Friday, April 18, 2014

Examining the Crucifixion Narratives

(I am not doing my usual light and easy photo blog for the next two posts. I understand if this is not your cup of tea and if you wish to move along.)

I was as close to being born an evangelical Christian as anybody can be, and I still find myself fascinated with the origins of Christianity. A number of questions interest me. What did the earliest Christians believe? How did the doctrines develop? How did the bible come to us? How do the four gospel writers tell their stories, and how do they compare with each other?

So it was that, with Good Friday and Easter approaching, I decided to read the four gospel crucifixion narratives to see how similar or dissimilar they might be. I did not make this into a painstaking academic effort. I merely read the accounts twice, jotting a brief outline as I read. I then listed my findings in four parallel columns to facilitate comparison.

I found that the story is told most completely in the three synoptic gospels – Matthew, Mark and Luke – but John's later account also follows a similar outline, leaving some things out and adding others. There is no question that the narratives agree that Jesus is betrayed and sent to the high priest and then to Pilate before being crucified. Some events are omitted in some of the gospels, and I do not, necessarily, consider omissions to be discrepancies as you and I would likely tell the same story differently. I do think there are also actual discrepancies, however.

Following, is the gist of the story as more or less agreed to by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and sometimes John. I am telling it clinically in brief précis form, trying to stick to the common facts (which is sometimes difficult to do). I am not attempting to conflate the four accounts into one narrative as is usually the case when telling the crucifixion story, but I am trying to highlight the points on which they agree. Therefore, it becomes quite a 'bare bones' recounting. Even trying to stick to the common points, I sometimes find myself writing that such and such occurred in just some of the gospels because it seems necessary to avoid huge gaps in the account. I am also assuming in that most people are familiar enough with the narrative that I can be terse in the way that I lay it out.

Here is my summary.

A Last Supper was kept, probably in an upper room, during which Jesus ceremoniously broke bread and offered wine in the tradition that churches still, more or less, follow today. Jesus also predicted his impending betrayal by Judas although he was not named, but seemingly implied in Matthew. After the supper, Jesus and His followers went to the mount of Olives. It was here that Jesus predicted Peter's denial in Matthew and Mark, although Luke has Him declaring this earlier, at the supper. John also recounts the denials and the cock crowing , but he doesn't mention an earlier prediction.

In the garden, Jesus went apart from Peter, James and John to pray that "this cup" would pass from Him. Matthew and Mark have him praying and returning to the sleepy disciples three times. Luke doesn't mention the number of times that Jesus went back and forth, but He does have Jesus sweating blood and an angel appearing to Him.

In all of the gospels, Judas appears with a gang of the high priest's men to arrest Jesus, and he indentifies Jesus by kissing Him in each of Matthew, Mark and Luke. An unidentified someone cuts off the ear of one of the priest's men in three gospels (Peter did it in John), but only in Luke does Jesus, seemingly, re-attach it.

Jesus is then taken to the High Priest where He, apparently, chooses to say little. He does say enough to irritate Caiaphas, however, so he has Jesus flogged and beaten. It is during this time that Peter was asked three times about his connection with Jesus in all of the accounts. He denied it each time, and when the cock crowed (twice in Mark, and once in the other gospels), Peter became understandably upset when he realized what he had done.

Jesus was then sent along to Pilate and said very little according to the synoptic gospels but had a bit of a conversation in John. In all gospel accounts, Pilate offers Barabbas before giving Jesus over for beating and mocking, which included a robe and the crown of thorns in all versions except Luke's. He is taken to be crucified at Golgotha (named in three accounts). There was a sign placed over His head, and He was crucified alongside two men, identified as thieves (or at least bad guys) in three gospels. He, eventually, cries out and dies, whereupon a centurion expresses a certain wonderment. This occurred in unnatural darkness in Matthew and Mark, and these two gospels also report that the veil in the temple was torn in two.

Joseph of Arimathaea collected the body and laid it in a sepulchre.

 I will attempt to highlight the differences among the four accounts in my next post.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sleepover Fun with Danica

It had been quite awhile since her last sleepover, so we were all pretty ready for it on the weekend.

Shortly after her arrival on Saturday afternoon, we headed to the chip truck for supper. This was our first visit to the truck this season. The weather has been bad up until now, and the truck has only been back in business for a few days.

We still have a bedtime story when she's here and sometimes if I happen to be there. On this night, we read one of James Herriot's stories — about Blossom the old cow who decided that she wasn't ready to go to the knackers.

On Sunday, before taking her back home, we stopped at Tim Hortons for a snack. She decided that this was a good time to play with my hat.

What fun!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What I Do for Two Bucks

I have probable tossed a few coke cartons with the $2 coupon on the inside, but decided to extract one. They don't make it easy.

It's in there somewhere; all I have to do is look. ↓

They don't make it easy. ↓

Success at last. ↓

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Olde Barn

I happened upon a folder yesterday looking for a particular picture but soon got sidetracked by the first couple of photos below that I had ignored previously; I never did get around to doing what I had originally intended to do. The others I had processed earlier, and I probably also posted some of them previously.

While the house on the property is nothing much to look at, most of the outbuildings is somewhat photographic: the garage, the red barn, the planer mill, and the old barn (the one in this series). These are all of the old, unpainted barn.

These photos are all from out August visit and have been processed with different styles, particularly the first and seventh of the series, which I did as sort of an old, distressed b&w. My faves are probably the second and fourth photos.

These are some other old barn photos that were lying about. There are more, but these were at hand, and I thought that I might as well include them.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ten Days Later

Ten days ago, as you may recall, I had shovelled a niche for the kids; it was tough work because the snow was ,ore like ice. But, what a difference ten days makes! That's the time difference between the two photos that are taken from a fairly similar spot although the first is vertical and the second is horizontal (note the same car in the background of both photos).  This rapid change surprises me, at least a little every year, particularly this year when we had quite a bit of snow to lose plus the fact that it hasn't been that warm yet. Even when the temperatures have climbed a little, it's been blasted windy, so it has seemed quite cold. We did have a good rain or two. however.

Anyway, a lot of progress has been made, and I begin to regret the fact that I didn't clean the garden very well before winter overtook us. However, I plead for some understanding as winter came on early and quickly last fall.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Some Days Are Like That

It looked nice outside yesterday, so we decided to walk to Walmart. It's not our favourite place, but it's the closest store, and there were a few items that we could pick up. Besides, we could treat ourselves to a cuppa coffee from the McDonalds inside. I've never tried it, but Sue says that it's pretty good.

The way that I gimp along with my stupid right foot, it takes the best part of a half hour, and it was much windier than we thought, so it wasn't an altogether pleasant ramble.

Carrying Sue's camera, I stopped to take a few pictures of the field with the water tower in the distance. Where the snow has not been piled, there isn't all that much left. Mind you, there's still ~4' on our lawn. Even at that amount, a good chuck of it has evaporated.

We continued on to WM and barely got inside the door before there was a power failure. We waited outside for a few moments to see if it would come back on before deciding to trudge back home when both my sore foot and Sue's cold ears (did I mention it was very windy?) could have used a rest. Oh well.

About 5 minutes out, we could tell from the traffic lights that the power had been restored, but we kept on trudging toward home. And it was a trudge, let me tell ya. In good shape, I am not.

Some days are like that.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Good Ole Hockey Game

On Friday night I finally got my Christmas present. Sha bought both Eric and me tickets to the Montreal Canadiens - Ottawa Senators game for Christmas, and Friday night was the night.

Both the of us donned our jerseys. His is Montreal's current star goalie, and mine is the previous great, Jean Beliveau, who played when I was a boy and into young adulthood. Fittingly, he played his last game on April 04 1971, and this was also April 04, 43 years later.

Just for fun before I get back to the evening, here is a photo of me in my Canadiens (CH or Habs for short from now on in this post) hockey sweater, circa 1955.I am with my Uncle Charlie on Christmas if I recall. He died in 1970. He was a Leaf fan and would tease me good-naturedly at every opportunity.

Anyway, we made it to the arena early and found our seats in the third tier: section 321, row F, seats 1 and 2.

The view was excellent. The camera was zoomed out for this photo ↓ and the players were larger in life than they look here.

I tried a few selfies and did better with the second shot below.

Using Sue's compact camera, I snapped quite a few photos during warmup, choosing to leave my bulky DSLR at home. My favourite player, #76, PK Subban is prominent in both shots. The second shot below shows, more or less, the real life view that we had from our seats. It was fine.

The game is on. I put the camera away for most of the game but eventually remembered to take a few pictures.

Despite the game being in Ottaw, there seemed to be as many Habs fans as Sens fans. There was an exuberant block of fans just behind us. ↓ They were loud and sang their victory songs from time to time, for the Habs won handily: 7 - 4.

I took my title, The Good Ole Hockey Game,  from the main line in Stompin' Tom Connors', The Hockey Song, which gives the flavour of how seriously but enthusiastically we take our hockey in this county. Stompin' Tom was a greatly loved Canadian folk icon. At one point he spent several weeks here in Carleton Place where he composed Mufferaw Joe, and we have a wall painting in town commemorating him and his stay.

Fittingly, he performed this ↓ rendition of The Hockey Song in Ottawa on Canada Day 1993, just after the Habs had one the Stanley Cup and mentions that in this version. Unfortunately, the Habs have not won since. In fact, although the CH has won more championships by far than any other team, times have not been terribly good for most years since 1993.