Friday, March 18, 2005

Look! A giant stuffed Rabbit.

Not yet happy with this post, but it's going out anyway...

We were in a mall with my son Owen and there was an Easter bunny. Of course. "Look, Owen, a stuffed rabbit." was my brilliant comment.

Couldn't bring myself to say Easter Bunny because then I would have felt obliged to explain Easter and try to cover how the torture and killing of my favorite historical figure ties into cute bunnies with baskets of eggs and other pagan rites of Spring.

I can do it, don't get me wrong. I was raised Unitarian and if I think about it I can retrieve all the bland equinox celebration-type things. And the ties between Christ rising and all the spring fertility stuff is not that big of a stretch. Still. I do not care for this season. In fact I have a bit of a problem with Easter.

Growing up in a liberal UU home Easter was not much of a religious holiday. It was a rite of spring. In fact, my mom was a little appalled at my fascination with Christianity and Bible stories and Jesus in general. She was convinced that I was going to rebel against my religious liberal upbringing by becoming a Catholic nun.

I'm pretty sure that wouldn't work, given the fact that my Jesus is not divine. This is fine at Christmas, but considerably less comfortable come Good Friday.

Here is the problem I have with Easter: I get stuck on the cross. It has always disturbed me that Christians chose to use an implement of torture as their symbol. And that for so many Christians it is the bodily resurrection of Christ that cements their faith. I had one friend tell me that if they ever found the bones of Jesus that would be the end of her entire belief system.

For me the bones are not the important issue. His last tortured moments are not what I want to focus on. I don't want to observe the gruesome and horrible event each year. (He was lucky, in some ways. It took most people 3 days to die after being crucified. Jesus went in only 3 hours, likely because of massive internal injuries caused by earlier beatings.)

And because I don't really celebrate the resurrection in the bodily way-- his death seems pointless, cruel and unnecessary. And depressing. I can't understand how people can be so happy or why it is the most important day in the liturgical year.

Now that I'm a Christian again, I feel like I should want to reclaim Easter in some way, but instead I find I'm pushing it further away. I don't want any Eastery things in the house. I would rather not go to Easter dinner. I am reading John Shelby Spong's book Resurrection in the hopes that it will help me calm down a bit about all this rising again. He's not so literal.

And the Quaker in me really believes that the risen Christ is within us all. ALL. Not just Christians. And bodily resurrection need play no part in that.

In the mean time I'm keeping my eye out for more stuffed rabbits and trying to come up with an answer for Owen when he asks about Easter that's better than "It's a holiday your Grandma Jo celebrates."


Blogger fresca said...

Hmmmm.... For what they're worth, here are my thoughts-of-the-moment on Easter.
I was just telling a friend that I see the absurdity of the humiliation of the Divine in Christ's crucifixion as being like one of those Zen koans ("what is the sound of one hand clapping?" etc.)--designed to ***SNAP our minds out of the safe and tidy. Un-comfort-able Non-sense which may free us from the slavery of our linear, logical thinking (there's salvation for you!) if we will sit in silence with it long enough (three days dead?).

Limiting God to history isn't very freeing for anybody, including God... (Needing Jesus' bones if like needing Santa's beard.)
Come to think of it, the Easter Bunny is a bit of a koan too!
A giant bunny delivering eggs?

11:33 AM  
Blogger Kiara said...

Okay, my turn for a hmm...

If you assume the divinity of Christ, then the humliation must be koanlike.

But if your Jesus is not divine, then the crucifiction poses different problems.

My Jesus is amazingly, powerfully human, and I don't need to see his bones as proof of that.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Michaela said...

Hello! This particular post really resonated with me because I had just seen a performance of Carmen in a church (which was ironic enough) and was looking around before the performance realizing that a). it was the first church I'd sat in in New York the entire almost 8 years I've lived here and b). that I was struck by the oddness of the figure of Christ on the cross, and why I had grown up venerating an icon displayed on an instrument of torture (not to mention well as the cult of martyrdom). They're big questions that can't be answered easily, but thanks for getting me thinking!

Take care,

Michaela :)

2:39 PM  
Blogger fresca said...

Oh dear...that was a pretty incoherent and misleading comment I wrote...and on such a major topic!
Discussing religion on blog comments with people I don't know probably isn't a great idea.

I think the problem of human cruelty and suffering is the core question of the crucifixion, not the question of divinity.
(As the song from "Hair" goes, "How can people be so heartless?") Christ need not be divine in some unique and literal way for this question to work.
Rather, when we see such suffering and humiliation of an "amzing and powerfully human" being, perhaps it is an invitation to see the precious "divinity" in all of us.
And then to be boggled in a koan- like way at the paradox:
how can horrible cruelty also exist side by side with divinity/Love in human beings?
Hmmm..is that better?

5:29 PM  
Blogger Kiara said...

Much better!

I don't think I understood what you said in your earlier post at all, so I am happy you reposted.

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12:21 AM  

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