a sp

Why care if God or Goddess

Christians & the Divine Feminine, October 15, 2011 The image of God as Mother is so instinctive that patriarchal religions could not avoid it. The ancestors of the Jews worshipped the Goddess Asherah and the mystical tradition in Judaism known as the Kabbalah revered the Shekinah, the indwelling presence of God. Raphael Patai in The Hebrew Goddess called Shekinah, an independent divine female entity, a direct heir to ancient Hebrew goddesses. His assessment is shared by other scholars. Asphodel Long in The Absent Mother wrote that Shekinah represented the Tree of Life and the community of Israel. In the latter case, she is re-mythologized to become the marital partner of God, reflecting the Biblical tradition of God the husband, Israel the wife. Shekinah was secretly glorified by male Jewish mystics whose devotion to Her was not permitted to the whole Jewish society. Women were consequently kept in the dark about this feminine image. One author of our Christian scriptur

Zionists & the Promised Land

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has given up trying to negotiate with Israel, which, in violation of signed accords, continues to confiscate Palestinian land and violate Palestinian rights. Now the PLO is asking the UN Security Council for full recognition of Palestine, which would call more attention to Israel’s violations of international law. For fear of losing the Jewish vote, the Obama administration opposes the PLO’s bid at the U.N. and will veto it. Despite this, Republicans accuse the administration of not being pro-Israel enough, and the Christian right preaches that Palestine belongs to Israel by biblical command. This faith response (adapted) comes from Florence Steichen, CSJ, Coordinator of Pax Christi MN, 1998-2006. The Promised Land It does not make sense to work for a just peace if God has promised all the land to one people, the chosen people. The first consideration is, How do we understand scripture? And intertwined, How do we image—not understand, but

Patriarchal dominating god

( continuing “Goddess Mary” series ) Jesuit sociologist Walter Ong argues in Fighting for Life: Contest, Sexuality, and Consciousness that God is male. As can be expected, he conflates his God-image—the male “Father”—with Transcendent Reality and unwittingly argues against himself. We are distanced from God as from a father. We have never been physically and physiologically attached to God. . . . In this sense, God is male. He is not nature. Nature is feminine, Mother Nature. Out of her we grow. We do not grow out of God. . . . [God is always] other, different, separated as a father physically is . . . Without intending to, Ong shows plainly that the deformed relationship of Christians with Transcendence stems from their male god—the sole image of divinity permitted to them—out there, over us, detached from us. From this grew the image of a stern and relentless judge-god and sin-centered theology. The demands of the exacting god prompted Teresa of Avila to, thinking of how I ha

Mother right

When Goddess reigned, August 11 ( continuing “Goddess Mary” series ) As there are various names for God, there were, in times when Goddess reigned, many names for Her. I repeat: God and Goddess are simply two different ways to imagine and personify the mysterious Power within all experienced by all in human history. In remote antiquity the Great Goddess was supreme, with many names and various titles given Her in diverse places. In Babylon She was known as Ishtar. Among the Hebrews, ancestors of the Jews, She was Asherah (see my Goddess in the Bible ). In Egypt the Goddess Isis reigned supreme, more important than her brother/husband God Osiris. In Sumer, the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, She was Inanna, and Her women priests determined who would be kings. An eminent Sumeriologist quoted by Merlin Stone tells us, The kings of Sumer are known as the “beloved husbands” of Inanna throughout the Sumerian documents. In a comparable practice but with a twist, Catholic religi