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Klavan On The Culture

Have A Wonderful Easter

March 29th, 2013 - 6:00 am

I’m posting this on Good Friday, which for the apostles of Christ was a day of the blackest despair. I imagine many of them were saying the same sorts of things that many of you have been saying since the last election, “It’s done!” “We’re finished!” “It’s over!” “There’s no hope!”

Have a wonderful Easter.

Below is a re-posting of part of my Christmas essay, “Our Culture and Christ.”

All art — all storytelling, picture-making, music — is an attempt to record and communicate the experience of being human. There are no words for this experience. Only metaphor and imagery and music will do. All peoples leave these traces of themselves. It’s their way of saying not just “We were here,” but “We were here — and this is what it was like.”

In the west, especially in that part of the west formerly known as Christendom, the project of art has taken on a special significance. That significance accounts for western art’s unparalleled greatness, for the fact that European productions between the Renaissance and World War I represent the pinnacle of human cultural achievement thus far. No other painting, literature or music has ever been more beautiful or more deep — more generally successful in doing what it is art does.

The special significance of western art — its special urgency — derives from the fact that westerners have a unique belief that the experience of being human, while by definition subjective, is nonetheless a reflection of an objective truth:  moral truth.  We believe that a human life can embody the ideas of God.

We believe this because our minds, our outlook, our culture were all formed under the pervasive influence of Christianity — the pervasive influence of Jesus Christ.

 

The oldest extant fragment of the canonical New Testament we have is a parchment the size of a cell phone that bears portions of the confrontation between Jesus and Pontius Pilate. During that confrontation, the Jewish preacher tells the Roman procurator that he has come to testify to the Truth and that all who are of the Truth will hear his voice. To this, Pilate responds — derisively, one imagines — “What is Truth?”  Jesus doesn’t answer him here, but he has already given his answer earlier in the same gospel: “I am.” “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

This statement is the fruition of Jewish thought at the very end of the first great cycle of Jewish civilization. The God of the Jews had spoken his name to Moses: I AM THAT I AM. Which is to say that the very fact of being — existence itself — is a person. That person created man in his image. And so, in theory at least, a man might live into that image, might express the personality of his creator and become the immortal moral truth of existence in the flesh. This is who Christ is.

Europe was molded by belief in him. Christianity transformed both the customs of the continent’s German tribes and the classical modes of thought and expression they ultimately inherited. So in Christendom, art’s age-old mission of expressing human experience became also something else, something more: an attempt to paint the human shadow of the great I AM.

Or… not. As the gospel suggests, the outlook of Pilate inevitably remains embodied in the western project.  It is part of the story.  There is the voice that says, “I am the truth” — the Christly voice that says our conscience matters, that we reflect the godhead, that just as there is a starry sky above, there is a moral law within. But there is also the Pilate voice saying, “What is truth?” implying that subjective human experience is forever open to question, that there can be no ultimate morality, that everything we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.

The history of western culture from Hamlet to The Sopranos is the history of minds in the toils of that Christ-Pilate dynamic. Whether it’s Nietzsche standing in for Pilate or it’s Woody Allen, whether it’s Dostoevsky batting for Christ or it’s Tolkien, the question is the same. Is there an ultimate moral reality that guides human life or is it as Hamlet said, and “there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so”?

Hamlet spoke those words when he was pretending to be insane. Many of today’s atheist intellectuals reiterate them while pretending to be sane. The Pilate-like moral relativism and multi-culturalism these academics espouse are aspects of a self-contradictory pose. They declare that nothing is true but that nothing is true, that nothing is real but that nothing is real. The position, as Shakespeare knew, is not only crazy, it’s make-believe crazy, because no one actually believes it.

But while the post-modernist position is absurd and untenable, it’s correct in its premise: you can’t make the argument for moral truth without God. If our conscience matters, it can only be because existence is a person and we are made in that person’s image. It can only be because our lives naturally strive toward Christ.

This underlying knowledge — this inescapable sense of Christ’s reality, toward which we move even through our constant questioning and doubt —  is what makes the stories and music and paintings of the west so uniquely great and beautiful and profound.

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John 21
"25 There are so many other things Jesus did. If they were all written down, each of them, one by one, I can’t imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books."
1 year ago
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Ancient 2000 year old text
"The Road to Emmaus

13-16 That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was.

17-18 He asked, “What’s this you’re discussing so intently as you walk along?”

They just stood there, long-faced, like they had lost their best friend. Then one of them, his name was Cleopas, said, “Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard what’s happened during the last few days?”

19-24 He said, “What has happened?”

They said, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene. He was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. Then our high priests and leaders betrayed him, got him sentenced to death, and crucified him. And we had our hopes up that he was the One, the One about to deliver Israel. And it is now the third day since it happened. But now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldn’t find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didn’t see Jesus.”
1 year ago
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This is outstanding to use KIng James Bible away from rif raf reply by Jesus after he raised from the dead

"25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
1 year ago
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Jesus Has Risen
Luke 24
24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.

9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
1 year ago
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The experience of Holy Saturday
A long journey into the ancient mother sanctuary and into the night.Such a secret deep forest pathway but i was met by Saint Faustina and as close as she was to Jesus , Jesus told her she would still have to go through some kind of cleansing fire to enter heaven. So I enter the 3rd heaven promised to me with saint Faustina and the three arch angels and no work as been down on this 3rd heaven so I enter into the Abraham faith 2nd heaven Jesus and Mary shire where I light the granite stone wood stove and burn away the demons
The God spoke to me it was time for the beast man sanctuary to be turned into the 4th heaven. How can this be was my question since I've tried for 3 years to do this without much success and now this could be down in a few hours?
so I began my walk through the forest to the beast man sanctuary and I met the pure woman never been defiled by the sin of Adam nor understood and I walk all the way to the Garden of Eden under lock and key with the beast man conquest and now the door was open . the white pine tree I planted years ago was healthy as sign of great things to come I gave up on and this pure woman her name i always thought of as the most evil name just like they say about Jesus , This Lilith was now to be in charge of the beast man sanctuary which will be now called the 4th heaven . She not under the sin of Adam and Eve yet in the earth flesh but more pure spirit then earth flesh in her worship of God. So she comes from a prison near the island of the Holy Popes of Rome to the new 4th heaven no longer the beast man sanctuary
Now I can feel her Divine love and not doubt believing she is evil demonic for the first time in my life.(it must have been hard for the people who believed Jesus was demon possessed to be tortured and then to find out he is the Son of God.
Isaiah 34 (NAB):

(12) Her nobles shall be no more, nor shall kings be proclaimed there; all her princes are gone. (13) Her castles shall be overgrown with thorns, her fortresses with thistles and briers. She shall become an abode for jackals and a haunt for ostriches. (14) Wildcats shall meet with desert beasts, satyrs shall call to one another; There shall the Lilith repose, and find for herself a place to rest. (15) There the hoot owl shall nest and lay eggs, hatch them out and gather them in her shadow; There shall the kites assemble, none shall be missing its mate. (16) Look in the book of the LORD and read: No one of these shall be lacking, For the mouth of the LORD has ordered it, and His spirit shall gather them there. (17) It is He who casts the lot for them, and with His hands He marks off their shares of her; They shall possess her forever, and dwell there from generation to generation.
1 year ago
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footnote
so I will be given the 3rd heaven and right next to be she is given the 4th heaven
(Wow! it is Easter already! That was quick sleep time for the morning sun and singing birds and church bells ringing)
1 year ago
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Theology of Holy Saturday
Tania M. Geist
excerpt from First Things blog
Benedict knelt in prayer before the Shroud of Turin, then spoke on the mystery of Holy Saturday, of which he saw the Shroud to be an icon. The meaning of Holy Saturday is perhaps especially dear to Benedict—between having been born and baptized on Holy Saturday of 1927, and having collaborated so closely with Hans Urs von Balthasar, whose theological imagination was certainly captured by the same mystery.

What resulted on that day in Turin in 2010 was a deeply pastoral account of Christ’s death and Resurrection, which explored some of the same central messages that he recently revisited in the last days of his papacy.

In Turin, Benedict observed that “humanity has become particularly sensitive to the mystery of Holy Saturday,” because the “hiddenness of God” has become so much a part of our contemporary experience of Christ that it functions existentially, almost subconsciously, in our spirituality. During a time when the problem of evil confronts us constantly, Benedict continued, we must all wrestle with Nietzsche’s proclamation that “God is dead!”: “After the two World Wars, the lagers and the gulags, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, our era has ever increasingly become a Holy Saturday. This day’s darkness challenges all those who question life, and it challenges us believers in particular.”

Insofar as the Shroud symbolizes Christ’s suffering and death, however, it also conveys a message of hope and life. Benedict mused that the image on the Shroud functions like a photographic negative, its contrast of dark and light being essential. So too with the paschal mystery, wherein “the darkest mystery of faith is at the same time the most luminous symbol of boundless hope. Holy Saturday is the ‘no man’s land’ between death and Resurrection, but One has entered into this ‘no man’s land.’” And the One who has entered has come to share in our death, in a historic and unrepeatable gesture of “the most radical solidarity.”

Benedict sees this to be the true power of the Shroud and what it represents: that in his descent, Christ takes on our suffering, our sins—“Passio Christi. Passio hominis.” (The phrase served as a refrain throughout Benedict’s trip to Turin, as it was the theme of the Shroud’s exhibit.)

On Holy Saturday, God incarnate entered “the absolute and extreme solitude of mankind.” Here Benedict pointed out that we have all experienced that terrifying feeling of abandonment, which is why we fear death—similarly to how, “as children, we are afraid of being alone in the dark, and the only thing that can comfort us is the presence of a person who loves us.” And that is precisely what happened on Holy Saturday, he said. Even in the darkest of times, “we can hear a voice that calls us and find a hand that takes ours and leads us out.” If love can penetrate to the very depths of hell, we are never alone or hopeless.

This assurance of God’s constant light and love has been a theme during the end of Benedict’s papacy. On his birthday last year, he confided, “I find myself before the last leg of my life’s journey, and I don’t know what awaits me. I know, however, that the light of God is here, that He is risen, that his light is stronger than every darkness; that the goodness of God is stronger than every evil in this world.” In the same vein, he spoke during his final general audience of God’s constancy in steering the barque of the Church, while expressing his gratitude that God has never left him or us “without his consolation, his light, his love.”
1 year ago
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footnote
Hans Urs von Balthassar
"Balthasar stresses that Sheol is not a place, however, but a condition and thus an intimate spiritual reality. Hence, just as a soul is united to God through the beatific vision (the visio Dei), so likewise Christ, in virtue of his visio mortis, does not merely “see” sin objectively outside himself but is subjectively united and conformed to it: He is “literally ‘made sin.'” Or, what is the same, sin becomes embodied (technically, enhypostasized) in the Son. The Father's rejection of sin thus takes the form of his abandonment of the Son in Sheol beneath the crushing weight of divine wrath against evil. Hence, Christ's agony does not cease after his death but rather increases as he suffers the pain of eternal punishment. Despite the limited time his body lay in the tomb, Christ experiences the Father's abandonment as eternal, both because such timelessness is essential to the punishment of unredeemed sin and because his suffering must embrace all time if it is to atone for the sins of all time.

As the Son of God, however, Jesus had a unique intimacy with the Father. Consequently, the Father's rejection is far worse for Christ than for other men. It is, Balthasar says, proportional to the divine love between the Father and the Son. Christ's agony in Sheol thus is immeasurably greater than the punishment of hell for any and all other sinners: Through the visio mortis, he is conformed to what is contrary to himself, the anti-divine reality of sin; he is rejected by the Father in proportion to his filial intimacy; and he undergoes this wrath on behalf of all sinners, suffering for each and every one of their sins.




Christ can undergo all this only because he is divine.
1 year ago
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2nd footnote
Thus even if the Three Abraham faiths have become part of the Harlot of Babylon ,The great power of Jesus Christ The Divine can redeem them from the great power of the EVIL one who lusts to see all cast in hell for eternity
1 year ago
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Today is Good Friday

Mattthew27
38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
The Death of Jesus

45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[c] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[d]

47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and[e] went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph,[f] and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
1 year ago
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footnote
Today , I was given another big mission for God. Yesterday, I arrive to my island 13 heavens on holy Thursday to take my bicycle to the 2nd heaven and burn away the demons from 230pm to sunset
Today I enter the 6th Jewish heaven on my way to King Solomon's great temple and from his heights in the south I can see the 6th heaven the 8th heaven and the Island of all the holy Popes of Rome
I discover in the North I can see not only the 1st heaven cleansing of the priest leading to the great thrones in hell but I could also see the White Mountains 100 miles away
Dipping my fingers into the ocean waves I agin feel the great power enter from the ring of great power beneath the ocean as i make the sign of the cross
To continue on my mission to the great thrones in hell and all the souls beneath the thrones. The tide was high and i stay high greeted by the Queen of Sheba and then I see her great throne in the Islam temple and to the west and great Istanbal throne for a King and as I continue through the great divide to the Jewish temple she had a great throne there and upon invite Solomon has great throne next to the Queen of Sheba
There I became nude before the bright sun and did my prayers we enter this world naked and we leave this world naked. so then I enter barefoot to the great Christian temple and become naked in prayer
Behold in the northern low sky came the old King of Babylon inspecting the three holy temples with all the souls beneath them
1 year ago
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by the way . The Old King of Babylon was not looking at me standing in the south but was looking west . What a nose profile he had . They do not make them like that anymore so it seems
yikes
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2nd footnote
Jesus was high flying in the sky. Three or 4 times Jesus fly over the three Abraham great faith temples with all the souls beneath the great ocean
Luke 11
29 As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here.
1 year ago
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Amen.

I also am struck by how apropos this post is to the gay marriage debate. Because to redefine marriage to include gay relationships is to embrace Pilate's nihilism and affirm that nothing is real but that nothing is real.
1 year ago
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