Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Fallen and The Risen

Jesus Feeding the 5000

Pretty sure you know who this is.

If you read this blog at all, you know that I'm not a tremendous fan of religion itself, so generally today being Easter doesn't resonate for me beyond being a day when I see people dress up and go to church, or kids going on Egg Hunts, etc.

A modicum of research tells us that Easter is a Christianization of Oestre, a pagan holiday celebrating the rebirth that is spring. It makes sense that the power structure of the church morphed the holiday into a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from his crucifixion in the same way that the pagan holiday of the Winter Solstice eventually became the celebration of Jesus' birth.

Like I said, I'm not a religious man. I don't like church, or "the church". I am highly suspicious of anyone that tells me what, why and how I should worship a God I only suspect is there. I do believe in spirit, I do believe that there is something intangible to life that works around and through us, but I don't ascribe any one school of teaching. Religion is division to me, and there's too much of that in the world.

Not that I'm a great example. I'm a very angry man. Very frustrated. Of late I find myself filled with rage with the state of many of my fellow Americans.

I hate them.

I hate them with a fire that fills me with regret. I'm trying to find a way to love them. To love them and hate the ignorance that drives them. I'm trying to have compassion for Tea Partiers because I know what they fear, as deliberately uninformed as they are. I remind myself that while they hate things that aren't real, have shown real signs of racism, that they love their children and feel in their hearts that they are operating out of that love, no matter how misguided I may think know they are. I want to understand and have compassion enough for them that I learn to speak to them with that compassion instead of the disdain I feel now.

It's hard.

So on this day in which a great deal of the world celebrates rebirth in one form or another, I am also reminded that it is the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. And so...I will finish this entry with quotes from Dr. King and those attributed to the teacher known as Jesus.

I do this for myself as well as those that have chosen to speak with bricks, bullets and hate. Because I'm this close to taking up a gun myself and that is not the man I want to be.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction....The chain reaction of evil--hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars--must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation. Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength To Love, 1963.

 Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place;  for those who live by the sword, die by the sword."  Matthew 26:52.

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true. Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength To Love, 1963.

But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.   If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?   For even sinners love those who love them.   And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners do the same. Luke 6:27-32

I know that at some point soon, probably tomorrow, I will make a comment to someone about Andrew Breitbart, or Sarah Palin or Ronald Reagan or any number of "conservative heroes" that I find to be distasteful examples of humanity. I know I'm not perfect or all loving, but today, let me let this go. Let me feel just compassion and love for my fellow human beings. Let me remember that we are all afraid. We are all fragile and we are all capable of doing and being better.

Whether looked at from a biblical standpoint or simply an historical one, we are all fallen.

We are all capable of rising from the death that is hatred and vitriol to the life that is love and understanding. 

I'm working on it.

I'm working on it.

Happy Easter.


Kat said...

Were we separated at birth? You have taken my own thoughts and beliefs and put them into words; with great skill too. Maybe I'm not quite as different as I thought. If only more of us were "working on it", we'd be so much better off.

Mandy said...

Great post. Great perspective and one with which I think most of us can agree. If only we would all "work" on it, then where might we be?

Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

I agree with Mandy. And thank you for the comments on The Rant. Keep 'em coming, pal!

Tom Degan