As I opened my morning newspaper, there was a 3-column photo of some guy dressed up like Jesus carrying a cross downtown in front of a bus. Two more character actors playing the crucified Christ appeared later in the paper. Apparently acting-out a Roman crucification is kitsch at this time of the year.
Is the meaning of Easter being lost?
That’s the Houston Chronicle story with this subtitle:
Some scholars fear the story of resurrection has gone far astray
I find that subtitle a bit humorous in itself- how can a ‘story’ of an un-dead man possibly go astray? The Chronicle story begins:
Fewer than half of Americans mentioned Jesus’ death and resurrection when asked about the significance of Easter, according to a survey released last month by Christian researchers the Barna Group.
At the same time, the National Retail Federation reports we’ll spend more than $13 billion on the holiday for food, clothes, candy and greeting cards.
“Jesus is very challenging. To encounter him is existentially challenging. It can be scary and uncomfortable,” said Jeremy Wilkins, assistant professor of systematic theology at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston. “There is a strong pressure in our culture to reinterpret (the resurrection) or explain it or not to deal with it as the mighty and miraculous thing that it was.”
‘Jesus is very challenging.’ Now that’s the truth. Yet the surreal, nature-defying resurrection from death have to accompany this challenge? Seems to me that what Jesus preached was dead-on, but the magic of him becoming un-dead spoils it all. Why was that myth added to his story? Did that make his message any stronger? Had he not ‘risen’ or not have been ‘raised’ from the dead, would his words, teaching, commandments and actions have been deemed less true?
Why the magic? Well, those of us who have investigated know why. But do ‘they?’