Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Theology - Part I

I think if I were to "start over" any time soon, I'd have an eye toward Theology. I really feel drawn to it, enough that it is commonly a distraction from my everyday life as an aspiring animator and wife-to-be. If it's possible, I've been feeling somewhat spiritually starved for a while, and haven't known quite what to do about it. That's not to say I'm unhappy with life or love, it is really the opposite - the happier I get with those, the hungrier I get to explore personal and spiritual truths. It's just not something I'll readily talk about since it's a really deep subject that requires a lot of time, patience, and open-mindedness. And again, this is an exploration of something deeply personal, so it is one endeavor during which I tend to withdraw and form my own conclusions, although not always without the input of others.

I'll probably continue this here on my blog at some point. But for now I wanted to share a couple of links I stumbled on today.
Recently some health issues have been re-emerging, and I was thinking to myself, wouldn't it be nice if someone could simply go to sleep and dream up some cure? And I remembered a story my mother and her mother shared with me once about a "sleeping prophet" who would apparently go under hypnosis and speak of unheard of cures of specific ailments, yet wouldn't remember his ideas upon waking. Of course it's controversial and I'm not trying to convince anybody. It's was mere curiosity that led me to this wiki page about him. An interesting read, shown in more skeptical light than stories I'd originally heard, of course.

However, it led me to something else: in the Major Themes section, Unknown Life of Jesus, "Cayce presented narratives of Jesus' previous incarnations, including a mysterious Atlantean figure called "Amilius" as well as the more familiar biblical figures of Adam, Enoch, Melchizedek, Joshua, Asaph, and Jeshua. Cayce describes Jesus as an Essene who traveled to India in his youth in order to study Eastern religions." This fascinates me. I recall meeting with Fr. Dan Davis at Purdue's St. Thomas Aquinas with my fiance as we were discussing our intentions to get married, and the various expectations we might have for our future having come from two very different pasts. A lot of the meeting addressed each of our personal beliefs, and I felt it was the first time I was really coming into contact with a new explorative side of my religious self. While I am heavily reliant on traditional Catholic doctrine, I also have questions and concerns, and possibly some disagreements. St. Tom's was far more liberal than my hometown church, which was a difficult adjustment in the beginning but by the end I loved it dearly.

Back to that quote: One thing that Fr. Dan brought light to in our meetings was the topic of the unknown life of Jesus during his childhood. I felt that he had shown me a common denominator to some previously unsolvable math problem. He talked about indications that Joseph and Jesus traveled during his childhood, as far as India, where a branch of Hinduism (centered on the concept of love) thrived during a time when a child named Esa came through the towns and villages with his father. Supposedly this child was revered as a reincarnated Hindu god who preached about loving thy neighbor, among other things. So one wiki site led to another, where I began reading about the Essenes:

Since the moment I first heard the story of Esa (Jesus), I've been captivated by the possibilities, and dismayed by the lack of tangible historical evidence - yet somehow faithful that there is some underlying connective tissue to the major world religions. Naveen and I share that, I think - we have two very different belief structures, but we commonly believe in an overall, universal higher power, and that most if not all branches of theology stem from it.

1 comment:

Laura "Sko" said...

Ever heard of the Church of Reality?

In other news: my friend Kurt left me this message:
One of my favorite theological topics, and very relevant to a curious Catholic such as yourself:

My response:
Thanks for sharing. I think I had heard about this before, but it was good to get a reminder about it.

"Some scholars, such as Edward Conze and Elaine Pagels, have suggested that gnosticism blends teachings like those attributed to Jesus Christ with teachings found in Eastern traditions."

"The Gnostics were a rather diverse group of early movements finding a basis often in Christian or Judaism. These people did not refer to themselves as "Gnostics" but rather the label was applied mostly by their opponents and modern scholars. The movements were strongly associated with mysticism, and the thread connecting them was the concept of gnosis, which refers to an intimately personal kind of knowledge... centered around gnosis of the divine rather than faith (pistis)."
(branching to another topic)
"According to Mark (and the other Synoptics), when Jesus was presented before Pilate, Pilate offered to the crowd a choice between Jesus and a man named Barabbas. The full name of Barabbas was, according to some ancient Christian texts, including some ancient manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus Barabbas; Barabbas is the Greek form of the Hebrew surname bar Abbas, which means son of the father . Hence, Pilate offered the choice between Jesus and Jesus son of the father and Mark (and in consequence Matthew, Luke, and John) effectively presents the choice between an earthly Jesus-son-of-the-father (as Barabbas was a thief and bandit) and a more spiritual version of Jesus-son-of-the-father, a highly gnostic reading. The crowd chose to save the earthly Jesus (i.e. Barabbas), which thus may be read as allegory in the gnostic view that the masses were carnal and not spiritual beings, since they did not have gnosis."