Being Spammy Or Unsafe
PG found an amusing post Wednesday morning. “Yesterday I posted a link to the New York Times article about what is being called “the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife,” and several friends commented on it. This morning my post has disappeared. I did not remove it, nor did I delete any of the comments, which I found interesting. When I tried to repost the article, I got this message from Facebook: “The content you’re trying to share includes a link that’s been blocked for being spammy or unsafe.” The New York Times is spammy or unsafe??? … As a theology geek, I find this new discovery fascinating. But as a Christian, my faith does not depend on Jesus’ celibacy. So if it were to be proven somehow that he was indeed married, it would not retroactively affect the relationship I’ve had with Jesus throughout my life. If anything, it would support the belief that Jesus was fully human as well as fully divine.”
Smithsonian magazine has a feature on this artifact. It is too long for a slack blogger. The NYT article is less than a page, and says enough to base this post on. The article has header ads, which rotate with the different page views. The two noted are for “Obama Victory Fund 2012″ and Wells Fargo Bank. Which one is spammy, and which one is unsafe, is left for the reader to determine. Some times, you have to think for yourself.
Here is a money quote from the NYT. “A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece of Scripture: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’ ” The faded papyrus fragment is smaller than a business card, with eight lines on one side, in black ink legible under a magnifying glass. Just below the line about Jesus having a wife, the papyrus includes a second provocative clause that purportedly says, “she will be able to be my disciple.”
The specimen is written in Coptic. This is probably related to Coptic Christianity, which is still going on in Egypt. Reportedly, there is some connection between the Coptics and the recent controversy, about a movie offensive to Muslims.
The word prove is used several times in the article. Perhaps indicate would be a more accurate verb. It is tough to “prove” anything using a 1700 year old papyrus fragment. The last paragraph in the NYT says “The notion that Jesus had a wife was the central conceit of the best seller and movie “The Da Vinci Code.” But Dr. King said she wants nothing to do with the code or its author: “At least, don’t say this proves Dan Brown was right.”
Of course, none of this means anything to most contemporary Jesus worshipers. They think the Bible is the word of G-d. This text is is inerrant, sufficient, spam free, and safe. Recent discoveries about Revelations are ignored. Like the bumper sticker says, “G-d said it, I believe it, that settles it.”
A person’s religion is a one of a kind experience. How you are introduced to a spiritual discipline is much more important than the mechanics of the church. The facebook commenter says that it won’t matter to him if Jesus has a wife. To PG, any new information would not block the memory of humiliation at the hands of aggressive Jesus worshipers.
There was another commentary published recently about the separation of G-d and spam. It was in New Yorker magazine, written by Hendrik Hertzberg. There was a post about Mr. Hertzberg at Chamblee54 once. PG sent an email to Mr. Hertzberg about the post, and got a very nice reply.
The feature in question is about the way politicians think it will help them get elected to talk about G-d. PG, on the other hand, thinks this is a grotesque violation of the third commandment. The New Yorker feature doesn’t really cover much ground, but has a bangup last paragraph.
“It was not hard to guess what idol, and what institution, the Cardinal had in mind. On the other hand, his reference to “nature and nature’s G-d” was not so clear. The phrase was there to echo the Declaration of Independence. But Dolan must know that it is pure Deism—Jeffersonian code words for a non-supernatural G-d, a G-d who creates the universe and its laws and leaves the rest up to us. Could it be that we were witnessing an unheard-of political phenomenon, a dog whistle to voters who, whether or not they believe in a rights-endowing Creator, have their doubts about the sort of deity who begets sons, writes books, performs miracles, and determines the outcome of football games? Probably not. That G-d won’t hunt. “
Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This was written like Dan Brown.