an interest in heresies

While many decent human beings find a satisfactory religious home within the mainstream religious organizations and theologies of the modern world, I do not. My discomfort with the modern religious world  extends from  the established  Christian liberal and evangelical Protestant traditions and  Roman Catholicism to the modern New Age and Neopagan faiths. It also extends to the other monotheistic faiths of the West including both Islam and Judaism.
 
Instead the religious universe with which I have always felt most inspired has been in the now absent worlds of those religious movements deemed to be heretical from the perspective of the dominant traditions of the West.
Thus recently I have been reading heavily in the literature of the Gnostics of Christianity’s early centuries and have been discovering what seems to me to be an authentic voice of the female God in this literature. I also see  a literature which seems to express a strong rejection of  oppressive powers of civilization.
 
At earlier times I have been both fascinated by and admiring of the Radical Reformation and Anabaptist traditions of martyrs who in both Germany and England challenged the economic and social oppressions of people during both the 16th and 17th centuries. Examples of these movements were the earliest Anabaptists led by such leaders as Thomas Muntzer and Jon Hut of the early Reformation and the early Quakers of the English Puritan Revolution. The communal life and theologies of the Shakers of 19th century America also challenged the dominant patriarchy and individualistic capitalist norms  of the day.
 
Unfortunately all of these movements were either destroyed by the heretic hunters of the political religious establishments of society  or  transformed themselves to escape persecution  to safer weak imitations of their former selves. Examples of the former were  the early Gnostics, Cathars, and  the radical peasant revolutionaries led by Thomas Muntzer during the German Peasant’s War.  The modern Society of Friend is a prominent example of the latter.
 
However  in spite of their downfall  many of the  writings of the heretical movements still survive. Further more we do know something of the histories of these movements. These are well worth examination and study both because they perhaps can still inspire at least some people in the modern world. They  inspire me. Further more  many of their ideas, practices, and  experiences still have something to say. Any way I am interested in them and will widen the subject area  of this blog to include them. That is of course the reason for this blog’s most recent name change.
 
Glenn

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