Tag Archive | Sin

Good Friday: He is Truly God.

This is a day I anticipate with dread every year. Good Friday is the most solemn day of the Christian year. It’s when Jesus is arrested, is beaten, carries his cross, is crucified, and dies. It is at the crux of the faith, and I dislike this day above all others. 

I’ve written here before that I’ve never liked Good Friday. I understand how necessary it is, but I still don’t like it for one reason: it requires the honest Christian to look into his/her heart and admit the sin bearing down upon their heart in a rather primal manner. The reminder that Jesus Christ was truly man and suffered greatly for all of our sins is wildly sobering. More details of the events that day make it even more gut wrenching.

First, ever wondered what Judah’s actually got for betraying Jesus? Well, 30 pieces of silver was about 5 week’s paying wages. So he betrayed Jesus for 5 weeks worth of money. In terms of actual spending power? Each piece was worth about $20. That means he betrayed Jesus for a total of $600. Yes, it costs less for an apartment in Malden than it does to betray the Son of God. I read that during a Bible Study I’m a part of and my jaw dropped. 

Then the amount of pain he went through is just stupifying. Every year, I watch The Passion of the Christ on Good Friday. The amount of suffering Jesus went through and the way the film depicted it was raw, brutal, and shocking. And he did all that for you, me, the temple guards who beat him up, the man who betrayed him, the holy and sinners alike. All that for us. Truly God does love us. 

There is also one scene in the movie that leaves me in tears every time. After Jesus takes up his cross and walks to Golgotha, he falls under the weight of his cross. In one such moment, he meets his mother. They cut in a sequence of Jesus falling as a child and show Mary’s motherly love when He was a child and an adult. This scene destroys me every time. God was human flesh. God walked the earth and had a mother who suffered as she watched her son be beaten to a bloody pulp of a man. And she loved him. Jesus was true man and true God. 

It’s always a trying day because of how incredible this faith and journey is. Take time today to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice for us. 

Louisville Recruiting: What a Disaster

The University of Louisville houses one of the most prestigious basketball programs in collegiate basketball. The Cardinals have won 3 national championships, made the Final Four 10 different times, and have produced some excellent players, including Basketball Hall of Famer Wes Unseld. Today though, none of that matters.

Former escort Katina Powell has alleged that she was a part of organizing parties to aid in the recruitment of players to the Louisville program. The parties were effectively makeshift strip parties where recruits would stay in Minardi Hall, the on campus dorm where the basketball players and many other athletes live on the Louisville campus, then would enjoy the night with drinking, music, and side deals. When I say side deals, I mean sex. Powell kept a journal of all the parties hosted at Louisville. Included were notes on the number of players she had sex with, how much money she was paid personally, how many girls danced and took money on side deals, and how the girls would be compensated by one of the graduated assistants, later coaches, Andre McGee. And all of this took place over four years. Four years in which they either had to keep it quiet or had to get the consent or de facto permission of the brass at Louisville. And this continued after Andre McGee, one of the alleged ringleaders of the whole operation, left to go to another college and accept a different job.

The allegations were brought to Louisville privately over the summer, and were only made public in a book “Breaking Cardinal Rules”, released earlier this month. Yesterday, ESPN’s investigative program Outside The Lines released a report on the whole mess yesterday. I watched the initial report and some of the adjoining interviews on the OTL program yesterday. It’s a damning report with incredibly serious allegations. Take a look at it here, and judge for yourself.

http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/13927159/former-louisville-cardinals-basketball-players-recruits-acknowledge-stripper-parties-minardi-hall

Rick Pitino, the head coach of the Louisville basketball program, and Hall of Fame coach, has denied knowing anything about it. He has done the usual routine of claiming that all of this happened under his nose with him being blissfully unaware of the things taking place on campus. To be blunt, I don’t believe him. Head coaches of major sports programs are the CEO’s of the respective organization. They need to have their thumb on the pulse of the program, and an enormous part of the job is recruiting players to the school. The coach has to be on top of the recruiting process, otherwise the team will run into issues with being not under NCAA regulations. Is it possible he legitimately didn’t know? Yes. Is it probable? Not at all. Especially since these parties took place in an on campus dorm for the athletes, and it’s named for Pitino’s brother-in-law, who was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Pitino has said about this “I hope that’s not true, because that building means a lot to me.” I believe him there. That’s also why I’m skeptical that he didn’t know that something was going on there.

At best, this is serious mess in which girls sold themselves out for both the money they could make for themselves and to convince the potential recruit to attend the school and play for the Cardinals. At worst, the administration and the head coach allowed all of this because the basketball program benefited in a huge way. Louisville won three consecutive conference championships from 2012-2014, went to the Final Four in 2012 and 2013, and won the National Championship in 2013. They achieved enormous success on the back of recruiting excellent players and remarkable coaching from one of the best in the business. One of the best who was either blissfully ignorant of illegal and immoral things going on in his program on campus in a dorm named for his late brother-in-law, or worse, knew it and allowed it. Neither option is good, and either would merit Pitino’s dismissal from Louisville. Exploitation of young girls for sex is a horrendous sin on its own, without the added issues. The fact that all this happened and the program won because of e recruits who came because of that is awful. Pitino might have a name now synonymous with Louisville basketball, but if it is shown he knew anything about this and didn’t stop it, or if he was just being negligent in his responsibilities, he deserves to be removed from that job. 

Good Friday: My Least Favorite Christian Day

I don’t like Good Friday. I don’t like what happened on this day almost 2,000 years ago. I’m reminded of why I don’t like it watching the movie: The Passion. It hilights the worst of humanity. 

If you’re not a Christian, or if you don’t know the story, Jesus Christ preached a radical message of Love, Compassion, and following God above all else. This message was threatening to many political and religious powers of the day, so many looked for a way to remove Him from power. Judas, one of his closest friends betrayed Him to the Sanhedrien, and they staged a sham of a trial to condemn Him. They found Him guilty of blasphemy and took him to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Govenor of the region of Judea. Only the Romans could execute the Jewish laws in the way they wanted: to execute Jesus. They got what they wanted. Jesus endured unbelievable pain, humiliation, and abandonment. The Romans beat him with whips and chains, ripped him to a bloody mess of a human being. The Jewish authorities denied who He was and what His message was in order to hold on to what earthly power they had. And ultimately, all of Jesus’ closest friends, his apostles, all abandoned him except John, and he was flat out betrayed by Judas and denied by Peter, the closest of the Apostles to Jesus. 

We see many of the worst sins all in this story. Betrayal of friends and loved ones, denial of God’s true power, the love of earthly things over Godly things, and the flat out abandonment of that which we should hold most dear. The worst sins that humanity can reach are on full display on Good Friday. The worst sins that I can reach and I have done at different points in my life, are on full display. 

I guess that’s why I don’t like Good Friday. It is a direct condemnation of the worst of my sins. I have to own up to all of them in a very intense way on this day. Watching The Passion reminds me of the worst things that I’ve done. It reminds me that it is all of my sins, all the ways that I’ve hurt myself and others, that called for Jesus coming down to Earth to die for me. And I am honestly ashamed that I needed it, and that humanity needed it, and continues to need it. We hung God out to dry on a giant hunk of wood, betrayed Him in doing so, and made Him suffer a fate that no man, regardless of how evil he is, deserves. 

For those reasons, I do not enjoy Good Friday. But I recognize how necessary it all is. Because after all we’ve done to God, ourselves, and other people, we cannot be saved any other way than by God’s love. I cannot be saved any other way than through God. I don’t like admitting that, but in this respect, I don’t really have a choice. 

The Passion does show some real redeeming pieces of humanity that show potential good. Jesus’ humanity is the biggest sign of that. The other two are Mary and Simon the Cyrenian. Mary cleans up the blood of her son after the scourging. She gives true motherly love in the worst of the situation, seeing him when he falls and helping pick Him up, and doing the hardest thing for a parent, bury her son. The other example of true humanity, though after some convincing, is the guy I see myself as: Simon the Cyrenian. He’s an ordinary guy who was pressed into service to help carry Jesus’ cross to Calvary when He couldn’t do it anymore. Even Jesus needed help. He still does, and that’s our mission today. At one point, Jesus falls, and can’t continue. The guards and people alike rush to hit the lowly Jesus, and Simon refuses to carry the cross any further if they continue to hurt the innocent Jesus. He refused to comply with sin. That’s the sort of approach I want to have in my life. 

I don’t like Good Friday because I see all my sin holding Jesus on the cross. But it is still crucially important, because without it, I can’t be saved. No one could truly be saved. Thank you God for loving us so, and I’m sorry for all we did to You.