Christian Feminism

Many women are restless and dissatisfied with the Churches refusal to dignify women. They find no benefit from their long devoted silence. No matter how much female devotion and dedication to the teachings, the Church institution continues to limit the service of women. Most women active in today’s church have come into contact with those in control who refuse to re frame the outdated “ancient” teachings institutionalized by men. Women and tired of always getting permission form a man. Bias changes too slowly.

In 1960 the Roman Catholic Church changed celebrating mass in Latin to each countries native language, before that it was Latin everywhere. It was a necessary alteration in the mass. People had changed and many no longer studied or spoke any Latin anywhere. In addition for centuries Catholics were encouraged not to read the bible independently for fear of false or misleading interpretations. The church had to change a long tradition to suite the times. This was a magnificent change opening communication and debate and thinking. How the church treats Women is a similar landscape which also needs change. Imagine men went to the moon in 1964 but after 2,000 years only a few nations are beginning to ponder the position of women in today’s church or society.

TRUTH Galatians: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”.

Catholic Theological Society of America,“Tradition and the Ordination of Women”

Some biblical text defend the absence of Women’s voices. It began with Adam and Eve but remember they both got thrown out!  Words fuel theological debates but without reflection and new perspectives we are victims of living in a sate of ignorance about our contemporary world. Centuries ago women were accepted as inferior to men and considered unworthy, poor things were easily led astray. In the 2nd century Tertullian, said of woman: “You are the devil’s gateway”; in the 3rd century Origen wrote: “What is seen with the eyes of the creator is masculine, and not feminine, for God does not stoop to look upon what is feminine; in the 4th century Epiphanius said: “The devil seeks to vomit out his disorder through women.”

YUP outrageous, Harsh words indeed!

The early Gnostic influences must have really threatened the mainline developing church institution during the first two centuries. The teachings were decidedly unacceptable, too radical, too inclusive, too mystical to teach and therefore rejected, ridiculed and squashed. Many of the texts highlighted commonality and common spirit within all of creation. Yet, the church chose to shape the cultural prejudice against women making them inferior to men by nature and by law. A male dominated church rose and kept the control. As late as St Thomas Aquinas 1250, we have a well developed attitude: “… the individual nature, a woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of a woman comes from defect in the active power….”. Theology like altered the agenda of the day.

Ladies, if you have ever wondered where the teachings came from, the framework for our continual debasement, the doctrines which have been hailed as word of God, these kinds of text held to be truth are it. If the men are so enlightened and want to teach the word of God, those in power will have to recognize the error and make amends, for too long we have failed to see accurately the God given blessed commonality within the male/female relationship. Those in power have the power to omit the words and teaching which do not serve but only hinder and separate women. The passed has passed and we are fast coming into a new age of awareness. We are waking up to a new world. The sky and the mountains and the oceans have always witnessed truth, only humanity has failed to see clearly how balanced creation is and how it fits together as a whole.

We Can Allow Change.

It is not heretical to think there is equality with difference between the sexes. We are by no means finished learning to be one body in Christ, we have yet to fully develop and honor the feminine side. Our leaders must condemn sexual discrimination in their congregations on every level and work to put an end to the subordination of women in every community and societies around the world

ICONS

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Coloring books for Christmas

Time to order for Christmas,

beautiful images to share

 

This is great resource for your church or school is this book filled with spiritual imagery offering contemporary ideas with an old world feel for the divine. The 26 historical images are bold, and fun to color, while the journal space beside each image is for jotting down reflections and insights.

Ancient Image, Sacred Lines is an ideal option for members from the christian community who want to work on a commemorative project; for a love one who is about to move from the congregation; or a wonderful memorial gift for any one of your parishioners. If you’re a painter or like to color, the artist in you can pick the image you’d like to work with or for those who like to write in journals, take notes or just write down thoughts, Ancient Image, Sacred lines is also perfect combination.

For children and adults alike.

Each of these 26 historical images can be used for meditation or as a template for those who have been painting icons and are looking for new ideas to experiment with.

Coloring Books today are increasingly popular. Write a book of your own, where you color the illustrations as well as write the text. Experiment with markers, watercolors, crayons, pencils or pastels to create your own iconographic art.

Each image has a tiny message and an empty page to fill with text, encouraging you to write out your own insights and thoughts about the image. With time you will have a wonderful visual journal filled with memorable insights and memories.

A collection of images, ideal for those reflective moments in life; whether at home or in the hospital, this is something you can use during those WAITING moments in life. Ancient Image, Sacred lines is designed to offer caring spiritual support during difficult moments in life.     Ancient Image, Sacred Lines  CLICK

Mary Jane Miller has 20 years experience as a master iconographer and today she is offering a creative idea, a way to slow down and concentrate on the beauty happening within

Buy One, or order several for school or the hospital gift show

http://sanmiguelicons.com/

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Iconography Workshop Scheduled

TWO  WORKSHOPS Scheduled:

First one in my Studio in San Miguel 2 weeks, 3 days each week

December 11, 12, 13 and second week 18, 19, 20   2017

In our studio in San Antonio San Miguel Allende. long mornings to explore and meditate, paint and enjoy the atmosphere. Great conversation and exchanges to be had, we laugh and we pray. Time to sign up and make it happen. Great conversation, instruction and time out from our busy lives to think about what an amazing thing it is to be alive and here now.

The idea of moving small particles of sand around with a brush to create a divine image is exhilarating, it is contemplative. Others find solace in yoga, meditation and prayer; I find it in icon painting. The practice reveals itself through time and patience.  This is an ancient language handed down from Byzantium times, 1,500 years ago. Each  movement, brush stoke, breath, emotion or  insight is left on the surface as a small history you were witness to, your own.

info@museogenebyron.org +52 473 733 10 29 http://www.museogenebyron.org

 

Details on  our website, Sacred Icon Retreat

Some say, “It is a surprise to be here, or I know nothing about this kind of painting  or this is amazing”. It is a wonderful time out, there is no place to get to, only a chance to gaze into icon images with silent satisfaction. Keeping the mind still and focused as seeing and listening “is” prayer. It could be someones first encounter with an icon and could be their last but one thing I am certain of, the experience is unforgettable. I am a rebel icon painter, self taught and un-orthodox but not without tremendous love of icons and an honest desire to share what creating them has taught me.

MUSEO DE GENE BYRON, Guanjuato MÉXICO

January 8 to 12, 2018

History of EX HACIENDA En 1777, “en la ciudad de Santa Fé y Real de Minas de Guanajuato provincia y Obispado de Michocán en este reino de la Nueva España a cinco de Julio de mil setecientos setenta y siete, Don Gaspar de Quijano, español peninsular abanderado de las milicias provinciales y legión del príncipe de esta ciudad, vecino y minero del Real de Santiago Marfil, jurisdicción de Guanaxuato a Don antonio de Obregón y Alcocer,

Los ultimos dueños han sido el Sr. Eusebio Herrera quien vendió en 1950 las ruinas de la hacienda a Giorgio Belloli, italiano avecindado en Guanajuato, el cual reconstruyó la parte de casa habitación para habitarla, vendiendo en 1954 la otra mitad con una parte de la sección de galeras a Gene Byron y Virgilio Fernández del Real, mexicano por naturalización desde 1942.

info@museogenebyron.org +52 473 733 10 29 http://www.museogenebyron.org

y visita su página https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=sacred%20icon%20retreat

 

 

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Given Love to Give Love

Icons Speak: Beginning with Mary

In Mary, I found inspiration for my book called In Light of Women. After copying hundreds of images of icon images of the mother of God, I discovered not only the deep mystical Mary message held by tradition, but at least one valuable lesson waiting to be learned in our time. The definition for “Who is Mary?” has changed to suit various theological questions in the church. She was the simple Mother of God who became the Virgin Mother and then the Immaculate Conception. She is continually hailed as the queen of contemplation and her obedience to God is inspiring through her supreme act of selflessness. She is so “Holy” her very being is unattainable for any human being, yet I still imagine her as a women and mother like myself.

The image of Mary has changed along with her relevance, the church needed to continually transform her identity to fit with its desired image of women. For 2,000 years woman have been encouraged to be seen and not heard, to be bodies of perfect motherhood and endless committed service.

As Mary changed in history, I changed as I painted her image.

In my heart, I explored the grieving and weeping Mary of the Renaissance, I painted the best I could the mystical distant gaze of Mary in ancient iconography, and finally I came to understand that Mary is the container for the divine to be known. She became for me the church. She became the womb, the door of the church through which I enter, to learn to learn how to grace the world with my contribution of love. If Christ is love walking among us I go to the church to learn to become that which she birthed, I too am born in His image through her.

I find it ironic that Christian mystics, mostly men, have spoken and expanded the spiritual understanding of God for nearly two thousand years and, in doing so, have controlled and shaped our society without the help of women. Mary has used the spoken word, making our understanding of her elusive. Mary is a woman who, by her human act, gave birth to the most transcendent truth which is love.

Love is by far the very thing the world needs for its Healing.

This triptych of three icons illustrates what I discovered in Mary and her many images: Receive, Nurture, and Release. These three stages in the life of Mary teach us a new attitude towards creation: First, like Mary we are given divinity within, we create with what we have received, then we love and nurture what we have created. The first two are a challenge but nothing like the final image. Ultimately we are called to release and give away to the world our valuable creation. The metaphor speaks to our ego, loving what we think we own, what we think we created and our want to protect and keep it for ourselves. Mary’s journey is a replica of what we are called to, to fully love and nurture as she did and finally give it to the world, with no agenda or restriction. This is not easy but becomes absolute trust in God. Love is given for us to give Love in the world.

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Art and Image in Iconography

Ancient Image, Sacred Lines                  By Mary Jane Miller

NEW WEBSITE DESIGN

These are great resource for your church or school, books filled with spiritual imagery offering contemporary ideas with an old world feel for the divine. The images are bold, historical and fun to color, while the journal space beside each image is for jotting down reflections and insights. Purchase a collection for your congregations and support the arts in church

Ancient Image, Sacred Lines is an ideal option for members from the community who want to work on a commemorative project; for a love one who is about to move away; or a wonderful memorial gift for any one of your parishioners. If you’re a painter or like to color, the artist in you can pick the image you’d like to work with. Ancient Image, Sacred lines is also perfect for those who like to write in journals, take notes or just write down thoughts.

For children and adults alike.

This wonderful book of Ancient Image, Sacred Lines will prove to be a fun and interesting journey. Each of these 26 historical images can be used for meditation or as a template for those who have painted icons before and are looking for new ideas to experiment with. Enjoy!

Write a book of your own, where you color the illustrations as well as write the text. Experiment with markers, watercolors, crayons, pencils or pastels to create your own iconographic art.

Each image has a tiny message and an empty page to fill with text, encouraging you to write out your own insights and thoughts about the image. With time you will have a wonderful visual journal filled with memories.

A collection of images, ideal for those reflective moments in life; whether at home or in the hospital, this is something you can use during those WAITING moments in life. Ancient Image, Sacred lines is designed to offer caring spiritual support during difficult moments in life.

Mary Jane Miller is offering a creative idea, a way to slow down and concentrate on the beauty happening in your own inner journey to places unknown.

Icon Painting Technique, a meditation and guide to egg tempera explains the subtle relationship between the process of icon painting and how it reflects and enriches ones spiritual life. Mary Jane Miller discusses her technique, the history and meaning of icon painting.

The Mary Collection   This collection of Mary icons captures the great mysteries of the Madonna, drawing attention to the relationship between Mary and Christ, and the viewer. A wide range of imagination and potential is explored this tiny book.

 Search for author Mary Jane Miller on LULU.com or AMAZON,  The E books available too.

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Healing, Healed and Healer

This past week St Paul’s Anglican Church in San Miguel Allende hosted a panel discussion focused on; Healer, Healed and Healing. They unanimously concluded; humanity is imbued with a great capacity to know and desire its own wholeness which is found in an energy or natural order greater than any of us can fully conceive. Believe it, seek it and know it is always with you.

Humankind is most happy when we are “being whole” and “healthy”, yet that wellness is found in diverse and multi-dimensional ways. Healing — What is it? How does it happen? Where? When? Who gets to heal and who gets healed? What heals? What are the effective ways healing can happen? Is there a spiritual dimension to healing? The two-hour introductory panel discussion determined without a doubt to be healed we need to be connected to the divine power in and around us.

We are healed, healing and healers together,

seeking maximum harmony and a balanced life.

Awareness of health or illness begins when we close our eyes and become still enough to realize there is infinite space inside us, more than we can imagine. We all begin and end in that same space, our name, practice or perception may be the only difference.

Our panel participants consisted of three perspectives, given by three individual practitioners speaking about their faith/belief as it has unfolded in their respective lives.

Laura R. Torres employs her extensive academic tools found in Cultural Sciences — philosophy, hermeneutics, epistemology — in conjunction with her work as an Aj’quij, a Mayan spiritual guide — a counter and interpreter of Mayan sacred time.

Bishop William O. Gregg is the current parish rector at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in San Miguel de Allende. An interesting and diverse theologian, with a doctorate in theology from Notre Dame.

Susan J. Cobb, C. S., lifelong practitioner of Christian Science for twenty years. She was a chaplain in California jails and prisons and author of Virgin Territory: How I Found My Inner Guadalupe.

I want to recap some of their insights and add a few of my own conclusions gleaned from this important discussion. Laura mentioned an interior duality which requires a constant dialogue and listening to retain a balanced life style. William and Susan both expanded saying, the interior conversation strengthened their ongoing and daily relationship with God, the source of “be”ing. Whatever your practice is, commit to it and, refer to it every day as if it was your friend. We are guided by an invisible cosmic order we can talk to which guides and nurture us back to wholeness, whether it be illness of the body, mind or spirit.

The universe has a natural order, as Laura said, “things just are” I think she meant, in natural balance all the time and Susan added by saying, “I know I am whole and complete” and William went further by sighting St Paul’s biblical description of the “The Body of Christ” as being something we are inseparable from, we are part of the body like an eye lash or toe nail. All of them clearly spoke about Love being at the core of life as we know it; it is who we are and why we are here. Love teaches us we are not alone, it is the binding force and the greatest of healers.

Humans need an object to love, to nurture a relationship inside and out.

William reminded us we come upon this perfected love by degrees, gradually as we deepen our prayer and commitment. Laura advised we “softly” ask for assistance and guidance from the cosmic realm to love more and it will surely come. Susan shared her revelation and joy that she found in being cared for, by a loved one. I liked this part of the discussion, it seemed to me without love of self and love of other we are alone and isolated. Thinking we are isolated is the biggest and most savage enemy of illness. Illness feeds on being separate from the whole. We occasionally have thoughts like; “why did this happen to me?” or “I feel so alone” or “I am somehow imperfect “, yet I think attitudes like this cause us to die faster, we end up depressed and filled with anxiety. Individual spiritual practice and commitment to community brings us back into balance and as Laura said, “It feels like an alignment of two poles; heaven and earth, spirit and flesh, beginning and end ”.

Think about it for a moment, anxiety about death or fear of not being whole or healthy can be the ultimate separation. Fear of loosing control gets its power from wanting or thinking we are separate from ( fill in the blank) ____. I am independent of the group, I am fine alone, I can care for myself, and I cannot trust anyone, are all statements with no room for new energy, new wholeness, or no perspectives. William likened it to a two year old who says,” Me, Mine and NO ”. William told a story about a priest who detached himself from the activities in the congregation, he became isolated and ineffective. Again, like St. Paul the evangelist saying, we are all part of one body, we cannot live and flourish away from the whole.

As we came to a close Laura talked about a string with a knot in it; the knot messes up the string but it is temporary, with time and attention the knot might get bigger or it might disappear. Susan used the metaphor of cleaning a window. We see more clearly what exists outside of us if we continually keep the grim and dirt off the window.

I want to thank the three of you for sharing your insights and convictions. The afternoon was a delight and we hope to have another panel not too far in the future.

Susan left us with a question, “How big is your God?”

I suggest we continually seek to allow him or her or it to be big enough to include an unexpected healing, personal wholeness without an agenda and be thankful for the love in whose image we have all been created. Peace be with you

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Women in Christian Sacred Images

Being a practicing Christian all my life and dedicated to the practice of painting (writing) icons. One cannot help but make some startling observations and deductions. I would like to share some of the conclusions I have made while reading Biblical text, going to liturgy, and praying with as well as painting icons.

Let me begin with a the misunderstood Adam and Eve story: it is interpreted too often with Eve as being created second to Adam and responsible for original sin, which

Women Who Teach 2016

of course became all women’s greatest sin, causing men to be tempted by sexual sin. How do you go from eating fruit to sexual sin? How is it that for generations women hold the fault, not the men for acting on the “sin”. In 1 Corinthians 14:34 : “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak…”, the new testament continues with verses that ultimately prohibit them from serving in positions of authority, the like of which has effected every women’s place in society. In actuality, beginning as early as the fourth century the dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to thwart the ascendant positions for women within the religious hierarchy and in christian societies in general.

Miller Art and Icon

The underlying teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, – all call for the proper and equitable treatment of God’s children. I have always known in my heart and soul, women are not inferior to men; without a doubt, God loves humanity equally. Tragically, as an iconographer of 25 years, self taught and inspired, I have not had to look far to see that in this great tradition that I so love, the place of women in the iconographers community or in the images depicted, they have been noticeably absent until recently; those Women in Christian Sacred Images.

Holy and Mystical Union 2017

Now ironically, women may be holding the means to this great sacred art forms survival. Those who are graced with the desire to paint sacred text, have an obligation as prayer practitioners to re-examine how or why Women are not mentioned in the great feast days like Pentecost, The Last Supper, or The Baptism of Christ, etc. It is not God’s commandment that they are not heard of in text or seen in sacred image.  When you stand before an icon for any amount of time you cannot help but see first the beauty they have as a work of art. A well done icon is a powerful tool and often provokes insights and visions. This interior conflict for women because of our absence within the fullness of societies and the church is a worthy discussion we all need to engage in. We live in an age of great bigotry, self righteousness and personalized isolation. Including more women in Icons stimulates new perspectives on a theological issue which is still in it’s infancy. When the feminine voice and new icon images are ushered into today’s church community, the addition will benefit us all.

Some might ask, why would I care about such details. If you are an iconographer you are supposed to transcribe the Bible word for word and uphold the theological doctrines which the church maintains. The problem for me is my thinking mind. The Virgin Mother Mary being portrayed as the perfected obedient servant and silent mother has been a hindrance to the development of women, their activities and their voice in the Christian church institution.

Desert Mystic 2015

I am asking for a simple review to rectify what we all are beginning to see as misguided behavior of the past. The attitudes of those in authority must change if we are to going to have a thriving church in the future. Inquisitive women like myself have always been around Christ listening to His message, they were there cooking and cleaning at the Last Supper, at the wedding at Canon and when He fed the five thousand. When Christ invited the children, you can be sure the mothers were there, too. These women were imbued with unrecognized human qualities: those who speak and those who contemplate, those who teach and those who administer and, finally, those who are mystics with their wisdom, living and walking among us. If we believe that God’s boundless presence is reflected through sacred text and in iconographic image, then the New Eve can and should live in communion with the New Adam to offset the gender imbalance in science, art, government, religion and all other facets of life.

World leaders have recently published a statement that declares: “The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable.” It is time for the church “fathers” to draft a similar statement.

While I am painting new images of women in iconography, I am also challenging all denominations within the Christian church to re-frame parts of Holy Scriptures which have justified the superiority of men over women. We are told we are One body in God, called to be One mind in Christ. Let us live into that reality where Christian women will served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, mystics, healers, teachers and prophets, etc. through image and word. ” More of my images  San Miguel Icons

I welcome any and all comments. Creating Sacred Images is a strong and powerful practice, image builds our relationship with God and gives us new tools to explore liturgy. May we all keep this in prayer form and practice alive for God to guide to Iconographers, women and men, to create the Holy images for our time and culture today; look for new Women in Christian Sacred Images

May God bless you and keep you, and may His wisdom fill all that you think, say and do.

Amen!

 

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