Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Is abortion child abuse?

I was passing a church today and noticed their display of 4,000 little white crosses and their sign that said "Abortion the Ultimate Child Abuse".  I had to stop and wonder why they didn't have crosses and a sign about the "murder" and "disposal" yearly of millions of fertilized eggs by the in-vitro fertilization clinics?  If one uses the reasoning that a sperm and an egg combined is "sacred" and a "human life", then shouldn't they be making couples who use in-vitro labs feel guilty?  Under this reasoning aren't in-vitro lab technicians guilty of murder and "child abuse" as well?  Have we as americans forgotten how to use reason and logic and science? Is the church peddling a heavy dose of guilt upon a woman who has made a difficult choice?  I had to comtemplate and step back and wonder about the 1/3 of all pregnancies that are "miscarried".  Whose will is it that that potential child was lost?  Is god to blame?   At the very least god is guilty for "allowing" a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy?  Is he not powerful enough to "save a life and preserve a pregnancy to full term"?  Logical "faith based" thinking would deduce that god allowed or "caused" a miscarriage and is equal in guilt to an "abortionist", or maybe more so, as far more pregnancies are lost to miscarriage than to abortion.  Has the church stopped to consider that a significant number of those abortions were performed to save the life of the mother?  Should a woman feel guilty for saving her own life?  Pregnancy causes 500,000 deaths yearly in america.  It is not a condition that is without risk.  Does a woman who is saving her own life feel guilty for "this so-called ultimate child abuse".  A fetus does not have a developed brain or nervous system and cannot feel pain before 24 weeks.  How is removing a fetus from a uterus child abuse?  A zygote and blastocyte does not have any way of "knowing, feeling, and being aware of pain" is removing a pregnancy in those stages child abuse?  Is any of this logical?  NO.  The display is an act of religious dogma that targets women and girls with the intention of applying a layer of guilt to their psyche and emotions.  To an ignorant populace who has expended logic and replaced dogma with guilt the anti-abortion sign will be accepted "as fact".  It isn't fact.  The dislplay is a  a display of self righteous dogma devoid of reason to force a public debate to their personal (not biblical)  positions of morality.  If they want their wives, sisters and mother's to die from an unsafe be it...but leave the public well enough alone.  How many children are actually abused everyday?  As a child that was abused and risked death daily just by waking and breathing I can tell anyone who would care to listen about child abuse....I barely survived childhood.  The unwanted children of unwanted pregnancies are the real everyday potential victims of child abuse...not the act of removing a glob of cells from a woman's uterus!!!  Sperm and eggs are not sacred.  A human that is living and breathing as it's own "outside" of the mother is a human life.  Denial of food, shelter and love of a baby that is breathing and living outside the womb of a mother is child abuse....not an abortion!  Leave women alone and let them decide when a pregnancy is safe and prudent. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mary Magdalene and Jesus and Easter Morning

The following is an article by Loretta Kimsley about Jesus and Mary Magdalene, who may have been his wife and lover.

"I read…the sto­ry of the great­est morn in his­to­ry: “The first day of the week com­eth Ma­ry Mag­da­lene ear­ly, while it was yet ve­ry dark, unto the se­pul­cher.” In­stant­ly, com­plet­ely, there un­fold­ed in my mind the scenes of the gar­den of Jo­seph….Out of the mists of the gar­den comes a form, halt­ing, he­si­tat­ing, tear­ful, seek­ing, turn­ing from side to side in be­wil­der­ing amaze­ment. Fal­ter­ing­ly, bear­ing grief in ev­e­ry ac­cent, with tear-dimmed eyes, she whis­pers, “If thou hast borne him hence”… “He speaks, and the sound of His voice is so sweet the birds hush their sing­ing.” Je­sus said to her, “Mary!” Just one word from his lips, and for­got­ten the heart­aches, the long drea­ry hours….all the past blot­ted out in the pre­sence of the Liv­ing Pre­sent and the Eter­nal Fu­ture."

So wrote Aus­tin Miles in March 1912. Miles was the author of my favorite hymn, In The Garden. When I was a child, I did not know it was about Mary Magdalene or the depth of the role she played in the life of Yeshua.

In The Garden is the story of their meeting in the garden after his resurrection. It's refrain is simple, deep and filled with love:

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,

And He tells me I am His own;

And the joy we share as we tarry there,

None other has ever known.

None other...that speaks of a special love as does his choice of her to be the first witness to his resurrection. In The Dialogue of the Savior, a Gnostic text that was discovered in 1945 in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, Mary Magdalene is termed The Woman Who Knew The All.

But what is The All? It isn't what we're taught in church on Sunday.

I've long known that what was translated as Kingdom of Heaven would have been Queendom of Heaven in Aramaic. Maldukah, a feminine word, refers to the lower circle of the Tree of Life in Kabbalah, a sefirot related to Shekinah and expressed in Jewish tradition in feminine terms. The Greek term for kingdom is Basilia, which means "basis" and that was the word used to translate the passage into Greek.

Even so, when I found these two references, I was surprised to have the Queendom to be directly related to Mary Magdalene and The All.

From The Hidden Gospel: Decoding the Spiritual Message of the Aramaic Jesus by Neil Douglas-Klotz

...They [male disciples like Peter] had to keep asking what things meant and really held tight to the idea of a physical kingdom in this world versus what Magdalene understood by the 'Queendom is within' which is actually the literal translation of the Aramaic 'the Kingdom is within'. The term malduka speaks to Queen and not King...

.Seeking the Kingdom by Savitr Ishaya is a long and wonderfully written article about our oneness with The All. I pulled out a paragraph to use as highlight but to understand fully, the entire article should be read:

The Aramaic word we translate as "kingdom" is malkutah, or 0tuklm (Ah-T-K-L-M); the word we read as "heaven" is shemaya, or 0ym4 (Ah-Y-M-Sh ); and the word that Jesus always uses for "God" in this particular context is Alaha, or 0hl0. (Ah-H-L-Ah). If we could imagine a western-style Grammar based on the Hebrew alphabet, it would be correct to say that the meaning of a word is presaged, or foreshadowed, by the meaning of its first letter. The first letter of malkutah is Meem (m), which is an extremely feminine letter and which, at the beginning of a word, refers to a very proximate reality. Moving directly to the patterns formed by the individual root letters, we find the following: M-L = A full, or completely formed, expression; K-T = Envelopment, mystery, a hiding place; and Ah (Alap) by itself, meaning God, Sacred Unity, The All that gives birth to the all..

So The All is Sacred Unity. We do not need a historical and agonizing blood sacrifice to be part of The All because we are already part of The All. The All is the queendom we find within and that exists around us.

In this context, Yeshua's relationship with Mary Magdalene is clear and very understandable. Margaret Starbird writes extensively about their relationship and their expression of The Sacred Union. On my Mary Magdalene discussion list, Margaret recently wrote:

The "Easter Mysteries" of Christianity begin with the anointing of the Sacred Bridegroom, suffer through the sacrificial death of the Bridegroom/King and culminate with his resurrection and the reunion of the Beloveds in the garden. This "never-ending story" celebrates the eternal--cyclical-- return of the Life Force at the vernal equinox. The sad fact is that, while celebrating the "new birth" inherent in the Resurrection of the Christ, Christianity failed to notice the role of the Bride--the "Sacred Complement" of the sacrificed King. The image of the Divine as "Partners" was lost when the Bride was silenced and defamed.

Clearly, the "sacrifical death" was not factual. It was mythical, representing the importance of our Selves in The All and the eternal cycle of life. This cycle of eternal life is not complete without the sacred feminine anymore than it would be without the sacred masculine. Mile's In The Garden interpretation of "the sto­ry of the great­est morn in his­to­ry" reflects this joyous reality, as expressed in the rites of spring when life begins anew and in great abundance.

God is no longer Male

The following article was found in the Daily Mail. 

The Scottish Episcopal Church has caused controversy by removing masculine references to God in a new order of service.  The new form of worship, which removes words such as 'Lord, he, his, him' and 'mankind' from services, has been written by the church in an attempt to acknowledge that God is 'beyond human gender'.  Episcopalian bishops have approved the introduction of more 'inclusive' language, which deliberately removes references suggesting that God is of male gender

Traditionalists have criticised the changes on the grounds that they smack of political correctness and because they believe they are not consistent with the teachings of the Bible.  The alterations have been made to provide an alternative to the established 1982 Liturgy, which, like the Bible, refers to God as a man.  The new order of service, which can be used by priests if they have difficulties with a male God, has been produced by the church's Liturgy Committee in consultation with the Faith & Order Board of General Synod and the College of Bishops.

The controversial changes were discussed at the church's General Synod recently. The minutes of the synod reveal that female priests had asked why God was still referred to as a man.  The altered version of the 1982 Liturgy sees masculine pronouns removed when they refer to God and the new approach has even been extended to humans.  For example, the word 'mankind' has been taken out and replaced with 'world'.  Some senior religious figures have objected to the new form of words.

More...Archbishop of Canterbury hits back after Stephen Hawking insists God did NOT create the universe.  'It is political correctness,' said Rev Stuart Hall of the Scottish Prayer Book Society and Honorary Professor of Divinity at the University of St Andrews.  'It is quite unnecessary. The word man in English - especially among scientists - is inclusive of both sexes.   'Those who try to minimise references to God as the Father and Christ as his Son have great difficulties, because the New Testament is shot through with these references.'  Direct quotations from the Bible have been spared change, because of a reluctance to interfere with the word of God.
Services in Scottish Episcopal churches, like the one above, could change as masculine references to God such as 'Lord, him and mankind' have been removed to provide an alternative to the established 1982 Liturgy.  However, the blessing at the end of services has been changed by some ministers from 'Father, Son and Holy Spirit' to 'Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier'.

'The changing of God language is a little tricky,' admitted Rev Darren McFarland, convener of the church's liturgy committee.  'It is then that opinion is much more divided. We have really tried not to mess around with the descriptions of God in the biblical text. But what we want to see is generous language when it comes to gender. God is above and beyond human gender.

'We are not saying God is not masculine. God is also feminine. The problem is trying to use human language to describe the indescribable. 'The bishops have permitted these changes, people do not have to use this form. But we are trying to honour the breadth of descriptions of God in a way that's helpful to the church and its membership.'

Last week scientist Stephen Hawking sparked a religious debate when he declared the universe was not created by god because 'the universe can and will create itself from nothing'.  Hawking's controversial claims from his new book The Grand Design, set out to contest Sir Isaac Newton's belief that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have been created out of chaos.  The Archbishop of Canterbury dismissed Hawking's findings.
Read more:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In 1970 feminism was dead

In 1970 I was a junior/senior in high school. The Vietnam war was going strong in spite of waning public support. My generation of young men who couldn't afford to avoid the draft through the expense of college were exposed to Agent Orange, unbelievable genocide, bombing  raids and hand to hand combat in a world away that left a permanent scar on them and my generation.  Many women of my generation are lonely and alone because those men who could have been their companions in old age did not physically or psychologically survive to middle age because of the trauma inflicted upon them in Vietnam. The nation did not learn the lesson of Vietnam and we now send our sons and grandson's on another pentagon war.  In 1970 women's liberation was just beginning to find a voice, but babies were automatically given their father's name.  If no father was listed the word "illegitimate" was likely typed on the birth certificate.  There were no child care centers in 1970.   In elementary school the girls couldn't play Little League and almost all the teachers were female.  In a few states it was still against the law for men to teach grades below 6th grade. In junior high and high school the girls took Home Ec and the boys took Shop and the prinicpalof the school was  a man.  Girls had P.E. and played half court basketball and volleyball, but no swimming, soccer, cross country or track.  The prestigious physical activity for girls was cheerleading.  Most girls didn't take calculus or physics but they planned the dances and decorated the gym.  If a girl "got herself"  pregnant  (this activity usually requires a male, unless you are the virgin mary) she lost her membership in the National Honor Society and is expelled from school.  Abortion is only legal in New York or available underground in Chicago and was very costly and basically unavailable. Underground abortion was very expensive and very unsafe. Sex education was non-existent and so-called experts were debating whether there was such a thing as the female orgasm.  Birth control consisted of  high dose birth control  pills that were dangerous and had a lot of side effects.  Contraceptives were largely unavailable to teenagers.  Other forms of birth control consisted of  devices our mother's did not talk about such as diaphragm's which were nearly century old and awkward.  Homosexuals were in the closet and not accepted as citizens.  The Miss America pageant was the largest scholarship program for women.  Women could not be students at Harvard, Boston College, Citadel, West Point, Columbia, Dartmouth or any other all male schools.  The women's colleges were called "girls schools".  Women tended to major in home economics, teaching, or english.  A student was lucky to have learned that women were given the vote in 1920 but were not taught about black or white feminists of history.  There were practically no tenured female professors at any school, and the college campuses were not racially diverse.  In 1970 14% of doctorates were awarded to women. 3.5% of MBA's were female.  There were no female priests, rabbi's or preachers.  Women made fifty two cents to the dollar earned by males.  The want ads were segregated "Help wanted Male" and "Help wanted Female".  In 1970 twenty states had female gynecologists or fewer.  Women workers could be fired for being pregnant, especially if they are teachers, since the kids they teach aren't supposed to think that women have sex. There was no such thing as sexual harrassment in the workplace and no place to take grievances.  Women could not be airline pilots.  Sex appeal was a job requirement, as was make-up.  In 1970 less than 2% of the dentists were women, but 100% of the dental assistants were women.  When a women got married she promised to honor, love and obey her husband and couldn't get credit without her husband's signature.  The divorce rate in 1970 is the same as it is today.  The woman's movement did not cause a higher rate of divorce.  In 1970 "domestic violence" is not a term, and not a crime.  In 1970 women were legally encouraged to stay in abusive marriages.  In 1970, the majority of babies were born with the women strapped down and natural childbirth advocates were just beginning to speak out on behalf of women and the unborn.  Radical, and I do mean radical, mastectomies were the norm.  In 1970 women were dealing with raising kids, managing a household, and being undervalued and underprotected by society.  The 1970's was the decade of woman's liberation that brought about the changes that women take for granted today, but the Equal Rights Ammendment was never ratified and remains unratified today.  My state of Arkansas has never ratified the Equal Rights Ammendment.  The "Moral Majority" lead by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and other powerful evangelicals was formed out of the fear that the feminist movement of the 1970's would destroy america.  They were successful in stopping the ratification of the Equal Rights Ammendment and the furtherance of the movement, but there was a little burst of equality and logic and reason that prevailed for a decade before it was shouted down as dangerous and suspect.  Is feminism dead?  Will women lose reproductive rights?  Will students ever be allowed to be taught sex education  in the public schools?  Will abortion become an underground and dangerous procedure for only the wealthy?  Will our  society ever let girls grow up without imposing sexism upon them?  Will homosexuals be given the same rights that heterosexual citizens enjoy and take for granted?  I don't know, but I don't want to go back to 1970.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The fall of woman

Genesis describes a "paradise" that was created by god. First for Adam (the man he created from dirt) and then for his "helpmeet" Eve (who was created from one of Adam's ribs). They did not wear clothing and they had everything that they needed and walked with god daily. God put a tree of fruit in the middle of the garden that was "forbidden" for Adam and Eve to eat for the fruit possessed a power that would allow them to know "good and evil". One day, Satan, in the form of a serpent tempted Eve to eat the fruit "so she would be like god" and then she gave the fruit to Adam to eat. Once they ate the fruit they realized that they were naked and they hid from god in shame. God found them and killed an animal and made clothes for them and kicked them out of the garden after he cursed them by making them work for their food. He cursed Eve by making childbirth painful. The other part of the curse was for Eve to "desire" Adam, but for Adam to rule over Eve. The fall of Adam and Eve made Eve a "lesser" human to be dominated and subjugated. The "fall of man" gave Adam dominance over Eve even though she would "desire" to be equal and for the relationship to once again be one of love and companionship.

The fall of mankind sets up a culture of "patriarchy" where man is dominate as the family and tribal authority. Any woman who has ever gardened knows that she is subjected to toil and sweat to make food come out of the ground, and Adam's "curse" is her curse. The lost paradise is forever Eve's fault and she is thereafter judged to be a weaker and less trustworthy creature. Sex is changed to one of "desire" that is not met as she is seen as one who exists to bring forth children in pain. Love and tenderness and equality is now out of the equation as angry domination on the part of Adam takes over. This story unfairly blames Eve, and thereafter all women for the pain in childbirth and the inequality in male/female relationships. The fall of mankind sets up a pattern of patriarchy that has been followed for 4,000 years. The western cultures have evolved into more or less secular humanistic cultures where reason and logic can sometimes ascend above ancient tribal folklore myths, but the muslims are still deeply entrenched in the myth with cultures that are a mirror the effects of the curse. For christians to know what life was like 4.000 years ago for women and children, they need to look no further than taliban ruled villages in Afghanistan.

I discuss the "fall of womankind" in order to point out that without the myth we do not need a "savior". If Eve's failure to obey a command by her creator never happened, we have nothing to be saved "from".
It is all just "make believe" told by ancient sheepherders to give them authority in their affairs and help them understand their plight and shape their tribes as they see fit. Once the mind rejects the story, one rejects the need for a god as a "savior", for one no longer needs to be saved.
Once the myth of the fall of womankind is rejected, men and women are free to create a society where women are equal and have a voice in the affairs of the culture. Christians everywhere would wish that the muslims would throw off the myth of male dominance that causes so much female suffering as a result of their belief in the fall of mankind. Christians are blinded by "faith" in the bible and unable to see the same mirror image in their own beliefs and their own culture. It is only fair that if we expect the muslims to discard the myth of the fall of mankinnd that christians would too. Celebrate logic and reason today and envision a future where we do not teach our children 4,000 year old stories of how the world began and how mankind came about when science tells us differently. Encourage a culture of justice based on reason and logic and celebrate equality today! It does not make sense to teach a creation story written by men who had no knowledge of the earth, the solar system or the universe, but created a myth that served their purposes and filled their "knowledge" void.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mary Gallagher video on same sex marriage

This histronics over gay marriage is so hypocritical.  The modern church does not adhere to many teachings. (Women covering their heads for example) The cause of same sex marriage has reached a fever pitch that elects politicians.  Just like abortion has been used for years by politicians who want to appear righteous, same sex marriage arouses the same conservative pathos.  The church has imposed rigid beliefs on society about sex and birth control for 2,000 years.  Humans are trying to use reason and logic to order the affairs of society, but the religious will not let go of dogma.  President Bush was elected by such dogma, and the next president will be too because it works.  People who are religious want to tell others how to live their lives, even if they themselves cannot abide by the rules themselves.
I look forward to the day when society is ruled by logic and reason and humanistic ethics and not by religious dogma of religious books written by dubious writers claiming divine inspiration 2,000 years ago.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Woman "caught" in adultery!

"Now in our law, Moses commanded us to stone such.{Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22} What then do you say about her?""

Author: John 8 Verses #: 5

The old testament required that both man and woman committing adultery be stoned to death.  Here in this scene in the New Testament only the woman is brought before the jewish prophet Jeshua alone.  Jesus could have said any number of things to discredit the barbarism of killing people with stones who have been accused of adultery, but he insists that only the blameless men get to cast the first stone at her.  He did not use the moment to recant the teaching of "stoning" for adultery, neither does he insist that the man be brought before him as well.  The woman is bearing the scorn and public guilt as if she is the only one involved in the act of adultery.  The muslims still insist on the practice in their ancient holy book. The women bear the brunt of the stonings.  A few radical fundamentalists believe divorce should be illegal I doubt few would recommend the death penalty for sex outside of marriage.  This gives me hope that reason will eventually prevail if the christians and muslims don't destroy the planet first.