“All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident.”-Arthur Schopenhauer
In Have you heard the true tale of the Bedouin named Mohammed Ali, Read more…
I related the true tale of the Bedouin named Mohammed Ali and his 1945 discovery of what has become known as the Nag´ Hammâdi Library; a collection of ancient texts that were buried in the wilderness under the cliff of Jabl al-Tarif in Egypt, just above the bend of the Nile, north of the Valley of the Kings, across the river from the city of Nag´ Hammâdi, near the hamlet of al-Qasr, for safe-keeping from those who burned books.
These ancient compositions written in Coptic and Greek are now available in most every language.
These ancient texts offer NO new answers; but they do provide us with a glimpse of Christianity at its very roots, and it was most diverse indeed.
Many of the texts were considered Gnostic and banned by the church Fathers during the reign of Emperor Constantine and were ordered to be burned.
Gnosis is defined as knowledge discerned intuitively, and intuition is anathema to fundamentalists who prefer doctrines and dogmas, easy answers and who see black and white, but not shades of grey.
Today’s scholars agree that it is very possible the sayings in the Gnostic gospels are closer to the words Jesus actually spoke than what is found in the canonical gospels.
Two thousand years ago, there was lively debate about who Jesus was, and why he came.
Churches before Emperor Constantine legitimized Christianity were hot beds of individuality and not the institutions that have become big business today.
Jesus said he came that we would have life to the full; abundant life [John 10:10] and that takes deep thought, wrestling with The Divine and then taking action.
“To think deeply in our culture is to grow angry and to anger others; and if you cannot tolerate this anger, you are wasting the time you spend thinking deeply. One of the rewards to deep thought is the hot glow of anger at discovering a wrong, but if anger is taboo, thought will starve to death.”-Jules Henry
The first mention of Israel in the Bible is in Genesis 32, when Jacob wrestled, struggled and then clung to the Divine being and was then renamed Israel.
Jesus was never a Christian; in fact the term ‘Christian’ was not even coined until the days of Paul, about 3 decades after Jesus walked the earth as a man.
Jesus was a social justice, radical revolutionary Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior who rose up and challenged the job security of the Temple authorities by teaching the people they did NOT need to pay the priests for ritual baths or sacrificing livestock to be OK with God; for God already LOVED them just as they were: sinners, poor, diseased, outcasts, widows, orphans, refugees and prisoners all living under Military Occupation.
What got Jesus crucified was disturbing the status quo of the Roman Occupying Forces, by teaching the subversive concept that God preferred the humble sinner, the poor, diseased, outcasts, widows, orphans, refugees and prisoners all living under Military Occupation above the elite and arrogant.
The early followers and lovers of Jesus were called members of THE WAY-being THE WAY he taught one should be;
Nonviolent, a Peacemaker and one who did the will of the Father.
“What does God require? He has told you o’man! Be just, be merciful, and walk humbly with your Lord.” -Micah 6:8
We are not just body and mind, we are also spirit; a trinity in one flesh that will decay and whither away.
When any part of the human trinity is out of balance, so will ones life be.
Life is a journey and the best trip one can embark upon, is by going within and wrestling with The Divine; and thus become Israel on the way.
“I said, you are gods: you are all children of the Most High God.”-Psalm 82:6
It has been said that evolution is being held up by fundamental religiosity and militant atheism is the new fundamentalism.
A fundamentalist is anyone who is so rigidly attached to their point of view they have closed their minds and hearts to the Mystery of The Ultimate Mystery of the Universe/Pure Being/God for lack of a better word.
The bumper sticker actually did get it right: “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
According to the 1987 classic, The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, Dr. Scott Peck defines the spiritual life as fluid and that one may pass back and forth repeatedly through any of the four-probably more-stages of the soul.
Stage one upon this journey -that begins from within-is essentially our infancy in the spiritual life.
Like a wild child, a person in this stage reflects the inner chaotic and anti-social, unregenerate soul that is interested only in its own self-satisfaction and ego, much like the stereotypical spoiled child.
Stage one people may claim to love others, but their behavior reflects they love their own pleasure, money, power, prestige, and security above any other.
For stage one people, it really is all about them.
Stage two souls seek to “let their light shine” and will live virtuous lives and do many good works.
They also can be judgmental of others, self-righteous, rigid of thought, cold of heart, legalistic concrete literal thinkers and may even be guilty of a lukewarm faith.
They want to do right and they even may desire to love and please God, but have not yet fully opened up to the Inner Light, as Joan of Arc did when she challenged church and state and persisted that she had intuited God within -even while being fried.
Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” -John 8:32
Stage two souls have not yet been set fully free and prefer the security of a higher human authority than themselves for guidance.
They submit to institutions, scripture, dogma, ritual, ministers, or gurus.
This is the most appropriate stage for older children and most adults who live busy lives just trying to keep bread on the table and a dry roof above.
The difference between a stage one and stage two soul, is that a one wouldn’t even notice a neighbor in need, while the two has awoken to the fact that we are to be our neighbor’s keepers and they will respond to a friend-and like the good Samaritan, even to a total stranger in need.
Most theologians would agree that the opposite of faith is not disbelief: the opposite of faith is fear.
Stage three souls have not just fearlessly awoken, they have evolved!
This evolution has led them to the realization of what Christ was really talking about in the Sermon of the Mount AKA: The Beatitudes which sound like crazy promises, but are all about waking people up to The Divine within themselves and all others!
About 2,000 years ago, when Christ was about 33, he hiked up a hill and sat down under an olive tree and began to teach the people;
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”
In other words: it is those who know their own spiritual poverty, their own limitations and sins honestly and trust God loves them in spite of themselves who already live in the Kingdom of God.
How comforted we will all be, when we see, we haven’t got a clue, as to the depth and breadth of pure love and mercy of The Divine Mystery of The Universe.
God’s name in ancient Aramaic is Abba which means Daddy as much as Mommy and He/She: The Lord has said, “My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not yours.” -Isaiah 55:8
Christ proclaimed more: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
The essence of meek is to be patient with ignorance, slow to anger and never hold a grudge. In other words: how comforted you will be when you also know humility; when you know yourself, the good and the bad, for both cut through every human heart.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they will be filled.”
In other words: how comforted you will be when your greatest desire is to do what “God requires, and he has already told you what that is; BE JUST, BE MERCIFUL and walk humbly with your Lord.”-Micah 6:8
“Blessed are the merciful, they will be shown mercy.”
In other words: how comforted you will all be when you choose to return only kindness to your ‘enemy.’
“For with the measure you measure against another, it will be measured back to you” Christ warned his disciples as he explained the law of karma in Luke 6:27-38.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they see God.”
In other words: how comforted you will be when you WAKE UP and see God is already within you, within every man, every woman and every child. The Supreme Being is everywhere, the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. Beyond The Universe -and yet so small; within the heart of every atom.
“Blessed are The Peacemakers: THEY shall be called the children of God.”
And what a wonderful world it would be when we all seek peace by pursuing justice; for there can be none without the other.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires, theirs is The Kingdom of Heaven.”
And one fine day the lion will lie down with The Lamb and man will make war no more and that is the Kingdom of God.
A stage three soul may well reject Christ as God, but often agree with the philosophy of Jesus, which Thomas Jefferson laid out when he weeded out the miracle stories from the gospels and clarified the teachings and ethics of Christ in: THE LIFE AND MORALS of JESUS of NAZARETH
1. Be just: justice comes from virtue which comes from the heart.
2. Treat people the way we want to be treated.
3. Always work for PEACEFUL resolutions, even to the point of returning violence with COMPASSION.
4. Consider valuable the things that have no material value.
5. Do not judge others.
6. Do not bear grudges.
7. Be modest and unpretentious.
8. Give out of true generosity, not because we expect to be repaid.
9. Being true to one’s self in more important than being loyal to one’s family…those who think they know the most are the most ignorant…
A stage three soul will see that a neighbor is everyone on the planet and not just those who think and look the same and are born in the same geographical location.
Stage three’s are seekers, doubters, skeptics, agnostics and frequently adults who grew up disenchanted with institutionalized religion.
Their inherent intellectual curiosity leads them to seek their own way towards the Mystery of the Divine through philosophy and the study of multiple faith paths choosing and discarding according to their “inner light.”
Stage three souls often become activists for social justice and reform and the increasing wave of humanitarian secularism verses the bondage of religious dogma just may be the way to change the world as we now know it.
It has been said we are all called to be mystics in the market place and a stage four, such as Thomas Merton and Rumi give voice to that experience of the curtain being lifted and seeing through the glass a bit less darkly.
A mystic can best be understood as one who is in love with the divine mystery and is viscerally connected to the unity of all creation.
Mystics are not navel gazers, they feel the pain of the world within their hearts and grieve at what humans do to the other when they have no clue that The Divine is within the other as much as within themselves.
Mystics have detached from their concepts of God-not by their own efforts, but by the invitation and action of God upon a willing and simple soul in love with Pure Being/AKA: God for lack of a better word.
The mystic fool, Saint Francis, the leper kisser of Assisi, was so head over heels in love with God in everyone and all of creation that most people of his time considered him crazed, or at least, extremely eccentric.
One needn’t be a mystic or move beyond stage two on the spiritual journey to do what is good and right just because it is good and right.
On that foundation alone people of faith, agnostics and even atheists can surely find something to agree upon.
Or would only a mystic see that?
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”-Proverbs 29:18
The ancients understood that God spoke to them in their dreams and visions.
The ancients told those stories around the campfires and those stories grew by the flame enkindled in the hearer’s hearts; transforming them into story tellers too.
In the gospel [good news] told in Mark 3: 31-35, the mother of Jesus’ and his brothers arrived at the house where he was teaching.
Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him out. The crowd around Jesus told him, “Your mother, sisters and brothers are outside asking for you.”
Jesus replied, “I am here with my mother, sisters and brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother, sister and mother.”-Mark 3: 31-35
From Micah 6:8 if we have eyes to see, we will KNOW:
“What does God require? He has told you o’man! Be just, be merciful, and walk humbly with your Lord.”
Being just means correct, true, accurate, right and fair.
Merciful is to have, feel and show compassion, that sense of viscerally feeling the pain of another and being moved to help.
Being humble is knowing yourself; the good and the bad, for both cut through every human heart.
All Christians-from the most fundamental to those left of the progressives-are connected to the other as a sister and brother in the mystical Body of Christ.
It is a dysfunctional family and way past time to liberate Jesus from the bondage of institutional patriarchy for no church owns Jesus and no religion owns God!
HOW do we get there?
It begins in the heart and imagination, where all human creativity is birthed.
In 2003, I read an article in Presence Magazine written by a pastor of a church in Berkeley.
I no longer remember what the article was about, but he inspired me to email him a few of my theological questions.
He replied something like this;
I once gave a sermon that began with the story of Rabbi Hillel, who lived 100 years before Jesus walked the earth.
Rabbi Hillel understood the Hebrew understanding of Hokema; Holy Wisdom; The Feminine Divinity, was the same as the Greek understanding of The Logos: The Word.
It was Saints John and Paul that understood The Logos: The Word was Jesus.
So with a little imagination you can imagine that before Jesus walked the earth a man, he was already a she; The Word, Holy Wisdom, Hokema, the feminine divinity.
I gave that sermon to a mainline conservative congregation. It didn’t go over well…
It read like GREAT news to me!
Ever since the days of Eve until the days of JC, the feminine was not equally valued.
Jesus is the first known man to blow apart the societal and religious taboos of speaking with females as fully equal.
Just one more example of how the male disciples would not, could not follow Jesus THAT closely!
And “Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system”-Dorothy Day
Later male disciples, the Protestant Reformers, would not, could not accept the Book of Wisdom and threw it out of their canon, but the Catholics include it in their bible.
It has been said that some thought the Book of Wisdom was too Jewish–or perhaps too feminine!
The Book of Wisdom defines wisdom as: a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, and certain. Not baneful, but loving the good. Keen, unhampered, beneficent, kind, firm, secure, all-powerful, all-seeing and pervading all spirits.
Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion and SHE penetrates and pervades all things by reason. SHE is the aura of the might of God and a pure effusion of the glory of The Almighty. SHE is the refulgence of eternal Light, a spotless mirror of the power of God. And SHE who is one, can do all things and renews everything, and passing into holy souls from age to age, SHE produces friends of God and prophets.- WISDOM 7:22-8:1
Wisdom has built her house and SHE calls to all; “Come, eat my food and drink my wine and you will live abundant life and walk in the ways of understanding.”-Proverbs 9
Number 9 Number 9 Number 9….Let all who are little come in here, Wisdom has built her house; come eat her food and drink her wine and walk in the ways of understanding…I’m so very small I’m so very small; already within the heart of every atom yet extend Beyond the Universe and connect every mother and child….Number 9 Number 9 Number 9…
Wisdom calls; “I have built it; will you come? Do you have eyes to see and ears to hear?
Holy Wisdom, the Feminine Divinity: Hokema,
Who was with The Word from the very beginning,
She is One with Him and He with Her;
Pure Being; One God;
One Creator and One Lover of All the Human Family,
Hokema; Holy Wisdom;, The Feminine Divinity
Same as The Logos:
This song by PINK FLOYD became the protest song of a group of South African students during that apartheid regime and the “laddie reckons himself a poet”
God is within every sister, brother and all of Creation
Get a clue Christian
His ways are not your ways
Her thoughts are not your thoughts
Dominion never meant to rape and plunder
But to nurture, care and love
And if you have not love
You have nothing at all!
And on that final day we all will stand naked before The Divine Mystery of The Universe
And we have been warned there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth by those who had been so sure they were in;
Because they will be the ones left out!
Wake Up Christian and hear the wind begin to howl
For every misunderstanding
Every condemning thought
Every negative vibration
Every tear torn from a heart
Every time one grabbed and wouldn’t let go
Because they did not know:
The Divine is within every woman, man and child.
And for every tiny kindness you have ever done
Every gentle word spoken
Every time you held your tongue
Every positive thought
Every smile freely given
Every helping hand that opens
Helps bring in The Kingdom
And The Kingdom comes from above
And it comes from within.
IMAGINE a kingdom of sisterhood of all creatures and all men:
All you need is LOVE:
And all We The People need to understand is that Christianity was founded by visionaries, rebels, dissidents and revolutionaries;
And so it also was with these United States!
And YES WE CAN Overcome:
Eileen Fleming, A Citizen of CONSCIENCE for House of Representatives 2012 campaign can be followed at EileenFleming.org. Eileen also founded WeAreWideAwake.org, Produced “30 Minutes with Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu” and authored “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory” and BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu’s FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker: 2005-2010. Visit Eileen’s YouTube Channel