Monday, November 20, 2006

essence

Last week I watched the film "Everything is Illuminated" with a very small group of people. The first half of the movie was honestly one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. I laughed so hard, I even did my famous cackle. It was "premium."
The second half was significantly more intense, emotional, and sad. It was deep. Sometimes too deep for me or my boss or other people in the group who tried to understand what the heck happened at certain parts. But it was very good and very enjoyable and I would like other people to see it so that I could quote all of the funnyness like Napoleon Dynamite and so we could all laugh together. Sammy David Jr. Jr.?

Afterwards we had a discussion - the movie was about a young Jewish man who was trying to dig into his family history. Lots of stuff about the Nazis, and lots of painful memories of people. During the discussion an individual said, and I use these quotes loosely, "The essence of Christianity is believing, while the essence of Judaism is remembering." I believe he was quoting a rabbai friend of his, which hopefully gives this more credibility.

This made me ponder a lot and has made me feel very jealous towards Judaism. The essense of Christianity is believing - that is very true. But honestly, sometimes that sucks. Or that is a very frustrating and struggling thing for me. To have something so intangible, something that can at times be so plagued with doubt that you doubt its very credibility, that it is very hard sometimes to find meaning in believing something which you cannot see. There are often days, weeks, - sometimes significantly longer, which I try so hard to find something meaningful in this world in the lens of Christianity and of Christ, and I cannot. The purpose of pain and suffering in this world is one which plagues me because the point of it seems so "out there," so intangibly hard to grasp in light of our (and, most especially, friends and family's) mortality. I used to be able to see meaning in pain for the purpose of character building, soul building, but since J's death this has been hard and I have become cynical about this. It is hard to hold onto hope and hard to find value in something that seems so utterly unnecesary.

i think spelled that wrong.

I envy Judaism. To have an essence in remembering - to be able to point to that for meaning, to find value and, to a point, salvation, in remembering the past - that i can see is very significant. very poignant, and very powerful. Also very much more excitingly tangible. I personally can see very much significance, power, and meaningfulness in this essence.

4 comments:

Zac said...

That's a great quote, Bre. I heard something similar in my Christian Ethics class almost 2 years ago. It went something like, "One of the greatest sins of the people of God was seen to be forget-fullness."

My question is, is there really this stark difference between Christianity and Judaism? Surely there is on a level where faith is purely non-active. But, when worship is lived time and time again, and when the community of God comes together to participate in the Eucharist, they are remembering....and reflecting on how our common past is important in itself, in how it has shaped us now, and in how it is to shape us in the future.

I believe that Christianity needs to learn to place more value on remembering. Perhaps also, we need to reflect on how remembering and believing can be part of the same whole. They are not mutually exclusive for all remembering requires a believing of a sort: believing that we belong to a common story and believing that we have hope. These are my thoughts. Thanks for yours.

Tricia said...

How can you be so deep all of the time? I'm not sure whether I envy you for it, or worry about the effects that it has on your life perspectives. Regardless, thank you for always making me think. I need to email you back... I kind of forgot.

sarah said...

Bre, I'm definitely hearing you. I'll leave the link to my real blog (click my name).

Carla said...

I loved that movie Bre! It was different then I expected, as I thought it would be silly and quirky throughout, but ended up taking a more serious tone.