Good Friday

Today is Good Friday. It’s the dark day of death before the resurrection at dawn on the third day. There’s little good about it, as much as we make a case for its necessity. We can make the argument that it’s good, but it’s still a day of death most brutal. It’d the day they crucified my Lord.

O God, be merciful to me.

It’s gray and dreary today. Windy and cold, spitting rain, threatening darkness. Everyone is asleep in the afternoon. Napping. What else can you do? As days off go, Good Friday isn’t one to celebrate with loud acclaim. It’s one to be mourned.

Father, don’t stop prayin’. For this old world is almost done.

Good Friday is about waiting. Waiting for Sunday to come. Waiting for hope to break through. Waiting for light to shine. Always waiting. Humanity is plunged into the dark night of the soul, with nothing to do but wait. I grow so tired of the waiting. I want to plunge forward with reckless abandon, but it’s not in my power to do. I can only wait.

We nailed him on to a tree, but he never said a mumblin’ word. Not a word, not a word, not a word.

Good Friday is a paradox. Thankfully it escaped the Hallmark treatment. The Easter bunny and the eggs have left it alone, for what could you even do with it? This year it coincides with Earth Day, fitting to some and awful to others, but there it is.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on; And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on and joyful be.

It’s a day of quiet contemplation, a day to ponder these things that I’ve done. We are scattered and lost and in such desperate need of that Sunday morning. When will it come? When will it come? Christmas has the child-like expectation, but for Easter it’s something more. Something deeper. Something urgent.

Like a wayward child I’ve wandered… I have wandered in the darkness, and my path was lone and drear. But my Father did not leave me, he was watching ever near. Lord I’m coming home, Lord I’m coming home.

It’s supposed to be 60 degrees again on Easter—a return of Spring.

Mulling Over the Civil War, 150 Years Later

150 years ago the United States of America went to war with itself. An interesting article over at CNN explored four reasons why we’re still fighting that war.

It’s full of interesting ideas and rationales. I found two of them worth talking about here:

1) Power of the Federal Government

H.W. Crocker III, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War, says Southern secessionists were patriots reaffirming the Founding Fathers’ belief that the Colonies were free and independent states.

They were also reaffirming the Founding Fathers’ belief that black men only counted as two-thirds of a person and could be sold like cattle. But you know, details.

But I’ll give Crocker some credit, he does pose a fair question:

“If the Southern states pulled out of the union today after, say, the election of Barack Obama, or some other big political issue like abortion, how many of us would think the appropriate reaction from the federal government would be to blockade Southern ports and send armies into Virginia?”

Ouch. There’s a question for the pro-life crowd. If Roe vs. Wade is overturned and California says “We’re out,” is the appropriate response to go to war?

An over-simplified question for a way more complex issue. Of course Abraham Lincoln said yes and did go to war over a moral issue. Which brings me to the second interesting idea.

2) Christianity Poisons Politics

At the time of the Civil War the political center disappeared in the wake of the Second Great Awakening, according to David Goldfield, author of America Aflame, a new book that examines evangelical Christianity’s impact on the war.

Goldfield says evangelical Christianity “poisoned the political process” because the American system of government depends on compromise and moderation, and evangelical religion abhors both because “how do you compromise with sin.”

“By transforming political issues into moral causes, you raise the stakes of the conflict and you tend to demonize your opponents,” Goldfield says.

So Christianity is to blame for the Civil War? Ouch. I’m over-simplifying (again), but it’s an interesting idea.

Some might say that’s good. Eradicating slavery is a battle worth fighting and in the case of the Civil War that’s meant literally. It’s interesting to make comparisons and talk about whether that’s worth doing today, but that’s probably one of the few times in history when you can invade to enforce a moral issue. Who would the pro-life crowd propose we invade in order to stop abortion? Or perhaps less inflammatory, who could we invade today to stop human trafficking? There’s no country that legalizes and supports slavery today like the South did 150 years ago.

I don’t have any answers here, I’m just mulling ideas.