Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Overall this story compels the reader to think of Jesus' message "The Kingdom of God is in you and all around you."(Gospel of Thomas) God can be found within us all through the expansion of minds and knowledge. This message is not just a Christian one, but one of all religions, portrayed in numerous ancient texts. I am intrigued with Brown's intricate way of connecting so many ideas. He not only makes connections of ancient texts and religions, but also connects those ideas to newer revelations about the power of the mind and the proof of God. In this book, Brown gives light to Enlightenment, if that is possible. The greatest revelation of all is his illumination of the Noetic Sciences, a sector which bridges the ever widening gap of religion and science. As always, his book has left me pondering and grasping out to read texts affirming and/or tearing down these great hypotheses.
There are two areas of the book where Brown has disappointed. One aspect that is greatly disappointing as a historian, is Brown's many references to dispelling of the theory of a flat earth through the explorations to the New World. There is no evidence to support such a claim, though as children we are taught this fallacy in school from a very early age. I am disappointed because it is one area that Brown does not challenge the norms in the way the world views history.
The Lost Symbol was a very enjoyable novel which both challenges and expands the mind as all the previous novels have done. Still, I am left a bit disappointed with a lack of connection to his other works, and left wondering what is his real message? Perhaps, I am reading into this too much. However, I do not believe that anyone would write novels that stir so many questions for entertainment purposes only.
Images found through google images at pacemiller.com and onlinemoviesfreedownload.blogspot.com
Monday, May 24, 2010
It has recently, and most abruptly, come to my attention that the Internet world has become the biggest gossip pool since humans began gossiping. And let's just be honest, humans have been gossiping since they could draw on cave walls! The use of such mediums like blogs, facebook, and others is not only to make connections with friends and family that are not easily accessible, but also to get commentary from the world at large. For example, when you post things on Facebook, it is to tell the world your thoughts for a specific reason. You may be asking for help, looking to annoy or get a rise out of people, or simply letting people know what is happening in your life. It is understandable that you may forget what people may or may not see, but simply sharing the intimate details of your life on such a network is an invitation for people to read, analyze, and even comment on your actions. If something is "none of any one's business" but your own, then keep it to yourself. That is precisely what diaries are for! You can still write it on the computer ... just saved in your own personal documents and not blasted out on the Internet for the world to see!
Sorry for the whining session ... but I had to share it with the world! :)
Sorry for the whining session ... but I had to share it with the world! :)
Saturday, May 22, 2010
As an historian, I cannot help but look at the Bible as an historical document. As such, I see it as written by men and not God. This alone is somewhat detrimental to the principles of the Church. What is more, I continually analyze and doubt the translations that I have been given, as well as feel the need to search out those documents which were not allowed to be a part of the New Testament. Then again, even the old testament is flawed with multiple interpretations within one story; just look at the creation story. It is these questions that will lead to the huge debate that may not be contained in my head.
Friday, May 14, 2010
The rest of the run was a bit slower. Not because of my own over-weight, out of shape body, but because my poor girl was tired. She was on her last legs and extremely over heated from running the whole time(not making quite as many stops along the way). There were a few quick stops in the shade where she plopped herself down saying, "Mom, I need a rest." I was even tempted to go into one of the famous stab and grab marts for her some water when she just layed down at the front door panting wildly. Thinking against it, we finally made it home. Now resting in the back yard in the shade, we agree it was a lovely morning run!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I am currently re-reading a fascinating book, Resurrection by Tucker Malarkey. Less publicized than Dan Brown's works, Malarkey really enriches the mind and questions the soul. She takes the reader on a journey of both discovery and re-discovery. For the main character, Gemma, it is both because she is re-discovering herself and her female qualities in a post-World War II world while at the same time on a threatening trail of papyrus documents in hopes of discovering her recently deceased father's work. For the reader, the book allows discovery in the great depth of information that is given on the Nag Hammadi Gospels and in the history of Christianity itself. Still, this path of knowledge is somehow also a re-discovery for the reader, for he/she is retouching any and all questions that have ever arisen in regards to faith. For the world, Malarkey has discovered a branch of fictional literature that brings together spirituality, history, and a great story. At the heart of what is gained by the world, is the way this story captures the re-discovery of ancient texts and long forgotten Christian ideals, all parts of the book which are based on actual events, findings, works, etc.
Picture captured from
In my own soul searching, faith questioning, and life re-evaluation which this book invokes, I cling to a subject which I often find to be distasteful. Gender relations is a subject of history that I have made a career of avoiding, yet while reading Resurrection, I find myself drawn to the history of female involvement in religion. Malarkey argues that it was Christianity that took power away from the female. Prior to the creation (by man) of this particular lasting strain of Christianity, women were a source of great power, strength, and religious meaning.
My first reaction to this argument takes me back to a course that I took in my first undergraduate experience, "Old Testament/Hebrew Bible." In this course, I received the first real hurdle in my faith. The reality of the Bible being written by people other than who they claimed to be, illuminated the fact that religion was created by people, and the Bible was just another primary source. The Old Testament speaks to the limitation of women, especially in Genesis and Leviticus. Quickly I came to the conclusion that Malarkey has forgotten the guidelines of the Old Testament, and its innate sense of crippling women. For goodness sakes, women were not even allowed into the walls of the temple, only the in the courtyard. Because Christianity derives from the Judaic religion, it of course follows the same sense of dis-empowering women.
As I delve deeper into the ideas of women and the impact which Judaism made on the ancient world, I realize that so many more religions were indeed embracing women. The multitude of powerful female goddesses seemed to have such large roles in the lives of their people. Even a place like Athens, where women were known to not have a particularly powerful or even meaningful role in society, the patron deity was Athena, goddess of wisdom. There is not a single powerful female figure in the New Testament, other than the Virgin Mary and Elizabeth mother of St. John the Baptist, both of which are essential in the mystical deification or canonization of these characters. The Old Testament, though still not fully embracing women as normal holders of power, presents many strong female figures including Ruth, Ezra, and Esther just to name those who have books named for them.
Malarkey's most controversial yet moving message is one of sexuality. It is well thought that many "pagan" religions embraced the act of sexual intercourse as transcendental and even sacred. Malarkey brings to the forefront that sex was the tool with which women gave men power, even in societies which had stronger male rulers. This idea really makes sense when you break it down. A man steals a woman' s virginity because there is something gained for him, and somehow I know it is more than just the momentary pleasure. The act of rape is so brutal because it is the act of taking power away. According to Malarkey, it was a sin in the time of Jesus to be celibate. She delineates from this fact that he therefore was most likely not celibate. The underlying question here is, why then does Christianity take all dignity, power, and beauty from women and at the same time preach celibacy?