About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Mythopoetic Baptism

Religions are funny. They are spiritual, ethereal, even sublime. But religious people have a constant urge to objectify the intangible substance of their faith. Many religious people, including Christians, are taking their religious poetry, metaphors and myths and present them or understand them literally. What was figurative is presented as factual. There is a illustrative example of it directly in the Bible in the story about Jesus’ baptism. 

In the oldest Gospel of Mark, a little more than a generation after the crucifixion we read: 
Jesus coming from water, he saw the heavens ripped apart, and the Spirit descending like a dove to him, and he heard a voice from heavens, "You are my beloved son..." (Mark 1:10-11) 
It is an entirely subjective report which is also rich in beautiful mythical assonances. 

About a decade later, Matthew writes in his gospel:
Jesus came from the water and look, heavens were opened, and he saw Spirit of the God descending like a dove on him and look, voice from the heaven... (Matthew 3:16)
It is becoming a collage of subjective and objective reporting.

In the Gospel of Luke, still a few years later it morphs thusly:
Jesus steps from water and praying the heaven was open and the Holy Spirit in bodily form of a dove on him  and there was a voice from heaven, "You are my son..." (Luke 3:21-22) The original comparison of the coming of the Spirit to the descent of a dove, gained here an avian body.

And finally, about a generation after Mark and two or three generations after the crucifixion. In the Gospel of John it is John the Baptist who is presented as giving testimony:
I have seen the spirit descending like a dove from heaven on him and I have seen and I testify that this is the chosen one of God (John 1:32-34)
What started as a beautiful subjective mytho-poetical image was transformed in 50 years into a forensic testimony. Of course there were religious and political reasons why it happened. But this unfortunate process of sneaking-in fundamentalism and literalism was happening even before the Bible was finished. And that is something you might not know about the Bible and our human religious proclivity to take something spiritual and make it concrete.

Come this Sunday to seek with us the original meaning and rejoice with us in the rich, beautiful and meaningful mytho-poetic nature of baptism.

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