Monday, April 25, 2011

Confessions of an Easter Crank

As requested by the lovely lady from Texas in one of her guises of @TheMissionalist, here are my thoughts on why I was glad to be done with Easter yesterday evening.

1. Sick kid who really wanted to have a fun Easter, but was feeling lousy – not much fun.
2. Family. Many people share my feelings about family and holidays. It can be difficult, especially in theologically diverse families. I am not the only one who has that one relative who makes every gathering a chore to endure, but I do have one. That one special person who makes you smile though gritted teeth and think to yourself that you really do uphold the worth and dignity of EVERY person regardless of how you are feeling at the moment. My feeling is that you have the opportunity to contribute and the right to criticize, but you can’t have just the latter. (Letting out that deep breath now.)

Now, for the theology. I’ve written about this before, but Easter as a holiday is meaningless for me. As a non-theist, I don’t celebrate the risen Christ. Participating in Easter festivities makes me feel dishonest and I hate being dishonest with people. My family of origin believes in the literal resurrection story so I know that the remembrance and celebration of said story holds significant meaning for them. For me, it means extra shopping and cooking I have to do. I guess it just tugs me back to feeling like I have to pretend to have a faith I don’t have in order to make them happy, and I won’t do that anymore. I don’t want to be disrespectful to their faith, but I can’t share it with them either.

Being post-Christian, I don’t like the whole Easter story. The theme of re-birth and renewal is lost on me because what I see is a celebration that your leader was tortured to death. That is not so festive for me. When I was a conservative Christian, Easter had meaning: Christ’s sacrifice bought my eternal life. But if you don’t believe in the divinity of Jesus and you don’t believe in penal substitution, then what is the whole point? Without a literal resurrection Easter just seems gory.

Sarah at Ernie Bufflo writes here about what Good Friday means to her as a liberal Christian so I know that there are other ways to view Easter from a liberal perspective. I recommend her post if you want a more uplifting version of Holy Week than mine. I guess I could sum this whole post up by saying that I would be happy to ignore Easter altogether and wish the faithful well as I do with many holidays that are not part of my faith tradition, but celebrating it part of the way, without any faith behind it feels wrong.

1 comment:

  1. The difficulties with Easter as holiday may be that it consists of at least 3 different strands woven together.

    ** substitutionary atonement -- Jesus died for our sins at Easter (commonly found in more traditional forms of Christianity).

    ** "There's a pony here somewhere" -- Jesus' followers were able to find the strength and optimism to continue on after Jesus' death because they could still Jesus was still with them after death (commonly found in more liberal forms of Christianity). The pony line refers to a very old joke - a version of it can be found online here:

    ** springtime rebirth -- more common in Unitarian Universalists congregations due to the influences of Earth-based spirituality.

    Generally, Unitarian Universalists will talk a lot about the 2nd and 3rd strands but very little about the 1st strand. Even the 2nd strand has some blood and gore associated with it (not as much as the first strand but some).