Julian talks a lot about the passionate love of Mother Jesus. One of the first things to really strike me was when he was telling about Julian's vision of the suffering Jesus and Jesus saying to her, "Is it enough?" meaning "Is it enough for you? Is my love enough for you?" and that really brought for home for me the power of Jesus suffering for each and every single one of us out of that deep love, and how powerful that love is regardless of what you believe about Jesus' divinity or his claim on any sort of religious/theological/spiritual truth, in a way that i don't think it had hit me before. I have read a lot of people saying that they had similar reactions to Gibson's Passion movie, and Mark even alluded to the Passion movie, and he said that Julian would say that the violence is not the end but is rather the beginning, the first step.
Now i want to go back and reread Julian.
Mark's teaching a graduate seminar on Julian of Norwich and there are a number of Unitarian Universalists in the class, and he was interested in how they would react to her since she is so very Trinitarian, but they love her, in part because she is so universalist. She talks about that intense love of a Mother God who never lets go. I long ago rejected the idea of Hell because i insist on a loving Creator God, and such a God could never condemn loved creations to eternal damnation, particularly not for the actions of a finite lifespan, so i'm always pleased to hear others who have rejected the possibility of Hell for that reason.
Mark talked about how often Jesus says "You have heard it said, but I say to you..." That he often lays aside the Torah in favor of compassionate experience. He said that one should look at the suffering of the world, and then look at the Torah. He also talked about the tradition of arguing with Scripture, of arguing with God, and i was reminded that i really need to learn more about that Jewish tradition because it's something that really appeals to me (it's like ur-Protestantism) and also because sometimes struggle with the text can lead one to be tempted to just reject the text, and it would be really interesting to see how people reconciled arguing with the text with the idea that it is The Text.
Mark talked about how Julian rejected the idea of God having any anger and also said that God doesn't forgive, because God doesn't see our sin, so during the Q&A Emily Cox asked something i think a lot of us were thinking, which was basically along the lines of "If God doesn't see sin, then why should we try to not sin?" [except it wasn't phrased quite like that, because i think an obvious answer to that would be to say that God doesn't see sin, but God sees the results of sin, that sin hurts other people and hurts ourselves. I wonder if this is part of what Liz Carr was getting at; she had different interpretation of Julian's thoughts on God and sin than Mark did, and she talked about pain and i didn't really get all of it -- yet another reason i should reread the Showings.] and in his answer he quoted someone about each of us having "orginal beauty" within us, and basically saying that if we lived recognizing that we have the divine within us and trying to bring that to light, that we would live better lives and that we should focus on trying to live our lives that way rather than on "not sinning." I definitely like the idea of trying to be a light unto the world, and certainly an emphasis on a Yes thing rather than a No thing is of the good. I don't think i can be sold on the idea that God doesn't see sin, though, especially in the context of meaning that we do not need to be forgiven by God for anything. But Julian is really difficult and complex (though in some ways so very simple) and i think it could be really fruitful to really read her writings and meditate on them.
I had seen Liz Carr at the Daniel Berrigan reading but could never manage to make it over to wherever she was before she was somewhere else as she was rather in demand, so i was really pleased to get to spend time with her after the talk tonight, and it always brings her such joy to see me.
She thinks i have this wonderful love of life and learning because i audited her class. She rather reminds me of Michele.
I told her i might actually go to Radical Catholics next year, because Wednesdays have been bad nights for me because i have prior commitments but i won't next year so i'll be able to go, and she said it really is a bad night and often she even isn't able to go and so they might change the day next year and so i said with my luck it would. She said i should tell Sarah Newby that i should be on the board so that i can help make the schedule work for me.
The amount of faith people have in me, in my abilities or my worth or whatever, is rather astounding, particularly as i know i so don't live up to it. But it's also rather comforting in its way, plus of course the impetus to want to live up to people's expectations (which can be a good thing, in moderation).
We are going to make plans to get together and have tea. I miss people.