Whatever you think/feel/believe about the whole Jesus story, there’s no doubt that Easter is not an event that goes unnoticed in Guatemala. The devout Catholics hit the streets, carrying around various statues and idols, the Evangelicals stoically ignore the whole thing (although we don’t really understand why) and pretty much the rest of the country goes to the beach, to stand shoulder to shoulder in knee-deep water next to the people who, during the rest of the year they stand shoulder to shoulder next to on the bus.
And amongst all of this, the real meaning of Easter can get a little lost. Because, taking the Bible story as an allegory (let’s just run with this for a little while, fundamentalists, and see where it takes us) the story of Jesus is about one guy who went around saying we should all be nice to each other and ended up getting nailed to a cross for it.
Which, on the face of it, is not a great one for the kids. But then many ironies exist in the gap between Christian theology and practice. The question “what would Jesus do?” has almost lost meaning as the multitude of interpretations have basically led to the point where the answer seems to be “whatever it is that I feel like doing at this particular moment”.
Any book such as the Bible, written as it was to give structure to a largely unstructured society at the time, compiled from the writings of various authors and filtered through an untold number of translations and revisions over the years is always going to be ambiguous in meaning and could in the end be used to justify pretty much any point of view. It’s hard to imagine what the early prophets would have thought of the preacher I heard the other day, saying that victims of natural disasters deserved what they got because they’re all sinners. I guess they’d point to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah by way of precedent.
In the end, though, it’s not important what other people think the story is about – what matters is what you take away from it. And for me the lesson is simple – think about what you’re doing. Don’t be a dick if you can avoid it. And if you’re going up against the big guns, make sure you have connections in high places.