Posts Tagged ‘Women’


1 To Theophilus.

The first book I wrote was about everything Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up into heaven. Before this, with the help of the Holy Spirit, Jesus told the apostles he had chosen what they should do. After his death, he showed himself to them and proved in many ways that he was alive. The apostles saw Jesus during the forty days after he was raised from the dead, and he spoke to them about the kingdom of God. Once when he was eating with them, he told them not to leave Jerusalem. He said, “Wait here to receive the promise from the Father which I told you about. John baptized people with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

-Acts of the Apostles 1:1-5 (New Century Version, NCV)

Been a bit behind in my reflections on different scriptures. This one has been percolating since Mother’s Day (in Anglican tradition Mothering Sunday; and other traditions Christian Family Sunday). The scripture that falls on this day is traditionally stated to have been written by Luke, the Physician, the one that travelled and had a falling out with Paul. His sequel, Acts of the Apostles, to his Gospel, the second part of what speaks to a “historical account” of the early church. That is trying to show the gospel story for those who have been disenfranchised by their society, it also touches upon Trinitarian language (language of the Trinity alluded to in scripture, adopted by Constantinian Christendom), but more on that later.

When the apostles were all together, they asked Jesus, “Lord, are you now going to give the kingdom back to Israel?”

Jesus said to them, “The Father is the only One who has the authority to decide dates and times. These things are not for you to know. But when the Holy Spirit comes to you, you will receive power. You will be my witnesses—in Jerusalem, in all of Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world.”

After he said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 As he was going, they were looking into the sky. Suddenly, two men wearing white clothes stood beside them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking into the sky? Jesus, whom you saw taken up from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you saw him go.”

-Acts of Apostles 1:6-11 (NCV)

Many have seen Hebrew Bible story throw backs to Elijah or Enoch. Enoch of course being tied to the texts that aids in the building upon of Paleo-Seti theology (Ancient Alien Theory). It is the idea of a human ascending from this life. In this moment Luke is conveying the concept of Jesus as an ascendant master, a concept that would have been available to a group meeting within a major centre due to the Roman Roads network. It also lays a passage of how we will recognize the second coming of Jesus. But truly reflect on that passage, come back in the same way you saw him go.

Some have used this to speak to rapture/second coming end of the world language. But what if it is less violent than that? What if it is those mystery-mystical-random acts of kindness experiences that seek no recompense? What if it is what simply has been being stated in every vision of Mary of Nazareth since her son’s ascension and hers (more thoughts on Mary of Nazareth here). That is, as we have seen Jesus go through life, transfiguration, death, resurrection and transition is the journey of the soul for each of us, and through us the essence of his life and teachings will transfigure this world.

Yet in this text rooted is the choosing of the new life to replace that which succumbed to the darkness in Judas Iscariot:

12 Then they went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. (This mountain is about half a mile from Jerusalem.) 13 When they entered the city, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon (known as the Zealot), and Judas son of James were there. 14 They all continued praying together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’ brothers.

15 During this time there was a meeting of the believers (about one hundred twenty of them). Peter stood up and said, 16-17 “Brothers and sisters, in the Scriptures the Holy Spirit said through David something that must happen involving Judas. He was one of our own group and served together with us. He led those who arrested Jesus.” 18 (Judas bought a field with the money he got for his evil act. But he fell to his death, his body burst open, and all his intestines poured out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem learned about this so they named this place Akeldama. In their language Akeldama means “Field of Blood.”) 20 “In the Book of Psalms,” Peter said, “this is written:

‘May his place be empty;
leave no one to live in it.’  And it is also written:

‘Let another man replace him as leader.” 21-22 “So now a man must become a witness with us of Jesus’ being raised from the dead. He must be one of the men who were part of our group during all the time the Lord Jesus was among us—from the time John was baptizing people until the day Jesus was taken up from us to heaven.”

23 They put the names of two men before the group. One was Joseph Barsabbas, who was also called Justus. The other was Matthias. 24-25 The apostles prayed, “Lord, you know the thoughts of everyone. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to do this work. Show us who should be an apostle in place of Judas, who turned away and went where he belongs.” 26 Then they used lots to choose between them, and the lots showed that Matthias was the one. So he became an apostle with the other eleven.

-Acts of Apostles 1:12-26 (NCV)

Why would this text be important on Mothering Sunday or Mother’s Day? Simple, too often our created patriarchal church structure has silenced the all to important divine feminine. Silenced the women at the tomb. The women that sacrificed and worked to support the mission of Jesus of Nazareth and his men. The woman that chose a different path that what society said was “right and just” for her non-entity status. A woman that chose to stand and watch that same society destroy her child.

Yet that same woman, was the mother of a movement. Mary of Nazareth held authority in the early community because of the balance of divine feminine and masculine that Jesus taught. The different way, the getting right with creation where God/YHWH/Holy Mystery created humanity in their image- Male and Female. Both. Together. The replacement was divined through many ways of understanding, but in the midst of the story, is that Mary is the one that called for it, and ascended to it. Without her and the other matriarchs would the movement have survived the crucifixion?

Mother’s Day/Mothering Sunday holds truer to the roots of the scripture of a Matriarch. Or perhaps it is because I have seen how many traditions have misused the concept of “Christian Family Sunday.” Thought to embrace the diversity that is the Christian world, instead another way to sideline the marginalized voice, the matriarch, the divine feminine and assert the religious right idea of patriarchy. While Mother’s Day/Mothering Sunday still allows for the deviance that was the original movement, for it speaks to the women (however they identify) that allowed us to become who we were truly meant to be.

For that is the story of Mary, and the strength she had in mentoring, letting, releasing, and loving her son to speak love into the world…and all that came from those four letters upon their family.

Advertisements

There are many Empty Tomb or resurrection narratives found within the Canonical Gospels, never mind the ones in the pseudepigraph (apocrypha-gnostic—the ones Constantine’s Scholars did not want). There is scenes we are familiar with of Doubting St. Thomas putting his fingers in Brother Jesus’ wounds; talking with disciples on the road; eating fish with them.

BUT-

The oldest text ending we have was what is believed by tradition to originally been recited to John Mark (his folks owned the Upper Room, yeah that one, he was there at the arrest and ran away naked, and he journeyed a bit with Paul) by Peter (the one that Jesus called Satan in one moment, and in another was being called the foundation stone of the Christianities, and Brother Jesus entrusting him with the keys if you will).

This was the original “ending-beginning” (original Sonrise):

 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they could go and anoint Jesus’ dead body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb. They were saying to each other, “Who’s going to roll the stone away from the entrance for us?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. (And it was a very large stone!) Going into the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right side; and they were startled. But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.[a] He has been raised. He isn’t here. Look, here’s the place where they laid him. Go, tell his disciples, especially Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.” Overcome with terror and dread, they fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

-Mark 16:1-8 (Common English Bible)

Fear? Seems an apt human response to finding your friend’s body missing. Even with the message, these women had heard the rumblings of the authorities, or of other factions on what to do with the body to break the back of the movement.

Yet the message went to three strong women. It was the true community message time. In ancient world customs took 2 women to equal one man in testimony. Yet here you had a Trinity. Much like a mirror reflection of the Trinity of God (Creator), Jesus (master teacher/way shower) and the promised Holy Spirit (community empowerer). The women were Mary, Mother of James (who was Jesus’ brother)—the co-creator of the life of Jesus; Salome (Herod’s niece who was manipulated in killing John, reborn within the movement, a new child mentored by the women); and Mary Magdalene (once written off as a sex worker in a derogatory manner, now history showing that she was the major sustainer of the community, through her monies keeping things going, and very possibly the wife of Brother Jesus).

An earthly feminist trinity receiving the truth. That even the plans of evil, power, Empire and Religious Controllers were undone. They had heard the message (the Gospel proclaimed of the new Kingdom to come) and they had seen the signs…yet in the midst of the reality. Truly having their society’s meta-narrative shattered, the caste system of religion, economics and colonialism blown away…the fear of change gripped them and they rolled through it as they ran.

Who would do any different in the midst of such drastic change?

With each change in life no matter how minuscule, our emotional intelligence goes through the journey of grief. That is what this group was going through, later accounts tried to alleviate that understanding. This earliest account allows you to enter into it.

Not only enter into it, but after the fear rolls through and you are left with the acknowledgement of what just happened.

Flowing into that moment of new reality. That moment when one realizes nothing can stop radical love. Nobody can stop true belonging. No matter how much “power they have”. For all the powers of the known world attempted to and looked as if they had succeeded in silencing the peasant labourer from Nazareth…and the Holy Mystery and a big Nu-Uh for them as the sun rose on a Sunday.

They may have run in fear…

But what came next is how each of them, and cascading into each member continued to write their own Gospel story.

Empires and religious controllers to come may have tried to set and seal the Christian Testament, but they too missed the moment of fear of the women. For it was in that moment of fear, that they knew the story was no longer about the life lived of Brother Jesus. It was now about the lives living the way of radical love of Brother Jesus and the transformed world to come.

It was now their Gospel. Their political proclamation of radical love and belonging.

It was their answer to the question, who is my Neighbour?

This Easter Sunday, as the sun rose, and you were confronted with the man in white telling you the tomb was empty…where is your fear taking you?

            What is your Gospel? Your political proclamation of radical love and belonging?

            What is your answer to the question, who is my neighbour?


Divinity

Divinity (Photo credit: Eye – the world through my I)

This was a tweet from Mark Harvorth @HardlyNormal  a travelling advocate for those without a place to lay their heads in North America.  It is also a true fact.

But let’s grow beyond the 140 characters to understand what Domestic Violence can be rooted in (please note this article is not exhaustive, my doctorates are in Holistic Psychology, Metaphysics, and Divinity, so please seek out other sources as well to grow your understanding so in 2013 we can eliminate this blight on our species).  During the holiday season isolation goes up, those struggling with mental illness goes up, those with addictions, and the social users goes through the roof. Unfortunately with our greedy materialism driven lives, financial cliffs become a leering reality for many families who over stretch their bank accounts and credit to ensure their kids and themselves keep up with their neighbours.

Also, in the US, Black Friday is break even, while in Canada it is usually Boxing Day that becomes break even for many retailers, which means that during this season for those in the retail sector this is high stress because one does not know if their store will exist post break even or not. As well, the rise of stress and usage of both legal and illegal substances in the party atmosphere lead to an increase in driving under the influence, and life crippling/ending accidents. Anecdotally, it appears that more aged relatives become hospitalized or pass away during the First Day of School-Thanksgiving-Halloween-Rememberance Day-Christmas links in the year than other times which casts society members ill equipped for interdependence in healing into grief cycles.

Are these excuses for beating the crud out of your loved ones? NO! Never read understanding rationale behind harm, as validating the harm as okay. What it means is being able to work within the setting to bring a reconciliation within the offender so they will not offend again, and bring a reconciliation within the victim so they understand that they are not the cause of said violence and they need to heal the wounds (seen/unseen) to be able to live a healthy life once more.

But the sad part here is that some (most?) reading this will be thinking of domestive violence as physical abuse, perpetrated by a Husband (or male partner) upon a wife (or female partner)…and that is only the visible tip of the ice berg that society is willing to accept. What follows is a short list of other forms of abuse that we endure within our domestic connections that one may not realize is abuse, but it is:

1) Same-sex partner abuse (male to male, female to female) or any configuration within a relationship that exists out of the LGBTTIQ communities.

2) Parent upon child

3) Child upon parent

4) Grandchild upon grandparent (vice-versa, and insert whichever generations you choose)

5) Between friends, roommates,

6) any familial relationship (aunt, uncle, mother, father, sibling, cousing, godparent, grandparent, cleric) upon another within that familial network.

These are all the relationships where domestic violence can exist (if I missed some please add to it within the comments section).

The forms it takes very obviously:

1) Physical – quite self explanatory that is inflicting bodily harm upon another.

2) Mental – degrading an individual to the point where you control them (much like Cults do) and they isolate themselves from healthy supports within their lives.

3) Addiction– whatever addiction is destroying your life, you then initiating the relative into the same behaviour, misery after all loves company.

4) Emotional – It is akin to mental, yet this is at the visceral level that makes us family (domestic units) and causes one to feel they have no value, and that how they are treated (which is usually worse than a mouse or other rodent) within their family unit is what they should seek in life.

5) Sexual – R-A-P-E or any form of sexual assault that happens by one in authority, through coercion, threat of violence, or partaking within another form of abuse. It can be petting, gropping, choking, BDSM, Manual stimulation, Anal, Vaginal, oral, bestiality…etc. but the key is that it is about power and control and it is wrong.

6) Spiritual – Where a member of the domestic unit uses the family’s spirituality/religion to control and subjugate others to their will. It becomes evident as abuse when one feels disempowered, isolated and must conform for fear of losing domestic connections. Sadly, some families of clerics fall into this trap where the cleric acts as religious and parent to the family and does not seperate the role; smaller and mega churches can also fall into this through a cult of personality. Most famous for of spiritual abuse through fear of ostracization is seen in how hte Jehovah Witnesses‘ deal with claims of abuse, or when one marries outside the faith or Bountiful, B.C..

7) Negligence – This is a catch all category that can be not providing the  means of simple living (food, clothing, shelter, connection with other human beings); isolation from the community at large to family with good hearts attempting to care for a relative when they are incapable of caring and too proud/scared/inept to access the resources available for the individual’s care.

8) Financial – We have all seen the television commercial against elder abuse that sees the grandchild or child taking money through threats or coercion from their loved one. But financial abuse can be so much more. It is misuse of funds, it is playing of the love the relative has for you when you are in need, it is stealing from them blatantly, it is living with the relative but having them pay for everything. There are so many ways when the domestic unit moves from a caring/shared partnership when multiple generations live together to when it becomes a targetted one individual is the cash cow so the others can not participate.

These are forms of abuse, this is obviously not the complete or exhaustive list because as a species humanity is constantly inventing new ways to hurt those that should be the most dear to us.

The challenge is to recognize if we fall into a lesser or major extent of these, if any of our loved ones do, then to seek out the appropriate help and support.

The ancients predicted 2013 would be a year when the way the world is would drastically become the way it was and a utopia would emerge, eliminating the ability of familial violence from this earth would definately be a miracle in the right direction.


Religious Institute
Dear Tyler,

Please consider using your congregational gatherings near Mother’s Day (May 13) to make a powerful statement on behalf of women and girls everywhere with the Rachel Sabbath InitiativeParticipation is as simple as reading the prayer provided at the right during your time of worship. (Other prayers are available here.) Voicing concerns for mothers worldwide during a time of prayer, lighting a candle on behalf of women everywhere; all of these raise up the  needs of women this Mother’s Day as part of a Rachel Sabbath.

No woman should die giving birth to the next generation. Yet more than 350,000 women and girls die every year as a result of preventable complications of pregnancy and childbirth, most of them in developing countries. Improving maternal health and universal access to family planning could prevent up to one third of these deaths.

We need you to speak up for the world’s women and children. Our faith traditions call us to justice and to caring for the most vulnerable among us. Women in the developing world should have the same access to lifesaving family planning information, services and supplies as those in the developed world.

ONE LAST THING: Click here and tell us how your congregation will lift up the needs of women this Mother’s Day. The more people tell us they are participating, the better we can demonstrate strong religious support for the needs of women everywhere.

Prayers and Petitions

We give thanks for the sacredness of humanity. We pray this day for peace, justice, and equality for women throughout the world.

We pray that the sacred potential of the world and its women will be fulfilled, and we pledge to participate in that creative work.

Click here for the rest of the prayers and petitions along with other worship resources.

Copyright © 2012 Religious Institute, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email as a member of the Religious Institute’s Faithful Voices Network.
Our mailing address is:

Religious Institute

21 Charles St., Suite 140

Westport, CT 06880


Another day, and sadly those trusted to shepherd the young revealed to be a monster:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2012/02/01/calgary-sex-rodman-abuse.html

It is quite nice that the son is standing by his father the abuser, what a Christian act, yet in none of these statements are there talks of supporting the victims, aiding them in healing and walking in the light and realizing that this abuse had nothing to do with them, or the God they may or may not still believe in.

So it is fine to stand with the abuser, but in a truly restorative system the victimizer is held to account, and walked with for rehabilitation back into community in a healthy healed way, but NEVER is the victim forgotten. They are walked with towards healing, and reconciliation of their own soul and the pain they have endured, and rebuilding of that which actions such as these have stripped away from them.

So Pastor, I know this alleged monster is your Dad, and the world has changed, and he has done the “christianize” thing of confessing his sins and struggles… but what of those that he has admitted to victimizing—RAPING, and who will walk with them and speak for them, and aid the ones that still struggle in silence with their shame, hurt and pain to emerge once more into the light of community with self-worth?

Where would Jesus be in this mire? With all.

-30-