Kingdom of God (rewilding the bible)


#61

I can also interpret the Jesus story as the first recorded case of zombie virus outbreak. One can interpret things in a myriad of ways, and not all of them would be good or useful.

My above interpretation, for instance, would be very useless. There were plenty of recordings of zombies before then!


#62

my notion is that christian imagery is something that will likely linger in the forthcoming centuries, but as with some declines in civilizations, the meanings of important symbols sometimes loses continuity opening up the doors for new stories to be invented about certain symbols. because christ-imagery is pervasive in the west, it’s something that will have to be reckoned with. if i have a child and we happen to stumble upon a crucifix, certainly that image, which is powerful in and of itself, will need an explanation. so i’m interested in finding ways to re-vamp and “appropriate” christian imagery for our animist future.

questions like these come to mind:
-what does it mean to kill a god?
-what does an animist christ look like?
-what can resurrection say to us who have inherited a destroyed world?


#63

I think it helps to keep in mind that animism indicates a relationship system, not a belief system, unlike modern religions like Christianity.

I almost wonder if the word ‘animism’ even works for me anymore; the -ism part just skews for me what it tries to describe, namely a verb, ‘animating’. Which ‘rewilding’ probably does a fine job already of describing. ‘I relate to the world by animating and rewilding’, rather than ‘I call myself an animist’. Anyway, sorry for the e-prime tangent.

When I look at Christian symbolism, after ‘animating’ for so long, I often, by habit, see the animating interpretation. For example, to me, Christ on the cross embodies the flowering of the tree of life; his blood pollen and fertility that feeds the soil. This happens every Spring, as does ‘resurrection’ of the Land from the Winter sleep.

This doesn’t mean I identify with Christian symbolism - I hear everything in terms of story, and the stories of my place, my land right here, matter most, rather than the stories of a distant land, however animistly interpreted.

Wildeyes, I have questions for your questions:
-What did it mean to kill the forest spirit in the movie “Princess Mononoke”? What does it mean to kill the Baba Yaga in Russian folktales? [I don’t see these as the same, btw]
-What does Christ resemble, or what did Christ do, that animates?
-What can Springtime say to us that have lived, on the land, through the Winter?


#64

I realize this wasn’t directed my way, but… here’s my opinions* anyway…

Here’s a few lines from the Gospel of Thomas, which you won’t find in the generally accepted bible, btw. It seems to have been considered a heretic gnostic text way back in the day.

3. Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father's) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.

When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty."

Originally, this seems to have supported belief in the dual world paradigm and the denigration of the flesh, however, imho, this passage acts as a paradigm gateway that we can recross. Iow, where we once tore the world in two, we can heal the tear by focusing on the relationships. “Heaven”/“Nature” isn’t “Out There”, neither do we ourselves constitute the entirety of “heaven”/“nature”, rather we relate as a part to a whole. Imho, this forms the very foundation of “animism”.

113. His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?"

“It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, ‘Look, here!’ or ‘Look, there!’ Rather, the Father’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don’t see it.”

I feel this every time I forage/gather, fish, and/or scavenge, every time I watch the wind blow thru the trees, birds fly thru the air or fish swim thru the water…

So, anyway, I think Christ can help (some of) us along our rewilding path. I don’t see anything that absolutely prohibits rewilding Christianity, and I can see the benefit for at least some people.

*My first “rule” (really a guideline) is to follow your heart/interest. If you feel that you really must deal with Christ and/or Christianity in some way (as a rewilder), then imo, you should do so. If you feel no such compunction, then by all means, don’t. I don’t care.


#65

[quote=“jhereg, post:64, topic:426”][quote author=Willem link=topic=461.msg14466#msg14466 date=1233561209]
-What does Christ resemble, or what did Christ do, that animates?
[/quote]

I realize this wasn’t directed my way, but… here’s my opinions* anyway…

Here’s a few lines from the Gospel of Thomas, which you won’t find in the generally accepted bible, btw. It seems to have been considered a heretic gnostic text way back in the day.

[quote]3. Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the (Father’s) kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father’s) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.

When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty."[/quote]

Originally, this seems to have supported belief in the dual world paradigm and the denigration of the flesh, however, imho, this passage acts as a paradigm gateway that we can recross. Iow, where we once tore the world in two, we can heal the tear by focusing on the relationships. “Heaven”/“Nature” isn’t “Out There”, neither do we ourselves constitute the entirety of “heaven”/“nature”, rather we relate as a part to a whole. Imho, this forms the very foundation of “animism”.

[quote]113. His disciples said to him, “When will the kingdom come?”

“It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, ‘Look, here!’ or ‘Look, there!’ Rather, the Father’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don’t see it.” [/quote]

I feel this every time I forage/gather, fish, and/or scavenge, every time I watch the wind blow thru the trees, birds fly thru the air or fish swim thru the water…

So, anyway, I think Christ can help (some of) us along our rewilding path. I don’t see anything that absolutely prohibits rewilding Christianity, and I can see the benefit for at least some people.

*My first “rule” (really a guideline) is to follow your heart/interest. If you feel that you really must deal with Christ and/or Christianity in some way (as a rewilder), then imo, you should do so. If you feel no such compunction, then by all means, don’t. I don’t care.[/quote]

Thanks jhereg, that is a great post. I’ve never read the book of Thomas before. Where can I get a copy of it. Is it like the book of Enoch.

Thanks a heap,
Bill


#66

Here’s a link
http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/gthlamb.html


#67

Thanks for the info Fenriswolfr. Much appreciated.

Thanks a heap,

Bill


#68

[quote=“Willem, post:63, topic:426”]Wildeyes, I have questions for your questions:
-What did it mean to kill the forest spirit in the movie “Princess Mononoke”? What does it mean to kill the Baba Yaga in Russian folktales? [I don’t see these as the same, btw]
-What does Christ resemble, or what did Christ do, that animates?
-What can Springtime say to us that have lived, on the land, through the Winter?[/quote]

Your questions have me whirring with thought, but I don’t have any answers for you at this time. I will admit, though, that I fantasize about telling my future children and grandchildren stories of Mononoke, Nausicaa and Totoro. :smiley:


#69

I feel too tired to take the time to quote specific things to reply to, but I’d like to relate a few things I have been thinking of, regarding Christianity, while reading this thread and before.

I think the biggest problem I have with Christianity lies with the concepts of “the creator” and “the creation”, “God” and “his kingdom”, “God” and “man”. To me all these represent a basic fallacy, because believing in a creator necessarily implies a separation between the creator and his creation. Maybe a connection exists in the sense of a carpenter and the furniture he crafts with his own hands (to give one example), but the creator and the creation still exist as two separate things.

These beliefs seem to completely contradict the animating worldview that everything has spirit, and that the creator of all life IS nature (sorry :-[, but it just expressed my idea so well ;)). As soon as people separate “god” from the natural world, through the concept of the creator and creation, ruler and kingdom, they begin to lose the perception of spirit (“god”) existing IN nature.

How else could we have traveled from perceiving the world as a complex web of relationships between humans, other animals, plants, the wind and mountains, etc, to seeing the world as an inanimate collection of objects for us to use and destroy as we see fit (the civilized worldview, shared by almost everyone in our modern society whether they admit it or not)?

This also paves the way for seeing humans as separate from the natural world as well, through such beliefs as god creating man in his image, and god creating a hierarchy of his creations, with humans at the top. We only lost our relationships with non-human beings once we stopped seeing ourselves as part of the natural world, subject to the same natural laws and forces, the same as any other plant or animal.

I see this perceived duality in the concept of “stewardship”/“caretaker” as well. I see a distinct difference between a caretaker charged with the sole responsibility of “taking care of” the land (as the caretaker sees fit, of course), and a human living in total partnership and equality with all the myriad non-human beings who call the same place home (all collectively working together to take care of their home, with just as much input, participation, and responsibility from the non-humans as from the human, since no difference exists between them).

And I also see this difference in perspectives in indigenous and Christian beliefs about what happens to us after death. Of course countless different indigenous beliefs exist, but many of them share a belief that our (human) ancestors came from animals or at one time were able to shapeshift into animals, and that they exist today in the wind, in other animals, etc (IOWs, in other places and beings in the natural world). Christianity, on the other hand, believes that the spirit departs the natural world after death, to reside in a purely spirit world for the rest of eternity.

Now, individual Christians can choose to believe whatever they wish, and to interpret the Bible and Jesus’ teachings however they wish. Christianity (like any religion) means different things to different people, on an individual basis. But I don’t believe that that changes the religion’s underlying nature, which includes a duality between God and nature/ humans and nature, and a fundamental separation between the two.

Jessica


#70

I believe God is in all things. God is all things. Nature is God and God is Nature. There can be no seperation. Sometimes we tend to give God human characteristics and that is a mistake. God is something we cannot even fathom. What we see here on Earth is only a fraction of who God is. He says we can’t even look at his true form without perishing. I think Nature is God’s way of allowing us to see him. I am a Christian and believe Christianity is a life style, not something that comes out of a box on Sunday and Wednesday, and then shut back up until you need to take Him out again. How or why would you shut up Nature.

Bill


#71

This is actually near exactly what the jewish Kabbala states. Have you studied Kabbalistic teachings?


#72

[quote=“chase, post:71, topic:426”][quote author=Bill link=topic=461.msg14488#msg14488 date=1233851980]
I believe God is in all things. God is all things. Sometimes we tend to give God human characteristics and that is a mistake. God is something we cannot even fathom. What we see here on Earth is only a fraction of who God is.
[/quote]
This is actually near exactly what the jewish Kabbala states. Have you studied Kabbalistic teachings?[/quote]

No, just the Bible and a bit of Native American teachings. I have always felt this way even when a small child. The so called Christian churches today have no clue about the true teachings of God. I, myself still have alot to learn, but know the churches and their legalistic beliefs are from man not God. Nature is my sanctuary.

Bill


#73

[quote=“bereal, post:69, topic:426”]I think the biggest problem I have with Christianity lies with the concepts of “the creator” and “the creation”, “God” and “his kingdom”, “God” and “man”. To me all these represent a basic fallacy, because believing in a creator necessarily implies a separation between the creator and his creation. Maybe a connection exists in the sense of a carpenter and the furniture he crafts with his own hands (to give one example), but the creator and the creation still exist as two separate things.

These beliefs seem to completely contradict the animating worldview that everything has spirit, and that the creator of all life IS nature (sorry :-[, but it just expressed my idea so well ;)). As soon as people separate “god” from the natural world, through the concept of the creator and creation, ruler and kingdom, they begin to lose the perception of spirit (“god”) existing IN nature. [/quote]

Yeah Jessica I agree with that, and being raised Roman Catholic, I struggled with those thoughts my whole life up until recently. The Spell of the Sensuous put the last nail in the coffin for that dangerous view of a separate “god in man’s image” by showing me the connection of that notion to the use of the phonetic alphabet. The spell put on people by the teachings of some religions can leave them completely convinced that there is an extended “father figure” who gives spiritual rewards and punishments outside of the realm of sensual experience. The rewards usually come if you show adherence to dogma, suffer or fight “in the name of the lord,” or display “human exceptionalism”.

Now, individual Christians can choose to believe whatever they wish, and to interpret the Bible and Jesus' teachings however they wish. Christianity (like any religion) means different things to different people, on an individual basis. But I don't believe that that changes the religion's underlying nature, which includes a duality between God and nature/ humans and nature, and a fundamental separation between the two.

Yeah, and given Christianity’s history of creating dualities, and what little it seems to teach people of living a quality life on their landbase, I would encourage most people to avoid that spell if there are more life-friendly stories available.

Bill, I respect your views, and I believe you are on a path that will allow you to see many truths. But in your words I still sense a constriction to the belief of god as an unknowable, but literate and human-like intelligence who dropped us some clues for a while, became human a couple thousand years ago, and has stood by quietly ever since. I think synthesis between rewilding and christianity happens on some levels. But someday you might ask yourself the question that I now try to ask myself: “Why am I trying to fit everything I know and experience into a framework that doesn’t seem to be able to contain it?” In other words, why identify yourself or your way of living as “Christian?”


#74

[quote=“bereal, post:69, topic:426”]I think the biggest problem I have with Christianity lies with the concepts of “the creator” and “the creation”, “God” and “his kingdom”, “God” and “man”. To me all these represent a basic fallacy, because believing in a creator necessarily implies a separation between the creator and his creation. Maybe a connection exists in the sense of a carpenter and the furniture he crafts with his own hands (to give one example), but the creator and the creation still exist as two separate things.

These beliefs seem to completely contradict the animating worldview that everything has spirit, and that the creator of all life IS nature (sorry :-[, but it just expressed my idea so well ;)). As soon as people separate “god” from the natural world, through the concept of the creator and creation, ruler and kingdom, they begin to lose the perception of spirit (“god”) existing IN nature.

How else could we have traveled from perceiving the world as a complex web of relationships between humans, other animals, plants, the wind and mountains, etc, to seeing the world as an inanimate collection of objects for us to use and destroy as we see fit (the civilized worldview, shared by almost everyone in our modern society whether they admit it or not)?

This also paves the way for seeing humans as separate from the natural world as well, through such beliefs as god creating man in his image, and god creating a hierarchy of his creations, with humans at the top. We only lost our relationships with non-human beings once we stopped seeing ourselves as part of the natural world, subject to the same natural laws and forces, the same as any other plant or animal.

I see this perceived duality in the concept of “stewardship”/“caretaker” as well. I see a distinct difference between a caretaker charged with the sole responsibility of “taking care of” the land (as the caretaker sees fit, of course), and a human living in total partnership and equality with all the myriad non-human beings who call the same place home (all collectively working together to take care of their home, with just as much input, participation, and responsibility from the non-humans as from the human, since no difference exists between them).

And I also see this difference in perspectives in indigenous and Christian beliefs about what happens to us after death. Of course countless different indigenous beliefs exist, but many of them share a belief that our (human) ancestors came from animals or at one time were able to shapeshift into animals, and that they exist today in the wind, in other animals, etc (IOWs, in other places and beings in the natural world). Christianity, on the other hand, believes that the spirit departs the natural world after death, to reside in a purely spirit world for the rest of eternity.

Now, individual Christians can choose to believe whatever they wish, and to interpret the Bible and Jesus’ teachings however they wish. Christianity (like any religion) means different things to different people, on an individual basis. But I don’t believe that that changes the religion’s underlying nature, which includes a duality between God and nature/ humans and nature, and a fundamental separation between the two.

Jessica[/quote]

I, like Bill, don’t have any particular quarrel with the problem of a creator separate from the rest of the world. However, I don’t see that Christianity falls intractibly into that category. In fact, that was specifically the fundamental issue that I wanted to address in my post above. Like, Bill, I see the creator (“God”, whatever) as the underlying animating force of nature, wholly enmeshed in nature.

I consistently see a base set of assumptions about Christian beliefs: that Christian beliefs only refer to modern mainstream beliefs and no other interpretations, historical or otherwise; that “to be Christian” means to willingly choose those beliefs; that “God” must be separate and that there is a world of spirit and a world of flesh and they are separate (not interconnected); that Christianity has “one underlying nature”. I understand where these assumptions come from, I simply don’t agree with them. Granted, I’ve had the “luxury” of dealing with this for far longer than I’ve known the word “rewilding”, so that likely has something to do with my disagreement.

[quote=“Brian, post:73, topic:426”]Yeah, and given Christianity’s history of creating dualities, and what little it seems to teach people of living a quality life on their landbase, I would encourage most people to avoid that spell if there are more life-friendly stories available.

Bill, I respect your views, and I believe you are on a path that will allow you to see many truths. But in your words I still sense a constriction to the belief of god as an unknowable, but literate and human-like intelligence who dropped us some clues for a while, became human a couple thousand years ago, and has stood by quietly ever since. I think synthesis between rewilding and christianity happens on some levels. But someday you might ask yourself the question that I now try to ask myself: “Why am I trying to fit everything I know and experience into a framework that doesn’t seem to be able to contain it?” In other words, why identify yourself or your way of living as “Christian?”[/quote]

And herein lies what I see as the real fundamental disagreement displayed in this thread. Perhaps we could see this clearer if we dismiss the recurrent word “Christian”. Perhaps we should, instead, talk about this in terms of “those with a relationship with Christ”. That simple change has a big damn impact on the discussion. I have a relationship w/ Christ. That relationship has changed a lot over the years: faithful Southern Baptist; doubter; angry rebel; rewilder. You see, even when I tried pushing “it all” away, it never did change the fact that I had a relationship w/ Christ. At some point I realized that and intead of continuing to push, tried to find a workable way forward. Imo, I act far more honestly and rewildingly by acknowledging my relationship and working to rewild it instead of simply trying to “run away”.


#75

[quote=“Bill, post:65, topic:426”]Thanks jhereg, that is a great post. I’ve never read the book of Thomas before. Where can I get a copy of it. Is it like the book of Enoch.

Thanks a heap,
Bill[/quote]

np, I hope it helps you on your path.


#76

Is the problem that folks don’t like knowing someone is over them or that the Lord has to many restrictions? I think once Christ enters your heart you are one with Him. He is a part of your life, not to restrict you, but to help guide you. I’m sure alot of folks have spirit guides. Is that not the same. Yours may be in animal form, mine is in the form of God in the flesh. I see no restrictions on rewilding in the 10 Commandments. Yes those are restrictions, but restrictions against evil not good. If you want whats good for you why would you want to go down an evil path. I only want to travel the good road, if I can. I am no saint and stub my toe ALOT! Thank the Lord he said if we stumble He would pick us up! I do have alot to learn still, this journey is all about learning. I just think the Lord will be my spirit guide.

Bill


#77

I don’t know. I don’t see anything “wrong” in having a relationship with christ other than that for many people it creates a human-centric view of the natural world. I honestly have always seen Jesus as a kind of rewilding person, but mostly on a spiritual level. He never really took the hammer to civ as a whole or critiqued it’s relationship to the natural world. Like John the baptist, he rewilded his own way of life but never fully extended that invitation to his followers. I listen to the teachings of jesus today and the only life-applicable lessons i come away with are: be kind and loving to other humans, even your enemies; Believe in the “word” of the lord (there goes that “word” thing again… what’s in a label?); Repress your sexual urges outside of marriage; and be charitable. To me, these lessons seem to assimilate much more readily into civilization’s actions rather than a rewilder’s. Civ can feel good that they have united the humans of the earth in the name of a peacemaking man.

The lesson I take away from all of it is not to play with that fire. Whether Jesus intended it or not, his message has shown to be easily corrupted and interpreted, and in my opinion, of little encouragement to rewilding. Because a relationship with christ is so often based on words and symbols that bear little relationship to the natural world, I can’t help but see it as an enabler in the process of civilization and domestication. That’s not to say that the bible and jesus aren’t interpretable in a life-appreciating way, just that i chose to include them in a different story and not put those relationships above a relationship with the natural world.

[quote=“Bill, post:76, topic:426”]Is the problem that folks don’t like knowing someone is over them or that the Lord has to many restrictions? I think once Christ enters your heart you are one with Him. He is a part of your life, not to restrict you, but to help guide you. I’m sure alot of folks have spirit guides. Is that not the same. Yours may be in animal form, mine is in the form of God in the flesh. I see no restrictions on rewilding in the 10 Commandments. Yes those are restrictions, but restrictions against evil not good. If you want whats good for you why would you want to go down an evil path. I only want to travel the good road, if I can. I am no saint and stub my toe ALOT! Thank the Lord he said if we stumble He would pick us up! I do have alot to learn still, this journey is all about learning. I just think the Lord will be my spirit guide.

Bill[/quote]

The problem is that christianity can be confusing and misleading. I accept that god has restrictions that manifest themselves in our hearts and in the natural world, but I refuse to see those restrictions in a set of commandments that are supposed to be applicable in every situation. Speaking in terms of strictly good and evil seems to distract people from the quality of the relationships that are really here, in the present. Taking on only human forms as spiritual guides can distract us from other relationships that are essential to life. In my experience, the revelation that someone has chosen jesus (lord, christ) as their personal guide tells me little to nothing about how they will act in relation to the human or natural world, only that they will identify themselves as followers of christ and mention his name often.


#78

“In my experience, the revelation that someone has chosen jesus (lord, christ) as their personal guide tells me little to nothing about how they will act in relation to the human or natural world, only that they will identify themselves as followers of christ and mention his name often.”

If the person is a true believer then it would tell me all I need to know about the person. I can expect to be treated as good as I would treat him or her. That I could trust them with the nature we hold so dear.

I guess I just don’t seem to be reading the same Bible some people do. Mine has no restrictions on rewilding at all. In fact I think it promotes it, because rewilding is a positive thing. I see things too simple I guess. I don’t try to read into God’s word what isn’t there. I just read it. Christianity is very simple and not complex. Man has made it complex. When God said “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, He was talking about all of Nature not just humans.

I am not here to convert, I am here to learn. I just wanted to let you know that the good Lord is not against you. You are who you are and I will respect that. I am who I am, I hope you can respect that.

Bill

Bill


#79

[quote=“Bill, post:78, topic:426”]If the person is a true believer then it would tell me all I need to know about the person. I can expect to be treated as good as I would treat him or her. That I could trust them with the nature we hold so dear.

I guess I just don’t seem to be reading the same Bible some people do. Mine has no restrictions on rewilding at all. In fact I think it promotes it, because rewilding is a positive thing. I see things too simple I guess. I don’t try to read into God’s word what isn’t there. I just read it. Christianity is very simple and not complex. Man has made it complex. When God said “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, He was talking about all of Nature not just humans.

I am not here to convert, I am here to learn. I just wanted to let you know that the good Lord is not against you. You are who you are and I will respect that. I am who I am, I hope you can respect that.

Bill[/quote]

I respect that, but if you wish to learn more I would encourage you to seek other stories and relationships outside of those found in the Bible. My point is not that the bible necessarily restricts rewilding, but that every reading is an interpretation and that trying to interpret the bible as a rewilding promotion seems like a particularily strained effort. I’m trying to know humans/non-humans by their tangible actions, not strictly through their words, and if I view the bible as a person it seems as malleable and duplicitious as a poltician: with no clear story of how to create meaningful and quality lives. Everyone is sure that they have the “right” interpretation even as they allow a decreasing quality of life to go unchallenged. I’m just suggesting that we diminish something that has shown to be stumbling block to rewilding, rather than try to assimilate rewilding back into the bible.


#80

Thanks Brian, I appreciate that. I intend to read more, and hopefully learn more from all you guys here. I am going to read some of the authors you guys talk about here. I’m not much of a thinking kind of person, more of a doing kind. But I plan on trying to understand and keep an open mind.

Bill