Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Minos and Bulls

There once was a Phoenician princess from Tyre named Europa. Everyone knew of her extraordinary beauty.

Jupiter also knew of it and lusted for her. Disguising himself as a white bull, Jupiter acted very tamely and drew close to her. Attracted by the bull, Europa first touched him, then made garlands for his horns, and finally got on his back. With that, Jupiter wandered slowly to the sea then swam with her to Crete. There he seduced her. Eventually she gave birth to a son named Minos who became ruler of Knossos. The Roman poet Ovid tells her story in his book Metamorphoses.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

How Crowded Is Hell?

God wants every person to enjoy with him a relationship of freedom, truth, love, and vitality. Our enjoyment of that relationship is why Abba created us, Jesus redeemed us, and Spirit promises to glorify us.

In dark contrast, we have that evil parody of the Trinity: Satan, the six Olympian gods he hides behind, and the Flesh--that sinister power which rots us from the inside. Those powers of darkness want all of us to burn in the Hell they’re most certainly headed for.

The question is: whose purpose will win out? God’s or Satan’s? How many of us humans will God allow Satan to drag down?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jesus, the Church, and Bacchus

Allow me to clarify the difference between Pluto, god of money, and Bacchus, god of consumption. Pluto leads us to hoard money and wealth. In the old days, people who did so were called greedy and greed was a sin. In contrast, Bacchus leads us to consume things. Again in the old days, gluttony was the sin of eating too much and intemperance was the sin of drinking too much alcohol. Pluto has us hoard things while Bacchus has us consume them to our harm or simply waste them.

Minoan Civilization (2000-1450 BC)

We may define civilization as any relatively distinct and enduring society and culture as defined by and giving expression to a particular religion. Previously we looked at what we might call Pharaonic civilization. That was the society and culture existing in Egypt from about 3000 BC to the conquest of Egypt by Alexander of Macedonia in 332 BC.

By the year 2000 BC, a historically significant civilization had developed on the large Mediterranean island of Crete. Tradition identifies Minos as the first ruler of Crete and refers to Cretan civilization at this time as Minoan.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Jesus, the Church, and Pluto

Pluto is the god of money. He bullies and bribes us into believing that making and hoarding money is the meaning of life. He deceives us into thinking that the amount of money one controls is a measure of one’s virtue. People loyal to Pluto regard the rich as virtuous: smart, hard-working, and blessed. That allows them to regard the poor as vicious: stupid, lazy, and deservedly punished.

Jesus, the Church, and Venus

Like the other Olympian gods, Venus likes to overwhelm our discernment of Jesus’ words with delirium. Delirium is emotional intensity combined with stubborn irrationality.

Biblically, commitment and intimacy, marriage and sexual intercourse, go together. That’s because, biblically, sexual intercourse means the celebration of a relationship that is unconditional, permanent, exclusive, and freely entered into by one man and one woman.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Jesus, the Church, and Vulcan

Strange to say, we Christians have persistently overlooked the presence of Vulcan—the false god of technology—in our hearts and in the Church. This, of course, has only made it that much easier for Vulcan to work his will on us and through us.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jesus, the Church, and Mars

God created us humans in his image; that is, as beings able to enjoy relationships of freedom, truth, love, and vitality with him, one another, and the rest of creation.

With Adam and Eve, we humans lost that image and broke those relationships.

Worse, into that break rushed powers of evil that then happily dominated and corrupted us. They bullied us with threats of insecurity, misery, insignificance, meaninglessness, and guilt. They bribed us with deceitful promises of security, happiness, importance, meaning, and justification. In these ways, they compelled us to live as their unwilling victims and unwitting collaborators.

Mars, false god of war, is one of these powers of evil.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jesus, the Church, and Jupiter Today

In the past, we the Church wrongly served Jupiter, false god of politics, rather than Jesus in two major ways. One, we made unholy alliances with either rulers or the revolutionaries attempting to overthrow them. Two, we allowed our churches to become powerful organizations themselves. We may learn from both these mistakes and thereby improve our witness to Jesus today.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Jesus, the Church, and Jupiter in History

Jesus, through his crucifixion and resurrection, freed you, me, and all other humans from domination by the six Olympian gods. Today, Jesus shares with you, me, and all other people the words of truth we need to understand how to live as witnesses to that freedom. Numa, his very holy spirit, then gives us the inspiration and determination we need to make those words real in our own lives and to share them with others.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Witnessing to Christ's Victory Today

Not only is Jesus absolutely different from the six false yet conventional gods of Olympianity. He decisively defeated all powers of evil, including these gods, through his crucifixion and resurrection. By doing so, he liberated all human beings from their destructive domination.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Yahweh and Jesus vs. Bacchus

Bacchus is traditionally known as the god of wine. We may understand him more accurately as the god of consumption. If Pluto would have us hoard our money, Bacchus would have us spend it wildly.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jesus vs. Pluto

Pluto is the false god of money. Had Jesus been a good son, servant, and model for Pluto, he would have been born into the richest family of the Roman empire. Or at least he would have been the star of an inspiring rags-to-riches story in which he overcomes a thousand disadvantages to become immensely wealthy. Neither occurred.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Yahweh vs. Pluto

Pluto clearly demonstrates the nature of all six Olympian gods. These gods bully us into being loyal to them by threatening us with punishment. They threaten us, each da Yahweh vs. Pluto y, with radical insecurity, misery, insignificance, meaninglessness, and guilt. Conversely, these gods also bribe us into being loyal to them by promising us rewards. They promise us, each day, to bless us with radical security, happiness, importance, meaning, and justification.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Yahweh vs. Venus

The motto of Venus, goddess of sex, is, “If it feels good, do it.” One spring afternoon, David, king of Israel, accidentally saw a woman bathing (1 Samuel 11). Although David learned that she was married to a man named Uriah, David sent for her, had sexual intercourse with her, then sent her home. Venus wholly approved.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Yahweh vs. Vulcan

Yahweh, the one odd god of truth, freedom, love, and vitality, differs absolutely from the six conventional gods of Olympianity. Today we will reflect briefly on how he differs from Vulcan the god of technology.

Ferdinand de Lesseps and the Suez Canal

Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805-1894) was born just outside of Paris in Versailles. His father, Mathieu de Lesseps, was a diplomat. Mathieu was a close friend and strong supporter of Muhammad Ali during the latter's rise to power in Egypt.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Yahweh vs. Mars

Mars is the god of war. To be courageous in battle is to win great glory from Mars and from those loyal to him. Saints are the heroes of a religion. Successful warriors are the saints of Olympianity. Alexander 3rd of Macedon is such a hero. He is called “the Great” because he waged victorious battle against everyone from Greece to India. Movies are still made about him.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Manetho: History of Egypt (ca 250 BC)

In the year 332 BC, Alexander of Macedon led a Greek army in the successful conquest of Egypt. The following year he ordered the construction of a city he named after himself. Then he left Egypt and never returned.

Ptolemy, a leader in Alexander’s army, made himself ruler of Egypt following Alexander’s death in 323. He made Alexandria the capital of Egypt and paid for the construction of a library there. It soon became the largest and most important library in all of Olympia.

Ptolemy 2nd (ruled 285-246 BC) paid as many as fifty scholars to work at the library. One remarkable work made possible by Ptolemy’s patronage was the Septuagint, a translation of Jewish Scriptures from Hebrew into Greek, published around 250. Another important work, also written in Greek and published at the same time, was the History of Egypt by a man named Manetho.

Yahweh vs. Jupiter

Jupiter is the god of politics. Ramses 2nd, pharaoh of Egypt, was a most faithful servant of Jupiter and the most powerful ruler of his time. Because Jupiter justifies everything in politics, Ramses felt perfectly justified in making slaves of all the descendants of Abraham living in Egypt during his reign. Ramses lived off their vitality and so did Jupiter through him.

Yahweh, our one true god, revealed himself to be very different from the false god Jupiter. First, Yahweh identified not with the ruler of Egypt but with his slaves. He identified not with the one central person but with hundreds of thousands of marginal ones. Yahweh committed himself to liberating his people from the political control of Ramses.