Tag Archives: failure

The Passion of Everyday

Women at the Tomb from a Syriac Gospel, Northern Iraq

For Western Christians around the world, this is Passion Week. (Eastern Christians celebrate next week.) Believers commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the Passover meal, his crucifixion, death and resurrection. In Spain, there are elaborate and nightlong processions of masked penitents heaving gigantic statues depicting the suffering of Jesus and Mary. When I was living in Italy, I once had a friend visiting me who, after a day of sightseeing in Rome, said quite candidly, “I’m tired of every time I go into a church, I have to look at statue of a man being tortured and nailed to a cross.”

What might we understand from this disturbing image that seems to simultaneously fascinate and repel? First of all, it’s important to see the complete picture of the Passion. The story does not end with the crucifixion, but actually starts there. The Passion is only complete with the resurrection, but we tend to ignore this essential part of the story, preferring to dwell on the murderous nature of Jesus’ death. Does this sound familiar? Isn’t this just what the media does? Burying the good news until it’s impossible to see?

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Don’t Count Your Success!

Actor George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin found true love and married in Venice.

How does it make you feel? Actor George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin’s wedding in Venice.

Everyday, we hear about successful people – people who are more beautiful, richer, and happier than ourselves. Our hearts might give a slight squeeze when we compare our lives to theirs. We never seem good enough … But wait! Next to these people full of unattainable wealth, beauty, and happiness are the fallen ones. The once successful people who have ended up divorcing, in trouble with substance abuse or alcohol, or worse, committing suicide. We might experience a slight sigh of relief. After all, we are much better off than them.

We often count numbers, especially when it comes to measuring success. We count the money in our bank account, and assume the larger the number the larger our success. We count the size of our car, boobs, house – the bigger, the better. For our spiritual lives, we count how many times we do yoga a week, how often we pray everyday or go to church every week, or how many minutes we meditate. The more, the better. We count how many friends we have on Facebook, followers on Twitter and Likes on our blog. The more, the better!

Where did all this counting come from? Today, blind faith in science has become the dogma of our modern Western society, along with its methodology. Empirical evidence, that is numbers, are unquestioned as truth, because numbers can be quantitatively counted, compared, and placed on a graph. This ideology has also filtered into our society as a way as measuring who we are as persons. But this kind of counting is sterile and leaves us always wanting more. Counting success in this way depletes all creative energy. We are left feeling exhausted and alienated and far from recognizing the process of living as full human beings.

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