Thursday, April 26, 2012


There was a red barn. To the left was a police car, to the right was a hearse. On the ground in front of the barn was a white round porcelain plate. The ground to the left of the plate began to move and wriggle as if alive. From that ground came the voice of a 'dark one' who was praying repeatedly the  same words, the words were the central meaning of prayer, like 'thy will be done'. As this was happening some dirt was pushed onto the left side of the plate. Then some dirt to the right of the plate also moved up and onto the plate's right side, leaving the plate uniformly filled with a circle of black dirt.

 I was then inside a house and a dark haired woman came into the house appearing as if she had been busy. She was dressed in black sports slacks with a black vest covering a long sleeve red blouse. I stood in front of her and slowed her down by reaching out to hold her arm. I said, 'I know you are the one who placed the dirt on the right side of the circular plate.' She declined to acknowledge me or respond but pushed on past me. I had the feeling she was irritatingly saying, 'mind your own business.'  

 REFLECTION This dream is full of overt symbolism. Everything in dream is symbolic and some things do not allow our typical attempt to interpret them literally. It strikes me that the human mind can only receive information from the unconscious by accepting  that symbolism is the only kind of message that comes from there. The Unconscious spoke in dreams and visions long before there was human language. That means that all religious ideas and belief are initially received as symbolic communication as are also the contents of dreams, visions and  the most profound Sacred text, such as the Christian gospels.  A great mistake is made when humans fail to remember that the nearest they can approach  the Sacred and the Unconscious is to receive all such information in the form and language of symbol. This is in direct opposition to thinking one has or does receive reliable, complete  religious or Sacred message in the form of logical propositions or eternal 'beliefs' as written words. All such reasoned information and belief comes by  the  collective ego consciousness working, usually over many generations, with the original symbols.  Such material then becomes the collective conventional  wisdom in any culture or religion. Such collective conclusions, in the form of creed, rules and texts  are very important  and add to the beauty of the original symbol and stability of collective life; but become the death of the message when it is forgotten that the original religious communication is always and only symbolic. These are areas of irritation to our modern Western psyche which resists symbolic communications and insists that the only legitimate and dependable religious information is the conventional   written and spoken human Word.

The dream's total picture is a  rather all inclusive picture of human collective life. A barn is symbolic of life, of earth, the biological, the instinctual part of life. The police car on the left is symbolic of order and justice. The hearse a reminder that death is a constant reality of the life process. The circular plate at the center of the whole dream image is the recognized  symbol of wholeness, completeness, unity, the goal of Human/Sacred life together. The circular plate comprises not just the biological/material(dirt) but the non biological/ spiritual(white plate)  realities of life as well. At first the plate is empty and separate from the dirt. It is waiting and needing to be filled, to be filled out with the real basic stuff and the uniting of  both biological and spiritual life. In the West for 400 years we have purposely separated the biological/material from the spiritual. We now stand in need of the reuniting of these opposites. I think this is at the heart of the chaos and the unfruitful polarities  we have been experiencing in America  the past fifty years.

Then a 'mysterious', 'magical' 'numinous' process begins. The startling movement of the earth reflects the force of life, of creation. It represents 'lifeless' appearing matter becoming animated and living. And from this living earth comes the voice of creativity, a voice of God. But it shows itself to be an aspect of God that orthodoxy  has not well preserved.  This pictures an aspect of  God quite different than  God as all light and no darkness. God  here is dark and closely related  to the earth, to the soil. God  is shown as thus fully a part of His creation and of matter.  And , surprisingly, God is experiencing a deep need within himself and so 'God is praying for God's own will to be done.' Even God cannot alone bring God's will to realization.  It pictures God as very powerful but not 'all powerful' , not 'perfect' in the sense of having no need(s) yet  to be met. Rather, God is pictured with deep need for help in accomplishing God's ultimate will. God is able to bring a good half of what is needed to fill the circular plate but that does not bring the fullness, balance, completeness or wholeness which the dream is seeking.

Then the dirt becomes animated on the right side and dirt moves to finish filling the plate creating wholeness, completion,  symbolic salvation. What was the force or reality that was able to bring to the plate that God alone was unable to bring? It was , in the dream, left to 'woman' or the 'feminine'  to somehow be involved in completing the fulness of the plate. This was not an earthly human woman, even though here she fully appears to be. This would be again, as in many of my and others' dreams, the  inner spiritual experience of woman within a man. This is the 'soul' of man, what Jung calls the anima.
The anima is a  recurring psychological/spiritual image of woman that both men and women initially misinterpret as the real women in their lives.....mother, sister, lover, wife etc. The anima, when not understood and accepted as an autonomous inner reality, causes the real women in one's life to be viewed not as themselves but as mixtures of themselves and the characteristics of one's inner anima(These characteristics can range from heavenly goddess and inspiratrist to the continuous mother or even witch, prostitute and many more.) This of course makes full human relationship of a man  with a  real woman impossible. A solution to this problem can be approached by our being open to a spiritual and psychological understanding of the living anima. Such projections onto real women  can never be totally solved for no one can ever fully embrace the reality of any inner archetype. (The excellent writer Robert A. Johnson's work could  help the average Western person  get some feel and grasp of the reality of the anima. Two small books that are excellent for this purpose are:  The Invisible Partners and We. I have just reread We and see how it can support the Western mind greatly in these directions. He invites the Westerner to think symbolically and to more consciously live out those symbols of woman instead of projecting them on to real women.) All of this involves the same problem of women relating to men without projecting her inner 'animus' on to him.
No Non-Sense Anima Image

Anima is a bridge between the Collective Unconscious and the Ego Consciousness of a man. For a woman it may be such a female image but is more likely the image of man or a group of men(thus animus) that serves the same purpose as the anima does to a man's psychology and spirituality. The dream depicts me having become conscious that 'She' is  the 'one' through whom humanity is able to offer to God the missing part of the puzzle of completion and wholeness.  I would suspect  there is a growing number of Western people, not just people who do much reflection on such things,  who are becoming  more aware that  the image of God we carry must contain the feminine along with the masculine. Hopefully this is becoming a part of a new 'common sense', with a typical  reaction being, 'How could we have ever thought it otherwise?'  This is a huge change compared to even several decades ago. Without this inner connection to the Sacred through the anima(or animus) the task toward Human/Sacred wholeness cannot be moved forward by us humans. I will mention  that it also requires the mutual suffering of God and Humans for such wholeness and completion and combining of opposites to evolve. This I believe  is the highest of spiritual challenges for humankind.

In my confronting her, getting in her path and especially by physically seeking to hold her arm, I exemplify the continuous mistake that human men , and perhaps women, make regarding these 'soul' figures. We try to make her human by expecting other human women to be her or like her. The anima is a spiritual and psychological reality that must be shown far more respect than what I was showing here. I can be grateful that  I have come in some measure to 'see' and 'understand' her as real but I must back off , give her free berth and not for a moment think I have or ever could contain  or fully understand her ways. In this way she is a part of the Sacred, an aspect of God. I am totally dependent on her reality, her guidance, her knowing of the things of  God as revealed from  the Collective Unconscious. I consider myself  honored by grace to have had some direct encounter  with  this inner figure.

But the dream's end is a stark reminder that to in any way possess, own or claim her can destroy the life and well being of any human or culture. The social order symbolized by the police car, can just as quickly become the hearse in Her world, the world of the Collective Unconscious. The dream leaves me showing the mistake of trying to relate to her as if she were human. I conclude though that it is 'my business' to take what I have learned about and from the anima and  seek improved relating to real human women and men. That seems to be a primary purpose of her appearing in us  in the first place. Notice how 'earthy' the whole dream image is, showing that the spiritual realities of life are found when the most down to earth, common, ordinary realities of creation are given deepest respect and attention. In this respect it  is so typical for the Collective Unconscious to say that The Christ child was born in a lowly earthy stable with nature all around. The spiritual and the material are different but are most assuredly one. This is one meaning of the filled out circle of dark dirt on the circular white porcelain plate. Jim Hibbett

*Note:  It would be a far more appropriate view of the archetypal Virgin Mary, to be understood as an image of the anima rather than any mortal  human woman. Literalizing and humanizing the  Symbolic Virgin  Mary is an example of trying to make physical and outer that which is spiritual and inner.  The Catholic Church's teaching, beginning with the gospels, through the centuries has attempted   described  her as a miraculous  virgin mother with perpetual virginity and finally as being 'Assumed to Heaven' in 1957.  But unfortunately the Church has also implied that this  Symbolic Mary is the ideal model  for  mortal woman. If applied to mortal women sexual virginity should not be implied as a standard or mark of  purity of life and heart  but the older idea of virgin meaning 'woman who is her own' and not an appendage of father or husband would  be very correct. This failure to separate the  Virgin Mary Symbol  from a  real woman Mary  happened in the West and has obviously  not been overall good or realistic for real  human women. A woman today could likely do well to see the real  human mother of Jesus as a model of courageous, loving  and virginal  in  her inner  experience of being  whole within herself , symbolically as if she were an unwed, without any man, as a mother of life and creativity.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

MIRACLE: THEN AND NOW? April 18, 2012... note to Edward Fudge

Hi Edward.  I appreciate what you say about the 'inconsistency' of some Christian teaching  regarding the  'world then and now' and whether miracles happen the same now as then. I think you agree the answer from our common heritage that  Biblical times were  the 'only time of miracles' is  unjustified  and arbitrary.  These are unacceptable and intellectually distorted approaches for an explanation of miracle stories and for the potential of 'miracle' in our own lives today. I've listened to some of the video. My personal reaction is, " If only people who crave miracle(And I think many do.) in order to have a more lively faith  and more meaning to our seemingly ordinary lives could hear what Jungian thought has to say, and even  prominent twentieth century protestant theologian Paul Tillich."  I believe life would be far richer spiritually and less split by such notions of 'its not now like it was then', as if Biblical times and ours are two different worlds with two different laws operating.
And The Red Sea Parted

If we could only 'see' that miracle is primarily an internal experience par excellence, a spiritual one and not, at least at first, a  physical  literal one in our outside world. I believe that 'signs and wonders' as Keener says did and can  'serve the  purpose of  directly generating belief'(my paraphrase). But, a crucial thing to note is that miracle is primarily a matter of inner world dynamics.  I realize that our culture has trained us well to respond, 'Well if miracles are not literal outside happenings then they are not miracles.'  Well, not in the way we have come to think of them  but we way underestimate the power of inner/spiritual dynamics when we fail to  consider just how our lives and our hearts are driven by what happens within our own psyche/soul.  I believe such inner ecstasies can have profound effects on  outer experience including  changes in ones physical health, but none of this requires  us to break with  essential intellectual  honesty. I think it is essential for postmodern people to maintain  the integrity of our actual intellectual experience. If something never happens, after awhile we are reasonable to conclude it likely does not happen, at least from an honest human perspective.  To claim that miracles which defy natural law happened in the past or  that we expect them to do so now is to regress to worlds of  superstition, magic and pre-science. And it is not necessary to entertain such a 'leave your intellect and personal experience at the door'  mindset in order to be  convinced that  life changing  'miracle' can and does happen today and that we can also begin to understand why in times past  the 'miracle' experience was  perceived in ways  not open to us now as intellectually honest people.

Some postmodern people have discovered and experienced that  miracle and ecstasy are  fully natural to human experience.  But to project  what happens within us  onto the outer world (which likely explains what many miracle experiences in the distant past have been) is to always return to superstition even if , as Dr. Keener says, it is only 'occasional.'  The capacity for greater ego-consciousness has increased over eras of time along with the learning  and experiences that  humans have had.  These experiences build over many centuries and our ego-consciousness becomes stronger and more able to differentiate inner from outer reality.  But this same necessary process can also cause us to be cut-off from our roots, from where the ego first emerged; that is from the Collective Unconscious.

The Collective Unconscious is a Jungian  concept of an original pool of the eternal  image structuring archetypes. These are the depth source from which  all that is potentially conscious and real  in  creation and history emerge. It accounts for how major symbols, myths, ideas and stories are found across all times and all cultures. It is a way of describing how all humans and all of creation share a common and deep source from where all that becomes conscious originated. In the Collective Unconscious all the 'opposites ' of life are merged and undifferentiated. A few of these are 'matter and spirit', 'male and female', 'inner and outer' etc.  When anything becomes conscious, at first it consists as opposites which are not  yet clearly  differentiated.  And the work of the ego is to gradually separate the pair into its clear opposites. For example it took a long process for 'inner and outer' experience to be fully recognized consciously as opposites.  Eventually, after the separating process is complete in human consciousness;  then the ego must find a way to reunite the opposites into one unity.  But  such a hard won union is  much more fully conscious, unlike when it was only dormant  in the Collective Unconscious. Such processes in cultures may take centuries or millennia but may sometimes happen  quickly in an individual's development processes, such as in classical religious conversion experience. Bible examples include Peter where his dream convinced  him that 'both Jew and Gentile' (which before the dream  Peter experienced as separated opposites of unequal value)are equally and mutually valued by God. And Saul (Apostle Paul) was taught the same lesson in an 'inner' disturbing vision of the Christ which blinded him but which no one with him could see. These two, from their miracle-like conversions, became the primary leaders of the early church.

We are presently in a time when most of what has been fully separated by our reasoning ego needs  to now become united and  transcend the divided states, ushering in higher levels of consciousness. One example we can see developing  in our day is that 'male and female'; having already  been fully recognized as opposites and different are now ever so gradually becoming equal, mutual and we can anticipate eventually becoming more fully united in love.

Our forebears of Biblical times  had not  yet  fully separated out the  difference in 'inner and outer' experience compared to postmodern persons. This is a matter of human psychological/spiritual development. We  have been as it were 'pushed' to make a stronger distinction between the two, but unfortunately we have also devalued inner reality compared to the outer reality of the physical world. For at least several hundred years we have been somewhat mesmerized by all that is 'outside' us with little interest in or understanding of the 'inner person and life.'  This situation definitely creates a 'split' in human experience and that split  now yearns for healing and unity at a more conscious level. The rise of depth psychology, especially Jung's work, has been an attempt to properly value the Human's  inner world of experience.  

Jesus Walked On Water
Jungian thought can be of such great help in these matters. This great difference we feel between 'then and now'  is primarily due to the change in Western consciousness ushered in by the Age Of Reason starting about 400 years ago.  Reports of  physical 'miracle stories' came commonly from  cultures then, and to some extent now, where inner and outer worlds are still  not as fully and consciously  separated. At such a point in human development  inner  'amazement and ecstasy' are still experienced as if they are instead quite fully  in  the outside world . The gods or God still remain projected unconsciously onto the outside world. Also the human inner living image of  an  'outside of us God'  who is constantly tweaking the outer natural world with 'moments' of super-naturalism, of miracles is a dominant state of mind.  If this were a completely accurate and appropriate interpretation of miracle for us today then surely most, if not all, of us in our day would have 'witnessed' Bible type miracles personally such as walking on water, raising the dead, stilling a tornado and immediate instantaneous healings of our worst diseases. It was not only the Jews and early Christians who had miracle experiences. It was a common interpretation of life and it  was also a great  emotional enliven-er of the sense  there is something very 'other' that is involved with what happens in life, a sense of the 'other world' and of  the Sacred.  To such people there simply was miracle with all the living emotion the word implies.

This simply is not the experience that postmodern sincere people, even the most devoutly religious, generally have; and we are surely not faithless for that being our reality. We have, for good or ill, a greater awareness of 'inner and outer' reality and do not have them normally bleed together as our forebears most surely did. And we are right to question the spiritual judgment of  one  making the claim, and setting up expectations, for the type of  physical 'miracle stories' in ancient texts to happen today. Regardless of what we may say this is how most of us  postmodern people actually think of  miracles. We may  'believe' they happened in outer reality against natural law then but we do not plan our lives around such  happening today. We do not usually  discuss at the dinner table what 'miracles' we saw or heard of today. Some of us may wish or think we should but our truth is we don't. It is not our perception of the  world as it once was in the remote past.

The 'miracle' experience was/is extremely real for  people when  an undifferentiated state of mind(individually and even in mass) regarding ' inner and outer' reality is in place. Our ancient forebears and in some primitive cultures today  simply do not, and likely cannot,   make the conscious distinction between 'outer and inner' reality.  So what is inner image and reality is projected and experienced as outer physical reality. This is how miracle happened naturally in the ancient past. One most likely way this  happened was  when  creative writers 30-50 years after Jesus died had  inner images of him doing miraculous works. These images were fed by the stories of  Old Testament  heroes and prophets who are pictured doing such miracles.  Such inner images is where the ecstatic experience of  miracle was actually  happening to them.  It was very 'natural' to project this onto the outside world and to write, as in the gospels,  those stories as literal physical happenings. This was not being deceptive, it was a natural psychological process of having an inner ecstatic 'miraculous' vision or dream and unconsciously projecting it onto the outside world. We can now understand and be  more conscious of such processes. That was not possible for most of  them at that time.

We are simply too conscious as postmodern people for that to be how we can normally and honestly  perceive  the world now. And as we become more open to our inner experiences and more highly value them we can have 'miraculous' experience within ourselves and keep it there, and not project it outside ourselves believing the basic laws of nature are being changed. We can potentially have the same powerful ecstasy of miracle as they did but hopefully we now do something different with it.

Please believe that I  retain a strong humility about such things for I do not know the kinds of limits, or if there are any eventually, on how more fully individuated human  minds and hearts can/do effect the outer world, the world of  physical matter. Also science continues to discover  previously unknown natural law by which to explain what before had no natural explanation. Jung believed that psychic energy and matter are likely two sides of the same coin which means that  psychic energy and matter can transform into each other or effect each other directly. This of course is a matter of scientific fact  observed in the reality of  nuclear energy;  when tiny amounts of matter are transformed into huge amounts of  physical energy.  150 years ago that would have been described as an  un-natural event and not possibly a natural happening but now we know, even though it still holds much mystery, is  thoroughly natural. So natural it has become a major threat to human survival.

Another way to  describe miracle today is assisted with the concept of  'synchronicity', a Jungian term. These are those moments in present human lives when  seemingly unrelated  happenings occur and our rational 'cause and effect' premises of natural law  are not adequate explanations for un-caused yet very meaningful  coincidences in either our outer or inner worlds. When such  'just so',unrelated causally, happenings  become conscious to us  it is possible for us to have  an experience that has the same internal effect on consciousness that  reported ancient miracle experiences had on people then. Most all of us have exclaimed at such moments of consciousness, " My God I cannot believe this has happened this way."  This is an ecstatic expression of miracle just as meaningful spiritually/psychologically as  a person writing the the gospel erupting  with, " My God Jesus fed 5000 people with a few loaves and fishes."

An important note: Today our arbitrarily 'believing' such ancient miracle stories as physical fact  in no way  generates the same profound miracle emotional experience as those who actually had the original experiences. Believing a 'miracle story' because we are told we should has no resemblance to what the ones experiencing the 'miracle' must have had. In believing supposedly historical reports of super-natural miracle stories our experience is at strongest only a hoped for experience through 'wishful belief.' So if we do not expect and eventually experience  'inner' miracle as I'm describing we simply will never have a miracle experience. I fear that is where many  religious people, who refuse to 'believe' what is opposed to intellect and experience,  find themselves at this time. They should not be embarrassed for simply being honest. But my strong hope is the time is nearer when experiencing such ecstatic miracle will be a far more common event for many people.

Jesus Raised Jarius' Daughter From The Dead
I am suggesting that when miracle is understood today as inner experience it can be just as strong emotionally and viscerally as the experience which  Bible miracle stories  had on our ancient forebears. I, supported by Jungian thought and my own experience*, am suggesting  postmodern people can have precisely the same internal level of 'miracle' experience as  people  then. And that it is as fully 'natural' now as what happened then surely was also.

 So we are not comparing two different worlds where natural laws are different. But we do experience the world in a more conscious way than was generally possible then, because of 2000 years of accelerated psychological/spiritual development, which  meaningfully has happened without any conscious human plan or intent. This astonishing situation may give us a synchronicity experience that for the consciousness of  some may be 'miracle.'  Our potential experience of miracle is understood differently now but the effect of 'miracle' is potentially no less now than then.  I realize that as a culture we are not commonly experiencing miracle in the way we potentially can. We are more likely to have such conscious experience when we have the psychological understanding of its possibility. That  understanding is what I have been attempting to share in this letter.

I'm convinced that I personally was moved in my total being by such 'happenings.' I'm comfortable calling  them 'signs, wonders and especially visions.'  They created as strong an experience of direct Sacred activity as one would have if he saw a dead person literally raised from the dead or the parting of a large body of natural water. So I do believe we humans are designed to experience 'miracle and ecstasy';  but I think it is a return to superstition to desire 'to prove' that  the 'miracle stories' of ancient texts were primarily physical/historical rather than  the amazing natural activity of the Sacred/Human psyche as  I  believe they were. 

This all is made practical to me by  Jung, near the end of life,  being asked , 'Do you believe in God?' He humbly hesitated and finally said, ' I do not believe, I know.'  That is an expected outcome of the quality of religion with its potential miracle experiences that is possible in our day. And which I greatly desire a growing number of  people are moving toward a   consciousness of and foundation for.  My concern with the approach of  Dr. Keener is that it seems, no matter how humbly, intellectually or genuinely pursued, an effort to make faith a matter of physicality and in our day a return to superstition, to magic. It seems motivated primarily by the desire to affirm one's long trusted religious system than it is to, with no certain outcome, discover more of  the truth of the 'experience of miracle' both then and now.

I remain most interested in this topic and will attempt to hear this writer out more thoroughly. Obviously he has  a  lot to say about the subject.  I find it very significant that he much credits his changed attitude to his experiences in a more primitive non-Western culture where I suspect  the opposites of  'inner and outer' are not so separated as they are in most of ours.  To their  great value that means that such people have a more truly and balanced 'religious life' than many of us, but it is not a psychological/spiritual  life that we can now return to if we are to continue to progress in human consciousness and in our truth of the Spirit. If I were near where Dr. Keener  was lecturing I can assure you I would want to attend in person.

Jung was a great learner of the nature of the Spirit and of the 'inner world'. He used every available far-reaching resource including his strong Biblical interests and a willingness to go deeply into his own psyche, a trip  of much danger. He risked his professional career and his personal sanity to make such a trip.  I think it can be said to an astonishing degree—something that persons who write about such things would like to hear said of their own efforts---- ' This person really did his homework.' He did and we are just beginning to appreciate what he re-discovered and how it can greatly add to our present day understanding of things Spiritual. I think the best place to be introduced to Jung's thought is his very late autobiography, Dreams, Memories And Reflections.

On Wed, 18 Apr 2012 03:59:00 -0400 "Edward Fudge" <> writes:

Edward Fudge

Do miracles really happen--the kind we read about in the New Testament? If they did, do they happen today? If we say "yes" to the first question but "no" to the second, how can we excuse the inconsistent answers?
Many people deny, on scientific and/or on antisupernaturalist principles, that the miracles reported in the New Testament Gospels and Acts really occurred. Many others affirm faith in "New Testament" miracles -- so long as they remain long ago and far away. God might act today, they say, but certainly not like he did 2,000 years ago. But not so fast, says New Testament scholar Craig Keener, a professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary and a recognized expert in first-century thought and culture. Keener once was less than keen about miracles today. Then he married a wife from the Congo in Africa (who also has a PhD), and he began to move and listen and observe life from within a culture very different from his own native culture. Well, one thing led to another, and pretty soon Keener had written a book on miracles that named the 2011 Book of the Year, and that Keener's fellow-theologian at Asbury, Ben Witherington III, considers the best book ever written on the subject. In his Introduction, Professor Keener tells the reader exactly where he is coming from, as the following brief excerpt illustrates.
"I acknowledge up front that my personal interest in writing this book includes challenging the prejudice of Western antisupernaturalist readings of the Gospels and Acts. I believe that antisupernaturalism has reigned as an inflexible Western academic premise long enough and that significant evidence now exists to challenge it. When many Western intellectuals still claim that miracles or any events most readily explained by supernatural causation cannot happen, simply as an unexamined premise, whereas hundreds of millions of people around the world claim to have witnessed just such events, some in indisputably dramatic ways, I believe that genuinely open-minded academicians should reexamine our presuppositions with an open mind. Although claims do not by themselves constitute proof, the world is different from when the views informing our presuppositions against all miracle claims formed."
Read all about it here, or browse in it here. Or, to learn more about Keener and his other interests and activities, click here. And finally, for about a dozen video lectures by (or about) Dr. Keener, have a look at a series on line here.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

RESURRECTION: A POST MODERN LOOK AT AN OLD STORY... note to Edward Fudge..February, 2009

Edward, some of your words, in my mind , allow for an interpretation  of 'resurrection of Jesus' as not being a physical bodily resurrection  nor even one experienced necessarily by the physical senses.(Most all that Paul says can be so interpreted. And his are the oldest words we have describing the meaning of Christ's resurrection to the first believers). We can speak of a resurrection that is a deep living metaphor which promises that the nature of our human lives is 'to be continually resurrected' --not only from physical death but from all the ways death captures our spirit eg. covetousness, jealousy, wrath, judging others, overstepping our power and seeking to control and possess others and life.  Is this not the 'kind of resurrection' that humanity so needs to experience in our spiritually and morally torn world? If Jesus' resurrection is the 'only one' needed it has obviously not healed our world. More 'resurrection' , continuous 'resurrection is needed today.  We need to be able to 'see' resurrection as not primarily a 'one time for all time' event but a God/Human power that is fully active in our post-modern world.

 'Death and resurrection'  seen in this spiritual  way can become not a one time historical/physical  happening to Jesus or any other selected human  but the potential for a model  that reflects  the 'meaning of human life.' This brings it into being nothing less than potentially a  'living myth' by which one can consciously live and die. With such a mythical understanding the most genuine, powerful, creative, un-self centered and non aggressive purpose of religion is being  served- to nurture  and  develop Human/Sacred life.

The 'Empty Tomb' Speaks Of  Some Meaning Of  'Resurrection'?

 Notice what I am seeing ....these mythological, thus always happening,  spiritually true themes of  the Christ story can only be  fully realized and made conscious in real human life when they are seen as not primarily one time historical/physical events.  They were originally real natural  life experiences that were later , in the gospels, put in historical-like story form.  Just as 'resurrection' implies- these stories too have to be released from the tomb of the physical/historical in order to be alive for their grander, truer  and more  living purpose.  Similarly, I am confident Bev (my deceased wife of 35 years)has now been released from her confining  historical/literal setting to live in that world that includes but is  beyond such...... call it ' heaven 'or the fullness of the 'Kingdom of God'. These mythical descriptions speak about that which is always, now and eternally, including  and moving beyond the physical, and  are also  beyond  any defining words.
The Mystery Of Life Is 'No Less' Than That Of 'Resurrection.'

So when I express my trust of Bev's resurrection I'm no more impressed with her resurrection, in ways I will not even try to imagine--certainly not physical/historical, from  physical death than I have  been of her 'continuous resurrection as a pattern and model of human life.' I witnessed her  continuous 'resurrection'  happening while she was  physically living  in history.  I seek also to consciously live in harmony with 'resurrected life'  now just as much, if not more, than after I depart this 'mortal coil'.   The 'age to come' now is. It always has been. The word swelling up from the human Collective Unconscious, the Word of God(including  much scripture), is always about the reality of living now, not about a postponement  of life to some other world future. 'Now is always the time of salvation' and of 'resurrection' and of  'eternal life'. 

All of this is 'religious' and  I , a former strong believer in Jesus' physically resurrected body, see it can only fully  live and be real when accepted as  'mythical  and symbolic', the only adequate language of living religious experience.  

Edward,  I've given  N.T. Wright, the evangelical European scholar and gentleman,   a very serious read regarding  these areas and others and have concluded that he is not in search of any new perceptions or truth  but is completely devoted to ending up where he starts-- with all of the conclusions  of ancient Historic Christianity that could have been stated by anyone 350 years ago. His speaking of 'gnostic perversions'  indicates that he, and I suppose you,  believe that all the work and interpretations of Gnostics were only evil and wrong.  But history is just never that simple.  The truth is Historic Christianity was greatly influenced by gnosticism and sometimes not by its better insights.  Keep in mind that the early institutional church dealt with the Gnostics, many of whom were Christians and in high positions in the church,  by burning their books and sometimes them. That should make one wonder about the  'truth seeking'  motives of those that won that battle for what orthodoxy then declared as the Only Word Of God. Wright  talks a lot about  modern scholarship but he shows little respect for it when it supports any significant changes in assumptions about the origin and nature of scripture  from that accepted before the Enlightenment. I think something was lost in the Age of Reason  but it was not increased knowledge of the physical facts about the Bible and its authors, as those facts have continued to be learned, especially during the past 200 years. I see wright consistently ignoring much of this new knowledge.

If I felt  Jesus taught that defending any time-honored status quo was the nature of faithfulness then  I could appreciate Wright more. But Jesus showed that the spiritual path is very different  from defending orthodoxy and necessarily involves, especially  during  changing epochs,  challenging  and growing beyond the present conventional  orthodoxy. We have arrived world-wide at a time when ancient Christian orthodoxy, nor the fundamentalism of the 20th century,  is able to support the deep spiritual need or our day. (I should add that what fundamentalists generally call orthodoxy is not  well in line with ancient Christian orthodoxy but more in line with a 1930s tract from a Princeton  group that declared 'five litmus tests for true Christianity'  which include the physical bodily resurrection of Jesus, an inerant Bible and a literal virgin birth. I'm sure you are aware of that history and how it remains the heart of present evangelicalism.)

I can highly recommend the book by Wright and Marcus Borg Two Visions Of Jesus. It is an excellent way to compare these two views.  Apparently Wright and Borg are good friends.  And their views  likely well represent your and my views respectively. I guess I was wishfully thinking that your statement, from death to life of the Age  to Come, in an immortal, glorified body suited to that new dimension was implying that Jesus' resurrected reality was  something different, and even more than, speaking of his physical body. If not why do we find this rather  filmy  twilight zone description of it( walking through walls, ghost like at times) given in earliest New Testament scripture? Paul nowhere gives an Easter morning  story of an empty tomb which would be astonishingly neglectful if this is how the first believers generally spoke of resurrection. Nor does Mark, the first written of the gospels, offer any witnesses to a physical body resurrection. These scriptural realities are often overlooked or explained away.  Likewise, similarly in all his writings Paul  never gives any birth story implying a literal  'virgin  birth' which later became a litmus test for faith and remains so today for ones welded to  literalized 12th century  creedal orthodoxy.     Take care and best wishes,  Jim