lady_kishiria: (Virgin of Ocotlan)
I'm about halfway through Nadia Bolz-Weber's book Pastrix and I can't stop reading. She's a 44 year old Lutheran pastor, married to another Lutheran pastor, with two kids. She is also foul-mouthed, a punk, a recovering alcoholic, and heavily tattooed. She's far from self-congratulatory about her church, The House For All Sinners and Saints and talks about humiliating failures. I reeeeeally want to talk about this book with people, so if you are interested, check it out.

Oh, I should also say that she is ELCA, the most liberal branch of the Lutheran family tree. Her church is a welcoming community, although when she converted to Lutheranism, ELCA had still not given the green light to queer pastors. The minister who converted her, or as she put it, the vampire who brought her over, is a gay man in a very longtime relationship who was sticking to the church despite its disapproval. His side won. This aspect of the ELCA Lutheran churches will no doubt interest many of you.
lady_kishiria: (Default)
I've been getting asked about the Da Vinci Code lately, so I decided to link to an entry I wrote a couple of years ago about it:

I said then it's a sexist book and even in [community profile] catholicism they've been saying that.

I also want to mention that the Priory of Sion was a hoax of Pierre Plantard's. He started it in the postwar years as a French monarchist revival group. When it got hijacked by Baignent et Cie to show he was rightfully king of France due to his being a descendant of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, he copped to the truth since he was a devout Catholic who couldn't stomach *that* idea.

I saw part of the movie yesterday and it's AWFUL. If I hadn't read both the book DVC and "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" I'd have had no idea what was going on. I enjoyed the book for what it was, groaning loudly at al the historical stupidities (which were plagiarized anyway), and admit it'd make a good thriller done right but it wasn't done right.
lady_kishiria: (Default)
I spent part of this morning watching a documentary called "The Real Da Vinci Code". It was by Tony Robinson and was a pretty pointed debunking of this potboiler through the power of Actual Historical Fact.

(Snip rant about how the world would have already forgotten about this entertaining but otherwise useless piece o' literary crap if only the Religious Right would stop *chewing* on it. And the movie has the Oscar-whore Tom Hanks in it, to make things so much worse.)

But one piece towards the end harkened to something that gave me and [personal profile] reunion the most problems with it, beyond the book's outrageous sexism, namely, a smug dismissal of Tradition as having anything worthwhile to say.

Margaret Starbird (her real name? Oh, I'm sure!) wrote a book asserting the old saw that Mary Magdalene went to France with a female child who was her daughter by Jesus. She made reference to the annual religious festival of two Maries arriving in a boat from Palestine. They were Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, and a child named Sarah. Sarah, she asserts, means "princess" in Hebrew and she knew by means of her own insight alone that this was Jesus's daughter.

Wow! I wish *I* could back up my own theories through my own insight alone. It'd make writing books so much easier without all that pesky RESEARCH.

Anyway, my screech of "ELITIST!" comes from the fact that she never bothered to look into what the festival means to the people who have celebrated it for centuries, or the actual role of Sainte Sara. Sara, you see, is not formally recognized as part of the festival. Yes, there's a small image of her in the church, and she's what I'll dub a "Black Saint" to draw a distinction between that image and a Black Virgin. Legend says she was the Maries' Egyptian servant, and she's sacred to the local Rom population. I'd like to see what their reaction would be to finding out that this white lady from America says they're wrong about their saint. I mean, being the daughter of Jesus is spiffy and all, but it's telling a bunch of Rom that they're wrong that I'd like to see. From a safe distance.

Oh yeah, and neither of the Maries is the Magdalene, according to locals, but Starbird knows better of course.

I won't say, as was said during an 18th century investigation into the roots of Our Lady of Guadalupe that "it is a tradition, look no further" but the hardest part of my work has been the balance between respect for a tradition while having the intellectual honesty to also respect what history reveals. Fans of the Sang Real = Holy Blood theory do neither.

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