Thank you for looking at this blog. I believe that we are pushing more people to the margins than ever before.
Thank you for looking at this blog. I believe that we are pushing more people to the margins than ever before.
Mary of Magdala known as Mary Magdalene
They took my name and
They carefully dragged it for miles and miles through the mud
Of disbelief of how womanhood
Can carry Christ’s authority.
They read the words
from their point,
delivering my fate
and depositing me
at the gate of a brothel.
Read it again.
Read it over.
Read it from belief
that he gave me the right
to lead in His name.
See how I call him
would you say that
to your lover crucified
2 days before?
Twist the truth
and men dominated.
Let me speak
and we are equal
as God intends.
The garden of Eden
I hear you say,
Do you live in the fall
Or in Christ’s new way?
Love will find away ?
Was their pain in your heart
as they told you, “Goodbye!”
They didn’t want your way
nor wrestle, with things you say.
Lord, did they hurt you
when they walked away?
And the women you helped
who followed their men,
turning their backs on ways
that restored dignity again.
Lord, did they hurt you
when they walked away?
The lawyers who taunted you
and tested you with trials
and Pharisees prodding and
employing their wiles
Lord, did they hurt you
‘cause they walked that way.
When they spat and slapped
and scored you with whips
and pinned you to a tree,
priding on a punishment,
for a thirty silver fee,
as they walked away free.
That must have hurt
ground your guts
battered your brain
and shattered your spirit
yet blooded and broken
you spoke of
O Lord, do we hurt you
when we walk away?
The cruel touch.
In my heart I keen
for the child raped,
is forever changed
and something lost
that can never be replaced
It is like a cancer
that steals healthy
grow on garnered guilt,
the meddling media
and fomenting fear.
Only those who have born
the loss can truly know
of adults illegally
taking their gross
for a child’s
lifetime of grief.
Hi my name is Mary
They said I had seven devils
I can tell you what those were
There was the devil of oppression,
the demon of sexual abuse,
the demon of stolen children,
the demon of exploitation,
the demon of poverty,
the demon of domestic violence,
and the demon of, ‘Your less than.’
I was less than a man.
I was less than another woman because I complained.
I was less because I was sick.
I was less than because I was childless now.
I was less than a field because it is more fertile than I.
I was less than a donkey because I couldn’t keep up.
I was less than so much.
The burden crushed me.
It tore at my very being.
It screamed in my head you’re less than your less than, you are less than
and you will never be more than that.
I couldn’t sleep.
People said I didn’t make sense when I spoke.
They shunned me.
They left me.
Then came one
who touched my pain and
found my centre and
gave me back control.
treated me with respect,
cared that I felt good,
told me I was valued,
showed me my children,
gave me kindness
and fed me,
saying, ‘You are precious to me.’
They crucified him for it.
by Hilary Evans
Have you ever been down a cave deep enough to see stalactites and stalagmites. I went down one in Derbyshire and they had set up lighting so that we could see them. It was like a fairy grotto and doubly amazing when you see the icicles and columns made at only a centimetre a 100 years. What on earth have they to do with Christmas?
The news has been very difficult this year and for many of us we go into the Christmas Period with our memories of our griefs and for those of us who have been sexually assaulted it has been difficult listening to the stories of the footballers and find ourselves reliving our own abuse. I admire the footballers for what they have said. We will also have images of little children waiting for the bomb to take them out in Aleppo as well as other harrowing scenes. Our world may seem a dark place at the moment and some may wonder why we celebrate Christmas at all.
In all this how can I still believe in a loving God?
Let’s listen to some people that were hated, feared, rejected, and thought to be unclean and unfit for human society. Unfit for God and man.
These were the shepherds that are part of the story of the birth of Jesus that we celebrate on Christmas Day.
To these men and probably children (as children worked from a young age then) were outside on a hillside when they saw an angel. They were aghast as they probably thought the angel had come to condemn them but instead the angel told them that God was intervening in the world. God was going to live amongst the people of that time and set them free. As you might imagine this was hard to believe but God topped it all off with a vast number of angels in the sky singing Glory to God and peace to everyone on earth. Their story is told in many carols -“While Shepherds Watched” being just one.
The shepherds set off to find this new baby in Bethlehem with the clue that he would be lying in an animals eating trough called a manager. They would have been shocked to find that this baby from God was born in amongst the animals, their mess and not in a wonderful palace. They knelt and worshipped and became the first known Christians – followers of Jesus.
God has come to be one of us. Really one of us, to live without any privileges, any money, any safety, any security, with a bad name because you are not his father and without any power and that is why the shepherds have been told so that they will spread the word and when Jesus’ time comes people will have heard about him.’
So, you see the shepherds tell us that Jesus has no side. He treated all people as equals and asked us to call him our brother. He healed everyone who was sick regardless and he touched people that others said were unclean. Jesus was marginalised because of this by the faith group leaders of that day and they killed him because they could not bear to be contrasted with him. They hated him because he showed up their greed and power hungry behaviour.
One way of describing Jesus is that he is the light of the world and just like the lighting in those deep caves showing the hidden glory so he shows us the love, the kindness, the tolerance, the forgiveness and all of that with no condemnation, no compulsion just grace. God revealed to us and no cost spared.
This Christmas I hold onto this picture of Jesus and therefore of God that he is right there in the middle of everyone’s situation and when we turn to him and ask him into our lives and the horrible things that we experience then he will come in and stay with us and weep with us and help us to find a path through. He will help us find someone to talk with on the phone or through our doctor’s surgery or through the church.
I believe that Christmas Day is a turning point for us all and to celebrate that God is with us and then Christmas Day is a day of heavenly hope, peace and love so amazing that God chose to become like us to show us the truth of God’s love for you and me.
Dinner with Jesus
His cooking pot
there was little water
and no oil.
Would he make it do
like the bread and fishes for
He rises and picks up the water jar,
over the hill, to the shore.
later returning, brings Peter
with a load of fish
they caught together.
Martha mixes the dough
while he cleans the fish.
I tend the fire
James found the stone
large and flat to stand in flames.
The smell of the crispy skinned fish,
the singed barley cakes
clings in the dark
to our hunger
And later he satisfies
as we sit and chat with the dying fire
and fireflies sparkling around us,
We asked him for stories of God
and he tells us of pearls and pigs and merchants,
as Yahweh is here, with us
by Hilary Evans
God chooses and values those on the Autistic Spectrum.
By Reverend Hilary Evans September 17th 2016
God chooses a man who I believe is on the Autistic spectrum. In this short essay I will show that Joseph of the coat of many colours/stripes (Genesis chapter 37:3) shows some of the attributes of those considered on the Autistic Spectrum. I shall quote from Rev David Gray who is on that spectrum and other learned sources.
Should Joseph be on the Autistic Spectrum then there will be huge questions to ask about selection for all sorts of careers, jobs and expectations placed on our brothers and sisters of that spectrum. Here are some sources that explain some aspects of Autism.
(Childhood autism as described by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems
A type of pervasive developmental disorder that is defined by: (a) the presence of abnormal or impaired development that is manifest before the age of three years, and (b) the characteristic type of abnormal functioning in all the three areas of psychopathology: reciprocal social interaction, communication, and restricted, stereotyped, repetitive behaviour. In addition to these specific diagnostic features, a range of other nonspecific problems are common, such as phobias, sleeping and eating disturbances, temper tantrums, and (self-directed) aggression. (1) )
Historically, those who function as what we now call Asperger would be pushed to the margins. In times gone by they would have been the Sadhu’s and Prophets who cried out from the outskirts of cities and in the wilderness, warning religious, regal and political institutions where they were going wrong by failing to aim for and attain something closer to the highest good for everyone.
There are a few characters in the bible that display these characteristics. One key one is Joseph from Genesis 37 onwards details his life.
In the first few verses we hear that he was working as a shepherd with his brothers and brought a bad report of them to his father. His father had a special place for Joseph in his heart and loved him more than the others (Gen 37:3) and consequently his brothers hated him.
(Further information: Asperger syndrome and interpersonal relationships
A lack of demonstrated empathy has an impact on aspects of communal living for persons with Asperger syndrome. Individuals with AS experience difficulties in basic elements of social interaction, which may include a failure to develop friendships or to seek shared enjoyments or achievements with others (for example, showing others objects of interest), a lack of social or emotional reciprocity (social “games” give-and-take mechanic), and impaired nonverbal behaviors in areas such as eye contact, facial expression, posture, and gesture.)
Joseph appears to have no idea how to interact with his brothers and is unable to empathise with them. He was spoiled and that could account for some of the problems but he also seemed totally unaware of their feelings which is different from being aware and trampling on them (Gen 37:4).
We read that he dreams and tells the dream (he was a central sheaf that rose up and the others bowed down and worshipped him) and clearly the dream is about his brothers bowing down before him. Not content with angering them by his retelling of that dream, (Gen 37: 5-9) he appears to totally ignore their feelings when he tells them about his second dream. In this he claims that the sun, moon and 11 stars bowed down to him.
So far he ticks some of the boxes – unable to empathise, one-sided verbosity, poor social interaction.
Unawareness of other’s feelings:
As later he is sent to find his brothers and they decide to sell him as a slave to the Midianites shows just how enraged his attitude makes them but Joseph sets off by himself without any apparent awareness of their feelings.
He is sold to Potiphar where Joseph succeeds and soon is in charge of running all of Potiphar’s household. Potiphar has great faith in him. Joseph who is now in his early 20s is very good looking and Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce him but is unsuccessful so fakes an attack by him and he is thrown into prison. She is unsuccessful because of Joseph’s clear cut right and wrong.
Further actions of stating facts without understanding other’s feelings.
Joseph speaks the truth about the situation to Potiphar’s wife but she will not listen and in her anger she ensures that he ends up in prison. There he is so successful that the Chief Jailer likes him and commits to Joseph the care of all the prisoners and soon whatever is needed it is Joseph who deals with it. Here again we have sight of his genius. He is a very capable manager and because of his lack/need of social interaction is able to remain removed from the prisoners and so makes a very practical and effective organiser. (Gen 39:21)
There are more dreams and the current King of Egypt’s imprisoned baker and cup bearer ask help for a translation. He responds to their question by referring to God as the author of the meaning of dreams. Here we have an image of Joseph as a man of God for the first time. He clearly respects God.
He translates the dreams and says that the baker will die and the cup bearer will be restored to his job. Joseph tells the cup bearer to tell the Pharaoh, that he is innocent and was stolen out of his land. The cup bearer forgets. (Gen 40 1-end)
His genius in translating dreams show that he fully understood the meaning of his own dreams and therefore the implications for his brothers.
Pharaoh is next with dreams. He dream of fat cows eating thin cows and similarly with ears of grain.(Gen 41 1-7) Joseph explains that the dream means 7 good years of harvest followed by 7 poor years of famine.
Pharaoh’s response to his clear interpretation and suggestion that Pharaoh should act through setting up a wise and discerning man (Gen 41:32) to oversee the collection of food in preparation for the years of famine. Pharaoh makes Joseph the Overseer as he has clear insights and intelligence. Joseph makes a success of this because when it comes to the famine he is able to be ruthless in his dealings. He takes all the money in the land of Egypt then he takes their livestock, flocks, herds and donkeys. Then he took their land and made them Pharaoh’s slaves. (Gen 47:18-21) It took a particular type of person who could take those measures to enable people to eat. Joseph needed “lack of demonstrated empathy has a significant impact on aspects of communal living for persons with Asperger syndrome. Individuals with AS experience difficulties in basic elements of social interaction, which may include a failure to develop friendships or to seek shared enjoyments or achievements with others (for example, showing others objects of interest), a lack of social or emotional reciprocity (social “games” give-and-take mechanic), and impaired nonverbal behaviors in areas such as eye contact, facial expression, posture, and gesture.” (9)
Joseph was also gifted:
He was brilliant in some ways, lacking empathy, single minded, very clear on right and wrong and was unable to put himself in the place of those he met. Joseph was brilliant, world-renowned, second only to the Pharaoh in Egypt.
(From the NIMH People on the Autistic Spectrum will have: Above-average intelligence; Be able to learn things in detail and remember information for long periods of time; Be strong visual and auditory learners; Excel in math, science, music, and art (4)
I conclude that it is likely that Joseph of Genesis 37 was on the Autistic spectrum and base this on myown observations of working closely with children with diagnosed Autism, talking to parents of people who ar eon the Autistic spectrum and the articles that I have listed below.
God used Joseph to save the lives of thousands and thousands of people in the Egypt and the surrounding countries. He used the gifts he had and also his lack of empathy so that people survived a 7 year famine. I do not believe in a God who brings famine because as that does not fit with the wonder and awe of creation and the person of Jesus Christ. God shares information that can help us live better lives and Joseph was one who could hear God, confidently expound that information and act on it.
External links from Wikipedia
Further quotes and supportive writings.
Childhood autism as described by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems
A type of pervasive developmental disorder that is defined by: (a) the presence of abnormal or impaired development that is manifest before the age of three years, and (b) the characteristic type of abnormal functioning in all the three areas of psychopathology: reciprocal social interaction, communication, and restricted, stereotyped, repetitive behaviour. In addition to these specific diagnostic features, a range of other nonspecific problems are common, such as phobias, sleeping and eating disturbances, temper tantrums, and (self-directed) aggression. (1)
People with ASD may have other difficulties, such as being very sensitive to light, noise, clothing, or temperature. They may also experience sleep problems, digestion problems, and irritability.
ASD is unique in that it is common for people with ASD to have many strengths and abilities in addition to challenges.
Strengths and abilities may include:
excelling in math, science, music, or art. (3)
As a pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger syndrome is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than a single symptom. It is characterized by qualitative impairment in social interaction, by stereotyped and restricted patterns of behavior, activities and interests, and by no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or general delay in language. Intense preoccupation with a narrow subject, one-sided verbosity, restricted prosody, and physical clumsiness are typical of the condition, but are not required for diagnosis.
Further information: Asperger syndrome and interpersonal relationships
A lack of demonstrated empathy has an impact on aspects of communal living for persons with Asperger syndrome. Individuals with AS experience difficulties in basic elements of social interaction, which may include a failure to develop friendships or to seek shared enjoyments or achievements with others (for example, showing others objects of interest), a lack of social or emotional reciprocity (social “games” give-and-take mechanic), and impaired nonverbal behaviors in areas such as eye contact, facial expression, posture, and gesture.
People with AS may not be as withdrawn around others, compared with those with other, more debilitating forms of autism; they approach others, even if awkwardly. For example, a person with AS may engage in a one-sided, long-winded speech about a favorite topic, while misunderstanding or not recognizing the listener’s feelings or reactions, such as a wish to change the topic of talk or end the interaction. This social awkwardness has been called “active but odd”. This failure to react appropriately to social interaction may appear as disregard for other people’s feelings, and may come across as insensitive. (4)
From the NIMH
People on the Autistic Spectrum will have:
Be able to learn things in detail and remember information for long periods of time
Be strong visual and auditory learners
Excel in math, science, music, and art (4)
From Retrospective Asperger Insights:
The Reverend David Gray wrote an article on his own experiences and cites that he readily recognised inconsistences in older people’s approach and he says,
“As children, Aspergers tend to assume that everyone can see the obvious before their own eyes, so the teacher who talks about “respect” but doesn’t show respect is viewed as someone in confusion who lacks leadership abilities. We are unlikely to listen to instructions given by such a person in case they lead to further classroom or social dysfunction. The usual adult response is to project their own dysfunction onto the few children who can see it for what it is and because at this stage both adults and Asperger children lack insight, the result is often conflict.” (3)
Therefore this then asks the following question, “If this is hereditary where did he inherit it from and to whom did he pass it on?”
Klauk writes: Autism is a highly heritable complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by distinct impairments of cognitive function in the field of social interaction and speech development. Different approaches have been undertaken worldwide to identify susceptibility loci or genes for autism spectrum disorders. No clear conclusions can be made today about genetic loci involved in these disorders. The review will focus on relevant results from the last decade of research with emphasis on whole genome screens and association studies. (2)
DSM-5 removes Aspergers from the DSM altogether, but specifically folds Aspergers into the newly defined Autism Spectrum Disorder (Aspergers was already considered as being on the autism spectrum, the change just makes that even more explicit). It will be harder for a gifted child to be mistaken for a child with Aspergers, considering they now need to exhibit persistent deficits in social interaction and social communication across all three areas under “A”. But of particular note, it’s no longer enough to have intense interests (like under B (1) that I mentioned above, now represented by B (3)). Rather, the child must meet two of the criteria under B, i.e., something more than just intense interest in an area. It’s arguable too that the requirement under D that the symptoms limit and impair everyday functioning, will be harder to show for a gifted child than the previous DSM-IV requirement that it significantly impairs social “or other important areas” of functioning. (11)
The angel in the flak jacket.
The angel stood tall
The flak jacket black on her glowing, golden skin,
the machine gun glorified
a life newly lost,
crawling down her cheek,
The child lay at her feet,
Clay coloured skin
Congealing bloody ebony curls,
The appalled angel
a soldier triumphant.
Her body slumped,
his head held high
She held out her hand for the hundredth time that day,
the tiny trembling hand,
The angel whispered and the child asked,
“Is heaven a place then,
where you take children
when grown ups have killed them?”
and clinging to her hand,
“Is Mummy here too!”
Jesus bent down to take the child
his tear tracked face,
hurting heart and
the child turned
for the angel, who
a lifeless body,
a forsaken skeleton,
in a world where
a child’s life is cheap,
and war valued.
With twisted minds and warped thoughts
the gun warm hand
delivers perverted justice
and innocent deaths,
broken bodies that were
children and mothers
sisters and solitary others
who went out that night.
There was nothing of God
in the corrupt cruelty
God knows nothing of hatred, killing
God was with the sudden
holding their hands
their precious souls
into the safe sanctuary