Jesus Ween

Nothing says “Turn your back on heathen practices” like “Our Lord and Savior’s Penis.” There’s no on affiliated with that group who knows a 13 year old boy they could have tried that name out on?

But ignoring that “ween” means “penis,” let’s talk about Jesus Ween as a concept. When I first moved to Donelson, there was a church that performed a “Christian Version of A Christmas Carol.” Yes, Dickens’ story. This made me laugh so hard I almost drove off the road. I mean, A Christmas Carol  already is the Christian version of A Christmas Carol. Just back in Dickens’ time, you didn’t have to have Jesus show up and be called by name for everyone to recognize who was behind all the good woo.

So, yes, isn’t this the same thing? Halloween is already Jesus Ween, so to speak. It’s the evening before All Hallows Day. Hallow Evening, if you will. Yes, it’s stuck on a pagan holiday, but, let’s be real. Probably not really. No, no, I know. Samhain. Or as they say on True Blood Sam hai ain. But let’s mark time without a calendar. You can tell the solstices and the equinoxes by using the sun. You can mark off months by using the moon. And days, of course, with the turning of the earth.

If Samhain was a set day for the pagans who celebrated it–if it occurred on the last day of the 10th lunar month–it would move around some (depending on how the Celts dealt with the the fact that a lunar month is just over 28 days) like Jewish holidays move for the same reasons. Therefore, it wouldn’t always been halfway between the equinox and solstice. And it would move around on our calendar. It wouldn’t always be October 31st. The two calendars wouldn’t line up.

Now, it’s possible that they just said, “It’s the 40th day after the equinox.” And that was the majority of the time October 31st. But it wouldn’t always be. Even the equinox moves around a little.

All this is to say that, yes, Samhain was a fall festival the pagans expected to celebrate roughly when we celebrate Halloween. But Halloween is and was a holiday invented by Christians for Christians to fill a need on their liturgical calendar (and, yes, to make conversion easier for folks).

Halloween is already Jesus Ween.

13 thoughts on “Jesus Ween

  1. B, why couldn’t Samhain–and if I recall correctly the Old Irish I studied the “m” is pronounced “w’–be exactly halfway between equinox and solstice each year? Once you were working with our current calendar that date would change (as Easter does), but it wouldn’t necessarily mean that Samhain itself would migrate. Solstice and equinox are set by the sun, and there’s plenty of evidence (say, in Newgrange in Ireland) that the old folks knew exactly when those days occurred.

  2. Exactly. That’s what I was trying to get at in the paragraph about them possibly setting it 40 days after the equinox. That would put Samhain at the same time every year, but it would indeed migrate slightly on our calendar.

    My point is that once you set a date by our calendar and not a solar/lunar one, that’s evidence of the Christian “origins” of the holiday (with Easter being the exception).

    It’s like overlaying a map onto a clockwork. The map is only an approximation of the position of things in the clockwork, because it’s in motion. And yet, we all sometimes give up looking into the spinning gears and study the map instead. That’s fine. I don’t think that’s wrong.

    But I think it’s important to point out that, if someone, like the Jesus Ween group, looks at October 31st on the map and says “That’s a pagan spot in the calendar,” they’re mistaking the map for the turning gears.

    And if pagans swoop in behind them and say “Okay, fine, we’ll take it!” that’s a problem of the Christians’ own making.

    Putting another, slightly different map over the map you already drew and calling THAT the map everyone should use because there are no pagan things on it is hilarious. The first map was only filled with approximations of pagan things in the first place, the things they wanted to carry into Christianity. And wanting to continue to stick things on those dates is still carrying those pagan things further into this new take on Christianity.

    I find that really hilarious and interesting. If they don’t want to be influence by pagan things, they’re going to have to give up on mapping the clockwork completely. Which, on the one hand, is fine–moving faith from observation of the cycles of the world wholly to text is kind of the direction mainstream Christian theology goes. But on the other hand, Christian-sanctioned observations of the cycles of the world allow people who consider themselves Christian to keep from having to realize how much of their own beliefs are actually syncratic.

    There’s a danger that not letting them have syncratic beliefs may spur them to wholly throw in with the “superstitions” they’ve never quite let go of.

    That’s a dilemma Christianity has always faced and I’m curious to see how new Christian groups try to walk that line.

  3. Pingback: God’s Genitals « Just Another Pretty Farce

  4. I have to admit I’m 49 and this is the first time I’ve realized that ween is yet another name for penis. I just always thought the band just had some meaningful-only-to-them name.

    Jesus-ween reminds me of the first time I heard of the Tea-baggers-do you really want to call yourselves that?

  5. The tea-baggers DON’T call themselves that. In that instance it’s a derogatory name applied to them by someone who thinks demeaning others is clever.

    The Jesus Ween brain trust, on the other hand, DID pick that horrid name on their own.

  6. Coble, the Tea Party people did indeed start out by calling themselves “tea-baggers.” They ditched the name once the connotations were pointed out, but they have no one but themselves to thank for starting that ball rolling. If you look at videos from the earliest rallies, yep, they are saying “I am a …” and “we are ….” I distinctly remember this because I was one of the folks who wasn’t aware of the sexual meaning, and my second thought on learning about it was “boy, are those folks going to be embarrassed.”

  7. I so desperately want to print out this post and take it to the minister who all but condemned me to hell as a teenager when I asked why the C of C (or at least that particular one) made such a deal out of not celebrating Christmas on 12/24-25 because “no one knows the actual date of Christ’s birth,” yet made a huge deal about Easter week AND the big day. I noted then that neither could really be traced to a specific date and that all the centuries of differing calendars and traditions, coupled with the Catholic Church’s gerrymandering of holy days to boost attendance (and contributions!) meant that we probably oughta explain both and stick with the “observe each day as the one Christ was born — and was resurrected — for you” merhod

  8. Ack, fumble fingers! METHOD. He wanted to know where I’d learned that. I said we’d discussed it in Sunday school. He asked why, and I said, “To learn, I guess.” BOOM. I was in trouble.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to know that joker is involved in this ‘ween thing too. He is a big ween.

    And how … aren’t they even bright enough to look up the origin of All Hallows’ Eve? Why not say “A Hallowed Evening” and then pull Jesus in? I am indeed puzzled at the effort put forth to be ignorant AND obnoxious.

  9. P.S. — The mean, hypocritical Sunday-school teacher told me and two other girls that we’d go to hell if we went to a party on Halloween. It was a mutual friend’s *birthday* party, and we dressed up in non-scary costumes and had a blast. (Her mom had a non-religious phobia of Halloween; long story, but she was great.)

    I quit going to church there not long after that, since I was going to hell anyway. ;oD

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