Tuesday 14 October 2008

Forgive Them Lord, They Know Not What They Do

One of the things D had to put up with when she lived with me in this flat were my occasional impassioned outbursts, (For the benefit of newer readers, D was my former flatmate with whom I lived in a state of platonic friendship).

D got used to the fact that most of the time I'm at home I'm busy. She used to watch TV, whilst I blogged. Then she'd use the PC to go on Myspace whilst I went to the pub. But we'd probably chat for a bit every night.

One thing we always did, was we never went for a cigarette separately. We'd always go out together. And she'd always give me warning in case I planned to smoke something stronger.

And we'd often sit out on the steps for about twenty minutes or so drinking our tea, D smoking cigarettes, me smoking joints.

And from time to time, I'd launch off into something impassioned. And occasionally D would have to calm me down a bit.
This occasion was one.

Crushed: You not seen the 'Passion of Christ', have you?'

D: No, chick. Not really my sort of thing.

Crushed: You're not Catholic, that's why. I saw it at the multiscreen one on Broad Street. With this Brazilian bird. I'll tell you what, it's one of them films. When I got there, I'd come straight from work and I really needed the loo. But I kind of forgot about that all the way through. Didn't remember I needed the loo till the end. Seriously, I forgot my bladder for well over two hours.

D: We could get it out on DVD if you want?

Crushed: We could. I've seen it about four times since though. Amazing film. You really feel you were there. I mean, it may not actually be how it happened, but you feel it was. It's in real time, if you get my drift. I mean, not quite in real time, but it progresses without cutting.

D: We'll get it out then.

Crushed: (thinking) You know, the thing that struck me was the juxtaposition. I mean, you see him getting whipped and scourged and then you see Mary Magdalene wiping up the blood, then she has a flashback to 'He who is without sin cast the first stone' and then tears fall from her eye. It's moving, it really is. You can't help thinking 'They killed him. Killed him for saying that'.

And then I sat and smoked for a bit. D didn't really know what to say.

Crushed: It's a bit of a headfuck, actually, watching it. Because so many things go through your mind. Because you're looking at him and your soul vibrates, it does, because of what they're putting him through, and you see it, you see it, but you know, you know he changed the world by doing it, he did. The world is a better place because of what he did and not because he saved our imaginary souls but because he set an example, he went and let the buggers do all that to him and he died with dignity. It was a human being standing up to hate and winning. Because he won, even in death. That's the point. That's his victory over death. He beat them. His Church outlived the Roman Empire. He won.

I was visibly shaking now.

Crushed: I know this is going to sound blasphemous, but I don't mean it to be. I envied him. I envied him. Not because he ended up being worshipped. And not because of the pain he suffered. But because he had guts. And I wish I had that. I wish I had the guts to go through what he did simply in the belief it would make the world a better place. But you see, I haven't got that guts. I haven't got the belief. I haven't got that belief to be hanging there dieing of asphyxiation and say 'Forgive them father, they know not what they do'. I haven't the guts to go through what he did, just in the hope it would achieve something.

I paused. I was overwhelmed. And then it hit me. The tears really were rolling down my cheeks.

Crushed: We're horrible to eachother. We were horrible to him. He said 'love eachother' and systems of hate were so frightened of that they tortured him and killed him by one of the most painful ways imaginable. And he still forgave them, forgave them all. It's about love. It's about- having his love. Why can't we?

D: It's your faith, I understand it means a lot to you.

I inhaled and exlaled. I rubbed my eyes.

Crushed: Because it's right. Heaven and Hell, Angels, Garden of Eden- that's all crap. But D, if you'd seen the shit I've seen. He was right. And if any man ever proved his point, he did. I envy his guts. There wasn't a man like him.

And I still pretty much hold that view.

Christ was the first true revolutionary.

And I think enlightened human beings should see him less as someTHING to worship and more someONE to admire.

We've gone wrong by kneeling before him, when really, we should be trying to emulate him.

He didn't redeem us, he showed us redemption. There's a difference.


Anonymous said...

Wow - On so many levels this post struck a cord with me. Great posting Crushed.

Anonymous said...

I got the shivers reading. I can't watch The Passion, not yet. I want to out of respect for Him but I'm..I don't know just not there yet.

Wonderful post and I feel the same way. x

Anonymous said...

I think you are basically saying he was showing the way, being a gude, a demo, a manual.

You are re interpreting John 14:6

"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Anonymous said...

> We've gone wrong by kneeling before him, when really, we should be trying to emulate him.
He didn't redeem us, he showed us redemption. There's a difference.
I think both can go together? He redeemed us; and because we're redeemed, we should live like it. And of course, no point kneeling without a change in heart - and if your heart changes, your behaviour should - cos true worship is to live your life the way your beliefs tell you to; to live the life he lived. I'd like to live that kind of life - just that I'm torn, naturally - on one hand, there's the 'happily ever after with prince charming' and on the other, sweat and blood and rejection. no wonder so many find it hard to walk that path.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I have not been able to bring myself to see that movie either. I wonder if I ever will be able to endure it. Too empathetic for my own good.

Anonymous said...

I do see Christ as a revolutionary.

I didn't see the film. Mel Gibson is not an objective interpreter of Christ's passion to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Cat- I guess because it's a conversation that actually happened. I am actually like that in real life, I get worked up about things of this nature.

Makes me quite hard to live with I think :)

Kate- It's gripping, certainly. A very Catholic film, in many ways. One that I felt I could approve of in my curious way- you're probably aware I'm inclined to liberation theology, but also quite ultramontane in my expressions of religious devotion.

I think the filmchallenged what the point of it all was, and for me it was about human edurance for a cause you know to be right.

It was about sacrificing yourself so that others would win out.

Moggs- That's how I see him, yes. and that's of course why Christianity won- because so many were happy to follow this example. Not much the romans could do when thousands of people if given the option 'Convert or be crucified?' start grinning and calling for the cross.

And I do think we've been bought out know, as people. Bought out to forget that there is a greater reward for sacrificing yourself than being bought off.

Eve- To be honest, I don't believe in traditional interpretations of it all.

I think the point is, you put everything else secondary to your cause. That's what he taught us.

Now I don't think that means I have to like an ascetic monk. It's inside, in your head that counts.

It's about are you ready?

Are you ready to make sacrifices when the time comes for what you know to be right?

To me, the whole point is about being rady and willing to walk away from your home, your possessions, your friends, your loved ones, without a thought, and walk into certain death because you know its the right thing to do.

jmb- You will flinch. I've got a strong stomach, and I winced. You actually see the flails ripping away flesh.

The point is, you SEE the pain, so you comprehend it. It was criticised for that, but actually, I think it was powerful, very powerful.

Enemy of the Republic- Definitely, they are revolutionary concepts for the time, it's just we've got so used to them, we forget how novel they were. Like loving your enemies, the prodigal son, etc. I see him as a revolutionary philosopher, not a redeemer as such.

Well, he certainly wasn't objective in Braveheart. There's one film I can't watch because it's historical inaccuracy really winds me up.

Sir William Wallace, owner of half of Renfrewshire, graduate of the Sorbonne, why is he living in a hovel?

Why does he wear a kilt- they wweren't invented until the 1700s.

And why do they pain themselves blue? They weren't ancient Picts.

The Jus Prima Noctis probably never existed anywhere and CERTAINLY never existed in the British Isles.
And Wallace was dead before Isabella came to the British Isles.

Anonymous said...

> To me, the whole point is about being rady and willing to walk away from your home, your possessions, your friends, your loved ones, without a thought, and walk into certain death because you know its the right thing to do.

Agreed. Except that someone else says, 'how can you say you're ready to die for God, if you can't even live for God?' (while someone else again replies, 'It's easier to die for God than to live for him, 'cos you only need to die once, while to live for him, you have to die to yourself daily, when you deny yourself for the sake of others.'. So I'd still say - both are necessary. Don't neglect living, but don't cling so much to life that you can't walk away either ;-)

Anonymous said...

I once literally fled from religion and all things religious but have returned to (what I perceive as) the essence of religions in the form of poetic testimony. For me, Christ is the perfect metaphor for the human champion of evolution, meaning one who has grasped the rewards of evolution (or enlightenment) - the paradise of peace/joy/freedom - and wishes only to help others find the same despite his still imperfect state. I've witnessed how a science-friendly poetic process can manifest a christ-like evolution, defeating all the domination/survival instincts (sins) - except for the primary instinct itself - to not die. And I don't see that coming. So far, I see nothing particularly harmonious in dying. But it's a lot to think about. Great post.