New Catholic Icon

Thoughts and reflections

 

I have been a practicing Christian all my life and half of that time dedicated to the practice of painting (writing) icons. Biblical text, liturgy, and prayer are my source of strength and comfort, just like millions of people around the world. I would like to share some of the observations I have made while painting icons and at times disturbing reflections on our familiar Bible verses. Adam and Eve: the biblical text interpreted indicates Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, which of course became all women’s greatest sin, sexual sin. 1 Corinthians 14:34 : the new testament continues with verses that subvert women encouraging them to be “silent” in church and ultimately prohibiting them from serving in positions of authority, the like of which has effected every women’s place in society. In actuality it wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to thwart any ascendant positions for women within the religious hierarchy and in christian societies in general.

The underlying teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions – 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, we do not have to look too closely to see women have not been included the iconographers community until recently.

Now ironically,

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, at 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 the feminine voice and new icon images introduced in today’s church community, the addition will benefit us all.

 

I understand why our church leaders are reluctant about stepping up to change the way the stories are told.

 

They will have to recognize that society two millenniums ago was primarily male dominated, to the exclusion of Women. They will have to redesign the sacred text, eliminating some harsh and unnecessary teachings which limit women and the power men have to dominate them. They will have to bend their doctrine and theology considerably, rejoice, there is ample evidence they have done so in the past. I am not a heretic, I am not even rebellious, I am asking for a simple review to rectify what we all are beginning to see as misguided behavior of the past, that mush change if we are to go into have a thriving church in the future.

Heretics are largely called heretics because

they question the authority of our accepted norms.

It will be no surprise to watch as our religious leaders and the traditions they preserve get aggravated as the atmosphere and status quo changes. In the time of the inquisition one million named heretics were murdered for thinking differently, hopefully we are past burning witches. In a growing age of tolerance, we can have open discussion and allow for change.

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.

I am challenging all denominations within the christian church to re-frame part 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.

 

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Two Kinds of Message

There are some who say the traditional large christian denominations are dyeing. There are those who say the Baptist and evangelical communities are thriving. It might be better to ask why Chruch at all? Our interior movement can happen within or without church. The idea behind spirituality is to become part of something greater than ourselves as individuals. The community or Church body has the components and traditions to directs us towards a dynamic, alive, organized, intentional spiritual life and being part of that body essentially holds the teachings for abundant life.

Through church participation we might have learned to discover that, at our core, because of who you are, as a christian, you move into the world for the sake of the world and the good of all. For those who do not go to any denomination presently, your church going parents perhaps gave you their residual teachings which translate into some kind of moral baseline you act on out of habit and good sense. Either way, ritual and spiritual traditions teach us who we are, so we can be of service and example, the kind which serves not only our self but others.

Who is Jesus? Who is Christ?

Two questions, Whose are we?

How do we Know who we are?

The disciplines of prayer, liturgy, thinking, communion and study are  some of the fundamentals to reveal the Christ energy moving into the world.

Celebrated liturgies like Triduum, Easter Sunday, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, baptism, etc. are designed to draw us closer to God through communion, the kind of repetitive communion, predictable so that we might gradually glean the depth and breath of what is means to be a body of Gods people. Through liturgy we open ourselves, our heart, minds, soul, and body, to God and ultimately witness and receive the Holy Spirit. The Christ consciousness we see in the historical Jesus shows us the way, to live and behave with all the attributes clearly delineated and expressed.

If we are to be the “Christian” in this world, that means that we need to know Jesus in the story, learn who He is, who we are, and how and why we experiencing him moving around among us as Christ essence.

Why Church?

The Eucharist is the sacramental act, through which we are fed in remembrance of how the historical Jesus moved through the lives of his disciples. The story of how we are to live even in this day is mapped out for us in biblical story form. The story of Jesus illustrates ample descriptions of greed, waste and sloth. His life also illustrated generosity and power in healing those around him. He showed us what temptation and exhaustion looks like during his 40 days in the desert and days leading through “His passion”. The story has been told for 2,000 years and apparently it is not part of the plan to be forced to move in “His” direction. It is rather a choice to find our own Christ living within, it is the same Christ in everyone manifested in millions of small and large ways.

Perhaps the new church will be Our planet earth teaching us we are connected, as we verge on destroying its perfect design of harmony and balance. We may be coming to realize the magnificent perfect God energy in nature and one another and there find the new church. We may come by way of science or philosophy to the awareness we are all things, at all places and at the same time. If so GREAT! Many ways to get to the same place. In the mean time I will choose to go to church, like a women going to the well.

Be at peace. “Do unto others as other have done unto you,… love one another as I have loved you.. etc. You know the story, move in that direction.

 

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Icon Painting In Mexico

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 requires considerable time and patience. The challenge lies in transmitting my peace, passion, fear, sadness or joy while abiding the artistic rules that govern traditional icon painting. This is an ancient language handed down from Byzantium times, 1,500 years ago.

Más información al 01 (442) 212 44 70 ó al museodeartesacrodequeretaro@gmail.com

More on our website, Sacred Icon Retreat

Students say, “I’m surprised to be here, or I have no painting experience or this is amazing”. It is a wonderful time out, there is no place to get to, only a chance to gaze into your life with silent satisfaction. Keeping the mind still and focused while we see and listen “is” prayer. It could be someones first 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 ARTE SACRO DE QUERÉTARO, MÉXICO

5 al 9 de Junio 2017

Visit the website Museo de Arte Sacro de Querétaro. Ubicado en el Antiguo Hospital de los Hipólitos, en el centro histórico de la ciudad, el museo alberga una gran variedad de arte sacro que incluyen pinturas y esculturas que hacen un recorrido por la historia de la entidad, desde el punto de vista religioso. La historia del recinto comienza en 1586, cuando empezó a funcionar como un hospital de beneficencia, pero no fue sino hasta 1624 cuando la orden de los Hipólitos pidió al Rey, la administración del edificio. Para 1808, la capacidad del hospital quedó rebasada y su ubicación se convirtió en nociva, por lo que tuvo que cerrar. Con el transcurrir de los siglos, el edificio pasó por varias manos y remodelaciones, hasta que en septiembre de 2015 se convirtió en la sede oficial de este museo. Más información al 01 (442) 212 44 70

museodeartesacrodequeretaro@gmail.com y visita su página www.museodeartesacroqro.org y síguelos en www.facebook.com/MuseoArteSaQro

In the downtown , the Museum of Sacred Art is sponsoring this workshop in June. We have a work on display in their upstairs gallery until end of July. The Museum is a lovely building of historic importance, owned by the diocese of Queretero and promises to offer new and exciting exhibitions. The atmosphere is quiet and ideal for this event. For more information write to museodeartesacrodequeretaro@gmail.com visit their website www.museodeartesacroqro.org and follow them on www.facebook.com/MuseoArteSaQro

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Thoughts by Jimmy Carter about Women and Church

Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.

Well said Jimmy!

Bible verses claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and also responsible for original sin, paved the way for women being “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as priest, deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

In Many Countries we know these things, and do very little to change it

In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.

The same discrimination of women lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.

It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices – as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom

The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders.

Nelson Mandela former South African president brought together leaders to influence and  support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and 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.

We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasis the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world’s major faiths share.

Holy Scriptures used to justify the superiority of Men.

I am familiar with vivid descriptions in the Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God, both male and female. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.

OBSERVER

Jimmy Carter was president of the United States from 1977 to 1981.

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Iconography workshops in Mexico

Más información al 01 (442) 212 44 70 ó al museodeartesacrodequeretaro@gmail.com

More on our website, Sacred Icon Retreat

 

Students say, “I’m surprised to be here, or I have no painting experience or this is amazing”. It is a wonderful time out, there is no place to get to, only a chance to gaze into your life with silent satisfaction. Keeping the mind still and focused while we see and listen “is” prayer. It could be someones first 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

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Sacred Body Parts

Reliquary is a place that was used to house Sacred Body Parts  of people.

In this work i have bagged up the words which no longer seem to be important or useful in our day to day life. They are words we seldom hear on the news or in general conversations with friends. I noticed even in the google Wikepdia the definitions are strange and off away form any kind of holiness. read for yourself, I welcome your  comments and insights.


Isolation
Characterized as a mental process involving the creation of a gap between an unpleasant or threatening thoughts and feelings. It is minimizing associative connections with other thoughts so remembered less often is less likely to affect self-esteem.

Indignation It is the split second assessments a person makes (attributions) about their own behavior or in the behavior of others in order to figure out the reason or cause behind it. Judgements made from merely a few or even a single observation. It causes Indignation

Perseverance a word not fully defined or explained on Wikipedia

Sanctity of life is a principle of implied protection regarding aspects of sentient life which are said to be holy, sacred, or otherwise of such value that they are not to be violated or Sanctity was the name for a heavy metal band from Asheville, North Carolina,

Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.

Loneliness is a complex and usually unpleasant emotional response to isolation or lack of companionship. Loneliness typically includes anxious feelings about a lack of connection or communication with other beings,

Prudence the ability to judge between virtuous and vicious actions, not only in a general sense, but with regard to appropriate actions at a given time and place.

Sacrament a visible symbol of the reality of God, as well as a means by which God enacts his grace. Many denominations, including the Anglican, an outward sign of an inward grace that has been instituted by Jesus.

Holiness is the state of being holy or sacred.

Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals to a higher purpose, in particular divine beings, as an act of propitiation or worship we call Sacrifice.

Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. An act of worship may be performed individually, in an informal or formal group, or by a designated leader.

Devotion a quality of being devoted. Now that tells us nothing about Devotion

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Mary Magdelene from Egypt to France

Her feast day is July 22.

Icon by Mary jane Miller

There are more and more scholars today trying to prove or identify the“Cult of Mary Magdalene”, which arose in Provence France during the 11th century. They seek evidence for Mary and her companions having fled persecution in Jerusalem, crossing the Mediterranean in a boat, and landing near Arles in the South of France, named Saintes Maries de la Mer. She is then believed to have retired to the Holy Cave,“Sainte-Baume” on a hill in the Marseille region, and converted the residents of Provence to Christianity. This tradition holds that throughout 30 years, as a Gnostic Apostle of Jesus, she taught her own Disciples there as Christianity was being formalized. These legends of Mary Magdalene were widely accepted throughout the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages.

Mary in the Cave

As a Roman Catholic saint, Mary Magdalene’s relics are accepted as authentic and are venerated at Saint Maximin la Sainte Baume, Provence, attracting throngs of pilgrims to her great Basilica, erected in the mid thirteenth century. Her bones are said to be scattered during the French Revolution, but her head is said to remain in the cave shrine at La Sainte-Baume near Marseille.

The Biblical Mary Magdalene was a woman of independent means, she followed Jesus, and ministered unto him (Mark 15:40-41), (Luke 8:2-3.) She also continued to help and support those first Apostles of Jesus. The iconic Templar symbol for her status as the Apostles patron Saint of is her trademark money pouch and X drawn across her garment. She is also depicted with a flask or alabaster jar and long light colored hair. In France she is frequently identified as the Black Madonna with a child standing in her lap.

Priestess and Healer

I sincerely hope we will discover more real evidence surrounding the first century Essene Gospels, lost archives and historical documents from France which date earlier than the 13th century. Today everyone recognizes women were not mentioned in full through Biblical accounts and that today there are real and important discoveries changing how we read these historical accounts. Women are being restored to their rightful place through our modern-day gender debate, painful as it may be for some.

Mary Magdalene, named Mary of “Magdala”, a town on the western shore of the Lake of Tiberias, 10 kilometers from Copernium, where Jesus based his ministry. Outside of The New Testament accounts and the apocrypha nothing is known about her. Whether she lived in Magdala or simply born there is unknown, but she was apparently a wealthy woman and dedicated follower of Jesus.

The “Wisdom Texts” of the Essene scrolls describe “Wisdom” as a female figure.

We have failed to develop doctrines inclusive of the feminine aspects of God. The early church as it was debating the theological attributes of the Holy Trinity doctrine, wisdom and spirit did have a feminine aspect. In the Essene Priesthood, for the first 300 years or more after the death of Christ, women were given initiatory training. Historian Flavius Josephus documents that women were recognized as Priestesses, and equal to the men.

It is documented that Jesus the Nazarene had studied with the ancient Priesthood of the Essenes in Egypt, and of which he was a High Priest. Their rituals included practices of spiritual purification using energy centers located at seven points along the spinal column, astonishingly similar to what new Buddhists popularly call the seven energy chakras.

Spiritual traditions intentionally practice working with energy chakras to “clear” or “cleanse” the astral body by “removing” clouds or blocks of “negative energy”, perhaps referred to in early Christianity as “demons”. Naturally, the only way to become a High Priest(ess) was necessarily to cleanse one’s own seven chakras, casting out all negative energies, removing all blocks, to ensure that the Holy Spirit would flow strongly through the Priest(ess).

In light of new research and findings the true identity of Mary Magdelena is changing, and effecting women in general.

 

What became the accepted prejudice against

Icon By Mary Jane Miller Desert Mystic Magadelena

women as wise healers with priestly power is coming to an end and it should. Women have been silenced by decrees since before the 7th century when Pope Gregory (590-604 AD) mistakenly associated Mary Magdalene with a “sinner”’.

 

Mary’s identity became dirty and sinful in 591. In that year Pope Gregory the Great gave a sermon which overlapped Mary who had been cured of seven demons with the same penitent prostitute who anointed Jesus’ feet with ointment (Luke 7:37-50) This once sermon took any power women had away and launched generations of prejudice against them suing Mary Magdelene as the icon.

The Iconic image of Mary Magdalene

Our society and the institutional church has miles to go and plenty of room for change  especially where women are concerned; their images, their history and their still unrecognized contribution to the revelation of God becoming man and how it is reflected in theology. I am comfortable to provoke the question and the debate; Christ was the son of God and never intended to have a diminished place for women. We will one day come to see women as complete and whole through His eyes.

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