Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Right now favorite website

want to read the whole Bible? live passionately? pray the daily office? get a tattoo?
Find others who are doing that too.  Or have, and can help.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

...on Mary M and sex

I'm not as tired of the discussion and debate over The Da Vinci Code as I was over the movie The Passion, but I'm a lot more amused. B-list thriller writer Dan Brown hit a nerve with this book, which is, as is well-known by now, a rehashing of half a dozen other books and tv shows (and, probably accidentally, Foucault's Pendulum).

Most of the comments I've heard from friends and acquaintances centers on the idea of a marriage between Mary Magdalene and Jesus. That's an old idea, of course: it's been played out in a bunch of books, and was fodder for the same fearful Christian critics when The Last Temptation of Christ came out. But most people I've heard this time have expressed intrigue, even hope that such a marriage existed.

The focus on that particular plot twist is telling: It suggests to me that we cannot imagine intimacy without sex/marriage. And, if we cannot posit sex/marriage, then we downplay intimacy.

There is nothing scriptural, or even quasi-scriptural, to strongly support a marriage between Magdalene and Jesus. There is also nothing to strongly deny it. But there is plenty to suggest intimacy of relationship between Jesus and Magdalene, and between Jesus and "the beloved disciple". But it is very hard for us to imagine this intimacy between straight people without imagining a sexual or cultural contract. Some of us also cannot comfortably admit the possibility of physical relationship between Jesus and his male disciple, so must also deny the clear scriptural spiritual/emotional intimacy.

(Interestingly, there's a lot more scriptural basis for a sexual & intimate relationship between Jonathan and David than between Jesus and Magdalene, but you don't see movies made about that!)

Let's be honest: our reactions, pro or con, to all this isn't about Dan Brown or Jesus. It's about us.

Intimacy is terrifying and difficult for us in the best of circumstances. It's even harder to get really intimate, really trusting, really tender, with Jesus. But that's about us, not about Him. He's able; we have to be willing.

And it doesn't take sex or marriage to get there.