Saturday, August 23, 2003

Well, I've finally got my high speed internet. I'm indeed quite joyous, and spent the majority of last night on a downloading-stuff-too-big-for-me-to-have-bothered-with-before spree. But, of course, every silver lining has its cloud, and for the moment, I'm having a hell of a time getting my network to recogize my hub computer. So for now it's only fast internet on my uncomfortable, slow computer. I offer it up as penance for my sins.

In any case, my favorite bit of my downloading spree was the trailer from The Passion. I'm really impressed by this film so far. Unlike some people who've found interest in the movie, I don't consider my viewing of the four minute trailer sufficient enough to begin to speculate on its supposed anti-Semitic elements. But having read the Gospels a time or two in my life, I can say that, if the movie is at all faithful to the Gospels, there isn't one bit of anti-Semitism in it, even if there's a lot of anti-Judaism.

There is a difference, after all. Hitler was an anti-Semite; he hated Jews because of ridiculous, made-up, propaganda about eugenics and ritual killing of Christian babies and all that. But Martin Luther, for instance, wasn't an anti-Semite, but an anti-Judaite. The difference being that Martin Luther didn't hate the Jews based on lies and mischaracterizations about Jewish genetics and what "those people" do, but rather instead because he earnestly believed that once he'd reformed the Church, all the Jews would gladly join it. When they didn't, he was right angry; and while I still call him a damn fool, I don't consider him an anti-Semite. A converted Jew was okay in his book; there wasn't anything about people born Jews he didn't like; it was the actions of particular Jews in refusing to join the Reformed Church, and in the Jewish religion which rejected Christ which bothered him, and that's a different thing.

Back to my original point, it's ridiculous to call the Gospels anti-Semitic. The Gospels were written by folks who still very much considered themselves Jews. To call Jesus an anti-Semite is akin to calling Jesse Jackson, who once stated that when walking down a dark alley at night, he would hope the footsteps he heard behind him belonged to a white man rather than someone of his racial persuasion, an anti-black racist. Now there's no doubt that a distinct Christian identity was present from very early days in the Chistian Church, but the real thrust of the distinctness movement didn't start until after the persecutions of Christians after the destruction of the temple. And when Jesus died and rose again, he was a Jewish Messiah, with Jewish disciples, spreading a religion which they all considered the true Judaism.

Anyway, why am I yammering about this? Ahh, the power of tangential observation. In any case, everyone needs to go and download the Passion Trailer now. I'm triply excited about this movie coming out since I saw the trailer.

In other news, I've been thinking a bit about some of my old friends from high school lately. It struck me the other night, that if I ran across over half of them now, I'd probably have almost nothing in common with them except shared memories. After only a short four years, our experiences, world views, goals, interests, and Lord knows our self-confidence have shifted enough that, put in a class room together now, having lost the influence of our original shared memory base, we would probably never talk to each other at all. It made me sad in a way at first, to think that I really have so little left for people I once loved.

But there's a happy side to it too. While I'm not always thrilled with my friends' life choices, it's a thrilling thing to watch us growing up. Some of us already have children, and some of us are married or getting married, and some of us haven't any more a prospect of that now than we did our freshman year in high school. Some of us are probably already working at the jobs we'll work the rest of our lives; some of us are on the verge of getting college degrees; some of us are floundering and don't know what to do with ourselves. As sad as it is to lose common ground, it's also rather a joy to think of the ground we'll get to bridge when we start having reunions.

And, I like my new friends and my new life; and I hope that my old friends from my old life like their new lives as well. While there's an endless list of things I'd change about myself if I had the self-discipline to do it, on the whole, I'm pretty sure that I'm okay. And financially, educationally, emotionally, I'm in a pretty envious position. I wouldn't relive high school for a million dollars. And I don't know many people who would. It's a good thing to be growing up.