Jesus & Mary Magdalene - Jesus, sexuality, & the bible


A question About Jesus


I offer this to you: Not to say that this new translation of the Bible is right and the old one is wrong - it is for you to decide which one feels more like Truth to you. I offer this as I offer everything else that I am sharing here - as an alternate perspective for you to consider."

Quote in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls


Dear _____,
I am sorry that it has taken me awhile to respond to your e-mail. I have been very busy with an update to my web site and a trip out of town for a day and a half to see some clients. I also wanted to let your question percolate for some days because there are a variety of ways to answer your question and I wanted to do so with respect and honor for the nature and subject of the question.

You wrote:

I assume you are Robert Burney, the author of the book and excepts on this website.

While I was quite impressed by such deep insights in spiritual realm, I couldn't resist asking a question on the "Christ Consciousness" section. Would you be kind enough to reply where in the Bible talks about Jesus having humanly desire with Mary Magdalene or even displayed any indecency?

Your view on concept of Godly love expressed by Christ is absolutely agreeable, but I wonder where the concept of Christ as human male is noted anywhere, if not in Bible.


First of all I wish to make the point that I made in the Authors Foreword to my book and repeated in the middle of the book in the quote above - I am not trying to impose my Truth on anyone. I am offering an alternate perspective to help people to see things in a larger context. Too often we go through life reacting out of beliefs that we were taught in childhood without ever stopping to ask ourselves "Does this make sense?" "Is this what I believe?" In order to grow it is necessary to experience a paradigm shift, an enlarging of context, a growth of consciousness.

The second point I would like to make is that humans have for too long gotten caught up in the details of the message of Jesus, and lost the Spirit of it completely. Wars have been fought, individuals and groups tortured and murdered, over the definitions of words supposedly spoken by him. The inquisition was not about Love. Bombing abortion clinics is not about Love.

One of the most important tools in consciousness raising is discernment. To be able to pick the baby out of the bath water. In this case the baby is the Spirit of Love and Truth. When we find it - it is very important to know that we don't have to let some details/definitions/the dirty bath water keep us from embracing the nuggets of Truth - cause us to throw out the baby.

This quote is from the very beginning of my book:

"In this dance of life that we are doing there are different levels - even of Truth with a capital T. There are ultimate Truths, and there are relative Truths. The ultimate Truths have to do with the eternal, everlasting reality of the God-Force, the Great Spirit. The relative Truths have to do with each individual's own intuitive guidance. These are the messages we receive individually to get us from point A to point B on our individual paths. The guidance we get from our Souls that tells us what the next thing in front of us is.

Our individual, relative Truths expand and grow as we expand and grow. We each have our own unique path to follow - our own individual inner guidance system. No one can tell you what your path is! Your Truth is a personal thing. Only you can know your Truth.

It is through following and being True to our individual Truths, as they relate to our path through this physical experience, that we reach balance and harmony with the ultimate Truths."


I believe that the details of the life of Jesus fall into the category of relative Truth - while the message of Love that Jesus taught and symbolizes is more in the category of Ultimate Truth - so I think we already agree on what is important.

Those points made, I am now going to be addressing different parts of your question in a long reply and I am also going to be giving you a very short answer that constitutes the bottom line for me and what I consider to be my Truth.

The long reply is going to focus on what I see are 4 different facets of your communication with me. These four are:

1. The tone

2. The Bible

3. Indecency

4. Jesus & Mary Magdalene.



1. The Tone

 

I was severely Spiritually abused growing up in a very shame-based religion that taught me that I was born sinful and that there was a God who loved me but might send me to burn in hell forever for being human (i.e. getting angry, making mistakes, being sexual. etc.) I still have some very tender wounds about the effect those teaching have had on my life. As I write this my eyes filled with tears of sadness about that little boy being taught what I believe are such abusive and spirit-destroying concepts. I still have a great deal of anger that this abuse was perpetrated on me, and that so many other children were and are being abused by these types of teachings - which are in my belief the very opposite of the Truth of a Loving God-Force.

I have done a lot of healing around these wounds and they don't have nearly the power they used to have only a few years ago. In fact, the only thing which I might even consider changing in my book "The Dance of Wounded Souls" is the tone which I use on one page in talking about the abuse which has been perpetrated in the name of Jesus by people who were acting the very reversed of what I believe Jesus taught. I absolutely believe what I say in my book but now, with a few more years of healing of those wounds, I might say it a little less stridently, in a little softer manner

Because I still have buttons that can be pushed in relationship to my wounding I try to be careful to not react when I sense in someone else the kind of rigid shame based belief system that was so damaging to me. I don't know if you have that kind of belief system - if you have, it is of course your perfect right to believe whatever you wish - but my first reaction (and some subsequent ones) to your e-mail has been that it had a belligerent edge to it.

I am not sure though. If you were truly coming from a rigid belief system there is no way that you could say "I was quite impressed by such deep insights in spiritual realm" - so I have been confused about whether you sincerely wanted to hear my answer or were just baiting me.

Ultimately it really doesn't matter what your intentions were - you have done me a service in asking the question. It is always good for me to have something germinating in my mind - and it was specifically interesting timing because of my very recent decision to post some question and answer pages on my web site. Because of the timing of your message I have been thinking of it in terms of an answer that I am going to post for the world to see, instead of one that was going to one person. So, rather you were baiting me or really in search of some understanding of my point of view is not important - I thank you for the challenge and hope that you can see the respect with which I approach this subject.

In a couple of minutes of searching the internet this afternoon I found some very interesting sites without any trouble at all. I have borrowed information from those sites and provided links to them. They are presented here not as an endorsement (I only looked at them for a few moments) but as an offering of resources to explore. I did some underlining in those excerpts (and mine) to emphasis or highlight some specific points.
(This page was written in August 1998 and in posting it as a web page on this site I have not rechecked the outside links to see if they are still there.)

2. The Bible

You said, " . . .but I wonder where the concept of Christ as human male is noted anywhere, if not in Bible."

About the bible. You mention the bible as if it were the ultimate authority in deciding Truth. The bible is not some sacrosanct document that presents an accurate account of events that happened 2000 years ago. It is a hodgepodge of writing (unknown individuals writing about what they had heard happened 50 to 100 years prior to their time) by different writers that were chosen to be "The Bible" because of political factors within the early church (up to 590 AD or CE is considered the early years.)

In fact the declaration that Jesus was God was made in 325 AD by the Council of Nicea. It was not a concept that was taught by his disciples after his death. It was the church founded by Paul (who never met Jesus) among the gentiles that started teaching that Jesus was Divine. This was a raging debate in the early church that led to riots (after Christianity was legalized in the Roman Empire in 311 AD) between different factions and led to Emperor Constantine calling the Council of Nicea to decide the matter.

This quote about the early history of the church is from a web site called Religious Tolerance at http://www.religioustolerance.org/toc.htm

 

"The church had evolved from a small, geographically concentrated institution under the authority of the apostles, to a widespread church under the authority of many bishops. There was no single individual who spoke for the entire church and had the authority to decide matters of belief and practice. Such matters could only be determined by councils at which all of the bishops would debate and attempt to resolve points of difference.
There were 4 councils in all:
1. The first was the Council of Nicea (325 CE) which attempted to resolve the major uncertainty facing the early church: the relationship between Jesus and God. The church recognized the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) which described God in strictly monotheistic terms. But there were references in the Gospels (particularly John) which stated that Jesus was Lord. There were two main theories about the deity of Jesus at the time:
Arius (250 - 336 CE) argued that Jesus and God were very separate and different entities: Jesus was closer to God than any other human being, but he was born a man, and had no prior existence. On the other hand, God has been in existence forever. Arius felt that any attempt to recognize the deity of Christ would blur the lines between Christianity and the Pagan religions. To have separate two gods, the Father and Jesus, would convert Christianity to a polytheistic religion.
Athanasius (296 - 373) argued that Jesus must be divine, because otherwise, he could not be the Savior.

Both Arius and Athanasius had large, closely matched followings among the bishops. The council, under pressure from Emperor Constantine, resolved its deadlock by a close vote in favor of Athanasius. They produced the Nicene Creed, which declared that Jesus Christ was "of one substance with the Father." This did not immediately settle the question of the divinity of Christ; many bishops and churches refused to accept the council's decision for decades."


So, a close vote decided the question of rather Jesus was Divine. The later councils refined this decision to stating that Jesus was both Divine and human, "that Christ had two natures which were without confusion, without change, without division, without separation." (The Council of Chalcedon - 451 CE) Anyone who differed with the official version was branded a heretic and punished.

Here is another quote from the same web site in regards to the recent Jesus Seminar in which a group of the worlds foremost theologians tried to figure out what Jesus actually said and did - (I want to note here that these were theologians who are considered liberal by fundamentalists):

(Some of the) Conclusions of the Jesus Seminar:
"The gospel of John represents a religious tradition that is independent from the synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke). They differ so much that either John or the synoptic gospels must be largely abandoned in the quest for an understanding of Jesus' actual sayings and acts. The Seminar largely rejected John.
Many of Jesus' followers previously followed John the Baptist.
Jesus rarely spoke of himself in the first person. The many "I am" statements in John originated from the gospel author, not from Jesus.
Jesus did not claim to be the Messiah
Jesus did not claim to be God.
Jesus probably talked to his followers and preached in Aramaic. The books in the Christian Scriptures are written in Greek. Thus, even those parts of the Gospels that Jesus is believed to have said, are actually translations into Greek of his original words.
About 18% of the sayings of Jesus recorded in the 4 canonical gospels and Thomas rated a red or pink rating (Jesus definitely or probably said it). The remaining passages attributed to Jesus were actually created by the gospel writers."


These scholars concluded that 18% of the sayings attributed to Jesus were accurate. Jesus was declared divine by a close vote in a highly politically charged atmosphere. These don't sound like the types of information that would indicate that the Bible is a reliable source of information.

It is so important to realize that what is being taught in Christian Churches now is not what has always been taught there. That the bible has changed, been translated, modified to fit the needs (often political and economic) of the church at the time.

(In kind of a comical side note here - The Jesus Seminar concluded that the Gospel of John was so inaccurate as to be completely unreliable - in my few minutes of searching I found a web site that claims that Mary Magdalene was the true author of Gospel of John.)

(I also want to note that any "hodge podge," any "chosen because of political factors," any "unknown author writing down rumors," any "accidents or coincidences" ultimately serve Divine Plan. The Bible is the inspired Word of God (so is Shakespeare for that matter) - but not taken literally. When translated in Metaphysical terms there is great Truth in the Bible.)

Here is an excerpt from my book about the bible. (Underlining added for emphasis in this context.)


"The teachings of all the Master Teachers, of all the world's religions, contain some Truth along with a lot of distortions and lies. Discerning Truth is often like recovering treasure from shipwrecks that have been sitting on the ocean floor for hundreds of years - the grains of Truth, the nuggets of gold, have become encrusted with garbage over the years.

The Bible


As one example of this, I am going to discuss the Bible for a moment, because it has been such a powerful force in shaping the attitudes of Western Civilization.

The Bible contains Truth, much of it symbolic or in parable form because most of the audience at the time it was written had very little sophistication or imagination. They did not have the tools and the knowledge we have access to now.

So the Bible does contain Truth - it also contains a lot of distortion. The Bible was translated many times. It was translated by male Codependents.

I am going to share with you a short excerpt from a recently published book. I have not read this book and cannot tell you much about it. I have read a review of this book which appeared in California magazine in November of 1990. What I am sharing here is from that review.

I offer this to you: Not to say that this new translation of the Bible is right and the old one is wrong - it is for you to decide which one feels more like Truth to you. I offer this as I offer everything else that I am sharing here - as an alternate perspective for you to consider.

This book is called The Book of J. It was written by two men - one of whom is a former head of the Jewish Publication Society, the other is a professor of humanities at Yale University. What they have done in this book is to extract what they believe is one voice from the Old Testament. The Old Testament is a compilation of writings by many different writers. That is why there are two conflicting versions of the Creation in Genesis - because it was written by two different people.

They have taken the voice of one of those writers, gone back as far as they could to the original language, and translated it from a different perspective.

Here is a short excerpt from the Old Testament as an example of the difference between their translation and the traditional version. The traditional version is taken from the King James Bible, Genesis 3:16. It says: "And thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."

Sounds like the normal patriarchal, sexist tone in which we have always accepted that the Bible was written.

Here is the new translation of the exact same phrase: "To your man's body your belly will rise, for he shall be eager above you."

Now to me, "rule over you" and "eager above you" mean two very different things - it actually seems pretty close to being a 180 degree swing in perspective. This new translation sounds as if there is nothing shameful about sex. As if maybe it is not bad to have a normal human sex drive, maybe it is not True that the flesh is weak and the spirit exists somewhere way out there.

The reviewer (Greil Marcus, California magazine, November 1990, Vol. 15, No. 11), without ever quite perceiving the shame connection, says that this book "...is an act of violence...to what we think we know." He says that, "...it's a great change, in the way one sees the human condition." He also states that, "The differences...are many and profound..." and include "... the replacement of 'man became a living soul' with 'man becomes a creature of flesh' - without the distinction between soul and flesh, Christianity, or, as Michael Ventura calls it, Christianism, dissolves."

This retranslation shows that basic misconception and misunderstanding may be at the heart, at the foundation of Western Civilization, or to quote the reviewer, "In other words, the argument is that within Jewish, Christian, and Islamic civilization, certainly within Western Civilization, at its heart - or at its foundation - is a ruin."

What he could not quite put his finger on as the act of violence against the very core of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic civilization is that what this book seems to do is to take the shame out of being human - of being creatures of flesh. There is no shame in being human. We are not being punished by God. It just feels like it sometimes."

This segues very nicely into: