Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Conception is a short story (of 4461 words) written in the style of my current novel project, Simon Peter. It is meant to be a teaser for the novel, itself, showing the take I'm using for telling the story of Jesus, St. Peter and the origins of Christianity as being started by the same sorts of people that start cults in modern history: a group of religious fanatics, madmen, charlatans surrounded by a storm of sexual depravity, physical and psychological abuse.

"Immaculate Conception" is a story about the conception and birth of Jesus. The story contains nothing mystical, but offers a purely physical story about how it could happen. I am not saying it did happen this way. The birth of Jesus, even from Biblical sources, is confused. In one place Jesus is born in a house attended by kings, in another place he is born in a stable and attended by shepherds. I'm not sure I believe in the physical reality of Jesus at all. But in "Immaculate Conception", as in Simon Peter, I want to open a discussion about the nature of messiahdom, itself, and dispel the idea that Jesus as a historical person needs to be taken seriously as a social reformer, or rebel against Roman conquest or Jewish corruption. Most messiahs are charlatans, insane, or both. Most people who claim supernatural powers, in my readings, have backgrounds of neglect and abuse. For this story, and Simon Peter, I posit that Jesus came from such a family, and in "Immaculate Conception" I have written about his family as being typical of messiahs, born in pain and horror, leading to charlatanry and madness.

Warning: This story does have sex and violence. If you're offended by sex and violence, I advise either not reading it, or get prepared to be offended.

I am also thinking about putting a commercial for "Immaculate Conception" on YouTube and GodTube. See what that nets me. ;)

Now with video!

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15 Comments:

L>T said...

Yousa! now that was some story. Acually, I thought plausable, too.
Im sure men did treat women like shit back then for one thing. I would put a disclaimer on it though. it would prob. get you more readers anyway.

May 2, 2007 3:49 PM  
Chris Bradley said...

L>T,

*snickers* I'm glad you, uh, well, you "yousa'd" it, which I'm taking is a semi-good sign? ;)

What kind of disclaimer would you suggest? A generic "sex and violence" one?

May 2, 2007 4:26 PM  
Chris Bradley said...

And, for what it's worth, Simon Peter in the novel isn't quite as detestable as Joseph in "Immaculate Conception". Peter is more violent but, er, less abusive . . . if that makes sense.

May 2, 2007 4:28 PM  
L>T said...

well, I'm not adverse to a little smut. But, Joseph raping the virgin Mary? & she liked it!?
I felt like a damn sinner reading it. ;]

What kind of disclaimer would you suggest? A generic "sex and violence" one? yes. Just so you can't be accused of blindsiding anyone.

May 2, 2007 5:01 PM  
beepbeepitsme said...

My story is much simpler. Ancient humans couldn't explain belly button lint. The processes of human conception were equally mysterious.

It was common practice, however, for men who were claimed to be important to have been born of a virgin. This conferred status and power upon their words and deeds.

"Special or important men were ascribed special or important birth circumstances."

May 2, 2007 11:00 PM  
Chris Bradley said...

L>T,

LOL. I find myself amused that you felt like a sinner reading it. Can I quote you on my add for GodTube? "L>T felt like a sinner reading it, that's how holy this story is!" ;)

Beep,

Oh, your story is probably closer to the truth as it treats Jesus like the mythological character he is. But it is undeniable that part of the reason I'm writing this is shock -- to try to waken people up in a way that you don't. This is NOT to disrespect the things you do. But it's not what I do.

May 2, 2007 11:39 PM  
Brendan said...

I only recently found your blog and have only read a few posts about your novel. Gotta tell you Chris, I didn't fully appreciate what you were up to with your novel until reading this short story.

If your novel is in this basic style, I think your approach is quite brilliant.

I'm looking forward to the finished product.

May 3, 2007 6:39 AM  
beepbeepitsme said...

chris:

And the story even shocked me so it is bound to shock theists.

I agree with LT. It's pretty obvious that men in biblical times treated women like shit. And some of them out there today would like to continue to do so according to their religious beliefs.

May 3, 2007 7:27 AM  
beepbeepitsme said...

Adding to the last thought.

There is a book I read years ago called "Damned Whores and God's Police." It was a feminist book from the 70's.

Just the title alone seemed to indicate to me the social problem that women faced - they were classified as either sluts or saints. Perhaps that is similar to the religious mindset of biblical times as well.

May 3, 2007 7:31 AM  
L>T said...

Yes, isn't it silly to think that mary was treated any diffently then any other woman back then?

In my study of ancient Greek civilization, I was dismayed at the attitudes concerning women.

Hesiods poems, the myth of Pandora...you can see the same attitudes in the scriptures.

May 3, 2007 8:15 AM  
Chris Bradley said...

Brendan,

Yes, the whole writing of the novel is in this style. When I was learning to write, I bought into all the stuff that people told me about not wasting words. As I've grown, I have grown less interested in using academic language (y'know, words based in Greek or Latin) when there's a perfectly good Saxon word that'll do. My belief, as a writer, insofar as style goes, is I want it to be instantly accessible to anyone -- and I'd much rather leave the literary reader out in the cold a bit than the common person.

Which might not be where you were going with that, but, yeah, Simon Peter is written entirely in that style. Because it's a much longer work, there's some decompression compared to "Immaculate Conception" but in general, it is in that tone.

I'm glad you liked it!

May 3, 2007 9:05 AM  
Chris Bradley said...

Beep,

Well, I obviously agree that Biblical people treated women poorly. It's like L>T said -- when you study the time period, you find that women were treated like shit! It was common in the period for women to be disallowed to go out at all from the household, save to do stuff like gather water from the well. In the period, women weren't allowed to talk to a man unless a close male relative was there. They were generally veiled. Violence was considered acceptable for dealing with women (and children, of course). In that sort of environment -- when women were unable to speak to anyone about what was going on, where they were literally hidden from sight, when they lacked legal rights ranging from land ownership to the power to press a case in court, how could they NOT be horrifically abused? Especially given the general violence in society?

So, yes, in "Immaculate Conception", and in Simon Peter, I do try to emphasize the violence and sexism of the time period.

I do believe, too, that . . . well, hell, you don't have to go back to Biblical times to find that conservative people STILL basically regard women as sluts or saints. But Mary's perpetual virginity -- her unimpeachable status as a saint -- happened almost IMMEDIATELY. As did the morphing of Magdalane into a whore (a belief that has no basis in the Bible or even the Apocrypha -- and in the Gnostic Gospels, Magdalene seems to be something of a scholar . . . but those had to be DESTROYED so she could be eternally secured as a whore).

May 3, 2007 9:39 AM  
Chris Bradley said...

L>T,

She was treated differently because she was THE VIRGIN MARY. *rolls eyes*

May 3, 2007 9:40 AM  
beepbeepitsme said...

chris:
Yup, the choice is "sluts or saints" for women if you have a more conservative mindset.

And as you mentioned, this dichotomy is evident in the bible. Mary is the saint. Mary Mag is the slut. The message is clear: - women are either sluts or saints.

May 3, 2007 3:20 PM  
L>T said...

I believe the Catholic Church took all that nastiness back about Mary Magdalene 30 years or so ago. They finally admitted her image as a reformed prostitute is not supported by the text of the Bible.
Of course I never heard any of that retraction in the Pentecostal Church & I doubt many Catholics did either.

BTW, I don't know if you want to put my recommendation on GodTube, my foot is about halfway in the slut door as it is. Through no fault of my own of course.

May 3, 2007 5:36 PM  

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