The Great Black Sisterhood
Headed by a 6-foot-tall woman with ATTITUDE.
Like swimming lessons: in Station One, you learn to hold your breath under water. Station two, you learn to flutter your feet while holding onto the edge of the pool.
It's always the grownups, isn't it, who devise such curricula?
Now, having followed your thought (and it's a built-in prejudice that I hadn't considered this before), I picture a somber group of heavenly middle managers sitting around a table with a stack of folders.
I've been reading John Shelby Spong, and he's bound to color my thinking for at least the next few days. He said, in his latest (and possible the last) book about his religious views, "I have...sought to escape the pseudo-security that traditional Christianity has pretended to provide...which [produces]...an immature person who needs to be taken care of by the supernatural parental deity...."
He continues by quoting Bonhoeffer: "Before God and with God we live without God." ... Spong says: "The religious promise to proved the security that enables one to cope with life's intransigence has become for me...a delusion...."
I have no idea where he is going, but I have a glimpse in Bonhoeffer's full quote, which is the frontispiece of this book:
Our coming of age leads us to a true recognition of our situation before God. God would have us know that we must live as those who manage out lives without God. The God who is with us is the God who forsakes us. he God who lets us live in te world without the working hypothesis of God is the God before whom we stand continuously. Before God and with God we live without God.
..God is weak and powerless in the world and that is precisely the way, the only way in which he is with us to help us.
---Sorry to use your own journal as a forum, but this is a fascinating new concept to me, and seems to fold into what you are saying as well.
Bonheffer- that takes me back.
I studied him at theological college. A great good man. Not only a great theologian, but one of the few Christian leaders to resist Hitler.
The words of such a man have authority.
I'm not quite sure I understand what he's saying (intellectually) but I feel the emotional truth of it.
"Before God and with God we live without God"
Grand words. A rallying cry.
God isn't a parent or a boss, but a comrade.
I have felt for very long that I had nowhere to wander in the theological forest of the established church. Spong (for all his possible grandstanding) is passionate and succinct.
He IS thinking for himself.
While I read Bonhoeffer, I had in front of my eyes your nimble image from yesterday of a god who was a "pumpkinhead on a stick"--somehow it seemed apt when thinking about the bogeyman god constructed over the centuries by religions.
I have got to get to the bottom of this. I wish I were smarter; I tend to stumble and ask for guidance.
My mind tells me to be brave and think for myself, but it's dark in the woods, and even if I'm on a path I can't see it.
I don't see that Spong is grandstanding. Unless it's grandstanding to dare to stand apart from the crowd, unless it's grandstanding to be a prophet.
I'm reminded of a saying of Eckhart's
"Man's last and highest parting occurs when, for God's sake, he takes leave of God."
The dark wood is the place of visions.
Eckhardt also said: "I pray God that he will deliver us from god," which was quoted recently by seraphimsigrist
God is a human construct. We are constantly outgrowing "Him". The God whom the fundamentalists believe in is basically the 17th century model, with 19th century accessories.
It's now well over a century since Nietzsche pronounced God dead.
2005-03-16 05:27 am (UTC)
Oh, I certainly believe in the incarnating-to-learn thing. I just wonder always about those people who have these wonderfully precise memories of their past incarnations, which ah so often happen to seem one of these fascinating historical novels, full of chieftains, princesses, high priestesses, witches, kings and stuff. Makes me wonder if I'm the only one who, even having some deja-vu moments, suspects that all there ever was in her past were peasants, boring clerks, middle class people and similar beings. No drama for this girl here. But I sure think the stuff I gotta learn I'll as well learn it in the body of a banal civil servant with all his banal problems than in the appearance of Morgana or Cleopatra or whatever.
I am pretty sure that I either died as a child or in childbirth more times than I want to imagine. I've been male and female, and one life I remember was that of a Native American holy woman who met her untimely and violent end at the hands of a French trapper.
This life is unique because I have all my teeth, as well as my health and good food to eat, am able to choose whether or not I would marry or have kids (not this time!) could study all the deep esoteric occult stuff I want without fear of death (by church or because of being female) and have my own life, home, and job.
And... while I am not Native American in this incarnation, I still consider myself a holy woman. Or something close.
I've never remembered anything from a past life. If I've had any, I must have been some kind of troubador...a not so good one to judge from the way I do things now. Or perhaps a story teller, further back in ancient times. Or a seer...
It is nice to think about. I have periods of time where I feel quite literally like a lost soul, casting about for something to hold onto. But I also have that hopeless feeling, that I will never ever find it.
I don't believe in "never ever".
As it says in the Bible, "seek and ye shall find."
That makes statistical sense. What with the child mortality rates being what they were, we must all of us have died in childhood many times.
I envy you your memories. Or is that naive of me?
Are they a blessing or a burden?
Do you remember spontaneously or have you had to dig?
The memories are spontaneous, and I've had that one since I was a child. It was triggered by a particular sounding voice that would bring up these images- of me gathering plants and stones, and of this man with a wheezy voice speaking in a language I did not understand raping and strangling me. I had no idea about the rape part- I just knew he'd flung me violently around, jumped on me, then strangled me.
For the longest time during my childhood, I thought that my hair should be straight and black, and I was supposed to be a boy and I was deathly afraid of certain men.
Now I think that I may have been a 'two souled' person- a hermaphrodite who played a special sacred role in that culture (I've researched this), and the killer's violent reaction was because he discovered that the woman was not a woman at all.
For a while, the memory was a burden because the violent part was triggered by certain words, people, and situations. I carried fears from that life a long time into this one. I've overcome most of the fears and have explored some of the drives that might have 'bled over' into this life. My study and practice of sacred things is a direct result of the unfinished life I had before. I now have dreams of the Teaching Place, and how things were before the Europeans came. I think that this is why I am living in this particular state, too. The land is strangely familiar- even with the city on top of it. And the river is still here, although it has changed, too. Manataka, now known as Hot Springs, no longer has the mists that fill the entire valley because the springs are capped. But this is home. I'm just in a different container.
This is fascinating. Thank you for sharing.
And here's something I've hardly ever shared before.
I feel a strong bond with the English poet Sidney Keyes who was killed (aged 20) in North Africa in 1943. I don't have any memories, but ever since I was first introduced to his work I've felt that I was him and he was me and that this present life of mine was a continuation of his. I have a proprietorial attitude towards his work and think of it as "mine".
Of course this may be a complete delusion, but even if it is, it has nevertheless helped sustain and shape me.
It's always Ancient Egypt, isn't it, or Atlantis?
Why not the 19th century London slums or a 16th century Norwegian village?
Yes, I share your scepticism. I have experienced no past life memories myself, unless you count the dream (a very vivid dream) where I appeared to be a member of the crew of a dark ages trading vessel.
Oh. A lightbulb has just gone on inside me.
I've written a number of times about Everett Reuss. I first heard of him when I went to hear Dana Robinson and his wife Susan
but as soon as I heard about him, and heard Dana's song, I knew him. I have been seeking him since then. Dana's song made me cry, I was the only one in the room that did - because when he talked about Everett, I could feel Everett's feelings. And when I read Everett's letters, I understood that he was manic-depressive - bi-polar- as I am.
I read about him dancing on the edge of a cliff during a desert lightning storm, scaring the people who watched him from below.
So much he said resonated with me, I could feel it deep inside me.
I won't go on and on, but that lightbulb is growing brighter.
I'd never heard of Everett.
I've been looking on the Web. There's not a whole lot there, but what there is is fascinating.
He disappeared. No trace of him has ever been found. There are theories that perhaps he fell into a river and his remains were washed away. Or that he was murdered by someone - the theory seems to be renegades - and dismembered.
My theory is different. When I dreamed about him, he walked into a blinding light. He was still alive and whole...then...
But from what I read he told people he intended to disappear.
And he was only 20.
As to when I shall visit civilization, it will not be soon, I think. I have not tired of the wilderness; rather I enjoy its beauty and the vagrant life I lead, more keenly all the time.... Do you blame me then for staying here, where I feel that I belong and am one with the world around me?
Nemo...he often referred to himself as Nemo - No one. He felt he had already disappeared...or perhaps had never been.
The Great Black Sisterhood?
That just made my morning. Gonna have to share...
Wow. So a near-death experience is like Life's pop quiz?
I've got to go study...