From the Daily Office Lectionary for Thursday in the week of Proper 11, Daily Office Year 1 (Pentecost 8, 2015)

1 Samuel 28:7 ~ Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, so that I may go to her and inquire of her.” His servants said to him, “There is a medium at Endor.”

Sometime during my childhood, I don’t recall when exactly, I was given an illustrated King James Version of the Holy Scriptures. The illustrations were color plates of a variety of bible stories, but I only remember two of them.

One was Jesus clearing the Temple with a cat-o’-nine-tails. That was an exciting picture! Jesus swinging that whip over his head, his hair flying, tables knocked over, pigeons and lambs scurrying madly away, people looking frightened. Jesus was clearly a bad ass!

The other was Saul consulting the witch of Endor and the shade of Samuel. Samuel was appropriately ghostly ~ white robe, greyish-white long hair and beard, think Ian McKellan as Gandalf. Saul was frightened, cowering before Samuel. But the witch! Ah, the witch! Not your hook-nosed, wart-faced old hag ~ this witch was young and lovely and bare-bosomed, downright erotic for a pre-teen Christian boy. The witch of Endor was a babe!

What’s become of Christianity and Christian art? Jesus is a moralistic twit these days, more worried about what goes on in people’s bedrooms than with what happens in the money-changers’ boardrooms, and God forbid there should be anything erotic in life, especially not nubile young witches!

Well, I say, we need to bring back the bad-ass Jesus who cleanses the courtyard of capitalists; we need to bring back the sexy witches who remind us of religion’s sensuality. God help us if we don’t!