"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Celebrating chocolate bunnies for Easter

Mid-April is the time of year when weather is non-descript, just teasing us about the warmer weather to come. We often see a forecast for warmer temperatures and then find that a gale force wind sets in. So much for getting out the bicycle. It's a special occasion for me when I can get out the air pump and WD-40 and activate my bike for spring. Going out to the Pomme de Terre River is euphoric after the long winter.
We had a winter with sickness being reported all over the place. People coughed and blew their nose. It was nothing but an ordeal. Very soon I'll be making that full "lap" using both sides of the river, feeling quite elated doing so. Joggers and walkers will be out there.
I'm writing this on Easter weekend. I was one of those kids who associated Easter with chocolate bunnies. I heard the ministers talk about what Easter really was. But I found it depressing: all that literal torture that Jesus endured. Mel Gibson sure mined that to excess. I never saw that movie, just read about it. The crucifixion story is macabre. The story is that Jesus then rose from the dead. My former boss, Jim Morrison, doesn't believe that. Call me skeptical too.
I'm rather relieved when Easter weekend is over. There's a Monday holiday called "Dyngus Day" observed in various cities. Something about that gave TV journalist Anderson Cooper the giggles one year. It was just like when David Brinkley tried reading a story about damage done to the Maraschino cherry crop. He couldn't compose himself and the show went to a commercial. In Cooper's case, something about the "pussywillow princess" set him off, as I recall.
It's so nice to hear about an unbridled occasion for pleasure, Dyngus Day, coming right on the heels of a holiday that has blood and gore, i.e. the abuse of Jesus. Why do we even need to acknowledge that so much? Couldn't we just choose to emphasize the positives (if we have the faith) of what Christ's death meant for us?
Why can't we know more about what Jesus did between the ages of 12 and 30?
I was discouraged by our Morris Public Library being closed for Good Friday. The library is a public institution. A growing percentage of the population is not Christian or not affiliated. More of us choose to live outside the boundaries of religion. And it's rather understandable if you watch the movie "Spotlight" which has been available on DVD from our library. Anne Barber is pretty sharp running our library even tbough I still miss Melissa Yauk. I sent Melissa a happy birthday email on April 12. She was kind enough to answer, and she reports that spring has arrived nicely out in Idaho.
I was quite familiar with the factual background of "Spotlight" before watching the movie. It truly makes me skeptical of entering our Catholic church in Morris for any reason. I went there for Fritz Schmidt's funeral because I just had to.
I have heard it said that the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church has hurt all churches. Young people consumed the news and can't believe we continue to support institutions where this kind of risk is presented for kids. The millennials are wise.
Del Sarlette says that young people aren't necessarily rejecting faith, it's just that they don't see the point of "going to a building" for this. Generations have their different traits. The beloved WWII generation were "joiners" and did things like bowl on bowling teams. Then we got the book "Bowling Alone" which told of the erosion of that trait. It is no longer as important to form friendships based on sharing a geographic place - we form friendships based on shared interests, with people we find using the new communications.
My generation thought it puzzling that Christians were divided into different denominations. We rejected the old dichotomy of Lutherans and Catholics in our small outstate communities. We were better educated and had the benefit of affluence, giving us more freedom to form our own judgments. We reached the age of puberty younger. I won't go into the ramifacations of that - perhaps in a future blog post.
Back in about 1980 there was an organization called "Young Life" in Morris, the purpose being to get kids interested in Christianity again. They were not inclined to support the youth groups of their parents' churches, like Luther League. Some very prominent Morris citizens - heads of banks - were involved in promoting Young Life. Eventually I think their objectives were realized, so that's kind of nice.
Myself, I'm more inclined to go along with Jim Morrison's outlook on spirituality or the need to be free of it. Ron Reagan Jr. promotes this. My preferred activity on Easter weekend is to watch the DVD of "Life of Brian." Or, eating a chocolate bunny.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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