Friday, April 22, 2011

* Latter-Day-Literalists v. Emersonian Metaphorists at Yale: Easter Debate

ROFL is text message lingo for Roll On the Floor Laughing.  Someone at Yale substituted the inscription  ROFL on a Christian cross for INRI (Jesus Christ King of the Judeans) setting off a debate (click previous phrase in black) and the following article. 

 Fiddler: Good Friday and the ROFL cross


Thursday, April 21, 2011


Well said.
Metaphor suits me better: Santiago bent with the mast to his small boat headed toward the oceans off Havana in The Old Man and the Sea.
The "cross" which all men (and women) bear ---not just Christians --is LIFE itself---for there is no way out of life EXCEPT by DEATH: the VERY CRUCIFXION which every living creature must endure, a crucifixion WHICH WAS choreographed by none other than the Author (or "Father" ) of life itself.
Then what's the "eternal life" in this kind of interpretation of Christianity? It is "life" free from the ANXIETY of the neurotic attempt to prolong itself.
It's total acceptance and faith that every minute is an undeserved gift, a miracle.
And resurrection? It is GRATITUDE----the sudden appreciation of every second (Think "Emily's soliloquy" before she returns to the land of the dead in Our Town)
Think of it---to be able SEE color, SMELL lilacs, FEEL velvet, HEAR music or any combination of the previous. (ask Helen Keller)
What a Metaphor.
What an Easter.

@Anti-Yale: that is a beautiful interpretation of Christianity...but I don't think it need exclude the metaphysical interpretation, either. In other words, I see this as a case of not metaphor, but metonymy - not resemblance, but contiguity. To me, resurrection is not a metaphor for gratitude, but the ultimate manifestation of a death-resisting presence which we sense in the lilacs, velvet, color, and music of which you speak...
In any case, neither the metonymy nor the metaphor receives much attention from finger-waggers or the hatemongers.
I like the notion you propose of 'death-resisting presence".
If Hemingway doesn't work, try the last words of The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder: "There is a land of the living and a land of the dead the and the bridge is love----the only survival, the only meaning."

The cross is a 'symbol'. Symbols are open to interpretation. Since there are hundreds of different Christian sects, the meaning of the symbol differs with different groups.

These posts and the posts for yesterday's article on the ROFL controversy at Yale delineate the dichotomy in America between the Hallmark-Greeting-Card-Country-Club-Christianity-of-Latter-Day-Literalists and the Emersonian Christianity of Metaphor and Transcendent Suffering in all Being.
Worthy of Easter.

"Believers are graciously and clearly articulating what Christianity truly is."
There are dozens of different Christianities from Orthodox to Roman Catholic to Evangelical to Mormon to Unitarian to English Catholic to Quaker to Shaker and on and on.
It is IMPOSSIBLE for the phrase "What Christianity truly is" to have a consensus definition.
It is similar to saying "What love truly is." (which BTW has a pretty famous definition in 1 Cor. 13 ! )
Have an inspiring, DIVERSE, Easter.
Paul Keane
M.Div. '80

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