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Good Friday

Today is “Good Friday” for Christians of every stripes – nominal, literal, liberal, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Orthodox.  I knew early on as a child growing up the Catholic faith that this day is to remember the brutal torture and execution of Jesus of Nazareth.  Thus, the obvious question, which I did not get then and still wrestle with to this day, is why is it “Good”?  In my early teens, I got the simple “born again” answer, “because Jesus saved you with his death.”  What?  Why did I need to be saved?  How?  Just like the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament.  Huh?

Much has been written from each and every theological and rational angle on these questions, and I have read much and forgotten even more.  The essence of my childhood faith (the crucification and following resurrection) is still a mystery to me.  But one question has been answered, I think, with a common tool lawyers use called “Incorporation by Reference“.

If Jesus was the Son of God and was God, perfect in always, complete trust in God the Father, why did he cry out “My god, my god, why have you forsaken me?”  With incorporation of Psalm 22 by reference, it finally made sense:

22 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
    and by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are holy,
    enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
    they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
    they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
    let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”


Vanity of Vanities

vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What does a man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.
There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to be
among those who come after.

The Truth Lies Underneath

“I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg.  There is seven-eighths of it under water for every part that shows.  Anything you know you can eliminate and it only strengthens your iceberg.  It is the part that doesn’t show.”  –  Ernest Hemingway 1958

A few weeks ago, I met with a group of fathers, one of who pointed out that we seem to learn more from our children than what we think they learn from us.  This weekend was a prime example.  I was helping my daughter with her Honor’s English essay on Ernest Hemingway’s “Iceberg” writing style.

I have been wrestling with the true purpose and definition of “myths”.  Of course, there is that common definition that a “myth” is a story that is not true.  I have always intuited that this is an incorrect shallow definition.  Joseph Campbell is famous for his works on myths.  While his work has been insightful, it has not provided me with any clarity.  Since I was first conscious enough to understand what I was reading, my intuition has told me that underneath myths and fairly tales lies the truth.  Hemingway, known for his simplicity and minimalism, has given me the simple explanation for questions I have asked my entire life.