Thursday, March 31, 2011

I don't have bladder cancer

I'm not sure if I shared this with you, and I'm too lazy to go look at past blogs, but I don't have bladder cancer.

The biopsy came back negative. The thing in my bladder (It's late at you know what's in your bladder?) that I've described as looking like a peony (PE-o-nee in this part of creation, pe-OWN-ne where I come from) is still there, I suppose, but my urologist tells me 'not to worry'. So I won't.

I only knew one person who died of bladder cancer. His name was John Martin and he was a funeral director. It was, it seems to me, a terrible way to die--as if there were a good way--and I pray for the repose of John's soul as I give thanks the biopsy coming back negative.

Speaking of souls: tomorrow in my class on the Gospel of Mary of Magdala at UConn I'm going to try to deal with the world view in 1st century Israel as a way of getting to the fertile soil that gave birth to Christianity in all it's myriad forms. The question I'm going to ask, since I'm going to try to discuss all the heresies of the pre-Nicene church is this: do you believe in the immortality of the soul? I'm betting half or more of the class will say 'yes' and I'm going to tell them, truthfully, that they are heretics. Orthodox Christians, according to the Nicene Creed, believe in the "resurrection of the dead", not 'the immortality of the soul'. That was one of the things the Creed was written to make heretical. (The purpose of creeds in general is to make sure we DON'T believe certain things rather than telling us what to believe.) The whole 'God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten not made" piece was because lots of early Christians didn't believe Jesus was co-eternal with the Father. The beginning of the Creed "I/we believe in ONE GOD" was because lots of early Christians believed there was the God of Creation, the Jewish God, the Demiurge and then there was the 'good god' who was Jesus' father. The Old Testament God, for lots of early Christians, didn't map or match up with the message of, the Creator must have been some different god than the God and Father of Jesus. Think about it. Not crazy....but heretical. (The victors write the history--just as in Christianity, the stream of the faith that became the 'authorized religion' of the Roman Empire was the winner--that Nicene Church wrote the history of the faith.)

But the discovery at Nag Hammadi, in Egypt less than a century ago, of a treasure of so called Gnostic Christian writings, including the Gospel of Mary Madelene, through the scholars of the early church into a tizzy. It's not what we learned in Sunday school.

Had the so called Gnostic Christians prevailed, believing in the immortality of the soul would be orthodox Christian belief. But they didn't win...though most Christians today would agree with them that we have a soul and it is immortal, heretics that we are....

I'll let you know if my prediction of over 50% heretics is accurate.

You might be one as well....

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.