Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Word of the Year

Nominations now being accepted.

So far, "unexpectedly" is the overwhelming favorite ...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas

I have always hated this holiday. The crass commercialism and greed, the extreme hypocrisy. So many people find so many memories of disappointments, separation, family abuse. Usually I just choose to work on the day.

I have a T-shirt which reads, “When going into the woods, be sure and remember a compass. It is uncomfortable when you have to eat your friends.”

I got to thinking about how that works. It is not too hard for me to imagine a group of intelligent people, stranded somewhere with a food shortage and only faint hope of rescue. I have been hungry, and desperate, I know how it is. I can imagine them coming to the conclusion that some must live and some must be eaten, and drawing straws or some such. But it’s the afterwards that we don’t think about. Suppose one lives. Then, suppose, MIRACLE! He is rescued. Well, what then? The news reports of his rescue. Sooner or later the grisly details will come out, how it was that he was able to survive. And no matter how rational and reasonable we all feel about the choices, it were better, ultimately for the one who survived, if he had died as well. The stigma, the way everyone else, for the rest of his life, will look at him, and cringe just a little bit. It were better for him if he had died as well.

In his novel, “The Fall”, Albert Camus’ protagonist raises a very similar postulation about Jesus. How was it that this incredible kind, loving man, who did so many wonderful things for so many people, found himself to be condemned by all to death by that horrible torture mechanism? But also, how was it, that he neither did nor said the slightest motion towards his defense? Well, if you remember back to the stories in Matthew of his birth, you recall how his parents high-tailed it to Egypt soon afterwards, and Lo and Behold Herod, in his paranoia, decreed that every young child in the city of Bethlehem be put to death. Only Jesus was spared. And no doubt, though the Bible doesn’t go into it, the adults who taught him reading, and writing, and joinery, and how to tie his shoelaces, undoubtedly told him about how lucky he was and about the gruesome act perpetrated on every other family of the town. It would not have been pleasant for him to hear about it, over and over and over again, as it must have come to pass.

In other words, the atheist and nihilist suggests that it was not supreme love at all which drove Him to the ultimate sacrifice for me and you and all mankind. It was guilt, the kind of guilt that only a man who has eaten his friends could understand.

I’m not saying that I agree. But it’s a potent opinion …tough to ignore … at the very least, Satan tells a good story when he wants to …