Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Christ Crucified is Not Passive-Aggressive

Its been bothering me awhile that, as a devout Christian, I've not been able to find a whole lot of meaning in the crucifixion. In fact, I've seen it as a passive-aggressive. It seems to say, "I love you so much that I let this happen to me, to forgive your sins, you unworthy, despicable creatures. Now you better do what I tell you." Pathetic, huh? But what can you do when this is your honest view of the hallmark of your religion? I was not lead to go to another religion; I wanted to solve the riddle. Seriously, I love Jesus and I'm not giving him up just because I have a pea-brain.

I've read about how the crucifixion might be viewed as the importance of dying to the self, to leaving behind egoism so that one might grow to become a more Christ-like person, thinking of and loving others in a way that is impossible when one focuses on themselves. This is a helpful view, but it doesn't get me past my block.

Anyway, I am feeling incredibly thankful for an understanding I recently received. I've been talking to a dear friend about an issue that is the source of suffering. As usual, I approach it in my own extremely self-centered desire to be helpful. Its finally occurring to me that perhaps I should wish for help for others, not that I can be of help to others.

How does one get past the pain they have suffered? I don't have an answer, but I now see the crucifixion as hope that it can be done. Jesus suffered terrible humiliation, pain and death at the hands of those who mocked him. Jesus leaned on his relationship with God to be able to endure it, so I guess thats a clue for us. Purportedly, the crucifixion happened so our sins can be forgiven. But also in his crucifixion, I can see that its about accepting the pain and suffering and forgiving it. Once that is done, then the resurrection can occur, the new life that is not hampered by the memories and anger of the past.

How is this done in real life? I don't know, but at least I'm not longer attributing personality disorders to my Savior.

3 comments:

PoeticMermaid said...

Marjorie,

I'm even afraid to post this, because several Christians may call me blasphemous. I grew up with Hindu parents, and went to a Baptist and Lutheran elementary and middle school respectively. I remember learning about Martin Luther abusing himself because he saw the Father as an angry, unforgiving God. Once he found God's true love, it was not a matter of believing everything in the Bible, but seeing the overall message. There are so many religions with stories and saints and prophets and gods. Who is the true "God"? Everyone would argue that his/her religion and god are "The One".

If I were to tell you that you could interpret the Crucifixion in a way that gave you peace, a devout Christian may say I would burn in hell. All I know is, no God ever asked us to swallow all stories without being able to see them in the light of our lives. I'm not suggesting to manipulate the Bible to your end, but at least find your way, the way that the stories fit for you.

I am an amalgamation of Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. I still remember Chistian hymns, which is where I developed my love for singing. I welcome those who wish to teach me about Judaism, or Islam, or other faiths. I don't know if the Crucifixion is supposed to be interpreted solely one way. I hope you find an answer that actually means something to you...

clanlally said...

Why do you feel that your desire to help is self-centered?

Marjorie said...

Kaveri, thank you so much for your comment, I really enjoyed it and didn't find it blasphemous. "Blasphemy" like 'heresy' is a term used to oppress others. Your views are welcome here. I like the idea of expanding my thoughts and ideas beyond the narrowness of my experiences (white, Western, middle-class, Protestant).

Mike, the self-centeredness is tricky...its very easy to want to be a healer, the trick is rather to allow yourself to be a tool of healing -- maybe its a control thing. Wanting to heal, wanting to help can be a power trip if there is no humility.