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
Hi Jane – I am so glad to run into this website. I am a Baptist preacher (fundamental)and a Vietnam Vet. During my time in Vietnam and since I have been praying for you that you might be saved. I accepted the Lord as my Savior when I was about 5. My great uncle, Melvin Palmer, led me to the Lord. He had a wonderful story and left a tremendous impact on me. He had been an atheist when younger, was in a dynamite accident that took his eye sight and then was saved in the hospital. He was the happiest man I have ever met. He went to be with the Lord in 1963. I was raised in a church that was not a Bible believing church so I was not grounded in the Lord. Uncle Mel died when I was a Junior in High School and I started reading my Bible. I saw a conflict between the Bible and the church I was attending so I quit going to church. In 1966 I was working at Disneyland when a friend that worked at the Lincoln exhibit was killed in an auto accident. She was 18 and had been the homecoming queen of her high school. She had just been asking me questions about the Bible in the break area at work. I was devastated. I asked God to change me and help me redeem the time that I had left. I had spent so much time at the beach body surfing and just wasting my life. He answered my prayer in a marvelous way. I went to Bible school where my faith began to grow. I got in with some guys that went street preaching in Venice Beach, the Sunset Strip, and downtown Los Angeles. I went with a missionary to Mexico for a year and then was drafted and ended up in Vietnam. I got to meet missionaries over there and got to pass out over 1500 tracts. Many wonderful stories.
But I began to pray for you. God has been so merciful to me I thought it would be wonderful if you could know His mercy and love in Christ. I am continuing to pray for you that you might grow in Him.
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First off, thank you for allowing us the oppertunity to talk with you about personal matters such as Faith…
Secondly, I thought the Sufi poems by Hafiz you quoted were eloquent and tasteful …
Thirdly, I have to say that when I first saw you on television it was in the film Barbarella and I remember thinking that you were the most beautiful woman that I had ever seen…. (plus my mother was called Barbara and she died when I was 12). I have therefore always had a fondness (no pun intended) for you!
I am intrigued by your Spiritual journey and that it has led you outside what many would regard as mainstream Christianity, but that you still love Jesus and believe in him at the same time. I can relate to that in my life…
I believe in Christianity and Jesus but also try to ‘experience’ God, and ‘learn’ about God any way I can. Not by turning to other religions per say but more by trying to use logic and science to understand who and what God is. Here is what I believe God to be in the simplist possible expression –
1 – The source of all Love
2 – The source of all Creation
3 – The source of all Wisdom
Now I still believe in Jesus and what the bible has to say about sin. Mainly because I have seen what sin is first hand in my life, when the bible talks about the need to be redeemed from sin then I know that it is absolutely correct!
There are many things I would love to tell you about my life (what I have learned about God, my sufferings and the like) but this is a public platform and some things would be inappropriate. However, I do find some comfort knowing that you have a belief in Jesus and I for one am thankful for your life.
M. Dianne Berry
I’m so glad you are testifying that Grace abounds greater than sin, but of course there is a monitor/compass to true faith and that separates us from the world. In fact, while attending BSF International (a scholarly study on the Word of God based on the original Hebrew and dead sea scrolls) I learned that a true child of God is “sensitive to sin”, however narrow the view and unpopular.
I think the world is still trying to pry open what is too obvious to a child and reinvent what’s already been decreed from the start.
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M. Dianne Berry
Your very real and honest explanation is equally as poetic. I like the fact that you are in touch with what most folks skip over- a sensitive response to the very belief they profess. It was so beautiful, intelligent, and rich, that I had to take a nap before I reflected and responded.<>
At the same time, I’m wondering about your comment, “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.” Did you mean that intuition should be a more valid guide than biblical canon, or that in your experience, it was so personal that you wanted to make sure the bible was the whole truth? If you haven’t already, I pray that you’ll give the text of the bible another chance. After all, many of the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and Jesus Christ Himself, quoted from the scriptures so as to satisfy man’s need for real evidence and most importantly, to fulfill the prophecies. Just as we depend on the constitution and the many by-laws to support what is fair and legal, the Lord captains a reference book we can stand behind.
When I first accepted Christ, I “knew” it. It was clear. I did feel something, but it was the knowing that was different than anything. Some don’t have mountain top experiences or that “shift” in its confirmation, but I did. I would love to know if you had a specific happening such as this? A day, a time, the instant “knowing.
Bragging on our God a little, He loved us FIRST. He Died for us FIRST, and as described in the anthem of John 3:16, we share in the FIRST plan of creation-to enjoy, worship, and be with Him eternally. That is salvation. All we have to do is repent, believe and accept it, but, as you mentioned, that is aesthetically a work in progress. The “wholeness” that is mentioned, is indeed, the union of our spirit through and with Jesus. Period. The rest is traveled and learned. I just don’t see enough about His sweet and masterful love that encompasses and entangles all human conditions. Instead, many of us use the “feeling” term to check mark our faith. I would love to see you, a super example of “before and after”, simply say that there is nothing worth living for as much as the unpopular surrender of self to God. If we can stop fencing Him in our little box of poetic justices, we come closer to that wholeness. God sees us as His Sonship has declared. Where is the repentance, the surrender, and the declaration of being a subject rather than a centerpiece of new age or self-interpreted enlightenment? There must be a first and final authority, no matter how many hoops had to be jumped through first. It was the “spirit” of the bible, the prophecies, and the fulfillments that affirm that authority.
I’m more fundamental than you are, but I don’t apologize for it since the blood sacrifice is EVERYTHING. I’m not afraid to stand corrected if I am in error or to ask for wisdom and direction for every single move I make. I stopped rationalizing Christianity. It just can’t be done. I stopped being hungrier for the search than the find. As a former employer once said to anything that was skewed or being re-routed by mankind, ” It ain’t complicated!” To simply believe, is in itself, faith, but only if we resign to know that even the faith is not from us, Also, there IS intellectual ascent and consent, but the fact that we are SAVED is so awesome… so, so awesome, that the gender references melt. If God is said to be “He” , then, by golly, for now that’s how I want to reference Him. Feminists all over the world should know that they don’t need to be differentiated if they “know” Jesus personally, hear His voice through the Word, and enjoy the way we are touched by Him. How can we not forsake all other beliefs when He did that for us?
In summation, I’d like to know if you are believing in the surrender worship portion of this faith. Hopefully, you’ll render to the readers this bright and morning Star who is above us , yet wants us to become a part of a predestined plan.
1 Peter 2:9
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Dianne Berry, thank you for this profound, dense communique. I need time and reflection to decipher all that you mean and how I feel about it. For eg, i need to really understand what you mean by “The surrender worship portion of this faith.” I still have much to learn and sort out for myself. A work in progress is how I see myself…maybe till I die.
M. Dianne Berry
Thanks for your response.
Hope I wasn’t too “heady”. That wasn’t my intention at all. With the surrender worship portion of faith, I simply meant how you express your faith to our God. True attributes of a Christian aren’t necessarily people without questionable habits, addictions, dark areas that misrepresent what we believe. ” Good Works” , though commended and blessed, aren’t how we are heaven-bound. There’s NOTHING we can do to put us in eternity with God. It is only by Grace (unmerited favor). As you may know, only by Jesus’ sacrifice accepted. Grace.
The Acrostic is
We give up ourselves to please and adore Him, waiting like a bride for His response. Our authority for His authority. By the world’s standards, this is not a popular or attractive belief, but it is the ones used by the patriarchs, the prophets, kings, those who gave up their own lives to follow Him. They are the ones who spoke with Him and who were so very blessed. ( Way back when God made public appearances!)
As Christians, we aren’t doing the secular thing by just talking about Jesus as if He were a flavor of philosophy, but because He “IS” the only way, we admit we’re are making Him the One we praise daily, meditating his ways. I sing and play guitar, so I use my voice to praise Him. Though I’m not a “churchy” person, I go anyway for fellowship. It keeps me healthy instead of spiritually anemic.
We are separated because we are called to a holier place. Other religions may renounce the trinity, but Christians know, by calling, that, at the risk of excluding others, we are the ones Jesus calls “by name”. Like He did Mary. This doesn’t mean others are “bad”, but they don’t truly know. SO, HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE SAVED?
In John 3:3 Jesus said, “… no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Now, if you have repented of your sins and asked Jesus to be your Lord then you have been born again. You will sense the Holy Spirit’s presence in your life when He convicts you of guilt in regard to sin (John 16:8) Jane, this is not hatred. It is written. The acceptance and surrender of our authority is what we do to make us part of what is already written.
It is a jubilation that compares to nothing the world could possibly give and I’m sure you’re so very glad this has happened to you!
I love your desire to press toward the narrow gate. Let us pray for one another, as I whisper your precious name now! Really. Now. *wink*.
Lastly, if you want to try to study again, I would suggest you try BSF International. It is a free an din-depth study of the Word based on the original Hebrew and dead sea scrolls. I grew by leaps and bounds. AWESOME!
Thanks for tolerating my lengthy posts. You’re so neat!
I had no idea you were such a wonderful writer. Your voice is very clear and uncluttered or pretentious which is NOT easy to do when writing about God. Thank you!
M. Dianne Berry
Re: your comment. Neither did I. Splendid. What a Mighty God we serve!
Great post, and too bad the genesis of your evolving spiritual path was subverted by people with special agendas. That however is to be expected, given your celebrity status. I see you as a symbol of progressive thought, not as a Hollywood fad, and I’m glad to read that your transformation is not in response to another fad. I’m sad to see religious extremism on the rise. Sarah Palin just inked a contract to write a book about taking back Christmas, but don’t mistake that for a book about the commercialization of Christmas, rather it’s a book about how only Christmas matters, not any of those “other” holidays. We’re all searching for answers, and I hope your journey leads you to the peaceful state of mind that we all seek.
Nitpick: In the first paragraph of your blog, I think you may have meant to use the word “led”, as in past and past participle of “lead”, as opposed to “lead”.
Pacis, I don’t believe my spiritual path has been subverted by anyone.
There is a time in a women’s life when the spiritual side of our conscience come alive and we begin to question the purpose of life?! There is a simple answer – we get so bogged down with tedious chores of our everyday life that we forget the most important insurance policy of our lives. Life insurance, car insurance, home insurance, it is extremely important for our modern day living we don’t seem to forget but what about the insurance for the hereafter??!!! It is fashionable to not believe in God All Mighty but Death is round the corner and no one can escape and it is a sure thing! So, should we not make concession for the hereafter and seal our eternity by following his commandments! The most important task for me right now is to connect with God spiritually and while I am pursuing and focussing I am feeling incredible amount of inner peace and happiness!!
And Julia, please leave other individuals to pursue their religion or spiritualism with their ultimate goal to enter HEAVEN! God has invited the whole of mankind to paradise, it is up to us to pick up the invitation and strive for a secured place because after all we are the ones who will be playing with our eternity……for Heaven or Hell !!
And I feel so happy Jane Fonda is pursuing her spirituality which shows her inner beauty and love…and I pray to God she finds more happiness and inner peace!
M. Dianne Berry
I just had the biggest tug at my heart to tell you how LOVED you are.
Must I repeat it? ” It ain’t complicated”. *tee hee*.
Our words just aren’t good enough.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”- Philippians 1:6
During the timeframe when I became a pregnant single mother, I found myself with a desire to know more about religion and to develop my own spirituality. I spent most of it devouring all the books I could find on the subject. It seemed to me that we as humans keep trying to put God in a box that many of us only take out on Sunday. But I found as my relationship with God grew that God is everywhere and everything our eyes can see. I was so busy looking outside me for answers that I felt I had missed an important key, to look within myself and feel God’s presence and love abiding in me. I had read about getting into the gap during meditation and to just be. I found that when I did, I could feel the warmth of God’s love flowing within and around me. To experience those awesome moments in time when I know I am truly connected with God reminds me that I am at once a part of the whole and yet we are here experiencing completely different realities in the same moment. Isn’t the power of a God who can do all that amazing?
I wanted to add that I’ve admired the risks you’ve taken in life to be true to yourself and your beliefs. I believe that you have helped to guide millions of women the world over with your body of work as a role model. I know there were so many strong characters you portrayed that gave me a better idea of how to be and act as my own woman. I’ve laughed with you, cried with you, been entertained by you and along the way you’ve shown me how to be empowered. Thank you and thanks for letting me share!
Dear Ms Fonda,
I appreciate your honesty and ability to express your feelings and understanding as you grow in Godliness. I believe the truths expressed by Ms Berry. The reading of God’s Word on a regular basis has opened the door to “fullness” in my relationship with God (Father, Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit). It wasn’t until a few years ago that I desired fullness as you are describing it. Clearly, as I looked at other “Christians” I didn’t see that they were any closer to God than I had been. I now believe that God was putting on my heart to choose either the world, with its many ways to be acceptable to “God” or to choose Him through the sacrifice of His only Son for my sin in order to be counted righteous before Him.
Although there have been many great philosophers through the ages, Jesus Christ is the only one that died for my sins, was buried and rose again from the grave for ME. (It only makes sense that a pure and Holy God would only accept perfection.) I am now “perfect” before God because He sees me as purified by Christs blood. I know that of myself I am not nor will I ever be “perfect” in this body.
The fullness is growing in me as I engage in relationship with Him. It causes me to experience joy, gratitude, peace, love and patience and to grow in my faith in Him.
It is interesting that Matt 22:30 says that in the resurrection there will be no marriage. We are all seen by God as equal. But, while we are on earth, God’s plan for a successful marriage gives distinction for the rolls we play. Any “Godly” man will give his life for his wife just as Christ loves the Church and gave Himself for it. Eph 5:25. I have a hard time believing that a woman that is loved as Christ loved, would not be willing to partner with him and allow him to lead his family toward more Godliness. It is a win, win for everyone. I strive for this Godliness in my own family before the Lord.
I wish you the peace and comfort in Him, that you desire.
I’m listening to Prime Time (audiobook) on my commute, it’s very helpful….I’m 56 and looking ahead at that next phase. I’m glad you found your faith. In case you haven’t read it, I have a book recommendation: An Altar in the World, a Geography of Faith, by Barbara Brown Taylor. It’s about spiritual practices, the sacred in the everyday parts of life. In any case, thanks for the good info in Prime Time!
Thank you for your honesty and congratulations on your new found relationship with God in the way of Jesus. There are so many like you who are seeing this relationship as a freedom FROM fear rather than a new path into new fears. The New Testament says that “perfect love casts out all fear,” and “in Christ there is no slave ore free, woman or man, etc….” I love how C.S. Lewis writes that “all truth is God’s truth” and how (paraphrasing) every religion has a bit of truth in it, otherwise humans would not be attracted to it, but the whole (there’s that word again!) the whole truth is Jesus. As we all live in the “now and not yet,” (C.S. Lewis) it is true we are positionally whole and perfect in God’s eyes, while practically “working out this salvation” (Bible) by striving to be whole, free of encumbering sin and in essence and action more like Jesus. Anne Lamott is an inspiring Christian feminist writer, and You may enjoy her writings, if you haven’t read them already.
Regarding women and the ultra-right wing, of which I am somewhat a part (surprise!), in many places, it is more a tradition for males to have leadership than a deep-seeded belief. The laypeople think differently than in the past as the evangelical trend toward in-depth personal Bible study has lead many more women, I particular, to think, read and pray for themselves….the tide is changing, and I think God is smiling.
I’m disappointed that a feminist icon such as Jane Fonda has decided to get “born again.” It saddens and disappoints me. I come from an oppressive Christian household and know that religion was created by men to service men and control women. You should, too. What happened to our progressive hero? Please rise above the religious crap. Is it because you are getting older and fear death and wish for a “heaven?” None exist. I hope logic prevails. Please don’t do this to us women, who are so sorely in need of feminist heroes of a certain age.
Julia, did you read my blog called “About My Faith”? I can’t believe you’d write this if you’d read it.
WOW Julia, Your “Feminism” seems to have left you graceless and sour. How sad. Whatever philosophy you are embracing might not be the blessing you may suppose it to be!
Julia, how do you know about the non existence of Heaven? And also being a feminist are you extremely happy and what work have you done?
I am very happy, Rana. What do you mean what work have I done? What sort of work? I don’t “know” about the non-existence of heaven. I “feel” that we live on in a form or energy. I feel my father and mother, for instance. They are present in some ways for me. But I don’t see them in some “place in the sky.”
Dear Jane, thank you for your reply. I actually directed that question to ‘Julia’, I am aware of all the wonderful work you have done and I admire you tremendously!! If we all dedicate our lives to serve a cause or causes the world would be a much more wonderful place to live in…….
Thank you for your wise post, “About My Faith.”
I think many people are missing the joy of God’s presence in their lives. It could be why almost 20 percent of the population in the US take anti-depressants. We are not far behind in Canada.
Without the presence of God (as you have so well elucidated in your blog) we are vulnerable to so much. I grew up in a fundamentally religious home with lots of abuse and misuse of God for control. I took a walk away from the God concept I was taught & tried other spiritual paths. I soon realized that it was all the same – when we surrender to God as in making a statement of faith to serve we experience a level of understanding & joy that moves us in ways that only God can. I hope more women of influence will continue to speak out about what a God realized life really is and what joy and peace a God filled life brings us.
I have been a fan for many years. I started my own aerobics career because of you in the 80’s and then took up Yoga because of you and now that I am 53 I am enjoying your positivity & insights into aging. I have been embracing QiGong for the last year & have experienced so many gifts from this.
Peace & smiles,
I enjoyed reading your post and deeply connected with your spiritual journey.
I too grew up as a practical atheist. I only recently came to Christianity, through recovery from addiction and the gift of the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, which opened me up to spirituality.
I have now become a part of a beautiful Christian community and have grown to love my Christian friends.
The main problem I have struggled with since becoming a Christian is this: How can I maintain my intellectual integrity while adopting the essential Christian beliefs of the incarnation and resurrection of the Christ (among others) ?
I found that my rational mind was unable to accept that certain supernatural events (i.e birth without intercourse and bodily resuscitation) occurred 2000 years ago, without incontrovertible evidence of the same.
I was fortunate, however, to read two books which provided me with a way to maintain my intellectual integrity and begin to approach these essential Christian beliefs (The Case for God, by Karen Armstrong, and The Creed, by Luke Timothy Johnson).
The jist of the solution to my problem was to realize that the search for evidence to support the historical veracity of the Christian story was, in fact, a Red herring. It was more important that I concentrate on what profound truths about God and the world were expressed in the mythology of the Christian story. I learned that mythology and metaphor were not other words for “lie”, but rather powerful ways of expressing truths that are beyond human understanding – in some ways, far superior to logic or historical reasoning, and no less “true”.
I have no doubt that profoundly significant events did happen 2000 years ago, but I never will know with certainty what, exactly, those events were. I do know, however, that those events are much greater in scope than merely contradicting the laws of biology ! These events mark the beginning of a true story about how God, the mysterious source of all existence, has entered the world in order to save it, in a way that we cannot understand. It is a story about love and hope. It is a story that I can enter into without having to sign an affidavit stating that I believe certain facts incontrovertibly to be true !
With this in mind, I have been able to let the Holy Spirit into my heart. I have begun the process of letting the spirit of God and Jesus transform me. I remind myself as often as possible that I am not the center of the universe, but rather am a small, insignificant part of a much greater story, where my significance comes not from what I accomplish, but rather from the mere fact that I am a child of a loving God.
I am grateful that you have taken the courageous step of sharing your views on the matter of faith and provided the opportunity for others to reflect on this often unfortunately divisive, yet profoundly important, matter.
Marc, (& Jane, see what a great discussion your blog has led to??)
Thanks for writing such a great post. My husband is fairly atheist now, due to the same “rational” struggles you had. It pains me. My own faith has evolved (as Jane says, it’s a work in progress). I have basically resolved “not to resolve” all of my questions, because maybe that is what’s known as “the mystery of faith”.
I am at now peace not understanding all the complexities of the universe, or the inner workings of neuro- science. I accept without being able to fully explain, the eternal appeal of art or music, or how I felt giving birth, nursing our children, or saying good bye to my father on his death bed. There are inexplicable, “metaphysical” events in our world, and my “rational” mind has decided that’s just fine. (In fact, it’s great!)
I will read your suggested books. Thanks again for your thought filled post here.
Hi Jane! I enjoyed reading your post. Many people share similar stories about trying to get a handle on the Christian experience. It seems like the initial euphoria is often squashed by the rigid practice that is taught in many churches. I understand exactly what you mean. I have been a Christian for about 33 years and have seen this pattern many times over the years. Ultimately I discovered that the problem lies in the fact that any scripture in the Bible has 3 potential interpretations and those interpretations are often confused with one another.
1) The Historical Interpretation. This shows what actually happened in the historical setting many centuries ago and gives some information regarding the historical event.
2) The Doctrinal Interpretation. This shows how the verse is to be applied in time. Does it apply only to the past or is there also a present or future application that should be taken literally? And how does this apply to all Christians everywhere today?
3) The Spiritual Interpretation. This allows the verse to be painted with a very broad stroke so that a Christian can get from the verse something that is specific to his/her Christian life. It may not mesh with the Historical or Doctrinal Interpretations at all. It is limited only by the creative influences and desires of the Holy Spirit and is used by God to make the Christian experience personal and fulfilling. It is what we typically experience in the beginning of our journey with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is water from the divine well made available to the thirsty soul. Most people spend so much time trying to gain an intellectual understanding of the scriptures that they wind up missing the personal message God has sent to their own soul. Once I understood this I was able to let much of the noise of human opinion fade out and was again able to hear the still, small voice of God in my life. This seems like a simple thing but it ends up being the difference between sitting and learning at the feet of Jesus with Mary or complaining about people who don’t keep the “traditions of the elders” or every “jot and tittle” with the Pharisees. And as you know, these guys were no friends of the precious grace of God.
May we both continue to enjoy the presence of the Lord until the day He calls for us! I’m glad you came aboard for the ride!!! Blessings……
I think that your analysis of God, and Christianity were over spun.
Your view of feminism, and God’s creation of woman, When God created Adam in his image, he had all the characteristics, of man, and woman, it was when God took woman from Adam’s body, that he took certain characteristics, and gave them to woman. God never made Eve less of a person than Adam, he made them equal, but with different characteristics, both being equally important in their own role.
Unfortunately some men, who are most disrespectful use certain scripture to validate their own cause. God says wives submit yourselves to your husbands, but it goes on to say, likewise, so should the husband submit to his wife. We are also to be in agreement. Again, he says, husbands love your wives as Christ love the church. So if this is true, and men follow it, then we are fortunate to submit ourselves, because we should be getting much in return. Man being the protector and the head of the household, he will protect his wife, and provide for ALL OF HER NEEEDS. This was a nice arrangement.
It is obvious that you have put much effort forward to understanding truth, and I think the reason you were overwhelmed by others needing to understand your position, was because of who you were, and certain issues from your past. I think they very much wanted to believe you were now a follower.
As true believers we rejoice when a non-believer becomes a believer. As the angels in heaven rejoice. Forgiveness is given, and the past is left behind.
Once we become a follower of Christ and have been saved, God sends the holy spirit to dwell in us. He intervenes on our behalf, and pleads our case before our Father in heaven.
We can intellectualize faith, but God prefers us to come as innocent as a child, hungry for his word, and desiring his love.
We cannot follow mankind, for they are corruptible, and weak. We must rely on God’s word to direct, and guide us. When we spend time talking to Him, or mediating, we feel His presence, and we see Him guiding us. Ad Dei Gloriam.
Just stumbled onto your blog Jane, but I like what you have written here about your faith.
It is a journey.
The way I see it is, it is a journey to know our Creator(in a personal,intimate, spiritual way) as we are known “by” Him….He knows us very,very well, flaws and all….being our Creator
Him, being the Father who “gave” us His Son as a gift
The gift of love from our Father was Jesus
Jesus called Him “Father” so that’s fine with me 🙂 “Father” denoting: “source of origin”
And the Son(Jesus)gave US a gift when He ressurected…
the Holy Spirit “of” God our Father, so that if we “receive” this gift of the Spirit, we too can know our Father as He(Jesus)knows Him
Jesus wants the same for us…He’s not stingy 🙂
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)
It’s all about the Spirit…of God…our Father, Creator…who created us…both male and female…in His likeness, image..
…so His nature is that He has characteristics that are both masculine and feminine in completion and wholeness, and as our Creator made us the reflections of His image….male and female
Kinda like different facets of a diamond, we all were created to reflect a special “facet” of His nature…we can’t do it alone…we need one another to reflect Father’s light
to reflect His love and truth
So, like the overused cliche “let go and let God” we do need to let God be God and teach us the ways of truth…allow Jesus the Son to teach us His ways and ask the Spirit (of God)to fill our beings and show us how to live in wholeness, completeness, oneness and unity…
…which leads to experiencing His divine JOY
…we can, when we KNOW Him
Because Father God wants us all to “know” Him personally and love Him as much as we are “known” and loved personally “by” Him
And He will teach us and show us the “way, the truth and the life” if we really want it…
keep on keeping on the journey,try not to look back and try not to get off the path which leads to life…with God’s Spirit helping you, you will stay on that path, even tho it’s seemingly lonely at times…
It was for Jesus too…
Well,that’s kinda it…in my pondered opinion..
I was looking at CNN, came across the article about Ted Turner and your marriage to him, very interesting. Your mention of bible religious faith was very interesting. Jesus says, “13Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby. 7:14For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it.
I belong to the “Church of Christ”(Romans 16:16). we speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent. “if any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema.” Galation’s 1:8-9.
The one major subject that you may want to look at is Baptism for the forgiveness of sins. Is this necessary for salvation.
The Bible says, ” Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. 16:16He that believeth and IS BAPTIZED shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned. 16
If you want you may want to look at churchofchrist.org, and one of the best most explanatory websites is http://www.beavertonchurchofchrist.”
Larry Ciampa B.S. Business Admin., Graduate of Preston Road School of Preaching, Dallas, Texas
I hope this message can be understood properly (what is no easy after 2.000 years of twisting the truth)because censorhip is the weapon of ignorance.
The Jesus figure has been bad represented by the different churches. He chose some friends to preach his message. And some of them decided to bury a part of the truth.The womankind was outlawed, despite the women were the unique who believed in Jesus´ Resurrection and the first ones to see it.
On the other hand, there is a clear relation between the UFO phenomenom and all religions.
If you read the Bible and study the UFO cases you see this link.
I understand Jesus like the best person on Earth history,and probably a saviour of all of us.
But there is something it torments me: the guilty complex. Why are we all guilty since birth?.
In my opinion, God is not exactly our direct father, but a far origin of all.
If God is Love, why he sacrificed his “single” son?.
Why this god is so cruel in the way the Bible tells.
Maybe this god is not the God but a minor entity with ups and downs.
If you read other gospels you find some clues of Jesus that the official gospels hides.
We feel in our guilty conscience that to be good as Jesus we must die and being crucified like Jesus.What it is the trap.
I am agreed with the searching of perfection.
Perfection (in a deep sense)is the way to happiness, beautifulness and true love.
And being indestructible.
We must object to all “divine” or human entity we oblige us to be a sad puppet.
My life is the strangest journey ever, and I would like to find a higher spirit to share my findings and goals to change things. If you change the minds you change the world and I thing cinema is a powerful beacon to start the miracle.
A kiss to Jane.
Having just written a book called ‘The Gay Jesus’, after spending a lifetime reading any and every thing on religion I have been able to get my hands on at this point, I felt your article on your religion here in your blog ‘sang’ throughout the worlds of darkness, with the true light of one persons’ dedicated search, for answers in these realms. I hope to make a serious/comedic play of my book someday, but you could easily lead a worthwhile effort at the head of a new church movement! You never cease to amaze me of your ability to have your button correctly on the events that govern current affairs. Sincerely, Michael Brooks http://www.amazon.com/Gay-Jesus-Michael-K-Brooks/dp/0978617940/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373933111&sr=1-2&keywords=The+Gay+Jesus
I read your piece on your faith. Being that John 3:3 states “one cannot inherit the Kingdom of God unless you are born again” I wonder why you reject this? If I read you right. With all due respect, one cannot commune with God nor His word if you hold onto your past life and onto your pride. God does not change because we want Him to. We change because God allows us to. Do not be deceived with Satan’s oldest trick in the book and claim that we all have the capability to be God (Genesis 3) which is a new age theology. No Christian “feels” they are a Christian, they know they are Christian because they believe in the person and work of Jesus Christ, this faith given to them by God, not of man’s will, but of God’s will. If have faith by our own will, then as you mentioned one will always question their faith because of the deadly sin called pride.
Remove your pride and you shall see God!
Butch–I’m working on pride…and judgementalism. xx
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Let me start off by saying I admire you immensely (I promise this will not end with a “but” or any manner of criticism), I think you are a great role model for women and girls everywhere, and I know, despite a few moronic detractors, history will be very kind to you. I have seen you on Broadway, and in the movies, and your work is nothing short of inspirational, and although I’ve just found your blog, I am excited for all the new things to learn that are sure to await me within it. With regard to your faith, I know our society thinks this is supposed to be a private thing, I don’t agree. I completely understand the feeling of longing for understanding you say you felt at the beginning of your journey. I’m turning 44 this year, and that feeling is getting stronger in me too. I ask you this, why not Islam, or Judaism, or Hindu? What was it about those gods that made you discard them as a faith? Why Christianity? I present to you that all of the wonder and spirituality you seek can be found in the universe itself, and I urge you to keep searching. Please consider reading the works of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Lawrence Krauss, just to name a few of the best. The universe is a magical and awe inspiring place, and to put such a finite period at the end of it, such as god/Jesus is, would to be such a tragic thing for an open mind such as yours. I won’t write a book here, I only wanted to let you know that there IS an alternative to the thought suppressing, mind controlling, illogical answers that religion gives you. It’s called truth, it’s called science.
With utmost respect and admiration,
I so loved reading about your spiritual journey, Jane. It is amazing the gems of wisdom and pure spirit that reside in the Bible. The problem with organized religion is that they are not seeking wholeness, but spiritual elitism- they often fail to see the forest for the trees. When you see with the eyes of Spirit, you discover God’s true message and meaning hidden in plain sight. As promised in the Word, “ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be open unto you” when we begin to allow God to open the doors to grace and blessings for us, miracles take place. God also ensures our success in all things, he intends for us to be crowned with his bounty and plenty in Isaiah 62:3 “You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.”. The same is given in the 23rd Psalm “…You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows…”, in receiving the anointing we receive God’s presence and Holy Spirit which manifests with gifts such as healing and prophecy. I am of the belief that the reason the Bible is so complex, and at times seemingly contradictory in its statements is because there is a path and way laid out for everyone- fundamentalist to spiritually inspired and everything in between; as Jesus said “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” We all have a place with God, no matter what path we take they all lead home. Christ is the way of love, and if you love you know Christ who is the hope of all humanity. Christ in Greek means “anointed”, and to love freely and authentically is to bear this holy anointing, and we are to take up our cross and follow him for true love, in its purest sense, is sacrifice. Each of us is given a cross to bear in this life, and also a special grace that bears fruit in our lives and those lives of those we touch through the beauty of our suffering- just as the grain of sand becomes the pearl, so are we pressed into a masterpiece of God’s making that will adorn our spirit.
I am so thankful that you have posted this, Jane. I get very upset when I hear Christians placing their expectations and requirements on you. As a Christian myself, it hurts and frustrates me at the accusations they make. I apologize for the picture we present as a body.
I like what you say about becoming whole, not perfect. I used to struggle to be perfect. The more I struggled, the worse I became. When I had let go to be who I am through Christ, life became so much more fulfilling and whole.
There are some concepts you have which I don’t agree, but you have come through so much that to be where you are is miraculous. God is still working on me, and I will let Him do the work He wants to do in you for that is the better way. If He doesn’t feel the need to change your view, but works on mine; let it be so.
Hi Jane, now I know why I always defend you with a gut reaction: you and I are very similar. And I speak from having defended you rabidly when people sent me emails to boycott a movie due to your Vietnam visit. I am a veteran of the U.S. Navy and I also walked across the country on the Great Peace March in 1985. Like you though, I consider myself more a citizen of the Truth, a country I will always be seeking until the day my physical eyes close, and a sojourner, as Jacob said in Genesis. I am not sure I want to belong to a world that has its Darfurs and Rawandas, and babies dying of AIDS while movie stars buy fleets of Rolls Royces. And yet, there is something that glimmers behind it all telling me that there is something greater. I, too, lost my mother at age 12 (I did not know this happened to you until I looked your biography up, after defending you with such gut reaction). I had an amazing, out-of-the-blue rebirth experience at the age of 50 when I was nowhere near an organized religion! I knew Jesus came to me in my sleep and breathed the Holy Spirit and eternal life into me. Before then I was into all kinds of New Age beliefs. Like you, Jane, I sought out structure and joined a Bible study. Like you, I found that I felt truth in many of the revelations Christians speak of, and yet I do NOT get confirmation from God on ALL of them. I was lead to study the Bible on my own (have read it in a year), and meditated, asking Him for truth, and found that many of the thoughts I get go like this: look at the most original translation for the truth. For instance: “only begotten” or “His unique Son” often get mistranslated as “God’s ONLY Son” which is a HUGE difference!!! God still has yet to confirm for me that Jesus IS God, which is the foundational “belief” they constantly pound in at the Bible Study (which I still attend but with an open mind aimed at hearing God’s reaffirmation). Like Jane, I want answers directly from the Creator and Jesus said to ask, knock and know that you will receive. From God, not man. Eve is a metaphor for us not going directly to the Source and letting someone come in between us and God. That is dangerous territory and if anyone should know that, it is Christians with the story of Adam and Eve at their belief’s very foundation. Religion can and often is an idol which can fool us more than any other idol. Jesus, after conquering death, revealed himself first to Mary Magdalene as confirmed by a MAN who fought with his brother over who would sit next to Jesus in heaven, so we know he wasn’t lying. There is no room for male chauvinism in “the church.” And if we look up the meaning of “ekklesia,” it means the “called out ones.” Jane HAS been born again (@ Butch) and so have I. We have been called out. And as long as we keep our eyes on the prize–knowing God and our brother, Jesus, who showed us The Way–by asking, would God let us keep going down a wrong path? The Way, as Christ-related commands were referred to right after he rose, is also how Siddartha Buddha and Lao Tszu referred to their moral compass and pathway. Jane is asking and she is being shown. So am I. And the Holy Spirit shows us to our souls when we ask it to. Experiencing God is different than just talking about God. (And Jane, I do refer to God as “He” but I always getting the feeling that Holy Spirit is feminine, and again, we humans just can’t fathom the ways of the Creator until we are less human and more angel, you think?)
God has told me many times that earth is a proving ground for angels who fell and we fell. We were completely separated from God except for the Will of the Creator to forgive us and let us learn from this devastating experience. Being human is that chance. Let us not lose it in the bickering of theology and human-made rules and interpretations and mistranslations (which Satan loves to use against us and God). And God has even hinted at me, with a smile, that even Satan may change his mind and want to claim his soul and be whole.
I still see Barbarella being lifted by the angel asking him how he could be so forgiving after what had happened the day before. But the angel replied that angels don’t remember yesterday’s sins. I can’t wait till I have that kind of grace circulating in my every cell.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jane. God has blessed you and still blesses you and I hope to meet you one day! Let Holy Spirit flow.
P.S. Jesus commanded the woman who was bleeding for 12 years to “Be Whole.” I wonder that Jesus released our souls when he went “below” and now, in rebirth, we are learning to reclaim them. Until then, we are not whole, and try to fill that “hole” with everything, including religion, but rarely with really experiencing God.
I was overjoyed when I first heard you had become a Christian. Now that I have read about your experience however, I am not sure of your conversion. Many religions of the world speak of “many paths to the one true reality, God” yet Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father BUT BY ME”. So either He is the Lord, or he was a liar (and a stupid one for dying for His declaration) or a real nut-case, deluded. He also said “If you love me, follow my commandments.” That’s pretty clear. If you are following the precepts of human beings rather than the Lord, that is putting them ahead of Him. I hope you have no peace until you find the Prince of Peace. I hope He will present Himself to you in a way you can’t ignore. You are as valuable a human being as any on earth, so it makes me sad that I have defended you as being truly Christian when I find that you still have other gods before you. He also said Behold, I stand at the door and knock. Jane, all you have to do is open that door and let Him in. Real Christianity is the ONLY faith on earth that does not require works or any sacrifice on the part of the person, because the one perfect sacrifice has already been made on your behalf – by Him. Please accept this marvelous gift.
I’ve very much respected you over the years but am sad to read this blog.
You had said years ago you knew Jehovah’s witnesses were honest upright people and had the right religion. I find your lengthy pursuit for God in various religions unnecessary then. If you can see that in JWs that they have a unique lifestyle that is both rewarding and brings themselves to a close relationship with Jehovah God (the only living God) then why bother wasting your precious time and life chasing after man made religions that are only idealizations of ones opinions? These other religions do not guide their followers by Bible scriptures. The Bible is Gods word, not mans, it is penned by a group of men – but much like a secretary pens or now-a-days types a letter or document for their employer/boss, these Bible writers simply wrote what God instructed them too. It is not their instructions in the Bible, it’s Gods. There are so so many scriptures to prove these and all points needed to be 100% confidant in living your life in accord with the Bible. Jehovah’s Witnesses can study with you helping you gain the most precious thing any of us can attain:
A REAL close relationship with our Heavenly Father Jehovah God, and the opportunity to see the fulfillment of Revelation 21:3,4. You Jane can receive everlasting life in paradise!
Perhaps you can pray to God for help in discovering the real life.
I write this with all due respect, but yet candor and determination to help.
I know I’ve found the right way of life for me, I hope you will too!
All the best.
I was very pleased to find your beautiful website in answer to my question, “Is Jane Fonda a Christian?” I had heard that you had said a Christian prayer at a peace gathering several years ago which had upset some people. Jane, I respect you very much. You can only be a real person if you upset some people some of the time. I was in college, at Kansas State and heard you speak. You wanted us as students to THINK and not just accept what we were told and the world the way that it is. I have sometimes wondered why is it some brilliant people cannot “hear” the call of Jesus, the spiritual tug in their life. I am so happy that you have been very honest and open in hearing and questioning and responding to Jesus’ call. Jesus wants us to love him with our hearts and our minds. I am also very happy that so many people have written such beautiful and lovingly supportive comments to you. I have always felt that you have been unfairly treated with a lack of forgiveness for what happened during a very confusing and unjust war. I was happy at the news of your adoptive daughter and her blossoming into such a beautiful person. Congratulations on your recent lifetime achievement award, you certainly deserve it. May God continue to bless you, and may you live a long life. I think that if the world had more people like you the world would be a very different place. I think you are the greatest.
I really appreciate your transparency about your faith here on your website. It seems, from your post, that some Christians have been judgmental and pushy toward you. I am really sorry for that. I do not believe that Jesus ever intends for His followers to treat anyone with disrespect or finger-pointing.
I do think many people try to put Jesus/God in a box and make Him their own creation. That is when some pastors and congregations try to force their personal beliefs on others. I happen to have a very Godly pastor who reminds our congegration
Sorry Jane- I did not finish my comment. I hit the submit button too soon!
(Cont.) I happen to have a Godly pastor who reminds the congregation to see if what he telling us it true– by reading our Bibles/scripture for ourselves. That is really the only way to find the truth.
I know that regardless of what others say, if you are open to Christ and continue to read God’s word— He will continue to lead you.
I will continue to pray for you as you research and read the Bible for yourself.
By the way— I do think God uses women in great ways to reach others! There were great women in the Bible and wonderful women today that He uses to draw others closer to Him!
May you continue to draw closer to him and feel His love and presence in your life!
Hope all is well. I and my mother and father and aunt are all big fans. So happy for you!!
Dear Jane, I heard the quote on TV two days ago that you quoted , “It’s more important to be interested than interesting”. What a revelation! Please go to http://www.passtheword.org. Read the works of Fenelon, Bohme, and Molinos. There is more! Bless!
Tonight I stumbled onto your page ABOUT MY FAITH and read it with great interest. I was moved by your words and on finishing, felt the desire to speak encouragement to you. However, in all honesty, instead of stumbling through inadequate words of my own, I would much rather simply share with you one who has been a great encouragement to me. I am referring to Dr. Ravi Zacharias. I do not know if you already know of him, but if not, it is my sincere hope that you will find an opportunity to check him out and that he might be an encouragement to you as well! His web address is http://www.rzim.org and you can also find many of his messages on YouTube. I just finished listening to one earlier and so I am including the link to it for you- http://youtu.be/b0GtdFuP-7c
I hope you have the chance to listen and enjoy it.
God bless you Jane.
Dear Ms. Fonda
I am so sorry that your early experience as a Christian was publicized against your will. Our relationship with God is the most personal and intimate and heartfelt and transformative experience/relationship we can possibly have. While God is love (patient, good, kind,-I Corinthians 13 ), and Jesus is the most “perfect” model of that, often we Christians aren’t.
Hi Jane, I’m sorry that, as a celebrity, you are evidently besieged with religious folks trying to convince you to embrace all sorts of things as a Christian. I know it can be overwhelming. I have seen most of your movies through the years and it’s a great collection in many ways. You’re surely one of the more gifted actresses of recent decades. I understand that you had a bittersweet relationship with your dad, as portrayed somewhat in On Golden Pond. I was quite close to my dad but since we were so much alike, he did, with good intentions, try to purge weaknesses he saw in me, which he had largely overcome. That was a bit rough at times. In any case, before he died, we collaborated on a Christian daily devotional book. It is titled: The Anchor, by Steve and Tony Fortosis. You can find it easily on a site like Amazon. In its entirety it is a down to earth collection of spiritual thoughts and stories that illustrate our pilgrimage and life lessons learned. I would be honored if you’d consider reading it. God bless.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 is my life verse.
I have been a Christian since about 12 years of age, but I spent many years just reading portions of the Bible. Though I have been a regular church goer for all of my life, until just a few years ago, I had not read through the entire Bible. Now, I am about to go through it for the third time. I love reading God’s word! I regret not having read the entire Bible in my earlier years.
Romans 10:17 is true. When I began reading through the Bible, I did so with an open mind and heart. I did not start the process with any preconceived notions. I did not bring along the world’s wisdom. In the past, I had been guilty of looking at the world and attempting to impose the world’s wisdom on the Bible. If you allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart through the Bible, you must begin by applying God’s holy word to the world, not the reverse.
I started reading in Genesis. Many preachers over the years had given me the impression that as Christians today, we should focus on the New Testament. It is true that the focus of the New Testament is for the church age, but the Old Testament prepares our hearts to receive the gospel of Christ. Everything in the Old Testament points to Christ. By beginning in the Old Testament, I began to learn more about God, the Father. I came to understand Him better.
My faith increased the more I read. Through the Holy Spirit, my knowledge increased. My love for my Lord increased. I experienced a deeper closeness to God and a comfort and peace that was greater than I have had before.
I believe in order to walk in close fellowship with Christ, it is necessary to see things as He sees them. He is God, after all. He created us. The purpose of our life down here is to worship and glorify Him.
All we have to do to become a saved child of God is to to accept Jesus Christ, His son, as our Savior and Lord. To accept Him means to believe that He is God’s son, that He came to the earth to die for our sins and that He rose on the third day and ascended into heaven. Today He sits at the right hand of God, the Father, making intercession for us. Then we repent of our sins, and He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. To repent means to change our minds and hearts, to change directions, to turn from our sinful lives and follow Christ. When we accept Jesus and repent of our sins, God sends the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts, and it is His job to point us to Christ and to help us grow in our spiritual walk with Christ. Once we are a saved child of God, we are promised a home in heaven when we die, to live forever with Christ!!
To be a true follower of Christ, we cannot pick and choose what portions of Scripture we believe. The entire Bible is His word. Being a Christian is not about following a set of rules. If we have truly given our hearts to Christ, we want to live to please Him. The Ten Commandments are a guide to reveal to us our sin. We can never keep them without the help of the Holy Spirit. It is only through His guidance that we can live the Christian life.
Wow! It is a long way down here to make a comment. I guess being famous has its drawbacks. The thing most people want has its hazards. Yet when you think about it, the most famous person in the world is just a pygmy compared to the privilege of being a child of God – “behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God; yet the world does not know (recognise) us.”
I think Jane, even when you are famous, there is no need to complicate what should be simple. I didn’t need the diagnosis of the Council of Nicea to come to the conclusion of what is clearly stated in the New Testament – Jesus is God; otherwise, why would the disciples worship Him? Why would the Apostles state it so plainly Eg. Rom.9:5, 1Tim.3:16. When I hear jargon like – ““God is not God’s name. God is our name for that which is greater than all and yet present in all.” – And your own words, “I believe that Christ was the personal incarnation of the divine wisdom in everything, including every form of spiritual expression.” – Please, please, whatever happened to the simplicity of looking to God as my Heavenly Father, as Jesus taught me to do. Try going to sleep at night, speaking to your Heavenly Father – learn Psalm 23 again, and put it in terms of your Heavenly Father – it is our privilege to do this; this is what our Lord Jesus has opened for us – “through Whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” May God bless you Jane.
Sorry that I am getting to this blog post nearly six years late, but I just happened to be studying for a trivia tournament and stumbled across a question that required that I look up the Fonda clan on Wikipedia.
Lo and behold I see that near the end of your entry it says you are now a Christian with a link to this post. I realize this blog was some time ago, and you no doubt have grown and evolved as we all do in our faith over this time. You may not be in the same place as reflected here, but I figured I might leave a comment in case you actually look at them……
I totally relate to your expressed distaste for attempts to harden/flatten/demystify the Christian faith with rigidity of doctrine and an overly mental perspective. IMO, This distasteful approach is found where folks are either insecure in their own faith/doubt or are outright religionists – attempting to control and dominate others via spiritual abuse usually to gain either power, money, or both.
I love Jesus. I am a BIG BIG fan. I am also a follower. What’s most important though is HIS love for me. He is God’s attempt to relate to us.
I can see you have a good solid foundation in Feminism and do not want to cede ground by calling God by masculine pronouns or viewing a man, Jesus, as God. I can understand and respect that given the centuries of abuse by those wielding God or the name of Jesus in a manner to hurt or subjugate women.
However, you might want to consider that Jesus spoke Aramaic, because that is what the people spoke in his area. For God to relate to us, he must appear in a form and speak in a way that we can understand. For that culture, at that time, God sending Jesus as a man was receivable by both men and women. The point is love of course. As you so eloquently stated, Jesus loved, encouraged, and promoted women which was very novel in the history of mankind. Had he come as a women and done this, it would not be as remarkable. Men can learn from a woman how to treat women, but how much more receivable is a man’s example for a man how to treat a woman. And there is no better example than Jesus.
Throughout the early church women were widely seen in all roles in the non-institutional church. There were truly no roles forbidden to women. Once religion set in though, it was a different story which you rightly identify formally as the start of the Roman Catholic Church. All throughout history reformers attempt to break out of the stifling religion of the institutional church (Martin Luther, John Calvin, George Fox, John Wesley, etc…) up to our present time with the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. Each time women move back closer to their rightful role alongside men as equals assuming the same types of roles. And not only do women feel unhindered and vital, but the faithful generally have a more personal, real, and direct relationship with God each time people try to break out of the man-made, religious, denominational, institutional forms.
But I want to ask you to consider not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Jesus is the key, the center, the relating one. He is how we can relate physically and mentally to a spiritual God. Our spirit can relate to God’s Spirit, but we are not disembodied spirits. We need Jesus.
Sure, men (and women) have used the concept of God and the name of Jesus to oppress people throughout the history of the Christian movement sadly, but true faith and a relationship with Jesus is separate and distinct from the institutions that claim his name. In fact, I would go so far as to say that these institutions are anti-Christ. I don’t mean anything special by this term. I just mean the institutions themselves are opposite to the teaching of Jesus. Empire building is putting something man-made up in front of that which is God-made – namely the Kingdom of God.
All forms of organizational power are an affront to the the only organization that matters – the Kingdom of God. When we are participating in the Kingdom of God is when we are loving people, relating to people, including people. Relationship is the key. Jesus showed this example to us. Our job as followers is to point people to Him as the model and savior of mankind. Jesus is love. Love is the Savior. Love is the only way this world of people will survive in eternity. Eventually by the end everyone will come to this worldview – Love.
There are some people who love Jesus and follow Him in spite of the denomination they reside in, but the institution itself is religion and death no matter the denomination. Some denominations claiming the name of Jesus have less institutional forms than others, but to the degree that they are incorporated is the degree to which they put themselves against the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is within you! Communicating, relating, and living amongst other followers of Jesus is very healthy, but you don’t have to “belong” to a “church”. You are the church! You don’t have to go to a building. But it is important to gather informally with other believers. Once an informal gathering of believers incorporates with the state, sets up a bank account, buys property, and/or starts creating bylaws or rules to govern itself, RUN do not walk to the nearest exit! This is a sure sign man is at work rather than God. Jesus did not give us this example.
Jesus gathered with the believer and the unbeliever – in groups and individually – in homes and in public. But he never started a “synagogue” or a “government” or a “corporation”.
I love the spirit of wonder that comes across in you through this blog post. Your desire to stay fluid, and your heart for women. Your opening comment about trying to become perfect is so common. The institutional forms constantly harp on behavior and performance. This is the natural outgrowth of institutions that are man-made. God doesn’t want you to change yourself to become perfect. If your eyes are on you, then you are bound to fail. Your eyes should be on Jesus. It’s about relationship NOT performance. It’s all who you know! That relationship will result in different performance. Not the other way around. Jesus is how we know with our head who God is. Our spirit can then relate to the true Spirit of God that was in Jesus.
I would like to recommend for you:
– Soren Kierkegaard especially “The Sickness unto Death”
– Leo Tolstoy’s non-fiction work – not the least of which is “The Kingdom of God is within You”
– Paul Tillich – “The Courage to Be”
– Ivan Illich (my handle here) – Audio of the CBC interview of him is available on line in a couple places- “The Corruption of Christianity” and the preceding book by David Caley – “Ivan illich in Conversation”
– And last bust certainly not least Michael Frost, Debra and Alan Hirsch – all their books are wonderful – those books authored together and separately. The one Debra and Alan Hirsch did together called “Untamed” is P.H.E.N.O.M.E.N.A.L.!!!
…would love to enter into conversation if any of this interests you. God Bless and “good luck” in your journey!
Judy Bou Kheir
I’ve been a Christian since I was 6 years old, and I’m now 56. The most profound experience I’ve ever had in my Christian walk was right after the birth of my son, Jason, 20 years ago. Our family of 6 was struggling financially with my husband’s start of a new business, and I remember getting up early to feed my baby. I couldn’t go back to sleep. I was worried sick about money and how we would make it with 4 children. While we were living in a custom home (my husband’s job was as a Vice President before he started his own business), I knew that right after the birth of a baby I certainly couldn’t go straight back to work.
It had been a while since I had prayed or even involved God in my life, but there in the middle of my family room, at 4:30 am that morning, I got on my knees and told God,”I haven’t walked with you lately, but if you will help me with this problem, I promise you I will walk with you the rest of my life.”
Being true to my word, I began a Bible study by myself every morning as the baby would take his morning nap. Something miraculous happened. While I was reading all the amazing stories of Jesus, I decided to read the first few pages of the Book of Acts. I was overcome with the story of the Holy Spirit falling on the people in the Upper Room, and I got on my knees as asked God to give me what those people had.
I’ve never been the same since. And yes, I am So So grateful to know Jesus in a personal way and to understand his purpose (at least for Judy, his purpose) was to give me a model and way to understand God in human form. I love that and the love of Jesus has filled me in a life-changing way from that point forward.
God bless you on your journey. Each person’s walk with God is a personal journey, and I try not to get into philosophical discussions, or right or wrong. I just know who Jesus is for me, and am so grateful I know Him.
Love and Blessings to you, my friend!!
Your words are beautiful and refreshing. It saddens me when humanity and even conventionaL Christianity reduces the Almighty, Glorious Alpha and Omega to a do and don’t list of how to know God. It’s best said for me in Romans 8…
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 KJV)
I’ve just read about your stand for women’s equality worldwide, and I thank you. I’m thankful for every voice that stands against the injustice and oppression of patriarchy. I’ve also recently read of your faith journey. I thought you might find this resource encouraging: http://www.amazon.com/God-Like-Meet-Separating-Traditional-ebook/dp/B00NP913IG/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1/186-1025916-9637454?ie=UTF8&refRID=1AQYN8J4Q5GZ857KRMYF
I’ll bet Jane never actually reads all these comments. I mean, how could she? How could any one person who is already so active in many other causes have time to read through all the comments on each one of her posts here, plus on her other social media forums? In any case, I just want to add my hopes that Jane has not been discouraged by other believers. I’ve found my fellow Christians to be some of the worst enemies to my faith. I realize that’s ironic, and unfortunate, but I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about and have also found that to be true. I continually have to remind myself that God is separate and distinct from those who may claim to represent Him here on earth… so much higher, purer, nobler, more loving, more forgiving, more gracious, more accepting, more righteous. I’m not sure why “the church” is often so messed-up in its representation of God, but I just try to focus on what is lasting and real instead of all the games that people play.
As a young man I lusted for Jane Fonda. A lot. I know I’m not the only one who did. But I’m glad to say that as an older man I’ve matured and learned at least a few things about being self-controlled and about regarding women as precious and wonderful daughters of God, worthy of great admiration, honor and respect. Jane can still turn my head, for sure, but I’m even more attracted to her character now. I respect the fact that she has stood up for what she believes in, regardless of the enemies that made, and has done so wholeheartedly.
I suspect that part of what drew Jane to her faith in Christ was the incredible forgiveness and acceptance offered there. I know that does for me! God must love Jane a lot, and even more than that, I believe He LIKES her — feels proud of her, admires what she’s overcome and accomplished in life, and can’t wait to welcome her home one day into His loving, healing embrace.
God bless Jane Fonda.
Thank you, Greg. I actually do read through my blog comments–MYSELF!!! So there. Appreciate what you wrote. xx
Jane first hello .
After reading your post here my heart saddens .You seem to make your sex of being female as some how important to faith . The issue isn’t male or female it’s we all sinned and cannot undo the sin we have done .The crimes against God .Salvation is a free gift God who came in the flesh offers you and me.When your dead being female or male matters not on heaven or hell .1 john 1 9 If you confess your sin Jesus is just and faithful to forgive them all .So simple Jesus God paid your sins on the cross..The bible all you need but JANE You seem to be like most you want truth to be your way .The bible proves itself as truth .There no need for any other book or ideology ..It’s a love story God seek after us sinners and offering his love to all But few will accept His way The narrow way ..Jane many groups as do people take pieces of the bible and throw out the rest .Example Catholicism does this .They accept some of the bible then they run after themselves .Jane God does not allow many truths .He gave a book the bible .God love story Jesus said I am the only way only truth .Jane, Jesus will not accept your truth or my truth .I believe not because I think it is truth ,but because it is true .Jane a love story to us all .. http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0085/0085_01.asp The simple truth so easy a child can accept it .Jane don’t make it complex . 🙂
Jane one last thing if something true why do you care if it male or female who said it .. Truth is truth .I tell this too people when I am out witnessing .I get well you are white and that’s white people truth .I says I don’t care what color Jesus was .The truth is all that matter .Escaping hell and receiving heaven is the point knowing the truth. . .Your sex or race is all detraction to cause one to reject biblical truth .To lose everything and by ones own free will.Too die spurning God pardon from our sins … This is what life is about to become born again .Jane Jesus on the cross was all about you be saved from hell .http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/1048/1048_01.asp All about you .
First let me say how cool is to have this opportunity to speak with you. My wife Be Ke and I have always been huge fans. Thank you for all the hard work and the great art. Thank you for making us laugh and most importantly thank you for making us think. 🙂
So I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve never been at all interested in reaching out to any celebrity. But this morning was different. After my devotional time I felt impressed to Google “Jane Fonda Christianity”. I had no idea why at the time, but as I began reading about your spiritual journey it all became clear. You were describing the spiritual journey Be Ke and I have been on. Like you, we are Christians, but God has been leading us on a spiritual journey away from religion and dogma to a living, breathing exciting relation with Him. God is not only our guide, now He is our friend.
Our spiritual journey really came to a head when we began traveling overseas as music ambassadors with our country rock band, Blended 328 goo.gl/dwIhSA . Our first stop… Pakistan. We showed up expecting a lot of hostility or at the very least a cold shoulder. I mean we were a country music group from Nashville–most of the band members hard core Christians–and we were about to play country music in a country with a 99% Muslim population– not to mention the home of Osama Bin Laden (for a short while anyway). We were totally freaked and expecting the worst. Man were we wrong. Everywhere we went from Karachi to Islamabad people were amazingly good to us. The people had beautiful spirits. We saw God in them. All of our erroneous beliefs about Muslims and about Pakistan were obliterated. Since then we’ve toured all over the world–Russia, Zimbabwe, Paraguay, Tajikistan, Cambodia–the list goes on. Rather its Buddhists in Cambodia or Catholics in Paraguay or the atheists we met in Russia— Everywhere we go we find beautiful people and we see God. You can see some video footage of our experiences at youtu.be/gE_qZQRXADA and http://www.oneworldcountrygirlglobal.org
Anyway, I just wanted to saw thank you for sharing the story of your spiritual journey. It was really encouraging to Be Ke and I. And thank you for allowing us to share our journey with you. We wish you and your family many blessings in 2016. Keep up the good work 🙂
Thanks for this, Gabe. Would that every human could see the potential love and commonality it the peoples of the word. They may look different, but we are all made of the same atoms and molecules that originated in the stars and we all have the same human dreams and aspirations. I found the same thing when I was in North Vietnam under the bombs. they didn’t hate us.