About Ukraine, Even Marianne Williamson Has Sold Out To Imperialism & Conventional Thinking 

Readings for the first Sunday of Lent: Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7; Psalm 51: 3-17; Romans 5: 12-19; Matthew 4: 1-11

This is the first Sunday of Lent. It’s that miraculous time of year when followers of Yeshua call into question their ways of life – the way they eat, drink, read, and think.

It’s also an intense time for questioning convention – the way the culture reasons, its values, its tales, and narratives. It’s a time for facing the fact that the world’s key perceptions stand 180 degrees opposite those of the Master.

That’s how Marianne Williamson describes miracles. Remember her?  She’s the best-known exponent of the modern handbook on Christian mysticism called A Course in Miracles (ACIM). She ran for president in 2020 and hints that she’ll run again in 2024. She describes miracles as changes in perception that completely contradict the world’s “wisdom.”  

I bring up Marianne Williamson, today not only for the Lenten and political reasons just mentioned, but because her recently articulated position on the Ukraine war contradicts the spirit of Lent just described. More to the point, it contradicts Marianne herself as well as A Course in Miracles.

As such, it reminds us of the seductive power of American culture based on arms manufacture, war, and deception. Ironically, what I’ll describe as Williamson’s fall from grace and from her own ideals represents a wake-up call not only for her, but for those who would take Lent seriously.

Accordingly, what follows will share Ms. Williamson’s recent thoughts about Ukraine as utterly conventional and (in her terms) completely un-miraculous. I’ll contrast them with the example of Yeshua found in today’s readings for the first Sunday of Lent. There, in the spirit of ACIM, he completely rejects as intrinsically evil any possibility of endorsing empire of the type embodied in the United States’ and NATO’s policy in Ukraine.

My hope is that in the name of the gospel and even ACIM, my words might lead readers to reject the conventionality of the world’s “wisdom” as found in the official narrative Williamson so shockingly endorses.

Marianne Williamson     

Let me begin by saying that I feel I know Marianne Williamson. I like her. I used to think of her as a lone prophetic voice in an American political context dominated by warmongers and short-term thinkers with no historical perspective. In fact:

  • I’ve been a longtime student of A Course in Miracles and have started a podcast called “A Course in Miracles for Social Justice Warriors.”
  • I once had dinner with Marianne and a few colleagues when she came to speak at Berea College where I taught for 40 years.
  • Afterwards, we spent two hours in personal conversation as my wife and I drove her and Marianne’s secretary to the Cincinnati airport.
  • Subsequently, we even exchanged ideas entertaining the possibility of a shared writing project connecting the teachings of Jesus (my focus as a liberation theologian) and A Course in Miracles.
  • I actively supported Marianne’s candidacy during her 2020 run for president,
  • Attending rallies, campaign speeches, and a debate in her support,
  • And publishing 9 articles on OpEdNews to that effect.

You can imagine, then, my disappointment when I read a piece she published last week called “The Tragic Conundrum of Ukraine.” My disappointment stemmed from the fact that the brief essay uncritically parroted the liberal, neocon, U.S. party line about Ukraine. – anything but the “miraculous” thinking she describes and advocates.

Marianne’s words reflected the ambition of a woman intent again on running for president in 2024 and therefore in need of assuring the public: Don’t worry, I won’t be reluctant to kill designated enemies like the Russians. Or as Williamson herself put it, “As president I would always seek to avoid the use of military force, yet I would not shy away from it if I felt it necessary.” (Emphasis added)

You can’t get more conventional than that.

More specifically, here’s what she said:

  • Despite her support for the creation of a U.S. Department of Peace to counterbalance the egregious influence of America’s military industrial complex,
  • And despite the U.S. track record in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere,
  • The U.S. still retains moral authority to condemn Russia and conduct what she evidently judges as its “surgical” interventions in Ukraine.
  • After all, countless U.S. interventions (often halfway across the world) were “misadventures” and “mistakes” (not crimes) while Russia’s special military operations on its own borders are cynically illegal and therefore subject to unequivocal condemnation — even by those living in glass houses.
  • Russia must therefore be stopped by “the Western World” (i.e., the predominantly white 20% that includes the traditional colonial powers like the U.S., EU, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand).
  • While ignoring (she omits saying) the reluctance or downright refusal of 80% of the (colonized, mostly non-white) world to go along – including China, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, South Africa, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Columbia – virtually the entire Global South.

In Williamson’s pro-war position, there was no mention of historical context. Nothing about the facts that:

  • By all accounts Ukraine’s government is one of the most corrupt in the world and prominently includes Nazis and Nazi sympathizers.
  • The war in Ukraine did not begin on February 24th, 2022, but with a U.S. sponsored Ukrainian coup in 2014 that ended up with Kyiv killing more than 13,000 civilians in the country’s Russia-friendly Donbass region.
  • The stated objectives of U.S. policy in Ukraine have long been regime change in Moscow and the weakening and even balkanization of Russia.
  • In pursuit of those aims (according to the current German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Analena Baerbock) the war is NATO’s. In other words, NATO is using Ukrainians as proxies for the alliance’s war against Russia.
  • According to former German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, NATO had no intention of observing the Minsk Peace Agreements that would have prevented the conflict.
  • The U.S. ignored Russia’s diplomatic overtures in the runup to its special military operation.
  • Similarly, (according to Israel’s former prime minister Naftali Bennett) a month into the war, Moscow and Kyiv had achieved progress towards a negotiated settlement to the conflict only to be overruled by NATO.
  • U.S. history, its Monroe Doctrine, and constant violent interventions in its hemisphere show that America would act no differently from Russia in the case of similar circumstances in its “backyard.”

How disappointing is all of that coming from an advocate of miraculous, non-conventional, re-conceptualizations?

Today’s Readings

Moreover, Williamson’s reasoning (or its lack) amounts to a contradiction of Yeshua’s own example in today’s featured selection from the Gospel of Matthew. There, the Master rejects empire and its endemic wars out of hand as the invention of the world’s Evil Spirit.

Recall the scene. It’s the famous story of Yeshua’s temptations in the desert. With variations, it is contained in all four of the canonical gospels.

Jesus has just been baptized by John. In Luke’s version, a voice has told him that he is somehow the “Son of God.” He goes out to the desert to discover what that might mean. Yeshua is on a vision quest. He prays and fasts for 40 days.

Afterwards come the visions of devils, angels, and of his own life’s possibilities. Satan tests him. In Matthew’s account, the culminating enticement is unmistakably imperial. It occurs on a high mountain. Satan shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth – an empire much vaster than Rome’s. The tempter says, “All of this can be yours, if only you bow down and worship me.” Jesus refuses. He says, “Be gone, Satan! It is written, the Lord God only shall you adore; him only shall you serve.”

In other words, Matthew endorses a tradition that has Yeshua rejecting empire in no uncertain terms. The story at the beginning of the accounts of Jesus words and deeds establishes him as fiercely anti-imperial. Empire belongs to Satan and has nothing to do with Life’s Source.

No hint of such thinking is found in Williamson’s piece about Ukraine. Instead, she supports “the west’s” right to determine the trajectory of world history even in the face of its rejection of diplomacy and the reluctance and/or refusal of 80% of the world to condemn what it evidently sees as none of its business.

And why does she abandon “miraculous thinking” when it’s needed more than ever? I must confess that I can’t answer that question for sure.

My guess is that it comes from realization on her part that miraculously contradicting conventional thinking would not serve her presidential ambitions. Empire on the one hand versus Christianity and miracles on the other prove simply incompatible.

Put otherwise, it seems that for Williamson, in the choice between presidential aspirations and A Course in Miracles practicality wins out. ACIM loses.   


I still like Marianne Williamson. She is a nice lady and an effective spiritual teacher. Her explanations of A Course in Miracles have helped millions (including me) to improve our lives.

However, her essay shows that the world’s wisdom is a difficult beast to tame. Attempting to do so will likely get one cancelled. It will certainly eliminate you as a viable presidential candidate.

That means to get along in our culture and certainly to run for president, one must:

  • Lie.
  • Stop thinking contextually.
  • Or historically.
  • Or unconventionally.
  • Critically
  • Or miraculously

I regret to say that I expected more from Marianne Williamson. Lent expects more from all of us.

Tarot: Last Six Cards of Major Arcana

In this final posting on the last six cards of the 22 Major Arcana (including Card # 0, the Fool’s) we’ll look at the remaining portrayals of the classic stages of spiritual growth. Remember, the first of those seven cards was The Devil reviewed at the end of my last blog entry. The Devil represented the Fool’s realization that something is deeply wrong within himself and in the world.

16. The Tower: With that realization, the Fool’s inner world comes crashing down. Discouraged and devastated, s/he sees that structural change and rebuilding (both inner and outer) is required, because his or her “tower” though apparently founded on rock is crumbling nonetheless. S/he looks to the stars for help. [This is a highly symbol-rich card. To begin with, its number, 16 = 1+6= 7; and that connects with#7 of the Major Arcana, viz., the Chariot card which is all about movement and finding control and mastery over opposing forces. Here the movement is downward and deconstructive as symbolized by the card’s black background and prominent gray clouds. Also centralized in the card is the couple we’ve already met in card #6 (the lovers) and in card #15 (the devil). We’re evidently watching the downfall of the basically masculine (phallic symbolled) ivory tower which has been struck by a bolt of lightning and is on fire. There are two crowns in this image, one at the top of the tower signifying the dissolution of some imperious order and the other on the head of the female figure who is falling upside down (i.e., in the hanged man position) on the card’s right. Her crown remains fixed firmly on her royal head. However, her spiritual viewpoint (designated by the color blue) is in complete transition. The same is true for the male figure whose accompanying passions are signified by the color red. This card suggests radical change.]

17. Star: The priestess’ star reappears when the Fool needs it most. The new, healthier ideas the stars represent guide the Fool into the future. “Follow your star” is the message here. [As opposed to the previous card, # 17 is calm and encouraging. This card is about cosmic order, hope, peace, ease, relaxation, persevering, and hanging on. The unclothed female figure has dropped all the pretense of royal robes, crowns, and symbols of power. She is concerned only with heavenly order, purifying water, connecting with the collective unconscious (symbolized by the pool) and with the earth itself (shown by her left-side intuitional knee kneeling on the earth’s surface). There are seven prominent but minor stars in the card’s image referring to the body’s seven chakras — as well as a large and bright golden central star that connects with the golden hair of the card’s central figure. The card’s protagonist is enlightened and following her star. Though her weight is on her forward foot, that foot is not submerged. The figure can walk on water. In some sense, she is the card’s star. In the background perched in something like the Tree of Life, a scarlet Ibis bird is about to take flight. In Egyptian mythology, the scarlet Ibis was considered the earthly manifestation of Thoth, the god of wisdom.]

18. Moon: The mystic moon provides relief from darkness. But it is mysterious and uncontrollable. The sleep suggested by the moon generates insights and clarity, but also nightmares, anxieties, and fears. [The moon card represents the 4th stage of spiritual unfolding (after the Devil, the Tower, and the Star). It evokes reflection on sleep and the insights that occur during that inevitable process. Sleep provides time for personal repair and reorganization at physical, psychological, and spiritual levels. In fact, this card means “Sleep Brings Counsel.” Its background mountains remind the querent not to be deceived by the highs and lows of any day or by the past itself. Instead, s/he’s called to advance steadily towards the uplifting mountainous horizons towards which a moon-illuminated golden path wends its way. The card is also about evolution. A dog and its evolutionary predecessor, a wolf, join together to bay at the moon. The dog, of course, has evolved from wolves to become the “best friend” nature has provided human beings. Similarly, the crayfish-like creature arising from the pool of the collective unconscious recalls our mind’s origins from that pool where both imagination and confusion reside. The twin towers that frame the card invite the querent to pursue wisdom beyond the boundaries of the known. The moon itself profiled in this 18th card reminds the attentive reader of the ninth (Hermit) card in the Major Arcana (1+8=9). Like the profiled hermit with his lamp, the profiled moon comes each night to teach us (through dreams and our especially precious thoughts just before sleep arrives) what we have learned during the day as well as during our entire lives.]

19. Sun: But the night doesn’t last forever. The sun shines brightly with a promise of homecoming and return. The Fool can now answer his child’s questions with joy, love, and positivity. At last s/he is at peace enjoying the good, the true, and the beautiful. [This card is about rebirth, happiness, and illumination. The haloed, reborn, and unclothed child finds her/his place bathing in the sun’s illuminating rays and seated on a white horse amid sunflowers. This is a triumphant card evoking joy and new beginnings.]

20. Judgment: The Fool has now returned to his interior ancestral castle. S/he is ready to share with others all that has been learned during a life of wandering, trial, and triumph. The Fool’s inner work has been completed. S/he is at peace with the past. [This card is about a journey completed. Its message is “Forgive yourself; lay your past to rest; let go of all past selves.” It is about resurrection and release. Note that the familiar man and woman from the Lovers’, Devil, and Tower cards have changed sides. The man now stands on the left, the woman on the right. This suggests that they have successfully appropriated their complementary animus or anima. The flag pictured below the angel’s right elbow is that of St. George noted for the bravery and chivalry it has taken to complete the Fool’s journey.]

21. The World: As a final step, the Fool embraces the world while knowing that the whole cycle is about to begin once again in life’s endless circle. However, this time his/her journey will not be foolish, but that of an evolved Page, Knight or Female Warrior — all to be centralized in Tarot’s Minor Arcana [Here notable symbols include those for the four Christian Gospels which we already saw on the corners of the Wheel of Fortune card (#10). Matthew is portrayed as an angel, Mark as a lion, Luke as an ox, and John as an eagle. Their appearance here indicates that the gospels’ overriding concern is Life here below not principally life al di la in the heavens. The same goes for the unclothed woman at the card’s center. We met her most recently as the Star in card #17. Here her presence and the card’s number 21 (2+1=3) suggests the High Priestess (the real 3rd card of the Tarot deck — when including the Fool’s “number,” 0) and the Empress card actually numbered as 3. The reference suggests that women, their mysteries, intuition, and closeness to nature are at the center of Life’s circle portrayed in this last card of the Major Arcana. Note that the circle is actually a green astrological ellipse tied together above and below with red ribbons. Their color symbolizes passion, energy, and fire. That same symbolism is conveyed by the Magician’s wands the card’s central figure grasps in her hands. In this last card the previously unconscious Magician and High Priestess are at last consciously integrated. It is interesting to see which figure attains most prominence at the end.]