Saturday, April 5, 2014

There's something I've got to tell you

I'm not like other guys.

Large-format (32" by 40") oil by Russ Docken, undated (it's not on Docken's website, which hasn't been updated since 2009, so it's after that), depicting the famous scene where the 19-year-old Jesus declines a marriage proposal from an upper-class Nazareth girl, [jump]
Rivka bat Ezra, in the alcove where the Ezra family keep their old Doric columns, while Ezra himself looks on from the Roman archway giving on his atrium, where the guests (it's Rivka's Sweet Seventeen party) enjoy the canapés and cranberry cocktails:
What a touching and completely believable scene to imagine that, in the bloom of young manhood, Jesus would have been very attractive to the fairer sex. His sweet yet emphatic refusal of Rebecca's proposal of marriage exemplifies his understanding ways with people. Even though he dashed Rebecca's fond hopes of having him as a husband, he managed to keep her as a loving admirer and later as a loyal and devoted follower of his mission on earth.
The realism of the story is so palpable, how could you not believe? Jewish girls in 1st-century Palaestina always told their dads who to arrange their marriages with, and what better time than a birthday party (but not until you're 17; no quinceañeras or sweet-sixteens like those slutty modern girls). And what girl wouldn't go for young Jesus bar Yossef, had he not regrettably just discovered priestly celibacy?
Although Jesus was poor, his social standing in Nazareth was in no way impaired. He was one of the foremost young men of the city and very highly regarded by most of the young women. Since Jesus was such a splendid specimen of robust and intellectual manhood, and considering his reputation as a spiritual leader, it was not strange that Rebecca, the eldest daughter of Ezra, a wealthy merchant and trader of Nazareth, should discover that she was slowly falling in love with this son of Joseph. She first confided her affection to Miriam, Jesus' sister, and Miriam in turn talked all this over with her mother. Mary was intensely aroused.
Wait, you didn't remember that chapter of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John? I guess that must be because it isn't from the New Testament but
The Urantia Book and/or the New Testament
with an emphasis on the "or". The Urantia Book (Chicago, 1955), a collection of chapters that were "physically materialized" between 1925 and 1935 in a way that was "not understood" by the people who received them, but are thought to have been composed
as a collaborative effort by many superhuman, celestial beings, all of whom brought to this endeavor individual areas of knowledge and expertise. However, they tell us from the beginning that they were mandated to give priority to any human expressions of truth that represented "the highest and most advanced planetary knowledge of spiritual values and universe meanings" as would convey the truth "as they were directed to reveal it" before resorting to their own superior expressions of truth-knowledge.
I've sort of heard of this before but had no idea it included such hilarious stories, or that the transitional realms between the spiritual and physical worlds are known as "morontia". The Urantia Book is the source of the libretto material for Karlheinz Stockhausen's seven-opera cycle Licht (The Seven Days of the Week); here, the closing scene from Act IV of Samstag (Saturday, 1981-83), Luzifer's Farewell, for male choir, seven trombones, and organ. The music is somewhat haunting but you may need headphones to be certain that there is any sound:

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