Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

>About Jesus

June 15, 2010

>Yesterday Jesus burned.

Lightning struck a 6 story statue of “Touchdown Jesus” and it burst into flame.

Whether this statue was considered a graven image depends on how literal you take the Bible. Rick and Bubba, for instance, might think God smote the image of Jesus cause we just ain’t supposed to do that. This video is loud, but short.

UPDATE: here’s the song that clip comes from:

At any rate, while on the subject of Jesus, my blogger-friend Michael Bayly has brought up that Jesus really was a sissy. So many of us get called sissies, I guess if Jesus was one, it’s OK for us, too.

Michael’s post was actually based on a lecture by Dr. David Rankin from the 1980’s he heard on tape, which he transcribed and took excerpts from. Now I’m doing the same to Michael’s post, but it would be worth your time to read it yourself. Jesus was a sissy.

Jesus was able to feel and express a wide range of tender emotions. He wept
without shame, even raved and screamed and moaned and won no battles. He was an intuitive thinker, often the victim of wild imaginings and flights of fantasy.
He responded to beauty, embracing the birds of the air and the lilies of the
field. He nurtured little children, relating to them in the manner of a mother.
He freely touched other men and kissed them.

Rankin continues,

Does Jesus really fit the American ideal of manhood?” Rankin asks. Can we
imagine Jesus as a United States Marine? As a linebacker for the Detroit Lions?
As the Marlboro Man? “By almost every standard in our culture,” concludes
Rankin, “Jesus was a real live honest-to-goodness sissy.

Michael, and Rankin, point out that Sunday School teachers and some preachers portray Jesus as a warrior. Rankin says they were right in saying we should be more like Jesus, but wrong in their reasoning.

A man who walked around the countryside without position, without
possessions, searching for the meaning of life. A man who lingered lazily in the
fields in order to study the flight of a bird and the petals of a flower. A man
who embraced the lowly and the outcast and the leper and the stranger while
protesting their condition. A man was so physically frail that he could not even
carry a wooden cross to the top of a hill. A man who suffered a humiliating
defeat while blessing the enemies who had arranged his death. A sissy. One of
the greatest models in religious history was an honest-to-God, real live,
long-haired, soft-bodied sissy.

So why am I sharing this?

There is a link between Rankin’s words and today’s society. Michael quotes from Matthew Fox’s book, “The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine.” (Emphasis mine)

Homosexuals offer humanity certain vital gifts that society would be
foolish to refuse. [One of these is] a flexible perspective on gender [which]
provides a kind of bridge between men and women. Heterosexuals in particular can become stuck in their society-created gender roles, and homosexuals remind everyone that sexuality exists in the realm of metaphor and not literalism.

When one’s sexual role is not determined by one’s body parts, life, imagination, and passion come alive. David Deida observes that “the gay and lesbian community is acutely aware that the sexual polarity is independent of gender. But you still need two poles for a passionate play of sexuality to persist in a relationship: masculine and feminine, top and bottom, butch and femme – whatever you want to call these reciprocal poles of sexual play.”

Gays and lesbians have much to teach the straight world about sexuality and about restoring passion to relationships. . . . [Also] there is a long history in many cultures of homosexuals as spiritual leaders. Many years ago, a Native American woman took me aside and said to me that it is well known among Native Americans that gay persons have always been the spiritual directors to their great chiefs.

Homosexuals, it seems, don’t just bridge male and female worlds, but human and
spiritual worlds. A homophobic society deprives itself of a deeper spirituality.
This same woman (who was also a Catholic sister) said: “When I give retreats to
gay people, it is always a deeper experience than just giving a retreat to a
mixed and mostly heterosexual crowd.”

No one knows about the sexual orientation of Jesus. But we do know many of his traits, and many homosexual men share them.

Jesus: God-like. Son of God. Or God. It doesn’t matter. It was his mild, peace-loving, nature-admiring, male-bonding demeanor that made him like God. God is love, after all.

And it is what connected him to the Father.

Fox says,”Homosexuals, it seems, don’t just bridge male and female worlds, but human and spiritual worlds. A homophobic society deprives itself of a deeper spirituality.”

Native Americans recognized it. Our culture has become so far removed from the nature and teachings of Jesus, that we can’t see that. But we are learning. We are progressing. We will get there.

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>Religion and Spirituality

October 5, 2009

>Parade magazine released a survey of our spiritual and religious values and the results are quite interesting.

Here are the complete results of the poll.

Here is Parade’s article.

Below are the highlights.

Only 45% consider themselves religious. 24% consider themselves spiritual but not religious.

38% are less religious than their parents.

59% believe that all religions have validity. Only 12% believe their religion is the only true religion.

Only 53% think the world would be worse off without religion.

Only 30% attend religious services once a week or more. 50% rarely or never.

76% say their faith has not been affected during the current economic situation.

58% say religion and politics should not mix.

43% believe we go to heaven or hell after we die depending on our actions on earth.

62% expect to contact loved ones after they die.

I’ve posted Brett Dennen video’s before, but this seems like a good place to replay “Heaven.” Recently Brett re-recorded the song with Natalie Merchant.

“Whatever faith you practice, whatever you believe…” Brett’s lyrics mirror the American public’s beliefs.

Bringing Bigotry Back Into Fashion

April 24, 2008

Larry Langford is becoming more bigoted as time goes by. On Friday he will host his “sackcloth-and-ashes prayer service to save the city’s soul,” according to John Archibald in his column today.

Less than a year after Birmingham passed a gay inclusive resolution embracing diversity, Langford is having Bishop Eddie Long from Atlanta as a guest. Southern Poverty Law Center describes Long as “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the relgiously based anti-gay movement.”

Long’s church, New Birth Missionary Baptist near Atlanta, tries to convert gays away from their natural orientation and damns them to hell if they don’t (he’s the judge, you know).

From one of his sermons, regarding women using marital aids…”God says you deserve death!”

I have read the Bible, and I can’t recall that passage anywhere.

But I am very confused about this. Yesterday we recieved a piece of mail about The American Family Outing sponsored by Soulforce, The National Black Justice Coalition, COLAGE and Universal Fellowship of Metrocpolitan Community Chuuches, all gay friendly or gay advocacy organizations. They are hosting “meaningful dialogue” at 6 mega churches across the country. One of the hosts is Bishop Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

The brochure says “We believe these churches have the potential to be a positive force in ending the physical and spiritual violence perpetuated by some religious voices against LGBT people and their families.”

The group will be in Atlanta May 30-June 1, 2008. Read about it here at Soulforce.

Other pastors hosting events are Joel Osteen, T. D. Jakes, Rick Warren, Harry Jackson and Bill Hybels.

OK I get it now. Soulforce is sponsoring dialogue with influential pastors who are either homophobic or homosilent because of their huge influence over spiritual people.

They will seek to change the beliefs and values of people at those churches, I guess. A worthy endevour. Too bad they are not coming to Birmingham.

Might be interesting.

>Bringing Bigotry Back Into Fashion

April 24, 2008

>Larry Langford is becoming more bigoted as time goes by. On Friday he will host his “sackcloth-and-ashes prayer service to save the city’s soul,” according to John Archibald in his column today.

Less than a year after Birmingham passed a gay inclusive resolution embracing diversity, Langford is having Bishop Eddie Long from Atlanta as a guest. Southern Poverty Law Center describes Long as “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the relgiously based anti-gay movement.”

Long’s church, New Birth Missionary Baptist near Atlanta, tries to convert gays away from their natural orientation and damns them to hell if they don’t (he’s the judge, you know).

From one of his sermons, regarding women using marital aids…”God says you deserve death!”

I have read the Bible, and I can’t recall that passage anywhere.

But I am very confused about this. Yesterday we recieved a piece of mail about The American Family Outing sponsored by Soulforce, The National Black Justice Coalition, COLAGE and Universal Fellowship of Metrocpolitan Community Chuuches, all gay friendly or gay advocacy organizations. They are hosting “meaningful dialogue” at 6 mega churches across the country. One of the hosts is Bishop Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

The brochure says “We believe these churches have the potential to be a positive force in ending the physical and spiritual violence perpetuated by some religious voices against LGBT people and their families.”

The group will be in Atlanta May 30-June 1, 2008. Read about it here at Soulforce.

Other pastors hosting events are Joel Osteen, T. D. Jakes, Rick Warren, Harry Jackson and Bill Hybels.

OK I get it now. Soulforce is sponsoring dialogue with influential pastors who are either homophobic or homosilent because of their huge influence over spiritual people.

They will seek to change the beliefs and values of people at those churches, I guess. A worthy endevour. Too bad they are not coming to Birmingham.

Might be interesting.

Sacred Places

November 26, 2007

U. S. News and World Report recently had a cover story titled Sacred Places that explored various sites deemed to be of particular importance to religious or spiritual groups. Included were stories about the Sanctuary at Chimayo in New Mexico, built on a site of centuries’ importance to the ancient Puebloan communities; the Kalasasaya Temple at Tiwanacu, Bolivia, a prominent Incan site; along with more traditional sites like the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerulalem and The Western Wall in the same city. Islamic and Hindu sites and others are recognized as well, with as much attention given to them as the Christian and Jewish sites.

Their online site, linked above, provides the articles and photos and more, and is worth visiting.

I wonder if Caritas in north Shelby County could be considered a sacred place. Caritas was founded in 1987 by Tony Colafrancesco to promote Medjugorje, the village in Bosnia-Herzegovina where children saw visions of the Virgin Mary.

From The Post Herald : (who knew that the Post Herald articles could still be found online!?)

“The connection between Caritas and Medjugorje was cemented about a year after Colafrancesco created Caritas, in 1988, when visionary Marija Pavlovic Lunetti came to Birmingham to donate a kidney to her brother, Andrija, at UAB Hospital. While in Alabama, Lunetti stayed in Colafrancesco’s Bear Creek Road home in Sterrett, where she said she had a vision in one of the bedrooms.

“According to one report, Lunetti had visions of Mary at the hospital while recovering from the operation.

“Once word got out that Lunetti was in the area, pilgrims flocked from all across the country to Sterrett, jamming the Shelby County roads. Thousands of people were at Caritas on Thanksgiving Day when Lunetti claimed to see Mary in the 90-acre field next to Colafrancesco’s home.

“In 1999, Lunetti returned to Caritas for a week of worship. At the time, Caritas members estimated the event drew 20,000 to 30,000 pilgrims. “

Lunetti has returned a time or two and when she does, thousands (or tens of thousands) flock to the site.

Of course Caritas has been called a cult and lawsuits filed and accusations made. Regardless of all that, the site has a sacred quality about it. I first visited in the 1990’s and returned several times, although not recently. And I have not donated any money. And I don’t even know if the place still exists. (Well, the “place” cetainly exists, but maybe not in the way I remember it).

But if someone, in this instance Marija Pavlovic Lunetti, has such a profound spiritual experience there, it is a sacred place. Many places are sacred to individuals, and no one’s spiritual experience should be ignored.

All of these experiences: the ones experienced by the ancients described in the U. S. News and World Report articles, the ones in a field in Sterrett, Alabama, and your own experiences as well as mine, are part of the (New Age like) spirit of the world. Hopefully the world balance of spirituality is tilted toward the positive, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.

>Sacred Places

November 26, 2007

>U. S. News and World Report recently had a cover story titled Sacred Places that explored various sites deemed to be of particular importance to religious or spiritual groups. Included were stories about the Sanctuary at Chimayo in New Mexico, built on a site of centuries’ importance to the ancient Puebloan communities; the Kalasasaya Temple at Tiwanacu, Bolivia, a prominent Incan site; along with more traditional sites like the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerulalem and The Western Wall in the same city. Islamic and Hindu sites and others are recognized as well, with as much attention given to them as the Christian and Jewish sites.

Their online site, linked above, provides the articles and photos and more, and is worth visiting.

I wonder if Caritas in north Shelby County could be considered a sacred place. Caritas was founded in 1987 by Tony Colafrancesco to promote Medjugorje, the village in Bosnia-Herzegovina where children saw visions of the Virgin Mary.

From The Post Herald : (who knew that the Post Herald articles could still be found online!?)

“The connection between Caritas and Medjugorje was cemented about a year after Colafrancesco created Caritas, in 1988, when visionary Marija Pavlovic Lunetti came to Birmingham to donate a kidney to her brother, Andrija, at UAB Hospital. While in Alabama, Lunetti stayed in Colafrancesco’s Bear Creek Road home in Sterrett, where she said she had a vision in one of the bedrooms.

“According to one report, Lunetti had visions of Mary at the hospital while recovering from the operation.

“Once word got out that Lunetti was in the area, pilgrims flocked from all across the country to Sterrett, jamming the Shelby County roads. Thousands of people were at Caritas on Thanksgiving Day when Lunetti claimed to see Mary in the 90-acre field next to Colafrancesco’s home.

“In 1999, Lunetti returned to Caritas for a week of worship. At the time, Caritas members estimated the event drew 20,000 to 30,000 pilgrims. “

Lunetti has returned a time or two and when she does, thousands (or tens of thousands) flock to the site.

Of course Caritas has been called a cult and lawsuits filed and accusations made. Regardless of all that, the site has a sacred quality about it. I first visited in the 1990’s and returned several times, although not recently. And I have not donated any money. And I don’t even know if the place still exists. (Well, the “place” cetainly exists, but maybe not in the way I remember it).

But if someone, in this instance Marija Pavlovic Lunetti, has such a profound spiritual experience there, it is a sacred place. Many places are sacred to individuals, and no one’s spiritual experience should be ignored.

All of these experiences: the ones experienced by the ancients described in the U. S. News and World Report articles, the ones in a field in Sterrett, Alabama, and your own experiences as well as mine, are part of the (New Age like) spirit of the world. Hopefully the world balance of spirituality is tilted toward the positive, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.