Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas 2014

The Coming of the Quantum Christ: The Shroud of Turin and the Apocalypse of Selfishness is now available in a Kindle and Nook editions. Kindle is linked here: KINDLE Nook is linked here: NOOK

Usually, at Christmas time I refer friends to a passage in Doctor Zhivago, where Zhivago contemplates his wife pregnancy and relates it to Mary carrying Jesus in her womb:

 "He is her glory. Any woman could say it. For every one of them, God is in her child. Mothers of great men must have been familiar with this feeling, but then, all women are mothers of great men - it isn't their fault if life disappoints them later."

However, now that Quantum Christ is out there, in writing it I included in Chapter Two (with her permission) a long quote from Elaine Pagel's "The Gnostic Gospels." It is like the Zhivago a hymn to the Incarnation we celebrate on Christmas. Because God was made human, every  act of our life can partake of the divine.

Orthodox Christianity teaches that the tree of faith was enriched by the blood of the martyrs. Elaine Pagels, hardly a Vatican favorite, concluded that the example set by the Christian martyrs was in fact a key to orthodox Christianity’s ascendancy over its gnostic competitors.

“No doubt the persecutions terrified many into avoiding contact with Christians, but Justin and Tertullian both say that the sight of martyrs aroused the wonder and admiration that impelled them to investigate the movement, and then to join it. And both attest that this happened to many others. (As Justin remarked: “The more such things happen, the more do others, in larger numbers, become believers.”) Tertullian writes in defiance to Scapula, the proconsul of Carthage: ‘Your cruelty is our glory … All who witness the noble patience of [the martyrs], are struck with misgivings, are inflamed with desire to examine the situation … and as soon as they come to know the truth, they immediately enroll themselves as its disciples.’[i]

Pagels then puts martyrdom in the context of Christ’s life in words that echo Pasternak:

“In its portrait of Christ’s life and his passion, orthodox teaching offered a means of interpreting fundamental elements of human experience. Rejecting the gnostic view that Jesus was a spiritual being, the orthodox insisted that he, like the rest of humanity, was born, lived in a family, became hungry and tired, ate and drank wine, suffered and died. They even went so far as to insist that he rose bodily from the dead. Here again, as we have seen, orthodox tradition implicitly affirms bodily experience as the central fact of human life. What one does physically—one eats and drinks, engages in sexual life or avoids it, saves one’s life or gives it up—all are vital elements in one’s religious development. But those gnostics who regarded the essential part of every person as the “inner spirit” dismissed such physical experience, pleasurable or painful, as a distraction from spiritual reality—indeed, as an illusion. No wonder, then, that far more people identified with the orthodox portrait than with the “bodiless spirit” of gnostic tradition. Not only the martyrs, but all Christians who have suffered for 2,000 years, who have feared and faced death, have found their experience validated in the story of the human Jesus.”[ii]

Merry Christmas.

[i] Pagels, Elaine (2004-06-29). The Gnostic Gospels (p. 98). Random House. Kindle Edition.
[ii] Pagels, Elaine (2004-06-29). The Gnostic Gospels (p. 99). Random House. Kindle Edition.