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Old 06-22-2006, 06:56 PM   #1
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Our Mother Jesus - Causes Theological Uproar!

[Q]From Columbus: Text of Presiding Bishop-elect's June 21 homily

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
[Episcopal News Service]


Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori preached the homily at the Closing Eucharist June 21 at General Convention in Columbus, Ohio. The text of Jefferts Schori's homily follows:
Homily preached the General Convention's Closing Eucharist
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
The Right Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori

Grow in All Things into Christ
Lections for the Reign of Christ
Colossians 1:11-20
Canticle 18
John 18:33-37

This last Sunday morning I woke very early, while it was still dark. I wanted to go for a run, but I had to wait until there was enough light to see. When the dawn finally began, I ventured out. It was warm, and still, and very quiet, and the clouds were just beginning to show tinges of pink. I ran by the back of the Hyatt just as two workers were coming out one of the service doors. They were startled, I'm afraid, but I nodded at them, and they responded. I went west over the freeway, and encountered a man I'd seen here in the Convention Center. Neither of us stopped, but we did say a quiet good morning. Then I found a lovely green park, and started around it. There was a man with a reflective vest, standing in the street by some orange cones, as though he were waiting for a run or a parade to begin. I said good morning, and he responded in kind. Around the corner I came to a bleary-eyed fellow with several bags who looked like he'd just risen from sleeping rough. I said good morning to him too, but I must admit I went past him in the street instead of on the sidewalk. Then I met a rabbit hopping across the sidewalk, and though we didn't use words, one of us eyed the other with more than a bit of wariness. Around another corner, a woman was delivering Sunday papers from her car. She was wary too, and didn't get out of her car with the next paper until I was a long way past her. Back over the freeway, and a block later, two guys seemingly on their early way to work. We nodded at each other.

As I returned to my hotel, I reflected on all those meetings. There was some degree of wariness in most of them. There were small glimpses of a reconciled world in our willingness to greet each other. But the unrealized possibility of a real relationship -- whether in response of wariness, or caution, or fear -- meant that we still had a very long way to go.

Can we dream of a world where all creatures, human and not, can meet each other in a stance that is not tinged with fear?

When Jesus says that his kingdom is not of this world, he is saying that his rule is not based on the ability to generate fear in his subjects. A willingness to go to the cross implies a vulnerability so radical, so fundamental, that fear has no impact or import. The love he invites us to imitate removes any possibility of reactive or violent response. King Jesus' followers don't fight back when the world threatens. Jesus calls us friends, not agents of fear.

If you and I are going to grow in all things into Christ, if we're going to grow up into the full stature of Christ, if we are going to become the blessed ones God called us to be while we were still in our mothers' wombs, our growing will need to be rooted in a soil of internal peace. We'll have to claim the confidence of souls planted in the overwhelming love of God, a love so abundant, so profligate, given with such unwillingness to count the cost, that we, too, are caught up into a similar abandonment.

That full measure of love, pressed down and overflowing, drives out our idolatrous self-interest. Because that is what fear really is -- it is a reaction, an often unconscious response to something we think is so essential that it takes the place of God. "Oh, that's mine and you can't take it, because I can't live without it" -- whether it's my bank account or theological framework or my sense of being in control. If you threaten my self-definition, I respond with fear. Unless, like Jesus, we can set aside those lesser goods, unless we can make "peace through the blood of the cross."

That bloody cross brings new life into this world. Colossians calls Jesus the firstborn of all creation, the firstborn from the dead. That sweaty, bloody, tear-stained labor of the cross bears new life. Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation -- and you and I are His children. If we're going to keep on growing into Christ-images for the world around us, we're going to have to give up fear.

What do the godly messengers say when they turn up in the Bible? "Fear not." "Don't be afraid." "God is with you." "You are God's beloved, and God is well-pleased with you."

When we know ourselves beloved of God, we can begin to respond in less fearful ways. When we know ourselves beloved, we can begin to recognize the beloved in a homeless man, or rhetorical opponent, or a child with AIDS. When we know ourselves beloved, we can even begin to see and reach beyond the defense of others.

Our invitation, both in the last work of this Convention, and as we go out into the world, is to lay down our fear and love the world. Lay down our sword and shield, and seek out the image of God's beloved in the people we find it hardest to love. Lay down our narrow self-interest, and heal the hurting and fill the hungry and set the prisoners free. Lay down our need for power and control, and bow to the image of God's beloved in the weakest, the poorest, and the most excluded.

We children can continue to squabble over the inheritance. Or we can claim our name and heritage as God's beloveds and share that name, beloved, with the whole world.

[/Q]


Somewhere a conservative just shite his pants.....




[Q]Earlier, at the morning Eucharist at the convention in Columbus, Ohio, Dr Schori signalled her feminist credentials in a sermon that drew on the writings of the 14th-century Julian of Norwich. She said: “Mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation — and you and I are His children. If we’re going to keep on growing into Christ images for the world around us, we’re going to have to give up fear.”

Liberals in Britain and America defended her sermon as being in a long tradition of writings by women theologians that use the metaphor of Jesus as mother.
[/Q]
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...237322,00.html
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Old 06-22-2006, 07:10 PM   #2
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Re: Our Mother Jesus - Causes Theological Uproar!

Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox



Somewhere a conservative just shite his pants.....




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Old 06-22-2006, 08:15 PM   #3
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An interesting road you are headed down
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:35 PM   #4
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Well, if you want to go further down the road, Jewish tradition states that Yahweh has a feminine avatar named "Shekhina." Belief in Shekhina is noted through, at least, the late Middle Ages.

It wouldn't be all that unprecedented, as Hinduism has the concept of different avatars of the same god, with Vishnu/Shiva being one of the most recognizable.

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Old 06-22-2006, 09:59 PM   #5
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Julian of Norwich is the patron of the Order named after her. Living in Norwich, England in the 14th and early 15th century, Julian spent much of her life as an anchorite, that is, as a vowed religious living by herself in a small room attached to a parish church. Beyond this, little is actually known about Dame Julian, as she was called.


What is known about her, and what makes her the inspiration for the Order of Julian, is her remarkable book, The Revelations of Divine Love. The Revelations are a description of a series of visions which opened Julian to the depths of God's unconditioned love for us in Jesus Christ. They are noted for their spiritual depth and theological courage, for their literary elegance and the spirit of joy and humility that permeates them.

After being nearly forgotten for 600 years, Julian's insights and gentle wisdom have now made her justly famous. In a medieval church which emphasized God's condemning wrath, Julian wrote, 'There is no wrath in God….It is the most impossible thing that can be that God would be angry, for wrath and friendship are two opposites.' Just as striking and as relevant to the 21st century is Julian's perception of the feminine element in God. 'As truly as God is our Father,' Julian wrote, 'so truly God is our Mother.' The Episcopal Church celebrates her feast every 8th of May.


As Julian prayed often in silence, so the Order gives high priority to 'still prayer' and intercession for all in need. As the three windows of Julian's anchorhold cell opened, one to the altar, one to the room of her lay sisters, and one to the public lane, so the life of the Order looks, first to the worship of God, secondly to the support and strength of the wider community of the Order-our Oblates and Associates-and thirdly to the service of others.

The Julian Cross is from the coat of arms of St Julien of Le Mans in France, believed to be the Julian for which the church of St Julian in Norwich was named, and from which Mother Julian took her name. Historically, it has been understood as a 'missionary cross', pointing to the four corners of the world. Without abandoning this understanding, as our prayer is meant to embrace the entire world, we consider each of the small crosses to represent our four vows.
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Old 06-22-2006, 10:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
Well, if you want to go further down the road, Jewish tradition states that Yahweh has a feminine avatar named "Shekhina." Belief in Shekhina is noted through, at least, the late Middle Ages.

It wouldn't be all that unprecedented, as Hinduism has the concept of different avatars of the same god, with Vishnu/Shiva being one of the most recognizable.

Melon
that's really interesting...


Im not very good at this things, and maybe I'm just "discovering the mild water" but... If there were mentions of Shekkina at the Middle age, wouldn't the virgin mary a continuation of her persona?.... I mean, If there was a female avatar for Yahweh it means that in some way the people considered a female part within divinity, and the figure of a mother represents the mystery of life, the comforting and giving figure, qualities given to a "male" unique God, but represented also in the Virgin Mary.
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Old 06-23-2006, 10:27 AM   #7
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I'm familiar with Julian of Norwich. Thanks for posting that, she's still as relevant today as she was during her lifetime.
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Old 06-23-2006, 01:28 PM   #8
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I've heard it said elsewhere that the Holy Spirit is the feminine articulation of God. That might fit with the shekhina element Melon's talking about.
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Old 06-23-2006, 01:41 PM   #9
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She moves in mysterious ways....
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Old 06-23-2006, 02:12 PM   #10
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This may be a giant leap off the main topic but I just finished the DaVinci Code not long ago and found the historical descriptions (however recrafted for fiction's sake) of the divine feminine in paganism and mythology and subsequent fall from grace in Christianity facsinating.
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Old 06-23-2006, 02:25 PM   #11
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Male/female, married/single, I pose this question to my fellow Christians: Would this knowledge diminish your faith?






It wouldn't shake mine at all.
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Old 06-23-2006, 02:39 PM   #12
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What knowledge are you referring to specifically?
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Old 06-23-2006, 02:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977
I've heard it said elsewhere that the Holy Spirit is the feminine articulation of God. That might fit with the shekhina element Melon's talking about.
Yes, and that's an analogy scholars of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism, which like Christian mysticism was at its peak in the European Middle Ages) in fact often use.

Strictly speaking, though, an avatar, in classical Hindu thought, is something quite different--not an aspect or face of the one eternal divine (as, for example, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva are) but rather, an actual physical incarnation (human or otherwise) of one or another of these three aspects, who is understood to have acted within history and (in most cases) to have moved among humans. Krishna and Rama are two very widely worshipped avatars of Vishnu, for example--Vaishnaivas in general are more "into" avatar worship than Shaivites are, to put it crudely, while Brahma is hardly worshipped nowadays at all, in any form. (In fact, some Vaishnaivas consider Zoroaster, Buddha, Mahavira the founder of Jainism, and/or Jesus Christ to be avatars of Vishnu, though I have never personally heard of Hindus worshipping them as such.) One crucial difference, though, between the concept of "avatar" and the way that Christians conceive of Jesus is that the idea of Jesus' historicity--and the verification of that, textually and otherwise--is absolutely crucial to Christianity, whereas most Krishna worshippers (for example) couldn't care less about learning about "the real historical Krishna," even though he definitely was a real historical figure, a powerful regional leader from the region that is now the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Regardless, an avatar--though often seen as a "conduit" to the eternal divine (Brahman) through which one might even achieve moksa (liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth) through great devotion to said avatar alone--is, nonetheless, not theologically understood to be the same as Brahman. I find my students are often confused about this; Hinduism is not really "polytheistic" or "idol-worshipping" in the usual Western understanding of those terms, where the (many, many) various gods and avatars that comprise the Hindu "pantheon" are literally understood to be The "God." When Hindus use the English word "God" in casual conversation, as many very often do, more often than not they mean Brahman--and in my experience at least, despite what the major Hindu theological texts say about Brahman in the abstract (not a "personal" God in the ususal Abrahamic sense, completely devoid of all definable "qualities," etc.) in practice that is not really the understanding most Hindus, who are completely unfamiliar with these texts, actually have of it. Likewise, when most Hindus go to whichever temple(s) they normally visit for prasad darsan--the "taking" of "grace" and "seeing," literally--what they understand to be happening is an invocation of the eternal divine's presence of sorts, not that the actual physical idol is in fact "God."

sorry, slipping into lecture mode as usual where India is concerned...
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Old 06-23-2006, 03:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2democrat
Male/female, married/single, I pose this question to my fellow Christians: Would this knowledge diminish your faith?






It wouldn't shake mine at all.
I think it is clear that Jesus, as described in the Bible, was male. I do not think the Bible gives us enough evidence to support the idea that He was married - but it would not bother me if He did marry. And if He did marry, it seems like Mary Magdelene would be a good match. Scripture is very clear that she is one of his most devoted followers and she deserves much more "credit" than the she has received throughout history.

However, I do find it entirely possible that the Holy Spirit is the Christian version of the Divine Feminine. Of course, assigning gender in the spiritual realm seems a bit odd to me...I tend to think of terms like Father and Mother more as "roles" than as actual, physical male and female bodies.

In many ways, the role of the Holy Spirit is that of a mother: Comforter, Healer, Teacher, Guide...etc
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Old 06-23-2006, 03:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by AliEnvy
What knowledge are you referring to specifically?
Whether Jesus was male or female, married or single, stuff like that.
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