PC GODTALK AND ESSENTIAL SPIRITUAL ENERGIES

PC GODTALK AND ESSENTIAL SPIRITUAL ENERGIES

At first sight nothing might seem more reasonable than the new move among Catholic schools in Australia (and other places and doubtless soon many non Catholic schools as in Sweden ) to introduce gender neutral language around God whom it’s assumed  should be easier by this to relate to. To be dropped are such words as “Father” “Son” and “Lord”. It seems to be assumed, rather in line with radical feminist Mary Daly’s once groundbreaking Beyond God the Father, that such words bespeak only the patriarchy.

Since the bible anyway nowhere categorically states that God is male – there are even places in the OT where God is compared to a mother, nurse or wife, – the new emphasis would hardly strike anyone as an inappropriate adjustment. It can still seem reasonable even though, as Catholic journalist Ann Widdecombe insisted on TV, Jesus always referred to God as his Father  so that should be good enough for us. Even so, we have to consider that Jesus also maintains, God is most essentially Spirit (Joh 4:24). And Spirit is, and is reflected through, certain energies more personal than abstract. Disposing of common names and terms for God risks leaving us with only the impersonal deity of the philosophers.

I suspect that what is going on has more ramifications than meets the eye, and especially for Catholics these may be linked to the Pope’s surprising swerve, signed into being last February with Islam’s leading imam, towards a new ecumenism of faiths with special and surprising reference to the often hostile Islam.  (See article on this site “St Malachy’s Last Pope” https://wp.me/p4kNWg-oM )

Before going further, let’s consider three problematic biblical verses for the project of dropping such key, familiar words as “Father”, “Son”, and “Lord”.

“….and every tongue should confess that Christ Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:11).

“no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 12:3)

“This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son” ( 1 Joh 2:22).

These verses accord the “patriarchal”, non PC words a special spiritual status in the realm of belief;  and undeniably, if you aim for a very strong Chrislam union of faiths, Christianity would need to downplay or cancel out especially the third quote because the Koran (Sura 23:91)  is dogmatic that “God has begotten no Son”. Indeed for Islam anything Trinitarian is as good as pagan and polytheistic.

What is Christianity trying to say with and through its “patriarchal” words attached to a religion for whom God is Spirit?

I suggest the matter is a bit confused by the fact the whole of the West (including somewhat St Paul) until the Enlightenment and modern science, had what Thomas Lacqueur would call a one-sex theory rather than a two sex view of reality. Women, like children, were regarded as less and below men but in some sense the same sex; the understanding of human relating was hierarchal throughout. Had there been a two sex theory (as we implicitly assume today) it might  have been possible to speak in terms of something more like a continually interacting, equal but different energies in the style of Yin/Yang.

This doesn’t sound like it would be much help to a Christian view of reality, but in fact it helps quite  a lot and tidies up what might not seem to fit, everything from the Spirit impregnating the waters at creation to Jesus declaring himself subordinate to the Father in John’s gospel and not being the fully, mathematically equal being that Augustinian and western philosophy has made him.

Where sex and gender are  concerned, there is of course a spectrum which contains a fair amount of difference so that male and female display a variety of styles and degrees in expression of their masculinity and femininity; but the core/archetypal energies are, and always will be, basically more or less yang active first and yin receptive. Though God is Spirit and male and female only reflect, imitate or symbolize transcendent divine energies, the fact remains that Yang more nearly “begins” is “first” or creates just as the male impregnates the female, starting a process the female brings to term.

Accordingly, to refuse to admit God is “the Father/Creator” or to think of Jesus as “Lord” can amount to denying God orders things and represents order rather than chaos. The created needs to acknowledge the Creator short of precisely chaos – in contemporary life a fair deal of mental disturbance and crime is associated with males raised without fathers. Though historically women have too often suffered from male domination, the fact seems to be that many men themselves crave some degree of domination by other males. God may be imagined as anything from pure light to a figure enthroned, but a deity without the quality  of an initiating power and authority is no deity, or not one that spirit and soul can ever quite adequately interact with. And it belongs to religion’s duties to help keep the doors to spiritual communication open. Which is something PC revisions may not psychologically and spiritually assist.

A strong case for Christian understanding of the Trinity, especially against the background of our two sex apprehension of reality is as follows. It is not as per Augustinian, western  and less than strictly biblical notions of a total, mathematical equality of the persons, but rather a complementary union and semi-subordination in harmony with statements like “The Father is greater than I” (Joh 14:28).

…………………..GOD (the Father/Creator)

JESUS…………………………….HOLY SPIRIT

Jesus and the Holy Spirit, both as the Eastern churches even split from the West to affirm, proceed or emanate from the bosom of the Father (who can also be like the Mother) who contains both energies analogous to male and female. (The West makes the Spirit proceed from the Father and the Son, which is most unlikely, not least in view of how much Jesus waits upon the Spirit!).  Son  and Spirit are however  the fundamental  ying/yang who together help materialize things “below” the level of the hidden and transcendent deity of which  however they are part. Christ and Spirit  in their different ways are both divine mediators of  the Godhead who being as immaculate as humanity is imperfect, cannot be directly approached or experienced in fullness.

While it is feminist trendy to propose the Spirit is feminine, the Holy Spirit, as Jesus insists (Joh 16:23),  is “he”, essentially male in terms of energy (like the Spirit who impregnates the waters at creation). It is Jesus –  who will do nothing until the father first wills or the Spirit moves him –  who is effectively the female principle hidden in plain view. He is self described as the mother hen who would like to protect Jerusalem and the world.(Matt 23:37). Practically and to human view obviously Jesus is male, the Logos or Word of God. But he is also called by St Paul the Sophia, the Wisdom of God which is feminine. Jesus is a face of, and the principle of “change” within the essentially unchanging deity; he is deity’s visibility and invisibility.  One needs to realize this, in effect a mystical realization in its own right, but as Jesus remarked, “Wisdom  is justified of her children”  (Luk 7:35).

All this and more would be much easier to absorb given only a few mystical and esoteric understandings that Christianity is by and large determined to pass over and dismiss. It cannot be adequately covered here.

However…sufficient to stress that though the historic and sometimes present misuse of terms like “Father”, “Son” and “Lord” can be acknowledged, any easy dismissal of their current usage is still a danger to Christian spirituality.  What has been to many the unexpected Catholic role in this radical change belongs to a wider problem, namely that Catholicism is at heart the least Judaeo-Christian and biblical of the branches of Christianity. It has too often, as now, inclined to impersonalize God, substituting relation to deity for a cult of saints, angels and especially Mary. The latter has received an abundance of titles and roles drawn straight out of especially biblical Proverbs and the Jewish apocrypha where they apply to the mysterious figure of Wisdom. Christians understand this figure to be the Jewish Messiah, Jesus, not any “Queen of Heaven”, a title that especially the prophet Jeremiah denies the right of existence to.

At a certain level, mystically, Catholicism is all of a potential  world faith though scarcely Christian with it but Neo-Platonic in the style of Plotinus.  This thinker would shape Christian mysticism from  St Augustine onwards right up to the popular Thomas Merton who from his many impersonal, as good as non-theistic realizations, easily slipped into the position of virtual or actual Buddhist convert. Questions can well be asked what Catholicism and its controversial Pope is doing and preparing behind its various adjustments to contemporary trends  and realities.

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BRAZIL’S PROTESTANTS GET THEIR DESERTS

Trust not in princes” is a well known biblical saying (Ps 146:3). But ironically it is among those like evangelicals and fundamentalists who set so much store by the bible and always read it most literally that the advice is liable to be most ignored.

Partly this may be because if you are unswervingly, rigidly literalistic,  you won’t take the spirit of any message and paraphrase a statement like that of the psalm to render it: “trust not in presidents or prime ministers” . Politics is a pragmatic business at best. It’s nevertheless possible for Christians to outright disgrace themselves and their faith in the eyes of society when, through determination at all costs to have “Christian” rulers in charge or absolutist “Christian” policies implemented, they throw uncritical support behind dubious politicians apparently willing to serve them.

Brazil’s rapidly growing Protestant/ Evangelical/Charismatic community never had any business to be supporting the likes of the as good as fascist Jair Bolsonaro who is now the nation’s president. Here was a man who has said he would never give one inch to his nation’s struggling, hard done by indigenous peoples, who seems indifferent to the dangers to the Amazon and the environment and who has declared (in a country which has held the record for more homophobic murders than any other nation in the world) that he would rather his son were dead than gay.

There is pay day for the kind of mindless Christian voter policy that goes along with this and it occurred recently (on the 24th of last month) when to great ceremony, President Bolsonaro consecrated his nation to the Virgin Mary.

Nothing could have seemed more unlikely and out of character. Bolsonaro has attended a Baptist church for a decade and has enjoyed some kind of relation to the Assemblies of God too. But he has never renounced his Catholic roots, so he has now done what will please the crowds (Brazil, despite its many new Protestants is still the world’s largest Catholic nation even if devotion is often wildly syncretic, mixed with all manner of folk beliefs, spirit cults and superstitions ). Images of Mary of Fatima now adorn the Presidential palace.

Arguably there is little more in this than pandering to sudden Catholic fears in the wake of the slaughter of Christians in Sri Lanka at Easter, that Catholics could be at serious risk short of overt dedication to Mary assuring them new and special protections. But many Protestants would insist, not without reason, that authentic Christian devotion today requires renunciation of a Marian cult that has come to obscure what and who Christ represents. (Just how far the obscuring can go I touch on in a recent article related to the Notre Dame fire: “Belated Idolatries and the stunning Stabat” https://wp.me/p4kNWg-rw ).

Whatever the precise motivation, I would suggest rather more  than is realized could be involved in the consecration at this point in time. It occurs during the pontificate of the ever controversial Pope Francis and at a period that especially many evangelicals would assume to be end of days itself and approaching apocalyptic and AntiChrist scenarios. (Celestially it is certainly the end of the Piscean era whose beginnings were around the time Christ was born).

As I wrote on this site  in “St Malachy’s Last Pope ringing down the curtain”? https://wp.me/p4kNWg-oM, Pope Francis has already opened the way towards a new world religion with special emphasis upon unity with Muslims. And for some time now some Muslims have shown reverent fascination for Portugal’s Fatima shrine (Fatima was a daughter of Mohammed). If there will ever be anything like a world faith and enabled through Rome, it is clear it will be through devotion to an ecumenical, universalized, paganized Mary, not any doctrinal and historical Christ. It has been seen how Hindus who have no interest in Christ can still be deeply attached to Mary as a mother goddess.

The attitude of Pope Francis towards Mary is peculiar. On the one hand he has appalled Protestants by shedding doubt on any claims to personal contact with Jesus while strongly recommending praying and talking to Mary, even calling her Mum. At the same time he has also shocked Catholics as last December when he spoke of Mary becoming holy and perfect, not being, as Immaculate Conception doctrine would have it, born perfect in order to mother the perfect Jesus.

The IC doctrine has always been incomprehensible to Protestants and rationalists – if Mary was born perfect, how and why weren’t all her ancestors perfect too? All humans are said to have sinned (Rom 3:23), so why and, where would the divine-imitating Marian perfection originate? Wouldn’t it be enough for Jesus to be fathered by the Spirit – how far need and should perfection go, especially given that Jesus’ spiritual destiny was, on the cross at least, to himself become sin for us (2 Cor 5:21)?

So…. while IC doctrine bristles with problems for Protestants, even the present pope at a certain level is conflicted about it. It’s just that no element of doubt prevents him from demanding extreme devotion to and intimate connection with Mary whether deemed humanly or divinely perfect, and in a way that will serve his questionable ecumenism of world faiths.

This new aim, however unintentionally, the half Protestant Bolsonaro via Brazil is now helping to make a reality as surely as he will let the Amazon increasingly deteriorate. At the end of the era there are all kinds of pollution, material and spiritual. The Protestants of Brazil have behaved foolishly, even ignobly, and now we see the results of trusting in princes.

 Maryianity: A poem concerning the Virgin:       https://wp.me/p2v96G-dQ

 

BELATED IDOLATRIES and the STUNNING STABAT

SIGNS SEEN AND HEARD

Prophecy can be conscious or unconscious, openly declared or more symbolic, presenting itself like a Jungian synchronicity.

Something of the latter occurred at the Palm Sunday mass in Notre Dame on April 14th less than twenty four hours before the ancient cathedral’s destructive fire. And quite clearly those so calmly present were unaware of any subliminal messages being conveyed by especially the choir’s impressive performance of the thirteenth century  Stabat Mater (The Mother was standing), a Latin hymn  nearly as old as the cathedral  itself but sung in a dramatic modern arrangement. Looking back on that morning   can supply something of a frisson. It’s like observing a last meal on the Titanic. After centuries of sacred music rising to the rafters, shortly the historic moment will strike in which song will be silenced for no one knows how long. And who would imagine it? For a youtube video with Latin and English subtitles, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbdXXzhVKJc

The performance has been compared to angels lamenting. Though the all-female choir looked relaxed enough, what is certain is that, as it develops, music and performance convey something agitated, urgent and towards the end almost frenzied in a way that would better suit precisely warning and prophecy than the post-communion reflection the average mass-goer might prefer. And although the hymn’s reference is not directly to things earthly and any church ediface, the words do make an appeal against flame and destruction by fire. Altogether there is something of a requiem about the performance.

The irony does not stop there. The fact that the disaster occurred during the Christian Holy Week, that it struck during a season when worldwide there is much persecution of Christians (highlighted  the following Easter Sunday with the Sri Lanka massacre) and that  celestially, we are currently at the very end of the age of Pisces which began around the time of Christ’s birth, raises a variety of questions. It does so perhaps especially for those of us who are non-Catholic Christians. For us, sacred space is less sacrosanct than in Catholic tradition – biblically we will recall that, as in the vision of Ezekiel 10, God may  depart from and remove protection from even the holy city and the Temple when it no longer represents what it should.

AN END TO SOME MISLEADING IDEAS?

From the standpoint of history and aesthetics, there is every reason to preserve and restore  Notre Dame. Religiously the case is less strong, or it is if one’s position is, like some,  that the cathedral should be seen as almost the leading symbol of Western Christianity.  That’s  one  claim too far, especially if you mean Christianity as representing any species of Judaeo-Christian tradition.

Amid its undoubted beauty, Notre Dame represents almost too well  a chequered tradition of questionable beliefs and values  launched upon Western Christianity  through mainly France  from the twelfth century St Bernard de Clairvaux to the eighteenth century St Louis de Montfort.  St Bernard,  leading  advocate of the crusades and persecutor of the philosopher Abelard, was the “Marian doctor” par excellence.  Certainly he claimed the Virgin had gifted him her breast milk and, taking devotion to Mary to unprecedented levels, suggested God recreates the universe through Mary and that  it’s from the overflow of her graces believers receive the Holy Spirit.

The Marian cult of St Louis is so extreme it scarcely recognizes any  distinction between Christ and Mary who becomes virtual  co-redemptrix, (which however is not necessarily the liberating/feminist idea it might superficially appear to a few connoisseurs of the mystical). It was the always extreme Marian associations of French cathedrals and of Notre Dame which housed a miraculous image of Mary for pilgrims,   that arguably occasioned the hostile substitution of Mary during the French revolution  by a “goddess of Reason” enthroned on the   high altar in the person of a prostitute).

A work like Stabat Mater betrays the repressive influence of a strong Marian tradition as indicated presently. But to accept its outlook is in any  case  to deny virtually everything that especially the Bible’s Epistle to Hebrews affirms in relation to Christ and redemption; it’s an outlook become seriously untethered  from atonement doctrine’s  symbolic and doctrinal basis in the Old Testament and Judaism. This disconnection would to some extent  facilitate a medieval anti-Semitism which Notre Dame half endorses with its disapproving Synagoga image near its entrance.  Christianity’s Judaic inheritance is as good as denied.

But consider what the excruciatingly medieval and masochistic Stabat Mater actually says.

Unlike for example “Oh Sacred Head Sore Wounded”, from the outset Stabat invites us to observe and identify less with Christ’s own suffering than Mary’s suffering observing it : “Who is the person who would not weep seeing the mother of Christ in such agony?”

Mary sees Christ in torment for “the sins of his people”. (It’s not perfectly clear if this means the Jews or the greater world).

Mary, next addressed as Fons Amoris (fount of love), is then implored to make us feel the power of love so that we may grieve with her…… Is there no spontaneous, natural spiritual love towards Christ to make us grieve?  And how and why is Mary the “Fount of Love” if  God is the true and ultimate source of Love? (1 Joh 4:8).

The remote origins of extreme forms of address to the Virgin in this style, derive from  Jewish apocrypha where they attach to the figure of Lady Wisdom first introduced in the Hebrew bible’s book of Proverbs. However for Christians, St Paul, the New Testament and even Jesus himself, Jesus is not only the (male) Logos but the (female) Sophia or  Wisdom combined  – even if psychologically and spiritually the implications of this have never been fully worked out! Short of wanting a substitute for Diana of the Ephesians, there was never a case to bestow Mary divine-sounding attributes and status, especially given her less than perfect record in the New Testament where she evidently joins her family in questioning Jesus’ vocation (Matt 12:48, Mk 3:21,22).

The Sancta Mater (Holy Mother) is then implored  to drive the wounds of Jesus deep into our hearts  and let us bemoan the crucified as long as we may live. One doubts the choristers and Palm Sunday mass goers would  really consent to that vocation …. and they shouldn’t as it’s anyway unchristian. It is not to rejoice in and proclaim the resurrection and redemption achieved. Hebrews urges believers to offer not tears but a sacrifice of continual praise (Heb 13:15) and to God, not Mary, and their leaders are told to lead the people with joy and not with sighing as this would only be harmful to them (Heb 13: 17)!

But Stabat continues  asking “the Virgin of virgins” not to be “bitter” towards the would-be mourner (why should she be bitter?!), but let us weep, letting “me” be “inebriated” by the cross and Christ’s blood. “Inebriated” is an astonishing idea and meaningless too since till modern times Catholics weren’t even allowed communion in two kinds, though nowadays they may have a wafer dipped in wine as looks to be the case at  Notre Dame.

Now turning to Mary as though to the Redeemer, the hymn continues, “Lest I burn, set afire by flames, may I be defended by you on the day of Judgement”. This fearful, mistrustful approach to God is the very opposite of what faith in Christ  as “pioneer and perfecter of   faith” is supposed to engage (Heb 12:2).  Moreover as regards confidence,  Heb 4:16 even proposes, “let us approach the throne of grace with boldness.

The noted Christian apologist C.S.Lewis once asked to summarize the difference between Christianity and other world faiths, answered simply “grace“. But this is not entirely true in much Catholic tradition and absolutely not Stabat’s. One is still considerably left, almost Hindu style, with a religion of  earned merit. Never quite good enough, the believer doesn’t go to Christ, the “high priest” of Hebrews, for pardon and deliverance so much as to Christ through Mary, a mediator to the mediator. As in Stabat she almost protects you against Christ, a Redeemer more crucified and suffering than resurrected.  Indeed, instead of  his offering “one sacrifice, once and for all when he offered himself” (Heb 7:27),  Jesus is sacrificed in the mass again and again to the end of time… with the incidental effect that there needs to be a priestly elite to oversee the constant sacrifice.

SO HERE IT GOES AGAIN

One of the reasons  the misguided psychology and theology of Stabat Mater has kept in circulation, is because around 20 noted composers ancient and more modern from Pergolesi to  Poulenc have put it to music.  It’s nonetheless  time for some real change, but as long as people refuse to critically examine their hymns and  won’t examine the bible to absorb the general  drift of its messages, there won’t be any revision.  As it happens, Stabat Mater is even  taking on new life and being used as almost the defining statement for Notre Dame,  its disaster, Paris and France via an agreeable post-disaster popular song called  Notre Dame, Stabat Mater  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4o4XuluCDmM

Notre Dame,  the ediface, is now seen as “ou Dieu vit et appelle (where God lives and calls), it’s “sa demeure” (his dwelling place) as though it were Solomon’s Temple. She, Notre Dame, is  herself Stabat Mater, attacked and killed like many mothers. “Elle est pour nous Stabat Mater (She is for us Stabat Mater) while since Mary is a being  “sans pareille” (without compare), at our side and watching over us, “let us present to Mary our prayers for France”.

It sounds nice and despite the touch of traditional  Mary for France nationalism, doubtless well-intentioned. However, it may  only be to compound an  old problem and possibly even  signals a reason there was not more divine protection in the first place, namely because it’s high time to exit from a serious ultra-medieval bind.  Unless Mary  were herself divine along with  Jesus as part of God, there can be no shared divine powers with a queen of heaven  to  appeal to in the beyond or to treat as centred upon a place of worship on earth. The prophet Jeremiah was inevitably and automatically opposed to  Israel’s devotion to  any “queen of heaven” because, as per the Covenant revelation,  “the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other” (Deut 4:39).

However… I am writing this in the month of May which the present  pope has urged Catholics to be sure to dedicate to Mary – a Jesuit custom since the late eighteenth century –  and  the Catholic trend (considerably under French influence) has been towards ever closer association of Mary with redemption and heavenly authority. This is the case despite, and paradoxically so, that last February this same Pope signed an accord which, contradicting all evangelical obligations of the faith and envisaging a union of religions, has declared differences of faith divinely willed.

To be a little  speculative and prophetic, I am inclined to say that if the medieval rut is not escaped from, any renewed Notre Dame will not finish a truly Christian site but the arm of a new end-of-era false world faith in which Mary will share space with, or at  least be increasingly identified archetypally  with, various goddesses. It is perhaps no accident that already there have been suggestions ND’s fallen spire could be replaced with the form of a minaret.

The times we are living in must be taken seriously as a turning point and a theme of endings needs to assume its due place among our perspectives.  Catholics who regard Pope Francis as an “anti-pope” they want out  and Protestants who fear he may facilitate the world faith of a false prophet Antichrist, must be allowed their point.

Further reading. See poem: “Maryianity: A Poem concerning the Virgin” https://wp.me/p2v96G-dQ 

“St  Malachy’s Last Pope Ringing Down the Curtain?” https://wp.me/p4kNWg-oM

 

 

 

 

The Passing of Writer, Rachel Held Evans

HEALTH AND THE HIDDEN PATTERNS OF FATE

The sudden unexpected loss of the still young (37 yo) mother and Christian bestselling writer Rachel Held Evans, is a great pity. But I suspect despite all the hopes for the recovery of one so young and normally healthy, that her time had come. The death about which many questions are asked, appears to have been from encephalitis triggered by some unknown infection. It may be hard for those who have treated her to feel certain of the precise nature and cause of her fatal illness but this may hopefully yet be determined including via the system that could well hold the secret.

Christians and the medical profession alike reject and despise, even demonize, the astrology that for centuries used to be routine in assessing health and prognoses. However the data is always there to test and examine, and in this case at very least it would suggest how some extreme fatedness rather than just random accident was likely involved.

Among other things I note Evans was born (8th June 1981) with her Neptune at 23.40 of Sagittarius, Neptune being planet at one level of things mystical but physically of any flooding and enlargement (and any sleep – death was preceded by an induced coma to prevent the unexpected frequent brain seizures!). This natal Neptune was somewhat unhelpfully in its apparent retrograde, not needing to be highlighted as it recently was.

The day Rachel died (May 4th), Jupiter, “ruler” of Sagittarius, planet of expansion, was itself in apparent retrograde at 23.29 of Sagittarius closely conjunct the tricky natal Neptune. A Jupiterian expansion and with increased, ‘flooding” or enlargement of the brain tissue combined to overtax the whole system that had been unsuccessfully put to Neptune’s sleep. The crucial seizures are mapped by a natal affliction between Mercury and Saturn (3 Cancer to 4 Libra) being hit and awakened by transit of the nerves, seizures and shocks relevant Uranus at 3 Taurus, the latter setting up a quincunx (150 degree angle), known as a major health hazard aspect often involved in deaths and towards restrictive and painful Saturn, itself often about endings and “fate”.

If one had a full-timed birth chart and then the medical knowledge of those who still read charts for health, the cause of sickness might well be quickly ascertained, though the mysteries of Neptune might always slow things down and cover up for a while. But even from the little one can glean without a birth time and full chart and then medical qualification to apply to reading of the complete picture, I would still assume the author’s time had come given just the loaded, afflicted picture I’ve mentioned.

A DEGREE OF FAME

Incidentally…. The fame and influence of this communicative Gemini who within her short life challenged many religous assumptions , is reflected by the way religion and philosophy planet, Jupiter (it was the Bethlehem star), is strong on a world/solstice point in Libra, sign of balance and fairness. Rachel wanted to weigh things up,  Libran style and be as fair as possible to two sides of tradition and argument. She did this and the pattern fits.

I can’t quite leave this subject without adding it is deeply shocking as regards the whole American system (which not least the evangelical society Evans grew away from ardently, uncritically supports), within a few days imposed punishingly high medical fees. Appeals have been made to help fund the absurd (over $135,000) cost of treatment and support of the family over a few days. How dare Christians sing the praises of societies of the extravagantly rich American kind and mock as “Nanny States” or hard left “Socialist”, the majority of western countries by contrast. Most deal better by their citizens than this and don’t support a ruthless system that demands everyone be so self-sufficient and self-made, it only takes a health crisis to ruin a family or the fruit of a life’s work overnight. “I love America”, “God loves America” etc are patriotic mantras; but do those that utter them truly believe, short of being brainwashed, that God really loves this and so much more that is obviously wrong?

UNDERSTANDING FOLAU FOLLY

BATTERING RAM FAITH AND UNFAITH

It is an irony in its own right that the bible cited  by sports star Israel Folau sacked for “homophobia”, doesn’t employ a precise equivalent of the “homosexual” word as used and understood today any more than it includes the word “atheist” Folau seems to think belongs in scripture. But the ironies (and confusion) don’t end there, they only begin.

Criticized and now penalized Wallabies Rugby star, Israel Folau, who has declared gays are bound for hell (along with other classes of people) if they don’t repent, has something in common with atheist crusader, Richard Dawkins. In the realm of faith and unbelief respectively, both are uncompromising fundamentalist literalists.

Something neither they nor their fans would even recognize, is that both were also born under the (battering) ram sign of Aries which has a remarkable history and function in the sphere of beliefs. Neo-atheism is almost the province of Ariens – Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, A. C. Grayling. Evangelicalism like that of General Booth of the Salvation Army derived from  a fiery Arien,   while it was the missionary saint, St Francis Xavier, whose unmitigated homophobic fervour would prove a major reason Christianity failed to take root in Japan. The level of insult and abuse directed upon gay courtiers (“worse than pigs and dogs”) was considered barbarian brattishness beyond the pale. Coming up to date, Folau’s chief Australian defender of his abrasiveness as free speech justified, is the Arien broadcaster, Alan Jones.

Although it is undeniably controversial for free speech anywhere to penalize Folau  with termination of contract for his outspoken beliefs, there is an exasperating, tactless insensitivity and  confusion in them all the same,  especially as regards gays. A rather six of one and half a dozen of the other  type situation has now  arisen  as regards free speech and its censorship in Australia  because Folau is just so extreme. (He has even criticized Christians for celebrating Christmas !). Since it is well established that young gays have extra struggles of adjustment and a higher than usual suicide rate, they don’t need to have a celebrity promising them the hell fires on Instagram (especially not one who in the not distant past has not been unhappy to model for a gay magazine and be spokesperson for “diversity”. Folau has the right to change his mind without being called  a hypocrite, but he should in common decency have left any words about gays to others. For an impassioned gay response to Folau see this article in the Sydney Morning Herald shorturl.at/klrS8

If public figures must criticize gays at that level, it might be more to the point to call out, say,  those whose rave party enthusiasms help keep the drug cartels in business or again older gays who exploit the vulnerable  and inexperienced young who may have just been shunted into the big world by rejecting families. (This might  besides better approximate to the apostle’s “homosexual offenders” as a modern  translation like NIV has it).

For the likes of Folau and his supporters (who now regard him, as he plainly does himself, as a bit of martyr ready to suffer any rejection in service of Jesus!) the matter is as simple as “what the bible says” and needing to repeat it. Anglican Bishop Michael Stead of South Sydney in rather similar vein told The Australian (April 17th) if Folau did nothing more than post to social media “what is essentially a summary of the Bible, then it’s a signal to the rest of us to keep our mouths shut”….. WHAT?!  Can  the bishop be so misguided (and self interested in relation to personal freedoms) as to propose a summary of the bible or gospel is involved?!

The matter  certainly isn’t as simple as “what the bible says”  or some “summary” of it, and it’s important to realize why.

THE LIMITS OF LITERALISM

As regards specifically homosexuals, words for “homosexuals” and “homosexuality” simply don’t occur in the bible so that translation and terminology will have a lot to do with how the subject is understood today by different scholars, historians and Christians and with other statements and references in the bible taken into account.

Psychology didn’t come into the picture for the ancient world so what the bible, especially the OT, would recognize as indicated would tend to be persons, sodomites, known for acts such as would be committed by especially paganish temple prostitutes masquerading as women. It was this class of persons who got dismissed from the Jerusalem temple (but not executed) under the reforms of Israel’s King Josiah. Such were almost certainly the original target of the often cited Leviticus ban of male same sex. (But lesbians aren’t even mentioned in the OT, while if male same sex is paganish “abomination”, then so too is eating the pork many Christians eat. So let’s belatedly obtain some perspective!).

But almost more to the point for understanding biblical condemnations and any vice lists of the damned which Folau derives from St Paul to the Galatians (which unlike 1 Corinthians doesn’t include anything re “homosexual” or “homosexuality – the guy can’t quote right), let’s notice it includes liars.

Think one moment. The fact is that even the most honest people do, or need, to lie at least occasionally. The bible doesn’t endorse Kant’s “categorical imperative” according to which one should never lie. In Exodus God blesses the two righteous midwives who lied to save the Hebrew children from Pharaoh.

Thieves. Are all thieves damned? Would it be so evil for the starving to steal a loaf of bread? Obviously by thieves St Paul has in mind all those who Mafia-like spend their lives turning the wheels of corruption.

That it’s so easy in this way to start deconstructing what the bible via St Paul states, should alert us to the following:

  1. The apostle is generalizing. At most he is speaking regards what his supposedly regenerate flock should not exhibit while pointing to symptoms of a larger unregenerate state in the world beyond. But more importantly…
  2. For purposes of random, sensational quotation like Folau’s, there is anyway a certain irrelevance in these vice lists seeing  that in Paul’s understanding, there is another, more crucial generalization involved. This is that – by and large – everyone, even the good, can be hell bound. For the apostle the chief feature of society is that it is “fallen” and largely doomed. “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing” (2 Cor 4:4).

In the ancient world and before acceptance of resurrection belief became common enough to produce more RIP style optimism in even unbelievers, save in rare exceptions the post-mortem state for everyone was understood to be the darkness of Hades. This was unremitting, a version of hell. Consider the Homeric horrors of Odysseus’ visit to Hades and the souls trapped there that blood sacrifice alone can summon up  to record their misery. The gods can never save from death.

DEATH, HELL AND ALL THAT

Christianity arrived to promise deliverance from death, conditional upon especially faith and repentance. Folau is all for these and not incorrectly; it’s just that he gets the emphasis and application wrong. Without these, and because God is perfect and humanity imperfect, the two can otherwise never now be easily reconciled and. “Flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of God”(1 Cor 15:50). The regenerate soul would require nothing less than  the house of a new spiritual body via resurrection to reside anywhere but deep earth or Hades.

Today, neither faith nor repentance (lit. mind change) are popular, well understood concepts, especially amid trendy doctrines of personal autonomy and pride in self and one’s accomplishments. Faith and repentance are nonetheless secrets of meaningful spiritual change …..even if not change to the extent Folau assumes that the gay orientated person will become straight. (As the himself probably gay orientated prophet Jeremiah famously had it: “Can the leopard change his spots?” ( See my “Jeremiah’s Loincloth” feature https://wp.me/p2v96G-Hm).  The gay person needs to be responsibly rather than chaotically gay.

Though the bible does argue for God from creation, belief itself is treated less philosophically than existentially. Accordingly,  “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand” is how the Baptist introduced his ministry. It is honest recognition of human failure, brokenness and mortality which can best prompt both realization of the need for God and what the nature of God is. “Repent” in this case denotes a general direction of the mind for everyone –  a whole vice-list of those needing to repent  doesn’t come attached.

REPENTANCE AS A USEFUL PRACTICE

Providing it doesn’t descend into morbid, self-unforgiving  guilt, repentance or permanent self-criticism, is (with praise) almost the prime religious exercise. To say repentance “doesn’t work” because people keep failing, is almost but not quite irrelevant. Just as people do (or should) reckon to keep saying “sorry” if they hurt and offend others, even though they are virtually guaranteed to do so again (but perhaps less so over time!), so it is good for mind and spirit to keep “repenting” failures. It’s  the opportunity for renewal of mind and spirit. Simply to recognize one is not Superman or Superwoman for ideal performance in life can be both a relief and a means of being closer to interaction with the perfection of God. Confession to self, others and God and being forgiven by them is a profound human need inadequately understood. The rationalist poet, Goethe, couldn’t understand his irrational need for it.

It nonetheless makes sense because from a certain point of view it could be said we are anyway always a bit “wrong” even at our best (our righteousness like filthy rags as the apostle had it) and moderns especially are half neurotic living in what the writers of bible would probably regard as a state of ritual impurity from sheer lack of regular, sufficient “repentance” in  their lives. Some would even boast “I never say sorry”, but perhaps they really should for their own and everyone’s good!

NOT ALL AND QUITE LOST

Though unquestionably he does regard the whole world to be “perishing” and needing to repent,  in fairness to the sometimes severe apostle, this doesn’t mean St Paul assumed as some extremists since St Augustine and up to Folau today evidently do, that everyone, (from unbaptized infants to even the ignorant in the case of Augustine!) are all automatically lost souls. In fact, he surely negates that claim in such as Rom 2:14. However….there’s  no need to go into that subject here nor regarding hell, matters I touch on in an article Greg Sheridan’s God is Good for You: A Major Book with and odd flaw https://wp.me/p2v96G-16w What should be stressed  is where Folau’s outspokenness  puts the rules of public conversation  in an era of PC.

Folau’s pushing of his beliefs despite warnings against their unsuitability and possible danger to impressionable young minds, is  troubling. His aggressive “witness” and then his martyred stance is almost a caricature of  type of Christian role. Little good can come of it…. Except possibly that it reminds us of one thing that church leaders ignore, namely precisely the need for “repentance” as a major aspect of life  and Christianity itself, and almost as a   technique…..

FUNDAMENTALISTS WITHOUT REAL FUNDAMENTALS

….Radical change is not being preached in the majority of churches, especially where whole areas of private behaviour are concerned. A too frequent, puritanical over-emphasis on sex in the past has led in the present to an almost total silence to the point almost anything has been allowed, or at least conveniently ignored. The scandals of especially clerical sexual abuse have occurred only because it was too easy to forgive or just dismiss things where a more serious repentance was plainly required. You  don’t say  like Cardinal Pell “I’m not interested” when faced with a case of notorious abuse.

The churches, reduced almost to just arms of smiling public charity, have ceased to teach their members, let alone preach to those outside, some basic spiritual and theological principles of the faith. It is  scarcely possible  to understand what has happened through the Folau controversy otherwise. Folau’s actions and attitudes are both an accident and over- compensatory reaction to what the churches have become where beliefs and witness are concerned. There is a crisis of ignorance that neither church silence nor celebrity shouting can hope to resolve but against which Folau kicks and butts.

This is an article it should not even cross my mind as a lay person  to write. It should be  unnecessary because if they were attending to their their job so many church leaders should already have given meaningful answers to Folau and to gays and others; but so far the silence is either deafening or as in the case of the cited Bishop Stead, almost in itself another scandal of misguided thinking.  No one wins in this case. If Folau loses that’s bad for freedoms, if he wins it will  seem like open day to the uninformed, careless even eccentric treatment of religion in public. Folau is an insensitive messer should have just kept quiet and  whatever happens, he and the world  should not see  him as any martyr to the things of Christ.

 

NOTRE DAME BURNS: TIMING AND OMEN

I will paste below what I have sent this morning in Australia to the Noel Tyl site in America

Much could be said on this topic, especially given several charts used for modern France -the 4th republic with its 24 Aries Midheaven as opposed to 5th looks like it might be more relevant at this point. However and dramatically I would point out this.

I have long claimed to possess the true chart for Christianity at Pentecost in AD 30 and that it works down to the last asteroid and still works for events.

Today Uranus for accidents and disasters is at 2 Taurus 9 dangerously square Pentecost’s fiery 2.40 Leo ascendant.

I don’t know the exact time the still ongoing fire began, but I am seeing the TV reports this morning in Australia and today is the 16th. The sun is presently at 25.40 Aries. This means today it sufficiently comes to  conjunct Pentecost’s 26.57 Aries Venus in its tenth house of destiny/reputation, Venus being its ruler of the fourth of any property, art and any endings. Also, transiting   doom-laden Saturn at 23 Cap is conjunct Pentecost’s Neptune (the stained glass windows have been lost) and square the 23 Aries destiny Midheaven of Pentecost.

That this event occurs in the Holy Week before the Passover in sync this year with the Christian feast, looks like not just an event but an omen, an omen of the soon end of the Piscean Christian era itself, a subject which it seems is increasingly being reported by many in dreams.

I am not however going to get into date setting or speculations here re such as Second Advent or the Rapture, a real mystery which however I do see as arguably locked into symbolism and factors of the Pentecost chart from its inception. I will however say there is something  hurtful to me and rather shameful  in relation to the astrological community that none of its leaders, its magazines etc have,  over the years, been interested to feature or examine the chart for Christianity or indeed even for Christ. The latest gossip over Hollywood holds more importance. This isn’t good enough and against this failure I am confident of being proved right.

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THE STARS OF ISRAEL’S RED HEIFER

A CREATURE WITH A DESTINY?

It’s quite a question. Born last year, is Israel’s Red Heifer  likely to stay red and be the true and ritually perfect one whose ashes can be used in dedication of the anticipated third temple? Although, surprisingly, a couple of apparently pure red heifers have been born this year  too, there are some highly suggestive indications that the kosher true one quite likely finally arrived last August  and I am surprised I never examined this more closely before to pass an opinion.  After all, the whole question is now almost inextricably tied in with the current mounting expectations of a Messiah for Israel and full blown apocalyptic expectations in some Christian circles  (partly addressed in my recent “Rabbi Kanievsky’s Messianic Purim 2019”  on this site. https://wp.me/p4kNWg-qd).

Just what the Red Heifer is and does, touches on some sensitive points of doctrine and difference between Judaism and Christianity. The Red Heifer of Num 19, is a unique sacrifice within Judaism, a sin offering which takes place outside the city walls and is effectively a collective purification from sin and the greatest impurity of all which is death.

The mainstream rabbinic position is that Israel is living in a state of ritual impurity unless and until the Temple system of sacrifice is restored. The Christian position as outlined in especially  the Epistle to Hebrews and its Chap 10, is that Jesus made the sacrifice once and for all time for the sins of the world, rendering animal sacrifice unnecessary. Christians today seem divided  over whether any rebuilt temple that awaits its heifer is a positive move (a symbol and reminder of God to the world) or a signal/trigger of apocalyptic events since a false prophet or Antichrist will arrive to defile and stop the rituals of any new temple, or even a trigger to both possibilities.

One thing is rather clear amid differing beliefs. There is an affinity of sorts between the symbolism of Jesus and the Red Heifer. Jesus died, and the Red Heifer must uniquely die, outside the city walls and both are understood to die as radical sin offerings. Jesus “lamb of God” is as  much and possibly more the unique heifer, and both have been born under the sign of precision and perfection, of health and cure, Virgo, itself the ideal of the opposite sign, Pisces, sign of the  (approx. 2100 year) age  now declining and at its last gasps. For the astrology of Jesus, data that work for Jesus issue to this day, see https://goo.gl/x8KASy

I will read this in two ways, first as a day chart and  where relevant  in relation to Israel, and second in relation to the regularly working data I claim to have for Christ. (See https://wp.me/p2v96G-ip)  Following   this I will have some things to say about the last Purim and “messianic” developments from that.

  • For the day of the Red’s birth (28.8.2018) we have no exact time or place, so I will follow custom and take the generalizing average of midday at Jerusalem. It  happens to be a potent choice, as the sun has just entered 5 Virgo where it conjoins asteroid JERUSALEM for that day, while Jupiter, the religion and beliefs planet, conjuncts the ascendant (the point rising on the horizon). Also the chart’s  base angle (origins,  traditions) at 24 Leo manages to be near conjunct modern Israel’s TEMPEL  asteroid, an incidental relevance.
  • Surprising, revolutionary, unique Uranus is suitably placed in Taurus, sign of the bull and any heifers. It’s a sign, besides, long associated with Israel which in modern times was born under Taurus in 1948. Uranus is also perfectly trine Saturn, symbol both of any traditions and any guilt, and at 2 degrees Capricorn very strong in the sign of its rulership. By tradition Israel wants to purge guilt with this heifer.
  • The birth can be world relevant and sacrifice associated especially as CHIRON, the wounded healer planetoid, is at 1 degree of Aries, namely on one of the six world points. ( O Aries is such a point, but anything up to 1.30 degrees is counted as on that degree).
  • At 2 of Taurus, Uranus in tension square to asteroid REDDISH at 2 Leo, heightens controversy around the status and significance of the heifer and whether she will remain completely red as required, – which she likely will. Reddish in a fixed sign (fiery red Leo) favours remaining red!
  • That this birth seriously involves Israel and its religion is indicated by the way at 16 Scorpio Jupiter, the faith and beliefs factor, makes fortunate easy trine to asteroid ISRAEL at 16 Cancer and to Neptune, strong in the sign it rules, at 15 Pisces…incidentally sign of the outgoing era.
  • That involved, however indirectly, are matters concerning the Messiah, is indicated by the challenging and tense opposition of asteroid MASI (Ar. Messiah) to Pluto, the judgement, force majeure, even deity planet.
  • Asteroid COLPA (sin/guilt) at 4 Cancer happens to be conjunct modern Israel’s Venus at 4 Cancer. This is all the more significant if one takes the usual, most working chart for Israel which shows Venus in its ninth house of beliefs and religion. So religious Israel wants the purification of this sin offering.                                                                              I am nonetheless bound to concede all of this may represent wishes, desires and expectations around the birth rather than its final identity.

THE HEIFER to JESUS’ CHART

I will now highlight the pattern of the day as it agrees and disagrees in connection with data for Jesus but either way suggests an element of destiny and involvement with many beliefs.

  • The sun is in Jesus’ sign of Virgo and at just 5 degrees it falls opposite his JACOBI possibly indicating difference with traditions of the sons of Jacob.
  • Mercury (any news) at 16 Leo conjuncts JERUSALEM in Jesus’ chart. The heifer is all about Jerusalem  and being just outside it.
  • Venus, strong in its own sign  at 20 Libra, conjuncts SALMON (a variant Solomon name) itself in suggestively easy and favourable trine to Jesus’ 19 Gemini TEMPEL (Ger. temple) asteroid. This has to reflect current desires to restore the temple of Solomon. (Solomon as SALOMIN was in Jesus’ fourth house of his origins and ancestry along with other biblical notables).
  • At 16 Scorpio, religion planet and Bethlehem star, Jupiter,  well and truly reflects the confusion and argument about the meanings and fate of any  third temple and sacrifices. It manages to conjunct SETHOS (Seth/Set/Satan) which is bookend conjuncted at 15 and 17 Scorpio respectively by MALUS (bad) and PALOMA (dove) which is like some devil and Holy Spirit contention over religious issues.
  • Uranus at 2 Taurus is opposite Jesus’ VERITAS (Truth) at 2 Scorpio, incidentally a natal position suggestive that truth about Jesus has a lot to do with death and the issue of his death and transformation, ideas which as we know is not ultimately in harmony with what the heifer represents.
  • Pluto at 19 Capricorn is hitting a conjunction of several asteroids in Jesus’s pattern including ABBE (Father). The issue of the heifer involves both Jewish and Christian beliefs around how much the Father can be contacted and worshipped and will forgive.

I think the above is enough to signify the Red Heifer’s birth is timely and relevant for many current beliefs and that she is quite  likely to stay the course fully red and prove the elect creature that let’s the temple be dedicated. But she now has rivals whose dates I don’t find advertised. This whole subject is rather under wraps, no one knows where the heifers are being kept and raised.

Meanwhile….and to continue the story and issues of Rabbi Kanievsky’s Messianic Purim….

PURIM AND POST PURIM EFFECTS

Where Israel was concerned the real surprise and gift of the festival proved not to be a hidden, emerging Messiah but Trump’s recognition of the historic Golan as Israel and not just “occupied territory”.

This intervention was clear enough, but post Purim 2019 a measure of confusion (some of it a bit amusing in line with Purim’s carnival spirit) prevails. Indeed, I can hardly keep up with and understand it all. Poor Rabbi Kanievsky who I  now find has stated the Messiah was born last July, must have felt short changed by the events of the festival that were supposed to present the Messiah to a few before a greater revelation around the elections and Passover. (But if he were still an infant, could the messianic crown anyway even fit his head?!).

What Rabbi Kaviensky and his devotees have been left to absorb is the embarrassment of someone apparently taking him at his word and more. On the evening of Purim, a not totally unknown figure once deported from Israel, King Ra-El (aka Raymond Elwood Lear b. June 9th 1968 in Illinois), was featured live stream on social media in English from Baja Mexico. The region is one  that Jews  have long inhabited and which has a kosher farm there that a time back announced it had produced a red heifer, though of course one from within Israel was always to be preferred and now lays claim.

Beneath a canopy blown by sea breezes, Ra-El swathed in Messianic garments arrived, a little  uncertainly  it seemed, to be anointed and crowned by the (returned?) prophet Elijah, as Son of David,  King of Kings, Lord of Lords and Son of a God who insists the world should acknowledge him. A cardinal of a masonic Catholic church has endorsed him as Israel’s and the world’s true Messiah.  Though obviously Ra-El is not this person nor the  Egyptian sun god Ra, nor the prophecied Antichrist either (the latter would have be more mesmerizing and seductive according to every dream of him reported), I did say in the Kaviensky article that the  pattern for Purim was somehow off and had a strange Christ/Antichrist savour.

So I wasn’t exactly wrong about that! And I must admit it’s interesting that Ra-El has his natal Pluto on the degree of Jesus’s sun, while his Jupiter is on the crucial Uranus, Regulus, Achristou conjunction of  the late Jeane Dixon’s Antichrist. But that need only mean there is a connection of themes, someone claiming to be the  Messiah and being thought by some to be the Antichrist.

Regardless of such festive season distractions, there are rabbis expecting some Messiah for Passover.  It is anyway  set to be a very special occasion this year because the Sanhedrin has declared its priests will perform a televised Passover sacrifice near to the Temple Mount. They will do so on the altar dedicated last December at Hannukah for use in the anticipated third temple. Clearly some leaders do anticipate a soon Messiah even though it won’t be Ra-El.

There are even people who have decided it’s Trump who is a, or the, Messiah (because he’s fulfilling a Cyrus-like role and could see a third temple built if his peace plan in the wake of Israel’s elections proves satisfactory). There are also fringe Christians who have decided Trump is not messianic but the Antichrist – previously there were, and still are, some Americans holding out for Obama as same! Others more numerous but not less radical, believe that between anticipated messiahs and Christs in the style of Ra-el, events are pointing to the near onset of the Tribulation (which if so would have to produce an Antichrist figure). Things are certainly hotting up in Jerusalem. Just how things are changing, events speeding up and people getting  impatient for the temple to be built and really soon can be gauged by this news article out only today. shorturl.at/fsLRS

There are regions into which astrology might be wiser not to stray, but for those who want something with a frisson, something can be conceded to the radicals. With shocking, revolutionary Uranus now entered stability and economics sign Taurus and painful wounded healer Chiron gone into aggressive Aries, both of them in March and staying for seven years, the duration of the Tribulation, this among other things would support the idea of major crises due before too long. There could be life-changing, painful crises that some might well call the Tribulation.

There is much reason to suppose that if mid East tensions don’t upset plans, with the Israeli elections, a highlighted Passover and the Trump peace plan expected to be made public, April and the whole Jewish new year month of Nisan from 5th April, could well prove a time to remember.

[Update 31st April – the Trump peace plan is to be revealed directly following  Ramadam which ends June 4th. Whatever its reception and events following, which might be dramatic and anything but peaceful,  there is now the speculation the Tribulation itself could begin during June in any year  because half way through the Trib i.e.three and a half years later hence in December around Christmas, the world is portrayed as exchanging presents as people rejoice at the death of the two prophets in Jerusalem. Rev 11:10. Plainly events in  Jerusalem will keep people on edge with many speculations!)

 

 

 

 

THERE’S ABUSE AND ABUSE: Thoughts post Jackson and Pell

EFFECTS WHICH LAST

I watched the Leaving Neverland saga and I am glad that despite a slow start I watched all of it. It was compelling and moving. I believed the stories of abuse as there were some very telling points and moments that could hardly be invented and feigned. They helped me better understand how abuse victims can suffer and react over time. [ Three weeks on I have doubts in light of new evidence about the two victims, Robson and Safechuck whose dates and more don’t correspond with established facts. I can only say they must be good actors and perhaps well read – Robson’s narrative is said to have been borrowed from a novel about paedophilia ]

Any abuse which as in the case of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, is continued over childhood years is  real and serious abuse. I am not surprised that it can be misunderstood by victims, be denied and lie buried only to return belatedly to trouble sleep like so much post traumatic stress disorder. It is even functioning like a virtual possession. Indeed, if one accepts the esoteric explanation of sex which would maintain there is a blending of soul bodies or auras, then the unreadied person of the child, has been entered and joined with by an unequal force in a way that stains the inner being and hurts development.

As against this, the plea that the perpetrator case could have been kind and generous in some ways, as Robson and Safechuck freely concede, is irrelevant;  irrelevant as in another direction is Macauley Culkin’s rush to Jackson’s  defence declaring nothing was  done to him in Neverland. That’s a situation one could attribute to the fact  that from the outset, child star Culkin would  strike Jackson  as more Hollywood, less pliable and cutey-innocent.

Be that as it may,  I find it  strange the public anyway ever idolized Jackson so long and as much as it did, never suspecting the singer with his ghost-like appearance might be another,  more sweet-talking Jimmy Saville. I could never feel easy about someone who dangles his child out of a window. But someone who issues an album like Bad and who keeps clutching his crotch in performance and who brings children on stage with him is surely trying, however unconsciously and despite himself, to admit to something out of kilter.

Anyway,  the main thing is that victims of abuse deserve our sympathies and socially we should all be more discerning and vigilant about who we put on a pedestal. But questions remain, and I feel we must also recognize there’s abuse and abuse if society is ever to manage this difficult issue properly.

Since people do suffer severe stress for all manner of negative life experiences like home robbery, murder of relatives, domestic violence (for which, they may currently receive less overt sympathy from society than sex abuse victims), what I have yet to understand is the alleged effects of what looks like another level and kind of abuse.

I don’t understand how and why there are victims who suffered some brief experience above the age of, say, twelve (Robson and Safechuck’s abuse began well before that ) which they claim, has overshadowed and half ruined their lives. They may claim this although the experience occurred  decades ago and maybe only once or twice, wasn’t rape or major intimacy and maybe lasted only a minute or two (as with cases the genitals got touched or somebody masturbated in front of somebody).

This is closer to some of the casting couch  #MeToo charges  or controversial tribal rituals which over the centuries some young people have been subject to without necessarily suffering the worst possible effects. So, if it’s not a case of making accusation for dubious motives, I would suspect something other or more than the purely sexual has got to be involved, something which perhaps modern law and its terminology might need to adjust in order to cover with greater accuracy and justice.

THE TRICKY PELL CASE

This is not a prelude to any topical defence of the disgraced Cardinal Pell (who seems to have suffered fall from  the heights about as great as Cardinal Wolsey centuries ago!). Like not a few people I do have doubts that he is guilty as charged for specifically something briefly occurring in a sacristy in 1996 according to only one witness. However, although such doubt, including from a non Catholic, is supposed to render me in the minds of abuse advocates friend of some party of ultimate cruel  bigotry and right wing reaction, the fact is  I am suspicious Pell might be guilty of other offences not taken up by the courts and reported as occurring in a swimming pool years ago.  But even if he is innocent of all such charges, the fact seems unavoidable that in the past he has been coldly dismissive of, possibly deceitful towards, traumatized persons making legitimate complaints. My  sympathies  for him are accordingly modified.

Even so…. in any circumstances I would still question whether there is any cause to have a person of Pell’s advanced age and in poor health registered lifelong as a dangerous sex offender for what, if true, were rare, brief failures long ago. Indeed, the failures are getting called “heinous crimes”, apparently so heinous that for some people no amount of punishment would be sufficient. Though it’s likely Pell will anyway die in jail unless appeal gets him out of it, the still suffering victims and their vocal supporters seem to imply years of imprisonment won’t do. They seem to imply the criminal should be locked up and the key thrown away, that he should certainly be imprisoned for life,( ideally executed if the laws would allow it), and then let him rot in hell. “Don’t forgive them” declares the human headline Senator Derryn Hinch of any abusers.

What levels of trauma support these kind of attitudes? I suggest it could be something along the lines of the “homosexual panic” reaction that once used to be allowed as a plea to excuse the manslaughter of gays who had the misfortune to make a pass to the wrong person. It was assumed the psyche couldn’t suffer the shock of being thought an object to any other man. While that idea was always controversial, I could more easily accept that harder to take would be the potential shattering of worlds, self-image and faith in a trusted person like a teacher, or a priest (seen as a power figure and often identified in children’s minds with God), suddenly become a threatening user. Here really is a basis for trauma with some lasting effects..But shouldn’t that be defined more as ”breach of trust crime’ than sex crime pure and simple?

The question can well be asked, especially in an age of supposed sexual freedom and “equality”; because as matters are and the law stands, behaviours are still getting the worst possible, dated, demeaning descriptions that only risk missing the point and confusing the sentencing. This is why Pell’s defence lawyer initially declared (but was forced to retract by the outcry from victims and the public), what Pell had done was “fairly vanilla”. But comparatively speaking he had a point given the  brute reality that all manner of modern crime is often lightly treated by courts(against the public will it must be said)  and we live amid a rather oversexed, porn-ridden popular culture. It seems that Pell,  apart from managing to raise his heavy garb to expose himself (which at least some adolescents might have thought derisively amusing – children do have their dirty jokes) and masturbating himself, he had briefly committed “oral rape”…. which means engaged some forced fellatio.

Of course the accused had no business to be forcing himself on anyone, especially not any young person in his general care; it would always be inexcusably wrong. But for the very short time long ago involved and in its broader socio-sexual context, was it exceptionally heinous, fit to refer to the accused subsequently in terms normally reserved to someone more like a serial killer or a socially dangerous pervert never to be let out of supervision?

IT DEPENDS WHAT YOU MEAN BY…

Like it or not, fellatio, but admittedly not forced on the underaged, is  what one hears most men want when visiting prostitutes, while it’s the substance of a lot of porn and semi-public gay bath house activity.  And no one is going to be prosecuted for it. They won’t be because the laws changed and legal description of acts as “gross indecency” and “indecent exposure” etc were questioned. “Gross” and “indecent” for whom, when and why? Terminology was allowed almost to judge a case almost before it was heard, for example a  person naked in public for whatever reason  could be on trial for crime itself,  disgusting because, well, the word “indecent” was attached to it.

With this in mind one asks, no matter how inexcusable it  might be on the part of the active perpetrator and repulsive for the passive victim, should some briefly forced fellatio be regarded and treated as super-criminal “rape”?…..A female rape victim could be bloodied and battered, even left unconscious. If forced male fellatio could arrive at anything remotely similar, it would be specially criminal indeed, so why the emotive word “rape” as opposed to something more like “exploitation” of, or aggressive “self-imposition” upon, the innocent?

HOW MUCH CAN AND SHOULD ONE LET GO?

I don’t suggest justice should not be sought and pursued for sexual abuse and the Catholic church’s mismanagement of serially offending priests marks a serious scandal, but I do feel what I would call the victims of the “lesser” and most historic abuse need more and better counselling so that they are not suffering feelings of shock, shame, or betrayal over long periods of time and pressing for the severest possible sentencing in all cases. I shouldn’t wish to add to the burdens of those already feeling burdened, but there just might also be another factor people and the courts don’t like to stress to them.

Difficult though the task may be, and again needing active counselling support to manage, at least some degree of cure would come through just forgiveness. Forgiveness is ultimately something we all have to do or failure to achieve it rots the very bones and prolongs the suffering. As the longtime falsely charged and socially pilloried Lindy Chamberlain had it,  forgiveness is really almost more a letting go than anything. It’s admittedly something perhaps easier to do in the religious context where one is meant to believe “vengeance is mine, says the Lord” while serious offenders of the innocent are promised “better a millstone be put around their neck….” If that’s the fate of the unrepentant abuser, it should be easier to pardon and pass on in this life. But in a secular, materialist world it is possible to hang on, hoping for other outcomes and benefits which however will be found to have cured nothing in the long run.

It’s right and good the public should re-think Jackson at this time, but it may also be necessary to re-think a few laws and little questioned attitudes too in the light of the tricky Pell case.  If Pell does get out on appeal as he actually could, I hope there won’t be riots and Australia is left with a public so divided it borders on a Dreyfus case.  In the age of social media it is too easy to get carried away in waves of popular emotion and unexamined opinions.

THINKING AND BEING “SHAMELESS” WITH NADIA BOLZ-WEBER

NOT QUITE THE EXPECTED

I bought Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Shameless with the aim of reviewing it. The book sounded too radical to ignore with its call for a sexual “reformation” in the churches. Some of the pre-launch hype and the anticipation from conservatives was nonetheless misleading . I can report the book does not advocate the unlimited use of porn “ethically sourced” (amateur?) but says a few things about sexual imagery and its use that are rather more nuanced.

But it is true that in-between a wealth of stories and testimonies, in a quieter vein the author does virtually discard biblical and traditional  notions of “sexual purity”(equated with “rape culture”).  They are seen as unnecessary compared with the purity of just  sincerity and caring in consensual sex (free love one might say). This is something one can shamelessly enjoy without need for repentance or absolution because salvation is also about human flourishing not life wrecking . In short, there is something to this book of the  more abrasive, less spiritually inclined  Indecent Theology  from late queer theologian, Marcella Althaus-Reid, back in 2000.

The Shameless title owes more to an insistence that just as Jesus retained and displayed the scars of his crucifixion, we should not be ashamed to display our hurts. Which is what this book does…. full on.

ONLY IN AMERICA, BUT LET’S OPEN THE FIELD

Nadia is intriguing to watch and hear and you can do that here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVe7jKp4D-E   But that the book is so full-on is why I find I can’t usefully review this offering in any conventional way. However valid its points, they emerge from within the expressions of an American cultural framework of extreme confession, emotion, group therapy, tears, hugs and kisses  that, for me, gets in the way.

This is a book about and for especially the walking wounded. It could leave non- Americans  feeling glad they weren’t raised in “the land of the free” where they might fall victim to often brutal, judgemental, incredibly gender-rigid, regimented, cultic forms of Christianity (rather in the style of the recent film Boy  Erased), plus  pressures from secular media and advertising. Combined, these can leave a person ashamed they are too fat, thin, ugly, sexually unfulfilled, effeminate, too mannish….the list goes on and on. But worst of all, it seems, is to be an abused, wrongly appreciated woman.

Though that could well be the case, I am neither a woman nor male feminist enough to be able to feel with the author in some areas like her current OTT project which involves collecting the purity rings of disappointed, disillusioned women to melt them down for a protest vagina sculpture.

Bolz-Weber would doubtless respond that sex itself is OTT and that one of the problems with preaching “purity” is that almost by definition sex cannot be only “pure”, it’s too irremediably earthy and messy. I accept the problem and in conclusion will be considering whether we have misunderstood what the biblical concept of sexual “purity” means and is intended to serve.  But keeping to  BW’s perspective, if, as her discourse implies,  sex is as good as anti-feminist feminist philosopher Camille Paglia’s “Dionysian swamp”, then plainly Bolz-Weber’s feminist religiosity  with its “rape culture” emphasis  sounds like it would be less keen to take on board elements of masculine protest, straight or gay, and allow it to resist or shape eros in the way Paglia considers is  almost necessary to life and culture.

So…after a few words about the author for those who don’t know her, I shall outline a more general picture of the church/sex problem that could apply almost anywhere. I shall conclude with what I think Nadia is overlooking and which is a possible facet of  any reformation, one that challenges both  her approach and the conservative, supposedly bible- based one of her sterner critics.

A LIFE AND MINISTRY OF ULTRA -LUTHERAN  “ACCEPTANCE”

     

Though she has recently abandoned full time ministry for the lecture circuit and public theologian status, Nadia Bolz-Weber is by now celebrated as the swearing, heavily tattooed pastor or,  some have said  pastrix, of the House For all Saints and Sinners on Denver Colorado’s sin street and where her chief assistant was a drag queen.

Born 1969 and growing to  over six foot tall and feeling disfigured by Graves disease, Nadia  arrived at her pastoral office after a painful pilgrimage. It began amid childhood fundamentalist repressions, and was followed by a history of depression, youthful promiscuity leading to an abortion, alcoholism, drug addiction and  some involvement in wicca and at  one stage  careers as a female wrestler and a stand-up comic. She has been married, had two children (the son is gay) but divorced by mutual agreement in 2016 -the pair didn’t get on too well sexually – and she has found the comfort of  an erotically fulfilling lover since. A colourful, only-in- America person, if ever.

Also unusual in that unlike most sexual liberals in the church, Nadia, more or less, believes her bible as given (except on “purity”). She accepts the resurrection and miracles, though she has suitably kinky  ideas about the afterlife in which she imagines  dining with people she loathes like Harvey Weinstein! It’s a sort of penitential torture she has invented for herself via a universalism that  believes since everyone is “accepted” by God she must love just everyone (even Hitler and Stalin?). In this she is undoubtedly a heretic because though the bible regularly gets cited to support variously inclusive and exclusive views of salvation, nowhere does it proclaim everyone is saved.

It is relevant  Rev Nadia is a Lutheran pastor. Actually I’d say she’s ultra-Lutheran if only people beyond her denominational fold, (which despite protests hasn’t expelled her), could see it. Luther’s Table Talk is surprisingly frank and coarse.  On sex Luther could also be quite liberal, supporting divorce and if necessary even bigamous marriage in the case of a partner become totally incapacitated.  Moreover, at least initially and when he was still mind-blown with the revelation of grace over against a salvation worked or paid for, Luther’s rhetoric told people to go out and sin freely and come back again and again to repent it. In short, there was little notion of any cure for sin  or what later by the likes of Wesley would be called “sanctification”, the improvement of self and soul throughout life.

ONE-SIDED IDEALS

…..But here and with the reformist Lutheran legacy,  I can begin my general reflections because even the (sometimes) ascetical medieval church that Luther left behind, had an understanding that especially Protestant evangelicals have never absorbed, namely that there can be something in the order of “death by chastity”. (1)

It was a concept medievals inherited from the Greek doctor, Galen. Medieval Scholastic philosophers might expound their  weird but influential notions, like notoriously that masturbation was akin to murder (because it destroyed seed thought of pre-scientifically as whole homunculi) and  that “sodomy” was worse than rape (because rape was ‘natural” since offspring could result), but for the laity some priests accepted the inevitable. They   believed that for both sexes masturbation might be medically sanctioned to save lives.

I think one could say exponents of Christian chastity have not been so much totally wrong as seriously one-sided. They will declare everything that is harmful about sex like STDs, but they won’t concede the pitfalls of not having sex, like for example increased likelihood of prostrate cancer in men and low spirits or outright depression in both sexes. Medieval medicine was not so far from the mark.

Return of libido among the chronically depressed is often the proof that cure has begun. But if cure requires libido to return, where does this put Christians who can’t or according to some churches  supposedly shouldn’t, say, get remarried following divorce, or gays who should never have a lover, or almost anyone to whom stimulation or fantasy are forbidden?

I have written elsewhere about what can seem like “incoherence” in biblical sexual teachings    https://wp.me/p2v96G-111   and one instance is St Paul’s notorious “better to marry than to burn”.  Is this truly  a helpful, meaningful statement? Marriage is a big, often expensive undertaking and like love itself not easily arranged. So can or should anyone enter it only to satisfy raging hormones? The very  idea seems to contradict the idealization of love elsewhere in the bible; and then it  isn’t envisaged for gays anyway whose needs are not even supposed to count but whose suppression of desire can be seen to have all sorts of negative effects.

Gays have been liable to be dismissed as mere pleasure seekers, “wankers” or masturbators because their sex serves “only” pleasure and not procreation. Yet if sex were not for pleasure,  why, as BW asks, does the female clitoris serve  nothing but pleasure and, I ask, why does modern medicine reveal to us that a foetus may be self-pleasuring in the womb? One can’t just diss pleasure as being automatically  sin in itself.

Before I move towards anything like a solution to the range of problems Nadia’s  rather free love values present us with , two points should be emphasized.

THE ILLUSION OF PERFECTION AND GUILT SYNDROMES

First is that though there can be improvements in sexual understanding and practice, there can be no complete solutions, so there can be no full “reformation”.  BW partly admits this herself, suggesting one can really only hope for a good as opposed to a perfect sex life. Even so, one feels Bolz-Weber wants perfect solutions, and  if  that’s the case  could  still use insights and warnings  of  the mentioned  Camille Paglia’s Sexual Personae like, “the modern pursuit of self-realization has not led to sexual happiness, because assertions of selfhood merely release the moral chaos of libido”.

In an imperfect world, sex and love will never be perfect (or if sufficiently perfect insufficiently long lasting to quite satisfy). And this is the case no matter how many sex guides (or biblical counsels) the individual applies to it. But it’s this incompletion has always made  it easy to generate guilt and/or embarrassment and disappointment around the topic. Also a degree of confusion to the extent erotic experience takes people “out of themselves”….. but to quite where, for what and why? There are always quasi-metaphysical questions and unsurprisingly “God” is a word often accompanies orgasm.

It’s not a Protestant coping mechanism and Bolz-Weber is all of a Lutheran, but in traditionally Catholic countries, minor rituals like removing religious jewellry, turning crucifixes to the wall, blessing oneself afterwards etc  seem  designed to cover vague uncertainty over the  real status and meaning of sex. The sexually insatiable but moralizing novelist Victor Hugo would even put money in the nearest church box after every visit to a brothel.

All these actions speak to the unease with  activity not, however,  puritanically rejected as it might be further north.  (And It would be wrong to put all this down to a Judaeo-Christian legacy. From years ago I can’t cite the precise source – probably a study of historic Japanese homosexuality, Partings Before Dawn,  I recall  a Japanese  feeling remorse he expressed to the gods for on account of his use of a great number of youths).  In the Catholic cultures it was more a case of  accepting an “ethics of ambiguity”, even a Baudelarian “conscience dans le mal”, (conscience amid the wrong).

One of the core wrongs, at least as far as certain Jewish cleansing rituals were concerned, had always been that, in the case of male sperm touching the body, even as a result of wet dreams, death had touched the body. To the extent sex is about reproduction and not just pleasure, it hints at the need to overcome the universal blight or curse  of death and death is ritual impurity (in traditional Judaism to touch a corpse left one impure for days).

THE ASEXUAL EXAMPLE THAT ISN’T ONE

        

The second point that causes misunderstanding around sex and bolsters false hopes among preachers and moralists that the problems can be easily overcome with a will, or even be virtually ignored, is that despite what modern society and books like Shameless assume, not everyone is sex-hungry and repressed.

The phenomenon of what the French would call “les indifferents” is real enough. It applies to many famous people throughout history like the orator Cicero who amid the opportunities of ancient Rome wasn’t “much interested in those kind of things” or Mme de Pompadour who though happy to be Louis XV’s mistress preferred to run France for him than be active in bed. This was a chore she preferred to delegate to nubile young things like Louise O’ Murphy (immortalized by Boucher’s painting). And then we must absorb that even reputedly sexy people may not be that sexy – Pop icon Madonna has admitted she’d almost rather read in bed than have sex.

The existence, sometimes widespread, of the indifferent has always emboldened moralists to assume there isn’t or needn’t be any problem beyond one of rational ethics and mutual respect. (That seems to be the position of especially the Anglican clergy who have lived through various sexual revolutions without scarcely mentioning the sex subject in their sermons or statements!)

Looking at the sexual problem at the purely ethical level, which I don’t believe one can and should wholly do, it is easy enough to see what the bible is getting at. This is pure intentions and loyalties, good interpersonal relations with fellow humans and beyond them with God. Infidelity at this level bespeaks a failure to remain loyal, to keep promises, to see persons as persons as opposed to objects for passing pleasure. Infidelity is thus an attitude of coveting whatever and whoever we don’t have, or a desire to score or have power over others. And symbolically there can be failure to reflect the ideal of the perfect marriage of Christ with the church.

All this is fine as far as it goes in training sensibilities, making for general security and respect within society and it’s the general framework for any basically devout lifestyle. (Rather obviously prayer and riotous living don’t belong together!). In especially the OT, however, purely patriarchal notions of ownership and property (instinct of the age of Aries, the ultra-patriarchal sign under which it was written), may muddy the ideal which has never quite been able to manage difficult cases like the infidelities of those married against their will . What can get called “adultery” may be little more than a desperate will to realize one’s identity and find some love. Few of us would care like Dante to send Francesca da Rimini to the Inferno.

RELIEF, NOT JUST “FULFILLMENT”

I am going to suggest that almost the core problem is the need  of quite a sizeable portion of the population (from horny youth to the masturbating geriatrics with which Simone de Beauvoir concludes La Veillesse, her depressing study of old age), to just have some sex, to need stimulation and orgasm as surely as some exercise is needed for health.  Idealists may wish otherwise, but love alone if it can be conveniently found, may not suffice to cover the lack of erotic excitement even if it’s also true that sex dissociated from love can also demoralize and increase loneliness.

Not being able to put erotic need neatly inside any framework from the social to the ethical or the spiritual, can cause all manner of confusion including among the devout. These  may be left to wonder how repentant they are meant to be about what might seem only necessary but which, (in the Catholicism which didn’t allow medieval style “medical” reasons for it), traditionally rendered it a subject for penance itself.  That perversely brilliant poem The Great Hunger from Patrick Kavanagh evokes the confusion from the Catholic and peasant position, “once a week  at least flesh must make its appearance…” but it’s all a confusion of a life “more lousy than savage”.

Much helped by St Augustine, the Genesis story of Onan has given rise to fantastic superstitions and horrors around masturbation (onanism) which, despite Augustine, is not even the real point of the story, which is Onan’s insulting and wilful refusal to do his sacred duty to preserve the family line.  (Gen 38:9).

Superficially, even words of Jesus might not seem helpful. In what can be made to sound like distressing impossible extremism, he is often interpreted as declaring that to look on a woman with desire at all is equal to adultery (IMatt 5:27), but the point is missed that Jesus’ subject is precisely the ten commandments and adultery, “woman” means married woman and looking at (more like having a mind to taking) someone else’s wife is to be understood morally equal to doing it. Intentions count and guide contact. Interiorization of the Law is the message not approving what would make for depopulation if no man ever allowed himself to feel anything.

And  surely on a normal basis we would not call all erotic pleasure and  fantasy a defiling misdirection of the will; it can just accompany relief of tension and in the young where imagery might be strongest, it may serve a sort of clarification of the kind of person and experience the individual is working towards. So in this area I am  rather  in agreement with Bolz-Weber who dissents from the religious culture which has sought to banish sexual thought and feeling as soon as they arise because this  can shut down feeling itself and create ignorance of one’s true character and needs. A very strict control of feelings risks creating either or both  such internalized guilt feelings about eros or idealistic expectations for its expression that paradoxically, as Nadia observes, it will not automatically help the adjustments of a Christian marriage at all.

One suspects too some of the periodically reported near sadism of some monks and nuns could have links to precisely a too icily efficient “taking custody” of mind and vision. Granted one could – just- maintain a radical self-correction is only in harmony with Jesus on if need be cutting off the hand or plucking out the eye to avoid sin. But not only does the expression of this counsel  belong with the violent idioms of  Jesus’ native Aramaic with its exclamations  like “cut off my nose if I don’t tell truth”, but the reference is to an obligation to  avoid whatever is absolutely, totally wrong for the individual in a way even Bolz-Weber   acknowledges  is  a  practical necessity as mentioned presently.

So how should one think about the less regimented  approach to impulse, and how does/should the more libidinous kind of spiritual person manage it?

RESISTING ADDICTION

At this point I am prepared to take a leaf out of the book of gay experience of recent decades because dangerous addiction to sex and sensation has been a problem for some within that community. A surprising discovery of various experiments has been that if one can give the sex addict  big  or “full body orgasm” (which I take it is something closer to what women rather than men typically experience at best)  once achieved, addiction is overcome and generally desire for sex diminishes.

In effect the method is a yin, tantric, Asian one, not a typically yang western one over-represented in  traditional Christianity and influenced by an ascetical strain within prior paganism. In this one fights impulse (and may even increase desire by doing so). By contrast, the tantric mode surrenders to desire in order to overcome and/or transform it.

There are variations upon this (the subject is a large one I can’t pursue here), but even in modern systems of  so-called “mindful masturbation”, it is often recommended to get away as far as possible from person imagery lest it be attaching. The stimulation then serves rather more to increase self-love, comfort and acceptance and as said any sex detached from love can finish problematic..

The idea of sex serving self-love and acceptance may nonetheless sound ungodly to some, but one must concede that even the bible teaches to love one’s neighbour as oneself. Loving the self is almost impossible where some measure of self-acceptance is not included in the package. To hate oneself, one’s body and its desires, the whole diable au corps, ( devil in the flesh) approach as opposed to thanking God for sensation, seems like a good recipe for some of the perversions associated with places of celibate life. Particularly if, for whatever reason, the person cannot hope to find love quickly or be with a partner, a more tantric way could function positively, especially within the context of an almost over-sexed, over-stimulated society where the sex theme is harder to avoid.

It should be stressed that BW, and I would agree with her, admits that there is such a thing as unacceptable sexual drives (such as towards children or animals) that must be cast out of mind ; but as regards sexual images more generally, art, porn or whatever, she opines each person must responsibly follow sense and conscience because, rather as with alcohol, some can do and benefit from what others can’t. As a former alcoholic, she herself  cannot touch even one glass of alcohol.  But she wouldn’t tell other not to; and similarly with many sexual images. If you know they serve only addiction, avoid them. (I would be inclined to add one would wish to avoid what, in the case of porn is a whole industry liable to exploit people much like the prostitution whose services you presumably wouldn’t wish to employ).                       ).

A SOUL ISSUE?

Finally here and despite all my inclination to liberal religious views on sex as attested by various articles on this site and my other McCleary’s Alternatives site, I am still left in disagreement with BW, and in a way that almost contradicts the whole enterprise. Basically, her position (like Althaus-Reid, the bisexual author of Indecent Theology who confessed to affairs with clergy including a bishop) is a “materialistic”, not a spiritual one. The problem with treating sex in total disregard of the so-called purity question, is you don’t just make love to people as bodies but to souls with which you can at some level be joined.

Ultimately the bible doesn’t quite make sense unless an esoteric theory (such as Jewish mysticism as in Kabbalah would anyway envisage) is brought in to explain it. Early Jewish society didn’t even celebrate marriages. Intercourse itself was the celebration. Consummation was the seal of marriage. And since two persons cannot literally become “one flesh” it must be considered – short of a case to poetic language – that understood is that what is mixed and joined by marriage are the soul bodies.

St Paul makes no sense at all, short of esoteric theory, when he tells the Corinthians not to join the spirit that dwells with in them, to a prostitute (1 Cor 6: 16-20). To go to a prostitute amounts to virtual marriage with that person. Where full penetrative orgasm has taken place between consenting parties, no such thing as a casual relation exists.  So far as I can see, what we call an affair or a fling is a form of marriage where biblical tradition is concerned. And if  the esoteric dimension is true then  this would be be a trans-cultural, trans-historical principle.

I am not quite sure how and to what extent this applies to any gay relations, but it may be the same, and this has been claimed .  In  A Special Illumination I cite the case of a particularly devout lesbian conflicted about her status  who was shocked to be told in vision by Jesus that in fact partners to a gay relation can and do become “one”.  The visionary couldn’t understand how this could be, and wasn’t told in what she took as a general warning against gay promiscuity as opposed to gay unions as such, but if it’s an esoteric matter of two souls united, all is immediately clear (2)

Ironically it was an early (Victorian/Edwardian) gay rights campaigner, Edward Carpenter, who was spiritual enough (as gays often are spiritual) to suggest there are never two people in a relation, there is always a third, namely God,  If this is so,  one can’t go where Nadia tends to lead, which is to just follow immediate sensed need, free love style, regardless of where God might intend to be, or , as in divorce, remove from.

Like Luther I don’t consider all divorce is wrong,  but I have to ask if the often reported acute strain on the system suffered by many people in the wake of divorce could well be linked to, beyond psychological effects, more spiritual ones of sundering what has been meshed and melded over time. Some people may be too extraverted and careless to consciously suffer such effects, but that doesn’t automatically signify some degree of joining and then separation has not occurred.

COLOURS THAT SHOW

Even outside Christian religion, persons able to read auras and perceive the so-called astral body would attest to the clouded or distorted auras (often grey or muddy) of those who have lived promiscuously.

At any rate  Christians have to consider the possibility that, short of precisely the kind of “repentance”  Bolz-Weber deems unnecessary to  sex-helpful relating (and is Christianity quite itself without the call to  repentance or self-examination in the face of almost any subject?),  one must pass into the next life with other souls shadowing you. This is  something which may or may not be fortunate – for you or for them. (It might be  bit more painful than any of Nadia’s heavenly seats besides Harvey Weinstein!). That the apostle assumes the believing partner to a marriage sanctifies the unbelieving partner 1 Cor 7:14, itself again implies some doctrine of  purely spiritual effects).

According to the esoteric worldview (which I don’t say we must accept uncritically, but should keep in mind), it is even possible to establish a strong tie of souls by just intent, obsessive looking – a kind of Rasputin effect – a reason some say it is necessary to be careful around addictive porn.

For the nowadays returning tribe of exorcists, the problem, whether with porn addiction or promiscuous relations more generally, is they are said to  open up pathways to spiritual obsession if not outright possession, though this misfortune often comes out in the offspring of the guilty parties. To the extent it is attaching, sex and orgasm, which temporarily makes the aura detach from the body to join with another aura also outside the body, risks opening the body/soul portal to spiritual influences. On this understanding, sex which can be divine can  also be demonic. At best it is a foretaste of the paradise which the lovers of the Song of Songs anticipate from “within the fires of Yahweh”. (Song 8:3) and see my Solomon’s Tantric Song  https://goo.gl/sU21My

Since  however  just about all sex falls short of that high ideal and is never got right, provided it is not morbid, an  element of  doubt, regret and repentance about the whole subject is natural and  could even  protect it and finish more healthy than “shameless” alternatives. What may look like easy adjustment in some individuals  may only be their way station to the next hook-up. And against the argument, one that I understand, that it can help rather than hinder adjustment  if couples live together to be sure they are fitted for greater commitment  (almost essential in borderline cases like persons of uncertain orientation), I have come to believe, what many Christians refuse to consider, namely that marriage by trial is not actually necessary because the  nature and possibilities of the relation  can be foreknown.

If the couple is really sexually fit and suited can be read in their compared birth patterns. Bribery of astrologers and various cheating of data have been known, but in India it is generally felt that the relative stability of marriages in contrast to the breakdown and almost frenetic instability of Western unions, owes something to the ability to read and match natal charts.

Like it or not, no one can have better sex than their birth stars show is possible for them. Many just don’t have the gift of eros and their expectations will fail no matter how much they try.   For example, always disappointed  in love Jennifer Aniston,  could not be encouraged to expect too much given that, as only one  thing within a difficult pattern, separative Uranus is opposite her relational Venus.

It’s a strange  opinion  from a pastor that even if people like her daughter will have numbers of affairs, at least they will have acquired more sexual knowledge and experience towards greater erotic fulfillment later. In theory, and occasionally in fact, this could seem justified, but  things don’t necessarily work out like that because there’s a fate and timing dimension that modifies.

I accept that the pastrix is sincere, has suffered and in her latest book highlights real problems needing attention in the churches of especially America. But I think she is ultimately too “materialistic” about sex and risks being, or making others, blasé about the whole “purity” problem.

That subject may need complete re- thinking and re-statement (it  doubtless  will increasingly receive attention in various ways  –  only  this week there are rumbles from the Sanhedrin  mixed with the expectations for  a third temple, declaring that the world is largely in a state of unacceptable  “sexual impurity” before God);  but whatever one’s take on the subject,  the purity theme doesn’t need  Nadia’s  rejection as something  virtually irrelevant to   management of  the spiritual life. It’s  a position she can only sustain by maintaining everyone is accepted just as they are and saved (as though they scarcely had  the dignity of agency!) and  were thus justified and enjoyed rights with God as much by  their scars and psycho-histories of pain as by faith.

I suspect that what is called “sexual purity” in the biblical tradition is linked to a system of quasi- occult/esoteric soul protection which may hold enough significance not to be too lightly dismissed in an age of rabid competition, experiment. and instant gratification…These days the rejection of this-worldly American values might represent the beginning of wisdom.

NOTES

(1)  See    https://aeon.co/essays/getting-down-and-medieval-the-sex-lives-of-the-middle-ages?fbclid=IwAR0cjXjuhNMP3xg_wjqGDbz9VhLhrMXJ8-LEyzx6PBAVoS_cxLarEqH_lSM         
(2)  Rollan McCleary, A Special Illumination, 2006, p.118  https://goo.gl/sU21My

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ST MALACHY’S LAST POPE RINGING DOWN THE CURTAIN?

DISTURBINGLY CORRECT

My article Forecasting and Interpreting 2019  published on this site  on Jan 7th,  had a sub- section : The February Lunation, Peace and Toleration…Or?  In this I warned there was actually a possibility any arrangements the Pope might make in  the Middle East at the beginning of February could facilitate the emergence of an  Antichrist figure and concomitant moves towards a one world religion.

I knew the lunation of the 4th  conjuncted the birth sun of  an Antichrist figure as per the alleged vision of the late Catholic seeress , Jeane Dixon, back in 1962. This visionary also forecast efforts to establish a world religion through Rome –  though after the line of Popes had been brought to an end, an issue I don’t at this point care to discuss, especially as Dixon associated this with violence and assassination.

….But talk about relevance! On the very day of the lunation, the Pope did something Catholics have been variously shocked by and/or trying since  to explain away as not quite meaning what appeared to be the case. On the 4th, Pope Francis  signed a peace and fraternity document with the chief Imam of Sunni Islam, Ahmed-al-Tayeb .

It’s bad enough that the Imam’s beliefs and motives are deemed problematic. In Arabic –  but not in English like numbers of the more controversial modern statements out of Islam –  he is known to have approved the conservative Islamic stance that apostates should be executed, and  he has even refrained from condemning IS.   So this is serious given the Pope has often  been  criticized for the religious ecumenism which is nearly blind and scarcely protesting towards serious cases of Christian persecution in the world which is rarely worse than in Muslim majority societies.

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/13706/pope-francis-ahmed-al-tayeb-document

However, the matter goes further.  It is with this same Imam that the Pope signs a document of peace  that is in blind contradiction of what Christians have called “The Great Commission” of globally preaching the gospel (Matt 28:19,20) declaring instead that God has willed the diversity of faiths and beliefs. This variation is  something which for Christianity has more to do with human imperfection and  a falling away from the Creator than anything….

This position says at once Goodbye to any Christian missions and  sells Christianity’s vocation and identity down the river while it also ignores the revealed, covenant name of Godas YHWH. All this  is however in harmony with certain odd past papal statements to the effect proselytizing (unless as wordless, example-filled radiant attraction)  is unacceptable.

THE ST MALACHY AND LAST POPE PROBLEM.

The Pope’s remarkable betrayal of Christian fundamentals, which however only confirms  earlier points of controversy like declaring we  all worship the same God under different names and that believers’ claiming personal relation to Jesus is false or unnecessary, finally renders Pope Francis a virtual anti-Pope. But if so, that promptly raises other and radical questions regarding this person as St Malachy’s Last Pope. In brief parenthesis I must say something about the St Malachy Prophecy of the Popes….

This prophecy was given in the twelfth century by the Irish bishop of Armagh. It was and is believed to supply the 112 popes from Pope Celestine 11 with mottoes evoking them, till times of the end. Although the original is believed to have been in Gaelige (Irish), the fact that the prophecy was only printed and circulated from 1590 onwards and  in Latin, has led many to call it a forgery and/or at least  that  the mottoes attaching to the popes are so. And though some mottoes do seem to fit well enough for both before and after 1590,  it is quite possible influential Roman families seeking to make their candidates pope, forged the mottoes.

It was  nevertheless  generally accepted in Ireland and by St Bernard of Clairvaux with whom  Malachy was in close association, that the Irish bishop was a genuine prophet – he even forecast the day of his death.  Yet if the Prophecy of the Popes truly was from God as opposed to something more psychic (1) ,  one can’t help thinking   it would more likely just declare the number of popes to the end…..Short of  Ezekiel’s elaborate description of the millennial temple which is given by a man(angel) at God’s command, the prophetic oracles of God tend to be direct and designed to edify rather than be super- intricate to satisfy curiosity.

The last pope is called just “Peter the Roman” and as bishop of Rome only. This at least fits with the papal character and behaviour so far. Francis perceives himself as Rome’s bishop and when possible walks around it and shops like a citizen. However, the rest  said about him doesn’t naturally fit someone  now at the point of behaving more like an Antipope.  Regarding the last Pontiff  it’s said:

In the final persecutions of the Holy Roman Church there will sit Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations and when these things are finished, the city of the seven hills will be destroyed  and the dreadful judge will judge his people”.

TRUE AND FALSE IN THE MALACHY VISION

If  at one level Francis fits with the humble and populist Peter the Roman image, he hardly fits the image of someone pasturing his flock amid tribulations –  It is increasingly complained that he scarcely defends or protests at all on behalf of his increasingly worldwide persecuted flock.

This contradiction belongs with others. The Dixon vision  didn’t have a Pope in power during the persecuting Antichrist’s rule but rather just before it at the end of the papal line.  Also the  prophecy corresponds to a thoroughly medieval, post Augustine, anti-chiliastic (anti- millennial) vision of what the last things constitute.  For the early church the last Judgement does not occur until after the Millennial rule of a returned Christ.  The church, the current pope and Rome cannot  last through till the Last Judgement! Many today would even maintain the believing prepared part of the church must be raptured before the disasters of the Tribulation period begin, a time in history overseen by the Antichrist and his Prophet who organizes a world faith and which ultimately engages  the actual war on any remaining and new Christians.

Speaking today and as a non Catholic, the mere fact that  the Malachy prophecy can speak of “The Holy Roman Church” when it becomes increasingly clear there is so much that is  unholy and corrupt about it and long has been,  increases scepticism. (This same Aquarian month   of the shocks, now has Pope Francis back from the Middle East and admitting to the sexual exploitation of nuns by priests, while  a major expose of homosexuality in the Vatican has been published – Frederic Martel’s In the Closet of the Vatican). Altogether  one could begin to perceive the institution in a light closer  to early Lutheran images of  the Babylonian Whore!

It’s arguably no compliment to Bishop Malachy that he was the first of the Irish saints to be canonized by Rome and basically because he helped put Ireland under papal rule which in turn facilitated English conquest and the destruction of Irish language and culture.  Malachy  was close friends with and promoted by the same St Bernard who preached the crusades, was behind the castration of the philospher Abelard, and who drew western Europe into extreme and unprecedented levels of Virgin cult in the wake of his having been fed drops of milk from the Virgin’s breast. Hardly the most reputable and trustworthy of figures!

Between them I should say Ss Malachy and Bernard were trouble-making false prophets, a sort of Jannes and Jambres   in the house of the Lord. Certainly their combined influence  never did Ireland much good – the benefits of  Roman influences upon the unfortunate nation and its church have been exaggerated.   Regardless,  I don’t think St Malachy’s prophecy is altogether false.  I suspect it’s part true, but it’s psychic, not directly from God but about as  likely to be true as the angels-obsessed Irish psychic Lorna Byrne’s forecast of some years back that saw Catholics worshipping at Mecca.

THE FUTURE SOON

At the rate things are going under the as good as anti-pope Francis, Ms  Byrne’s Mecca vision may be neither untrue nor something for the too distant future. I don’t for one moment believe like some sensationalizing American Protestants, that Pope Francis is Revelation’s False Prophet. Common sense alone should suggest he is already too old to emerge in that role, and in any case, where is the messianic Antichrist he would promote?

However, if what has recently happened certifies the data I have for a false Messiah figure, then there are technical reasons to assume activity in relation to this person and what they represent will not now be greatly delayed. Events of this year could prove crucial with many surprises on the way that will seem or be apocalyptic.  As only one thing, there are rabbis in Jerusalem actively expecting the arrival of the Messiah this year. What can one say but that the times call for plenty of discernment!

NOTE 1)
I don't mean to imply everything that could be called "psychic" is automatically false and  Witch of Endor-like under the guidance of familiar spirits bound to mislead.  What gets called psychism can be just a more developed form of regular human intuition and dreaming true. This  may or may not have spirit connection. But though "psychic" insight   may have its uses and the Irish, like Malachy, seem to have a high level of intuition, it should not be confused with outright prophetic revelation  which normally follows upon specific vocation to be a prophet. I should say the Malachy prophecy stands somewhere between intuition and revelation and could thus be a case of false spirit teaching to mislead and confuse us, especially as if one takes what is said at face value even about only "Peter the Roman", immediately one is encouraged to disregard  all earliest Christian traditions on Last Things.