The ancients had a literary form and a language for it we call Apocryphal. Sadly, we’ve lost the skeleton key to decode that language and that literary form. I wish we could discover the actual deeper levels of meaning, too.
The first three chapters of the Revelation of St. John seem to me a little Gnostic, but are otherwise pretty clear. John writes to Seven early Christian communes. People have tried to read something into that: are they seven real communities, seven stages all churches go through, seven eras of history, seven levels of personal faith journeys, or something else? Continue reading →
A lot of opera happens before the final scene in Act 3 of Götterdämmerung, Richard Wagner’s Opera that unties the complex knotted themes and ideas in his Ring Cycle.
The powerful female lead is Brünnhilde (Burning Hella). She’s based on the Norse mythology that gave us Beauty (Bella) in Beauty and the Beast, is Peter Pan’s Tinkerbelle friend, Cinder-Hella reduced to cleaning ashes and hoping to get the attention of Prince Mankind, and her soul-recycling volcano fire gave us the Medieval Catholic concept of “Hell.”
As writing was invented, ancient Jews saved, copied, revered, and memorized certain scrolls. They were, naturally, not called the “Old Testament” by the people who wrote, saved, copied, revered and studied them. That label is one that Christians gave those scrolls. Yet, Christians have a letter from Paul telling Timothy that All Scriptures are God-breathed. That letter was not part of “All Scripture” itself. So…
This Greek word is pronounced “logos.” It’s often translated as “word.” It came into the Greek language about the time of Jesus and thereafter was used by the early Christian Church in various ways. We need to ponder those ways before digging into Hebrews.
The Sophists used Logos to mean a discussion or discourse. Aristotle expanded that to mean “a well reasoned argument” in rhetoric.
July 18th 64 CE a fire started in Rome. It spread quickly in the summer wind. By the time it was out, most of the city was destroyed and a lot of people were killed or injured. It was one of history’s major city-fire tragedies. They controlled it at first by the total demolition of buildings creating fire breaks. But it started again in an infamous district of brothels, witnesses reported it was deliberately set in those places. Urban renewal? Pyromancy?
Habakkuk is three documents, written at different times and places. Most of chapter 1 was written by a young Habakkuk in Jerusalem, observing the armies of the north sweeping across the countryside, destroying, thieving, claiming other’s wealth and lives, and yet reaffirming that God’s plan was afoot. Chapter 2 records Five Woes spoken by an older Habakkuk from his new home in Assyria, speaking against those who build mansions on a hill, isolate themselves from community, amass wealth and power by squashing others, ruin the forests, kill the animals and do violence to the earth. He reminds us that such behaviors are self-defeating activities, mansions that are caskets, destruction that will come around to hurt the destroyers. Chapter 2 ends with a screed against idol worship and a promise.
Most, maybe all, churches are really about the community that forms, not the “doings” that community forms around. That is to say, arguments about theological differences or worship styles or the gender of the leader or the various political stances are secondary. The primary factor (for me) is the community of believers. The test (for me) is if that community actually embodies Jesus… are they are the Body of Christ. My personality is that actions speak louder than words. “You’ll know they are Christians by their Love,” said Jesus.
There was a huge cedar forest in Lebanon. It was full of animals, deer and lions hunting them. There are beautiful poems in the ancient literature that use those deer, those lions, and those cedars as metaphors. And a poet doesn’t use a metaphorical image unless it’s familiar to the hearers.
The celebration of Easter lasts “a week of weeks.”
The meaning of Easter and the celebration of that meaning have changed in two thousand years. American’s short attention spans and capitalism have changed Easter radically in the last two hundred years, as well. Continue reading →
Some Native Americans believed the lunar eclipse is a greedy monster eating the moon. They built a bonfire with seaweed, hair, and human waste to make such a smell that the monster would have to hold it’s nose and spit the moon back out. Of course they wouldn’t have bothered without the hope that it’d work, otherwise it’s a pointless stink bomb. Continue reading →