"If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also"

Matt 5:39

This specifically refers to a hand striking the side of a person’s face, tells quite a different story when placed in it’s proper historical context. In Jesus’s time, striking someone of a lower class ( a servant) with the back of the hand was used to assert authority and dominance. If the persecuted person “turned the other cheek,” the discipliner was faced with a dilemma. The left hand was used for unclean purposes, so a back-hand strike on the opposite cheek would not be performed. Another alternative would be a slap with the open hand as a challenge or to punch the person, but this was seen as a statement of equality. Thus, by turning the other cheek the persecuted was in effect putting an end to the behavior or if the slapping continued the person would lawfully be deemed equal and have to be released as a servant/slave.   

(via thefullnessofthefaith)

THAT makes a lot more sense, now, thank you. 

(via guardianrock)

I can attest to the original poster’s comments. A few years back I took an intensive seminar on faith-based progressive activism, and we spent an entire unit discussing how many of Jesus’ instructions and stories were performative protests designed to shed light on and ridicule the oppressions of that time period as a way to emphasize the absurdity of the social hierarchy and give people the will and motivation to make changes for a more free and equal society.

For example, the next verse (Matthew 5:40) states “And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” In that time period, men traditionally wore a shirt and a coat-like garment as their daily wear. To sue someone for their shirt was to put them in their place - suing was generally only performed to take care of outstanding debts, and to be sued for one’s shirt meant that the person was so destitute the only valuable thing they could repay with was their own clothing. However, many cultures at that time (including Hebrew peoples) had prohibitions bordering on taboo against public nudity, so for a sued man to surrender both his shirt and his coat was to turn the system on its head and symbolically state, in a very public forum, that “I have no money with which to repay this person, but they are so insistent on taking advantage of my poverty that I am leaving this hearing buck-ass naked. His greed is the cause of a shameful public spectacle.”

All of a sudden an action of power (suing someone for their shirt) becomes a powerful symbol of subversion and mockery, as the suing patron either accepts the coat (and therefore full responsibility as the cause of the other man’s shameful display) or desperately chases the protester around trying to return his clothes to him, making a fool of himself in front of his peers and the entire gathered community.

Additionally, the next verse (Matthew 5:41; “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.”) was a big middle finger to the Romans who had taken over Judea and were not seen as legitimate authority by the majority of the population there. Roman law stated that a centurion on the march could require a Jew (and possibly other civilians as well, although I don’t remember explicitly) to carry his pack at any time and for any reason for one mile along the road (and because of the importance of the Roman highway system in maintaining rule over the expansive empire, the roads tended to be very well ordered and marked), however hecould not require any service beyond the next mile marker. For a Jewish civilian to carry a centurion’s pack for an entire second mile was a way to subvert the authority of the occupying forces. If the civilian wouldn’t give the pack back at the end of the first mile, the centurion would either have to forcibly take it back or report the civilian to his commanding officer (both of which would result in discipline being taken against the soldier for breaking Roman law) or wait until the civilian volunteered to return the pack, giving the Judean native implicit power over the occupying Roman and completely subverting the power structure of the Empire. Can you imagine how demoralizing that must have been for the highly ordered Roman armies that patrolled the region?

Jesus was a pacifist, but his teachings were in no way passive. There’s a reason he was practically considered a terrorist by the reigning powers, and it wasn’t because he healed the sick and fed the hungry.

(via central-avenue)

luxettenebris I thought I might leave this here for you. 

(via sonsofthemorning)

A message from Anonymous


Can I ask about your Life Giver tag?

Do you mean why I tag my Eve posts ‘Life Giver’? 

To my understanding, in Hebrew, Eve’s name resembles the words ‘Living’ and ‘Life-giver’. While this is most likely due to the thought that she was the first female created, and thus responsible for birthing the next generation of humanity and giving rise to mankind as we know it, I see Life Giver as more of a reference to her choice in eating of the Tree of Knowledge.

Through this act, she subsequently brought death into the world, but in the introduction of death she also brought life—for our ‘existence’ is transformed into life, is valued and cherished, because it is brief and fleeting. We live our lives knowing that eventually death will come for all of us, which differentiates what we are doing and experiencing different from merely ‘existing’ without the fear that one day we too will fade, and thus not fully embracing what this existence has to offer.

"If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again."

Sojourner Truth (via blkcowrie)
art-is-art-is-art:

She Shall Be Called Woman, George Frederick Watts

art-is-art-is-art:

She Shall Be Called Woman, George Frederick Watts

"

In Islam, Satan is identified as the single angel who, setting himself apart from all other angelic beings, refused God’s command to bow down before Adam on the day of his creation. When questioned by the Creator as to why he disobeyed, the Devil answered that he bowed down solely to the Divine, not to any of the created. Unrepentant, he also argued that God’s will determines all things, so it would not have been possible for him to refuse God’s command unless God himself had allowed him to do so.

For this, he was banished from Heaven and was taken away from the presence of God. No more does the eye of God enlighten him; no more will the touch of God give him joy.

But in spite of this punishment, he has never lost his love for God.

He alone, of all beings in the cosmos, loves God without gain, without hope, without even the possibility of feeling loved in return. Thus, seen objectively, this unrequited love is the most pure of any. The Devil serves without reward.

Even while bearing the burden of eternal separation, the Devil has taken on the thankless and usually misunderstood task of creating obstacles for human beings. What few realize is that, through rising above these obstacles, we are able to rise where he cannot go, stepping over him in our ascent toward our own higher natures. The Devil toughens us, forces us to remain awake, an offers lessons as no other angel can. Would we ever have learned to walk if our parents had continued to carry us everywhere? Our troubles and temptations, even if truly given to us by the Devil, are still ultimately gifts of God.

"

Ibrahimu (via pissonality)

 

A message from Anonymous


I know you're agnostic, but maybe you can help me--how would I go about oathing myself to Lucifer?

You don’t. The greatest oath you can make is a vow not to bind yourself to him. 

Regardless of whether you’re approaching Lucifer and Luciferianism through atheism, theism, or agnosticism, there are a couple different reasons why being oathbound would prove to be a problem. 

The first would be the goal of apotheosis. If you are seeking to become your own god, why would you make a vow to follow another god for the rest of your days? Even if you are only seeing him as a means of support for your own growth, the goal is to not need that support. 

Additionally, depending on your level of faithfulness to keeping that oath, it may later prove to be a self-imposed restriction on your own free will—a restriction that Lucifer as a god would not want in the first place.

You should ask yourself, what is the point of making an oath to a god of change, a god who finds beauty in the ephemeral? What use would a sworn oath be to a god who recoils from absolute fealty and worship directed towards him?

Even if you did make an oath, he would find a way to make you go back on your word, along with the faith that fueled its initiation.  As Adversary and Destroyer, it is what he does best. He will make you question all that you thought you loved about him, all that you held dear, because a resolve to remain steadfast and loyal to him as you believe him to be is a resolve to never embrace change or doubt, a resolve to be stagnant in your faith.

Take it from someone who once made such a vow—the only acceptable binding oath made to him is a broken one.

underthepleiades:

returnofthejudai:

amarielah:

returnofthejudai:

i-once-had-a-goy-tell-me:

Jew by birth, lapsed Conservative.

When reading Paradise Lost in high school, I commented that a lot of the stuff was a little alien to me as a Jew.  My goyish teacher replied “But the fall of Satan is in your bible, too!”

No it isn’t. Satan isn’t evil in Judaism. Satan is G-d’s prosecutor, essentially. His purpose is to test the righteous. One of my central annoyances as a Jew with regards to non-Jews reading our theology as essentially Christianity without Jesus are little things like this. And the assumption we believe in the Christian versions of Heaven and Hell, or that we believe in Original Sin or any other Christian concepts that, frankly, were I not a Jew I would probably reject on their own merits. While I think Jews and Christians, and Muslims for that matter, ultimately believe in the same G-d, our understandings of said G-d and what is expected of us are wildly different. I wish we could accept them instead of, well, have you read a history book?

The Christian concept of Satan was so utterly confusing to me when I was younger. I was like, “So…he’s not human, but he has the free will to “rebel”? And he’s not G-d, but he’s acting outside of G-d’s plans? And he’s not another deity, even though he’s solely responsible for the creation of evil? And isn’t G-d technically still responsible for its creation, having created Satan knowing that Satan would rebel?”

Because, by the Jewish understanding, everything that exists was created by G-d. Including evil. I didn’t understand how another being could be responsible for it, if G-d was truly the creator of the universe.

And my Christian friends would get so frustrated with me.

Yeah. Yetzer HaTov and Yetzer HaRa (the good and evil impulse) made so much inherent sense to me that I didn’t see the NEED for some supernatural evil force to counter G-d. The concept feels very alien to me. That’s also why Original Sin confuses me so much. Are we or aren’t we responsible for our own actions?

The view of Satan presented in the book of Job is a very interesting one. To speak up and say ‘yeah, well prove it!’ to G-d, to question and then to test the loyal and faithful.

It presents this view of a Creator that doesn’t explicitly demand only blind belief. We’re Am Yisrael, the people who wrestle with G-d, and I think Satan, as the Tanakh presents him, is important to understanding that role.

theumbrellaseller:

lucifer speaks in his own voice

sure as i am
of the seraphim
folding wing
so am i certain of a
graceful bed
and a soft caress
along my long belly
at endtime it was
to be
i who was called son
if only of the morning
saw that some must walk or all will crawl
so slithered into earth
and seized the serpent in
the animals i became
the lord of snake for
adam and for eve
i the only lucifer
light-bringer
created out of fire
illuminate i could
and so
illuminate i did

— Lucille Clifton