Was Jesus Ever Married?

I was having a great chat with a friend about Jesus and she dropped in a bit about him being married to Mary Magdelene. And I answered a resounding “No he wasn’t married.” And then the answer came to me. God inspired or common sense? Who knows! And just as a disclaimer: I’ve never had issues as to whether Jesus was married or not, but this is what came to me.

Jesus couldn’t have been married or had children. I don’t believe this because it never mentions it in the Bible but because Jesus knew what he was on earth to do and there are times when he could have averted the crucifixion. When he met the woman he was to marry or even after they had children, he could have quietened down his lifestyle and gone off to live somewhere nice, still have preached about forgiveness and the Kingdom of God being close, but in a way that was not antagonistic to the authorities. If he hadn’t gone in and trashed the temple when he processed into Jerusalem on what we now know as Palm Sunday that would have kept him from crucifixion. There are many times during his trial that he could have averted the direction of it. Both Pilate and Herod ask him to do things to save himself and he either does nothing, or commits blasphemy and says he is The Son of God. Not clever things if you’ve got a family. Also we tend to forget how horrendous crucifixion was, though now we can watch ISIS videos of it if we want. Perhaps it would be good for both Christians and those who say Jesus was married to watch the horror of a crucifixion??? Maybe not! I have read descriptions and that has left me horrified that Jesus chose to go through with this, but it would leave me even more horrified to know that he knew what he was going through and let his wife and children watch.

I believe Jesus never married because if he did then he is not about love. I do not understand the whole thing of why God and Jesus couldn’t think of another way to deal with mankind’s transgressions but it’s what they decided. Jesus was not the first person to ever be crucified. He knew what was going to happen. Also I do think if Jesus had married the early disciples would have had to have mentioned his children. I don’t think they could’ve kept quiet about them. Or the Pharisees would have come to kill them too seeing them as a threat. I know in Dan Brown and other books of that ilk they talk of a pregnant Mary being taken away secretly and no one being allowed to know. Still not sure if Jesus could have had a sexual relationship because the whole act of sex is an acts of love and intimacy and of giving of one’s heart . I actually think if he had entered into a sexual relationship with someone he wouldn’t have been able to go through with what he did, as much for leaving them as well as for knowing they would see what he went through. Yes he did put his mother, siblings and disciples through the horrors of watching, which I still don’t get. But no as to letting his children watch, or even know how he died I think not. And this is the basis I state that Jesus never married.

By the way my friend felt this to be true and it has given her things to think about now. So God inspired, common sense or just what I think?

‘I have come to see that there is good in every situation’ – Kayla Mueller’s hope in captivity

Here is a great post from Jon Kuhrt’s Resistance and Renewal blog and really shows all about “doing life” in the face of death.

Resistance & Renewal

Kayla Mueller, 26, an American humanitarian worker from Prescott, Arizona is pictured in this undated handout photoThe family of Kayla Mueller, a US aid worker who was being held by ISIS, have confirmed that she has been killed.

Before she was captured, she told her hometown paper in Prescott, Arizona:

“It’s important to stop and realize what we have, why we have it and how privileged we are. And from that place, start caring and get a lot done.”

Kayla’s family have released a letter sent to them by her from captivity written in the spring of 2014:

Everyone, If you are receiving this letter it means I am still detained but my cell mates (starting from 11/2/2014) have been released.

I have asked them to contact you + send you this letter. It’s hard to know what to say. Please know that I am in a safe location, completely unharmed + healthy (put on weight in fact); I have been treated w/ the utmost respect + kindness.

I wanted to write you all…

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How do we “do life”?

I’m a practical person and I get fed up when I hear a sermon or talk and there is no practical application, but then I realised I’d sent out a piece that talked of “doing life” and having the right attitude but didn’t really say how to. And ok one can say that actually we all need to work out our own path to finding a right attitude, but all these self-help books wouldn’t sell so well if it was just about us working it out in our own heads. So here’s my attempt at “how to do life?”

Life in all its fullness – John 10

As a Christian I do go back to the Bible and to what Jesus says about things. I believe as well as being the Son of God – wholly God and wholly human – Jesus was also a great teacher so I think it’s good to hear what he has to say on things. Jesus said “with me you can have life and life to its fullness.” This was doing life and life in all its completeness. I don’t think Jesus was saying there wouldn’t be any hassles, any deaths, cancers, loses to grieve over, hard times to walk thougth but I do think he that what he is saying is that we can have life in its fullness even in those hard time. But how do we tap into this?

Well Brian McLaren  in “We make the path by walking” says we need to look at the story behind the miracles Jesus did. In the story of where Jesus turns water

Paolo Veronese’s interpretation of The Wedding at Cana – hung in the Louvre, Paris

into wine (John 2) we get so caught up in the details of this story that we can miss what could be the underlying message. Jesus uses the jars that were for ceremonial washing and messes things up. McLaren says that Jesus is showing that it doesn’t matter if this are clean or unclean but that it is all about super-abundance and super-celebration. Here was too much wine for one small Galilean village to drink in a week let alone in a day! And also they could no longer ceremonially wash their crockery or hands. The need to be religious had gone and it was time to enjoy life. This didn’t mean they stopped farming, doing business deals (and a wedding was a place where many business deals were carried out), caring for children, elderly parents, those who were sick. The things of life would go on but the religiosity was gone. Again McLaren talks of a healing Jesus did on the Sabbath. And the sermon is always based on the fact that Jesus did his healing on the Sabbath. My daughter has always struggled with this saying that Jesus was being deliberately obtuse and surely that’s wrong. But actually what Jesus again was doing was saying let go of your anxiety and fear of getting it right, stop being paranoid and look at me.

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones with the real Jane and Stephen Hawking

We watched “The Theory of Everything” and in that saw a man who could have so easily been pitied and achieved nothing, and I am sure people with lesser disabilities do give up but not just Stephen Hawking, but his wife Jane and many of their friends “did life”. In fact there are so many quotes for Hawking that I don’t know where to being. The film finishes with him saying “where there is life there is hope” and there is:

Look up at the stars and down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder what makes the universe exist. Be curious.

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.

Hawking doesn’t have much choice where he looks because of not being able to control his muscles but he does have a choice of how he views life. Often we can choose where we look but choose to look at our feet. As Oscar Wilde said:

We’re all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars

To “do life” means we choose where we look and how we view the world. We can choose to look at the stars and be curious or we can choose to  look at our feet and our circumstances. We can choose whether we accept what we are told or be curious at what is going on. Hawking and especially his wife Jane, refused to accept what they were told and look at the difference he made to the world. My friend who started me on this quest regarding “doing life” refused to let cancer beat him. I have other friends who refuse to accept what the world says about how their story should be played out and are “doing life” in the craziest of ways.

I’m not sure how practical this has been but to be it is about having faith, being curious, getting rid of fear and paranoia and looking at the stars, at the what could be if only …  And then, I believe, not just going for it but helping, supporting, encouraging and loving each other to get there too.

Do Life

I have a lovely friend who, until recently, wound me up with his expression “I’m off to do life with … ” or “let’s do life together.” I use to think it was obvious that we all do life and that’s what goes on. But I’m now not so sure everyone “does life”, I think there are people who just get on with things and put their heads down and don’t enjoy life.

This weekend my husband’s Uncle Ron died. Here was a man who “did life” even if some of the family didn’t get it and thought he was being irresponsible. Nine and a half years ago he had a horrific car accident which cost him his legs. He was a big man and was wheelchair bound with no legs so never a possibility of walking again. I only really met him once not long after the accident and he was in hospital, but even there he was busy. He had decided to grow tomatoes on the roof of the hospital, where patients were allowed to go. Even though he didn’t know what life would bring he was planting something for the future. From what I heard from my mother-in-law Uncle Ron was always having barbecues, growing various flowers and vegetables and keeping his carers busy. He had to have full time carers because he couldn’t even get in or out of bed without help. Last summer him and his carers went on holiday to France. He wasn’t going to lie down and die. Because of his over-eating and lack of physical movement he had problems with diabetes and in the end that was what killed him. Uncle Ron could’ve decided to eat properly and give himself an extra five or ten years but he would still have been in a wheelchair, and in fact from the accident he did get another extra nine and a half. He could have died in that accident but didn’t and decided to “live life.”

My friend who has the expression “do life” is also someone who has see death and come through it. Life is a big thing fordo life him. As we get older we do see more and more people die, some in old age, some too soon, but eventually we will all die. The big thing actually to always ask ourselves is “have we lived life.” What does that mean?

To Uncle Ron it appeared to mean enjoying life, inviting people round to eat, and planting flowers and veg. For the friend I’ve just mentioned it means going on mission and giving to others. To some it means going to war torn countries and nursing or reporting to let those people know they are not alone. For each of us to “do life” means something else. As I mentioned in an earlier post about being able to “act on what transpires” which actually is living life. I don’t know what will  happen next at all. Take this morning – my neighbour and I set out with our dogs and were in the middle of a long deep conversation when we aspired a fellow dog walker and his Labrador puppy so we walked with him a bit, then he went off and we got back to our deep conversation, then bumped into some other walkers and walked and laughed with them for another hour. That wasn’t planned. In fact the plan for me was to have a quick walk then get to see a friend for coffee, who had cancelled that morning because her son wasn’t well. I was going to “do life” with her but in the end got on and “did life” with what transpired. Maybe this was the same for Uncle Ron. He never planned to be without his legs for the last nine years of his life but he made the most of the life he had without those legs.

We do all need to plan and to put things in place to look to the future but we need to be flexible so that things can change. And when we do put things in place we need to hold them lightly but hold them with joy and then hold the changes with joy and not with fear. Life is too changeable even in nice middle class England (a place I know and love).

So thank you John and now I get it completely. I have been lucky and not personally come close to dying but I’ve enough to know life isn’t static, isn’t predictable. There is a choice to live in fear and just get on with it, or to “Do life”. What do you choose? What do I choose?

The dilemma of being both relational and an introvert

introvert

Along this journey of self-discovery I am realising that I am an introvert. More and more I am realising that I need time and space alone to recharge. This was why, even though many people felt sorry for me, having New Year’s Eve all to myself was just what I needed.

I am also realising that I am a relational person. I make connections with people easily. People like me. They want to be with me. I love talking with people, encouraging them, hearing what they have to say, connecting. But this then tires me. I love walking my dog but I have connected with many of the dog walkers in my area and most mornings I walk with someone. My dog is uber-sociable and he just wants to be with other dogs, so will look very sad if I try to go off just us two. And there are other dog walkers who crave other people being about and they will look sad if I say I want to be alone. So I have to learn to be sociable and relational but also to get time to introvert and to recharge.

It helps me understand why, much as I did enjoy my job, before the incident that rechargecaused me to leave, why I found it so tiring. I was with people for too long. So how do I make sure I get time to recharge, to introvert, but also have time to be with people. It’s not a job. It is a vocation, connecting with people, and it is what I like doing, but it’s not something that recharges me. Actually it gives me life to hear about other people’s stories, to be able to learn how they see they world, to look at the world from another perspective, as well as encouraging them along their journey. I encourage them, they encourage me. It’s not a one way path but goes back and forth.

My key relationships are with my husband then my children, but if I give too much time to others, because of being on that introvert scale, I can finish up with not enough internal resources left to give to my husband or children. So I would work – which was giving of energy, catch up with friends – another giving of energy, manage a bit of time with family – more giving of energy, and then wonder why I got snappy. I wasn’t angry but I was short tempered, but was because my inner energy tank was empty. People would challenge me on whether I was doing the right thing see people and I would always answer “yes it was the right thing.” And actually I do believe that to be true, but what I wasn’t doing was making sure I had time alone to recharge, either with writing or a book or just a lie in the bath.

As I journey through this I am learning to plan my time better. Not that goal-orientated-time-management stuff where one makes sure one fits in as much “productive” stuff as possible, but actually making sure, as I look at diary for my week, that I have enough time to be alone. Some days will be harder to sort than others. Some days I’ll just have to be kind to myself, tell myself and my husband that I will be more tetchy because I’ve not had space to recharge. It’s ok not to get it right every time.

I do wonder at times if we live in a world that says we should fill it full of things and people, of goals and busyness. I am reading “Quiet –The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” and can see how we live in a world that praises extroverts. I have been given “The Introvert Charismatic” that I need to read too. It will be interesting to see if we can bring about an “Introvert’s Revolution” or whether that is just too much for introvert’s to execute? 🙂

Along this journey of self-discovery I am realising that I am an introvert. Moreintrovert charismatic and more I am realising that I need time and space alone to recharge. This was why, even though many people felt sorry for me, having New Year’s Eve all to myself was just what I needed.

I am also realising that I am a relational person. I make connections with people easily. People like me. They want to be with me. I love talking with people, encouraging them, hearing what they have to say, connecting. But this then tires me. I love walking my dog but I have connected with many of the dog walkers in my area and most mornings I walk with someone. My dog is uber-sociable and he just wants to be with other dogs, so will look very sad if I try to go off just us two. And there are other dog walkers who crave other people being about and they will look sad if I say I want to be alone. So I have to learn to be sociable and relational but also to get time to introvert and to recharge.

It helps me understand why, much as I did enjoy my job, before the incident that caused me to leave, why I found it so tiring. I was with people for too long. So how do I make sure I get time to recharge, to introvert, but also have time to be with people. It’s not a job. It is a vocation, connecting with people, and it is what I like doing, but it’s not something that recharges me. Actually it gives me life to hear about other people’s stories, to be able to learn how they see they world, to look at the world from another perspective, as well as encouraging them along their journey. I encourage them, they encourage me. It’s not a one way path but goes back and forth.

My key relationships are with my husband then my children, but if I give too much time to others, because of being on that introvert scale, I can finish up with not enough internal resources left to give to my husband or children. So I would work – which was giving of energy, catch up with friends – another giving of energy, manage a bit of time with family – more giving of energy, and then wonder why I got snappy. I wasn’t angry but I was short tempered, but was because my inner energy tank was empty. People would challenge me on whether I was doing the right thing see people and I would always answer “yes it was the right thing.” And actually I do believe that to be true, but what I wasn’t doing was making sure I had time alone to recharge, either with writing or a book or just a lie in the bath.

As I journey through this I am learning to plan my time better. Not that goal-orientated-time-management stuff where one makes sure one fits in as much “productive” stuff as possible, but actually making sure, as I look at diary for my week, that I have enough time to be alone. Some days will be harder to sort than others. Some days I’ll just have to be kind to myself, tell myself and my husband that I will be more tetchy because I’ve not had space to recharge. It’s ok not to get it right every time.

I do wonder at times if we live in a world

This explains so much of why I don’t like small talk. 🙂 Clever tortoise

that says we should fill it full of things and people, of goals and busyness. I am reading “Quiet – In praise of Introverts” and can see how we live in a world that praises extroverts. I have been given “Introverts in the Charismatic world” that I need to read too. It will be interesting to see if we can bring about an “Introvert’s Revolution” or whether that is just too much for introvert’s to execute? 🙂

Calling and role rather than setting goals

Like the chameleon I need to be able to adapt to my surroundings

I’m now at the day when I was going to “start the plan for the rest of my life” but I think what is being revealed is that things don’t always go as planned. My daughter was meant to go back to university either yesterday or today but isn’t now going until tomorrow so I’m spending time with her. My husband now only works a 4 day week and doesn’t work on a Monday so he wanted to have time with me, which was lovely because we haven’t really seen much of each other this year as he’s been working away in Holland for a few days and then I was away this weekend studying. Also I’d arranged to dog walk with a dear friend who’s input is very special in my life. So “the rest of my life” didn’t start it’s planning today. But I think what this has said to me is that flexibility is part of the plan.

An old home schooling friend who is now in business as a life coach for simple, authentic living recently published a blog post that said how instead of setting goals, which means we are always either looking at the past to what we didn’t door to the future of what we hope to achieve, which can so easily lead to disappointment, we should look at who we are. So one looks at one’s calling, one’s role and also how one can serve, and in serving it isn’t just serving others but serving ourselves in the situation. So often we are taught that to serve ourselves is selfish and that we should be giving to others when in fact the advice given on an aeroplane is to put on one’s own oxygen mask first before helping others. In other words check you’re ok and can breath before rushing off to help others. So if I make sure I’m safe and breathing then I can serve others but if I’m struggling and can’t breath then I won’t be able to help anyone else. A bit of a change of culture.

There is a challenge inherent in this process of allowing ourselves to accept, be with and act on what transpires. (To begin with, what appear to be concrete goals can seem a lot safer!)

Who are what would you rather be guided by? What gives you greater peace?

So following on from my friend’s advice above I need to accept who I am and be me and then act from who I am and see what happens. So there is no plan, no set of goals but an living out who I am. So no goals are going to be set on the fact that I am going to this on this date or that or that date, or that I’m going to get thinner by x or more healthier by y. In fact last year I did lose a lot of weight and I am fitter but not because I set a goal to be but because I took a simple blood test to find out what foods I was intolerant to and then cut them out. I’ve gone down a whole clothes size and I do look good. I’m also healthier because I’m no longer eating foods that my body doesn’t like. I worked on accepting who I was and what I could eat and acted from there.

So for now I have to work on my MSc in creative writing for therapeutic purposes because its what I love doing, part of who I am and see what happens from there. I enjoy being with my family and with lots of my friends that I am being able to catch up with now I’m not doing any paid work. And work-wise something will come about that will help to pay the bills, but it won’t come by me setting goals but by me accepting who I am and living my life from the place of being me.

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
We have come to our real work…
And when we no longer know which way to go
We have come to our real journey.
Wendell Berry

Good Morning 2015!

My Facebook status this morning was “Good morning 2015! What’s the plan?”

There is so much for me that is new and strange about this year. I start it with no job. Never in my life had a not had a job. Most of the jobs I have had have been menial jobs due to my love of travel, fear of sticking at anything, and from home schooling my children. But every year I’ve had some form of job; paper round, leaflet delivering, Avon, bar work, packing job, and also some “real” jobs too – bank clerk, office worker, typesetter – and even two new years where I was “in ministry” which actually involved lots of admin and counselling work. But this year I start without a job of any kind due to an incident with my previous job which led me to feel that I needed to leave.

So a new year, a new blog, a new direction! This year will be more planned; not just my blogging but also my career plan. It seems odd to be 53 and only just really starting on a career plan. I have just completed a degree and have finished the first module of an MSc but these have been things, like with  ministry or previous jobs, that I have “fallen into.” I now feel that the reason I had to leave my previous job, even though it was very painful and I’m still aching from the scars, is so I can become directional. I have never seen myself as a reactionary person but in reality life-wise I am. This is all very new.

In fact it has been a very new start to the year. This year, 2015, I woke to a house all alone. My husband has just spent the last few days in the Peak District with old university friends and their families, 60+ of them in one youth hostel. I am becoming more of an introvert as I grow older, or maybe admitting to it more, and knew I could not cope with all those people, and also needed some space after the trauma of giving up my job. He’s been away like this before but normally I have my daughter with me, but this year she went to Edinburgh with friends. She realised this was the first time in her 21 years she’d ever been away just with friends. Previous times she’d travelled or gone on holiday had been with me or with an organised camp. A new year! So I saw out the old year and in the new without any other human contact for the first time ever. As a child I had my parents, before children I did the expected party thing, even as a single mum I had my kids in the house. I wasn’t totally alone because I had the dog on the bed with me. Dog and I were in bed by 10.30pm and slept most of the way through though he did growl gently at midnight when our street exploded with fireworks and singing.

All I have brought into 2015 apart from relationships with family and friends is my MSc in using creative writing for therapeutic purposes. I started this at the end of September 2014 so am only one term into it. My first assignment is due in on 10th January. I am almost there on the word count.

Adventure sounds like it should be crazy and full of unknowns, which I know it will be, but also for me the adventure will be to walk boldly in a direction not just jump from branch to branch. I am a planner in the ordinary course of life, needing things on the calendar, needing to know when everyone will be home, etc but it has struck me how I don’t do that with my life wider. I have never looked at my gifts and talents in a way that would take me in a certain direction. I have been insensitive with blogging as I have splurged across the page my thoughts and feelings, hurts and pains. Even my blogging is going to become more directional. To become something in the world of creative writing for therapeutic purposes one needs to be an established writer of sorts. I want to be a blogger. I’ve always wanted my work read and now I will do in a way that will be something I will be proud to have read.

So “Aspirational Adventures” has been so named because I am going to spend time looking at what I wish to aspire to become and how I will journey to find that place. Every journey is an adventure 🙂

From a friend in response to my Facebook status “2015 is the Year of Plenty – as in plenty of good things, a sense of abundance, nothing to do with greed or acquiring stuff. It is also about realising all of the good things we have.”

The year of plenty is where I’m going, that feeling of abundance, of being grateful for what I have.This is the adventure I aspire to walk in.