Posted in church, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, order of the magdalene

Mary Magdalene – Healing the Patriarchal Wound of Christianity

Two-thousand years ago, a Jewish man fell in love with the mystical teachings of his faith – teachings about love, compassion, and oneness. In his love of his faith, he discovered an intimate relationship with the Divine who he called “Abwoon” – meaning all that is.  He felt the love of this Divine being as the love of a parent for their child – and even more so. In this love, the man found peace, contentment and joy along with the means by which he could experience “heaven on earth.” In his excitement of this discovery, this Jewish man did what every rabbi did before him; he sought to teach others what he had learned.

He taught where all rabbis taught – in the synagogue, in the courtyard of the Temple, in the fields, on the hillsides and near the shores of the living waters. He was invited to dinner in people’s homes and he taught there. He taught wherever there were those “with ears to hear.” In his wanderings, he attracted a company of women and men who chose to follow him so that they might learn even more from this man who knew and showed great love.

In this company of women and men, there was a very special woman, Mary, from the house of Lazarus. She along with her brother Lazarus and sister Martha, became Jesus’ devoted students, learning all he could share with them, while gaining insights and revelations of their own.  Mary took to Jesus’ teachings in a unique and special way.  Soon, Mary and Jesus became one. Mary understood the depth of what Jesus had come to know in a way unique from the others and in this, she too became teacher.

Lewis Williams, SFO

When Jesus was arrested, put on trial and murdered, Mary was there by his side. With the other women and a few brave men, they stood watch and offered prayers of support for Jesus as he suffered and died.  They never left his side.  When Jesus’ body was removed from the cross, Mary and the other women anointed his body for burial, wrapped it in linen cloths and offered the requisite prayers of burial.  When the stone was rolled in front of the entrance to the burial cave, the women wailed.  They cried.  The tore their hair and clawed at the ground.  In tending to their own grief and to the horrors of Jesus’ dying, they created space in which new life could begin.

And it did. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to Mary.  She saw and she believed. And then Jesus did a remarkable thing – he appointed Mary, now called Magdalene, “Tower of the flock.” Mary was ordained and sent forth to continue Jesus’ mission in his stead.  He did not give over his mission to the men who remained hiding in the Upper Room. He gave it to the woman who had the willingness to be emptied of all within her that might hinder her from knowing anything other than LOVE. He gave it to the woman who was free enough of ego to stand face to face with her greatest fear – the torture, suffering and death of her beloved and to have the courage to trust that even in this greatest loss, new life would emerge.

Mary was the new life.  Mary, now called Magdalene, went forth to share with the other disciples the good news and to continue what Jesus began – supporting the disciples and anyone else with ears to hear – in the mission of Love.

But then, patriarchy stepped in. Unwilling to let go of their fear of the patriarchal cultural norm and unwilling to set aside their egos enough to remember the equality that Jesus taught, the disciples rejected Mary’s message.  “This is the ravings of a woman.  Jesus’ could not have risen from the dead.  What does that even mean?”  Then Mary showed them.  She showed them how they could see Jesus and experience his presence, his guidance and his teachings.  They saw a glimpse, but they did not experience the fullness of what Mary described and then they became jealous.  They asked Mary why Jesus would appear to her and not to them.  How could he love her more than they?  Mary tried to explain, and Jesus through her.  But still the disciples could not accept that Jesus would choose her over them. So they cast her out.

Mary then went on her own way, with Lazarus and Martha beside her, the other women, along with a couple of the men who believed, and did what Jesus ordained her to do. She continued in the mission of Love.

The other disciples tell it differently. It is to Peter that Jesus gave the mission of building the new church (a church Jesus never spoke of building), and the purpose of this church was salvation.  Only those who believed as the disciples told it would be welcome into paradise at the end of time – totally forgetting that the only kingdom Jesus spoke of what the one right here in our midst when we are free enough of our fears to know Love. Sadly the Love Jesus taught was forgotten and replaced instead by fear.

This fear is the patriarchal wound of Christianity.  Fear born out of jealousy.  When the disciples cast out the woman Jesus ordained to continue in his stead, they cast out all women.  No longer reflecting the balance between masculine and feminine that Jesus favored, the Church became the distortion of love.  Instead of being rooted in the Oneness that Jesus preached, the new Church was based in separation and fear, power, control and privilege. Like the patriarchal culture in which they were raised, the men created a hierarchical, patriarchal institution where those in power are lauded as better than the rest and where salvation was the privilege of the few who would obey their commands. What we have today is a sad and broken institution whose fear comes out sideways in gluttony, lust for power, wrath, envy, greed, sloth, and the worst of these – pride.  Here children are raped and the offender excused, women are denied their rightful place as teachers and guides, our humanness (including our sexuality) is demonized, and instead of people living in LOVE, they are cowering in fear.

Embracing Mary Magdalene changes all that! In place of fear we find love.  Instead of hierarchy we discover collaboration.  Instead of power over, we have power with.  Not because of Mary, now called Magdalene, but because of what she represents – the core of Jesus’ message which is LOVE.  But this message of Love is not even about Jesus – it is about the truth of our Source, our original nature, ourselves, all of creation, and that which some might call God.  Love is who we are.  Love is all there is.  When we remember as Jesus and Mary Magdalene remembered, then there will be peace and we will fulfill our mission as humans which is to discover heaven on earth.  So mote it be!  Amen!

Scholarly resources:  https://templeofthemagdalene.com/2018/01/16/my-mary-magdalene-reading-list/

 

Posted in building the new world, Christ Consciousness, Jesus, Lessons

Lovers and Liars: You Say You’re a Christian?

If we say that we are Christian but are selective about who and how we love, we are liars. Rather, we are wounded and broken people who have not yet come to know the fullness of God’s unmerited and unconditional love. In order to love in the way Jesus calls us to love, we first have to heal those places within where we do not yet know love.  Authentic Freedom provides the tools and resources to help us learn this love.

My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous one.
He is expiation for our sins,
and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.
The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep
his commandments.
Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments
are liars, and the truth is not in them.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him

1 JN 2: 1-5a

 

Lovers and Liars

In this week’s letter from John, the author makes no apologies for their opinion of those who say they “know Jesus” but who are not living according to the commandments that Jesus laid out for them. The author calls them liars. Jesus called the same kind of people hypocrites. These are people who say they “know Jesus” or who have “proclaimed Jesus to be my personal Lord and Savior,” who attend mass every Sunday, show up for coffee and donuts, maybe even serve on the parish council, and who feel justified in their faith because they are doing what they are told to do in being a “good Christian.”

But are they – “being a good Christian?”

Being a good Christian is not about accepting Jesus as our savior. Neither is it about whether or not we attend mass on Sundays. Being a good Christian is about doing what Jesus did and doing what he commanded us to do:

“Love God. Love your neighbor. Everyone is your neighbor.”

Period!

If we say we believe in Jesus and think of him as our savior and teacher, but choose to be selective about this love piece, then we are liars. If we think we are loving our neighbor, but refuse to take the next steps which Jesus called us to do:

Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Heal the sick. Set captives free. Provide a home to the homeless. Etc. etc. etc. etc………ETC.

Then we are liars.

  • When we turn a blind eye to those in need….we are liars.
  • When we allow our privilege to blind us to the deep needs of others, we are liars.
  • When we believe that fulfilling the “American Dream” is simply a matter of hard work and effort and have no compassion for those who are struggling just to get their basic needs met and then judge them as worthless and lazy…we are liars.
  • When we believe the illusion of “equal opportunity” we are liars.
  • When we blindly throw money at organizations who serve the needs of those in need but do not take action to change a system that places these people in need in the first place…we are liars.
  • When we judge others without first walking a mile in their shoes…we are liars.
  • When we refuse to advocate for those who have not because of some judgement we have of them (usually based in grave misinformation) we are liars.

Every single time we say we “know Jesus” but turn away from those in desperate need – the poor, the outcast, the disenfranchised, etc. we are liars. The author of John, it seems, has no patience for liars. According to scripture, neither did Jesus.

Or did they?

What if the final verses of John’s letter are not judgement or condemnation, but a simple observation of fact:

Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments
are liars, and the truth is not in them.

 

Those who John is calling liars, are simply those who think they know Jesus and the truth Jesus came to reveal, but who in fact do not. They do not (or have not yet come to know) the LOVE of God that Jesus came to know and then sought to teach to the world. Not having come to know the unmerited, unconditional love of God, they are unable to live the love that God is and which God seeks to be through them. As such, they have no choice but to live in non-loving ways (or in ways that are limited). This doesn’t make them a bad person, simply one who does not yet know the breadth and depth of God’s love and who has much yet to learn.

Coming to know the fullness of God’s love is a journey of healing – healing the fears, false perceptions and ego attachments that otherwise stand in the way of fully knowing God’s love. In being open to and doing the difficult work of identifying and then allowing these fears to be healed, the experience of knowing God’s love deepens and widens and we are more and more able to live the fullness of Jesus’ commandments. Or as John so astutely observed:

But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.

 How are you being called to allow the Love of God to be perfected in you? How are you called to support others in doing the same?

Please join Lauri Ann Lumby on Monday, April 16th on Blogtalk Radio where she will be the guest of Cindy Bentley with Healing Fountain.  Learn more and join HERE. 

Posted in God, Oneness with God, Spiritual Practices

Yoga and Faith – Sophia Rising Book Review

I just finished reading Sophia Rising – awakening your sacred wisdom through yoga by Monette Chilson and I have to say that taking in her words has been nothing short of receiving a Divine Embrace.  Monette skillfully describes the potential depth that can be achieved through diligent yoga practice drawing us deeply into unity with the Divine of our understanding –  thereby finding oneness within ourselves.  Regardless of your religious beliefs, you will love this book.  For those coming from a Christian tradition specifically, Monette artfully presents the way in which yoga complements and even deepens Christian belief and practice and how in truth, the practice of yoga transcends the perceived separation of religiosity.  I love this book and highly recommend it to anyone practicing or contemplating the practice of yoga. 

How can yoga become a practical application of your faith?

Author and yogini MONETTE CHILSON uses yoga to attune herself to her inner wisdom—referred to by the Greek name Sophia—and through that iconic face of the feminine divine she has bridged the gaps in her faith that religion could not.  Chilson invites readers to listen to that inner voice and meld their own spiritual beliefs with a yoga practice that can enrich their lives both on and off the mat.

Sophia-Rising-Book-Cover-Image

BUY IT HERE!

SOPHIA RISING: AWAKENING YOUR SACRED WISDOM THROUGH YOGA

(Bright Sky Press Spring 2013) examines yoga’s philosophical underpinnings and reveals how yoga practitioners from any faith can use their yoga practice to create a sacred space inside themselves.  Sophia Rising awakens within us that voice of transformation that can meld with our faith, rather than exclude it.  It allows us to access the feminine divine within, the aspect of God that represents wisdom and can speak to us in the moments of calm that come through practicing yoga.  Chilson empowers her readers to deepen their connection with their faith, strips away the mysticism that the word yoga conjures, and offers historical context for the idea that the contemplative nature of yoga shares roots with many faith practices.  Through the voice of Sophia, yoga becomes a non-dualistic experience where the practitioner reaps the benefits of the physical, mental, and spiritual.

 

About the Author

Monette0149_pp (2)Monette Chilson has practiced yoga for almost two decades and is dedicated to making the spiritual benefits of yoga accessible to people of all faiths. She is a feature writer for the Texas Yoga Association and her writing has appeared in Yoga Journal, Om Times, and Christian Yoga Magazine; Chilson also speaks at yoga conferences and women’s events. Though yoga is her way of life, she is also passionate about writing and photography. A graduate of the University of Houston, with a Master’s in Communications, she lives in Houston with her husband and two children. Learn more about Monette through her website.

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom Book, Jesus

Jesus Called, He Wants His Religion Back

Today’s blog explores the question, “Can we redeem Christianity by viewing it from a different perspective?”  In other words, can we release the messages of fear and be open to the message of love?

A Sad State of Affairs

I know that this is only my personal opinion and that many will not agree with me, but it makes me sad when I see all the ways that Jesus’ message has been used to promote fear, to manipulate people and even worse, to justify violence, killing and war.  I know that I am just a lowly woman with a few years of theology and spiritual practices under my belt, but in my heart of hearts, I simply cannot see the Jesus I have come to know as promoting fear, manipulation or violence.  I sometimes imagine Jesus shaking his head at the way that his words have been twisted.  Then there is the warrior in me that fell in love with the bumper sticker (above) that portrays Jesus as stepping boldly into the world declaring that he has come to take back his religion (the one that we have screwed up so badly).

Losing my religion

I know I’m going to get in trouble for throwing this one out there….but I’m not really sure Jesus came to start a new religion in the first place!  Jesus was a Jew.  Period.  Scripture states this and in this there can be no doubt.  Neither does scripture present Jesus as saying, “Ok guys, I want you to go out and start a new religion.”  All he called his disciples (male AND female) to do was to baptize and to share the Good News (more on that in a little bit).  The point is that whether or not Jesus intended to start a new religion….what came after him seemed to go in the direction of fear rather than love.

Is there another way?

So, the question arises, “Is there another way to receive and interpret Jesus’ teachings?”  In my humble opinion (and the opinion upon which I have founded my ministry and written my book), the answer is YES!  What happens when we take Jesus’ message and look at it through the lens of love rather than the lens of fear?  I’ll tell you what…..miraculous and wonderful things begin to happen.

Authentic Freedom

It is this lens of love through which my Authentic Freedom classes and now my book have been created.  (Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy – coming out this April!!!!)  When we look at the teachings and ministry of Jesus through the lens of love….we get love….and THAT IS IT!  When we embrace the good news that we are One with God in love….always have been, always will be….we come to know more fully our original nature as spiritually free individuals – peaceful, loving, content.  HHHMMM  Sounds like a good thing to me!

But, Don’t take my word for it!

Here is where humility comes in.  Just because I say that this is Jesus’ message….don’t take my word for it (or anyone else’s word for that matter).  Check it out for yourself.  And this is what my book provides….tools through which you can discern for yourself if Jesus’ message is rooted in love or if it is indeed rooted in fear.  Ultimately, the choice is yours.  You can choose to see Jesus’ message through the lens of fear and carry around with you the guilt of original sin, the fear of a vengeful God and the despair over the possibility of eternal damnation.  Or….you can see Jesus through the lens of love and experience peace, joy and contentment IN THIS LIFE!  (PS you don’t have to wait til you die and go to heaven to know peace!!!)  In the end, the invitation is to take Jesus’ word for it.  Use these tools that I will share with you in my book (and in my classes) and discover the words that God has written in your own heart – are they words of love or words of fear?

  • Where have you received Jesus’ message from a place of fear?
  • Where have you seen Jesus’ message used for fear, manipulation?
  • Who is the Jesus in your heart?
  • How are you being called to choose love?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com