In Greece the liturgies of lent and especially of the week before Easter are known as the “divine drama,” in Greek theodrama. This may refer to the “drama” of the capture, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus and to the suffering of God the Father and Mary.
However, it is important to recall that the drama in ancient Greece referred to both the tragedies and comedies, most specifically, those that were performed in the theater of Dionysios in Athens. While we have been taught that the Greek tragedies celebrated “downfall of the hero” due to his “tragic flaw,” it is important to remember that Dionysios was the original protagonist of the Greek tragedy: it was his death and rebirth that was first celebrated.
Some have argued that the Greek tragedies should never be “read” alone, for they were always “performed” in tandem with the comedies, which were followed by the bawdy phallic humor of the satyr plays. The tragedies end in death and irreparable loss. But if the comedies and satyr plays are considered an integral part of the cycle, death is followed by the resurgence of life.
Continue reading “THE DIVINE DRAMA AND THE UNIVERSALITY OF DEATH* by Carol P. Christ”
In a recent blog describing conversations with my friend Rita Gross, I said that I think of myself as a “kind of a Buddhist” because I have given up a great deal of the ego(tism) described by Buddhists. I also remarked that “I must be a Buddhist after all” because I accept my finitude and do not fear death. At the same time, I said that the idea of a relational world coheres with my experience and is more satisfying to me than the Buddhist theory of nondualism. When I speak of a relational world, I am referring to the worldview of process philosophy.
One of the central insights of Buddhism is the concept of “dependent origination.” This means that “no thing” exists in and of itself: “all things” are related to and dependent upon “other things.” One of the key assumptions of western philosophy is that “things” exist in and of themselves: all things have an single, unchangeable “essence” or “nature.” Buddhism considers this assumption to be false: if all things are dependent on other things, then they cannot finally be separated from the web of dependence in which they exist. Buddhism insists, moreover, that the interdependent world is in flux. This means that what a thing-in-relationship is in one moment changes in the next.
Process philosophers, including Whitehead and Hartshorne, recognized that Buddhism affirms a central truth that western philosophy has denied: the truth that life is in flux and that no individual exists apart from or independent of others. Continue reading “Birth, Death, and Regeneration: Why I Am Only a Kind of a Buddhist by Carol P. Christ”
On the recent Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete women had the option of riding up a winding road on a mountainside in the back of a farm truck singing “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain” or could choose to go with the guard in his closed automobile.
That evening one of the older women who had chosen to ride in the car said, “I saw how much fun you were all having, but I have done that before. This time I was happy to let the rest of you do it.”
“That’s exactly how I feel about death,” I responded. “Some people want to live on after death, but I don’t. I am happy to let others do it. The only thing that would upset me would be if life did not go on after me.” Continue reading “The Ancestors Live in Us by Carol P. Christ”