Early Followers of Jesus Believed He Had a Wife

Today, Harvard Divinity scholar Karen L. King went public with new evidence that indicates that the early followers of Jesus believed that he had a wife. King insists that the idea that Jesus did not have a wife does not arise until about 150 years after Jesus’ crucifixion.

King points to a newly rediscovered papyrus fragment from the second century coptic manuscript in which Jesus refers to “my wife.” That pundits commenting on today’s news should call the notion that Jesus had a wife “shocking” is in and of itself shocking to those of us who take the bible seriously. If Jesus was not married, now that would be shocking for a first century, Jewish peasant! 

Link to the New York Time article here

You can download a copy of Karen L. Kings paper: “”Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…’ New Coptic Gospel Papyrus”  here

Scholars will continue to be sceptical of King’s find. For the Smithsonian’s take on the find and details of an upcoming documentary click here.

Hildegard von Bingen – Woman of Vision

Herald of the Divine Feminine, reformer of the church and green prophet! Today is the feast day of the Christian mystic Hildegard von Bingen, a woman of great vision, a woman centuries ahead of her time. During her 81 years Hildegard’s talents as an artist, musician, poet, healer and theologian ought not to be ignored. And yet the Roman Catholic Church only got around to officially canonizing this giant of the church this past May. Rumour has it the Mr. Ratzinger plans to elevate St. Hildegard to the status of Doctor of the Church next month. 

In 2009, German filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta wrote and directed the movie “Vision”. The DVD version is available from Amazon and I highly recommend it!!! 

Matthew Fox’s new book “Hildegard of Bingen a Saint for Our Times, Unleashing Her Power in the 21st Century” will be released next month and I am eagerly awaiting my copy. You can listen to an interview of Matthew Fox on the subject of his new book here.  Fox describes Hildegard as a Trojan horse whose teachings he hopes will shake up the vatican. 

At Holy Cross we have developed an Evening Prayer Service inspired by the work of Hildegard. The worship bulletin and an audio recording of the service are linked below.  Enjoy the video of contralto Karen Clark who preforms Hildegard’s antiphon “O Virtus Sapientie”

Evening Prayer Service Bulletin which is to be printed double-sided

Evening Prayer Audio – the silences are intentional.  Enjoy!


What If? – Remembering September 11, 2001

As our thoughts and prayers turn to that horrendous day, I can’t help wondering about all that has transpired since and wondering “What if…..?”  In the days following the terrorist attacks the following email message was circulated the world over, I’ve kept it all these years.

“Bomb them with butter . . . .”

A military response, particularly an attack on Afghanistan, is exactly what the terrorists want. It will strengthen and swell their small but fanatical ranks.

Instead, bomb Afghanistan with butter, with rice, bread, clothing and medicine. It will cost less than conventional arms, poses no threat of US casualties and just might get the populace thinking that maybe the Taliban don’t have the answers. After three years of drought and with starvation looming, let’s offer the Afghani people the vision of a new future. One that includes full stomachs.

Bomb them with information. Video players and cassettes of world leaders, particularly Islamic leaders, condemning terrorism. Carpet the country with magazines and newspapers showing the horror of terrorism committed by their “guest”. Blitz them with laptop computers and DVD players filled with a perspective that is denied them by their government. Saturation bombing with hope will mean that some of it gets through. Send so much that the Taliban can’t collect and hide it all. The Taliban are telling their people to prepare for Jihad. Instead, let’s give the Afghani people their first good meal in years. Seeing your family fully fed and the prospect of stability in terms of food and a future is a powerful deterrent to martyrdom. All we ask in return is that they, as a people, agree to enter the civilized world. That includes handing over terrorists in their midst.

In responding to terrorism we need to do something different. Something unexpected. Something that addresses the root of the problem. We need to take away the well of despair, ignorance and brutality from which the Osama bin Laden’s of the world water their gardens of terror.”

This morning as the September sun shines as brightly as it did eleven years ago, I can’t help wondering what might have happened if we had paid attention to our better angels. In the  words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it… Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate…. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” 

We will never know what might have been. But I wonder if we are ready to learn to forgive. On this bright September morning can we turn our hearts, prayers and minds to the challenge of peace? Can we begin to forgive? Do we have the courage to ask for forgiveness? 

As one who strives to follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, I am struck by how quickly my own hunger for justice can so quickly devolve into an acceptance of measures that only appease my own desire for security. The challenge for me is to follow Jesus beyond what seems prudent to a place beyond fear. Do I have the courage to forgive? Do I have the courage to ask for forgiveness? I wonder???

We are Stardust, Billion Year Old Carbon – Sermon

We Are Stardust!!! Billion Year Old Carbon!!!

Creation II – Celebrating Humanity

Great to be back in the pulpit following a splendid four month sabbatical!!!

Thank-you to everyone who contributed to the fabulous welcome home!!!

Listen to the Sermon here

Here’s a little video you’ll want to hum along to after listening to the sermon!

New Beginnings

So many new beginnings: Back to work this week; a new beginning. Team Ministry; a new beginning. As students and teachers head back to school, churches begin a new program year. At Holy Cross we are are using the Alternate Lectionary (scripture readings) for Creation and this Sunday’s readings call for a celebration of Humanity. The first reading is the Hebrew creation myth found in the first chapter of Genesis; the all too familiar story. Churches have been telling this particular story of our beginning for centuries. Standing here at the beginning of a new century makes me wonder why we don’t tell a new story of our beginning.

When I begin to study the Genesis story with Confirmation Students, I ask them to imagine our ancestors sitting around a campfire asking one another, “What’s it all about? Why are we here? Where did we come from? Who are we?” Looking back at how we once approached these questions of meaning is a perfectly fine exercise. But we can’t stop there. It’s time for us to change the scene so that it better reflects who we are here and now. Gone is the campfire. Gone is the three-tired universe. Gone is the belief that Genesis is history.

The time has come for us to imagine a different gathering at which the same questions emerge. Only this time those who have gathered can reach into their pockets and take out their mobile devices to access the wisdom of the ages. This time a new myth emerges to capture our imaginations, a new myth from within which we can begin to imagine who we are, where we came from, why we are here and where we are going???

So this Sunday our first reading will not come to us from the book of Genesis. This Sunday we will begin our celebration of humanity by telling a new creation myth, one that emerges from the wealth of knowledge that science offers us. I can’t wait to begin!