Butchering Chickens and Resurrection

I’m going to try and remember a blog post I wrote mentally a few months ago, right now. I wrote it while cleaning meat bird carcasses. That’s my preferred task when it comes to butchering chickens, since I’m not too huge on killing birds and I’m even less a fan of the smell that accompanies plucking dirty carcasses that have just been plunged into boiling water to loosen their feathers.  So I spend butchering evenings with my hands in ice cold water, doing the nit-picky cleaning work while the carcasses cool off.

This year I was in a pretty grim mood around butchering time, which probably explains some of this train of thought, but as I pulled the few remaining neck feathers off those chicken carcasses, I thought about the normalcy of death. The Christian tradition – well, especially the piece of that tradition that I grew up in – tended to romanticize Christ’s crucifixion. I’m thinking of all those hymns that reference blood, and crimson, and being washed…

yeah, no, death is just sort of grimy and brown. Those white meat birds die and they get muddy brown feathers. Stringy feathers, with globs of dirt and blood. No crimson romance about it. Brown as in dirt. Brown like plain-old-normal-life. They die. We die. There it is.

I have never “gotten” sermons on John 11 that emphasize Jesus’ anger about death. They don’t resonate. I’m also thinking of my Ash Wednesday post, and the difficulty I had reconciling the liturgy of that day with the coinciding emphasis on immortality in class. Moreover, I don’t like Easter Sunday. Maybe it’s a personality thing – I’d rather be contrite than enthused. But, maybe it’s more serious than that. I think I’m failing to understand – appreciate? (I can’t quite come up with the appropriate verb) the resurrection.

Sometimes I talk myself into liking the resurrection because it affirms embodied existence, or some such schmancy-sounding idea. But those pep talks must be lacking, since they don’t stick.

I guess this is the part of the blog where I wimp out and say, “Yup, don’t know. Just talking to myself.”

I’ll close with these “possibilities” –

perhaps it’s as simple as “Jesus is alive.”

perhaps I should return to the line from the John’s gospel that I love so much, “having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

perhaps, thinking in Girardian terms, the resurrection is essential because it affirms that the sacrifice of a scapegoat is not the final word

or perhaps, per Robert Jenson, the resurrection is part and parcel of the “sheerly promissory reality” that is God – we must have an alive Christ to have a God of hope.

Meh. I’m slowly working on it.


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