An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
Some cultures accidentally forget the meaning in their traditions. Not us. We work our butts off in desperate attempts to forget them, as this story demonstrates:
"When I took them out of the bag, the teacher said, 'Oh look, spring spheres' and all the kids were like 'Wow, Easter eggs.' So they knew," Jessica said.
Really, how stupid would you as a teacher feel saying: "Oh look, spring spheres!" And seriously? Even the word eggs is too attached to Christian traditions? This is particularly funny because, let's face it, as a culture we already have largely forgot why eggs have any Christian symbolism! I mean, I was raised in a largely secular household and yet we still "did Easter." And yes, it was largely devoid of meaning. Apparently not enough for our PC age.
It is sad to see us working so hard to remove all meaning from what little cultural traditions we still largely share in this country. The fact is, when devoid of meaning our traditions become stupid - a thing to be mocked ala "Fiddler on the Roof." And so we see that Easter is no longer about the Resurrection, but it is now about baskets with toys and candy. Same with Christmas. People like to complain about how materialistic these holidays have become, but stop and think about it: when you rob from these traditions their original meaning and you seek to make it palatable to ALL people...well...what's left? We like to blame corporations, but I think they are simply, selfishly, and understandably filling the void with the only thing we are allowed to publicly hold in common: stuff. Yes, we paved the road upon which everything we hate today about Christmas readily travels.
It's the same with diversity classes in school. I remember when my kids were in public school and they had a lesson on Judaism. What did my kids get out of it: Matzah balls and dreidels. Stuff.
Is it any wonder that our traditions are reduced down to the lowest common denominators of food and presents? Of course not. And really, I don't think there is much that can be done about it...at least not on the political level. You all know me, as a borderline libertarian, in the culture war, I am a conscientious objector. I think both the religious left AND the religious right are wrong in their approach to legislate Christian morality - let alone tradition. So, for us, I believe the work is AT HOME.
I do not rely on the schools to teach my kids what Easter is all about (of course I don't rely on the schools to teach my kids anything...particularly about shapes). Nor do I need the Port of Seattle to display a Christmas tree to validate my family's beliefs and practices. Far from it. I, as a parent (and in no small part specifically as a father...a little priest of the home church), am responsible for making sure my family is keeping the traditions (and Traditions) in a way that is rooted in rich and full meaning.
This is timely as we approach Pascha. I have little doubt that my kids know why we are doing what we are doing. But, do they also see the reality of the Resurrected Christ living in me? Am I barking at them over their little failings in the midst of joyously singing "Christ is Risen"? Because if they don't see real change and real love in me, then they will join the lowest common denominator culture and go out to greet "Spring Spheres" instead of the empty tomb.
So as we watch the silliness of school districts, let's allow it to call us back home and to be one more Lenten hinge point, encouraging us to make this all very real in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
this is really sad. It is not though the word egg but Easter that is the problem. It is very disturbing to realize that we in the US and Canada are slowly living under a government and society that is seeking to stamp out all of Christian religion and we don't notice; when communists did this in Eastern Europe, people noticed and many died... we are the weak ones I think. Lord help us. We desperately need to learn to live in Christ's Resurrection.
Recall that American Culture, in our youth, endeavoring to redefine Christmas along less religious, but definitely sentimental lines, brought us the "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Ironically, the Grinch has in fact stolen it and is now preparing to bag all the other holidays, replacing it basically with Halloween, supposedly the fastest growing observance in America. Even it is no longer really an encounter with the Dead or Ghouls, but has been dumbed down to food and disney costumes, with big profits.