Friday, June 24, 2011

Outside influences in Christianity, the Maypole, and the Great Dilemma

Raising a Maypole in Ostra Insjo, Dalarna, Sweden. Work of Axel Pettersson. License c.c.s.a 3.0 Unported

People often wonder what a Christian Humanist is. A Christian Humanist is a true believer in the Great Commandments, and the commission for a truly community-spirited, invidividual-loving, and God-loving Christianity and Christian relationship they represent. The Great Commandments are more then rules or a rephrasing of "If you love me, you'll keep the Commandments," they're a direct statement of the most central part of Gods will. It is with the spirit of these commandments in mind that we address the Great Dilemma.

The Great Dilemma is the reason the Pope is the "Pontifex Maximus," the reason for Christmas trees and Easter Eggs and Santa Claus, and the reason, unfortunately, for a lot of the apprehensions and misunderstandings inherent in Christianity. It is, among other things, a big part of the reason for our notion of Hell, a word taken from heathen faiths, originally spelled Hel, and referring to the Norse Goddess of the Underworld, while the place was called Helheim. It is also the reason why Heretics were once burned at the stake, and power in the Catholic church reached its most unbearable and abusive extremes in the 15th Century. It has also allowed for the cheap commercialization and secularization of Christian holidays, by removing, through pleasant Pre-Christian traditions, the Christian holidays from Christianity, or even Judaism.

But that's just the thing, they are pleasant traditions. And the larger point of most of Pauls letter to the Phillipians is that one shouldn't be too likely to cut people apart on tiny details, while Romans 1 does point to the small grain of truth in the notion that there is some of God in all religions and humanity, though the rest of Romans warns us also of how they seperated themselves from Christ, and why Christ needed to come.

In the later part of Romans, we are warned that these pagans separated themselves over time from Christ, creating portraits of lizards and animals and vile things (roughly paraphrased from the last part of Romans 1), and making themselves wise to negate the truth. And we see, in both Romans and also the human sacrifices and grotesque rituals that they, the real pagans, conducted in real life outside of books and learned truths, they among other things cut themselves away from Grace, heavenly grace, and forgiveness, and Love, the very things Christians today are criticized with cutting themselves away from.

As we isolate ourselves from the real truh of the Gospel, and the Bible, and embrace instead Santa Claus, and Hell as taught by authorities, and Easter Eggs and not what Easter really is, we too cut ourselves off from grace, and come to not worship God, but the vile images of lizards and serpents and animals that pop culture and TV and Sunday School tainted and contaminated with the teachings of self-interested men and all these vile things put before our eyes teach us, and becomes hard, in fact, even to teach the truth, as we have so thoroughly buried our minds in the mirk of our delusions that one cannot even speak the truth without seeming to say something else. 2000 years have not done us well, we have not aged well, and the entire history of the Church speaks to this.

Yet to those who have truly embraced the teachings of Christ and the whole bible as it truly is, the rewards are still great, and the service to humanity is great as well. People like Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr, and William Wilberforce, the man who abolished slavery in the British Empire without destroying the Southeastern United States and ruining an entire generation and society doing it, a man who both treaded lightly and struck with the force of all righteousness, show that the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven have not closed, nor has the Kingdom weakened, no matter how weak and corrupt Gods servants have become, the Holy Spirit still speaks with force and conviction, and emboldens those He chooses. The Door has not closed, the Way has not ceased, the Life is not gone, nor will it ever be, for Christ is more powerful then all.

And of the Pagan, yesterday I danced before a Maypole. A pole, with a mast-cross, decked in great vines of ivy and pine, with flowers strung through it, a rooster on the top, and a wreath lain on each side of the mast-cross and from the top, all before the bright mid-day sun, as all of us linked hands and danced many processions, with good will and love and solemn observance of the miracle of spring and life around the great display with songs of rejoicing in the languages of our ancestors. Yes, we were truly a living sacrifice, and with proper dedication and forethought, it can indeed be truly to the Father.

I also remember, waking up on Christmas morning, to presents from my parents, to a day of love, and to a dinner with family before the fire. And on Easter, I remember looking for eggs, adventuring, running faster then all the other kids and demonstrating my youth as I grabbed life for myself. No, these are not bad things to celebrate, but they are misplaced. As we are taught in Ecclesiastes, "[there is] a time to laugh and a time to weep," "a time for all things under the sun," and that time, for this, is on Mayday and the Winter Solstice. I propose the following prayer for Mayday:

"Oh heavenly father,
Who makes the bear rise from its winter slumber,
Who brings forth fields of flowers and gentle rains to nourish the earth,
Who grants all life and death and childbearing,
And looks out for man as the animal of the wood,
We dedicate this pole, a symbol of a fraction of your gift, to you
As an aid to help us understand your great mysteries to the extent that you allow us,
And to celebrate all that you have given us,
And will grant us for however long we shall live,
In thanksgiving we pray. Amen."

We must reclaim Christian holidays for Christ, and we must dedicate Mayday and the Winter Solstice for Father and Spirit more directly. We must understand the limits of the human mind and spirit as we created our spiritual crafts, embolden and grow good lives and good people in our church. "Three in One" does not say much when dealing with fallible human beings who cannot comprehend God, as man cannot.

The solution of the Great Dilemma is an additive solution, a loving one, not a destructive one, and as Paul reminds us in Romans 13 , all that is under heaven exists for a reason, including unjust authorities. Evil is just Good misplaced, rearranged and wrongly so by the taking of the apple from a tree of knowledge that was wrong for man. God did not create Evil, and man cannot create anything, he can only make connections between things that already exist, from the realm of chemistry and engineering, to the realm of politics.

Lastly I should note that Halloween too is a Christian holiday, All Saints Eve, a solemn procession for those that have died and must be remembered, a time to fix grief, atone for sins in the spirit of mortality, and set things right before Christ. Currently it is used to search for candy. That is quite alright for children, but where do the adults fit in, and don't you think children too need to mourn for their dead when those they know have died? I propose that we relocate current trick or treating and other halloween festivities for the current day of the dead, as celebrated in Mexico. Valentines day should be a celebration of what St. Valentine was about, marriage, and festivities related to love, like all fertility, should be held on Mayday. A more fertility inspired festival, closer to the heart of life and lover, may also help create a culture of life and childbearing in our society, helping to fight the evil of abortion in a way that Christ would want, through Love, Hope and Faith, not through the always dirty and destructive business of law. All couples can hold hands around the maypole, as the entire community celebrates its love of each other and the heavenly gift that Life is. Passover, too, can be reestablished, as there is no reason that the deliverance of Gods people should not be celebrated by those dedicated to God.

Therefore, we see the solution of the Great Dilemma, Christianity versus its history and the human condition, and we see it in a spirit of Love, as the Great Commandments would stipulate. All Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost forever. Amen!

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