Blog: Easter is Canceled

by Brad on May 27, 2021

Earlier this spring, I ended up in a conversation that began by my saying “Happy Easter” to someone. I was quickly ‘corrected,’ however, that it was “Happy Resurrection Day” instead. I asked for help in clarifying the distinction, and was met with this: Easter is a Pagan notion; Pagans are bad because they’re non-believers; therefore we can’t “celebrate” non-believing in a holiday about believing.

Well, I’m neither a “proper” Christian nor an expert on history, but my best recollection of same runs a bit different from the story I’d just heard. To ME …

Pagan: Pagans believed deeply. They believed deeply in the cycles of the natural world; the planet supporting them, “all that is.” They lived with a deep sense of reciprocity with, and for, the world around them, the source of their being. That’s far from “heathen.”  And besides, “heathen” means “different,” not bad. The judgment is something you add in … a choice you make.

Easter: If my memory of school-days history serves me (and my memory is pretty good), methinks it was Emperor Constantine, who, in a ploy to rope Pagans into Christianity, chose to blend Christian holidays with Pagan rituals as an enticement to join. Although many Christians seem to be unaware, Easter comes on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of Spring – clearly tied to the rhythms of nature, and a blend of both.

The Resurrection: To me, the resurrection is an interesting aspect of Christian faith. Ok, it may have happened. But, you don’t need a resurrection to have a religion. It’s a story “intended” to add weight to Christian belief. But even the idea of a resurrection seems to serve to weaken Christianity as a religion. Why? Because it adds grist to the misinterpretation of Jesus‘s teaching. He did not teach, “follow me.” He taught, “follow my way.” But, even in his times, his disciples found this too difficult to do, as ”his way” was a path of love and kindness to all, a path of finding higher consciousness; and frankly, they just didn’t want to do that much work, on themselves. It’s so much easier to worship Him instead. Jesus’s “way” was powerful, positive, completely inclusive, without any shred of judgment whatsoever. How about if we try that on … even for a day? (It may just be far nobler and life-affirming to be more Christ-like than to be more Christian.)

Fear: So, it seems what we’re really doing is hiding … from truth, from loving kindness, from learning, from accepting others, from our own inner work (that was Jesus’ whole point), and from ourselves. And it’s easy to hide if we’re afraid, and especially so if we don’t admit we’re afraid (or believe we are). Fear makes it far easier to judge anyone/anything that believes/thinks unlike you do. So rather than work to learn, understand, appreciate, accept, forgive or love them anyway, we “cancel” them. (Which is more “Christian?”) And we do this, it seems, to shore up what must be a fragile commitment to our own beliefs. (Why would you need to dismiss the beliefs of others if you’re buoyed up by a deep inner strength of your own?)

Separation: Because much of this is “unconscious,” we’re led (also unconsciously) to “create distance” between us and everything that “isn’t us.” If we create distance between us and Jesus, we can make him a “object,” then worship him (easier than following his way of self-knowledge and love). If we create distance between us and Nature, we can make it an “object,” and control or abuse it (easier than becoming a steward of sustainability). If we create distance between us and Pagans, we can deny the depth of their belief system (to shore up the fragility of our own), then judge them. All this, it seems, so we can justify creating distance between us and ourselves, our own authentic inner truth. Which was the essence of who Jesus was, and why, in his times, he was held in high regard. We abandon that as too difficult, then pretend we’re right in distancing ourselves from everything. Then we wonder why life is sometimes empty …. yet we miss entirely the fact that we created the emptiness, by inventing a separateness that isn’t (and never was) there. In truth, we are separate from nothing – from ourselves, one another, nature, God (in whatever form we may perceive God).

It takes a strong personal commitment to live your inner truth. It means claiming your uniqueness in a world that asks for conformance. It means self-reflection, a life-long inquiry into what constitutes “truth,” and willingness to constantly change and grow as a result of what you discover. Yes, it’s work. But how satisfying is the perceived comfort of separateness? “Cancel culture” might not realize that forgiveness is to let go of the hope for a different past.

And … in no way is any of this about what you believe. You have every right in the world to believe as you choose. What I’m writing about here is misinformation, lack of critical thinking, inconsistency and judgment.

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