Today's commentary from Tom McMahon includes a stunning piece of music by Brian Doerksen cut to images taken from Sir David Attenborough's BBC series, Planet Earth. Tom uses it to drive home his central point that the beauty of God, the beauty of the Divine, is found in all of Creation and somehow finds some kind of mysterious zenith in the naked female form. The form that has intrigued artists and sculptures since humankind climbed out of the first womb. This is a beautiful commentary.
The "Holy Spirit" ... what do these two words mean?
I offer the following as an encouragement for followers of Jesus to abandon the Jansenistic attitude toward sex that was offered to us years ago. As a tool to search back into the holiness (wholesomeness) of human sexuality I will use my concept of the Holy Spirit. The two words are bantered about in almost every book and article that I read on religious and Church reform. What images do the very words elicit in the human mind?
First the usual pictures of some type of outer space "power" like the idea we get from the initial words of Genesis where the word God is used in creating the heavens and the earth. From this I retain no concrete image, We have two Genesis creation stories, one with Elohim/Great Spirit hovering over the abyss and creating water and earth. In contradiction the second version has an anthropomorphic figure (human-like) chatting with Adam, appreciating man's loneliness. and then creating Eve. God is often FIRE as we see in the Old Testament — if we dare continue to use this archaic term for a collection of spiritual books. Fire is used particularly in connection with worship of Yahweh and we well remember Elish's exit from this world and his return to Jehovah in a fiery chariot, the first jet-propelled earth rocket. It is the Pentecostal tongues of fire that I learned back in grade school that remains the dominant picture of the "coming of the Holy Spirit". I need go beyond these tongues of leaping flames and the biblical attempts at the physical presence of God so as to have a human appreciation of the power presence of the Creator in all creation.
Wayne Dwyer has a TV series on energy holding creation together. He comes very close to a good analogy of THE FORCE and CREATOR POWER. I pursue the mystery of God knowing full well I will never have an adequate picture. I can only use human terms to describe the footprints of the UNKNOWN.
My eye is on the historical Jesus and his power to reawaken life in the sick during his public ministry. Check out Matthew, Chapter 9. Jesus merely tells the paralytic: "get up and pick up your bed and go off home". Jesus does not zap the fellow; the cure seems to come from within the body of the ailing person. Yes, Jesus touches the eyes of the blind men (same chapter) saying "your faith deserves it". The demonics seem to be cured when evil is cast out of him and I ask what was left (faith) in them when evil was gone. My faith picture presence now is the goodness invested in all Creation. Remember Genesis where once there was nothing and God created. Dare I think that all Creation — including you and me and those two trees in my back yard — are the physical appearance of the mysterious Holy Power/Spirit — the very core of creation. I can believe in divinity in Jesus without ascribing to a preposterous story of an outer-space intervention to a Jewish maiden about whom we know absolutely nothing. Isn't this what Michael Morwood has been telling us in his books?
Can you find the mysterious presence of the Creator in this music video?
Some may see by now why I can see divinity in the body of a naked female.
My concept is simple and so observable; within all creation there is a God power which I call life. The tree has IT; the human being has IT! There is a power of goodness (godliness) in all Creation. For those of us who have a belief in a living God who has created from nothing the universe and all Creation we can have an innate awareness of a power for good that permeates Creation. We have so often spoken of our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. Let's take a look at a famous female and see if we can see God's presence.
Not to be confused with the group of prehistoric statuettes known as Venus figurines. The image below is the statue of Venus de Milo thought to be sculpted (in marble) by Alexandros of Antioch between 130 and 100 BC.
The following information is from Wikipedia:
Aphrodite of Milos, better known as the Venus de Milo, is an ancient Greek statue and one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. Created at some time between 130 and 100 BC, it is believed to depict Aphrodite (Venus to the Romans) the Greek goddess of love and beauty. It is a marble sculpture, slightly larger than life size at 203 cm (6 ft 8 in) high. Its arms and original plinth have been lost. From an inscription that was on its plinth, it is thought to be the work of Alexandros of Antioch; it was earlier mistakenly attributed to the master sculptor Praxiteles. It is at present on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Tom sees in her broad shoulders, powerful back, her firm breasts and strong hips reproductive power. Is the beauty merely exterior or is my mind capable of seeing the wholesomeness (holiness) the full figure conveys. The female body is a masterpiece showing forth God's co-creative spirit. When I wrote of the fools gold of Hollywood — what a joke in the red carpet of Sunday's Oscars — I lament the human inability to see deeply in creation the hand of the master-Creator. I can hear the innocence, the power, and beauty of the human being when Mary, wife of Catholica's Francis Brown, speaks of her Papuan way of life.
Some frustration to end...
I spoil the above ending with a bit of frustration. Too bad the medieval Church brought into a negative appreciation of the human body. Too bad the good nun that taught me in 8th grade wore such a hideous coverall of her femininity. I can see those warrior monks, seeking rehab after the fall of the Roman Empire and the Crusades, attempting to banish the female from the "sacred" (means special) monastery walls. Like Jerome when he isolated himself in a cave to gather together the Bible they may find naked damsels running across the ceiling. I would recommend to any seminarian today that he have a full sized picture of Venus de Milo in his room and mediate on what he is missing in not taking part in the Creator's command to increase and multiply — a directive written right in his DNA.
We may be seeing the church's demand for imposed clerical celibacy as a call to war against human nature … Deus Vult? I think not!
My encouragement is to go deep into the wisdom concerning sexuality, seeking to recoup a God-given place of honor. We need pass on to future generations the glorious beauty of the universe and the awesomeness of human reproduction. My sense is there is no place for "sexy" jokes, cheap use of the female body and her clothing and "sexy" books and movies. Let our contribution be a tradition (a passing down) of a noble appreciation of human life as fashioned by Original Life Itself.
Tom McMahon, in San Jose, Ca. who enjoys the divine in all Creation! 01/03/2011
PS The professional in me sees Venus as having some psychological problems. It appears she has lost her arms by anxiously biting her fingernails. Yet I am sure the statue survived for more reasons than absent arms. She's a maternal beauty!
PPS The above can be said of the male body. Evolutionary-wise the female is way ahead.
What are your thoughts on this commentary?