Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's Saturday

I'll be leaving about 8:00 this morning to drive to Joplin, Missouri, to attend a scripture class there.

First I have to feed the animals and water my plants. Bob A. will come by later this morning and check out Slinky to see if he is doing alright. It should be very hot today and I will not be home until around 6:00 this evening. Slinky really struggles with the heat.

I got to sleep about 9:30 last night but I woke up at 4:00 this morning. I continued to lay in bed until 5:00 when I got up to get ready for today's trip. It's about an hour and a half trip...a little less.

I will catch you all up on it later this evening if I'm not completely wiped out.

The class was about the scripture's concerning homosexuality. The church theologians explained the cultural background of the scriptures that address the subject in the Bible. It was an interesting discussion.

My brother-in-law came over and checked on Slinky about 2:00. He filled a second water dish for him and then tossed the hose over into a Rose of Sharon shrub bed. He forgot to turn off the hose and it ran all afternoon. Slinky had a lot of water to lie in and that's what he did. It must have helped to keep him cool. When I got home at 6:00, I discovered the water running and turned it off. Again Slinky wanted in the house but was all wet so I didn't want to let him in. He tends to shake and I did not want water all over the kitchen floor and walls.

I took my bath and put my PJs on around 7:30. I am really tired tonight. I'll try to stay awake until at least 9:00. While I was in Joplin, I filled my car with gas. Gas is cheaper in Missouri.

I have a pie to bake tomorrow and a layered salad to make for the salad luncheon after church. I'll do that in the morning after I feed the animals and water the plants.

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's Friday!

It will be interesting to see if Aime takes the time today to transfer me.

Slinky and I took an eight block walk this morning. That dog simply loves his walk but he usually only wants to walk four blocks. Today he decided to climb the hill but he was really tired when we got back home.

Leslie just called. I hadn't heard from her since Sunday. She doesn't call as much anymore. I guess she thinks my friendship with Bob is enough to keep me contacted. It really isn't the same thing. Bob and I are going to Joplin to a scripture class tomorrow. That will give us something different to do.

It's time for me to go to work now so I'll add more later in the day.

I had an e-mail from Aime when I got home from work. I start my ne job training right away.

Bob talked to me this morning. His grandchildren are here from Oregon and they want to visit him and also Phyllis. I don't know whether they will stay overnight or not and if they do, Bob won't be going with me to Joplin tomorrow. He has very little opportunity to see these grandchildren who were raised strictly by their mother. So I don't blame him for wanting to stay home to see them.

I worked this afternoon on Scott and Becky's scrapbook. I had Slinky in the house so that made a good time to do it.

Then I ran to the market and bought the ingredients for my salad for Sunday.

My brother-in-law called and invited me over to visit with his grandchildren and ex-daughter-in-law so I put my shoes back on and went over there for awhile. They are nice people.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The True Story of the Origins of Christianity

By the 4th century of Christianity there was beginning to emerge a "victor's circle" which could claim for itself the status of "orthodox". This circle began to form itself around the emperor Constantine, who in 313, by a single edict, converted Christianity from a forbidden cult to a state religion and thereafter made it his pet project. The energy toward clarification, unification and yes, imperial pomposity, emerged primarily from that quarter of the Christian world. By 325 the church had it's official creed, hammered out at the Council of Nicea in what is now southwestern Turkey and still in regular use by Christians today.

It would still be another century and a half before an "official" Bible appeared, but a consensus as to what belonged in it was already beginning to take shape. As the church consolidated in those years, and this part of the world, it had a story to tell. We all know that story. It's not only in the Bible, it's in our blood, reinforced by the liturgy, the catechism, and the rich traditions of sacred art and iconography.

The basic plot is laid out in the book of Acts. It begins with the hushed silence of Jesus being taken up to heaven, followed by the fiery descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, which many Christians still celebrate as the birth of the church. The apostle Paul enters on the scene. at first a foe and then an indefatigable champion following his mystical encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. And now we watch as the apostles... work out their differences and steadily spread the gospel...and the young all corners of the Holy Roman Empire.

What we should be aware of, however, is that running through this story are several powerful assumptions that reinforce a singular point of view about how the faith and practice of the early Christian church took shape. And what became "the master story" was only this one point of view. It was nowhere near the whole story.

"The master story" claims that an unbroken chain stretching from Jesus to the apostles and on to their successors in the church....elders, ministers, priests, and bishops...guaranteed the unity and uniformity of Christian belief and practice. This supposedly unbroken chain is the basis of what the church still sees as "apostolic succession". And when anyone has strayed from the uniformity it claims to represent, by abandoning the pure doctrine that Jesus is said to have revealed to his apostles, the story says it is because the devil has sown weeds in the divine field.

By the time this "master story" had emerged, the apostles had come to be seen as male only, despite the evidence of the scriptures to the contrary. And, of course, some of today's churches still insist on the all male version of the story.

In the simplified version of this story that most Christians absorb, Jesus came to earth to found a new religion called Christianity, called his male only disciples to be his apostles and priests, and gave them the sacrament of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. And in this simplified version, obvious anomalies are overlooked...why Mary Magdalene, who was specifically given the first apostolic charge by Jesus himself to announce the news of his resurrection, was not included among the apostles, and why Paul, who was not at the Last Supper and never met Jesus in his earthly life,was.

But such is the power of blinders and most of today's churchgoers still seem determined to keep those blinders firmly in place.

The master story so seamlessly became the filter through which Christians saw the world that for sixteen hundred years seeing it any other way was nearly impossible. In 1945 in the deserts of Egypt, near Nag Hammadi, a large urn was discovered in a cave containing scrolls dating from the early days of Christianity. They seemed to have been put there in the late fourth century, probably in response to a bishop's having sent out a list of writings that is seen now as the earliest effort to declare a New Testament canon. The scrolls were a collection of sacred writings that had once been in use in early Christian communities but failed to make the cut amid tightening standards of orthodoxy.

From the translation and analysis that scholars have done in the years since the Nag Hammadi and other similar finds, some contents of newly found scrolls have proved to be among the earliest writings of the church. And the scholars who have examined them and studied the circumstances in which they were written and later hidden have now realized that winners and losers in the canonical sweepstakes were determined not by God's edict, but by worldly politics. What we now call orthodoxy came into being through the tug of war of opposing viewpoints around developing issues of Christian order and doctrine.

Losing views, including the one now called Gnosticism, came to be portrayed as the result of the devil's efforts. The real culprit all along has been not the losing viewpoints but the master story itself. When one moves this sacred cow gently off the tracks the picture that emerges of the real origins of Christianity is far more fascinating and believable. Rather than an unadulterated "pure doctrine" handed on serenely from apostle to apostle, early Christianity was a riot of pluralism. In the Christian communities, all different in ethnicity and temperament, there were many local options, and the texts that were circulated among these early outposts of Christians comprised an ongoing conversation rather than an unbroken monologue.

The treasure trove of writings emerging out of Nag Hammadi and other recent finds yields us up three very important new source materials for the study of Mary Magdalene: the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. Her story is included in these three documents and also the story of true Christianity and its origins.

What emerges differs from the master story in some very important ways. Whereas in Acts the heroes are Peter and Paul, here it is Mary Magdalene who clearly emerges as winner of the apostolic triple crown: deepest understanding of the Master's teachings, best ability to live out what she understands, and an ongoing relationship with the Master in the visionary realms that makes her privy to teachings the other disciples know nothing about.

Another important point reinforced by the more recently discovered gospels is that Jesus'inner circle of disciples included both men and women on an equal footing. Jesus set his disciples upon the only known path to integral transformation: the slow and persistent overcoming of the ego through a lifelong practice of surrender and non-attachment. The self emptying that comes from that practice is not renunciation that implies pushing away. It is simply the willingness to let things come and go without grabbing on. It is non clinging. The path that Jesus taught led from selfishness fear, and narcissism to justice, compassion and humility.

A Good Day

As I may have mentioned yesterday, I had my interview yesterday afternoon. This morning I did 15 minutes worth of work and sat the rest of the morning at the senior center. I went to Independence after work to get my hair colored and cut and stopped at Wal Mart after that to buy school supplies for the Caney school and dog food and cat food for the animals.

She asked me to e-mail Aime too today and ask if I could begin the new training job with them on Wednesday of next week and work for them for four hours on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. I immediately did that. Amie is in her office on Mondays and hopefully she will get back with me tomorrow or Monday at the latest.

I am so excited! It is still only 12 hours a week but at least this location would keep me busy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday at Last

This was a busy day at work. Of course I go in at 8:00 and they didn't find anything for me to do until 9:30. Then I worked steadily the next hour and a half.

I purposely am not letting Slinky into the kitchen because he would get acclimated to the cool kitchen and then have to go back out when I go to my appointment. According to the weather it's 97 out there.

I have e-mailed the Ministerial Alliance about the surprise party planned for Father Jerry Adinolfi of the Episcopal Church. His birthday is August 7th and his congregation is throwing him a surprise party. I want us to go in force to help him celebrate it. He is retiring this year and selling his home and moving closer to his family.

I got the tail light replaced on my car this afternoon. It caused the cruise control to drop off from time to time. Greg's shop told Bob A. that might be the problem and sure enough, I did have a back up light out.

I mowed after the sun went down last night. It really needed it. I didn't mow last week because of the drought.

More later...after the appointment.

Amie will have to do the transfer I don't know how long that will take. I can switch days if I have an event I want to go to in Independence, Missouri. They are very, very busy in that office. One employee worked with me at the radio station here in Coffeyville back in the 1980's and early 1990's.

Amie called Sandra at work this morning and after that I got very busy. Sandra also said I'd be busy tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Back to Work

This morning I go back to work at the least I hope I have work. Tomorrow is my interview at the Judicial Center. I hope I get moved to that position and I haven't even met them yet. I am very tired of the inactivity where I am.

More later...

Sure enough..two hours of just sitting and then the last hour they came up with a project. When I finished, I left and came home.

I spent most of the afternoon working on the scrapbook I am making for Scott and Becky. Then when I tired out, I put away the scrapbook stuff and read awhile. Slinky has been in all afternoon too. It's 102 out there.

I just fed the animals and shut my Kindle. I guess I'll see if there's anything on TV until the newspaper comes.

What a dull day. I will be so happy when this heat leaves and fall comes. And to think we still have August to get through.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Work at Home

Last night after the Living the Questions group meeting, Marilyn was called by the hospital to send a chaplain to the hospital because a woman there needed one. She asked me to go so I did. It was a desperate woman who had had e-coli since March with constant diarrhea. She is at the end of her rope. What she really needed was someone to listen to her and be with her while she cried. She was afraid she was losing her faith. Her husband is in bad shape after all this too so she did not want to trouble him with her fears. I spent a little over an hour with her and she seemed much better after that. I don't know whether e-coli can be cured or not. Maybe she needs to go to a larger hospital....perhaps a teaching hospital.

This morning at 7:00 my brother-in-law came over with his tree saw and we spent over an hour and a half cutting the down hanging limbs off the tree in my back yard and dragging the limbs over to the carport. I will ask my son-in-law to come pick them up with his pickup at his convenience. They aren't hurting anything in the carport right now. The tree looks so much better and I can now mow without running into the limbs that were hanging way down.

After that, I was inspired to mulch that flowerbed back of the shed that I had cleaned up Saturday morning. Then while I had the large bag the mulch came in, I cleaned out the flowerbed on the west of my back yard. When I finished all that, I was soaked with sweat but the backyard looked so much better.

After I showered and washed my hair, I called my brother-in-law and asked him if he would like to go to Bartlesville with me while it was still relatively cool. I wanted to get a scrapbook at Hobby Lobby and some photo printing paper for Scott and Becky's album. They have sent me a lot of photos now and I need to get started on it.

He agreed. He also bought a picture frame for a class picture of my sister's. Then I asked him if he wanted to go to lunch and he said he would like to eat at Dink's Bar B.Q. Dink's is famous for their Bar B.Q. around here. So that where we ate. We had their great chopped brisket special. I told him I wanted to buy his lunch. That's the least I could do to repay him for all his work that morning.

Then we came back home. It was around 1:00.

Now I have the rest of the day to deal with. I may not get the album stared today but will this week.

I spent the afternoon trying to get my laptop to load. After several hours, I finally got it going and spent the afternoon printing off photos and trimming them.

It was a busy but productive day.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Muggy Sunday

I got up before five this morning. It was 91 degrees then. Slinky was already suffering and there wasn't a lot I could do about it. I hesitated to bring him in because I will be leaving for church at 9:00. I am speaking today so I can't just skip it. I put out lots of water for him. Inky is out there too. It is supposed to be 105 again today...maybe hotter.

I wasn't up to coffee this morning so I just made a couple of cups of tea.

I don't know how long this heat wave can last. There is a 30% chance of rain today...probably tonight. But that's a 70% chance it won't rain.

I have fed and watered the animals and watered the flowers. The yard is beyond help. I have watered and watered it but it's still not green.

More later...

It's 1:00 and 100 degrees already. I went to lunch with the lunch crowd after church. When I got home Slinky was already miserable. I let him in the kitchen and he is laying here at my feet panting pitifully. I brought in some cool water but he has not drunk any yet. He's probably too overheated. It's supposed to be 105 today if it doesn't rain and it doesn't look like we're going to get the rain.

I have Living the Questions this evening at Lively's home. I hope it cools off by then.

More later....