Would Jesus Dance with Women or Stand on the Sidelines and Call Them Prostitutes?

by Lewis Williams

by Lewis Williams

Peter said to Mary, “Sister, we know that the Savior loved you more than all the other women.  Tell us the words of the Savior that you remember, the things which you know that we don’t discuss because we haven’t heard them.”
Mary responded, “I will teach you about what is hidden from you.”

– The Gospel According to Mary

Dan Brown revealed to the world what the Catholic Church already knew – Mary Magdalene was never a prostitute.

In 1969, the Catholic Church revised 1,378 years of church doctrine to disassociate Mary Magdalene from being a prostitute.  It was during the Dark Ages when a man gave Jesus’ most beloved disciple that label.  In 591AD, “The Great” Pope Gregory combined the three Marys mentioned in the New Testament into one person.  That was where the idea was born.  Pope Gregory’s sermon spread and inflicted pain on women.

Icon-Mary-Magdalene telling the disciples

It seems it was Mary Magdalene who held the answers and teachings the other disciples were not privy to.

Yet despite this “revelation” I ask myself, why is it that many people still call Mary Magdalene a prostitute?  Do these men actually fear that women may have inherited Mary’s favored place among Jesus’ disciples?

I wonder who from Princeton will be standing at the corner of Alexander Road and College Road on February 14th?  Will they help re-tell Mary’s story, so women will no longer be viewed as deserving of violence or abuse simply because they are women?

My feeling is, on Valentine’s Day, Jesus will be dancing with the women, the spiritual teachers who still practice  compassion despite being betrayed and brutalized.  They have proven themselves worthy to transmit his teachings.  Although we might not recognize him, his spirit will Rise and Lead the dance.

As we dance, I think we should take careful note which male clergy from all denominations, all over the world, use their power to state rape and violence is not acceptable behavior.

Ed Bacon Jr, the rector of All Saint’s Church in Pasadena, will be dancing.  If you are in the Los Angeles area, you can join them for V-Day.

As a woman, I can say, with certainty, Mary would have taught the other disciples that inflicting Rape and Violence on women was not part of Jesus’ teachings.

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The Man’s Prayer – A Perfect Gift For Valentine’s Day

man-prayer2 because I love my mom

… May the resonance of that love translate into loving all woman and living things…

                                               Eve Ensler

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Bahrain’s Specialness – Free Hugs

Bahrain Free Hugs Arab artists peace

Many times people ask why we live in Bahrain, and by extension the Middle East.

In Bahrain we get Free Hugs.

All people from the Gulf countries are very warm and affectionate with their families and friends.  When Arabs greet each other, it is not a simple “HI”.  There is an entire ritual of multiple hugs and kisses while asking about the family’s well-being.  When I offer my hug and kiss to a friend, it looks anti-social compared to theirs.

But in Bahrain, that love extends beyond the family to the other people visiting and living on the island.

Ulafaa (meaning partners), an artist-led group, gave out Free Hugs during the Market 338 last month.  The Free Hugs campaign began in 2002 when Juan Mann started hugging strangers on Sydney’s street.  Helped by the Sick Puppies song and video, Free Hugs has gone global.

free hug Juan Mann Sydney

As I look through the Free Hug photos and videos from around the world, I think Bahrain was the first country in the Gulf, if not the Middle East where Free Hugs were given out.  A tiny drop of hope from Paradise that inshallah will radiate throughout the Middle East.

Good ideas do spread.  It is true that one person can be the creative force for positive change.

free hugs hug the world tshirt1

Vigils to End Gun Violence

 

Mr Rogers photo from Moveon.org

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Mr. Rogers. From moveon.org

People do care.  And within so many, there is a deep courage which comes out when it is least expected.  I honor the teachers who give so much to our children and protect them when their parents are not around.  The Sandy Hook teachers are heroes and guardian angels.

Around the USA, as Americans grieve over the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, people with love in their hearts are gathering to bring light on gun violence.  If you have been to a vigil, add your photo holding the light for these poor souls.  It helps.

My heart goes out to their families, the teachers, and the community who must feel like the end of the world has arrived.

 

A Message from Our Mother “We are of One Heart”

Saffron Restaurant, Muharraq Bahrain

Saffron Restaurant, Muharraq Bahrain

Superman’s appearance in Tahrir Square was not the only sign of hope I saw yesterday.  After applying make-up over my teary face, I drove to Muharraq to meet my Bahraini friend for breakfast.  We agreed to meet “in the big parking lot” before walking over to Saffron together.

A busload of school girls and their mothers crowded the alley’s entrance.

Um Hassan and school girls in Muharraq Bahrain

“Hello, hello,” the girls said to me, practicing their English.

My friend recognized the elderly woman the girls were gathered around.

“Salam alay-kum Um Hassan,” she called out to her, waving.

The woman returned the greeting and waved to us.

“Who is that?” I asked.

“Um Hassan.  The mother of Bahrain,” my friend told me.  “I recognize her from the television.”

“When the teachers started protesting at the Pearl Roundabout, she was the first woman who volunteered to go help in the schools.  She is not educated, but she did not want the schools to be shut down.  They interviewed her and she talked about how Bahrain and all Bahrainis were her children.  Her speech moved many people.  It was repeated over and over again.”

“My Children you are the crown on my head. You are my children and the children of Bahrain … All of us are One and are of one heart. Our flag is red like our hearts. My Child, Bahrain, deserves the best.  It raised us.  Since we were born, all we saw was Bahrain. We are on one track.  We want One heart. Our heart is red like our flag but it’s pure and white and we love everyone and our people are one.”

“Let’s meet her,” I said.

“You want to?” my friend asked.

“Of course.” I said, diving into the girls.

As the Mother of Bahrain held out her arms to embrace me, the abaya-clad women took photos.

Um Hassan The Mother of Bahrain in Muharraq Bahrain

“Our King is the bird and we are the two wings.  A bird can’t fly with one wing and I say, May God guide everyone, all of us, Sunna and Shia.  This land – we will not fail it.”

These revolutions are not just about the youth.  Superman and Um Hassan are carrying messages and lessons learned from all those who have gone, and suffered, before us.

“And please forgive me. I love you and love the land that you walk on. I love you my children. Maybe good will come out of this harm.

The spirit has awoken and you have all awoken and gathered around. May God bless you.”

– Quotes from Um Hassan’s speech to the Second Gathering of National Unity.

Um Hassan Bahraini Emblem given to me by Um Hassan

Bahrain pin given to me by Um Hassan

Planting Glory, Abundance and Peace

For Americans, the freedom to say what we want is upheld in the First Amendment.  The amendment gives us legal protection to express our viewpoints and practice our religions.

Just as some use their freedom to plant the invasive weeds of intolerance, there are other Americans who use their freedom to plant olive trees.

I do not despair as the news about the creators of chaos’ antics fills the air.  There are those of us who are ensuring the deep rooted Love of our Mothers takes hold, one olive tree at a time.

“Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”    Bible, Mathew 5.3

“Then tell me about the seed that you sow in the ground.”   Koran 56:63

“When words are both kind and true, they will change the world.”  Buddha

“Non-violence in others can be achieved by being firmly rooted in non-violence in yourself.”   2.35 Yoga Sutras, Patanjali

Signs of Change – Promises to Our Mother

 

Walking out of St Christopher’s Art Exhibit I noticed a Ritz Cracker box hanging in the frangipani tree.

 

Carefully stepping on the ice plants, I leaned in for a closer look.  The cardboard were cut in the shapes of leaves.  On the blank side, children pledged to become more conscious consumers – although it was probably not taught to them using those words.

 

 

Teach the children so they will bring their lessons home.

There is still time to see the annual Student Art Exhibits at both the Junior School in Sar and the Senior School in Isa Town.

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