Had another interesting session once again tonight.
Here are our submissions.
Ron dropped by and offered some interesting perspectives on the history of the Church in general. Many Protestants today criticize the Catholic Church for abuses of power throughout history, marginalizing others and succumbing to greed and accusing others of heresies; however, Protestants as we have seen are not immune at all as well and have succumbed to these vices just as much, if not more.
We also had interesting discussion how sex was such a powerful driving force in church history – particularly homosexuality. The topic came up because much of John of the Cross’s mystical writings seemingly contain many heavy homoerotic references. Seems as if homosexuality was quite prevalent during these times, but not so quite loudly condemned as it is today by (conservative) religious circles. Popes, cardinals, and even monasteries had mistresses and many children – many popes kept harems during their reigns. Monasteries were notorious places for homosexual activities and sexual encounters with women, prostitutes, and even nuns were common. Even when persons were sent out on missionary activities to convert people to Christianity, many took the liberty to engage in sexual activities with the local population – especially in North and South America. It would be interesting to do an independent study on the sex lives of popes and or the history of sexuality in church history. Much of the up-tightness we have about sex was handed down to us during the Victorian times it seems.
Also, much of the talk also centered around Jesus and his ministry. It’s so easy to lose sight on his message – he kept it quite simple and succinct. Love God and love your neighbor. Can’t get more simple than that. Interestingly, if you compare Buddha and Jesus’ messages, they’re quite similar. Both questioned and challenged the ruling belief systems of their times – Hinduism for Buddha and Judaism for Jesus. Both their messages boiled down to compassion for the most part. Also, in regards to Jesus, he wasn’t in it to make friends or make people feel good. He had no qualms in speaking his mind and offending people – no wonder his ministry was relatively short-lived. He had no desires whatsoever to be a political king – yet even today, we tend to lift him up as an earthly king with earthly qualities, and his message winds up being grossly misinterpreted when we politicize him to fit to our agendas. In terms of his message, it was the Church that bogged down and complicated his message with doctrine after doctrine, dogma after dogma. Once Constantine made Christianity into the state religion, it would forever be embroiled in power and politics, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Some things to think about.