Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One

Today Phil Wilson asks:

What if James Cameron produced the bodies of Jesus, Mary, and Mary
Magdalene? Would faith change? If it were conclusively proven that
Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, what would change about life?

I have lots of thoughts. The first one is that I wonder when it became the rage to marry Jesus off to Mary Magdalene.  When my dad was in seminary, the speculation was that he might have been married to Mary or Martha, Lazarus’s sisters, and the speculation that Martha and Lazarus’s Mary was also Mary Magdalene had been put to bed*.

The second is that it seems likely that Jesus would have been married and he knew a lot of women named Mary, so possibly to one of them.  And, if he was married, he had certain duties to his wife, so it’s likely that they had children.

I’m saying that it doesn’t seem like it would be the end of the world or even of Christianity as we know it if Jesus had a wife and kid.  In fact, I think it might be kind of cool.  I haven’t heard many men talk about this, except my dad’s friend, Father Ted, but it seems like the idea of trying to model yourself after Jesus, when you think of Jesus as some perfect virgin sacrifice, and navigating being a man and a father might be difficult.

But what if Jesus were a dad, too?  What if you knew he knew what you were going through when you felt like you couldn’t protect your wife from the things that hurt her?  What if you knew, really knew, that he knew what it meant to miss a kid’s birthday because you had to work?  What if you knew that Jesus also held a little life in his hands and felt that he was something to that child no one else would ever be?

I just don’t see how that could be a bad thing.  Seriously, if finding out for certain that Jesus had a wife and a son is enough to destroy Christianity?  Well, good riddance.

What if that really is Jesus, the Christ, there in that box?

Again, I’m not sure if it matters.  It doesn’t prove that he wasn’t resurrected.  It just proves that he didn’t corporeally ascend into Heaven after the resurrection.

Listen, here’s the trouble I have with literal Bible believers and it’s the trouble folks are going to run into with this story.  At some point, you have to open your heart up to mystery.  Even if Jesus of Nazareth was the bastard son of a teenage girl and whoever, who then went on to be an itinerate preacher, and got married and had a kid or two, and then was executed and his body was stuck in a tomb for 2,000 years only to be discovered by James Cameron, that still would not negate the power of your god.

If you believe that your god works in the world in mysterious ways, Jesus being some dude with a sketchy background, and I mean fully just some dude with DNA from an earthly mom and an earthly dad, is hardly enough to get in the way of your god doing great things with him.

Again, either you’re open to mystery or you’re not.  And it seems to me that the way it works is about teaching us the necessity of being open to ways we’re uncomfortable with.  For most of us, we want an explanation and we want facts and we want understanding.  So, if the Bible says that Jesus was born of a virgin and God, then that better be the by-god factual truth of the matter.

But that’s not how mystery works.

Mystery is about giving us the things we don’t know we need.  We’re taught this in Sunday School** that the Jews didn’t recognize Jesus as the messiah because they were expecting an earthly king who would lead an armed rebellion against the Romans.  Many an atheist can tell you how folks who performed “miracles” like the ones ascribed to Jesus were a dime a dozen back then.  In other words, in a world that seemed to need someone extraordinary, a terribly ordinary man was the one sent to do your god’s work.

And now, at a time when so many Christians are hell-bent on believing in the factual inerrancy of everything in the Bible, here’s some news to shake that up.

I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

Mystery demands, by its nature, doubt and confusion and leaps of faith and misunderstandings.

Even Jesus, when hanging on the cross, expressed doubt and confusion–“My God, my God.  Why have you forsaken me?”*** and the folks around him misunderstood and thought he was calling for Elijah.

Right there, at a central point of Christianity, when the realm of Heaven is so close to us that the curtain in the Temple is torn, what marks it?  Confusion, misunderstanding, doubt, fear.

That that should continue to be a hallmark of Jesus’s story seems to me to be important.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know what it means.

I just know that too much certainty is anti-Christian. 



*Apparently, it needed a drink of water, or maybe to go to the bathroom, because it seems to be out of bed and scurrying around upstairs. 

**Though, as NM points out, what we learned in Sunday School is not necessarily what was going on on the ground in real life, so let’s just all agree that we understand this as inherited mythological understanding and not a history of the middle east. 

***The opening to Psalm 22, where the title from whence the title of this post also comes.

In Which I Say All I Have Left to Say About the Terry Frank Thing (I Hope)

I give "Best Bad-Ass Threat in a Blog Comment Section" to Lynnster, whose smackdown of Stacey Campfield is worth scrolling to the end of this thread for.

And now that you have so blatantly and snarkily addressed the issue in the manner you have, I think you can pretty much guarantee yourself that if there is no apology, the thousands of TN state employees there are will soon be finding out who Stacey Campfield is, if they don’t already know, and what Stacey Campfield thinks of their jobs (that they don’t have “real” jobs, if you need reminding).

I hope you had no political aspirations outside of your current district in East Tennessee.

You think I’m bluffing? Try me.

You have not chosen your battles well, Mr. Campfield. Not only do I have ties to some of the Republican support you likely crave in East TN, but one of your past campaign contributors is personally very close to me.

The next time you choose another tiger to tangle with and think you can safely do so just because it’s some random person on the Internet, I hope you’ll keep in mind next time that that person might have ties and affiliations you’re unaware of.

As for Frank herself, she’s finally come around to posting about the real piece of actual news that she’s been handed–that we’re training Iraqis to test and handle the uranium still in Iraq (Sean Braisted has a nice dissection of all the other stuff going on in the dust-up.  See him for smart analysis.).

I’m still trying to figure out what this means, if anything.  Does it suggest a quicker time-table for our withdrawal than we’ve been led to believe is in place?  Is Iraq really stable enough to turn over that much uranium to their care?  What if the place descends further into civil war (or into civil war, for those of you who aren’t yet convinced)?  What happens if the uranium falls into the hands of insurgents?  Does the fact that there’s still so much uranium in Iraq bolster the argument that we need to stay there and keep Iraq as stable as we can?  Or is it impossible for us to stabilize the country?  Are there provisions in place to keep the Iraqis from selling the uranium to folks we’d rather not have it?  If so, what are those provisions?  Who will secure these facilities?  Will we continue to guard them while the Iraqis work inside or will the Iraqis take over the whole operation?  How well-guarded are these facilities?  How much uranium would a terrorist have to get his hands on in order to make an effective dirty bomb?  What would happen if insurgents bombed this facility?

I don’t know, obviously, but I’d be curious to know what people who do know think.

A la Keith Richards

For some reason, Blogger won’t let me comment, which is too bad, because I wanted to contribute to the intellectual discussion going on over at Short & Fat’s.

All I was going to say is that you know how you see Keith Richards out and about and he seems to have everything that’s caught his eye stuck in his hair–some beads, a few braids, a twig, a flower, some car keys, a tiny puppy, and so on?

I have this overwhelming urge to do myself up that way in the cooterial region* and try to get in the shower just before Short & Fat at various places all over town.


*We strive for medically accurate terms here at Tiny Cat Pants.

Do What Works

The poor tiny cat is suffering from her usual winter malady of scabby crusty grossness.  I think she itches and scratches and licks at it until her butt hair all falls out and then she’s even more uncomfortable because of the crusty scabby grossness caused by her scratching.

I have started to put lotion on my cat.

I can’t believe I’m admitting this in public, but yes, I put lotion on my cat.

I squirt it on my hands and then rub it together a little bit to warm it up, and then I grab her ass and massage it in.

I think she likes it.  It’s hard to tell with cats.  They run around acting all sorts of pissed off about things, just in general.  But she puts up with it, for one, and for another, she doesn’t immediately try to lick it off (which the dog does, whenever I try to help her with her scratchy paws).

But it makes her look pretty funny, like some kind of tiny greaser.  Don’t worry, I’ve got my eye on her and keep her as separated from the socs as I can.

I sent the play off just now.  I’m feeling both anxious and relieved.

I thought I had more to say about that, but I guess I don’t.