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Monthly Archives: February 2014

GOD AND THE GAY GAPS IN MATTHEW VINES’ VISION

GODVINES   VINESTALK
[In the wake of the Sochi Winter Olympics’ gay controversies and a week before Sydney’s Gay Mardi Gras parade and with renewed expectation of draconian anti-gay legislation being imposed in Uganda, this seems an  appropriate time to air the following thoughts………..Readers of this article may also be interested in my related article of 24th April, The Fatal Flaw in the Matthew Vines, Albert Mohler Gay Debate  at  http://bit.ly/1mHDclQ ]

GOD AND THE GAY GAPS IN MATTHEW VINES’ VISION

No matter what Matthew Vines says in his much anticipated God and the Gay Christian, (due out April 26th) and no matter how well argued to the satisfaction of gay Christians and their supporters, it won’t get much beyond arguments favouring acceptance. Gay theological biblical exegesis does not normally, if at all, answer certain charges that conservative Christian critics and homophobes continue to level at gays like the Spanish Cardinal who recently insisted that being gay is like having blood pressure, a curable “defect”. Uganda’s president has now signed in the most extremely oppressive homophobic laws happily convinced that since homosexuality is purely behavioural it is curable and therefore apparently  uncured persons are culpable.

THE CURE OBJECTION

As long as there is only just a handful of individuals who feel able to describe themselves as “cured” of homosexuality (or at least able to bear offspring and manage the heterosexual family life) it will continue to be said that having chosen a ‘lifestyle’ gays can choose to get out of it. And, then, like some devil’s curse shadowing gays and undermining their theology, there is the postmodern, amoral or morally indifferent queer theology which looks to the queer theory inaugurated among bisexuals and that emphasizes precisely choice.

One doesn’t need to be religious to point to the negative effects of queer thought for gays and their situation globally – Gilles Herrada’s The Missing Myth (2013) written from a humanistic standpoint regards it as “crippling“ and a disastrous denial of authentic gay consciousness. The related theology, as in the case of the late bisexual shock-jock theologian Marcella Althaus-Reid’s Indecent Theology or The Queer God, can produce statements so recklessly, blatantly profane, (chapter and section headings like “Leading God by a Dog Collar” and “God the Sodomite”) that Christian conservatives are inevitably confirmed in their worst fears and prejudices. And if sex imagery isn’t the problem, then the theological one is that a limitless queer inclusiveness leaves you with a Jesus who either is, or is best friends with, Krishna, Kwan Yin, Buddha etc. (Althaus-Reid privately revered the Egyptian cat goddess Bast).

I even find it a trifle intellectually dubious, (though it’s PC enough), that Vines titles his forthcoming book God and the Gay Christian at the same time as he claims to be representing and helping to improve life amid intolerance for LBGTI people. Though gay is by far the largest constituency of the sexually marginalized to consider, it will never be possible fully to accommodate the claims, needs, worldviews, spiritualities etc of those not gay to any gay theology. The others will need to establish their own theologies and some have, and in this connection and before proceeding I will add another non PC statement that should be mentioned and got out of the way.

Whether or not the famous and notorious statements of St Paul in Romans 1 about same sex engagements (of whatever sort) owe more to pre-scientific notions of sex or refer to the recreational bisexuality of the Roman imperial decadence – Paul speaks of persons “exchanging” the natural way – there is no question that bisexuality will always present the biggest problem theologically. It does so not simply because its claims could entail effective right to adultery by any other name, but because it’s just possible that a misread bible anyway always had its main sights everywhere from Sodom to Rome on a distinct type of bisexual. One cannot entirely ignore for example how one theologian who passes for gay but admits to bedding various women, has written at some length of having the hots for various saints and angels (he’s always been especially keen on the Archangel Michael) which even if he’s only half serious about it, is nonetheless the sort of thing according to Jude 1:7 the men of Sodom were said to be guilty of in lusting after “strange flesh”. (I only know this because one sickened gay Catholic gave me a relevant book thinking I might be interested for at least reference purposes. The frequent disconnect between gays and bisexuals is a non PC subject, but it’s real enough).

So, the core questions are:

  • Who or what is a homosexual – someone born or made?
  • If born, what is a homosexual for? Which invites the question
  • If the bible is said to defend, or at least not single out “homosexuality”, why does it not provide (or does it?) what’s most needed. This, as Gilles Herrada’s The Missing Myth demonstrates, is the equivalent of a necessary “myth” which cultures always require if they are to be gay tolerant. (For Herrada a myth is supplied, but only negatively, by the Sodom Story).
  • And what about Jesus? Did he really teach and believe there was only Adam and Eve, not any Adams and Steves to be married? What about gays and ethics?

These are not easy questions, but I will briefly supply some meaningful clues of a kind which deserve consideration yet which despite my qualifications don’t have it due largely to an almost jealous, exclusivist American domination of the gay spirituality field. As half America knows, a conflicted Matthew Vines left Harvard degree studies to explore the bible on gay issues for himself (for two years!) and has set up The Reformation Project to help render churches gay affirming. Over a decade ago I obtained a world first doctorate in gay spiritualties from any religious studies dept anywhere, subsequently described on publication (as A Special Illumination, see http://amzn.to/17b8z1b)  by Professor Martyn Percy of Cambridge as including perhaps the best work on gay theologies to date. But from the assumed backwater of Australia I have remained as unheard and unanswered by Christian theologians and gay Christians, Vines included, as is on the other side of the fence America’s leading anti-gay theologian, Robert Gagnon. He likewise complains of being unanswered. (In my own case, only three or four publically committed gay Christians have ever contacted me!).

“Blow blow thou winter wind… ” as Shakespeare has it. But I have long ago got over the personal feelings of exasperation and resentment about this to the point today I rarely even concern myself with gays and their issues, but I still regret the situation relative to the kind of abuses that need to be known and protested. Today we are faced with the prejudices and campaigns that are rampant from Africa to Russia (where neo-Nazi vigilantes seize gays or even those who look like gays to torture, film and abuse them as paedophiles) and now in China (where electroshock and porn  are being used on gays to cure them) and all to an astonishing degree influenced by beliefs or campaigns of originally American evangelical inspiration (bit.ly/1aS92pe)   one of whose false teachings is the identity of paedophilia and homosexuality.

While American gay Christians, (like American gays and American Christians more generally) expect to take centre stage, they can be parochially minded when it comes to the real needs and situations to be addressed internationally. The Family Research Centre is even defending Ugandan policies on the hysterical basis homosexuality is worse than murder (one of their justifications for this deriving from  ideas of the fourth century Bishop St John Chrysostom, the almost-single handed inventor of Christian anti-Semitism and the secret engine behind much of the tyrannies and pogroms of the Russian Orthodox churches over the centuries). If secularists reined in the FRC people, doubtless they would scream persecution, the kind of thing which, as stressed in my recent article Christo-Fascism or Christo-Humanism? (wp.me/p2v96G-kB ) doesn’t help the internationally, genuinely persecuted churches one bit.

What is crucially needed today is really powerful theology, not gestures like a Cambridge University flash mob same sex kissing to protest Russian attitudes and Sochi, the sort of action that variously inflames or trivializes major issues. So to repeat..the questions are:

1. What is a homosexual? The question is theologically vital if, as might seem according to some Bible translations, St Paul declares no “homosexuals” will enter the kingdom of heaven (1 Cor 6:9). It’s a debated, technical question just who and what Paul referred to (male prostitute may well be implied since beyond all questions of etymology he may well have had in mind the Leviticus ban whose primary reference was to sacred prostitution); but not only did the ancient world have no catch-all expression like “homosexual”, but even today there can be misunderstandings around the word. So the verse as popularly cited is not as meaningful as some imagine. And even if improbably it were, one would need to ask why conservative Christians aren’t pursuing, or as in Russia letting violent vigilantes  pursue, others Paul mentions in his list echoing the vice lists of pagan moralists, like thieves, idolaters, drunkards etc.

If Christian conservatives and modern homophobes insist gay/homosexual equals “sodomite” and hence only chosen acts and “lifestyles” rather than psychology, then they have to answer persons like entertainer Stephen Fry who, as in his TV inquiry into homophobia Out There, insists that gay is about same sex love and that he and many gays never even practiced sodomy and by and large even ancient Greece didn’t. (It is however a staple of porn, something Fry conveniently ignored but shouldn’t have since unfortunately Ugandan churches and politicians have been showing and judge “homosexuality” almost wholly by precisely porn).

So let’s say “homosexual” means a person mainly or exclusively same sex attracted both as regards feelings and spontaneous eros. This obviously is not the same thing as being a male prostitute and if, as gay theologians claim with some reason, Jesus was confronting a same sex relation in the case of the centurion and his “servant ” or “boy” (doulos, pais) then their kind of homosexuality wasn’t like prostitution. Accordingly no one need find a contradiction in the fact that Jesus could be accepting and Paul not since they were not dealing with the same persons or issues in the first place.

2. Is homosexuality innate? For conservative Christians there is no justification for homosexuality because it’s not innate but only a choice. Of course there has been a choice of sorts, namely to accept as fundamental for the self what is known or suspected, and most gays vaguely sense their orientation from their earliest years. Pro and con on the born gay issue has however become largely reduced to finding an elusive gay gene or tracing the effects of certain patterns of rearing. As regards genetics, things are not conclusive (though just this month report from Illinois’ North Western University is that scientists have found two stretches of DNA they think are linked to homosexuality and suggestive for a gay gene). Studies on rearing are not conclusive either, but even without looking at too many statistics, one must absorb how eccentric mothers dressing their sons as a girl during infancy as happened for Oscar Wilde and the Austrian poet Rilke, only had contrary effects if one assumes nurture should have effect, since one turned out a homosexual and the other a Don Juan. Vines like most gay Christians has emphasized there was no abuse or anything wrong with his upbringing. But for conservatives, if homosexuality can’t be explained by known science or defective rearing it must be an illusion if not a devil’s lie itself. But should bible believing Christians be so demanding of proof in this way?

If they bothered to listen to what Jesus actually said, they would know he assumed some persons were “born” different, such as eunuchs from their mother’s womb (Matt 19:12). What did he mean and how should he or we be allowed to know what he meant without evidence of a “scientific” kind? It happens that by Jesus’ times among Jew and Gentile alike, the eunuch word was the nearest expression to being born different, out of the family way and hence the nearest thing to our gay word. It was an ambiguous, fluid term used in many writers but apparently rather as “confirmed bachelor” once indicated unmarried while also being widely used as a polite circumlocution for gay. Eunuch could include celibate, but it didn’t automatically mean either that or castrate (and would one be castrate from the mother’s womb?). And why would Jesus emulate the eunuch status? If one allows the psychological dimension, then one good reason would be for the outsider consciousness that attaches so strongly to gay people. The disciple is meant to be an outsider to “this world”. Ideally believers should all be slightly gay! And this is meaningful since I would maintain the innately gay person is so for primarily spiritual rather than physical reasons anyway.

But if people are born gay because the condition is primarily spiritual, then “proof” for that difference might be expected to belong more to the spiritual/esoteric order that few know or care to examine, a point I can return to. In passing however I must concede that even accepting a born gay principle, one might have to allow it is still possible the trauma of especially child abuse could function as a gay imprint. Drug and alcohol addictions by dissolving normal boundaries may also drive people in gay or bisexual directions not necessarily desired by them. I have noted that persons extremely claiming gay cures seem to be people with a traumatic past or serious addiction problems. Some ex-gays may be bisexuals opting for one side. Also lesbians appear a little more open to cure than gay men if only because women have always been more sexually adaptive than men. Whatever….”cure” is rare and attempts at it can prove quite harmful; but something like cure may apply in special cases–well conducted therapy may be little different from assistance with sex addiction and addictions of any kind. But none of this argues against the innateness of “average” homosexuality.

3. Assuming the condition is spiritual, where is the myth/symbolism/story that would justify it biblically? Where is there even any given purpose to being gay anywhere in the bible? Vines maintains authentic gay relations though not forbidden are not addressed either. What for Herrara is the crucial biblical myth, but negatively, is the Genesis Sodom story which, however, only assumed its popular negative status under the influence of the Alexandrian philosopher Philo in the first century just in time to distort many Christian attitudes with its poison. Philo reinterpreted Sodom against Roman and Egyptian society in which gays were (somewhat, sometimes) accepted – albeit study will show that pagan moralists could be dead set against such as “effeminates”, one even sure they deserved to be bashed in the streets which sounds like a familiar problem. Formerly the Genesis story was not read in Philo’s bad almost paranoid gay way (he even believed the infection of sodomitical desire would depopulate cities!) and it can never be read his way with any integrity. The men of Sodom lusted after “strange flesh” (angels) according to Jude and were plainly rapists of bisexual potential if Lot reckoned to offer them his daughters. Ezekiel doesn’t even mention the gay theme.

It is often felt the story of David and Jonathan who made a covenant berith (word interchangeable with marriage) represents biblical gay interest, though it is almost more by way of a bisexual idyll. As I suggested in Cosmic Father: Spirituality as Relationship (bit.ly/14UK5r6) which includes examination of the oddness of the leading prophets, the true if hidden biblical gay story belongs rather to Jeremiah.

ABOUT JEREMIAH

Against all social expectation this prophet is forbidden to marry (and doubtless as well for him and women since he can hardly be said to celebrate women anywhere!). He lives with his secretary Baruch and is delivered from his prison by a palace eunuch favourable to him. Like many gays his psychology is evidently dominated by the Puer archetype – he originally tries to avoid the divine vocation by declaring  “I am only a boy” (Jer 1:7), a youthful self-image out of harmony with the world of tradition bound rabbinical grey beards. The prophetic sign and image of the undergarment representing Israel which should cling to God as the garment does to the loins (Jer 13:11) can only be considered, daring, controversial and homoerotic from a prophet who relates to God rather homoerotically, even at one point accusing God of as good as raping him (Jer 20:7).

Jeremiah is classically gay in being radically futuristic – he alone teaches the advent of a new covenant (Jer 31:31). About the only thing that’s ungay about Jeremiah is that he isn’t given to celebration but to lamentation, but then in the ancient Middle East ritual lamentation was itself a gay/eunuch function. Jeremiah is a depressive, a depressed figure from an age of widespread major tragedy. His life nonetheless exemplifies what gays are for. Precisely to be outsiders, protesters, witnesses to what occurs and prophetic in relation to what will happen. Gays are well known to be trend setters in many fields. The trouble with America’s gay Christians is they are too often outsiders craving to be insiders. The drive to marriage somewhat belongs to this. (The refusal to consider any “esoteric” perspectives on homosexuality such as I sometimes propose, may itself belong with the same respectability urges directed upon realms of academe!). The fact however that homosexuality is innate and a purposed destiny for society is even suggested in the case of Jeremiah that God had consecrated the prophet before birth (Jer 1:5), suitably a eunuch from the womb theme again.

ABOUT JESUS, MARRIAGE AND THE CHURCH

What about Jesus (who was compared to Jeremiah by his contemporaries)? What were his opinions about homosexuality? It is often said that he never  mentioned the subject, but quite apart from the likely encounter with the gay centurion who wants his lover healed (Matt 5: 8-13), there is the Sermon on the Mount which arguably confronts homophobia. In the section on anger as this leads to violence and murder, Jesus says that those who say “Racah, You Fool” are in risk of the hell fires (Matt 5:22). Why so – doesn’t everyone call someone fool sometimes?! Fool is however the Aramaic Racah, something like slang for “effeminate pervert”. In short, it looks like the gay person is Jesus’ representative symbol of all the racisms against all the outsiders hatred of whom can lead to murder itself. And the fact that the potential anger/murder engendered by the attitude is deemed unacceptable by Jesus, tacitly cancels out, or at least undermines, any traditions and Levitical laws which would support precisely anger, prejudice and even judicial murder for those involved. Capturing the sense without referring to Matthew’s text, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin reflecting a growing split in the Catholic hierarchy towards African style policies to gays has recently stated “anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God” and that they are in fact “Godphobic”..

My recourse to this perspective marks a revisionism some would not even consider because they believe Jesus declared for marriage as being for one man and one woman according to the Edenic model (Matt 19:3-9). Such an interpretation of the text nevertheless amounts to little more than proposing no variation upon any main theme should ever be divinely or humanly permitted (something a species of American conformism does tend to  assume and which if universally accepted could destroy the life of the arts everywhere!). But although American evangelicals like Africans seem to work on some “Me Tarzan, You Jane” notion of sex and gender not countenancing what the French call a “third sex”,  plainly some kind of variation is possible and was manifest in even Jesus’ ancestor, David, who was (perhaps for political reasons) a polygamist and bisexual too. Plainly the bible does not limit everyone to single partnership in every possible instance. What it disapproves is swapping those same partners around (i.e David’s concubines wouldn’t have affairs on the side with his friends) or divorcing someone specifically to take up immediately with the latest attraction.

Jesus himself is surrounded by images of marriage to the Church, yet that same “marriage” will be to both sexes, while he himself is identified with both Logos (Word, masculine) and Sophia, (Wisdom, feminine). Then too, the classic relation of master and disciple/believer as traced in John’s gospel is, to be frank about it, like a Christian variation upon the classic Greek/Platonic outline of the relation and ascent to truth of the younger to the older lover into whose being the disciple is incorporated. And need I state that certain Jewish Christians like Bishop Hugh Montefiore and Canon Paul Oestereicher have proposed that by some definitions and obviously primarily psychological ones, humanly Jesus himself might today be thought gay. Centuries ago St Aelred of Riveaulx, bolder than many modern theologians who won’t touch the subject as I well know – I should perhaps start to out all the theologians too  inconsiderate even to acknowledge any comments, theories and inquiries in this vital area! – maintained that Jesus lived with John as though in a state of marriage.

Aelred was of course thinking in highly spiritual terms and we do have some grounds to question whether the Jesus of even John’s love gospel would think the “marriage” word entirely suitable for same sex relations whether referred to himself or others. Wouldn’t fellowship or union do? (It is debated quite what certain medieval marriage of brethren ceremonies meant and whether, and to what extent, they covered for homosexuality; but evidently some churches were once more flexible around marriage and unions than they would become in more recent centuries). “Marriage equality”, currently the mantra and driving force for change, is a secular concept, its claims furthered in the context of the operation of contemporary laws it wants to change and benefit from, but which don’t necessarily take the gay difference seriously enough. The centurion and his boy, like Jeremiah and Baruch, are simply persons who live together and perhaps across a major age divide not akin to that of most heterosexual marriages and less likely to last a lifetime.

On the other hand, within the Hebrew bible, but influencing all Judaeo-Christian ethical perspectives even down to Paul on prostitution, a person can be deemed “married” to another if they have had sex with them regardless of any formal celebrations of union and regardless of whether they even think of themselves as married or not. By that standard one might need to assess and define the ethical and marital status of gays according to the kind of sex they engaged, (like was it fully penetrative?), and whether, whatever was done, it could have the same esoteric/spiritual effects as heterosexual contacts anyway. (Esoterically and as far as especially Asian mystical traditions are concerned, promiscuity leaves traces that muddy the aura or soul body which is what blends with the other and “becomes one”, and it’s just possible Jewish purity laws and attitudes to marriage imply assumptions of this kind).

GAYS, PLEASURE AND PORN

Matthew Vines wants lifelong committed relations for gay (Christians) and essentially discounts any other contact or relation. Many heterosexuals, Christian and other, would think he was asking for the moon especially as they regard gays as merely promiscuous and recklessly so. And there is sometimes truth in that even while, to their discredit, American Christians ignore how much their historic and ongoing marginalization of gays has helped promote a situation in which common standards and social rituals are easily ignored.

If the reader of this article, who probably doesn’t follow porn, cares to go to such as ecody.com, which has been in the news because an 18 year old college boy, Robert Marucci, was suspended, and then over protests reinstated because he had appeared on that site and in a porn film to pay family bills, they can have an education in gay porn in a nutshell from just still shots.[Since I wrote this the site appears to have been closed down in the wake of the scandal]. Sometimes there are just college boys smiling but also pix of orgies, threesomes, easy sodomy (with controversially some barebacking which is hardly a good example to the young come out!). It will seem to many, especially straights, the effect is merely loud and crass, lewd and crude, even if according to Marucci and his supporters, his own contribution was “nothing but a job” (something sex can never quite be short of degenerating into prostitution).

I am not against ideals of fidelity, and unlike some more radical gay and queer theologians I am not about to speak for promiscuity and porn as such, but I do aim here to draw one or two possible conclusions from and about them that are outside the range of common (heteronormative) assessments.

Especially if they are Christians the (heterosexual) response to images of gay abandon  – some even find just gays embracing abandoned! – is that in the same way as straights should restrain their impulses and avoid adultery, so should gays. Since however straights are not gay this can amount to an imposition of values based on sex relations almost universally and spontaneously experienced as a proverbial “war of the sexes” with men being from Mars and women from Venus. And this “war” leads to certain agreements with a sense of mutual possession with which infidelity cannot easily cope.  Much hetero sex is moreover necessarily about achieving or avoiding procreation. Gays are at least potentially and, beyond love, about sex as just pleasure.

Gay sex generally is confronted with objections akin in spirit to those that impose genital mutilation upon women in homophobic Africa and because the clitoris has no function except pleasure. (The fact of the clitoris, like the fact that foetuses in the womb have been observed to masturbate, is an indication that sex need not and cannot be defined solely in terms of procreation). But the heteronormative attitude is that because straights wouldn’t and shouldn’t do certain things, absolutely gays musn’t. Yet if gays are genuinely different, differently wired (and often operate in different social situations) should not ethics be centred on who they are and what they can be? On the basis that most gays will not be enjoying benefits and pleasures of family life and offspring, should not straights be willing to concede something to any alternative gay pleasures or arrangements?

Though gays would be wiser to reject a merely pornographic abandon (even safe sex is not wholly safe and there can be long term psychological consequences to just using people and sex) if they are not strongly feeling types the reality is that gays more than others will be able to celebrate sex as just pleasure and usually be less possessive about it. I believe moreover that if gays play on the boundaries and in often exhibitionist ways, paradoxically that could be because gay is primarily a spiritual condition. As such it will often be compensated by an emphasis upon the originally half-doubted body plus, because it seems so many gays will have been adverse to sports in childhood, there may be some adult compensation in terms of physical play. Even at that, I still believe it would be advisable, whether for Christians or others, to contain and perhaps almost ritualize what depends on a gay difference and like even ancient Greece accept that not just anything goes. But I still think we must question the kind of judgements heteronormativity so easily directs upon the spectacle of homosexual activity and relating.

THE ESOTERIC PERSPECTIVES

Matthew Vines was inspired to study gay theology because he sought to justify gay relations and marriage. The inspiration of my own studies was to understand gay spirituality the better to understand what it would mean if, as I already suspected was the case, Jesus himself was actually by at any rate some definitions, gay, indeed even needed humanly to be so to be more incarnationally, humanly representative for both sexes, Logos and Sophia together, a female soul in a male body. (I have of course never suggested nor ever would, as one vulgar Australian newspaper years ago had it, that Jesus incarnated to have sex with his disciples!).  The “homosexuality”  of the historical Jesus would obviously substitute for any missing but toleration necessary myths!

Although I believe the question of Jesus’ orientation humanly could be certified from just the bible itself properly read, I have compelling reasons more esoteric to support that. I have not  so far emphasized  this point which I only add by way of conclusion because of the hostility surrounding the evidence just as it stands, let alone anything it might tell us about Jesus’ orientation. The data involved nevertheless combine in a way so millions to one against chance improbably to support a gay Jesus thesis that the evidence cannot and should not be too lightly dismissed.

In the earliest days of gay rights in nineteenth century Germany, gays were called Uranians after the newly discovered planet Uranus that astrologers observed to be variously emphasized in the birth patterns of gays as of anyone seriously different and unusual (consider “crazy” solo-ascent rock climber Alex Honnold. b.17.8.1985 with Uranus fortunately trine his Mars) and paradoxically notable homophobes – the mentioned theologian Robert Gagnon (b.31.7.1958) has Uranus conjunct his sun, so that gays or opposing them belong with his identity! Gays are not heterosexuals from Venus and Mars as per some bestselling pop psychological writings on sex. The nature of Uranus just by itself will help explain many facets of gay  behaviour and attitudes, and since the affinity of Uranus is with Aquarius, the era on which we border, homosexuality and its rights have naturally become a subject and will increasingly be accepted no matter what conservative Christians think, say or do about it.

It’s true we stand at the end of the age of Pisces that  Christ’s birth introduced, but the new more “out” gay/Aquarian trend is not, or certainly not negatively, the “apocalyptic symptom” that the overbearing head of the Russian Orthodox Church, (who should instead be condemning neo-Nazi gay bashers), has recently called it. And though I don’t really go along with ideas of a so-called Lukan “gay apocalypse” (which as at Luk 17:34″  appears to speak of two men being in one bed, not an unknown situation in traditional societies), I suppose one could – just – argue against the likes of Patriarch Kirill and conservative Christians that Jesus assumed the aion‘s (era’s) end would be one in which it was accepted men would be in bed together. If so, one would note Jesus doesn’t object to that, only to spiritual unpreparedness – after all, if one partner is not taken by the Rapture, the other is not so innately gay sinful he can’t be taken!

Whatever…one of the more “esoteric” ways that help define the gay fate and soul is the astrological. My blog of last December explains and justifies what I am saying and doing as regards that subject (wp.me/p2v96G-kB)….or it will to those who can actually permit the study any place in theological discussion, which despite Magi associated with Jesus’ birth many can’t do. It’s liable to get placed along with homosexuality as another abomination! Anyway, if you haven’t read and considered that material, for the moment suspend disbelief about the idea that Jesus’ true birth data, and still working for Jesus events to this day, are discoverable and ponder only a few things which, at least cumulatively, the data points to. Consider too that outside some kind of strong argument for the alternative nature of Jesus himself, the experience of years would suggest conservative religious prejudice can scarcely be broken or even addressed……

JESUS FROM BIRTH.

1)      Mercury (“ruler” of Jesus’ birth pattern) conjunct Saris (Eunuch) and Born. Yes, Jesus was himself born a eunuch from his mother’s womb – he tried to tell his disciples that, but like most Christians they weren’t listening (except perhaps Peter who saw Jesus looked on a  young man and loved him Mk 10:21).

2)     San Juan (St  John) in the house of relationships. Yes, St Aelred wasn’t far wrong.

3)     The Part of Homosexuality conjunct the Part of Spirit and the asteroid Boda (Sp. wedding). Again St Aelred was more or less right and it’s unlikely Jesus would be too hostile to gay marriage even if he were to define a different rite and values for it.

4)      Isa (Jesus) trine The Part of Homosexuality.  Yes, Jesus was likely gay in some fashion.

5)      The asteroid Raca in affliction (adjustments to be made) aspect to The Part of Homosexuality. Yes, Jesus was offended at the kind  of homophobic abuse so often dealt out to people including and especially by religious people.

6)      The asteroid Centurion conjunct the gay asteroid Gaily.  Yes, the centurion and his boy was  a gay relation.

I could go on, but instead I will add just one crucial fact from my Pentecost chart for the birth of Christianity in AD 30. Again it’s something millions to one against chance, but it constitutes a datum that in its awkward, peculiar presence seems to carry both a message and a warning.

7)      Asteroid Uganda opposed by of all things Kato. David Kato, a Christian advocate of gay rights was murdered in his home after he threatened to sue a paper for issuing personal details in a way liable to invite violence upon him in the wake of church inspired vigilante attacks upon gays in his fanatically homophobic country. (Its president in the very week scientists think they are on the track of the gay gene vows finally to sign for draconian laws against gays that he said he wouldn’t do if scientists could prove homosexuality was innate – like many African Christians he also wants to please and appease a gay intolerant Muslim lobby who want sharia directed upon gays. The most recent news this weekend is he is still waiting for more scientific evidence) .

But the heavens are pointing an accusing finger long term and anyway the Sermon on the Mount gave due warning about the kind of hate-filled and violent behaviour American Christians have been giving Africa and Russia excuses to pursue. (Ironically – and the criminally silent and now neo-Nazi tolerating Russian Orthodox Church hypocritically ignores it – it was precisely the Russian church which for centuries was almost notorious in Europe for the extent of  its toleration of gay relations among priests and laity, while the African churches peddle the rank lie any anthropologist can explode that homosexuality has never had a part in traditional African life).

I am not suggesting all gays are martyr-victims or saints or always right in what they say and do, (and I could  wish the kind of San Francisco gays who engage the likes of profane Hunky Jesus contests at Easter could be made to see how much they sin against thousands by increasing and justifying religious fear and prejudice  worldwide with their completely  unnecessary behaviour). But instead of automatically sending all gays to hell, let the fanatics consider there could be more risk to themselves. It is they who are fast becoming the “abomination”. Their attitudes are displeasing to God and badly need revision. Many feel that the Church of England says too little and gets much wrong, but its new Archbishop is surely not incorrect, biblically and just humanly, to declare that Christians must repent homophobia.

PS.  REGARDING  Robert Gagnon, AND GETTING  CRUCIFIED

I feel bound to comment on a couple of quotations from Robert Gagnon getting cited on Twitter this week of  writing my article when  I chance  to have been troubled by information sent me regarding a gay African in a violently homophobic society. He is now frightened even to attend church because of the ridicule and accusations directed at him and  – obviously in bad need of counselling – declares he feels utterly confused and like garbage God should have destroyed rather than have permitted to be born. He wishes he could meet Jesus to ask why people are born gay.

In his reasonable and academic enough Introduction to The Bible and Homosexual Practice (2009) Robert Gagnon declares he deplores attempts to demean the humanity of gays and opposes any kind of violence against them (even though in fidelity to his faith as he sees it he also maintains homosexual behaviour as an “inexcusable rebellion” against God’s created order). However, quotes of Gagnon  available on the Net for everyone  include: “Jesus would be the person you would not want to gravitate to for an argument about  ‘I was born that way’. He really does not care whether you are that way because he’s asking you  to die to yourself, to crucify yourself and lose your life”.  He also says “Human passions are notoriously unreliable indications of God’s will”.  Undeniably the African gay has been so well crucified with Christ and Christian theology of Gagnon’s kind he can’t think why  he’s alive. Is that what Gagnon wants and Jesus intended?

Jesus’ statements  about being crucified are couched in the absolute and very  physical terms typical of his native Aramaic which had expressions like “cut off my nose if I lie”. I accept believers cannot merely avoid the message of Jesus’ severer words which most essentially is that the Old Adam, the merely selfish self is to be denied. However Jesus also talks about giving the life abundant and there is no abundance where the self cannot begin to flourish because it lacks meaning, centre and  direction. For mental and spiritual health there must be some self-esteem and even self-love (does not Jesus himself also state, “love your neighbour as yourself”?).

More vital than even social acceptance such as gay theology à la Vines desires, is gay self-acceptance. Our passions can indeed be unreliable, but not wholly. What and who we love will, like the aesthetic sense, always be some indicator of our nature and so it is dangerous to just pluck up and dismiss the root of the gay self which can entail  a “Uranian” gift of perception affecting many aspects of life, a vocation in itself to be understood and even cultivated. If there is a wound in being gay, there is or can be also a joy. (Perhaps we should speak of “the agony and the ecstasy” of being gay?!). Unless and until the churches can realize this beyond mere toleration and acceptance,  no matter what some may say and  how much they try to wash their hands of certain responsibilities, the bullying, the violence, the draconian laws and the intolerance which we see sweeping across parts of the world will continue unabated as will also a certain contempt in the West for a religious faith that can’t manage basic issues in any positive and charitable way. A profound revolution of consciousness and theology is required.

[For a lighter, satirical treatment of the gays and religion theme in especially the American context but with a meaningful gay theological conclusion, see my poem a Songs of Puritania on a Gay Theme at: http://bit.ly/16ybdts]

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Posted by on February 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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COLTON BURPO’S “REAL” HEAVEN, AKIANE’S JESUS AND NEW CHRIST IMAGES

Burpo    Akiane

COLTON BURPO’S “REAL” HEAVEN, AKIANE’S JESUS AND NEW CHRIST IMAGES

It’s anticipated that more atheist-Christian culture wars will break out this Easter with the release of the film of Heaven is For Real. The film is based on the book of the alleged celestial experiences of the child Colton Burpo as recorded by his Wesleyan pastor father, Todd. Since however I believe there might be other issues to be writing about in April/May I shall get in ahead of a debate already partly begun. And with the film Son of God soon to be premiered (Feb 28th) I shall also cover regarding cinematic and other images of Christ: how fitting they are, who gets to play them and why – there are some rules here…

Atheists are displeased with what they think the Burpo film can do to beliefs and to children’s beliefs (a children’s version of the book now exists to persuade young minds). Many Christians are delighted at a new and perhaps today needed affirmation of a life beyond  – Heaven is for Real  has already proved a massive bestseller since publication in 2010. But I am going to suggest Christians shouldn’t be so delighted and recommending either book or film. The book offers some of the most misleading popular religious material since the novel The Shack (itself now due to become a film) misrepresented the Trinity which among other things the Burpo book does in another way.

Heavenreal

These new misrepresentations are something perhaps especially conservative Christians stand to be sucked into because Colton’s statements contain just enough evangelical flavour (like creating a sudden flap about a deceased person needing to have had Jesus in his heart to get into heaven) to persuade them all the rest must be true, even if obviously it can’t be so.

Believers are supposed to love and pursue truth and there are disturbing aspects to the Burpo phenomenon. Christian critiques have already been written and I endorse some of them. But as author of  Where From, Why Us and Where To?:Visiting Tahiti and Life Itself  which includes about art, Gauguin and that artist’s various odd self-portraits as Christ (amzn.to/10Zysc6), I bring to the Burpo story a special objection. It’s one related to artistic portrayals of Christ because Colton has shown a clear preference in this area which I believe betrays the error of his claims. Dealing with this question is a pretext for me to present below some rather special illustrations helping to bring us closer to the right way of imagining and artistically imaging Jesus.

THE BURPO STORY

Colton (b. 1999) is now an adolescent, but when he was nearly four he suffered a burst appendix in the wake of a desperate run of bad health events affecting both father and son that landed them both in hospital clocking up huge bills and concomitant worries American style. (I belong to the world of what America despises as the Nanny states where health services are concerned!). Things went from bad to worse, and though there is no record Colton clinically died, for a few minutes while in hospital his life was endangered and he underwent an NDE. What happened during that time only emerged spontaneously months later and starting one day when out driving with his father Colton let odd things slip like saying the angels had sung to him and he’d sat on Jesus’ lap. He later casually mentioned John the Baptist is a real nice guy.

Gradually his parents found they could piece together a whole story of events and revelations in the Beyond where Colton met his deceased great grandfather and learned things, including how he had a sister in heaven due to his mother’s miscarriage – something it was virtually impossible he could know. (Some Christian critics have objected to Colton’s claiming to meet any souls in the Beyond on the basis believers “sleep” till the resurrection according to St Paul; but I think what is meant is that bodies sleep till the resurrection. Souls meanwhile live – Jesus tells the thief he will be with him in paradise not that he will just sleep in the ground. So that objection at least seems invalid).

Todd Burpo was finally convinced of the truth of his son’s story when Colton said he’d seen him in an adjoining hospital room railing against God and also when he childishly referred to Jesus as having red “markers” in his hands and feet. These turned out to mean nail prints.

It can be argued either way that what Colton claimed to experience owes more to a genuine OBE (Out of Body Experience) as when he saw the hospital room with the doctors below him and his father in the next room, or more to details he would naturally absorb as a pastor’s son like saying God was so big he had the world in his hands. (This sounds like memories of “He’s got the whole wide world in his hands” which Colton likely heard at home).There could be six of one and half a dozen of the other.

What’s certain is that whether father and son purvey an unconsciously invented tale or a genuine dream/revelation of something, either way there look to be errors from any strictly biblical standpoint – which is the one the family wants to represent and imagines it is doing.  Yet these same errors, to the extent the biblically literate but mesmerized father records them without suitable explanation or comment (he has been criticized for never consulting religious persons or groups for assessment of the information) are themselves witness to the fact something authentic is  being told. It’s genuine, even if it’s a true record of the sort of thing the bible would call “a lying vision” (Jer 14:13, Ez 13:7) permitted for our testing. And perhaps especially the testing of precisely conservative Christians. They regularly deceive themselves that they don’t read their bibles selectively. Some selective reading has to be going on to make Colton’s witness sound possible!

THE BURPO ERRORS

Here are some of the glaring errors.

  • Biblically the angel Gabriel (an archangel) declares to the priest Zacharias that he stands in God’s presence (Luk 1:19). Colton has it this angel sits on the other side of God from Jesus as though he were not a member of the order of archangels but of the Trinity itself. The Bible may or may not  intend us to understand literally its claim that Jesus is seated “at God’s right hand” (it could be an expression indicating the sharing of power, especially as Revelation has Jesus “in the midst” of the divine throne), but if Christ was thus seated it would have to be that on the other side would be the Holy Spirit.
  • Colton is somewhat taken up with the subject of  impending apocalypse – he even tells his father (in imagery that could owe something to reading or hearing C.S. Lewis’s Narnia fiction) he will be fighting the forces of evil with a sword (i.e. at the post Rapture end of the Tribulation period when Jesus returns to establish the Millennium on earth). However Colton sees Jesus’  horse, only ever biblically referred to in the context of apocalypse, as rainbow coloured. Revelation portrays the returned,  openly revealed apocalyptic Jesus as riding a white horse (Rev 19:11).
  • The Holy Spirit, though bibically sometimes seen as a dove or a fire, is not traditionally portrayed as a person, albeit Jesus’ personalising “he” suggests that theoretically he could be so portrayed despite many today favouring ideas that the Spirit is feminine. “He” would certainly seem more appropriate if the Spirit impregnates Mary. Anyway I have read at least one plausible description of the Spirit as a kind of almost “electrical” Jesus twin ( bit.ly/JEs9ZN). But Colton reduces the Spirit (rather as in Mormon theology) to pure substance which he sees as blue and which sends down energies from this blueness (itself surely the opposite of anything fire associated).
  • The Bible has it that “no one shall see God and live” (Ex 33:20). Biblically no one ever sees God the Father/Creator unless it’s his shadow representative, the Hebrew Bible’s “Angel of the Lord” that early Christians identified with the pre-incarnate Christ. Seeing God is a post-resurrection, Last Judgement possibility. The single exception is perhaps the author of Revelation seeing the God of Last Judgement – not directly but in prophetic vision only. One might still argue Colton could see God because (like Crystal McVey, author of Waking Up in Heaven who sort of saw the Trinity as blinding light) he died and was therefore free to behold God; but there’s no record Colton actually died. Moreover his description in a TV interview of the Creator as just a bigger Gabriel with golden hair and wings is problematic for a number of reasons. So despite Colton’s repeated insistence Jesus declares he loves children, there is no likelihood Colton would sit on a stool before the throne or on Jesus’ lap and talk to a Trinity manifested directly in front of him.
  • Colton affirms  everyone in heaven has wings except Jesus who just goes up and down like a lift when he wants to move. There is no support whether biblically or in other reported visions of the Christian heaven of a universally winged heavenly society; but the idea that the angels set Colton something like homework and sing to him belongs less with Christian notions of the afterlife than Spiritualist accounts of Summerlands where people are put in classes and set to learn things.

[May 5th 2016…I see that in the wake of the film’s release and popularity Todd is now accusing those Christians who criticize Colton’s vision as “Pharisees” who need to read their bibles. That’s controversial. In view of the above points perhaps Todd should read it himself and himself suffer the charge of being an opportunist. Even Colton saw him originally railing against God in the hospital!]

I won’t continue with this line of critique  because it’s something concerning Jesus’ image which should interest us regardless of anyone’s precise view of the Burpo phenomenon. Having been shown numerous images of Jesus and asked which if any corresponded to the Jesus he knew, young Colton had no hesitation about one picture and one only: a portrait of Jesus called The Prince of Peace: Resurrection from the American child prodigy of painting, Akiane Kramarik (b.1994).

This “portrait” is based on Akiane’s reported encounters with Jesus (she repeatedly kept seeing his face in vision when she was four), whose features she felt were closely reflected in a seven foot local carpenter who reluctantly consented to sit for her. According to the July 2011 edition of Share International, the magazine of the Maitreya cult which awaits the manifestation of Maitreya/Christ (a theosophical figure  associated with the expected Muslim Mahdi and other figures of the world faiths all in one) this is a true portrait. Through his personal Master, cult leader Benjamin Creme confirmed Akiane has been visited by “The Master Jesus”, the companion of Christ/Maitreya. (“The Master Jesus” regularly manifests in various roles and guises to devotees round the world). This kind of recommendation should in itself send a few warning signals to uncritically enthusiastic Christians.

Prince-of-Peace-224x300

It cannot be said, even if one likes the portrait (and the Burpo phenomenon is making it popular), that it conveys any notable sense of peace. It shows rather nerviosity and tension while the association with resurrection is hard to understand because the resurrection body of Jesus is necessarily perfect, more obviously divine than the human historical Jesus. And this is no perfect image. People praise the searching compassionate eyes, but overall the figure is  human, all too human, almost untidy, needing a trim of both hair and the too bushy eyebrows. And Jesus’ eyes should be knowing, not merely searching, however generously.

Akiane was born to atheist parents who converted to Christianity after their daughter started reporting strange heavenly visits from the age of four onwards. Akiane reports meeting Jesus and she is clearly a very spiritual person, but today her approach to Christianity seems cloudy. Members of Akiane’s family have been involved in various spiritual exercises and traditions including Buddhism and. Akiane herself nowadays maintains she belongs to no religion or denomination but just God. The claim makes little sense in that God is a Judaeo-Christian belief – some religions like Buddhism have no belief in any Creator God so that  a would-be universalism through God belief is not strictly possible. Akiane’s faith raises questions in the way they are perennially raised around the poetry and art of such as the extremely visionary William Blake under the influence of such as Swedenborgianism and Gnosticism.

If popular Christianity is going to be drawn, as I believe it shouldn’t be, towards Prince of Peace as the new classic Jesus image, it will need to take stock of the fact that also reported to be based on vision vouchsafed to someone more conventionally Christian, is the famous Warner Sallman Head of Christ which isn’t at all like

Colton’s favourite image.Sallman It is nonetheless true that the Akiane image is taking over in public estimation at a time when Americans are going off Sallman’s picture as being everything from too pretty and effeminate (though ironically Sallman and his admirers originally thought he was portraying a new “muscular Christianity” image!) to being too perfect or too “white” in the style of its recorder’s Swedish background. In the era of equality, popular opinion is shifting to the idea Jesus should be more ordinary and more obviously Semitic. Akiane’s image can speak to that. But if so, that opens to the possibility that what differing painters call “vision” of Jesus might be no more than clear-sighted awareness of cultural and archetypal shifts in the mind of the collective.

Proponents of the “ordinary” Jesus of Akiane’s rendering find support in the prophecy of the Messiah in Isaiah’s declaration which has it that there would be “nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Is 53:2), words immediately preceded by “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him”. The previous chapter of Isaiah even speaks of the suffering Servant as being “marred….beyond human semblance (Is 52:14), though this is traditionally understood to refer prophetically to the ruin of Jesus’ appearance through crucifixion. It is of course possible to take these negatives further as did the Gnostics and simply suggest Jesus was short and ugly if not deformed. On what do traditional notions of a beautiful, handsome or perfect Jesus rest beyond the expectation a divine figure should be somehow outstanding?

We know that Jesus could not have been the stunted, physically imperfect figure of the Gnostics or this would have run against requirements that priests, let alone the priestly figure of a Messiah, be without physical blemish. If we retain this thought and recall anything like Christian doctrines of original sin, Jesus the Second Adam free of sin, must be somehow physically perfect, hence he should be in some fashion desirable, as attractive let’s say as people imagine a first Adam to have been.

I think Isaiah’s “undesirable” figure is linked to what he means when writing within the context of an aniconic society he says: “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him: (Is 53: 2). Even if Jesus looked “perfect” as a specimen of humanity, if as Messiah he could not suggest to his Jewish contemporaries an all-conquering kingship, or if his face didn’t  shine like Moses descended from the Mount, then he could not be “desirable” to an Israel which expected a world political Deliverer. Rabbinic thought was diverse, but various strains of Jewish thought had come to expect two Messiahs, one ben Joseph, a suffering figure along the lines Isaiah represents, and a Messiah ben David, a political conquering one. They did not reckon any Messiah would combine the roles or, as Jesus did, envisage a  division of the dispensations for their realization, with his apocalyptic self fulfilling the conquering ben David.

SO…WHAT DID JESUS REALLY LOOK LIKE?

While obviously I nor anyone can answer that precisely, I can give grounds both to dismiss the Akiane/Colton image and supply a meaningful guide – almost an identikit mock up – for the curious, the devout and artists. I also think that in doing so I can explain why the Warner Sallman image, however imperfect and limited, has been powerful for many and even actually has some truth to it.

The same Isaiah that I have cited about the undesirable Messiah of marred feature also describes  God’s “Servant” as growing up before him “like a young plant, like a root out of dry ground”. Supposing we look first not for any regal or commanding beauty (which Jesus arguably dismisses when he prefers the lily of the valley to his ancestor Solomon in all his glory), but a plant-like and natural beauty with some connection to service and servants.

Given what I claim to  know and even prove (see December blog  bit.ly/18LQOad and more especially my book Testament of the Magi   goo.gl/I28aCm ), the chief quality of Jesus’ appearance would need to be referred to a combination of his sun sign of birth, Virgo  (itself traditionally denominated  a servant sign) and his rising sign at birth which is Gemini (the urbane, communicating sign). These are both signs mythically associated with and astrologically “ruled” by Mercury, the go-between god and Jesus is the mediator – mindful of which the theosophist Mme Blavatsky even went so far as to observe “Jesus is Mercury”. I won’t get technical and consider all rules and exceptions, but sufficient to say that features of the sun sign, unless the person was born around dawn which Jesus wasn’t, stand to be  modified by qualities of the sign rising over the horizon at birth and sometimes to the extent the person may be thought to belong to that sign rather than their sun sign.  PaulWalker)Walker2

We have assumed that Jesus was ideal of his kind. Here are two pictures of a good looking Virgo male (birth time unknown), the late screen actor Paul Walker, a model since youth.

The appearance is somehow neat, the features in the usual Virgoan way are not particularly large, the charm is rural, plant-like (Virgo is an earth sign!) and we remember Jesus even says things like he is the vine and his father is the gardener. The appearance here is attractive without being dramatic, super-erotic or regally imposing. It’s  just agreeable, in some respects this is just the ideal of a healthy, good looking country boy. The similarity to at least one portrait of Christ, artist Richard Hook’s, is fairly apparent. Hook

Next we have  the picture of an adolescent Virgo male, a Monaco prince, Pierre Casiraghi (b.1987). This image

Pierre Casiraghi  Ephebe

is almost the complete text book epitome of Virgo. Again a sort of plant-like, understated, modest charm, elegant but not flamboyantly aristocratic with it. There is an almost hesitant expression in line with the  Virgoan will to  stand back, observe and analyse everything rather than to impose the self, yet not unwilling to assist in harmony with the service theme of the sign. The eyes are intelligent and gentle. This might do for an attractive adolescent Jesus absorbing everything and “increasing in favour” with God and man ( Luk 2:53 ) but  not looking ready to conquer the world…This type may, as in the accompanying image and a bit older, assume something of classic art’s ephebe look, but even the ephebe was supposed to be if not the servant, the learner.

It may be immediately protested, why use as any kind of example  a person with fairish hair and blue eyes? Answer: because it’s quite possible it suits. We know Jesus’ ancestor David was fair and the Davidic line is known to this day for a genetic tendency to fair hair and blue eyes. For that matter, to Israel’s north in Syria one finds people of almost more European, i.e.Latin, than Arabic/Semitic appearance.  The objection to Sallman’s “too white” Jesus, though  understandable, could be exaggerated in terms of the historic reality. It was nonetheless held against Jeffrey Hunter’s Christ in King of Kings precisely that his eyes were blue. (Hunter was not born under Virgo, I mention regarding him later)

Cross

PrinceesuAndrea2

We can turn next to two pictures of Pierre’s brother Andrea (b.1984) who is a good example of a type of Gemini male.   Gemini, like all the air signs somewhat, is the epitome of things human – it’s the sign of democracy, not royalty – of the social, even the worldly though I find significance in the Jesus of the “two natures” having  Gemini the twins and division sign rising. As with  the other Mercurial sign Virgo and as in this instance, there is often something androgynous or ambiguous. But the expression  is thoughtful and more set with it than Virgo. Geminis cheerfully argue for their ideas where Virgo is more prone to withdraw; so the Geminian look is more determined,  the face overseen by a full almost domed forehead frequently found in the sign and like a symbol of the sign’s connection to things intellectual and cerebral. A prominent forehead is found in the self portrait of the Gemini artist Dürer – in fact a portrait of the artist as Christ. The face is longer than would be typical for Virgo.

. Durer

Again I don’t think, and I’m sure Dürer didn’t think, he looked exactly like Jesus, but I believe he worked from an intuition of some similarity and that we are given a further clue by it. I have pointed out (bit.ly/1eDMgRf), and as further proof that I have the true data for Christ, that people who write about Jesus must have natal patterns closely linked to his and the same applies to artists keen to do portraits. In my mentioned Tahiti book I point out how features of Dürer’s chart and their very exact relation to Jesus’  pattern would draw him to make the kind of close identification he did and likewise certain patterns show why the Gemini Gauguin would be drawn in a much more perverse way to Christ portraiture.

One Gemini actor who corresponds to widespread popular images of Jesus is Robert Powell (b. 1. 6. 1944) and see the images below. Ordinarily Powell doesn’t look Christ-like at all. He was even originally chosen to act Judas in the Zeffirelli Jesus of  Nazareth film! But given long hair and the right costumes he was somehow able to enter the image. Astrology alone can make sense of it. Powell was born with Uranus and Sun conjunct on 9 and 10 degrees respectively of the Gemini that affects Jesus’ appearance. In other words especially Powell’s surprising Uranus at 9.1 was conjunct Jesus’ 8.50 degrees of Gemini rising thus marking the sheer surprise of how the person is suddenly made to appear like Jesus. And then too the actor’s Jupiter (Jupiter is crucial for actors) at 20 Leo conjuncts Jesus’ Nadir angle. It’s an important contact on an axis with Jesus’ 20 Aquarius destiny/reputation Midheaven. Jeffrey Hunter whom many regarded as a matinee idol Jesus but still appreciated (except for the blue eyes!) for his role in King of Kings was a Sagittarian (b. 25.11.1926) but with his Jupiter connectively on Jesus’ 20 Aquarius Midheaven.

Compare this with the way James Caviezel (b.26.9.1968) who made a quite effective Jesus in The Passion of the Christ  – also see below has his own Jupiter degree exact Jesus’ sun in Virgo – there must be such contacts for strong involvement and major effects. Then more recently in Son of God, Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado (b. 17.1.1981) – also image below – has his Jupiter fortunately trine Jesus’ appearance-defining ascendant while his transformative and God-associated Pluto is conjunct Jesus’ natal Isa (if he was born in 1981, I find both 1980 and 1980 given as birth dates. If he was born in 1980 then his Jupiter conjuncts the God associated Pluto of the Christ’s birth, a “Son of God” connection for acting if not for features). And in connection with Isa I note how Powell’s Saturn near to conjunction with Jesus’ natal Isa (Jesus) reflects how uncomfortable the actor was and remains about ever assuming the role.

JesusP

JesusP2

CavJesus

Morgado2
When we come to the Cancerian Akiane we find no such close chart contacts. (She has nothing natally in Virgo and her own late Gemini ascendant is not near to contacting Jesus’ earlier Gemini ascendant). Anything absent in a chart can suffer over-compensations at some point and it looks like her Prince of Peace Jesus is a sort of strained, exaggerated vision of something Virgo – to be frank, negatively so; it looks like Virgo become nervy on a bad hair or poor health day! Though Jesus the healer may be assumed to have been healthy, the sign generally inclines to many ailments and down days.  Here is an older Pierre on what looks a Virgoan off day if not flu day! Badday

In fact it is interesting in view of the “mutable” categorization which attaches to the Mercurial signs of Virgo and Gemini, just how varied and unlike themselves both Pierre and Andrea can manage to appear across a whole range of shots. Is something of the historic difficulty artists have had in capturing Jesus linked to the fact that at the best of times his Mercurial image would always have been hard to capture?!  Even the disciples on more than one occasion fail to recognize him. And perhaps he always will be elusive in this way.

One afterlife experience I find more convincing than Colton’s (Dean Braxton’s In Heaven) describes meeting a sublime Jesus from whose form colours constantly radiate and whose visage is always slightly changing as you look at it – a total, cosmic mutability?!) But let’s return to the Sallman picture. Though I can understand the criticism of it, I also recognize this. I think the unparalleled popular response it has obtained right from first publication (until Coltron’s and Akiane’s intervention has caused a re-think), is simply this. Jesus really was born under Virgo and when Gemini rose. And together these two signs went to make up what Jesus looked like. Sallman’s face has caught the something of Gemini it necessarily had, the well cut features, the sharp outline (even if the lips seem too ungenerously thin in this rendering), the longer face and full forehead, at the same time as especially the expression captures a certain underlying, Virgoan mildness and modesty in the ‘servant” Messiah as this was directed towards God. Jesus’ character was most essentially Virgoan; his outer appearance, though it too inevitably had something of Virgo, had as much and more of Gemini, not least in its extreme changefulness.

AndreaB  Christportrait

As just another of Andrea’s Geminian many styles and images and its odd link to the less well known and successful Sallman, Portrait of Christ, consider these two images.

There’s no lie so strong as a half truth and I fear that is what the Burpo phenomenon presents us with. I accept that father and son give every indication of being sincere.  The account is likely true, but it’s the experience of a deception. How and why is hard to determine and one obviously hesitates to propose that there is something demonic here; yet as only one indication there might just be so, Colton goes silent and gets fearful when Satan (whom he claims to have seen) is mentioned. If Colton had really been in the presence of the Trinity he would necessarily be bolder and unafraid of Satan and the forces of evil.

Obviously Colton’s story could be a fantasy born of a father’s eager embroidery upon or sincere misunderstanding of a child’s piecemeal report. But it could be something more spiritual. Colton is nearly four when he goes to heaven, and it’s at four that Akiane, (whose heavenly scenes Todd Burpo says are very similar to Colton’s), started seeing other worlds. If one accepts at all that spiritual realms exist, then one must allow their inhabitants a capacity for deception (the devil is even called “father of lies”). Of those who report NDEs which include hell, one can even read – it’s like the myth of Tantalus – of corners of the inferno where a soul witnesses radiant visions tempting them with oases only to disappoint them. Some even report a Jesus-like figure in hell who it seems might be St Paul’s devil as an angel of light. Anything seems possible.

I have written elsewhere concerning people who write and talk about Jesus and why (bit.ly/1eDMgRf).  The evidence does not  differ here. The  same kind of exact aspects and tie-ins we might expect are present and I shall make brief summary of main points. Colton was born on 19th May 1999 in Imperial, Nebraska USA, birth time unknown. Though one might allow one or two, these features, at least cumulatively, are eloquent for misrepresentation or distortion however unintended.

    • Sun 28 Taurus in stress square to asteroid Isa (Jesus) at 27 Leo
    • Saturn the devil planet, strong on a critical degree at 9 Taurus conjunct Lucifer at 10 Taurus (reflecting Colton’s mentioned fear of the devil?)
    • Asteroid Lie at 16 Gemini (sign of reading and writing) exact easy trine to Uranus (symbol of the Spirit in any religious context) strong in its own sign of Aquarius (i.e. it is easy to distort regarding the Spirit). (And 16 Aquarius is the solar degree of the Antichrist if the seeress Jeane Dixon happened to be right about his  birthdate).
    • Mars at 27 Libra conjuncts Isa (Jesus) and the super-conjunction of Jesus’ names and titles at Jesus’ birth which I am dogmatic can now be verifiably known (see bit.ly/18LQOad). This is a potentially hostile position – I recall Mars was here when Pakistan resolved to list the Jesus name with forbidden names and words for text messages.In some cases it can however make for aggressive advocacy, and in some respects Colton is into that via his family – the organization promoting Colton’s vision bears the only-in-America name of Shout It.
    • Mercury at 19+ Taurus in stress square to Jesus’ 20 degree Aquarius Midheaven. This is not helpful to right description of Jesus and I have found critics of Jesus frequently having this square to this point.
    • Natal Neptune at 4 Aquarius is square (affliction aspect) to Jesus’s natal 3 Scorpio Neptune. Afflicted Neptune inclines to confusion, which would agree with not seeing Jesus clearly, especially as for  many astrologers Neptune is the Jesus symbol. Significantly too…….Akiane’s Neptune is at 4 Scorpio which could be thought a really strong contact to Jesus’ pattern the artist otherwise lacks, but the fact her Neptune is degree exact opposite Black Moon Lilith, exquisitely fits her half darkened image of Jesus and  its ultimately misleading nature.

. (BML is a point taken very seriously by continental astrologers for its negative indications and I was not surprised to find it prominent at Jesus’ crucifixion).

I have no idea what purpose a possible spiritual deception Burpo style could serve and mean, but I do feel if it persuades people towards odd notions of the Trinity and New Age images of Jesus like Akiane’s where the half concealed face of Jesus is like the half truth of what’s being attested to, it cannot have been helpful.

[ Issues around the birth and astrology of Christ are explored in detail in my Testament of the Magi: Mysteries of the Birth and Life of Christ at goo.gl/I28aCm]

ALSO re JESUS’ IMAGE… Now see JESUS and WABI-SABI: The STYLE AND IMAGE QUESTION at http://wp.me/p2v96G-FU

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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