Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Friend of the Emperor

Friend of the Emperor? Guilty as charged.


PS: Not that it's exactly hopping around here, but I'll be taking a break from blogging this Lent (and longer if my wife has anything to do with it). Have a happy Easter y'all.


steviepinhead said...

Have a great Lent! But try to not stay away too much longer (I mean, what's a little marital harmony among friends...!).

I'm not sure why we've seen so little activity lately. I have been trying to stop by to scout for new posts, but don't always have a lot to say, even when I have been impelled to think about a topic.

So let's not discount the value of posts for the "lurkers," even if they don't seem to attract immediate comments.

I suspect some of us may also be struggling with, or distracted by, the economy.

Kevin said...

Ditto what Stevie said. Remarkably, I wrote up a comment to this post but then realized that I might be encouraging a response, which made me feel a little guilty, so I thought I'd hold it til after Lent.

Alas, it is taking _forever_, so my rationalizer kicks in and wonders: if the 40 days of Lent doesn't include Sundays, does that mean you can blog on Sundays?

Don't answer that. :)

Kevin said...

I enjoyed Jennifer's post, MB, thanks for sharing it! I constantly struggle with this, too. There's actually a couple of difficult lessons I'm learning as I strive to make God my "Emperor" by choosing His will.

What's most disturbing is that I'm generally not aware of rationalizing when I'm in the midst of my dilemmas (or perhaps even after). One of my tactics is to avoid and preempt moral dilemmas altogether, which can be very effective, but over the long run, it has the peculiar tendency to also lead me away from life itself. Life is messy and politics all the more so.

One point that Jennifer didn't delve into much is what would have happened if Pilate refused the mob and protected Jesus? I can think of several possibilities, all presumably still ending with Christ's crucifixion, which Jesus knew to be his purpose. While I'd like to think I'd still protect any innocent person from such grave injustice, I can certainly see the start of Pilate's moral rationalization -- not merely in choosing selfishness over selflessness, but in determining the ultimate moral result and the will of God.

Similarly, I'm reminded of Jesus's own secrecy about who he is and Peter's repeated denying of Jesus. What would have happened if he did not?

Ostensibly, rationalization can only exist when the selected option is self-serving. Want to avoid rationalization? Always pick the more difficult, self-sacrificing option. It is the safer option, and from this perspective, it can be strangely more difficult not to sacrifice. Sadly, morality is not so easy, and I'm slowly learning that a self-sacrificial tendency can actually be self-destructive.

But now I fear I am detracting from your's and Jennifer's important call of Lent to displace self in order to realign and reprioritize our lives toward God, and there are many ways I still need to do that.


MamasBoy said...


Officially, Lent does include Sundays, which makes it longer than 40 days. I dont' get it either.

Technically, I could blog any day of the week during Lent, because there is no requirement to give something up for the entire period. People just do it. Some people take Sundays off. Other's don't. I'm a weak guy, so if I started blogging on Sundays, I probably wouldn't stop during the week.

I also find it very difficult to spot my rationalization, especially in the middle of it. Sometimes, I feel like a frog in the pot: I just don't notice my rationalization getting worse and worse until someone like my wife comes along and points my hypocrisy out to me.

Wife: Comment expressing annoyance
Me to Myself: Hugh, maybe I should think about this. It sounds like I may have been a __________ (hypocrite/jerk/etc.).
Me to Wife: But what about you, hugh? Don't you do the same thing?
Wife: Gentle comment backing out of the situation.

For me, blindspots often occur due to the cultural lens that I view things through. Recalling history and tradition helps me to back up a bit and not get so myopic that I forget the bigger picture.