On 8/12/04 11:13 PM, Joseph Codsi wrote: Dear Joseph, If we look at the sequence of events after Jesus began to gather disciples around
Message 1 of 10
, Aug 13, 2004
On 8/12/04 11:13 PM, "Joseph Codsi" <joseph5@...> wrote:
If we look at the sequence of events after Jesus began to gather disciples
around him we have a good idea of how he was perceived to have a radical
ministry by his contemporaries. The disciples who are named in the first
chapter of John are all men. This is normal course of the written material
of the time. Men are named and women are nameless. It is likely that there
were just as many women as men from the very start. Indeed, it is mentioned
later that there were women who had followed him throughout his mission
In John 2 the first major miracle takes place at a wedding. This first
miracle is prompted through dialog with his mother and shows that the way
things had been in the past are no longer in play. He listens to her and
acts to provide the wine of gladness. Societal norms are being demolished.
He goes on to cleanse the Temple, preparing the way for establishing that
the 'Temple is within'. And this is followed by the first great story of
evangelism which is carried out by a Samaritan woman who has been formerly
marginalized both by being female and outside of the strict sense of
It is obvious right from the start of Jesus' mission that he is leveling the
playing field. One could easily say that right from the beginning, Jesus is
You speak of ancient cultures, mentioning the Chinese, and the emphasis on
differences within the family. These 'differences' are largely superficial,
having been assigned rank and status by groups of men who did not allow
women to participate in the dialog in order to have any say in the structure
that would be imposed upon them. This is the course of events in warring
societies where physical strength rules over intelligence. It is the
primitive beginnings of societies where only men are educated or have a
voice. We continue to see this in play from all quarters. The current
missives from Rome, for example, that continue to hammer on the 'role of
women' are all created by men in isolation who have not dialoged with a
single woman in formulating the opinions they propound as 'the way it is'.
These missives inevitably resort to placing women in the context of 'child
bearers and nurturer', denying any other possibility, while it is so
obvious that - if women's primary role is child bearing and nurturing then
men's primary role must also be generative; for one half of humanity cannot
be assigned a primary role without a reciprocal assignment to the other.
This stance would then preclude a celibate priesthood.
In John 8 there is another example of Jesus leveling the playing field. A
woman is caught in adultery. Where is her partner? The accusers are the
men of the village. They stand accusing her while her partner is not even
charged. Jesus says, "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first
to throw a stone at her." He has corrected the imbalance by directing the
men's attention to their own culpability. If she stands alone to bear the
punishment it is not right to judge her.
In John 11 it is the women, Martha and Mary, who call forth Jesus'
compassion and tears by their declaration of faith in him as the messiah.
In John 12 it is a woman who anoints him.
In John 19 it is women who stand at the foot of the cross while not a single
man is mentioned except for soldiers.
In John 20 it is a woman who is first to see the risen Christ and it is a
woman who is first as bearer of the Good News.
These examples stand in stark contrast to the men who deny and betray.
Your post made a point of showing male and female in ancient traditions as
opposites. One should take a strong, hard look at this language of
opposites and understand that it is opposed to the 1st Creation Story. 'In
the divine image he created them, male and female he created them.' so,
they are not opposites, but reciprocal, necessary parts of a cohesive whole
with neither being more of less - partners in every respect.
The business of 'left and right' in the Indian imagery you offered is also
an Eastern understanding of lesser and more in the mindset of a culture with
one side representing light and the other darkness. The notion in the
middle east of a punishment for theft is a good example: The right hand of
the thief is cut off so that he cannot receive food and will starve since
the left hand is used for toilet purposes and cannot receive food. Even
today, we have the expression 'right hand man'. What would be the impact of
calling someone the 'left hand man'? It would be a grave insult.
John Noble's post today has made a good case for 'mysticism' wherein he
speaks of the term 'we saw his glory'. Perhaps your culture or studies have
assigned a negative connotation to the term 'mysticism' by placing it in the
context of something other than what it actually is. For you, it may have
some connotation of Zoroastrianism or some occult practices. It is hard to
tell. But, mysticism is the path which every believer must take in order to
return to the Source. It is a relationship with the Beloved, not strictly
intellectual knowledge of the precepts of faith, but living in it so that
all that the believer does is done relationally to the Divine. This did not
originate in the 12th century or in any particular sect, but is within all
religions from ancient times to the present. A true faith is not
compartmentalized as one of the things humanity does. A true faith
permeates every aspect of that life. It is evidenced in Moses' direct
conversation with God, in the dreams of the prophets, in the lives of the
great saints of all major religions. Certainly John of the Cross and many
other examples can be cited.
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