Pagans and Christians and Mark, Part I

Some people ask whether one can be both Pagan and Christian. If you think of Jesus as the Lord of Glory living somewhere up in Heaven who has a rule against belonging to any other faith, and if you define “Pagan” as meaning merely “non-Christian,” then, no, they could not overlap. However, there are Christopagans who manage it, by not defining the terms as being mutually exclusive. A Jesus who was a visionary Rabbi, who was probably married, who even still appears to some people, is a different s … [Read more...]

The United States Has Always Been a Pagan, Socialist Nation, Part II

In Part One I presented an argument that the USA began as a socialist nation. There are already a few people screaming that we are NOT a Socialist nation. No, that’s not what I said. I explained that I was using “socialist” in the classic Enlightenment sense as meaning a society that is governed for the benefit of all its people, not for the benefit of any minority. Of course, at the moment we have drifted far from that ideal. And, BTW, not reading what has been written is what gets freshman an F … [Read more...]

The Queen Who Is Hidden in the Gospels, Part IV

In Part III of this series, I pointed out that Mk (The Gospel According to Mark) is not a simple reporting of unadorned facts, but is instead a carefully constructed literary masterpiece. That Mark constructed his gospel carefully was actually known in antiquity. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon, in his Detection and Refutation of Knowledge Falsely So Called (still one of the most important sources of information about the “Gnostics,” since Irenaeus had the good sense not to set forth a straw-man arg … [Read more...]

Grateful Thoughts for Peter Dybing

I am quite grateful for Peter Dybing’s praise for my writing in a comment he left a day or so ago. Considering his immense service to Paganism and to humanity in general, and the stage of (current) burnout he has reached because of (I assume) rampant ingratitude, I find his goodwill toward me very special. His focusing on how I “process” in my writing, rather than merely present conclusions, seemed, well, unexpected; at least, “process” was not a term that would have occurred to me, but I think I … [Read more...]

On Gnosticism, the Book of Shadows, and Sex

I received a few days ago my monthly statistical report from Patheos on how many hits I received last month, total, per day, per blog, etc. My total has been running just under 5,000. If I get up to 12,500, I start getting paid (hint, hint). It was interesting to see that the greatest number of hits were on two blogs: “On Jesus as a Gnostic” and “Some New Pages for the Book of Shadows.” I suppose I might garner some more hits if I expand upon those particular topics. I also see I’ve written somew … [Read more...]

On the Soul and the Elements, or, Farewell to the Tripartite Anthropology, Part I

“Tripartite Anthropology” is a standard, although pompous, name for the concept held by the pre-Socratic philosophers 2500 years ago (and no doubt by people  long before then) that humans consist of body, soul, and spirit. Using those terms now is as inadequate for our times as using Empedocles’ four-element model would be for doing chemistry. We do have a physical body, obviously. The problem is with the other two terms. People now use the terms “soul” and “spirit” more or less interchangeab … [Read more...]

On Jesus as a Gnostic

 Why write about him at all? Because, like it or not, he is the protagonist in the story of Western civilization. You know about him; you have a theory about him, even if it’s that you should ignore him. But, as with most topics, it’s better to be well-informed than to be ignorant.Before 1945, the few people interested in the Gnostics generally thought they were heretical interlopers whose teachings had nothing to do with the genuine Christian message. The Nag Hammadi documents, which iclude … [Read more...]

On the Necessity of Awakening

The Castle Frankenstein poem I posted as a blog records an experience that set me on a Gnostic path. It think it must be significant that I recovered my memory of it during a strange, dark prelude—maybe calling it “existential despair”is not too inaccurate—to my 1963 Awakening experience, of which I have not yet posted a full description, although my long History poem was one attempt to describe it.My experience in 1954 had been an Awakening also. Afterward I knew many things; in that sense I … [Read more...]

Knowledge Rather Than Faith

What serves as my religion was formed in an instant when I was 14. Ever since, I have searched for adequate vehicles to express it in practical ways. What I know from that experience is how the Divine felt to me. That knowledge is a foundation, primordial relative to all specific religions. It enables me to be aware of the presence of the divine in almost any context, Christian or Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist or Pagan, as long as I remember to pay attention, which I sometimes don’t, at least not at … [Read more...]

A Request and Previews

Our intrepid Managing editor for the Patheos Pagan Channel, Dr. Christine Hoff Kraemer, has suggested to me that, in order to avoid burnout, it might be wise not to try to make a major contribution to world literature, theology, and philosophy with every blog. I can see that. It's okay just to chat once in a while.Now, I do have a request. If those among my readers who are college teachers or who otherwise hold a prestigious position that might impress our Dean might be so kind as to post a … [Read more...]


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