Friday, April 06, 2007

Whereupon I Discuss Easter

Today is what is known on the Catholic calendar as Good Friday. This is arguably the holiest and certainly most solemn day in the Christian world as we recall the unlawful sentencing, torture and death of a deity at the hands of secular justice, as encouraged by religionists to whom said deity had become a threat.

Though I am but intermittently Catholic, I can't help but treat this day tenderly. I haven't seen The Passion of the Christ and I never will, notwithstanding what I understand to be good production values. Even if it is, as billed, an overstated blood bath, it does fulfill a purpose -- it shows us how a rational and interesting society becomes capable of horrific manipulation at the hands of a minority bent on preserving its privileges. By intimating that Jesus Christ existed for the purpose of obtaining dominion over Roman citizens, the minority successfully got Rome to wipe him out.

That lesson is as obvious as a flogging and a crown of thorns, so I won't belabor it. And despite my natural agnosticism, I wonder about the the more personal lessons of days like this. Are we really improved by suffering? I doubt it. If all lessons learned are best learned through avoidance, than B.F. Skinner is the the most learned man and best Christian of modern times. I prefer to think that this day is about celebrating the mortification of the flesh. Yes, we die. We all die. Mostly unjustly and not as the result of a full and fair process adjudicating our guilt or innocence. Even God dies because he has to -- because it is the essence of humanity. To leave with dignity as Christ reportedly did, despite efforts to label us: cancer victim, heart attack victim, homicide victim, crack addict, treasonous villain; that is what this day teaches. It is finished.


Archaeopteryx said... shows us how a rational and interesting society becomes capable of horrific manipulation at the hands of a minority bent on preserving its privileges...

I'm assuming you're talking about the people in Christ's time, and not those who made and distributed that awful movie. Think maybe it mobilized the zealots and got 'em to the polls that year?

Dawn Coyote said...

On Good Friday, my mom informed me that she had not had a cigarette since the previous Saturday. She'd been working at quitting for all of Lent - using Zyban and the patch and the gum, but when Holy Week came, that was it, she said.

She's 69 years old, and healthy as all heck, despite being a smoker for 52 years.

I'm so proud of her.

twiffer said...

is this the spot to mention how death is an aspect of the seasonal cycle of life, and thus resurrection is as well?

in spring, death falls away and life begins anew. this is the story of the world.

at least, in temperate zones, it is.

twiffer said...

as a completely off-topic aside, i'd like to express amusement at how the lack delimiters in the interests (etc.) section of your profile has transformed your favorite music from a list to a bizzarely intriguing genre dubbed: classical folk-rock caberet.


LentenStuffe said...

But wasn't Jesus incidental from a Roman POV? Pilate could've given the rabble a duckbill-platypus but they were the ones who wanted JC.

If Good Friday has any relevance at all it's that it acts as a kind of prolepsis to Easter, which is the real event, the conclusion of Lent, the resurrection of the spirit, and the celebration of a life which transcends suffering.

Trust that infidel Gibson to get hung-up on crucifixion, if you'll forgive a pun that dangleth!

rundeep said...

Hey thanks all. Arch: yeah, I'm talking Romans. I don't think Gibson has that much power.

Hey Dawn: whatever it takes. If Lent offers us a convenient excuse for giving up something bad, who are we to call it a stupid remnant of the Middle Ages and forget to make our weekly contribution to the Rice Bowl?

Twif: you mean that's not a single category? I think Joni Mitchell fits the type.

LS: thanks for dropping by. That's all Biblical revisionism to make us hate Jews. Jesus was whacked as a radical who presented a threat to Rome. I don't see Rome doing a favor for the Jews, no matter what they tell us.