Fritz_Gerlich celebrates the disappearance of the divine in a meditation upon the anti-sacrament of Holy Saturday:
The one day of the Christian liturgical year that still has resonance for me is Holy Saturday. On this day, Catholic churches are stripped of all decoration, images are covered with purple cloth, the tabernacle on the altar is emptied and the door left standing open. There is no mass.
As a boy (an altar boy, no less), I loved Holy Saturday. For one day, I felt the church was being real. Christmas and Easter, with their predictable Technicolor® and Movietone® excesses, always underwhelmed, which is only what you should expect when people try to work themselves up on cue. But Holy Saturday almost tried to slink by unnoticed. The church turned you out—vomited you out of its mouth, one might say. Go home. Nothing to see here. Jesus is in the morgue. The apostles ran away. God hasn't said a word. Go home. Can't help you.
Holy Saturday, not Easter Sunday, is life as we actually live it. Triumph on cue is nothing but bad screenwriting. Living in quiet desperation is, as each of us knows quite well in the dark corners of his mind, very much the real thing. It is the most fundamental of all human competencies, for we owe our survival to it. Such joy as may penetrate from time to time does not come because you, or some mental idol of yours, or some priest, pushes a button. Joy, like the wind, bloweth as it listeth. And that very fact is a source of human despair. For it apportioneth not the same to every man. From him who hath little, even the little that he hath shall be taken away. Now there is a text for Holy Saturday.
Among many eloquent celebrations of the resurrected flesh, HLS2003's contribution stands out:
What Breyer leaves out— perhaps indicating that her willingness to accept the miracle of the Resurrection is not complete —is the fact that Jesus is the "firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." I Cor. 15:12. Christ's Resurrection proves to all Christ's followers that death is not the end. Christ, by his sacrifice, has obtained victory over death itself, for himself and for those who trust him. This is the hope that Christ provides. […]
Christianity is not easy. It calls for sacrifices—giving away money, forgiving enemies, controlling lusts and appetites, spending time in worship, fellowshipping with people we may not like, being honest, not cheating in business, etc. In Paul's day, it also meant chains and risking death. […]
The Resurrection gives proof that there is hope beyond death. Death is inevitable, and yet it is still unknown and scary. The German philosopher Franz Rosenzweig said that all religion responded to man's anxiety in the face of death. Christ's real, physical resurrection is the central fact of Christianity that soothes our fears by telling us that Christ defeated death. "For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a human being. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." I Cor. 15:22. What we think of as "the human condition" includes death; the Resurrection proves that Christ has changed "the human condition" for the better.
This, even more than the reasons of fellowship and forgiveness and ethical behavior cited by Breyer, is the key reason for the Resurrection's importance. At Easter, we see Christ risen from the dead, and hear the promise that since he has risen, since his destiny has not ended with death, so too his people will rise, and their destiny does not end with death. There is no greater or more universal hope. Jesus Christ's Resurrection allows us to say that "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." I Cor. 15:54-57.
In refreshing contrast to stereotypes of secularists, irreligious Frayster Jeff-MC is unsettled by religious-themed reality TV:
I'm not even religious, and all these religious reality shows worry me. What does it say about the state of American society that what we claim to be our most sacred and meaningful traditions are becoming public entertainment?
It seems to me that the best aspects of organized religion are the building of community, the desire to do good and make the world a better place, and the focus on internal truths and worth, instead of value based on external treasure.
Amen to that. Readers willing to trade spiritual insights should set up a stand in the Faith-Based Fray. GA ... 11:30pm PST
Friday, April 14, 2006
It is perhaps a symptom of the current cultural obsession with real estate that Seth Stevenson's Ad Report Card on Century 21's spot of a woman cajoling her reluctant husband into the purchase of a new home (aka "the Nasty Wife Ad") generated the most prolific output that FrayEditor05 has seen in his tenure.
A lot of the commentary focused on the gender roles and stereotypes depicted in this fictional scenario. gracey_newstead criticizes the dark and offensive tone, particularly its portrayal of "a nagging wife and ball-busting real estate agent." BrandiB makes a bizarre but impassioned plea to preserve masculinity in American culture against the "power-female" ideology typified by the husband-wife exchange. Mimi5 wonders if the ad is creepy, or just comfortably realistic:
There's a lot of tension and anxiety behind her apparent bitchiness. Her unusually unattractive (esp. for a TV commercial) presentation of her emotions is the discomfiting issue; for some this colors their interpretation of the whole husband-wife conflict and the fictional marriage (ugly assertive woman = evil man basher). Maybe it hits just a little too close to home, especially for guys who'd prefer to watch a "Desperate Housewife" over someone closer to their wifely reality.