Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence? -Sathya Sai Baba

Sunday, April 16, 2006


At church this morning, I was feeling bored. Yes, sadly, I think my current experiment with Christianity will need to have a radical change in parameters in order to remain relevant to my current experiences. But, it was Easter, I sing in the choir, so I was at church. And bored. The priest was discussing the Gospel of Judas (which I think is a fantastic find, both theologically and historically) and altogether missing the point, in my opinion. In his words, this new Gospel said that Jesus “cut a deal” with his persecutors, when it quite clearly doesn’t say anything of the kind.

It actually just says (in my opinion, and IANATheologian) that Judas was in on the crucifixion, not just as betrayer, but as part and party to the plan for redemption, and that his was (aside from Jesus) the most difficult role. He not only had to betray his friend, but he had to be the scapegoat, the one reviled throughout history as the quintessential betrayer. But he did this, and did it well, because he loved Jesus, and Jesus asked him to do it. It reminds me of a Jorge Luis Borges tale that pretty much says the same thing, only Borges goes so far as to say that Judas was the real savior, because not only did his do the hardest job of the crucifixion tale (betray his friend, accept the hatred and scorn of millions throughout history), but he also is still suffering even to this day in Hell. That he suffers for us the tortures of Hell for all eternity that we might never have to experience them.

But I digress. I was bored until we started singing the hymns for the day. And with one line I remembered.

“Now the queen of seasons, bright with the day of splendour, with the royal fest of feasts, comes its joy to render.”

They make think they’re talking about Mary, but we know better, don’t we? Here’s another one:

Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

In the grave they laid him, love whom men had slain,
Thinking that never he would wake again.
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green,

Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain.
Quick from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Thy touch can call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green

Though the roots of Christianity may be in some life-denying, rule-bound form of Judaism, there’s a Pagan overlay grafted onto it that makes it quite palatable, if you know where to look. The myth of the dying son/sun is, of course, everywhere in the mythologies of Europe, and in Christianity we celebrate it today, Easter. We decorate the church in flowers and green, baptize babies and speak of the symbolism of new life signifying the death and resurrection of the Christ. But you and I, dear readers, we know they’ve got it backwards. Eternal life is now, right here and now in the renewing of the seasons, in the birth and growth, maturation and “death” of the earth in every year. The good earth, which is both mother and destroyer, shows her good side this time of year. We good children of the planet have a duty to share in the fecundity of spring!

The thinly veiled paganism of Christian ritual did my heart some good, I tell you what. I went out of there with a “spring” in my step and a song in my heart. It’s a beautiful day, kids. Go out there and get laid for Jesus.



And in case you think I'm a bit to hippie-ish, click here to watch parasitic worms crawl from the orifices of their hosts and remember - nature is creepy.


  1. The whole "Gospel of Judas" debate brings up something I've been saying for years. If it was, in fact, essential that Jesus be crucified, then to the extent that Judas orchestrated the crucifixion, Judas is an instrument of our redemption. If you read the Bible, it's also interesting that Judas never really incurs much judgment or scorn from Jesus, and yet he really gives it to Peter. Of course, if it is in fact essential for everyone to accept Christ as the son of God, then he needed some good PR guys. Fittingly enough, Peter and Paul fit the bill because of what?...GUILT! It's interesting to me that Paul's earlier persecution of Jesus's followers is what always seemed to fuel him, and that Peter wouldn't (in my opinion) have become the seminal figure in the history of christianity that he eventually became were it not for the HUGE guilt trip that Jesus lays on him, saying that he'll deny him three times. I know, a shocking thesis, that guilt has been essential to Christianity's rise and continuing influence in the world. I suppose that this new gospel just reaffirms that, regardless of whether it was fully volitional or not, each of these seminal figures in Christianity's rise made their own sacrifices, and each ended wearing their own crown of thorns. It's a great thing, I think, to be able to suffer for something in which one believes. Perhaps not in any altruistic sense, but at the very least it gives our inevitble suffering some justification. I know, I'm a cynic.

    Thanks for the feedback on the "race" post. While I appreciate what you're saying, I think that "race" does exist in a very real sense, and while to see someone primarily in terms of the color of their skin does them a disservice, we can't just abstract the significance of race out of existence. What bothers me is that there are multitudes of people who will go on for days and days discussing the problems of race in this country without interrogating what it is to be "black" and even more so to be "white".

    The more I attempt to get an answer to these questions, the more I realize that I, as a "white" person, am simply supposed to stand on the outside and occassionally play the role of the bad guy. I'm just tired of serving no other role in this debate than outsider/bad guy when I know that any real change is predicated on both "black" and "white" people changing their attitudes and behavior. Beyond that, I feel like I'm being pushed towards a place where I'll simply say "fuck it" and consider it someone else's problem. After all, why should I care? I'm the quintessential straight, white, privileged male. I'm gonna go corporate, run a sweatshop, manipulate some elections, patch up the glass ceiling, and generally do whatever I can to stem the tide of social progress. Sounds like a full Sunday, right?

    What's clear to me is that within the realm of American identity politics, when everything is broken down beyond theory, the sides are drawn, very clearly, at "everyone" versus "straight, white, non-ethnic males."

    Like I said, more than anything, I'm irritated by people's unwillingness to engage these questions, as if they're not essential to the problem. Grrr.....

    Hope you have a nice Easter. I need to work on the whole grace thing. ;-)

    The Angry White Man,

  2. Without Judas, there would be no salvation. I pointed this out to the Christian guy who dumped me and he got all in a huff. He thought I meant that the great betrayal was a good thing. I was simply noting that it was necessary. Sin and evil have their place in the grand scheme of things. Without them, how would we recognize good and choose to be good? I was really excited about the Gospel of Judas. But I tend to think more information is better than merely sticking to what supports the party line.

  3. I don’t happen to believe that the issues involved in race relations (what a quaint sounding term) can be solved by politics. Nor can they truly be solved from inside the concept of race itself. The only way to solve a dilemma like that is from outside. You have to have a perspective that has nothing to do with race.

    The problems of race come from the inherent human characteristic of perceiving differences. If somebody looks different than me, speaks differently than me, that person is most likely a threat, and in the Stone Age, that would be a safe bet. The ability to perceive differences is a useful evolutionary trait. Kept us from dying out, probably. But really, that world has moved on. We’re now dealing with a world where hard-wired fear of difference is a detriment. It’s an evolutionary strategy that was useful 10,000 years ago, but now serves no particular purpose. So we need to evolve beyond it. But how?

    The only way that I know is to hack our brains. We have to learn how to observe and control formerly unconscious fear-based responses to people who don’t look like us – this goes for people of all races. Meditation, body based practices like martial arts or yoga, magick, all of these are attempts to write languages to access the no longer necessary evolutionary programs written in early parts of our history.

    People who point to the many past atrocities committed in the name of race as the problem in this day do themselves a disservice. This is in no way to diminish those atrocities (slavery, genocide, cultural repression). But to dwell on one’s emotional reactions to those atrocities (as so often happens in identity based art) and believe that that is going to somehow change the situation is like thinking that knowing what kind of tree the splinter came from is going to get it out of your eye. Racism is a disease of the mind, and its symptoms are cultural and political. You don’t cure diseases by treating symptoms.

    What it means to be "white" is a social construct, and, while interesting as an exercise, doesn't really address the problem. The problem is not what it means to be "white" or "black." The problem is being a human being. Thinking you're white or black is part of that problem.