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Songs Of Solomon


MOW
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I've been wondering about people's take on The Songs of Solomon in the Old Testament, the most erotic book in the Bible. I've read that some early Christian Mystics saw it as not merely sensuality but the union of the soul with God.

 

So I was wondering, have you read the book? What do you think its meaning is? Do you think it was written by a man or a woman? Etc.

 

 

 

MOW

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An oriental love song; I think the mystic would it see as love, giving and receiving between Jesus and the mystic. Other Christians might see it as love between Jesus and the Church. Mystics of other religions also recite in such beautiful verse to express the mystical union that is beyond words. In and out of consciousness, physical reality, and the sex we identify with; we become the lover and vice a versa.

 

Mow, Thank you for brings such beautiful prose to life.

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Speaking from my personal point of view as a modern channeller/Christian mystic, I will simply say that I have talked to many different angels, including Jesus, and I have also talked directly to our divine Mother and Father, and I have never -- I repeat never -- experienced my relationship with my angelic friends in the sensual, sexualized, self-absorbed, co-dependent way that I see expressed in Song of Solomon. I cannot in my wildest imagination see myself saying to my mortal mother (a 76 woman who lives in Toronto): "Your rounded thighs are like jewels, the work of a master hand. Your navel is a rounded bowl that never lacks mixed wine. Your belly is a heap of wheat, encircled with lilies. Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle" (Chapter 7, NRSV). She would be shocked, and my father would probably usher me outside and slam the door in my face . . . as he probably should if I were to speak to my mother in such a fashion.

 

I see no reason to think our divine parents wouldn't react in a similar fashion. They're our parents, for God's sake, not our lovers. They deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and maturity.

 

Your somewhat indignant friend, Jen

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Love songs come from the heart and speak to the heart, the mysterious Song of Solomon shows the stages of romantic love. It goes through the emotional discovery, initial euphoria, growing intimacy, conflict resolution, and yes, passionate lovemaking, if one sees that image. I feel we can serve God by serving our mates. Mystics can have an ideal relationship with their spouse, God and family and can apply concepts of love to create a beautiful, healthy love song. If the song draws passionate pictures of lovemaking then that is in the mind and the true meaning of love can be seen in that image too. True love encompasses learning, forgiving, complete understanding and simple gift of wonder even in the act of passionate love. We can view everything as a way of learning, growing and realizing the spirit as we ultimately search for our heart's desire of true love. We must keep dreaming, searching and enjoying what God has given us. I feel the Song of Solomon enriches our world with love and affirms that love and even sex is not wrong but can be an act of God, if viewed with a pure heart. A gift of love to anyone who needs a bit of warmth and love. God places mates together so God can touch us so deeply that we renew our respect, love and hope in our relationship with our spouse and with God. We learn not to hold back to protect our hearts. We learn not to hold back with our mate and then again not to hold back with God. Romance, passion, and intimacy are the small parts of love and the longing of the heart that when put together can lead one to true love. We all need a clear vision of what real love between and man and woman can be and what it should feel like so we can gain insight to what real love with God and Jesus should be in a fulfilling relationship. This work is both a commentary and guide to a fuller relationship with a spouse as God intended, a vision of love, friendship, passion and respect. Emotional intimacy rejuvenates and helps us appreciate our emotions of romance, forgiveness, devotion and fulfillment that should characterize some of our deepest and most personal relationships so we can ultimately have a fulfilling and intimate relationship with God.

 

May we all be married to Christ in true love.

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Hello Jen and Soma and thank you for your replies.

 

I am not a mystic, however I feel that The Songs of Solomon may have the same place in our religion as The Kama Sutra ,or Tantric practices might have in their respective religions. It seems an attempt to show the link between the sexual and the spiritual. Soma, your discription is more complete than mine. BTW isn't there some temple in India, that is covered with sculptures of erotic imagery. I've seen pictures of it ,but I'm not sure where it is or what the name of the temple is.

 

I do agree though ,Jen, that the erotic motif can sometimes go to far. In a lot of comtemporary gospel music some of the female singers sound as if they are singing to Jesus as a lover ; rather than saviour ,teacher or friend.

 

 

 

MOW

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We all need a clear vision of what real love between and man and woman can be and what it should feel like so we can gain insight to what real love with God and Jesus should be in a fulfilling relationship. This work is both a commentary and guide to a fuller relationship with a spouse as God intended, a vision of love, friendship, passion and respect. Emotional intimacy rejuvenates and helps us appreciate our emotions of romance, forgiveness, devotion and fulfillment that should characterize some of our deepest and most personal relationships so we can ultimately have a fulfilling and intimate relationship with God.

 

May we all be married to Christ in true love.

 

Soma, if you wish to see the Songs of Solomon in the light of romance and intimacy between two loving human beings, then okay. But that's not what MOW was wondering about, if I've understood MOW correctly. MOW was asking whether this book can describe the union of the soul with God. So let me be clear. The kinds of emotions described in the Song of Solomon relate to our personal relationships with other human beings. An intimate relationship with one's romantic partner is not the same kind of relationship that one experiences with God. They are quite different. This is a boundary issue. While it is entirely appropriate for us as human beings to seek closeness, emotional intimacy, and sexual intimacy with our love-mate (regardless of our sexual orientation), it is not at all appropriate for us to transfer the same kind of sensuous or sensual feelings onto our relationship with God. In our human love partnerships, it is possible we may end up learning more about our own true nature, about our own capacity to feel empathy for others, about our own willingness to be emotionally vulnerable. If we are fortunate enough to discover these truths about our own selves, we may appropriately use that knowledge as a springboard to love and trust God at a deeper (but chaste) level. But if we in any way sexualize our relationship with God, we cross the boundary, and we cause our own soul to weep.

 

This is the path of discernment.

 

I must also ask, Soma, what you meant when you said above "a gift of love to anyone who needs a bit of warmth and love." I do hope you're not espousing some sort of free love. Perhaps I've misunderstood you, in which case I apologize. As I've said before, I very much believe that sacred sexuality belongs within the confines of a committed, monogamous relationship with one's consenting adult partner and one's self (if I may say so in as delicate a manner as possible). Crossing the line into promiscuous behaviour will also cause one's soul to weep.

 

To eliminate any chance of misunderstanding in the minds and hearts of others, I would avoid all metaphors of marriage in our relationship with Christ or God. We are not trying to marry Christ or God. Nor are we trying as a community to marry each other as a community. Let marriage be a word reserved for the romantic commitment between two human adults. And let us seek to understand our relationship with God in terms of partnership, equality, teamwork, and family (family of the parent/brother/sister kind).

 

Jen

 

P.S. MOW -- I have seen some photos of the temple in India that you describe. Be cautious, though, in applying the term Tantric only to traditions that attempt to link the sexual with the divine. Tantra is a term that encompasses a long and complex tradition of thought within Buddhism.

 

I don't listen to gospel music, so your description of female singers sounding as if they're singing to Jesus as a lover was kind of creepy. Yuck!

Edited by canajan, eh?
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The Christian focus is not sex it is Christ and the spiritual life that leads to heaven. Sex is a gift from God to deepen relationships and yes bring warmth and love with a culmination in Truth. Catholic nuns wear a wedding ring to signify that they are married to Christ. The Roman Catholic Church requires that priests, nuns, and monks be celibate. Legalistic, puritanical suppression of sex leads to obsession and lust dripping sexual sin. We humans are hungering and searching for God, can we use God's gifts to come closer to him? The Bible is not talking about sex with a mother or free love. It is talking about spiritual communion. It is a distortion of biblical sexuality to think it is a self-centered end in itself. Let’s be clear: it is our sin nature that distorts the ideal of marital oneness and the blessing of sexuality. Yes, one can also come closer to God without sex.

 

Psalm 103:5 says God “satisfies our desires with good things.” Matthew 7:11 says our Father loves to pour out “good gifts” on His children who ask for them. 1Timothy 6:17 says God richly blesses us with “all things.” Ecclesiastes 5:20. Solomon says God will use earthly blessings to bring gladness to a righteous person’s heart, to even distract him/her from life’s harsh realities!

 

 

 

Cast off worries of sex and bear a lighter load

Peace of mind rather than shame and sin

A relaxed mind without words understands

 

Training our inner self

The fragrance soon passes

As everything becomes one

Still the mind

When Christ arrives

Humility and depth come naturally

 

Don't talk too much

Live it in your own way

Christ illuminates the confusion

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The Christian focus is not sex it is Christ and the spiritual life that leads to heaven. Sex is a gift from God to deepen relationships and yes bring warmth and love with a culmination in Truth. Catholic nuns wear a wedding ring to signify that they are married to Christ. The Roman Catholic Church requires that priests, nuns, and monks be celibate. Legalistic, puritanical suppression of sex leads to obsession and lust dripping sexual sin. We humans are hungering and searching for God, can we use God's gifts to come closer to him? The Bible is not talking about sex with a mother or free love. It is talking about spiritual communion. It is a distortion of biblical sexuality to think it is a self-centered end in itself. Let’s be clear: it is our sin nature that distorts the ideal of marital oneness and the blessing of sexuality. Yes, one can also come closer to God without sex.

 

Psalm 103:5 says God “satisfies our desires with good things.” Matthew 7:11 says our Father loves to pour out “good gifts” on His children who ask for them. 1Timothy 6:17 says God richly blesses us with “all things.” Ecclesiastes 5:20. Solomon says God will use earthly blessings to bring gladness to a righteous person’s heart, to even distract him/her from life’s harsh realities!

 

Soma, I'm still not clear on what you're saying. Are you saying that we should view our relationship with God as a state of marital oneness that may include sexual bliss with God as part of that relationship? I see that you believe one can come closer to God without sex. But do you believe one can get closer to God by having an ecstatic, mystical, erotic union with God? I know of mystics who have claimed as such. I maintain that God the Mother and God the Father are our parents. Our divine parents hold the Christ archetype for all Creation. Jesus does hold the Christ archetype. He is one person who embraced the Christ mantle, and lived as a Christ-in-human-form. But he is not the Christ. God the Mother and God the Father are the Christ. From this perspective, those who seek oneness with Christ through erotic mysticism are in fact trying to establish an inappropriate sexual relationship with their parents. Needless to say, this is harmful for all parties involved.

 

Jen

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Oops - I left out a fairly significant "not" in my post just above. In post #8, I typed "Jesus does hold the Christ archetype." In fact, what I meant to say was "Jesus does not hold the Christ archetype." Sorry for the typo. I apologize if I confused anyone.

 

Jen

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The Christian focus is not sex it is Christ and the spiritual life that leads to heaven. Sex is a gift from God to deepen relationships and yes bring warmth and love with a culmination in Truth. Catholic nuns wear a wedding ring to signify that they are married to Christ. The Roman Catholic Church requires that priests, nuns, and monks be celibate. Legalistic, puritanical suppression of sex leads to obsession and lust dripping sexual sin. We humans are hungering and searching for God, can we use God's gifts to come closer to him? The Bible is not talking about sex with a mother or free love. It is talking about spiritual communion. It is a distortion of biblical sexuality to think it is a self-centered end in itself. Let’s be clear: it is our sin nature that distorts the ideal of marital oneness and the blessing of sexuality. Yes, one can also come closer to God without sex.

 

Psalm 103:5 says God “satisfies our desires with good things.” Matthew 7:11 says our Father loves to pour out “good gifts” on His children who ask for them. 1Timothy 6:17 says God richly blesses us with “all things.” Ecclesiastes 5:20. Solomon says God will use earthly blessings to bring gladness to a righteous person’s heart, to even distract him/her from life’s harsh realities!

 

Soma, I note that you say "legalistic, puritanical suppression of sex leads to obsession and lust dripping sexual sin," right after you mention the celibacy of Roman Catholic priests, nuns, and monks, and the wearing of wedding rings for nuns. Perhaps you're referring here to the appalling abuses perpetrated by certain clergy on vulnerable members of their flocks. Was the root of the problem a puritanical suppression of sex? Or was the real problem an inappropriate and misdirected understanding of what sacred sexuality is? Jesus did not tell his disciples to marry God. He is mute on the topic of human sexuality, although he is certainly not mute on other topics, such as hypocrisy. Christians who have mystic tendencies should be aware that ancient mystical traditions that teach erotic disciplines as a way to commune with God are using 5,000 year old "traditions" that stem from Egyptian mystery schools. Just because these beliefs are old doesn't mean they're helpful or healthy.

 

When God the Mother and God the Father gave us the gift of sacred sexuality, they didn't give us permission to use it any ol' way we want. Within the Christian tradition, we've caused ourselves no end of problems by trying to force deeply devout church leaders to shatter their own natural, healthy, human sexuality and project it onto their divine parents. "Don't marry a faithful, loving, human companion," they're told. "Marry God instead. That's much healthier."

 

I rather think not.

 

Jen

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St. Teresa of Avila in 1566 wrote Meditaciones sobre los Cantares ("Meditations on the Canticle"). In it she endeavors to demonstrate that sexual language is adequate for explaining the love between the soul and Christ, though she acknowledges that people who have not felt a passionate love for God would have difficulty with phrases which talk about unity.

 

The conception of the union of the soul and God in terms of the love between lover and beloved is symbolic. Everyone sees in the symbol what their mind reflects that is why we can't judge others. I don't think about sexual perversions and only wish to pass on the joy of the mystical union.

 

................................................................................

.................................................................................

.........................................

 

The mysterious presence of God eludes the sharpest mind

We must return to simple, natural beginnings

As the mist in the mind lifts

The sun can be seen rising over the mountain

 

The Spiritual path can be seen winding around us

Senses tempted, doubt arises

Passion seizes emotions not tempered

Mind not a peace, the soul is shaken

 

Spiritual alert, reject physical interpretations and seek only God

 

God in every act brings joy

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Speaking from my personal point of view as a modern channeller/Christian mystic, I will simply say that I have talked to many different angels, including Jesus, and I have also talked directly to our divine Mother and Father, and I have never -- I repeat never -- experienced my relationship with my angelic friends in the sensual, sexualized, self-absorbed, co-dependent way that I see expressed in Song of Solomon. I cannot in my wildest imagination see myself saying to my mortal mother (a 76 woman who lives in Toronto): "Your rounded thighs are like jewels, the work of a master hand. Your navel is a rounded bowl that never lacks mixed wine. Your belly is a heap of wheat, encircled with lilies. Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle" (Chapter 7, NRSV). She would be shocked, and my father would probably usher me outside and slam the door in my face . . . as he probably should if I were to speak to my mother in such a fashion.

 

I see no reason to think our divine parents wouldn't react in a similar fashion. They're our parents, for God's sake, not our lovers. They deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and maturity.

 

Your somewhat indignant friend, Jen

 

I find this discussion interesting from the point of view of "how you know what you think you know". I fully support the mystic but the mystic is always open to the issue of "how you know what you think you know". As a general rule a "red flag" is raised in my mind whenever one says that one has spoken directly with God or Jesus. This is based upon my theological understanding of the nature of God and the nature of Jesus. So, I usually will attempt to ignore that "red flag" and attempt to listen to the "vision" itself to see the value of what is being said. "What is being said" may indeed be touched by the divine, but, if it is, there is no need to attempt to support that with an allegation like Pat Robertson would make. I am wondering if most Progessive Christians would wonder about being "indignant" based upon an allegation of a direct conversation with God or Jesus. Those of us without such "direct" knowledge can only tell the difference between Jen and Pat Robertson by the value of the vision itself.

 

As far as this particular issue is concerned I appreciate the reference to Jen's family background more than the reference to talking to Jesus. I would encourage more of that point of view rather than the attempt to be separate from your own personal existential situation.

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I decided to read the whole of The Song of Solomon again in one sitting . It is one of the shortest books in the Bible and one can read it in a few minutes

 

There are a couple of things that I noticed. One is that "God" is not mentioned anywhere in it . Indeed it seems that the only reason it seems religious is because its in the Bible. The impression I get is a long erotic dream in which the woman sings to the man and then the man sings back to the woman. There are verses in chapter 5 and 6 that are quite explicit sexually .

 

Some of it was difficult for me to understand . It reminds me of an article I read in Utne magazine that Americans don't "get" poetry. ( I don't know how things are up in Canada ,Jen) .

 

 

MOW

Edited by MOW
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"What is being said" may indeed be touched by the divine, but, if it is, there is no need to attempt to support that with an allegation like Pat Robertson would make. I am wondering if most Progessive Christians would wonder about being "indignant" based upon an allegation of a direct conversation with God or Jesus. Those of us without such "direct" knowledge can only tell the difference between Jen and Pat Robertson by the value of the vision itself.

 

As far as this particular issue is concerned I appreciate the reference to Jen's family background more than the reference to talking to Jesus. I would encourage more of that point of view rather than the attempt to be separate from your own personal existential situation.

 

David, I don't know you, and I don't have much framework for where you're coming from. All I know is that I'm saddened by what you've said about me, about your suggestion that I'm separate from my own personal existential situation.

 

I've worked very hard on and off over the last three years to earn a moderate level of trust from other Progressive Christians by being consistently honest, balanced, holistic in my approach to both science and spirituality, and faithful towards my fellow human beings in terms of my intense belief in their inner potential to be Christs-in-human-form. I continually advocate compassion, empathy, common sense, forgiveness, and inclusiveness. I rejoice in the gift of parenthood. I live a life of constant, ongoing, humble communication with God. The beauty of God's creation fills me daily with wonder. I love God. I love the souls of all my fellow beings. I will continue to be indignant when I see others show a lack of empathy for themselves, for others, and for God. I will continue to speak as honestly as I can. I am as fully whole as it is possible to be. I can't help it, David, if you find it troubling that I've worked very hard to learn how to do what I do (i.e. be a modern channeller), and that I do it well. If there is not a place in today's Christianity for an ongoing dialogue with God as well as an ongoing dialogue with each other, we're up ######'s creek without a paddle.

 

Jen

Edited by canajan, eh?
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It reminds me of an article I read in Utne magazine that Americans don't "get" poetry. ( I don't know how things are up in Canada ,Jen) .

MOW

 

Now that you mention it, MOW, I'm not really sure about Canadians and poetry, although poetry with a hockey theme might be pretty palatable to many of us Canucks.

 

Jen

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I find this discussion interesting from the point of view of "how you know what you think you know". I fully support the mystic but the mystic is always open to the issue of "how you know what you think you know". As a general rule a "red flag" is raised in my mind whenever one says that one has spoken directly with God or Jesus. This is based upon my theological understanding of the nature of God and the nature of Jesus. So, I usually will attempt to ignore that "red flag" and attempt to listen to the "vision" itself to see the value of what is being said. "What is being said" may indeed be touched by the divine, but, if it is, there is no need to attempt to support that with an allegation like Pat Robertson would make. I am wondering if most Progessive Christians would wonder about being "indignant" based upon an allegation of a direct conversation with God or Jesus. Those of us without such "direct" knowledge can only tell the difference between Jen and Pat Robertson by the value of the vision itself.

 

As far as this particular issue is concerned I appreciate the reference to Jen's family background more than the reference to talking to Jesus. I would encourage more of that point of view rather than the attempt to be separate from your own personal existential situation.

 

Your struggle with fitting Jen's experience into your "theological understanding of the nature of God and the nature of Jesus" is something will can all respect and perhaps relate to. However theology is ultimately a story that we are working with that helps us make sense of the world and its relationship to its creator. And although our stories may be informed by what we accept as possible they cannot actually affect what it possible...except, perhaps, the life of the person who lives by that story. That is why your theological perspective in no way applies to what Jen is experiencing.

 

The mystics and the channelers of the world are a real pain in the ass to us because they force us to have to accept (or reject) that which may always remain a mystery to us.

 

Sometimes we just have to accept the gifts that are offered to us. Jen has accepted her gift. She has a gift to offer us. Accepting her gift does not require a theological perspective that supports it. It is what it is.

 

Concerning Song of Solomon and the "correct" way of understanding it. The beauty of poetry is that it can transcend both the poet's and the reader's perspective. Poetic expression is far deeper than the perspective from which it came and the perspective by which it is received.

 

The conception of the union of the soul and God in terms of the love between lover and beloved is symbolic. Everyone sees in the symbol what their mind reflects that is why we can't judge others. I don't think about sexual perversions and only wish to pass on the joy of the mystical union.
~ Soma

 

Soma, am I correct in understanding that you have taken monastic vows? Soma would certainly not be the first to experience the Divine in terms of the intimacy described in this poetry...in Christian history or otherwise. As I've already expressed, the mystic's experience will not be bound by beliefs about what is possible...and I will add, what someone might consider "proper" or "healthy". It is what it is.

 

Put sexual experience into the context of what is truly happening and you have a great model for divine relationship. Yes, between humans, the experience is expressed with a physical act, and sometimes that's all there is to it. But there is much more to it as describe in Song of Solomon. We're talking about a powerful union of souls. We're talking about an ecstatic experience.

For most, this is our first experience with ecstasy. For the mystic, ecstasy can be found in the spiritual realm as well.

 

I say, BRING IT ON!

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Listen, all you all readers who think that being a Christian mystic means you're going to be like Bernini's Santa Teresa with the curled-up orgasmic toes, I wonder if you have thought at all during this lovely academic debate about the hundreds of thousands if not millions of people whose lives have been utterly shattered by the haunting spectre of childhood and/or adult sexual abuse. Some of these people were told by their parents, priests, or other trusted figures that this kind of sexual experience would bring them closer to each other and (in some cases) closer to God. They were told the abuse was "love."

 

So you'll forgive me if I do not share the smug attitude towards blurred sexual boundaries that some people are expressing on this site.

 

I myself did not experience childhood sexual abuse. But I have great empathy and concern for those who have. I would not want a survivor of childhood sexual abuse to get the idea that Progressive Christians think that they (the survivors) might be asked by a human spiritual mentor to open themselves up to God in the same way they were forced to open themselves to dysfunctional human beings.

 

Jen

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Haven't you ever felt shivery warmth explode through your body while listening to a beautiful piece of music? Is that an inappropriate way to experience music? Has the musician abused the audience?

 

I understand, to a degree, the concerns you are expressing, and this is why in the Jewish tradition people weren't even allowed to read this text until adulthood.

 

Some God experiences are so powerful and beautiful that they cannot be easily described. For some folks, sex may be the closest they can get to describing them. No one here is suggesting that we teach our children or victims of rape or incest to spread 'em and get ready for the hot God injection!

 

We are talking about intimacy with the Divine...not such a crazy idea.

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I decided to read the whole of The Song of Solomon again in one sitting . It is one of the shortest books in the Bible and one can read it in a few minutes

 

There are a couple of things that I noticed. One is that "God" is not mentioned anywhere in it . Indeed it seems that the only reason it seems religious is because its in the Bible. The impression I get is a long erotic dream in which the woman sings to the man and then the man sings back to the woman. There are verses in chapter 5 and 6 that are quite explicit sexually .

 

Some of it was difficult for me to understand . It reminds me of an article I read in Utne magazine that Americans don't "get" poetry. ( I don't know how things are up in Canada ,Jen) .

MOW

 

I think it's possible that the Song of Solomon isn't supposed to be about an ecstatic union of the soul with God but rather about two lovers; as you point out God is not mentioned in it. This also seemed to be Spong's opinion in his book Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism.

 

However, even if it is about God, I don't really have a problem with it. I don't feel the need to dismiss others' experiences with God if that is how they would describe it. I guess it's just not that big a deal to me. To each their own.

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Your struggle with fitting Jen's experience into your "theological understanding of the nature of God and the nature of Jesus" is something will can all respect and perhaps relate to. However theology is ultimately a story that we are working with that helps us make sense of the world and its relationship to its creator. And although our stories may be informed by what we accept as possible they cannot actually affect what it possible...except, perhaps, the life of the person who lives by that story. That is why your theological perspective in no way applies to what Jen is experiencing.

 

The mystics and the channelers of the world are a real pain in the ass to us because they force us to have to accept (or reject) that which may always remain a mystery to us.

 

Sometimes we just have to accept the gifts that are offered to us. Jen has accepted her gift. She has a gift to offer us. Accepting her gift does not require a theological perspective that supports it. It is what it is.

 

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I agree that theology in part is a personal journey but I also would argue that theology is a communal activity and therefore I would make at least a partial claim that "what Jen is experiencing" is open to communal interpretation. "What Jen is experiencing" is being presented as some form of "The Word of God" although she presents it through the words of Jesus. Such direct dictation from the Divine has a long history. That history includes the claims of direct dictation of the Holy QUR'AN as well as the Holy BIBLE. It is ironic to have on the one hand some who would claim direct Divine dictation of the Songs of Solomon versus Jen who has received direct communication to the contrary (isn't it great when two mystics collide?). This raises the partial, communal theology that we have in common. Does the nature of God include the possible direct communication of very specific pieces of dictation? I agree that more is possible than I experience but that does not preclude the general theological claim that the nature of God does not include the possibility that the Prophet received the QUR'AN as a direct dictation or that God did not provide a literal interpretation of the Bible. I think these fundamental theological understandings are central to Progressive Christianity. I think that it is important during these times of fundamentalism to raise this theological objection to what drives much of the negative religious activity in our world today. Such attempts to bolster religious viewpoints with support from "direct communication with Allah/God" do require a theological perspective in response. In many ways Jen will always remain a mystery to me, however I am not sure that the way the gift is given does not at times work against the gift itself.

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Your struggle with fitting Jen's experience into your "theological understanding of the nature of God and the nature of Jesus" is something will can all respect and perhaps relate to. However theology is ultimately a story that we are working with that helps us make sense of the world and its relationship to its creator. And although our stories may be informed by what we accept as possible they cannot actually affect what it possible...except, perhaps, the life of the person who lives by that story. That is why your theological perspective in no way applies to what Jen is experiencing.

 

The mystics and the channelers of the world are a real pain in the ass to us because they force us to have to accept (or reject) that which may always remain a mystery to us.

 

Sometimes we just have to accept the gifts that are offered to us. Jen has accepted her gift. She has a gift to offer us. Accepting her gift does not require a theological perspective that supports it. It is what it is.

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I agree that theology in part is a personal journey but I also would argue that theology is a communal activity and therefore I would make at least a partial claim that "what Jen is experiencing" is open to communal interpretation. "What Jen is experiencing" is being presented as some form of "The Word of God" although she presents it through the words of Jesus. Such direct dictation from the Divine has a long history. That history includes the claims of direct dictation of the Holy QUR'AN as well as the Holy BIBLE. It is ironic to have on the one hand some who would claim direct Divine dictation of the Songs of Solomon versus Jen who has received direct communication to the contrary (isn't it great when two mystics collide?). This raises the partial, communal theology that we have in common. Does the nature of God include the possible direct communication of very specific pieces of dictation? I agree that more is possible than I experience but that does not preclude the general theological claim that the nature of God does not include the possibility that the Prophet received the QUR'AN as a direct dictation or that God did not provide a literal interpretation of the Bible. I think these fundamental theological understandings are central to Progressive Christianity. I think that it is important during these times of fundamentalism to raise this theological objection to what drives much of the negative religious activity in our world today. Such attempts to bolster religious viewpoints with support from "direct communication with Allah/God" do require a theological perspective in response. In many ways Jen will always remain a mystery to me, however I am not sure that the way the gift is given does not at times work against the gift itself.

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David, I don't know you, and I don't have much framework for where you're coming from. All I know is that I'm saddened by what you've said about me, about your suggestion that I'm separate from my own personal existential situation.

 

I've worked very hard on and off over the last three years to earn a moderate level of trust from other Progressive Christians by being consistently honest, balanced, holistic in my approach to both science and spirituality, and faithful towards my fellow human beings in terms of my intense belief in their inner potential to be Christs-in-human-form. I continually advocate compassion, empathy, common sense, forgiveness, and inclusiveness. I rejoice in the gift of parenthood. I live a life of constant, ongoing, humble communication with God. The beauty of God's creation fills me daily with wonder. I love God. I love the souls of all my fellow beings. I will continue to be indignant when I see others show a lack of empathy for themselves, for others, and for God. I will continue to speak as honestly as I can. I am as fully whole as it is possible to be. I can't help it, David, if you find it troubling that I've worked very hard to learn how to do what I do (i.e. be a modern channeller), and that I do it well. If there is not a place in today's Christianity for an ongoing dialogue with God as well as an ongoing dialogue with each other, we're up ######'s creek without a paddle.

 

Jen

 

Hi Jen,

 

I don't know you either and I have no reason to doubt your goodness. I know many persons who think that they are on a first name basis with God and who are very good people. My problem with this is theological in nature in that I do not see that it is possible for God to provide direct dictation. This theological disagreement is not a personal attack but this theological disagreement raises a fundamental difference between Progressive Christianity and those who would follow Pat Robertson or those who accept that the QUR'AN is a direct dictation from the Divine. I appreciate the opportunity to diaglogue with you, just don't tell me that I am talking to God/Jesus. That is quite a dialogue stopper.

Edited by David
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Great discussion, nice to feel the fire and passion. I took a vow of celibacy when I was a monk. I tried my best to unite the male and female inside me to become whole or holy. I now have been married for 26 years to the same woman and have raised two sons. I feel I have the genes of my mother and father both male and female. I feel many single people and clergy can unite the two and become holy. I am on a different path now having become united with the woman inside me with the woman I married outside myself. Both paths are difficult and valid. I think the key is to know ourselves as David said because when we accept who we really are we can accept who others are and enjoy where they are as they progress on the spiritual path.

 

Many Christians want to inflict shame, guilt, repression and punishment on human sexuality. We don't have to be punitive for a natural part of life. Many Evangelists have preached against sex and have fallen to their own private sex scandals. We need a paradigm shift to the sacrament of the present moment in God presence. Are we Christians to become similar to the Muslims and support puritanical Taliban antangonism towards human sexuality?

 

The key is to make love, tune inside and see sex as a gift from God. God has designed sex to be physical, emotional, and spiritual, and in this thread people have talked about it being physical abuse, emotional abuse, and spiritual joy. I choose to see it as spiritual joy and a sacrament of love. It can be seen as just physical or mental union, but I choose to see it as spiritual union too. Deep within each of us is a deep desire for bonding with another, for intimate union. It's a gift that is an expression of an innate longing for intimacy with God.

 

Mystical Union is the Soul’s Union with God. Yes, we can meditate and experience union with everything, and yes union with another can bring the same experience because one escapes the small i to experience a larger spiritual existence. God rewards us for our love. God's presence can touch our hearts make us melt and let us expand in a world of love. The immaculate heart of Jesus can be shown to the world if we purify our own hearts with his guidance. Sex must be taken out of the darkness of Satan's put downs and condemnation, promoting abuse, sensuality and restored to God's light and love. The Song of Solomon is in the Bible. It is not promoting sex with parents, ministers, priest or nuns. I don't think it is describing a solely physical or carnal act, but the grand meaning and godly purpose of love and unity.

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McKenna,

 

Yes. This poetry is undoubtedly written from the context of the marital relationship between a man and a woman (at least the honeymoon part of it). Ooo...now I need to go back and read this thing again...now that I've been married for 13 years.

 

 

David,

 

I don't see Progressive Christianity is being the anti-Pat Robertson. It does not (or should not) exist solely to be against something. If it does, then it will not ultimately lead to peace or happiness. We have to be for something for that to happen. To me, Progressive Christianity is about breaking free from what this preacher or that preacher or this Sunday School teacher or this tradition says you must believe or experience. It's about reconciliation with the full body of Christ in the world (no one gets left out). Its about living the questions AND living the mystery. Its about deconstructing our faith, but being willing to reconstruct it into an honest, living faith. It's about...[ok, Fatherman, let's not get carried away here]

 

[WARNING: UNWARRANTED RANT] (ok...let's get a little carried away)

 

This is probably more directed to the adult sunday school class in my church that doesn't actually attend worship, but just loves to

talk about its irrelevancy.

 

I'm going to say this loud and clear so that all 6 members of our vital community (he he) can hear this. If you thought Progressive Christianity was the place where you can just stop experiencing God in a real way and just yak about her until Kingdom Come, you are mistaken! Whoa whoa whoa! Wait a minute here! We don't just talk! We serve at soup kitchens and protest the war! No! God is more than a theological idea and Christianity is more than good deeds and just causes. As for what a Progressive Christian is about? You will find the FULL range of Christian expression within the Progressive Christian community. The difference is that we have come to this expression not out of fear or by rote, but by critical thinking, study, spiritual discipline, and willingness to free our minds. We're here to find our own TRUE expression of faith.

 

[RANT OVER]

 

Ok, coffee is setting in. Soma, that was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

 

Jen! You just keep living out your true expression! Your writing here makes a real difference in my life (see Jen/Jesus's wonderful thread on forgiveness "From Jesus: Intro To The Practice Of Forgiving"). I'm blessed to be a witness...as am I blessed by all of you here.

 

Song of Solomon...good stuff. :D

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McKenna,

 

Yes. This poetry is undoubtedly written from the context of the marital relationship between a man and a woman (at least the honeymoon part of it). Ooo...now I need to go back and read this thing again...now that I've been married for 13 years.

David,

 

I don't see Progressive Christianity is being the anti-Pat Robertson. It does not (or should not) exist solely to be against something. If it does, then it will not ultimately lead to peace or happiness. We have to be for something for that to happen. To me, Progressive Christianity is about breaking free from what this preacher or that preacher or this Sunday School teacher or this tradition says you must believe or experience. It's about reconciliation with the full body of Christ in the world (no one gets left out). Its about living the questions AND living the mystery. Its about deconstructing our faith, but being willing to reconstruct it into an honest, living faith. It's about...[ok, Fatherman, let's not get carried away here]

 

[WARNING: UNWARRANTED RANT] (ok...let's get a little carried away)

 

This is probably more directed to the adult sunday school class in my church that doesn't actually attend worship, but just loves to

talk about its irrelevancy.

 

I'm going to say this loud and clear so that all 6 members of our vital community (he he) can hear this. If you thought Progressive Christianity was the place where you can just stop experiencing God in a real way and just yak about her until Kingdom Come, you are mistaken! Whoa whoa whoa! Wait a minute here! We don't just talk! We serve at soup kitchens and protest the war! No! God is more than a theological idea and Christianity is more than good deeds and just causes. As for what a Progressive Christian is about? You will find the FULL range of Christian expression within the Progressive Christian community. The difference is that we have come to this expression not out of fear or by rote, but by critical thinking, study, spiritual discipline, and willingness to free our minds. We're here to find our own TRUE expression of faith.

 

[RANT OVER]

 

Ok, coffee is setting in. Soma, that was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

 

Jen! You just keep living out your true expression! Your writing here makes a real difference in my life (see Jen/Jesus's wonderful thread on forgiveness "From Jesus: Intro To The Practice Of Forgiving"). I'm blessed to be a witness...as am I blessed by all of you here.

 

Song of Solomon...good stuff. :D

 

Great Rant,

Thank you.

I am sorry that I did not say that I also would miss Jen if she did not participate.

I would also actually miss Pat Robertson if he did not participate fully.

I do have to disagree about the role of Progressive Christianity.

It is so, so true that too often this social movement is seen as being against something and not for something.

But, I am wondering how many Progressive Christians would be "for" direct dictation of scriptures.

That does not mean that those who do see the Divine working in that way are evil or not to be accepted.

It's just that we probably are not going to go to the same Sunday School class.

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