Blessed Are They by Barbara Ardinger

Barbara ArdingerThere has been so much hate on display in the world so far in the 21st century that it’s easy to fall into despair. Not only are there wars in the Middle East, beginning with the Bush-Cheney invasion of Iraq, passing through the general failure of the Arab Spring, and continuing into the work of sociopathic terrorists of the so-called Islamic State, but we have also seen a multitude of murders in the U.S. I’m almost afraid to turn on the news! We have insane, mostly young, men who buy guns and ammunition and invade movie theaters, churches, hair salons, regional centers, and schools. We have murders of black men by (usually) white police, then the murder of police by an angry black man, and then more murders. As some protesters are now saying, “All lives matter.” Right on!

PeacemakersLet’s turn off the news for a little while. Let’s set aside our devices and all those pesky social media. Instead, let’s consider one of the best known (and, alas, probably most ignored) teachings of Jesus—the Sermon on the Mount as given in the Gospel of Matthew. I especially like the Beatitudes (verses 3-12): Continue reading “Blessed Are They by Barbara Ardinger”

Magic Names by Barbara Ardinger

Many modern pagans adopt magical names. I think I’ve found one for myself. It’s a good motto, and even saying it aloud reminds me of the daily blessings of the Goddess to her children. The Latin name I’d choose is Beata elle. “Blessed is she.” 

When I attended a pagan studies conference recently to read from Secret Lives (and sign and sell a few copies), I listened very carefully to another presenter who spoke about magical names. When we go through an initiation, he said, we receive a new name. It’s a custom that is familiar to people through the ages and around the world. The presenter spoke about why people adopted magical names during the 19th-century European occult revival and why pagans still take magical names. And he set me to thinking. When you earn your Ph.D., you don’t get a new name. The Ph.D. is indeed an initiatory experience. Ask anyone who’s done it. You go through multitudinous ordeals both physical and intellectual. You face judges, speak what you’ve learned, and finally attain gnosis. But all you get for all your work and suffering are those nifty letters to put after your name. But I digress. Continue reading “Magic Names by Barbara Ardinger”

Son of Man: An Updated Gospel Story of Jesus Set in South Africa by Michele Stopera Freyhauf

January 12, 2012

Son of Man is an updated story of the life of Jesus set in the fictional State of Judea that is modern day South Africa – complete with warlords and child soldiers.    It could easily be mistaken for modern day Rwanda or Darfur with its modern issues and political overtonesRoger Ebert stated, “The secret of the movie is that it doesn’t strain to draw parallels with current world events – because it doesn’t have to.”  The director draws parallels between the gospels and 21st century Africa.  According to Dartford-May, “we wanted to look at the Gospels as if they were written by spin doctors and to strip that away and look at the truth.”  The director “captures the rhythms of African life in both rural settings and sprawling townships.”  “Feather-clad young angels offer an eerie echo and reminder of Africa’s lost generations.”

The movie also sticks with what Eric Snider calls “Traditional African trial music, dance, and costumes” as a type of worship or or allusion to Jesus’ godhood.  Judea is in flux; warlords and corruption take center stage.  Poverty, violence, and oppression affect the all of the people.  The key idea is that Jesus is a freedom fighter – one that fights injustice and oppression.  The director does not emphasize “Jesus’ divinity so much as his leadership, good sense and compassion.”  Jesus is not violent and his followers, most of whom were former child soldiers, are encouraged to respond non-violently, which goes against their upbringing and training. Continue reading “Son of Man: An Updated Gospel Story of Jesus Set in South Africa by Michele Stopera Freyhauf”

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