MARCHING TO A WORTHY DRUMMER INSTALLMENT #4

 

Chapter 2: The Issue and my Motivation to Pursue it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My earliest memory of self-awareness was of an event in which I participated while in the second grade. It left a mark. The event was a Christmas pageant in which our class had been divided into two groups, each wearing white angel costumes and sitting passively on the lawn on either side of the front entrance. As the older children began to perform in front of the entrance, I developed the phobia that somehow I had gotten in the wrong group. While an objective viewer would have the impression that changing the head count of one quietly-sitting, passive group at the expense of the other wasn’t going to ruin the pageant, my own mental faculties weren’t developed to the point that such a perception would enter my tiny brain. I kept my peace in fear for a while, but eventually I could stand it no longer. Terror-stricken, I interrupted the show by dashing through the middle of the performers to what I thought was the correct side, in the process tripping one girl and causing her to cry. As I looked at the expressions of astonishment that surrounded me, I was forced to re-examine the thought that I had been on the wrong side. Slowly, I realized that this new side might well be the wrong one. But it was way too late to set things straight. In my fear, I had indeed ruined the pageant. My career as a showman was over.

Later that day as we were driving home from the debacle, my mother turned around in the front seat and looked at me strangely. “Arthur,” she pronounced solemnly, shaking her head, “you march to a different drummer.”

The pronouncement was not meant to encourage, as was confirmed a year later when another mother pronounced the same words to a different boy who stood in the street in front of a crowd of cars whose drivers were waiting to pick up their children, dropped his pants, and peed in their sight.

Other things happened as the years went by that reinforced that heavy-hearted pronouncement upon me. There was the Great Watermelon Incident that occurred on a very hot day when everyone was anticipating relief in the form of juicy, cold slices of watermelon fresh from the refrigerated shelf of the local store. When it arrived home I insisted on carrying it up the stairs into the house. Mother shook her head, indicating that I was too small to be entrusted to the task. Despite my father’s menacing glare, I lifted it up from the trunk of the car, hoisted it to my waist, and marched with it up the stairs. I actually reached the top step before it popped out and bounced back down the stairs, shedding pieces as it traveled, its progress accompanied by the changing of the sound of its repetitive impacts from thunks to squishes. I won’t go into what happened afterwards. It’s just too painful to recall.

Returning home from high school once when the transmission got stuck I was forced to drive my car several miles in reverse, displaying the same directional challenge in my movements as following a different drummer. Fortunately, I was outdone by a classmate, who was so desperate to relive the life of actor Jimmy Dean that he re-created a dramatic scene from the movie Giant by pouring a can of oil over his head in front of the lunchtime crowd. He owned a ’50 Merc, just like his idol Jimmy Dean, and tooled around the school re-creating a scene from Rebel Without a Cause, his head almost out of sight below the windshield, a cigarette dangling from his sneering mouth and his wrist atop the steering wheel in a pose of bored indifference. Only he kept on re-creating this particular scene, up to that fateful Saturday night when, tooling past the immensely popular local drive-in restaurant, he cut a corner too close and mounted a fire hydrant that, while elevating the car to a position of non-operability, cracked open to emit a huge geyser of water. There he sat, trapped in his car. The noise of the water and the sirens did manage to drown out the surrounding laughter, but that didn’t help him, because he could clearly see in all the faces that what they were indulging in was side-splitting hilarity.

For a period of time I was straightened out by the Marine Corps, who rather forcefully insisted on everyone marching to the same drummer, in the same direction and at the same pace. Rather early on in boot camp, we received an inkling of this insistence by a “chat” that our senior drill instructor (I have a hard time not capitalizing his title, for during that period of our lives he was equivalent to God) had with us feckless recruits. “You sorry bunch of pussies,” he said, “I have a message for you and you’d best listen up. The message is this: my father died on Tarawa. You will pay dearly for that.” We did. That sight of his angry face as he spoke those words are burned into my psyche. But many years later, as I read an account of that battle of Tarawa, I understood something of the nobility of those Marines who managed to stay on their feet and fight in the midst of rampant slaughter with its threat of almost certain death and overcome their fear to eventually take the tiny little island. I thus give this message to my D.I.: Semper Fi, man.

Now, as I attempt to explain my position with regard to the feminine nature of the Holy Spirit, I am forced to appreciate that the position I have taken is that of a different drummer. I can only say that even if I tend to see things differently than others, and even if the directions my marches take me are not usually highly regarded, they are not necessarily wrong or bad. This particular march regarding the Holy Spirit may well be the right one, for a change. But I realize that it’s up to me either to demonstrate the validity of my position on this topic in the face of my rather poor track record with regard to my direction of march, or alternatively, in the light of my failure to demonstrate the validity of that position, to accept that this is just another case of “marching to a different drummer”. But because my own understanding of the nature of the Holy Spirit has given me such an intensely beautiful picture of the Godhead and one which is so worthy of fervent love, it is extremely important to me that I enter the fray. That love created out of this understanding is the essence of my primary motivation to pursue the justification of my particular vision, as it profoundly reaches my heart.

Briefly, I consider the Holy Spirit to be the second Member of the Trinity, fully God, and functionally fully feminine. Moreover, I understand Her to possess all the basic attributes normally associated with femininity. If a Christian brother or sister would insist on the Holy Spirit being the third Member of the Trinity, I won’t argue the point. Her feminine gender, on the other hand, is not a negotiable item with me.

The female attributes of the Holy Spirit, as I view them, do not necessarily correspond to those possessed by Her human counterparts. However, I do view Her to possess the ability as Divine Means to unite with the Father, or the Divine Will as His Complementary Other in a partnership corresponding to Family in a perfect sense. I also view this unity to result in a procreative function, endowing the Holy Spirit with the attributes of intimate Consort to the Father, Divine Mother to the Son, and, eventually, Divine Mother-In-Law to the Church. In that context, I view the result of Divine Means’ procreative function to be the Divine Word, or the Divine Implementation of Creation, Jesus Christ as fully God and the third (or second, whatever you wish) Member of the Holy Trinity.

Moreover, I view the Holy Trinity as having existed throughout and beyond eternity either within or outside the Personage of the Divine Will. Eternity in this context began with time at the beginning of Creation. At some point beyond time as we know it, the human race being dimensionally limited, the Divine Father chose in love to separate Himself into two Beings, Father and Holy Spirit, thereby voluntarily in love choosing to reduce his status as All-in-All to one Member of a Partnership. That which the Father lost was reclaimed in love according to the words given to Adam by the Holy Spirit in Genesis 2:23 and 24, and applied to the union between the Divine Will and the Holy Spirit:

“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.”

 

I believe that Scripture corroborates this origin of the Holy Spirit, as well as the origin of Jesus, as the result of the Divine union between Will and Means, specifically following the pattern presented in Genesis 1:1-5, 14-19, John 1:1-5 and Revelation 3:14:

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”

 

          “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.”

 

          “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”

 

          “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.”

 

In the context of the origin of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ out of the Divine Will, I interpret the Scriptural portrayal of the Godhead as three Divine Members in their unity as a Divine Family to form the basis of Judeo-Christian monotheism.   I therefore consider the design of the individual human, male and female as presented in Revelation 2:26 and 27, to profoundly represent, in a lesser dimensional order, the image of God, first as representing, depending on gender, either the Father or the Holy Spirit, second as united in love, and third as procreators of offspring and consequent generators of families.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

The problem with this viewpoint is that it is at odds with the understanding of the mainstream Western Christian Church and of the authorities who consider themselves to be in a position to challenge thoughts that they consider to be heretical.

This antagonism toward a female Holy Spirit expands the issue from being a perception of a female Holy Spirit to that of being a perception of the same in contradiction to mainstream Western Christian Theology.

My motivation at the beginning was innocent enough. I merely wanted to be obedient to God, which, to me, meant being obedient to His commandment in Deuteronomy 6:4 and 5:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”

 

What that meant to me was that my love for God must be fervent. The call to that love is amplified by Jesus Christ’s repetition of that commandment of Moses in Matthew 22:37 and 38, along with His commentary that this commandment was the greatest of them all:

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.”

The problem with my ability to be obedient to this commandment was that nowhere either in Scripture or in Church was I able to obtain sufficient insight into God as to justify this kind of love. In the first place, I couldn’t even understand the notion of monotheism in the face of a supposedly Trinitarian Godhead. How could three be considered as one? Even Islam struggles with that, to the extent that this religion is so strictly monotheistic as to deny the Christian Trinity as being fully God. Within Christianity, the ‘Jesus Only’ Church does the same, as did some early heresies within the Christian Church, including Arianism.

I didn’t want to be a heretic – I wanted to be anything but. However, I also knew that I must learn to love God with passion, which was my prime motivation for pursuing an understanding of God beyond what I was able to obtain either in Church or in the Church’s interpretation of Scripture.

Eventually, after reading Scripture with an open mind, I came to appreciate that the only way that the Trinity could be reconciled with monotheism was in the context of a Divine Family. Having acquired that answer, I was excited to find that it came with a blessing – an instant appreciation of the Godhead that induced the desired passion, natural, intuitive and unforced, into my love for God. I first described this understanding in a short piece that is attached herein as Appendix 1: Implications of God’s Transcendent Nature on the Orthodox Christian Understanding of God. I next described the process in greater detail in Part 1 of my Christian nonfiction work Family of God. At the end of Chapter 1 of that book I summarized the problem, as I have noted it above; at the beginning of Chapter 2 of Part 1 I presented the answer, describing the wonder of this comprehension:

“Surely by raising this issue [of monotheism in a Trinitarian setting] we have placed ourselves in the midst of a basic conflict, one that was not resolved when Jesus came to the earth in the flesh, nor has it been settled in the two millennia since that event. Perhaps, given the assault on family values experienced by our generation, the timing is appropriate for God to favor this same generation with an understanding, rich in information as to His own nature, which will lead to a resolution of this conflict. It is with this hope that we continue our review, searching Scripture for something we may have missed before.”

“As would be expected, God furnished man with His own straightforward answer to the paradox of His triune nature. It is profound in its simplicity and astonishingly beautiful in form. In the second chapter of Genesis, Adam speaks thus:

“’And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.’

“The essence of this passage was repeated by Jesus and later by Paul. In the contexts in which it was presented, it is obviously of importance to God. Could there be a significant relation between the unity of flesh in marriage and the unity of spirit, as was often claimed by Jesus, between the Father and Him, and in fact, among the three Members of the Holy Trinity?”

This is an enormously important insight, and, in forming a logical basis for considering God to be one and three at the same time, it furnishes a strong secondary motivation to pursue the justification of my particular vision, as it profoundly reaches my intellect. In summary then, I have been urged on by two strong motivators: first, the intrinsic love that appeals to my heart and second, the logic of it that appeals to my intellect.

In my several books including the Christian nonfiction work Family of God and the novels Buddy and Cathy, I have, out of an urgency of heart, put forward the notion that the Holy Spirit possesses a functionally feminine gender. This isn’t just a pet idea of mine, one that I toss out for trivial reasons. I believe with all my heart, for the reasons given in the development above, that Christianity as it is practiced today in an overwhelming number of Churches has been terribly wounded, and that from nearly the very outset of the Church’s existence, to the extent that Her members hold fast to a false and destructive viewpoint that renders them unable to love their God with the intimate fervor that Jesus commanded in Matthew 22, nor even to understand the Word of God in the depth it deserves. I feel that this attitude, derived from a misconception of God’s nature, grieves the Holy Spirit to the extent that She is now actively pushing certain individuals to attempt to correct that situation. If I’ve been getting a shove from Her in that direction, well, that’s a pretty big motivator, and I’m not complaining a bit.

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