I am frequently asked about my faith. At the end of my marriage to Ted Turner I became a Christian. For several years prior, I had begun to feel I was being lead. I felt a presence, a reverence humming within me. It was and is difficult to articulate.
Today I think I know what was happening: I was becoming embodied, whole. I had spent 60 years dis-embodied, trying to be perfect so I could be loved. You can’t be whole if you’re trying to be perfect. Now, as I entered my sixth decade and with much work, I could feel myself becoming whole and I knew: This is what God is. I was stunned when I read in William Bridges’s The Way of Transition, that in Matthew 5:48 when Jesus tells his disciples, “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” it was a mistranslation of the Greek adjective teleios which actually means “whole, fully formed, fully developed.” Jesus wasn’t telling his disciples to be perfect like God, he was telling them to be whole, like God.
This is what the third step of Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program means. It says we need to give ourselves over to our higher power, become whole (which addicts aren’t) by welcoming the Holy Spirit into our innermost selves.
I began looking for a container to house this fledgling feeling of reverence. Having grown up an atheist I had almost no experience of church and had never read the Bible but I had dear friends in my home-state of Georgia who found comfort and inspiration in their church community and they offered to open this world to me and “bring me to Christ.” Perhaps this would be the container I was seeking.
Unfortunately, my very private, tentative step into religion became a loud public misconception. A small- minded person, knowing about my quest, did an interview on a national website without my permission and said that, because of him, I had become a Born Again Christian. I had no intention of going public about my spiritual journey and in no way wanted to be tagged with the fundamentalism that Born-Again Christianity has come to be associated with. I found myself having to defend my action before I was entirely sure what it meant. I did feel reborn, I couldn’t deny that, but it had nothing to do with the perceived doctrines of fundamentalist Christianity.
Over the months, I went to Bible study every week, had it interpreted for me by biblical literalists, did my homework faithfully but, as time went on, I felt myself losing the very thing that had called me from within: Spirit. The literalness with which I was expected to read and interpret the Bible seemed to simplify and flatten out what I wanted to experience as metaphor. Christianity was beginning to feel shrunken, freeze-dried. Words like ‘Thou Shalt,’ ‘Salvation,” ‘Lord,’ and ‘Repentance,’ drowned out one of my favorite Sufi poems by Hafiz:
Has known God,
Not the God of names,
Nor the God of don’ts,
Nor the God who never does
But the God who knows only four words
And keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come dance with Me.”
As I diligently slogged away in my weekly bible class, doing the homework and studying the charts, I began to notice that the dance was gone. Try to render it literal, concrete, and it dies. I had started my journey with a powerful sense of the divine presence, but the linear approach seemed too rigid to contain this and I began to get scared: What had I gotten myself into?
I had met some inspiring, extraordinary Christians, but there were others that came at me, fingers pointing in my face, demanding to know my position on this or that and if I could not say certain key words like “died for our sins,” it meant I wasn’t a Christian.
I winced when God was spoken of as a man. God is beyond gender, beyond being, and although gendering God as “Him” may not seem consequential to many, I think it belies the nonbeingness of the Divine. Seeing God as “Him” only serves to reinforce the belief that since God is man, then man is God-like and women are less-than.
Riffat Hassan, a Pakistan-born professor of religious studies and humanities at the University of Louisville says that in Islamic, Jewish and Christian traditions there are three basic (and unwarranted) assumptions upon which the ideas of male superiority over women are founded: “first, that God’s primary creation is man, not woman, since woman is believed to have been created from man’s rib and is, therefore, derivative (As Carol Gilligan has said, “If you make a woman out of a man, you are bound to get into trouble); second, that woman was the primary agent of ‘Man’s Fall,’ and hence all ‘daughters of Eve’ are to be regarded with hatred, suspicion and contempt; and third, that woman was created not only from man but for man, which makes her existence merely instrumental.” From what I can see, none of this was Jesus’ idea. He did not see women as less-than after-thoughts. In fact, his friendships with women were revolutionary for that time. The more I study the teachings of Jesus, the more convinced I become that a foundational aspect of his teaching is the equality of women and men in God’s eyes, deserving of equal treatment. Look at the many women who followed him, sustained him. Look at the women who were shunned by all others but who Jesus touched and kissed and loved. Christian women preached and performed the Eucharist. It was to women that the arisen Christ appeared. After his death, when many Christians fled into the desert to set up Christian communities women outnumbered men 2 to 1.
I find particularly moving and plausible his special relationship with Mary, the apostle that is revealed in the Gospel of Mary. Jesus was love, not just love for some and not for others but…love…for all.
I think two thousand years ago, Jesus’ teachings, including and perhaps especially his respect for women, were so radical and so threatening to the Priesthood (Patriarchy) that they had to try to claim and cage and redefine him as “God in our [read male] image.” The formal church that grew up in the centuries following his death had to diminish the revolutionary content of his teachings in order to create a unified Christian church.
In my studies, I learned that 325 years after Jesus was crucified at the Council of Nicea, a gathering of Christian leaders, all men, decided by a show of hands and amidst bitter theological differences, what would be included as Biblical cannon and what was to be left out and decreed that Jesus was not only the Son of God but God himself.
In no way do I want to offend more traditional Christians, but if the content of the Bible was determined by a group of men (not all of whom agreed), then surely those seeking to know Jesus should not be demonized for looking outside the canons to what others (including women) had to say about Him.
I stopped my Bible study classes but was unwilling to renounce faith. I wanted to see if somewhere there wasn’t a perception of Jesus that reflected my intuition of him. This brought me to Elaine Pagels’s books on the Gnostics, along with various theologians’ and religious scholars’ interpretations of the Bible and the books of the early Christians, all of whom believed that experiencing the divine was more important than mere belief in the divine. I needed to move back into the reverence of metaphor, the language of the soul. That is where I know my faith wants to reside.
From time to time, there have been the awakened ones, conduits of perception, who, by fully embodying Spirit, have shown us the way—Jesus, Muhammed, Buddha, Allah, and others. Their messages have invariably been bare-bone-simple, remarkably similar and often embedded in metaphor, stories, and poems—all forms of art. Why? Because the non-linear, non-cerebral forms that are Art speak on a different frequency, they by-pass thinking, penetrate our defenses and jolt us open to consciousness.
For a while, I became a student at the Interdenominational Theological Seminary in Atlanta, the largest training center for African American ministers in the country. As a college drop-out who still has anxiety-ridden dreams of leaving a job unfinished, I relished being back in school and overwhelmed with homework: Biblical Exegesis, Feminist Interpretation, Systematic Theology. I was one of the few white students and, despite that, managed to come and go in anonymity—until Monster-In-Law came out and stirred up some excitement—the little old white lady in the back row is the one who kicked Jennifer Lopez’s ass!!
Over time, and, I feel, because I stepped outside of established religion, I was able to rekindle the spiritual experience that I’d been seeking. Some will say that because of all this I am not a true Christian. So be it. I feel like a Christian, I believe in the teachings of Jesus and try to practice them in my life. I have found Christians all over this country who feel as I do. They may not have been ‘saved’ yet they hum with divine spirit.
My faith is a work in progress (as am I) but I will plant my flag on the belief that God lives within each of us as Spirit (or soul). I like what Reverend Forrest Church says: “God is not God’s name. God is our name for that which is greater than all and yet present in all.” I believe that Christ was the personal incarnation of the divine wisdom in everything, including every form of spiritual expression.
Lots of folks go to church every Sunday and spend the rest of their time avoiding dealing with the question of consciousness. They try to pass time with pastimes, possessions, prestige. They think about God and talk about their religious beliefs but avoid experiencing Spirit. Thinking and experiencing aren’t the same. One happens in the head. The other is a flash, a rush of intuition that seems to permeate our entire being. That is what Jesus meant when he said that God is within us. That is what I am seeking, and I have found that since I have come to feel God within me, I experience less fear—of anything, including death. Sharon Salzberg, in her book “Faith,” explains it this way: “As our faith deepens, the ‘container’ in which fear arises gets bigger. Like a teaspoon of salt placed in a pond full of fresh water rather than in a narrow glass, if our measure of fear is arising in an open, vast space of heart, we will not shut down around it.”
Another result of my faith is that I have become a deeper, more embodied feminist. Helen LaKelly Hunt is right when she says in her book “Faith & Feminism,” that feminism is about fighting for the core beliefs and values of Christianity. “Religion and feminism are different expressions of the same impulse toward making life more just and whole.”
William Bridges, The Way of Transition, Perseus Publishing, p. 196
“Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the Woman Apostle” by Karen King of Harvard Divinity School
Jane, I think that was beautifully written and expressed. I grew up with very little religion and church. In my 40’s I felt God really tugging at me. I tried so many different churches, most of them evangelical and it just was not the right fit for me. I eventually ended up in a Catholic Church (I live here in New Mexico and the Catholic churches drew me to them)and found home. I do agree that Jesus very much had wonderful friendships with women and I sadly find that most churches do not focus on that. Some might say my own denomination is guilty of that. For me, I don’t feel that way at all and that is why it felt like home to me. But like you, I also feel that Christianity is what is in our heart and spirit and not what church we chose to be or not be a part of. Faith is definately a journey that will continue the rest of our lives. I am very happy for you that you are finding your way. God Bless you.
God intends for us to live a well-rounded life in Christ Jesus, but there are times when that life is attacked from the outside. Then we tend to fall back into self-examination, a habit that we thought was gone. Self-awareness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of our life in God, and self-awareness continually produces a sense of struggling and turmoil in our lives. Self-awareness is not sin, and it can be produced by nervous emotions or by suddenly being dropped into a totally new set of circumstances. Yet it is never God’s will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him. Anything that disturbs our rest in Him must be rectified at once, and it is not rectified by being ignored but only by coming to Jesus Christ. If we will come to Him, asking Him to produce Christ-awareness in us, He will always do it, until we fully learn to abide in Him.
Never allow anything that divides or destroys the oneness of your life with Christ to remain in your life without facing it. Beware of allowing the influence of your friends or your circumstances to divide your life. This only serves to sap your strength and slow your spiritual growth. Beware of anything that can split your oneness with Him, causing you to see yourself as separate from Him. Nothing is as important as staying right spiritually. And the only solution is a very simple one— “Come to Me . . . .” The intellectual, moral, and spiritual depth of our reality as a person is tested and measured by these words. Yet in every detail of our lives where we are found not to be real, we would rather dispute the findings than come to Jesus.
Dear Jane – After being a good atheist for much of your life, it must have been scary but thrilling to think about what Christianity means to you. God bless you for being on the path!
I am a cradle Catholic who reverted later in life; well, at the end of my 2nd Act. (Haha!)
As a famous person in this culture it must have been difficult for you to be able to study the faith without pressure from the various groups to take stands on theological or social/political issues. I know I’m predjudiced, but studying the Catholic Faith by reading the right books and looking at the right DVDs might help you see traditional Christianity in a new light. I recommend TV station EWTN and their catalogue to start.
Usually, you’ll want to select a book from an impression you receive from a host or guest.
Walking with God by Jeff Cavins and Tim Gray is a great book to read since you’ve already done some scripture and commentary reading. Beleive me, there’s no second class status for women in their presentation. Woman was taken from Adam’s Rib, yes. But the middle of his body means she is his equal. And being the last created thing as she was, she is the high point (pinnacle) of God’s creation.
The priesthood is reserved for men because it represents fatherhood. There are so many other ministries that women can lead.
Well, running out of time now.
Again, God bless.
Dear Jane, I saw you on Charlie Rose and was so moved about your story particularly that you were a Christian. I am as well. I’ve always been a big fan and plan to read your book. During the past three years I’ve also had a story to tell. I’m not sure you would every see this but I want to make a request and briefly tell my story. I am 55 years old separated from my husband who is 6 years my junior. We have 3 children, two boys ages 19 and 18 and a girl age 12. I am an attorney now struggling with my home practice since loosing my in-house corporate legal position in August 2008. My middle son is 18- special needs but brilliant. He is accepted to a small NY college but I find myself unable to afford his tuition because of being unemployed for so long. No company will hire me, I suspect it is my age, or the fact that I’ve been unemployed for so long. Despite my strong determination, faith and substantial efforts in gaining reemployment Ive been unsuccessful. I was/am the bread winner and now my house in in foreclosure, since 12/2010. My savings have been depleted, i have no insurance coverage. Cannot co-sign for a student loan for my son who will be starting school on August 24, 2011. The weekend before I was downsized I found out that my husband of 17 years was in Kenya with a friend who was 6 months pregnant for him. God keeps me strong. I would love to tell my story, work on one of your projects in exchange for tuition for my son (about $20,000) and getting out of fore closure (about $17,000). Hope someone sees this I would do anything tho educate my son and keep my house. Thank you.
Dear AP-DC, I am sorry to hear of your challenges. I regret that I am not in a position right now to make any hires, even for $20,000 but I hope someone will read your letter and come forth. Xx
Thanks Jane for acknowledging my comments. It was difficult for me to ask and post but I needed to get it out. Best wishes to you. My faith is strong so I continue to pray for God to help me with my current needs. BTW, I saw for the 10+ time, “On Golden Pond” a few days ago. You, your dad and Kate Hepburn (one of my favorites, her book was also fantastic) were all superb.. Thanks for your work.
Thanks again for responding.Please keep me in your prayers. God blessings to you and yours.
Where are you from?
Anthony, I knew Aaron Russo when he was with Bette Midler in the ’70s. I am from here…the U.S
Dear Jane – Re-read your faith journey from the blog written two years ago. Wanted to just toss out a few ideas without being too wordy in any single entry.
I think many orthodox or traditional Christians would describe the term God as merely the English word for the Supreme Being. The All Knowing, All Powerful, All Prsent and seemingly without gender. Perhaps God became personal only when He decides to fashion us in his image and likeness and by embodying us a male or female. In the scriptures we see that God is Known as a Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What we later called the Trinity. The relationship between Father and Son is expressed patriarchially, although I don’t necessarily believe in the negative sense. God could have chosen to give this relationship a matriarchal expression, but maybe we’ll see why He didn’t later on when we meet the New Eve. Anyway, the Spirit represents the Love between the Father and Son and can be thought of as gender neutral. In orthodox theology it’s this 3rd person of the Holy Trinity, the Love, that is said to actually perform the miracle or sign or give personal inspiration. The descent of the Spirit may be received by a male or femal person, or an inanimate object.
As you know, various Christian groups have been arguing for centuries about the precise nature and exact relationship of the Three Persons in the Blessed Trinity. But I doubt that this higher level theology is meant to affect us all deeply on an existential basis. We get the genral idea. And when people argue about whether Jesus was God or only the Son of God, we can at least begin with what He said: Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. John 14:9. New Revised Standard Verson – Catholic Edition.
Bless all who read this blog, may their needs be fulfilled.
All about Eve —
Now on the nature and purpose of Eve, lots of clergymen have spoken disparagingly or humorously about her role in the Creation and Fall. But by looking closely at the Original Creation story itself and noting how the role of Eve eventually played itself out in salvation history, many of these fallible preachers should not be eating crow.
After all, it was Adam who suffered from the Original Solitude. God noticed that for Man it was not good to be alone. When Woman was presented to Man, by God, Adam sang to her the first wedding song: Finally, bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh. Genesis 2:23. The first covenant that God made with mankind was with a married couple; who consummated it by an exchange of whole persons. Original Unity. If they hadn’t had the natural complementarity, they wouldn’t have been able to image the Trinity. Man + Woman = New Life.
Later, when the serpent approached the Woman in the garden, she did perk up; became much too interested in the forbidden fruit. Enter Original Sin, or the shortcut to happiness. Now Adam remained silent while this was all going on. Yet it was his job to be the keeper, or guardian, of the garden. Why didn’t HE chase the Evil One out of the garden? After the Fall, God tells BOTH the man and the woman about the consequences they will suffer, consequences that were different from the Original Unity Plan. Man will tend towards domination now. Woman will tend towards manipulation. They will become for each other the objects of lust, instead of the subjects of love.
But God was merciful, and He let other Adams and Eves save their people from time to time. Noah, Abraham, Moses, David. Ruth, Deborah, Judith, Esther. But it was the New Adam, Jesus, and the New Eve, Virgin Mary, who as co-redeemers opened up the gates of heaven for all.Perhaps there was a reason for allowing a Patriarchal rather than a Matriarchal Trinity. Although a Father and a Son also implies that there is a Mother out there somewhere. Would it have been better for Mary, instead of Jesus, to be scourged at the pillar and then hung upon the cross? Well, a King sends his sons into battle and saves his daughters fo a covenent.
The New Eve had a leading role to play. Her yes to the Angel Gabriel’s question really got the ball rolling. Years later, at the wedding feast at Cana, her gentle prodding of her son was legendary; in effect suggesting that maybe he should get on with his life. Enter public ministry. They have no wine, she said. Woman, Jesus call his mother by her primordial name, what concern is that to you and me? And does she take offense at this seeming flippancy? No, she seems quite confident when she turns towards the wait staff and says: Do whatever he tells you. John 2:3-6. From John 19:26-27 again, using her primordial name, Woman, here is your son. Son, here is your mother. She is his Last Will and Testament. It is through Mary that we meet Christ in the Church. Literally, metaphorically.
You have been an example for many women for many decades. I admire your bravery and perseverance!
I’m writing to invite you to church – Pacific Crossroads Church in L.A. Worship is key, preaching/teaching is solid and so helpful, the Spirit is there and asked there each time, and asked into each believers life. Sermons speak to seekers, non-believers, and very much to believers as well since we’re all in process, as you say.
I came to real faith, that Spirit-led kind you are talking about, going through a divorce over 40 yrs ago. Now, in our seventy’s as well, my husband of over 40 yrs and I do much of the pre-marriage, marriage, and singles counseling. We’re thrilled to be still here, still used, still looking to Him for everything. Come see us!
Love and prayer,
About the canons of scripture. Maybe they are just a fallible list of infallible books as some have said. Informal lists were made for centuries before the council met in the fourth, fifth, eight, 15th and 16th centuries. The Church Fathers tried to limit the canon, or measuring stick, as to what was most appropriate to be read during the Liturgy of the Word. As to who was invited to attend the councils, with 300-400 bishops taking up all the space, even ordinary priests and deacons couldn’t attend. Few lay men or women were probably literate enough or privileged enough to read or examine all the books under consideration. The local priest and home church might have owned only a single gospel, some of the psalms, a few of the letters since everything was still hand copied,sometimes richly illustrated adding to the cost of ownership. Seems to me that the Founding Fathers of the Republic in 1776 and 1789 had less excuse not to remember the ladies.
Maybe the good news is that all Christians, be they Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, share 66 canonical books. A Catholic bible includes an extra 7 books and parts of two more. The Orthodox have an extra 2 to 3 books and a psalm. If we didn’t read the Catholic canon we’d miss out on the New Eves contained in Judith and parts of Esther. Also the detective story in the part of Daniel wher he saves Susanna from the elders and exposes the deceit of the priests of Bel. Still when you think of the size of large-print bibles running 1800 pages ore more, maybe the canon did have to stop somewhere. The Catholic Church recognizes the historical value of many books that didn’t make it into their final canon. Such as the Epistle of Barnabas, the Didache and the Shepherd of Hermas.
Thank you so much for sharing your story of faith with us. I can only imagine how very difficult it was for you to be under such intense public scrutiny when your faith was just forming. I am so glad that you didn’t let anything stop your spiritual journey.
I am 46 and have been a believer since I was 12. I may not agree with you on a number of things theologically, but I embrace you as my sister in Christ.
Thank you for sharing your experience with, and understanding of God. Your honesty is refreshing. Since we only have one life to live, I think that it is prudent to spend it, inter alia, honestly seeking what is true.
Jesus indicated that our actions should demonstrate what we believe. So, while we may have diverse opinions about our definitions of faith and spirituality, the active demonstration of our love of God and humanity should be evident. Thank you for your example in this regard.
Please allow me to share an interesting view. Having studied the Bible for the past 30 years and the Qur’an for the past decade, I have found harmony between their principal teachings without compromising any teaching or damaging the integrity of any verse in either book. You are welcome to examine the evidence at BrothersKeptApart.com
May you continue to experience wonderful things.
Thank you, Walter.what you say about the Qur’an and the bible does not surprise me and I appreciate toe sending me this. Xx Jane
You reported the following quotation from ‘Faith & Feminism’ – “feminism is about fighting for the core beliefs and values of Christianity”. I am intrigued enough to read this book.
If you do not mind, I am interested in your opinion on a related matter. If you could recommend one book for all of humanity to read, what would it be? Please assume that the Bible has already been recommended.
Walter, what a challenging question. Maybe if I were feeling better I could answer it, bur either now, I feel inadequate ro the challenge. I will continue thinking about this, however.
I have recently discovered the efficiency of audio-books, which I listen to while driving to and from work. Some of the books that I listen to are highly recommended by others; hence, my last query.
Please take your time in responding. I will check this site periodically to see when you do. I pray that you return quickly to excellent health and be healed of any persistent ailment in the name of Jesus, the Messiah.
Walter, I am confused: what is the question you await a response to?
Ms Jaime Galati
“As a Man Thinketh.”
By James Allen
As an avid book reader, this has always been one of my favorites, However, Nobody, Nobody has ever expressed it as well as the Poet Wm Blake.
“Expect poison from standing water, a man or a woman who does not alter his or her opinion is like standing water and breeds reptiles of the Mind.”
I’d rather drink running water than standing water.
Note…Belief systems can sometimes be construed to be prisons of the mind.”
Drink that in!!
“IAM” Ms Jaime Galati…The Sixties aren’t over!!!
HI Ms Galati,
I hope you frequent this site and I hope you see my response to your comment.
In terms of running water being better than still water, I agree. Running water is living, filtered through rocks, full of life-giving minerals and oxygen. Still water, on the other hand, is stagnate. I’m not sure, though, that you can equate running water with a continually changing belief system where God is concerned. Consider this:
The concept of God is perfection. A concept of God that is less than perfect and less than infallible does not rightfully deserve the name God. Why should we worship someone who is fallible? Someone who errs?
If we can agree that the concept of God is perfection…could we not also agree that perfection need not change? It need not improve itself?
The Christian God, though often grossly misrepresented by those who claim to know Him (myself included), is a God who claims such perfection. He claims absolutes where He is concerned…and if a person chooses to follow Him, adhering to belief systems that contradict His is not genuine worship. According to Judeo Christian scriptures, the Christian God created us in His “imago dei” – in the image of God – in His image. That image in us, though fallible, creates and has a will to choose what it wants. We are given the daunting privilege of choosing who we will follow. According to Him, you will only find him on one route and no other.
“Hell is God’s great compliment to the reality of human freedom” G.K. Chesterton
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” G.K. Chesterton
Dear Jane — Yes, a prayer for you that you may return to optimal health asap.
If you do not mind, I would be interested in your response to the following question: If you could recommend one book for all of humanity to read, what would it be?
Walter, that’s too hard a question and I cannot answer it. Maybe an answer will come to me but not right now. Sorry.
Until I asked you, and then tried to answer the question myself, I did not realise how taxing it would be to find an answer. I resolved to give myself a deadline of tonight to select a book that I had read, and with time running out, I hurriedly decided upon “A History of Knowledge” by Charles Van Doren.
Before I read this book, my knowledge of historical events and discoveries was like disconnected pieces of a puzzle. This book put them all together for me, and I would like others to have a similar experience. If I gave myself a longer deadline, perhaps I would choose a different book.
Always a great idea for Christians to learn about alternative versions of their faith or about other world faiths. The faith didn’t develop in a vacuum since the ancient world had many pagan mystery religions and strands of gnosticism that pre-existed Christianity. After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension the apostles and their disciples had to really hone their speaking skills while evangelizing. Before the first century ended those 4 traditional gospels were written.They pre-date all the gnostic gospels and other writings which were at best guesstimate written between 150-300 AD.
It should stand to reason that the gospel writers who knew Jesus personally, Matthew and John, or who knew Peter and Paul, Mark and Luke, would provide the most accurate portrayal of him. Actually, John Mark, commonly known as Mark, may have followed Jesus during his lifetime since Mark’s mother’s home in Jerusalem provided rest for Jesus.And a telling detail in Mark’s gospel appears in no other. As the young man who flees from the soldiers after Christ’s arrest in the garden. He catches his clothing on a tree and runs away naked. Could be Mark himself.
In the decades following the apostolic age, no doubt the Gnositcs bumped into these early Christians and tried to reconcile their own beliefs with the orthodox by adding, subtracting or syncretizing. As noted by Elaine Pagels in her book, the Gnostic Gospels, the Church Fathers gave the Gnostic teachings a pretty good pounding. This no doubt caused them to bury their writings in Egypt not to be discoverd until after 1880 and with the big find coming in 1945 at Nag Hammadi. The most visible leaders on both sides were men with Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Tertullian on the orthodox side and Marcio, Valentius, Basilides as some on the gnostic side.
And what do we see when se compare their views on the human body and spirit? On women and the “sacred feminine”? How do both groups feel about Church and authority and from what basis do their feelings flow? What about the view that history is only written by the winners? Can we judge either movement by their fruits?
In answering these questions, next time, maybe we’ll see how biblical throughlines play out in the script of scripture. And how miracles, saints, stigmatists, incorruptibles are signs of truth, logic, beauty and splendor in salvation history.
God bless all.
Beautifully said, Jane Fonda.
I’ve admired you for a long time. I’ve been watching you since I was a little boy (and I won’t get into why, but), as long as I’ve been doing it – I’ve never been confused by you. It’s always made sense to me. You’re like the spectacular medium to all women on the planet at this point. Having explored all sides, and still discovering, women can look to you for a uniquely aware levity.
Many like to call you a contradiction. And that’s only because their awareness is too thin. I’d like to call you bravery, but that fails the accuracy. Most often bravery is understood as resistance. But you’ve always been willing to let it in there, and THEN decide what you think. I don’t see that happening much with people in general, Jane. You’re different…
I suppose I consider myself an agnostic when it comes to organized religion. Mostly because I’m resistant/appalled by some of the judgements and definitions you yourself encountered (hypocrisy never tastes good, right?). But more so because I don’t like the idea of defining spirituality as a gift of one; a singular endowment; or a method of enrichment that’s defined by the exclusion of all that’s unique about me, in order to meet the cloning equivalent of someone else’s determination of ‘proper functionality’. Why would the ‘many’ ever be necessary in that case? It serves no purpose (other than a multitude of praise for a singular behemoth of a ruler. Um, no thanks.)
The Universe doesn’t work like that. All of it works in accordance with all that exists; dependant upon plurality (and even dissonance) to properly function. Harmony, is not the meter of one. It’s a measure of many. Elements inexact to each other that come to form one cohesive and enhancing existence.
To come back to your posted point a bit (I’ll get there), within each of us is as complex a design as the vast universe itself – seeking harmony. There are battles won and lost. Agreement and defiance. Decay and destruction. Resolve and rebirth. All of that is pieced together by a multitude of cells as is everything around us, while at the same time subjectively experiencing a life unlike any in proximity to mine.
But the math – is the same. The SCIENCE is the same. The science and biology of my system is the same as yours (excluding the fact I’m a male and you’re a female). And our Objectivity, the factual nature of what exists among us – is the same.
How did that all come together? I don’t know. That’s the question that none living on Earth can ever assuredly answer. But I’m pretty well on board with your perception, that my journey is one unique to that of another, and purposely so. In order for me to rhythmically enhance (or “dance”) with what surrounds me – I need not be an identical element, but I might need to know my own tune first, eh.
The way you’re currently seeing it – sounds flawless to me. How could you be wrong in your current beliefs? Why must an ‘organization’ declare a greater footing on that understanding, than any individual? They can’t. It’s a personal experience. (And some work harder than others to learn and define it.)
One things for sure – I’m gonna be me. That’s what I’m here to be and I’ll obey THAT. What that is will be ever evolving, if I’m smart about it. And if I’m really lucky and affect things enough in the way I intend, maybe I’ll meet a point of serenity where I feel I’ve made good use of myself. Where I’ll let it all inhabit me and not the other way around, right?
Is that the balance you’ve now achieved? Congratulations. You earned it. Know that you have.
And on that note I’m remiss if I don’t once again offer (for my own enjoyment)…
You – are one magnificently complex woman. You truly have run the gamut of situational representation and experience. And I have an enormous amount of respect for you. Despite any fears, insecurities, judgments and disconnect – you stayed true to your pursuit of truth, challenged anything that might look to be a barrier. And you did it for more than yourself.
There’s no contradiction there. It’s systematically consistent. You had to know the ‘why’ of things. And if the answer’s not available from those close to you – then by god you’ll go out there and find those answers yourself. In order to learn every angle, you’ve gotta experience it all from many as well, eh. Accuracy, was clearly important to you.
As a result of your eager efforts you may now be finding an earned peace within yourself that resonates as ‘arrival’. Enough answers that coincide with each other to substantiate you’re consciousness is clear. That you’re sure of who you are – and approve. And once that happens, all the rest makes better sense also, don’t it?
If I can add to that some assurance… Did it matter? You’re damn straight it did. There’s no question you’ve been a very necessary piece of the puzzle to a free female. It’s obvious to me (in my 40’s) that a dynamic woman has a much greater chance to be one – because of you.
That’s a fact. And it can’t be argued.
You’ve achieved the goal of more than yourself. To a tremendously rare are generous degree. Thanks for affording us all so much to think about…
You have not been, at any point ever, completely alone.
Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
When I asked Jesus to “save” me, it was because I realized that I couldn’t save myself. As gruesome as it was, his death on the cross was atonement for all the mean, rotten, cruel things I have ever done, or will do. Then after Jesus’s death, he came back to life. He stayed dead for three days just so we’d know he has power over life and death.
When I accepted his death as atonement for my sins, he heard me, and came to live in me and through me. I asked him to forgive me and to come and live in me, and through me, and he did.
That’s my testimony. It’s very simple.
I love your work, Jane, and I know you have a great impact on all who know you. I pray that God will bless you and keep you close.
Thank you, dear Margaret. xx
In order not to become discouraged reading and understanding the Bible, some biblical scholars have suggested reading first the 14 books that tell the main narrative of salvation history. So as not to get too bogged down in detail, read in this order: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, I kings 1-22, 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 Maccabees, Luke, Acts. These 14 books give the reader the through-lines in the script of scripture. The other 59 books fit in as supplementary materials under the major time periods.
What do I mean by through-lines? The least you know in order to make sense of it all. Here’s the first. The Lord God makes a covenant first with One Holy Couple, then with One Holy Family, Then with One Holy Tribe, then with One Holy Nation, then with One Holy Kingdom, and finally with one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. In other, words, Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus Christ. Here’s another, longer, through-line: The Lord God reveals Himself to the Chosen People of the Early World, guides them through the Patriarchs, sends them into Egypt and out into Exodus and preserves then throughout the Desert Wanderings. The Lord God allows His Chosen People to win land by Conquest and Judges, gain a Royal Kingdom and then break up into a Divided Kingdom. The Lord God leads His Chosen People into another Exile and return, a Maccabean Revolt, and finally to Messianic Fulfillment and the Church of Hebrews and Gentiles.
There’s another saying that the Old Testament is revealed in the New, and the New Testament in concealed in the Old. Or, the OT is the hidden Jesus. The NT is the explicit Jesus. Typology is scriptures’s rhyme scheme. At the literal level, characters and events point to somebody or something greater in the future. A literal rendering is only where we begin to see the moral, allegorial and the anagogical. The allegorial promotes faith. The anagogical promotes hope. The moral promotes charity.
The two testaments contain many genres of writing (history, poetry, apocalyptic, etc.) and use a variety of literary devices (idioms, metaphors, hyperbole, etc.). There are dozens of examples of scripture’s rhyme scheme. Only Divine Inspiration could have planned it. Men wrote the words, but the All Mighty wrote the world. There are just too many coincidences for anyone to seriously suggest that the ancients just “planted the evidence” to make everything come out right.
Examples next time.
God bless all.
More on the rhyme scheme of scripture. In Genesis and Luke we see the Lord/Jesus choosing to dwell with humankind in a intimate way. First in the garden of Eden, and later on the road to Emmaus, He makes Himself known to a couple. Adam and Eve walk with God in the OT. Then in the NT two disciples in mourning leave Jerusalem after the Crucifixion and a stranger joins them on the trip home. They receive from Him a scriptural lesson and only recognize Him later when He breaks bread.
The Old Adam dwelt in a garden and forgot to eat of the Tree of Life. He listened silently to the Serpent and then chose to disobey his Father’s command. The New Adam, sweats blood in a garden, dies upon a tree and then transforms it into a New Tree of Life by rejecting Satan’s lies and remaining faithful to His Father’s plan for salvation,
In Samuel, King David danced or leaped before the Old Ark of the Covenant, said to be the Lord’s dwelling place. In Luke, John the Baptist leaped in his mother Elizabeth’s womb when his pregnant cousin Mary came to visit. Mary is the New Ark of the New Covenent, she holds the Lord within her. She’s mentioned again in Revelation 12 as the woman clothed with the sun…who gave birth to a male child…Nobody notes it better than John the Apostle and Evangelist.Beloved by both Jesus and Mary.
In the OT, the Temple is at first a portable tabernacle, then a great building under Solomon, later destroyed by the Babylonians, stil later re-built and re-dedicated by Judas Maccabee and finally expanded and renovated under Herod the Great. In the NT Jesus’ own body, in His own words, is a newer and greater Temple to be at first destroyed by the Crucifixion and then raised within 3 days.
In the OT Jonah remains for 3 days in the belly of a big fish (after saving Ninevah) and survives. In the NT Jesus was in the heart of the earth for a portion of 3 days and then Resurrected having predicted it Himself in Matthew 12. He was the Sacrificial Lamb so remniscient of the Passover Lamb. He is beyond the unleavended bread of the Passover and the manna from the exodus desert that gave life to the Chosen People. he is the New Covenant Bread of Life in the Holy Eucharist. In the Sacarament of the Real Presence a saving action happens that is more than a mere remembrance. From Luke 22, This is My Body…This is My Blood…Bread is also a metaphor for Divine Wisdom. When we eat and drink at Mass we partake of Him just as the folks in the loaves an fishes crowd took in His teaching. See in the OT, Proverbs 9, Sirach 15, Amos 8.
I got to read your whole readout on your beliefs. I urge you to get the book “New Age Bible Versions” by Gail Riplinger from A.V publications. It is an excellent book explaining the roots of the manuscripts used for all the new version bibles (over 400 now). To know about Westcott and Hort and Rudolf and Gerhard Kittel (Gerhard was a Nazi and was imprisoned for his propaganda war crimes). If most Jews and Christians knew the truth about these men they would no doubt have a very different view on what they believe!
All the best to you
Thanks for being you. I have loved you, your father, your brother, and your niece in movies for years Jane.
Great testimony, as no one can argue with our own story, because it is real for us. We are all living books and testimonies of our conditioning, desires, hopes, and what we believe to be true and untrue. I like that quote by Anais Nin, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
The authentic journey of love is when we stop warring with our selves, and embrace those parts that need healing, that need wisdom, that need kindness, and patience.
Wanting communion with that divine nature that lives within us, and passing on to others that love, that we receive, is the way to becoming one with ourselves while discovering our purpose and those perfect gifts that we have to share the light with others.
As we learn to practice the presence of the divine therapist within and become connected to that conspiracy of love that is present in our universe through those who manifest it, we will become the change that we wish to see in the here and now. Love Michael
Your comment was so brief that I wasn’t sure if you were suggesting that it was good to believe in Ms. Ripplinger’s support for the KJV only for bible readers, or if you just thought that some newer versions were tainted by poor translations. I don’t know about the credibility of any of the men you mentioned, but I think we can be confident in several modern translations of the Bible including the King James Authorized version and its many revisions.
We are of course interested in the English language tranlsations from the originla Hebrew or Greek. There is nothing at all wrong with the dignified, inspiring and authoritative older versions such as the KJV or the Douay-Rheims. But we must remember that since they were first published in 1611 and 1609 respectively , the spelling and grammar of the English language has changed and so we have had several revisions sicne that time. For ecumenical or scholarly reasons a Christian might want to own several respected versions of the Bible such as the (New) Revised Standard Version (based upon the KJV), the New American Bible, the New American Standard Bible, the New International Version, The New Jersusalem Bible. By all means, compare the flavors of the language and see what you like best. Chapter and verse numbers should be very close; they’re designed to be helpful.
When a group of scholars work on a new translation they bring two general philosophies to the table. Formal equivalence favors the literal word for word translation of the original text. Dynamic equivalence favors readability. Both seek to preserve meaning. Most moden versions will try to strike a balance. They’re not supposed to delete words or paragraphs wholesale or impose their own theology upon the text. If they get too literal, and apply only one meaning to a word each time it is used, it can sound ridiculous. If they get too dynamic they can miss subtle cues that can inadvertently change the meaning.
I do agree that there are versions out there that take too many liberties. With extreme paraphrasing you can turn the Bible into anything you want. This is different from the Bible Stories used for Sunday School. This may be appropriate for kids of a certain age.
I read a comment of Jane’s a short while back in a magazine (I forgot which magazine), Jane was asked what she believes Spiritually. Jane answered, “I follow the teachings of Jesus Christ”. So, I was curious to check out Jane’s beliefs on her blog. I would like to point out some errors in what Jane wrote about compared to the teachings of Jesus Christ. I know the Lord instructs the saints (Christians) that his Word should be used for …correction and instruction in righteousness.. I Timothy 3.16. This prompted me to recommend Gail Riplinger’s book “New Age Bible Versions”. Our flesh (old man) truly hates the word of God, but, if we are in the Spirit of God, we will love it. I am a “born again” Christian, (which is the only way one can be a Christian), John 3:7. It is up to me, however, to choose to “follow” the “Lord’s” way and not my old man’s way. It is important for the Lord’s people, to hate our sins, and not make light of them, to “Repent” of them everyday so that we can be cleansed from them, so that we can stay in tune with Jesus and continue to grow. John 13:5-10. To grow up in the Lord can be quite the journey, but, we should be willing to do whatever it takes, and never see this walk as shrunken or dull, after all Jesus teaches us “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Mathew 5:13.
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain….I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” I Corinthians 9:24
It is a commitment to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, a commitment that every Christian should be willing to make because Jesus deserves it. To get saved then Receive the Holy Ghost, and walk in the Lord’s Spirit to “Perfection” is incredibly important. Christians can ONLY do this in the truth, and not in compromised doctrine ie. all new versions.
Jesus Christ taught that we are to
“…beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the sadducees.”Mathew 16:6
“And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of
the Scribes,…” Mark 12:38
“…Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” Luke 12:1
“…Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.” Mark 8:15
“…Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” I Corinthians 5:6.
When a group of scholars work on a new translation, they are using the Vaticanus and Sinaticus manuscripts in their New Greek Text. This particular Greek text has over 64,000 changes and omissions from the original Greek text used for the King James Bible. These scholars are imposing their own “doctrine”, leaven, into the mix. These scholars are not preserving the meaning of the Word at all with their deletions and deliberate change of context of the scripture, See Acts 8:36-38 for an excellent example.
So much can be said here regarding the manuscripts used for these corrupt new version, so called bibles, but this is why I recommend Gail Riplinger’s book “New Age Bible Versions” It is an excellent source of information to know the intent and purpose of the men behind the new Greek text. Both Wescott and Hort were necromancers and subsequently formed the “Ghostly Guild”. Gerhard Kittel and his father Rudolf were Nazi’s, Rudolf hated fundamentalist Christians. They were also in favor of the new versions.
I share this with you for the love of the Truth who is Jesus, that we all would want nothing but truth. “I am the way, the truth and the life…” John 14.6.
The serpent in the garden was very subtil and questioned the Authority of God saying “…Yea, hath God said,…” Genesis 3:1
Satan continues to do just that, and will not quit. But, the Lord’s people should fight to protect His Holy Name and stand for the truth.
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” John 4:23
God bless you Jeanette, and all the best to you.
Love in Christ Jesus,
Continuing — Also as Christian of any particular denomination or non-denomination, we cannot escape the fact that the doctrine of “Sola Scriptura”, or the Bible Alone, doesn’t really hold up under scrutiny. This is why we find that different churches teach different doctrines, have different customs and practices, (either implicitly or explicitly)because they use different systems of authority and tradition. Because of this fact alone, even if every English speaking Christian read the same version of the Bible exclusively, there would still be some doctrinal differences. In Catholicism, we recognize a three-tiered system of Authority: The Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition,and the Magisterium or teaching authority of the church. This teaching authoirty is further sub-divided into two: The Peterine (from Peter, Holy Fathers or Popes) and the Marian (Blessed Virgin Mary) authority.
End of Part 2 to be con’t.
And finishing — Since the Reformation many Christian groups have bought into “Sola Scripture” or Only Scripture, as the final authority in matters of faith and morals; because they sincerely believe that the teachings of the Bible are plain enough for all to see. But then when they observe that all Christians don’t understand or agree, they proceed on with their own explanations of salvation/justification, grace, faith, works, sin, sacraments, etc. by falling back on their own interpretation of authortiy and tradition. Fundamentalism especially, is a late 19th and early 20th c. interpretation of Christianity. I think some of Gail Riplinger’s views might stem from this tradition.
Let’s look at two modern English bibles and see how they compare in Acts 8:36-38. The King James version (Textus Rceptus tradition) reads: And they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water,both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
The New American Bible version (Codex tradition) reads: As they traveled along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, Look, there is water, What is to prevent my being baptized?* Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and he baptized him. (*Footnoted: the oldest and best manuscripts of Acts omit this verse, which is a western text reading: And Philip said, if you believe with all your heart, you may. And he said in reply, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.)
So there you have two scholarly traditions including the same information, even though one of them includes it in the main text and the other footnotes the variant reading. That’s pretty good work if you want the best possible accuracy.
The Good News is that the thousands of extant copies of the portions of the Bible were made centuries closer in time to the originals than the copis of originals works by Herodotus, Thucydides, Aristotle, Caeser, Pliny, Suetonius, Tacitus. The timespan betw. original and extant copies of the old Greek/Roman historians is between 750 and 1,000 years! And the average number of copies of these famous secular works only number betw. 5 to 10! So we can see how much Jews and Christians believed in their bibles. Well, I guess when God becomes man, it is breaking news!
Bless you, Felicia.
Hi Ms. Fonda,
Monster-in-Law was by far my favorite movie of yours. Pretty, witty and crazy all at the same time – isn’t this the epitome of a perfect woman? Maybe not, but I loved your character. You outshone the rest of them, sorry MIL cast!
In any case, I am writing in response to your testimony of faith. Beautiful writing and very thoughtful words. I can see that you are more concerned with being true to yourself and to God than with traditionalists who give us praise so long as we are a cookie-cutter representation of themselves. I appreciate your stand.
One thing, if I may add, on the subject of who God is: I’ve learned one thing, and probably moreso through His Spirit and His Word than from any church pulpit. God is Holy. Except, He happens to be holy amidst a people who have no concept of holiness at all. We are, after all, in the dark when it comes to true knowledge of Him, until Christ sheds light on our hearts and allows us to conceive of Him and His character in the proper context. I say “He” as opposed to “It” because this is the way Jesus Christ introduced Him to us. Like you, I am a bit wary of a male-dominated history that shows very little respect for women. But regardless of this, Jesus Christ spoke to His disciples of God as a Father. When He prayed in Gethsemane, it was to His Father. When He called out to Him while on the cross, it was to “Abba”, God the Father.
While I cannot give a definitive answer for why that is, if I truly believe that Jesus Christ is who He said He is, then I must respect and accept what He taught. I am not ordered to do this, but if I dare call myself a Christian, I must adhere to what Jesus Christ taught. It is with this that I can overcome the fact that regardless of how earthly men have been poor models, God has taught us to call Him Father.
It’s not easy to look favorably on the concept of “father” if we’ve been ignored, unloved and disrespected by our earthly fathers. But as you said, Jesus treated women as equals – He loved and respected those the “Church” chose to stigmatize.
I spoke of His holiness earlier because I truly believe that until Christians consider first how Holy He is, we will never come to a true knowledge of Him who is The Truth. We here on Earth observe certain protocols when it comes to royalty. We do not address the Queen until she addresses us; we follow the customs of kings from foreign lands, lest we offend them; and we show deference for our government officials. But somehow we forget that when it comes to the concept of God, it comes part and parcel with the concept of holiness, honor, respect, and devotion. He demands Holiness from us but knows that we cannot muster it. So He sends us Jesus Christ who is our holiness if we accept Him. But having said that, we must honor and respect God and His law and His will.
The label “Christian” costs. It costs us our reputation – we don’t fit in to certain crowds as we might have in an earlier time – but if we bother claiming the label for ourselves, we can’t make up rules based on our feelings and intuitions. We need to honor, respect and consider holy the words of Jesus Christ who taught us to see God as a Father…and we need to put Jesus Christ’ teachings above any other teachings, including our own intuitions which have oft failed us in the past.
God bless you with incredible favor in all your endeavors. May you be a light in darkness.
I agree with you Renee, I hope that Ms Fonda maintains an open mind and does as the Apostle Paul admonishes us all to do and that is to tests all things (even one’s own intuition) and to hold on to what is good, as she searches for true lasting faith.
I just finished watching on tv station GMA, Perfect Stranger. It was so well done, Jesus coming as a regular person and talking about how he hates religion.
I certainly have done my share of religion that brought judgement and condemnation on everyone around me. I knew it didn’t feel right, but that I was I was taught.
Living in San Diego, I love going to the beach, sitting next to the waves and reading my bible. Kind strangers exchange smiles, not because of the bible, but the love that I feel when I am next to nature.
Oprah’s life lesson tonight talked about what you put out, you receive. They were bold and talking outright about God, Jesus and love.
Not religion, but seeking to understand as much as possible about life here and how to leave a footprint of giving, service and love.
Thank you Jesus for everything.
It’s short notice but if anyone has access to cable or satellite TV and has time to watch, there is a time slot of 6 episodes of a 10 part series on “Catholicism” narrated by Fr. Robert Barron (Holy Priest and Nice Guy)on EWTN beginning Wed. 16th Nov. Some PBS stations ran the series in October and earlier this month.
If you like travel, art, architecture and the story of a 2,000 year old faith complete with some of the women saints and miracles that have happened throughout history this might be for you.
Programming begins tonite at 5pm with an interview/episode, and 2 other episodes run at 7 and then 8pm. Thurs. the 17th runs an episode at 8pm and Fri. the 18th time is at 7pm.
Saturday repeats the episodes beginning at 10 am with breaks with last episode starting about 8pm.
All times are Pacific so make the adjustment for Eastern or Mountain time.
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I read with interest that you consider yourself a Christian. There are many groups of people as well as individuals who consider themselves to be Christians but do not embrace just the WORD of GOD and what it says about who Jesus is; (one such group is Unitarians; they do not believe in the deity of Jesus and thus have impacted Harvard University big time,etc.). I’m sure you studied “themes” in school. The Old Testament/ Old Covenant has a theme running through it : Adam fell into sin because he disobeyed God ;therefore,severing his relationship with God because God is pure and Holy and sinless; then, Satan was given reign over the earth and death because of man’s fall. But God had a plan to reconcile man back to Him; He promised( found in Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Malachi) to send a Savior into the world and the Savior’s BLOOD would make an atonement for the sins of man and defeat Satan, death, and the grave. This was necessary because no one human can lead a unblemished life. …..Then the theme in the New Testament/ New Covenant is that man is reconciled back to God through an unblemished sacrifice…God’s own Son, Jesus. We learn in Book of John that Jesus is the WORD of GOD ; He was with God from the beginning of the world . God’s plan was to have Jesus birthed on earth through woman but given by the Holy Spirit not the “seed” of man; through His death and resurrection , and because of His sinlessness , He would be the Savior of the world. He is the spotless lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. Nicodemus a Jewish rabbi asked Jesus :”What must I do to be saved?” Jesus told him that he must be born -again…that which is flesh is flesh and that which is spirit is spirit…he must be born again. (So, how is one born -again ? Through one’s spirit. And how does that take place ? By “believing ” that Jesus died for your sins and you are now risen with Him forever. —-Yes, it is that simple. This is not something that is a “feeling”. It is only by believing…what we call “faith”; it is God’s gift to us because He loves us soooo very much. We did not deserve it nor earn it…it is His grace and His grace alone. ) God loves women but Jesus was not a woman and He is God incarnate. The bible speaks of 3 persons in one even in the Old Covenant. God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and yet there is but one God…the same God that is the God of Israel. He is Jehovah; He is the great I AM; the Alpha and Omega; the Lord of Hosts; Immanuel (God with us);the Light of the world and the Prince of Peace(Isaiah 9:2, 6-7). There is no other NAME by which one can be saved(from the wrath to come)but by the NAME of Jesus. ……God’s TRUTH supercedes what you or I think; it is the WORD of the LIVING God(Jesus). Sincerely, Dede Duke(a 60 year-old retired teacher ) P.S. – If you have not seen the DVD “Amazing Grace” , I suggest you see it!! It’s a little dry at the beginning but very factual about the life of Britain William Wilberforce and slave trader John Newton played by actor Albert Finney.
Jane if you have not seen this extremely short video, I encourage you to see it ! Dede http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg-wqM8Q0ds
I am an evangelical minister. I believe in and preach the forgiveness of sin found only in the substitionary death of Christ. While it is true that God is love, truth and spirit, He is also just. While Christ is the Prince of Peace, He is also the righteous Judge. While the teachings of other religions may be similar on the surface, a deeper study shows they Christianity is far different than the rest. All other religions besides Christianity teach, “Do!” Christ, in His sacrificial death for our sins says, “Done!” Jesus is the One who takes our sins away when we place our faith in Him as Lord and Savior. We could never be good enough to get to Heaven on our own. More importantly, a drastic difference in Christianity and other religions is that Christ is alive and His grave is empty. Muhammad and Buddha are dead. While you are correct that men in the past and many today try to remake God into their image, be careful not to fall into the trap of making God into what you want Him to be. Surrender your entire life to Christ, and see what you can become in Him — whole, complete. The thoughts I have expressed are not meant to condemn but rather encourage you. If the opportunity should present itself, please take the opportunity to visit the church of a likeminded pastor, Dr. Charles Stanley, at First Baptist Church of Atlanta. Seek his counsel and allow him to challenge your thinking as you continue down your path of faith. You are a beautiful lady and an incredible actress. God has so much more in store for you than you could ever imagine. May He bless you and fully reveal Himself to you is my prayer.
I agree with your final assessment and challenge you offered to Ms Fonda regarding truth as presented by other faiths. I would offer one more thing to consider.
I don’t place much confidence in people’s NDE’s but when a buddist priest (Athet Pyan Shinthaw Paulu) who was dead for 3 days revives from the dead laying in a pool of his body fluids just moments before he’s about to be cremated saying these first words, “we’ve been deceived”, it got my attention. Eventually he was silenced because of his testimony but not before the conversion of many fellow priest to a revelation of relationship to the Lord Jesus and renouncing of Buddhism.
Look into, or google his testimony…it is compelling to say the least, about the realities of heaven and severity of hell from the perspective of a man totally ignorant of common Christian beliefs. The implications are provocative.
After reading the comments of Jane and her comfortable place in christian theology and Jeanette’s syllogistic approach to establish veracity of tradition, history and interpretation to likewise, establish what is true. I was compelled to offer this.
I’m not not sure where to begin other than saying, I’d like to offer my humble opinion on determining what is true. My position is dead if Jesus did in fact did not mean in the 24th chapt of Mathew “heaven and earth will pass away but my word shall never pass away”. This more than suggest that his word will be avalible….even into our age. So regardless of translation we will have the word avalible…but that ain’t the problem. Interpretation is the problem because the scriptures are not interpreted, which is what a scholar hates to hear, but interpretation is a bookmark until revelation of the scriptures are given. Think about it, religious leaders of the day in Christ time new the scriptures backwards and forwards…literally, but had zero revelation on “who is the messiah”. We can build the greatest religious institutions in the world…and have, yet still have all the insight of the scriptures hidden from the wise and prudent but revealed to those who approach the word with the attitude of a baby filled,with the Holy Ghost..which is the second problem. No Holy Ghost, no revelation of the word. So what I’m saying is this: if the Holy Spirit inspired the writing of the word (and 2 Peter 1:20,21 state the interpretation of scripture is not a private isolated process….which has lead to endless interpretations) he has to open up our understanding to see the truth, which he is happy to do. If we start there we are obligated to rethink our biblical study processes and reboot with a fresh revisit to being filled with the Holy Spirit….the bible way (Acts 1:8, 2:1-4, 2:38,39) for proper guidance (John 14:17/16:13) and once done we will see why the conversation between Jesus and Peter in Matthew 16:16-19 was about building his church based on revelation of Christ and not a soulish interpretation that the church is built on Peter. Revelation will bring not only light, but responsibility with power to properly administration the kingdom of God as sons of God, whether male or female. But this is just the tip of the gargantuian spiritual iceberg to enlighten believers as to what their relationship with God is all about in a relational kingdom. And as to the preservation of so many man made institutions that that are clueless about the intentions, power or relevance of the Kingdom of God, it just adds to the confusion of what being a Christian is all about to a world in some respects trying to make some since of this thing called Christianity. Never the less the superstructure system of institutional churches currently overshadows the truth of what is happening in the church empowered by the Holy Ghost. Believers are growing in their understanding of relationships of families, biblical communities, miraculous ministry, maturing as sons in the kingdom. Many now are representing Christ in ways the world thought could be but is happening keeping a low profile. I encourage a revisit as to the gnostic beliefs verses the revelation of scripture brought by the Spirit of God.
Wow…thank you, the piece on your spiritual/religious experience was brilliant!! I totally resonate with every word. I feel I lost or weakened that precious relationship I had developed with the divine in my early years because I tried to find a container for it or a place I could share but now that I read this I can see that in trying to contain I did restrict it. So now I can refresh it again and love what hafiz said. Your Good!!! Always knew that
I agree, God is genderless, and the teachings of Jesus are my favorite, also. I think you’re very right about the mistranslation of the bible and words like “perfect” meaning “whole”. Still in my second Act I’m looking forward to my 3rd more openly because of your good insight. My mom and you are exactly the same age (born 1 day apart), and I know if she had lived past 65 she would have greatly valued your new book and supported the causes you work for. She greatly admired you, and was inspired by you to promote equality for women in her own way at home in Louisville. She was head of the Wellesley Club and Junior League in Louisville, Ky for years in the 70s and 80s, getting famous women to speak in Louisville, and always spoke highly of your vocal presence in the media and entertainment industry. She went through the same things you did: growing up during the Depression, addiction/divorce/social change from the 50s through the 90s, as did our family. Anyways, I’ve always like you as an actress (your dad too was great), think you are a tremendously intelligent and insightful woman, greatly accomplished and in touch with her emotions and spirit, and at a time in my life where I’m looking to find something to make me more whole and to have a more balanced life, you are providing some answers and insight which was lacking. And since my mother, who was a huge fan of yours, is now deceased, I feel you are doing something she would have done if she had lived into her 3rd ACT in offering your advice and experience. I was raised Congregational, then I became somwehat atheistic, but now I’m looking for something to fill the void in my spiritual life and value your conversion experience and the way you are seeing things.. I feel similarly about God and our spirits. Thank you for writing your new book, and for being out there in the public eye supporting all your good causes and sharing your learning experiences with us. I loved your movie On Golden Pond, watched it with my grandparents and mother, and my grandfather died not long after we saw it. It really did provide much insight into family relationships between 3 generations. I think you have it right, Ms. Fonda. None of us is perfect, but you are a really good person. Thank you,
When I first heard about your conversion several years ago, and then shortly after, some were critical and voicing their expectations of what you would do if you were truly Christian. I remember thinking, “she’s just a new Christian, give her some time, cut her some slack.”
I’m praying for you.
Thanks, Betty. I am always surprised at how many Christians are so judgemental. If you don’t follow their exact “line” they say you’re not Christian. We should have a little more of Christ in us–forgiveness, compassion, non-judgement, loving those who are different. xx
Dear Jane Fonda,
I actually love that you have shared your testimony of your journey to follow Jesus Christ. Christianity is more than saying or claiming you are a Christian as you stated. I am too always amazed at those who claim His name can be harsh or unloving when Jesus specifically tells us in the Bible to LOVE everyone. Love is His strongest and deepest command He speaks for us to share above all. I once thought I had to find what God really wanted out of me through other books and learning hebrew, but soon found a greater relationship with God through the Bible. Growth as a Christian comes from growing in wisdom that God provides in His Word alone. This is surrender, putting all our wants and needs under the full control of God. God wants us to redeem this time in life to do His work. Share the gospel with others so they can come to know Christ. No church, no pastor, no religion can get anyone to heaven but trusting Christ as your personal savior and know we ALL come short in His eyes. Knowing we are sinners, knowing we have to go to Jesus Christ for forgiveness is what being saved is. You write well to express your growing faith and see you are truly trying in life to grow for Him. All Christians need to do one thing and that is to love all. By loving everyone can God’s greater purpose for our lives start to reflect His love, His sacrifice, and His resurrection so the world can be reached to know what we know about God’s love. You sought Him and continue to grow,God is so good. Knowing Christ and having a relationship with Him will bring persecution and a loss of what the world shows we should want but Loving Christ provides more than anyone person can express or compare in this life. Keep growing for Him. Read His Word. Through Him
I think many humans from different walks are judgemental, but Christians should know better because we are to reflect Jesus. I’m so happy that one of my favorite actresses is now a Christian. I’ve admired your work for years, and laughed all the way through Monster-in-law. It’s really sad to see the ugly things people say, but if it’s about me, I just count it joy, because they’re giving somebody else a rest! Best wishes for 2012, hope it’s your best year ever. May God bless and keep you.
Dear Ms. Fonda,
The deep spiritual consciousness that you describe in your essay is beautifully resonant with that of your fellow peacemaker of the 60’s, Thomas Merton.
Thomas Merton was one of the past century’s greatest influences on the social, political and spiritual consciousness of the world. Like your self, Merton remains an oracle for our times. He was, and is, a passionate voice for peace, ecology and interracial, intercultural and interfaith brother-and-sisterhood. He stands against religion which excludes and divides. He stands for a spirituality which is grounded in service to others, in the realization of our ‘true self’ through communion with the divine … and in the Arts as ‘spiritual technology’ by which to develop a rich inner life, create community and, ultimately, commune with the divine. He urges humanity towards wholeness and a reintegration of art, science and spirituality. Rather than obsess over ‘original sin’ … he is concerned with our return, through divine feminine wisdom, to ‘original innocence’. He is a person for all cultures, all ethnicities, all religions and all times. Merton’s friendship with his ‘spiritual twin’ the Dalai Lama opened up His Holiness to a deep engagement with the west and its spiritual traditions. Having little patience with blindly conformist Catholics and socially uninvolved pseudo-Christians … in earlier days Merton would have been burned as a heretic. One might not be too surprised by his belief that Joan of Arc had a hand in guiding his life’s path from the south of France to the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky.
But, now, out of nowhere does come a big surprise:
Without the Black Madonna of Cobre, Cuba there would be no Thomas Merton as we have come to know (or think we know)him. Merton’s ultimate spiritual consciousness can be directly traced to a mystic spiritual ‘conversion’ he experienced in the year 1940 during an encounter with ‘La Virgen de la Caridad’ … the Black Madonna of Cobre. Syncretized with the Yoruban Goddess Ochun in Afro-Caribbean spiritual traditions … She is the embodiment of divine love and compassion. Her presence in Cuba recognized since the early 1600’s, She is the Patroness of that island nation and regarded as the special protectress and emancipator of Slaves. A pilgrimage to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Her initial appearance is the primary impetus for the Pope’s upcoming visit to Cuba. In recognition and gratitude for Her direct intercession in his life and being, Merton dedicated his first mass as a priest to ‘La Virgen de la Caridad’ in 1949. The fact that this ‘Virgin of Charity’ is a Black Madonna and the great significance of this truth has been ignored by ‘Merton scholars’… until now. How fitting that it is revealed on this site … at this time.
The implications of this revelation are profound and of immediate relevance for global racial consciousness and U.S-Cuba relationships. Think of it. Merton’s ‘spiritual DNA’ is Afro-Cuban, his ‘spiritual Mother’ is the special protectress and emancipator of Slaves and, as a ‘coup de grace’to Cold War mentality, the spiritual consciousness that has forever changed our country’s collective psyche turns out to be a Cuban import … priceless contraband in divine defiance of the embargo. Gotta love it!
Ms. Fonda, your favorite ex-husband and many of the humanitarians of Hollywood share your great concern for the Cuban people and for interracial harmony. The surest and fastest way to change the world is to change consciousness. With nothing but this single paradigm-shifting revelation … you and your fellow ‘compassioneers’ can accomplish more good for Cuba and the world than can the Pope with all of the gold of the Vatican.
I have entrusted my dear friend in Los Angeles, Ambassador Attallah Shabazz, to deliver an MLK Day gift to you which will complement this initial ‘peace offering’. Bodhisattvaesque eldest daughter of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz, she is a fellow ‘compassioneer’, one who designs a world in which the Arts heal individuals and communities.
The two of you will have much to talk about. Ideally the conversation would include Ambassador Shabazz’s friend, Owsley Brown3 … a beautifully-souled Tibetan Buddhist Filmmaker in San Fransisco. The perfect setting for this gathering would be at a table prepared by your and Owsley’s mutual friend, Alice Waters. A Christian, a Muslim, a Tibetan Buddhist and a Green Goddess. Now, that’s a ‘First Supper’ where the Creator will surely be served … and served well.
As for me … I,like Emily Dickinson, prefer the secret delight of remaining a nobody. I do my best work when out of sight. So, why post this very public message here and now? What can I say … the Spirit moved me.
From one enlightened Christian to another thank you for this post and for being someone I’ve always admired. I too have left mainstream Christianity but I haven’t left my faith in Jesus Christ.
I can no longer go to worship/study and be derailed listening to homophobia, the strange mix of pro-life and pro-war, the anti-science and climate change stance which boggles my mind, the association of Christianity and what I consider to be the most uncharitable party, Republicans and so on.
I’ll always be a moderate to liberal Democrat, I “believe” in science and climate change, sexuality is NOT a choice, you cannot legislate morality, I was raised a war orphan and was attending high school in Japan when you were in Hanoi, I know what war is, I am anti-war, I’m a feminist and always will be, I fear the Republican party and the hate, lies, propaganda, and insanity that they churn out (so many Christians “follow” hate spewers like Rush Limbaugh! Really?).
I pray for enlightenment in Christianity but also fear that “religion” will always usurp true spirituality. I’ll always have my personal relationship with Jesus Christ and I pray for others to achieve that. So glad to have an ally like you!
As the mother of a transgendered child, I understand your discomfort with judgmental people of any faith, who slap a thin veneer of piety over their bigoted views, so they can shame us into agreement or silence. It smacks of hypocrisy.
Indeed, one who uses their faith to condemn and judge others, does the opposite of what Jesus urged. Christ said to “love [our] enemies” so that even those who oppose us on an issue, are to be embraced as our brothers. Not vilified or ridiculed.
Sadly, I felt condemned by you when I read your words. Lumping everyone with a different political view than yours into a group of people whom you revile & deplore, persuades and comforts no one.
If we practice the same intolerance for differences that we found hurtful when done to us, then we are repeating the very behavior we condemned.
Let me say without anger or rancor, that If we cannot abide actual diversity of opinion, then maybe it’s time for leaving politics out of theological discussions. Food for thought.
Happy New Year and blessings at all!
I don’t think it is a good idea for one Christian to tell another that they’re “not a Christian.” But I think a key word for understanding the faith might be discernment. It takes a really big time commitment to learn the faith as an adult. And you have to remove a lot of the social clutter in your life. Still, adult converts are often the most ardent.
Everyone has their own faith journey, the story of their own salvation. Not every Christian is interested in getting into the history and theology. Most people just go to church where their friends and family go. Or maybe they really like the pastor and his/her preaching. Or, they think the music and the choir is great. Or, the congregation has a daycare center. Or maybe does great work in the local community or has wonderful mission opportunities abroad. Or, maybe they’re unchurched and beleive God is everywhere so why can’t they just commune with Him/Her in nature and then let their own conscience decide on all the issues.
All these things are attractive elements of worship and this type of thinking seems very plausible. But it doesn’t necessarily lead to the fullness of faith itself.
I think if we really take Christ into our hearts, doesn’t it seem like most of us will at some point end up doing at least a 180 degree turn in our lives? Or, maybe for some a complete 360 degree turn around?
To be more thann a generic Christian I think you have to become willing to be a radical who can discern the central integrity of the faith.
Keeping the Sabbath Holy for the Lord isn’t something that became obsolete. God/Jesus asked us to worship in community. But that means taking a risk. The risk of being around other members of the faith who are often irritatingly human. Finding a way to love members of the faith who are different is challenging because all, even those going to the same church are at a different place in their own faith journey. Still, you can meet and work with many fine friends in the formal church.
The common teachings, doctrine and dogmas (a funny, ugly sounding word) are meant to be the lights along the path to freedom. I don’t know of too many church-going Catholics who are “blindly conformist” simply because they can’t think for themselves. These beliefs are not imposed upon us, we freely give our assent. If we’re puzzled by a particular teaching there is a treasure trove of sources available.
Though I worshiped in a mainstream protestant church and raised my now-adult children in the church, I no longer attend. I would surely be called a heretic since my beliefs and my relationship with god is my own. My faith belongs to no one else.
Over the years I attended bible studies, listened to varying interpretations of the bible and knew all could not be right. I studied many major religions and sects, consulted pastors, rabbinical scholars, and finally found that F. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled was more akin to my own path.
There were never any epiphanies or revelations, just common sense, rational thought and an acceptance that there are mysteries humankind cannot fully understand at this point its evolution. Those who claim to have the one and only way I no longer abide. I believe that god meets you where you are. It meets all of us where we are.
Be true to yourself, Jane. A god can ask no more of anyone.
Hi Jane, the first time I met you was the summer of 1972 when you came to Atlanta and appeared on a talk show at WSB-TV. I was a 19-year-old summer intern from the University of Georgia Journalism School. You had just come back from Vietnam (I believe) and you had definitely already made “Klute.” I was so star-struck and stood in the back of the room and talked to you before your turn to be interviewed by Ruth Kent. I have never forgotten how excited I was to be there with you and I was on your side politically. Those were crazy days and now I am 60! Still can’t believe it. I so admire you and still live in Atlanta. Thank you for all your courage. I am now a Presbyterian Minister (many friends at ITC) and I know at least one of the people who talked to you about Christianity and the influence of her church on her life. Congratulations on making your own way in the faith – your poem is so true. If you hear a negative voice in your head, it is NOT God talking!
Have you read Deepak Chopra’s, “The Third Jesus”? I think you will love it.
Another book that I just read that you might find fascinating is “Perfect Brilliant Stillness” by David Carse, wherein he describes an extraordinary experience he had of spontaneous enlightenment that is amazing and flabbergasting!
Jane, It was a pleasure to read your blog on “Spirit”. I am a Christian pastor with my husband now, but it wasn’t always that way. When I was about 21-23 years old i began looking for that spiritual “experience’ like you said, not just head knowledge like I had grown up with in Baptist church. I wanted religion to be real. My husband who was my friend at the time was searching for the same thing. We found “The Spirit” at a black church in Pomona, CA! My husband and I are white, but we had to go to a Pentecostal black church to find “the Spirit”. What I am talking about is “The baptism of the Holy Spirit” as talked about in the books of Acts in the Bible. I’m surprised you being around black people in school did not find one black person to tell you about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Most black people I know have it or have family members who have it. Just like in the Bible, when you pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit, you will be and you will speak in other languages “as the Spirit gives utterance” Acts 2:4. This is the most awesome feeling you will ever have! it goes beyone the intellectual, emotional, physical and it is purely spiritual! And Jesus said, “I shall be in you” to the disciples and women. Mary, mother of Jesus and the other women who followed and sustained him that were in the upper room Acts 2:1-4 were all filled with “the Spirit” and spoke in other tongues. It was from then on that the men had courage to preach the gospel now that they were empowered by the Holy Spirit. I encourage you to find an Apostolic church, preferrably with black people :0) to help you receive what Jesus has for you. It absolutely changed my life, and I am pastoring today because of it. My husband and I have helped over 200 receive Holy Spirit baptism. If you’re ever in Chino Hills, Ca stop by or check us out at: http://www.highergroundweb.org.
I am 60 this year. So, yes, I grew up watching films with your dad, brother and also you. I loved on Golden Pond and 8 til 5 and as a young man some strange sci-fi in which your womanly beauty was the center stage.
Celebrity life is charismatic, spiritually exhilarating and typically… empty, devoid of the Spirit that is LIFE-GIVING. Your journey exudes stardom, beauty, and sentience, self-consciousness and lately glamour.
It is not surprising that your theology would be customized to please you and gnosis lift you to the higher state of self that emanates wealth in spirit as you have known wealth in all other areas of your life. (Blessed are the poor in spirit, says, Jesus.) The craving of the soul seeks ultimate satisfaction in self-worship. Religions of man (please read “man” as an acronym for women and men equally) ALL ultimately want the divinity for SELF. Oh so many have written, imagined and projected their human ideas to superimpose the divine. (Even to this day violent men hold the kingdom of God captive! Says, Jesus) The poverty of spirit Jesus promotes is, as in all aspects of his teachings, the dethroning of a self that has lost its way. Worship of God provides this shift away from self-worship. Self-focused theology is the ultimate promotion of self to divine status and enters emboldened into the round of God’s enemies. It is devoid of love as defined by Jesus on the cross.
The human preoccupation with self-theology is diametrically opposed and lives in enmity with a God who is born of flesh to live and die for one reason among us, to save us from our-selves, the power of darkness, Satan and the fallen angels, the demons that attach to promote to self-absorbedness.
By this we know love, (not some secret weird hidden definition here) that God gave His/Her (I do not believe that God is preoccupied with silly gender confusion of personhood) only natural child to willingly die for me.
Yes, by this alone do I really understand love?
More important than any male/female theology, is that there is only one way by which we can be saved. Keeping my eyes on him, the author and finisher of my faith, Jesus.
Just want to say as your long time admirer [of the same age]that I read the explication of your spiritual journey with care and I find your thoughts and words sincere, honest, straight-forward, meaningful and deeply eloquent in their simplicity. I have personally sojourned from being raised Episcopalian to Tibetan/Zen Buddhism/Taoism. The Tao I understand as being pure Zen.
I highly recommend that you read Alan Watts profound last book: Tao–The Watercourse Way in which he quotes the steps and stages to achieving an enlightened understanding and way of being by the “butterfly who dreamt he was a man” Chuang Tze at page 74, if memory correctly serves.
I essentially agree with everything you have written here, expecially your statement that one’s spiritual experience and awakening is so personal that it is very difficult [if not impossible] to meaningfully communicate to others.
My favorite term for God, that I conceive of as the unknowable mystery of life [which Jung defines as the power greater than ourselves in the Universe in his preface to Wilhelm’s I Ching…who you may know helped Bill H formulate the AA twelve step program…is the American Indian “Great Spirit”….which was Bucky Fuller’s favorite term for God also.
I was much taken by your statements in the recent Time interview of the idea of horizontal and vertical explorers and was, accordingly, very much interested to come across your site today and your account of your vertical exploration.
A second book which I commend to you is: “The Spiritual Dimensions of the Enneagram by Sandra Maitri… which I believe is, as she writes, “the Rosetta Stone” or “Holy Grail” of human psychology.
If you are driven to achieve perfection [and focused on what’s wrong in every situation][and unconsciously angry at your own lack of perfection and also critical of other’s lack of improvement] then you may indeed be a Type One personality sometimes termed “The Reformer”. If so, then you may be “a Monk of Angry Mind” and the Holy Idea underlying your Type is “Holy Perfection” so your redeeming, healing task is to know and realize that since everything emanates from God, all of creation must be and is perfect already and needs no correction.
In closing, I would like to share a prayer which you may find helpful in times of stress or in “the dark night of the soul” which we must all go through at times, which was written on the wall of a monastery by an uknown eleventh century Irish monk:
“O God, to whom all hearts are open, to whom every Will speaks, and from whom no secret thing is hidden, I pray Thee to cleanse the intent of my heart through the ineffable gift of Thy grace so that I might perfectly love Thee and worthily praise Thee. Amen” [taken from “The Cloud of Unknowing” by Ira Progoff]
Congratulations on becoming a Christian.
In reading your testimony about your faith I was wondering more about this statement below:
“and if I could not say certain key words like “died for our sins,” it meant I wasn’t a Christian.”
Do you trust in Christ that because he was sinless and made you whole you will be forgiven for your sins and enter Heaven?
As a Hebrew, I often get the question of how can a Jew believe in Jesus? If one cannot come to the realization that Jesus is Messiah, the Son of the living God. It becomes disheartening to me. Romans 10:9 is a great account of what an individual should believe in their heart to be saved.
To know that Jesus was after the order of Melchizedek the High Priest and that because Jesus was whole hearted before God, sinless and through Jesus forgiveness we can now be forgiven before a true living but also Holy God. Is remarkable. It is no wonder why many Israelites who believe in Christ call him Y’sua. Salvation.
I pray as you grow spiritually that words like ‘you shall not’, ‘Salvation,” ‘Lord,’ and ‘Repentance,’ is no longer taboo to you nor odd. To me, all of those words show the preeminence and stature of Christ. It is well deserved of the anointed one who is so whole, so sinless that Jesus the Christ is able to forgive the sins of every soul so should they choose. That is a miracle, that is fulfilled prophecy found in the Tanakh.
Hi Jane, my name is Bree, and I’m 15 years old. I just wanted to say thank you! Thank you for being who you are, because you helped me realize something. My whole life I have wanted to be one thing and that is “beautiful”. I still feel like I haven’t reached beauty, yet. I just finished the 10th grade, and the last week of school I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t stop trying till I was “beautiful”. When I go to school, I see all these beautiful girls, and they seem so flawless, and I’ll go look at myself in the bathroom mirror, or at my refection in a glass door, and I just don’t add up to them. I’d go home hating myself. Prayer keeps me strong, and God has helped me through it. But here lately, I’ve been shutting God out of my life, and I don’t know why. I had watched you on “Oprah’s Master Class” when it aired on TV, I was trying to understand but I wasn’t allowing my heart to understand. So, I just finished watching it again on YouTube, and I cried through most of it. When you said “We are not meant to be perfect, we are meant to be whole” I realized that I can’t be perfect, and that the only way I can be happy with myself is when I allow God in. I remember when I had a strong relationship with God, and It was like nothing ever before, I had NEVER been that happy. I had never been that WHOLE. Thank you for reminding me. You are my inspiration, and my idol, when I read about all the things you have accomplished in your life, it makes me smile. I want to be like you as I grow older. I don’t want to simply walk through life with regrets of chances I didn’t take, I want to accomplish things, and NOT just do them half way. I want to be strong and confident, and be a part of something that is bigger than me. I want to help others, and give. Thank you for inspiring me, and being the wonderful person you are. I hope I can be as strong as you. -Bree <3
It was so interesting reading your explanation of your spiritual journey.I know from reading your books/articles that you capture life in chapters…I’m wondering if you would consider your spiritual journey as part of a chapter…or a chapter all its own. I know my spiritual journey started when I was 18, when I gave my life to following Jesus’ teaching. I would say that even as the chapters were developing in my life over the next four decades, the spiritual seemed to be playing out it’s own act in my life. Lessons learned, gratefulness exploding, dependence on God all came at times I never expected and sometimes not even reflective of the angst and pain I felt in my life. I have always believed that this force is bigger than me, beyond me, always beholding and calling me to fellowship with him/her… and yet never as cut and dry as others want me to believe. I feel conviction; I feel truth, but I also am proven every year of my life that what I thought I knew I really didn’t. Ever felt that way Jane?
All the time, crdesigns!!