Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Friday, May 01, 2009

"It's May, it's May! The lusty month of May!"



Don't quite know how Christianity became so associated with sexual repression and sensual asceticism, when its scriptures include the Song of Solomon:

1: The song of songs, which is Solomon's.
2: Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.
3: Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.
4: Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.
5: I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
6: Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.
7: Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?
8: If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents.
9: I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots.
10: Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold.
11: We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.
12: While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.
13: A bundle of myrrh is my wellbeloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.
14: My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of En-gedi.
15: Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes.
16: Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.
17: The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.

1: I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
2: As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
3: As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
4: He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
5: Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.
6: His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.
7: I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.
8: The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.
9: My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.
10: My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
11: For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
12: The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
13: The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
14: O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.
15: Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
16: My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.
17: Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.

1: Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.
2: Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.
3: Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.
4: Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.
5: Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.
6: Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.
7: Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.
8: Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards.
9: Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.
10: How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!
11: Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.
12: A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
13: Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,
14: Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:
15: A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.
16: Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.
I know it gets explained away as an allegory, but as a friend of mine in seminary said (and she came to seminary as a former fundamentalist), there's no way to read this except as what it is: erotic poetry. And there's nothing wrong with that.

So May Day ain't so pagan, after all!

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