Mythic Adventures

Sacred Stories from around the Globe

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

Who Is ‘Us’?

The Apostle John caught a non-member healing people in Jesus’ name and told him not to do so because he “wasn’t one of us.” Christ’s response to John provides a timely message for all of us who follow Jesus today. (This was a sermon I preached at the Chapel Hill United Methodist Church of Sodus, Michigan, on September 27, 2015.) Click on the link below to listen (20 min).

 

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Summer Break

Dear friends,

I have decided to take the rest of the summer off from both of my blogs. I am working on an academic writing project and feel it is best to give that my full attention, at least until fall. I hope you will check back after Labor Day.

More Episodes Coming in 2013

Thank you for your interest in this audio blog.  I’ll be back with new episodes in January.  I hope to see you then!

(In the meantime, I’m telling the story of the Pet Milk Company on my written blog, Spiritual Adventures in the Workplace.  I invite you to join me over there.)

Stay Tuned

Fall Semester is beginning and I’m getting my syllabi together.  I hope to have a new episode ready soon.  Thanks for your patience!

Episode 51 The Masked Goddess (Part 12 of How to Have a Mythic Adventure)

Click on the link below to listen to the audio version (5:58).

Episode 0051 How To Pt 12

I’ve been saying that the gods in these stories often leave much for the heroes to interpret. This does not mean, however, that the gods cannot provide clues for the heroes’ benefit. In many of the world’s sacred stories, such clue-giving is the primary means of communication between gods and humans.

The goddess Athena could easily tell young Telemachus that his father Odysseus is still alive, but she does not, even though she wants him to go out and find his father. Instead, she comes to Telemachus disguised as an old seafarer. (This is from Homer, The Odyssey, Robert Fitzgerald, trans. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday/Anchor Books, 1963), book 1.) She tells him that his father is rumored to be alive, and she advises him to discover if the rumor is true. He takes her advice, but he meets opposition from some of the locals who want to keep him at home. Athena comes to his aid, but again only in disguise—this time as his trusted friend Mentor (book 2).

Telemachus sails for Pylos and speaks with old Nestor, from whom he hopes to obtain news about his father. Nestor knows nothing about Odysseus’ whereabouts, but he suggests that Telemachus travel to Sparta and ask Menelaus, whose voyage home was long and roundabout. Meanwhile, Athena remains with Telemachus. She knows full well where Odysseus is, but she continues to masquerade as Mentor.

Telemachus travels to Sparta and speaks with Menelaus, and it is there that he learns the truth: his father is alive, but a nymph is holding him captive on a deserted island.

Telemachus has had to work hard to receive this important news, but Menelaus, too, obtained it only after a struggle. During his voyage home, Menelaus was himself in desperate need of information. He knew that the shape-shifting god Proteus could tell him what he needed to know, but he also knew that the god would not answer his questions willingly. To receive information from Proteus, one must lay hold of the god and hang on tight. If Menelaus and his men could get their hands on Proteus and hold him no matter what, then eventually he would give up and answer whatever questions they asked (book 4).

That is what they did: they approached Proteus while he was sleeping and held him tight. The god awoke, startled. He changed into a lion, but they did not let go of him. He became a serpent, but they held tight. He even turned himself into water, but somehow they hung on.

At last the god surrendered and answered the questions they had come to ask. During their conversation, Menelaus happened to learn about the fate of Odysseus.

Athena could have saved everybody a lot of trouble by telling Telemachus the truth right in the beginning, but that is not how greatness is achieved in Greek myth. Telemachus and Menelaus both benefit from their struggles. To make things easier for them would be to cheat them out of the opportunity to accomplish great things.

Later in the story, Athena appears before Odysseus in disguise, too, but he is so far along in his development that such treatment is not necessary (book 13). He plays his part so expertly that Athena smirks and reveals herself to him. Making him her co-conspirator, she then disguises him and advises him to play the role of a vagabond. In his case as in Athena’s, the masquerade serves a purpose: it allows Telemachus, as well as Odysseus’ wife Penelope, to demonstrate their greatness under trying circumstances. To reveal his identity prematurely would make the game too easy for all the contestants, besides alerting Odysseus’ enemies to imminent danger.

Please click on the audio file for my brief commentary.

New Episodes Are Coming

PLEASE EXCUSE THE DELAY…

I am going through a discernment process right now, seeking to understand how this audio program fits into my overall mission.  A plan for future episodes is taking shape, but I’m not ready to post anything yet.  Please check back soon.

Meanwhile, I invite you to visit my written blog, Spiritual Adventures in the Workplace, where I’ve been talking about what God does in our lives during a typical day.  You can visit that site by clicking here.

Workplace Spirituality Blog Begins

Yesterday I began posting a written blog called Spiritual Adventures in the Workplace.  This will be a place for us to discuss in more depth how we can live “the mythic adventure” in the course of our daily activities, but it will also focus much more heavily on my perspective as a Christian.  I think of Mythic Adventures as a kind of radio program, while Spiritual Adventures in the Workplace is more like a newspaper column.  As always, I look forward to reading your comments.

Click here to go to the written blog.

 

Coming in September

This site is based on the idea that our individual lives are part of the larger story of God’s adventure in this world.  But how far can we extend that analogy? For example: Does God appreciate the significance of the technical problems faced by people in their jobs?  And is God in any way involved in the day-to-day work of the human race?

In September I’ll begin posting a written blog called Spiritual Adventures in the Workplace.  It will be a place for us to discuss these questions in greater detail.  I’ll tell you more about it in a few weeks!

Episode 0024 The Problem Is a Solution

In the Hindu epic, The Ramayana, the sons of Dasaratha must defeat a demon who cannot be destroyed by the gods, but only by a human. Click the link below to listen (15 min).

Episode 0024 Problem Is Solution

Next episode airs July 25: Two Heads Are Better. . .

In the Shinto epic, The Kojiki, the god Opo-kuni-nusi is destined to be the creator and ruler of the Japanese Islands, but members of his own family want to kill him. 

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Episode 0023 The Fortunate Exile

Although Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar is banished from his home, everyone keeps calling him “fortunate.”  Are they kidding?  Click on the link to listen (6:30).

Episode 0023 Fortunate_Exile

Please note: To read listeners’ comments or to leave a comment of your own, please click on “Comment” below.

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