Friday, April 6, 2007

Good Friday

Ah, yes, Good Friday... I guess I have aging on the mind because I woke this Good Friday morning thinking about Jack Palance and his one-arm push-ups at the Academy Awards and then I thought about his great scenes in Shane in the black pants and the black shirt and the black hat and how he gunned down Van Heflin with a curl of the lip and a glint in his eye and how he then got his in turn from sad-eyed good guy Alan Ladd who had to ride off into the sunset to save his soul and of our avenging gun-toting Jesus-loving cowboy president who listens only to God the Father and his corporate sponsors riding to the rescue with his gang who couldn't shoot straight... and then I thought of Cat Balou and Lee Marvin and his hilarious spoof of Jack Palance in his black pants and black shirt and black hat totally soused and riding to the rescue of Jane Fonda and then I thought about Hanoi Jane and the outrage in America and how thirty or so years on it doesn't matter any more and soon I found myself thinking about this whole goddamned awful tragic mess in Iraq and the Middle East and about the simple-minded trust in the myth of the good guy gunslinger who rides in and saves us all from those who threaten us when in reality only we can save us from ourselves... and then there's that other myth of our president's personal redeemer Jesus dying on the cross and saving us from evil...


Mark said...

Peter, do you really think President Bush is the face of Christianity? Perhaps he represents it as it exists today for lots of Americans, but don't make the logical mistake of saying that Bush actually represents Christianity. He doesn't, and he never will. Neither did the popes who ordered the crusades or Constantine who conquered lands and leveled armies in Christ's name. They don't represent Christianity any more than the suicide bombers in the middle east using terms like "Jihad" represent the Muslim faith.

carly said...

Mark. I beg to argue. A well-tuned Christian Coalition put the bum at the head of their course. He may not be a pope of their ilk, but he sure as hell is their supreme general. And so is he for the other ones who worship money. Christians and plunder have always gone merrily down the road of greed hand in hand.

And anyone who says they were duped by the biggest flim-flam man of recent history, is trying to lie a way out of history. Except for some who have a little intelligence, they still supported the snake oil pitch man when they knew full well he was wrong.

According to the universal laws of circularity, he sowed his demise the moment he decided to attack. At that moment forces against wild power sparked a flame that will continue to grow, burrying him and his shotgun sidekick in humiliation and the Christian persona will pass further into meaninglessness with him.

As good as a minority of Christians may be, all of the atrocities allowed and supported by most Christians over centuries are an indelible shit stain on that faith. If they don't support killing and atrocities, they should have stopped it overwhelmingly, but they don't.

If I felt duped, I would get out of the clan.

Eli said...

I don't think Mark was trying to condone the actions of President Bush or "Christians" in the world today. Rather, I think he was voicing his concern for the hostility given towards real Christians on a daily basis.

I think the idea Mark was trying to present to us is that Christians are by definition followers of Christ, and Christ would be appalled at the actions of the loudest voices that call themselves Christians today. The very nature of Christianity is selfless devotion to God--losing your sense of self in the face of something infinitely greater--and these agenda-pushing people can't even begin to realize that.

Carly, I think it relates a lot to something you said in a previous comment. You mentioned something about Taoist thought, and pointed out the difference between that and the religious practices of Taoism going on in the world today. Mark is talking about Christian thought(the true spirit of Christianity), not the cheap costume people put on to have more leverage in a conversation.

In the end, it's not a matter of outrage at what people are doing with Christianity, but instead what they're doing with the NAME of Christianity. The Christian Coalition, the right wing and other "Christian" focus groups ought not be pointed at to demean Christianity because they're not actually Christians, no matter how loudly they may say so.

PeterAtLarge said...

Mark, good point. And no, actually I don't think that Bush is "the face of Christianity." My father would be the closest I could come to that. And I certainly don't believe that the Christian Coalition deserves that distinction either, Carly. I do believe, though, that the Jesus story has been "mythicized" into something other than it was, and distorted to serve a variety of not-so-wonderful causes. If you pay attention to the actual words, he was, in many ways, as truly great a humanitarian as the Buddha...

They call him James Ure said...

With whom shall I battle, for I am my own enemy?
Who will save whom, for I am my own savior?
I am my own witness, for my actions and inactions.

--Dharmarakshita in Mind Training

Carly said...

A lot of nice people on this site, who don't want to say anything bad about others. Commendable. I profusely aplogize to Peter about this. I know, as a Buddhist and a man of conciliation, he doesn't want a controversy intruding on his Buddhist place.

He is absolutely right, though, there is a link between kingly types like Bush and historical Christianity.

My experience is that the people you say are not good Christians would vehemently disagree with you, produce arguments why Bush was justified, and point to the Bible. They can quote their Bibles, believe deeply in Christ, go to church religiously, and have the pastor over to the house. I think they would fairly well freak to hear you tell them they are not Christians or not good ones. They might even kick you out of the church, like they did that pastor up in Minnesota or wherever.

And one dare not say anything bad about Christians, or a Christian will call one on the carpet. I know what Mark's point is. I know you think you are better Christians than they are. It's called a holier than thou attitude. Never seen a Christian without it. Except one, who was an agnostic leaning Italian Catholic, a good man. But the Holier Than Thou are the biggest reason Christians good or bad are involved in fighting and telling us off, politely or not.

It cannot be denied that what people, widely known as Christians, have done over the years stains the religion as a whole. You don't see Buddhists or Taoists doing those things. Why? Because there is no forgiveness. One must take responsibility for one's actions.

I personally know a lot of Christians. It's presumptuous to tell me what I don't understand. And I've seen services that ended with huge video screens of fighter jets and American flags! In church!!! Why, even as a stupid child I sang along with "onward Christian soldiers, marching as if to war". Brainwashing children to die for their God.

It's a faith that has been doing a lot of bad in the world and the world has noticed and served notice. Good Christians aren't going to get around that. Bad Christians have torn the country apart by forcing their will on the world. And they continue to argue it on the floor of our Senate at my expense. No need to waste energy convincing me of your faith.

Richard said...

I think you make a really good point in your post about the myths of someone else riding to the rescue, someone else taking care of our problems without us having to lift a finger. Dying on the cross for us, in my view, saving us with making us face up to our problems.

I suppose it also enables us to point the finger of blame elsewhere if needs be. The fact that we are the ones who handed control over willingly, and thus are still responsible, seems to escape us.