Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

Letter From New York 04 03 15 Good Friday in Delhi…

April 3, 2015

To my great surprise, I discovered that today, Good Friday, is a national holiday in India, created as such in an effort to secularize India. My friend, Sanjay, thought it was an excellent idea.

Felled late last night by Jaipur’s version of Delhi Belly, I spent an uncomfortable night, waking tired but with the storm having passed. So far, so good today. I’ve been incredible lucky health wise in India, except for last night.

Meeting Sanjay for breakfast, I declined to go with him on a business meeting he had and went back to my room and slept an extra hour, which was good for me. I read a little, did a few emails and then Sanjay and I headed out of Jaipur toward Delhi.

As I have become accustomed to doing, I willed myself into nap mode on the drive back, finding it easier on the system to not watch in real time the continuous close calls that make up a day on the road in India. I popped an eye open to see that we were virtually on top of another vehicle. Closing my eyes again, I went back to my happy place.

On the part of the trip when I was awake, Sanjay commented to me that he is discouraged by how India does not pick up after itself. He said that it was always dusty and dirty but not trashy, now trash lines the roads in some parts. Such is India. Up and coming and down and dirty.

At one point, we drove through Gurgoan, a city within the city of Delhi, skyscrapers swarming the landscape, modern buildings that look like they belong in Phoenix or Des Moines or any other mid-sized American city. It’s where the advertising agencies have settled along with most of the cable networks, like Discovery.

Next time you suspect your customer service call has been directed to India, it may well be to one of the buildings in Gurgoan.

From my long night last night, I am planning to stay in my room and recuperate. I’m still a bit tired.

Tomorrow morning, I am having a late coffee with Kiran Karnik, who was head of Discovery India at the time I was out helping with the launch. He has gone on to do many more things, including leading NASSCOM, the association for the software industry in India.

Following that, my friend Raja is picking me up so he can introduce me to his wife, who has been down in Mumbai, and so I can see at least one of the shops she runs in Delhi.

Sanjay’s wife, Natasha, has been in Thailand and is returning tonight. Hopefully the three of us will have dinner on Saturday, my last night in India this trip. Sunday at 1:05 I should be lifting off for the long flight back to New York, crossing at least nine time zones and ending in New York at 11:00 PM on Sunday. It’s my intention to go straight to the little apartment in New York, line my bags up like good soldiers and dive into sleep.

While I slept, President Obama announced a framework for a deal with Iran in the Rose Garden. Apparently, it is more detailed than expected. Not unexpected is the war of words that will follow, accompanied by some gnashing of teeth, as Kerry and Obama continue to work to a final agreement.

A thirty-seven year old man, Louis Jordan, survived sixty-six days at sea before being rescued by a container ship. During the ordeal, his boat capsized several times, all his equipment was smashed and he learned to harvest fish that found his laundry enticing.

Nearly 150 individuals, mostly students, were killed in a Shabab attack on a Kenyan University in Garissa, in the eastern part of the country. They came in, separated Christian from Muslim and killed the Christians.

For Christians, this is the holiest time of the year, the time when Jesus was crucified, died and rose from the dead.

It is remarkably sad that religious hatred rips this world apart as fiercely as it did when the Christ lived, walked the earth, preached and died.

Letter From New York Easter Sunday 2009

April 12, 2009

Letter From New York
April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday

It is Easter Weekend. I am at the cottage, and winter will not pull its icicle claws from us – it is unseasonably cold. A fire burns in my Franklin stove. There is a lament in the streets that spring will not really happen. We, here in the Hudson Valley, have been teased by spring yet it will not burst upon us. It is still winter cold.

Tonight, returning from a day of errands, the sunset was of the kind that inspired the Hudson school of painters. Grey clouds were bordered with magenta light and it was magical. Nature isn’t giving us warmth but it is giving us beauty.

It is Easter. It is Passover. These are profound holidays for those who live in the Judeo-Christian tradition. I find myself acknowledging them if no longer quite a part of them. It is now been a long time since I have been a practicing Catholic, which is my heritage. I gave that up a long time ago. I have flirted with a few other faith groups and have never been able to quite settle in comfortably with any of them. I appreciate the Episcopalian tradition; it is a religion that was born out of a need to justify divorce and murder. It should be forgiving. But even there I have never quite found a match.

That he lived – of that I have no doubt. That he changed the world – of that I have no doubt. Today much of the world will celebrate his Resurrection – his return from the dead after a horrific death. Out of this event came one of the greatest religious movements the world has ever seen. Christ died and was resurrected and this man god Jesus has become one of the central pillars of civilization.

Yet I wonder what Jesus would think of the way he has been used over the centuries. This was a man of peace. Granted he was testy with the moneychangers in the temple but he didn’t kill any of them. He was a man of peace and love from all the accounts of his life that have been written, from the sanctioned writings to the Apocryphal Gospels that didn’t make it into the “Bible.” This was a man who forgave and asked people to simply go and sin no more. Yet I am in the middle of a Holy Season and I am brutally aware of how much warfare has occurred due to individuals and nations claiming Jesus Christ as theirs. Empires were built on the concept of “Christianization.” Other wars were fought by other nations justified by their religion. Christianity and almost every other religion have been used to justify war, death, cruelty.

This is not what I think Jesus was expecting when he offered himself up to die on the cross. He was not a person who wanted earthly power and yet many of those who have followed him since then have been focused on having earthly power and used the controlling power of religion to attain it. While Europe was living its Dark Ages, Islam was preserving the best of our past. We would be missing much of Greek and Roman civilization were it not for the Muslims; they preserved and valued what the Christian West rejected – the thoughts of anyone who had come before them.

It seems most religions become seduced by the earthly power that can be derived from controlling souls. As we celebrate Easter and Passover the world is full of examples of religious fury and religious peace. In Italy earthquake survivors celebrate amidst the ruins, an Afghan woman, an official who supported women’s rights, was gunned down in the streets of her town, Pope Benedict XVI calls for world reconciliation, the Real IRA in Belfast is calling for the death of an official because he is working for peace.

“Father, forgive them; they know not what they do,” was said by Christ on the cross. I think now the words were for that moment and all the moments to come when his teachings would be bastardized.